My heart goes out to people on the news who have just experienced or witnessed a shocking tragedy and then a reporter steps up and asks them how they are feeling. If that were me, I’d have to say, “Come back in a few hours or better yet, next Tuesday.” There are times when I have to think fast on my feet, but I always prefer having some time to ponder and pray.

That’s why I like the story we hear in today’s Gospel. It’s near the end of the story of Christ’s birth, with all the glorious angels and shepherds showing up in the night sky, and a very bright star, and all the other wonders of that night. How does Mary, the small-town girl who has already received one personal visit from an angel, react? Luke tells us: “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.

What a great image! Thank you, Mary. That’s what I want to do as well.In this new year, when the world all around us is almost certain to get noisier and move faster, my prayer for you and me is that we all take the time to reflect on things in our heart. If there are things that trouble us, things that we don’t understand, let’s take them to prayer and talk them over with our God. Let’s get quiet and see where the Spirit leads us. It’s okay to tell the world, “I’ll get back to you on that.”

May 2018 bring us an increase in wisdom, knowledge and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And may the things that we reflect upon in our heart serve to strengthen our faith and show us the best way to share it with others.

Fraternally in the Precious Blood,

Rev. Larry J. Hemmelgarn, C.PP.S.
Provincial Director