A call to be the light of Christ Print
Bishop Morlino's Column
Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010 -- 1:00 AM
Under the Gospel Book by Bishop Robert C. Morlino
This column is the bishop’s communication with the faithful of the Diocese of Madison. Any wider circulation reaches beyond the intention of the bishop.

Dear Friends,

As you read this letter, Christmas will be upon us and the Year of the Lord 2010 will have almost expired. As we look around the whole world, we see the violence of war and terrorism raging, we see hunger thriving in so many places as well as extreme poverty, we see senior citizens being actually or virtually euthanized and we see the slaughter of the unborn, we see God’s gift of human sexuality, naturally oriented toward unselfish love, cheapened and continually used for every kind of self-centered entertainment. It’s not a “pretty picture,” but it is a picture of this world that, we claim, belongs to God this Christmas.

We all can indeed identify with the words of the Prophet Isaiah, that we are a people “walking in darkness

. . . dwelling in a land of gloom.” None of this is said to take the joy out of Christmas, but rather to invite a realistic approach to reaching that joy. Isaiah goes on to say that “those who have walked in darkness have seen a great light . . . and on those who dwell in the land of gloom, a light has shone.”

The darkness can, at times, become so deep and the works of darkness so distracting, that we cannot look up to see the light, a light which Christ has assured us cannot be overcome by darkness in the end. Not only must we pause at Christmas to welcome that light into our own lives anew, but we are called to be that light for our society and, indeed, for the world -- a tough job these days to say the least.

The joys of Christmas, because they are, at their core, so spiritual, cannot be overcome by the darkness, but we must pause and allow Christ, our newborn Savior to bathe us in his marvelous and glorious light.

I read in the newspapers that in different places some stores will remain open until 3 a.m. Christmas morning to enable shoppers to complete their shopping. Those who do so will not be keeping vigil to watch for Christ, our light.

One element of our culture’s darkness, that we must most strongly resist, is to turn Christmas into a break-neck shopping venture -- even into the wee hours of Christmas Day, as our culture would have it. If one were to “take Christ out of Christmas” it makes very little sense to substitute a break-neck shopping venture for His presence. If we believe that He truly is the light who enlightens everyone who comes into this world, then we must slow down before Christmas -- even in the very days before -- and allow ourselves to be bathed in the wonderful light of Christmas.

The true joy of Christmas cannot be found elsewhere than in Christ our light, the only hope which never disappoints.

Please be assured of my sincere prayers for you and all your loved ones, that a blessed and merry Christmas will be yours and that you will enjoy every blessing of health, safety, and, above all, deeper faith in our New Year of the Lord 2011.

Thank you for all that you have been for me and for one another in the Diocese of Madison during this past year. Please, let us ask the Lord’s help in working together so that the Church will grow in the power of Her mission to transform the world by the light of Christ.

Thank you for reading this. God Bless each one of you. Christ is born! Glorify Him!