The Joy of the Christmas Season

January 2023
Dear Friends,
Praised be Jesus Christ!
The angel that appeared to the shepherds on the night of Christ's birth declared: "I bring you tidings of GREAT JOY which shall be to ALL the people." Those tidings of GREAT JOY which shall be to ALL the people." Those tidings of GREAT JOY announced by the angel 2,023 years ago, still summon us today to
surmount every obstacle, to overcome every difficulty and to persevere through every hardship in order to possess the SOURCE of this GREAT JOY...and that JOY is JESUS! Those tidings of GREAT JOY are that GOD became ONE of US so that we could share in the LIFE of GOD! GOD WAS MADE FLESH! Verbum
Caro Factum est! THIS is THE GREATEST NEWS of GREAT JOY that we could ever hope to hear in all our life!

Any person who is filled with the JOY of knowing JESUS changes the atmosphere in a room (or wherever that person is) much like the glow of the Christmas lights with which we decorate our houses. There is a certain warmth and pleasantness, an irresistible attraction to share in the presence of that JOYfilled person. No doubt, there are plenty of sorrows in this life, but the JOYful person knows, along with St. Therese, that "JOY does not reside in the things that surround us, but in the very depths of the soul, that one can have it in the gloom of a dungeon as well as in the palace of a king."

Already, only a couple weeks into the New Year, we have mourned the deaths of Pope Benedict XVI and that of Cardinal Pell, as well as that of so many of our own family and friends; and then there are the many other personal afflictions with which our path in life is strewn. These are evidence that JESUS is stretching our hearts. Why? So that He can fill them with HIMSELF. The bigger our hearts become, the more of JESUS they can contain AND the more of JESUS we have, the GREATER the JOY with which we will be filled!

We have been told that true joy comes from not thinking of oneself but of: Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last, the first letter of each word spelling JOY! This can be so well illustrated by the life of the Holy Family itself: Jesus, the Divine Redeemer (shedding His Blood to the last drop for us and still living to make intercession for us), Mary, the Omnipotent Beseecher (like at the Wedding Feast at Cana, interceding for all our needs with her Son) and St. Joseph, the Yoke-bearer (protecting and providing for his Family and now helping us to bear our yoke with Christ). Knowing how much God loves the cheerful giver, we commend you to the prayers of this HOLY FAMILY in gratitude for your generous charity to us.

As we start out on the pilgrimage of yet another year, let us rejoice to have JESUS our JOY with us in the Blessed Sacrament, who so much longs to increase that JOY every time we visit Him and invite Him into our hearts.

May God bless you, Mary keep you and St. Joseph protect you!

Your Sisters in the Carmel of Alexandria

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