Beyond the experience of duality

A Christmas Message from Shantivanam

A Christmas Message from Fr Dorathick, Prior of Shantivanam

Christmas Brings a New Light and New Hope

Greetings and Joy from Shantivanam

Dear Sangha members, It is Christmas! As we are preparing to celebrate the coming of Christ our Lord, we are prompted that Christmas is also a time for us celebrate, to give thanks, and to prepare for the get-together with our families and loved ones. It is also a time to look back and reminding ourselves about all the blessings we have received.

This year most probably our Christmas will be very different. Lots of travel restrictions, we do miss a lot of friends and oblates of Shantivanam in our ashram! Lockdowns and quarantines physically distance and wear a mask etc… it will be quite harder and maybe impossible to get together with our family and loved ones. People are lost their jobs, Christmas without someone close to us all these makes us to feels to lose our hopes! But this Christmas once again brings back hope to humanity. Indeed God has given us the greatest Christmas present we could ever hope for. The nativity is not simply just a symbol of the Christmas season, it represents God’s plan of redemption. In this apparently ordinary birth we find hope for the world.  The gospel of Matthew says “God is with us” certainly; and it must be a faith-inspired, a faith-moved and faith-filled celebration.

The Prophet Isaiah reminds us: “The people who are walking in darkness have seen a great light”. The light of God’s unconditional love- the very light of creation itself has come to walk midst us. To show us what it means to be loved as God loves. This love can never be taken away from the world. Through His incarnation God proved and God has brought divinity into humanity. Ultimately it is pure gift for us. For me the birth of Christ is one of the greatest messages for each one of us when we lose hope in our life remember Christ promised I am the light and life too in despite of all our chaos. We have heard the words Christ, our Redeemer so repeatedly that we sometimes don’t really recognize the true significance. The problems of our lives can blind us to the reality of the true Christmas message. The fear and inhumanity of man can prevent us from experience the joy of the gift. Despite of the human condition, here we are, once again this Christmas makes us to recognize God has become Man. The good news will never change. But our response to the message needs to be an essence of continuous change. Our continuous growth in holiness is the foundation to celebrate Christmas every day of our lives. Christmas brings us a greatest joy a historical reminder for the humanity that we are not far from God. We are close to God and God is close to us! We often fail to realize this truth because of our human tendencies. Christmas is certainly the great feast of Divine Mercy. Christmas says to each one of us today: God care for us, loves us how ever even when we go away from God, God is always with us because He loves so unconditionally who we are. Often we judge ourselves and others that we are not worthy or not good enough, sometimes harder than even God judge! Pope Francis so beautifully says God’s joy is in forgiveness. God loves us despite of our weakness and fragility.  Not the fragility and the weakness separate us from the Divine union but rather the birth of Christ in our hearts brings a joy and hope today. Let us bring His light, and His mercy, and His peace to our world and to our sisters and brothers, our families, and whereever we live we bring a new hope to this Universe. We also thank you on this occasion for the love you have for each of us.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
Fr. Dorathick