Yes Virginia, There is an Infant

by Sister Timothy Marie, O.C.D.
Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

"Adoration of the Shepherds" by Murillo

“Adoration of the Shepherds” by Murillo

Dear Virginia,

I am writing to tell you about something that has been on my mind for several weeks. It has bubbled up within me, percolating up and down my brain and saturating my thoughts.  Like coffee grounds in a coffeemaker, flowing in and out of my daily life, it strengthened quietly within my inmost soul almost – but not quite – imperceptibly.  Somehow, somewhere, something wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t figure out what it was. I tried, but wasn’t sure what it was. That is, until today.  Today, it clicked. The idea finally coalesced into something I could grapple with, take apart and analyze.

It has to do with the question you once wrote, “Is there a Santa Claus?” and a movie that was made about that question and its answer. That is why I am writing to you about Christmas. It seems to me, and to a lot of other people also, that something is happening to Christmas.

O Christmas, where did you go? Who or what took you away from us? And when exactly did you leave? How did we not notice it? How did we not miss you?

Perhaps it is because I am a Carmelite Sister who lives a simple and prayerful life of service that I find myself experiencing such a profound emptiness, an absence, an incompleteness; yes, a deep sadness within me as I think more deeply about the way our society is celebrating Christmas. For, you see, wherever I look, there is no Infant. I miss Him so! Truly, I do.

Chestnuts are roasting on an open fire. City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, are dressed in holiday style. We walk in a winter wonderland. Rudolph is still making history and Santa Claus is still coming to town.

But, where is the Infant?

I am writing this letter to assure you and all the other children (and grown-ups, too). Yes, Virginia, there is an Infant. For over two thousand years, each Christmas we have remembered Him, the tiny Baby born in Bethlehem on that first Christmas night.  St. Francis of Assisi began our tradition of setting up a crèche, a nativity scene, based on the story of His wondrous birth, that we may keep alive the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is a time of joy, of hope, indeed. But that joy doesn’t flow from the tree, Rudolph, or the winter wonderland. They are all secondary, as fun and as good as they truly are.

Yes, Virginia, there is an Infant. He is Jesus Christ, our Savior, and Christmas is HIS birthday. Come, let us adore Him.

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To learn more about the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, read their biography in the right sidebar and visit their website.

They publish a beautiful print magazine, Spirit of Carmel, and we encourage you to support the work of the sisters with your prayers and through donations and subscriptions to the Spirit of Carmel.

If you are able to help them, please click on the image of their magazine to visit their subscription and donation page.

If you hear God calling you to the religious life, I encourage you to visit their vocations page. – Deacon Mike

Or for more information, please contact:
Sister Grace Helena, OCD, Vocation Directress
920 East Alhambra Road
Alhambra, California 91801

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About the Author

Promoting a Deeper Spiritual Life Among Families through Healthcare, Education and Retreats

The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles strive to give striking witness as a vibrant, thriving community of dedicated women with an all-consuming mission. It is our God-given mission, a mission of the heart, a mission of loving service to the poor, the sick, the needy and the uneducated. Our loving service overflows from each sister’s profound life of prayer. We strive to reflect His life and hope and His promise to all that light has come into our world and darkness has not overcome it.

A look at the history of our community, with its motherhouse in Alhambra, California, reveals how its life-giving presence has come about. During the beginning decades of the 1900s just as the epic Mexican revolution was subsiding, a ruthless religious persecution was gaining momentum in Mexico. This horrible persecution accompanied the birth and humble beginnings of our community, a legacy that Mother Luisita, our foundress, and her two companions brought with them as religious refugees entering the Unites States in 1927.

Those seeds planted by Mother Luisita, now a candidate for sainthood, have taken deep root in the United States since those early days. People and places have changed throughout the years, yet the heart of our mission remains. As an autonomous religious institute since 1983 we continue to carry out our loving service in our healthcare facilities, retreat houses and schools which remain to this day centers of life and hope. Today we are moving forward together “Educating for Life with the Mind and Heart of Christ” in schools, being “At the Service of the Family for Life” through health and eldercare and “Fostering a Deeper Spiritual Life” through individual and group retreats. At the heart of our vocation is a passionate mission of loving service which facilitates our life-giving encounter with the living God.

The heritage of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles is rooted in the spirituality of Carmel, the Gospels, the Church, with our particular charism derived from our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

In His merciful goodness, God has graced our Institute with the Carmelite charism which has its roots in a long history and living tradition. The spirituality of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross is rooted in this tradition. Carmel means enclosed garden in which God Himself dwells. The divine indwelling in the soul is the foundation of Teresa's doctrine. Thus our vocation is a grace by which contemplation and action are blended to become an apostolic service to the Church.

Our ideal finds a living expression in the life and charism of our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament, whose spirit we faithfully preserve and foster.

Our life is characterized by: - A life of prayer and union with God - A deep love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist - Devotion to our Blessed Mother - Steadfast fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church - Praying for priests - Commitment to works of the apostolate in ecclesial service

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