After Mass all of us just stayed in the chapel, soaking up the feeling of being at Home. It was a bitter December ride on the scooter this morning, but inside the monastery it was warm and well-lighted with the Holy Family. If there’s one thing the Catholic Church can offer the world, it is “home.” The Church gave the world Christmas, celebrating the day God made his home with us. He made his home with us on earth so that we would have a place in His home on the other side of death. These good mothers from Mexico (in that country they don’t call nuns “sisters” but rather madres) welcome one and all to their home on Ashbury Street. They have decorated their home so that all who enter know they are loved.
The décor in my own parish remains rather more sober until Christmas Eve, since I am not a Mexican Madre and couldn’t quite get away with decorating for Christmas while yet in Advent. Nevertheless, the same phenomenon occurred on Saturday morning, after our Rorate Caeli Mass, in which we eschewed electric lighting for the 5am Mass of Our Lady. A hundred flickering candles made the statues and icons, the stars on the ceiling and the golden tabernacle, move with the liturgical drama. After Mass, while it was still cold and dark outside, most of us just stayed in the gleaming church for an hour, to bask in the home that God has made for us by taking on our flesh. “The Word became Flesh,” writes St. John, “and pitched his tent among us.” A blessed and joyful Christmas (almost)!