I couldn’t wait till midnight. I was on my first 30-day retreat as a Jesuit in the Novitiate, and tonight at midnight I was going to ask Mary in my imagination while doing Ignatian contemplation to hold the baby Jesus in my arms. I was so excited. I had been waiting a long time for this.
Finally the moment came, and I asked her if I could hold Jesus. And she said… “no.” Sort of stunned I asked, “why not?” She answered, “because you’re not gentle enough.” That answer has stuck with me over the years and has taken on new meanings in each new ministerial context. How am I called to be gentle, to be an appropriate comforter with gentle arms for the child Jesus in each new person I meet?
Maybe this Christmas can be a good time for you too to ask Mary if you can hold her baby in your arms and see what she says.
(BTW, this picture of of Mary, Joseph and Jesus is my favorite Nativity picture)