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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Heaven is Sweet – Heaven is Near – Heaven is Mine

Some of the members of our Congregation had
 the privilege of knowing Sr Judith  Meisner,
 an elderly Norwegian Sister of St Joseph,
 who lived out the final years of her life
 in the Zaitzkofen seminary in Bavaria.
 She often told the story of an event that had made a profound impression on her as young nun. 
Sister, who had received the gift of the Faith as schoolgirl with her future Congregation, while a novice and not yet 20 years of age, recalled that a Redemptorist Missioner had come to their convent. The priest preached a profound retreat which affected all, and on one of the days he gave a conference which ended with the words – and Sister would say them very slowly and solemnly – 
“Heaven is Sweet, Heaven is Near, Heaven is Mine”. 
“Heaven is Sweet, Heaven is…” 
she would repeat a few times making sure you understood the import of those words. 

Like the ending of every retreat conference the nuns went their way to their cells for the night, moved at what  the priest had said, but thinking no more about it than that. Early the next morning after the usual common prayers they were awaiting the appearance of the Missioner in the Convent Church to celebrate the Holy Mass when a nun burst into the choir and quite excitedly told them that
 Father had died in his sleep during the night… 
“Heaven is Sweet, Heaven is Near, Heaven is Mine,” 
Sister would repeat again solemnly… 
“those were his last words!” 

For us who remain in this Valley of Shadows, 
perhaps those words are no more appropriate than
 in this time of Advent. 
For now Salvation at Hand, 
now amidst the Winter Darkness
 we await that 
Heaven on Earth Who is Sweet, and Near, and Who can be Mine
 if only I will open my heart to Him,
if perhaps I make that good and holy confession that I need to make,
if I forgive that soul who is most in need of my mercy,
if I give up that person, that place, that object, that amusement
which is causing my darkness and unhappiness through sin. 
On Christmas Night Heaven will bow down to Earth and
 let drop the Sweet Dew of 
Our God and Saviour, Our Little Lord Jesus Christ.
Would it not be so SWEET if then He would be NEAR,
 if He would be MINE?

It is not certain that the “Way of Bethlehem” was written by Our Holy Father St Alphonsus;
 but tradition has always ascribed it to him, 
and in our most small
 Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer
 the devotion has always held a special place of honour. 

This year in order to help our Friends know
 and love these beautiful prayers
 we have arranged the 12 stations as little images
 for the 12 days preceding Christmas.
 Each image shows a “Bambino” or “Niño”
 which in some way expresses the mystery
 described in the station.
 Some of them bear very lovely names
 “Infant of Great-Sorrow”, “Infant Nazarene”, “Infant of the Four-Winds” etc.

Most of all we hope that they remind you each day that
Heaven is Sweet
Heaven in Near
And … 
may Jesus Bambino
 be your Heaven this coming Christmas.

Veni Domine et noli tardare!
Come O Lord, and tarry not!

1 comment:

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

thank you for these beautiful words.

“And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.”

O Lord Christ, Thou wert pleased so to humble Thyself in Thine incarnate divinity and most sacred humanity as to be born in time and become a little child. Grant that we may acknowledge infinite wisdom in the silence of a child, power in weakness, and majesty in humilition. Adoring Thy humiliations on earth, may we contemplate Thy glories in Heaven, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest forever. R. Amen.

We pray to Thee, heavenly Father, Who for the Infant Jesus’ sake adopted us as Thy children and as heirs of Heaven, look kindly upon children not of the Faith and let them participate in our unearned and priceless fortune. We ask this through the Infant Jesus Christ, Thy Son Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. R. Amen.

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