Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Do You See What I See?

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Do You See What I See?

Article excerpt

This Christmas, open your eyes to how Christ dwells among us

WE CATHOLICS CLAIM BELIEF IN THE Incarnation, the dogma that says God became human and dwells (present tense) among us. But dogmas can seem sterile and disconnected from our own lives. That's one of the reasons the celebration of Advent and Christmas is so essential to the development of our faith.

The customs and practices of this holy time provide vivid clues to help us understand the Incarnation, this core truth. As we drag out the ornaments and the manger scene, and dust off the Advent wreath and Advent calendar, our hearts and imaginations become engaged. These tangible objects bring home the lesson that our Christmas story is more than a fable or fairy tale. It's revelation itself. God became human and dwells, even now, among us--often, as Mother Teresa said, "in distressing disguise." The story of a newborn baby, laid in a manger, gives clues to where we might recognize the Incarnation today.

For example, I see the Incarnation revealed in a family in our parish. The parents have welcomed half a dozen foster kids with severe physical and mental disabilities into their family circle. And when they pile into Mass, there are smiles, care, and tenderness all around. This family has shown our parish new ways to see the face of God.

The Incarnation is also visible in the life of Rigo Navas, a young man who co-chairs the parish council at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Chicago. Having come to this country from Guatemala, Navas now runs a youth group that gathers more than 100 kids in a weekly prayer circle. Each year the kids plan and put on a Good Friday Stations of the Cross walk, in full costume, at a popular park.

I have a file of such Incarnation stories. Catholic layman W. Earl Lewis instigated a program to provide interfaith memorial services for Cook County, Illinois residents who die poor and alone. Because of Lewis, more than 3,300 indigent deceased have been buried with dignity. Kelly King is a young adult Catholic who, twice a month, joins a night ministry bus that travels to depressed areas of Chicago. She says, "It lets me meet people I ordinarily wouldn't come in contact with. …

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