Apparuit, Again and Again
A little girl was sitting quite still at a concert in the Magnificat Center for the Performing Arts, taking in a recitative from Handel’s Messiah, until, And suddenly with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts singing Glory to God, she rose with the power of the music. She began dancing gracefully in the aisle, twirling ever-so-slowly, all in a quiet joy translating the words’ realities: The Messiah has appeared. Glory to God! She is surely a theologian, albeit a kinesthetic one.
Similarly, after Magnificat’s Christmas concert by our choirs, students heading for the art/math wing hall transported the carols from hall to hall, their contagious joy bringing Mrs. McCarthy from her office, delighting her with their uncontained musical joy: “I love when they are so free to express their joy.” Theologians all, even musical ones. It is about the glorious reality that Christ has come among us—Apparuit—again and again! That’s our call even in cold January: manifesting unrestrained joy! Just like the peace that only Christ can give, our joy is a joy that only the Holy Spirit can electrify in our hearts. How might we stoke this fire?
What might be keys to keeping the authentic joy of Christmas alive in our lives and interactions? Prayer/contemplation; kind words and works; an infusion of love.
Our joy in the Incarnation of Jesus can take flesh in our prayer through contemplation.
I have told you this so that
My joy may be in you
And so that your joy may be complete. John 11
What an unimaginable promise echoed in Divine emphasis! Think about it. Think about our having Christ’s joy within us. Think deeply about it. Contemplate Christ saying that to you. Jesus’ love which can wipe tears and gradually lessen heartache. Yes, penance and suffering can and do redeem, but so can joy, perhaps more so. There is no reason that our joy shouldn't abound since God chose to dwell among us, among the hardships, within the daily. There are uncountable reasons that our joy should flow through our words and overflow into our actions and permeate our interactions. There are the deepest reasons in the Mystery of Christ’s Incarnation that hope should take flesh in our prayer and our daily life.
Others will realize: Christ has appeared among us . . . again and again. With Christ’s appearance come kindness and generous love.
Exercise graciousness toward everyone.
Devote yourself to good works so beneficial to others. Cf. Titus 3
That joy can take flesh through the full humanity of our kindness.
In our life, there is a color, as on the palette of life,
that gives meaning to life and art,
and that color is love. Mark Chagall
No matter how bleak the month of January might be, the lived reality of the Incarnation, through kindly and efficacious love, will brighten our days and the world’s days. We can continue Christmas faith through January. Then Christmas joy in July will be a natural.
Prayer for Christmas Joy in Every Month
It is time to delight in all the good news
we have heard.
It is time to be preoccupied with delight
in all delightful things, experiences.
and especially persons.
May we bring delight to others of all ages
enriching their faith,
promoting their joy.
Reflections with Sister Helen Jean Novy, H.M.