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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The sudden death of a close friend, the sudden appearance of a new “star” in the night sky, another friend slowly dying of cancer...ques¬tions... real questions that go straight through one's heart and mind as Christmas 2007 approaches. With these and more turbulent outer events occupying my attention I was given a … short essay titled, 'Before The Manger'. Delp puts this important question to humanity:

Why does the stable of Bethlehem with its wonders and history stand there, while so many of us pass it by...? An entire nation, a whole people can walk past the manger. So too, an entire epoch can pass by this manger. ...we will know that the mystery of this [holy, silent] night leads us to an encounter with the Absolute. As such, we will be shaken up. For when we stand before the Absolute, what is genuine & real is revealed. If we fail to be moved when we come to the manger, something ultimate is missing

That evening my neighbour stood outside and called me over to look in the area of the constellation Perseus. "There is something wrong about that familiar star pattern," he
said. "It has been cloudy for the past week but I believe we are seeing a comet!" Sure enough comet Holmes had brightened 1,000,000 times on the 24th of October. Just by my neighbour's keen observation I was made aware of this new object in the heavens! It was a discovery using the only method available to the men of ancient times.

Again Delp writes:
And then there were wise men - those who by long seeking and searching and waiting and enduring became inwardly honest and ready. ...They were men who saw the greater relationships … They were the ones who could sense from a thousand indications where … the answer could be found.

Genuine questions...? Alfred Delp was put in a Nazi prison for helping Jews in Munich, Germany escape to Switzerland. His collection of essays in When the Time Was Fulfilled were written from prison. The Gestapo offered Delp his freedom if he would leave the Jesuits, but he refused. In 1945 they ended his life by hanging. … His death was because he..."really loved him".
In order to see the new comet that suddenly appeared, we need to look up into the night sky. Our attention should go away from ourselves this Advent and Christmas time toward the great things that God is prepar¬ing for this earth.
By John Menz (abridged)

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:18 am