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Marist Bulletin - Number 115


Christmas 2003 - Br. Seán Sammon

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Bro. Seán Sammon’s Address after the Midnight Christmas Mass, in the General House, Rome

Dear Brothers and all who share and live the dream of Marcellin Champagnat,

One day a teacher asked his students to share a story about a time in life when someone bestowed a blessing on them. In response, one middle aged woman told the following tale:

She came from a large family and the incident took place when she was twelve years old. Each Sunday morning her mother would get the children ready for Mass. The ritual never varied: she lined up the children and washed each one’s face and then combed his or her hair. Each child waited patiently in line for a turn and then went out to play while the mother moved on to the next until all had been readied.

One Sunday the woman telling the story was second in line and eager to go out and play. Just before her turn, however, he mother, noticing that the youngest child was missing a shoelace, asked our story’s narrator to go into the bedroom to get one. But not wanting to lose her place in line and anxious to get out to play, the girl do as she had been asked. When her mother had finished, she went out to play.

However, after playing for few minutes, she felt guilty and went back to the house. On entering her eyes fell upon the following sight: there was her mother removing the shoelace from her own shoe and, then, bending down and putting it in the shoe of her youngest child.

The girl went into her parents bedroom, got a shoe lace, and as her mother combed her baby sisters hair, she bent down and put the shoelace into her mothers shoe. While she was doing this, her mother said nothing but gently stroked her hair.

The woman said, “My mother taught me an important life lesson that morning: kindness begets kindness, bless someone and you are blest in return.

Marcellin insisted: as poverty should mark the life of a Franciscan, so should simplicity mark the lives of his Little Brothers of Mary and all those touched by his charism and dream. And, François added: a constellation of other little virtues should mark them, too.

Now, you might ask: What’s the point? How does the founder’s prayer for his fledgling community and François’s directive relate to our story about the little girl and a shoelace? The answer is straightforward: The work of changing our world into a more just society based on the Jesus’ Christ’s Good News, begins with you and with me. This Christmas, then, let our gift to our world be to remember and to take action believing all the while that kindness begets kindness, treat others with respect and the same with be forthcoming, listen well and you will be listened to also, welcome the unconditional love of God and be transformed forever.

Happy Christmas. May God bless our world with peace this Christmas, and let us commit ourselves during the year ahead to bringing to life the dream of that simple country priest and Marist Father: to bring God’s Word to poor children and young people in desperate need of hearing some Good News

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