by Matthew Higgins, Assistant to the Vocation Director
An image showed up on my facebook newsfeed last week that a friend of a friend posted. In my mindless scrolling through the feed, this image struck me and caused me to stop and admire. This image awakened my mind. This image is from Gari Melchers, a painter from the late 1800’s who is known, mostly, for his portraits. His image of The Nativity captures a beautiful moment for the Holy Family—a quiet and calm moment shared by the three of them. A moment that speaks to each one of us on our journey.
In the image, both Mary and Joseph are seated, Mary’s head is resting on Joseph’s side. Both look exhausted, yet they are awake and adoring the newborn Christ. The light that radiates from the Baby Jesus illuminates the night scene. The door is open and Joseph’s walking staff rests in the background, illustrating what must have occurred not too long before this scene – the intense moment where after searching and knocking for a place to have the baby, finally Joseph was able to open a door, throw aside his staff and assist Mary in giving birth.
The beauty of this image lies in the fact that for just a moment, after the suspenseful and exciting events that led up to Christ’s birth, yet before the shepherds or magi came bearing gifts, before the trek to Egypt, all was calm and all was bright. This single, solitary, and peaceful moment with the Lord was shared by Joseph and Mary—together. It was an intimate moment with the Lord that no other person had experienced before, perhaps it can be seen as the first Eucharistic Adoration.
While this event took place so many years ago, the Lord still enters our lives, often in the dark moments, and sheds light. He humbly reveals himself to us and asks that we share in those small, solitary and quiet moments. In the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, when so much of what we do can become “mindless” routine – shopping, wrapping presents, Christmas cards, cooking, baking, parties, sometimes we need to stop and remind ourselves to take a moment (or several) to be with the Lord.
Let us be aware and alert this Christmas as we await the Lord’s second coming. Let us ask him to be “born” in a new area of our lives this coming year. Pay attention to the little things that can remind us of Him and His presence – a simple image on a news feed, experiences with family, giving gifts…but let us also pay attention to His presence and spend time with Him in adoration—it is in those moments that we can experience something unlike anything else.
Merry Christmas from all of us in the Vocations Office.
This blog will contain resources, reflections, homilies, and articles to help you in your discernment.