Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Message from Fr. Paul Hartmann, CMH President

Dear Family and Friends of CMH:

One of the oldest Christmas hymns in all of Christendom begins with the line: Let all mortal flesh keep silence . . .” Over 1600 years ago when that line was written, the Church was still coming out of the catacombs where it hid during countless persecutions. It was only beginning to grasp the impact which they, as a small, but fast-growing community of believers, was to have on the secular world where the Roman Empire was well into its final, and fatal decline. Modern day logic would seem to say that “silence” is not necessary. Rather, by our standards, the Christians should shout, celebrate, and (as the scriptures say) make plenty of joyful noise.

But, like so many aspects of lived faith, I guess that the answer is a classic “both/and” combination. We must be silent first – disposed to humble listening, so that we might truly receive and comprehend that for which we should do no less than shout great tidings to the world. Tidings, in fact, that this world still needs so desperately. It is a manner of making our way through this busy and complex world that we have been taught over and over again since we were kids. Do you remember being told as a kid what to do as railroad crossings? “Stop, Look, and Listen” was the proverb then. Whether at crossings or in classrooms; at the family Christmas table, or in the pews on Christmas morning – stop, look, and listen!

As your family celebrates the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, I recommend that you recall the words of the ancient hymn or the warning at crossings, and in humble quietness contemplate what the coming of the Lord means in your life and for your family. If our personal and communal prayer is open to that consideration, there is no doubt in my mind that we would first fall into quiet thanksgiving, and then move to joyful praise.

Later in that ancient hymn which I started with, it proclaims: “. . . and in fear and trembling stand. Christ our God to earth descendeth . . .” On behalf of the entire CMH community of students, faculty and staff please be assured of our prayers of glad tidings to you and yours on this most special of holy days. Holy because God himself has descended among us; God himself has promised us salvation by His own birth.

Blessings to you all!

Very Reverend Paul Hartmann
President, CMH

P.S. I would be remiss as president of the school to pass on this opportunity to gently encourage you, if you haven’t yet, to prayerfully consider making your contribution to the Crusader Fund a sign of the glad tidings that ring out from your experience of Christmas this year.

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