Bishop Paul McAleenan's Christmas reflection 2016
On Thursday 1st December Caritas Westminster launched a scheme called Love in Action, a timely presentation given that in Advent we celebrate the action of the Source of all love when he called Mary to be mother of the Word made flesh. This new programme, with its roots in Catholic social teaching, is a gift. Using this gift parishes and schools grow in understanding of the Church’s teaching on the good and Christian way to engage with our neighbours and the world.
The programme, working on six essential principles, leads us to examine our style of life and relationships with others and creation, asking ‘Are they in harmony with the values of the Kingdom of God’?
First we are asked to SEE: to see the reality around us and to ask ‘what do I see’; we think of our neighbours, how they are treated, their inherent dignity, our relationship with each other and creation. We JUDGE: is this right and just? We allow our conscience to speak and in response, we ACT.
And so through actions inspired and informed by Catholic social teaching, we incarnate, make visible our Christian values and beliefs. Through our involvement with society we reveal our faith in a way that can be seen and understood.
At Christmas we recall how God acted in response to humanity’s need for redemption. He looked and he saw and didn’t leave us as were: lost, unable to find our own way out of our sinful condition. He enlisted the help of Mary whose ‘yes’ was necessary for his plan. Through Mary the love of God became visible, tangible and incarnate. As St John wrote: ‘Something that existed from the beginning, that we have heard, and we have seen with our eyes; that we have watched and touched with our hands; the Word, who is life – this is our subject. That life was made visible’.
Helped by ‘Love in Action’ we too can give expression to our love in a real and visible way as we reach out to our neighbour and care for creation.
May Christmas bring you true joy and peace.