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Light the candles! Christmas 2012

Photo credit: Leland Francisco

“It’s Christmas! Light the candles!” – Karl Rahner. Photo credit: Leland Francisco

Like a dull ache, memory of the massacre of the children and adults of Sandy Hook School accompanies me everywhere and all the time these days.

It’s one of those times when I have to keep reminding myself that more than one thing can be true at the same time.

True – no family anywhere should have to endure the murder of their children. This is as true for the families of Syria as for families here in the U.S. Yet daily, children die violent deaths – deaths inflicted on them by adult decisions.

True – it’s Christmas time. I imagine many families have Christmas presents already purchased for the children who died at Sandy Hook. Many of the younger ones had probably already written their letters to Santa. Those letters, those gifts, will be a wrenching symbol of lives senselessly, tragically taken.

True – we can’t fathom what possessed the young man who killed the innocents to do what he did. What feelings of anger and powerlessness this creates in us – well, at least in me.

True – I pray the SP Litany of Non-Violence every day. More than a little hard to feel that prayer makes any difference to anyone, myself included …

And yet, and yet …

True – these past days, I say with great sincerity and renewed desire the last part of the Litany of Non-Violence:

God of love, mercy and justice,

acknowledging my complicity in those attitudes,

actions and words which perpetuate violence,

I beg the grace of a non-violent heart.

True – my favorite quotation on the mystery of Christmas comes from theologian Karl Rahner:

It is Christmas!

Light the candles!

They have more right to exist than all the darkness.

True – Jesus has been born in our midst over and over again. He is Wise Counselor, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Like us, he weeps over the tragedy of Sandy Hook and all the other senseless and violent actions abroad on Earth. He asks us to be his compassion, his love, his outreach to those who suffer and to those who rejoice. It’s so puzzling that both extremes of experience co-exist every day, every season.

Jesus has been born in our midst over and over again.
True – once again Providence incarnates God’s self in the good people all around us. Once again, Providence doesn’t fail because we don’t fail in loving and supporting one another, in being light for one another.

True – It is Christmas! Light the candles! They have more right to exist than all the darkness. (Rahner)

True – you are held in the prayer and thoughts of all the Sisters of Providence and of our Providence Associates! Cherish your loved ones this Christmas. Merry Christmas!

Denise Wilkinson, SP

General Superior

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for the Congregation. Currently, Sister Denise serves the Congregation in various volunteer positions.

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