Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas reflections

After a relaxing and joy-filled visit with family, I am returning to comment on two events that recently made news in our diocesan paper. The first is an article featuring Jeff Skorik, the police chief of Marinette, WI whose faith helped him in dealing with the trauma of a school hostage situation and ultimate self-inflicted death of the young man responsible for it. What struck me about this article was the candor with which the policeman spoke about his faith. He and his wife had been signed up for weekly adoration, and when she offered to take his adoration time just days after the incident, he did not take her up on it, saying, “it was appropriate that I go to adoration.” The article went on to recount his renewal of faith. “When confronted with seemingly insurmountable challenges, someone who has faith in their life will come to that point very quickly.”

In a seemingly unrelated story, our former parish, St. Charles Borromeo in Chippewa Falls, was recently visited by a tragedy of a different sort. Someone stole the collection money from all of the Christmas and Sunday Masses. A significant portion of the collection had been designated for Casa Hogar, the orphanage very close to all of our hearts in the Diocese of La Crosse. When I heard of this event earlier today, my first reaction was that nobody would stand for this. Even if the culprits are never caught, the people of our diocese will not let this affect the orphans of Casa Hogar. I am confident that the money will not only be replaced, but surpassed by the generosity of faith-filled people.

In actuality, these two stories are deeply connected. Each reveals the providence of God’s great love through the folly and scandal of the cross. Benedict XVI has called it God’s “crazy love.” When humans fall short, God goes out of His way not only to restore us but to elevate us. He gives us the opportunity not only to be as we were but to be better than we were. God's answer to Adam and Eve’s sin...Jesus. God's response to those who crucified His Son...the offering of eternal salvation. To humans, God's responses to human folly seem ridiculous, but in the realization of this completely ridiculous love, disordered human actions provide us with the opportunity for true transformation. We are in need of ridiculous mercy. How wonderful is our God to condescend Himself to us so completely that we might be made worthy of everlasting life! When a bad thing happens to us or those we love, we should know that transforming grace is in super-abundant supply at that very moment in time, inviting us to be holier, more filled with the infectious love of Christ.

Blessed Christmas season to all of my readers! We celebrate the gift of Jesus Christ and His transforming, merciful love.


  1. Crazy love and ridiculous mercy-I love this Beth! It's interesting that you took two very tragic stories and found redemption in them. How blessed we are to have a God who is so crazy in love with us! Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year to you!

  2. Do a search: The First Scandal Adam and Eve.

  3. Thanks for seeing and showing us the good in the bad; it is so easy to see despair instead. I remember long ago that I attended Sunday mass at St. Charles Borromeo, a beautiful church family in a beautiful town.
    May God's peace and love enfold you in this new year.