The word INCARNATION might not be too well-known and understood by all but the statement THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH has no doubt been heard many times. But how well is it understood? The truth is that they mean the same thing:  Jesus became man, Jesus, the Son of God, the 2nd person of the Blessed Trinity, became one of us.  Why this came about has been debated and reflected on for the last 2000 years by theologians and simple family people and yet it still remains a mystery. The only real answer is GOD’S LOVE.  So we ask, why would God, the Almighty, choose to become a humble creature, and live here on earth among all that he has created?  St Francis, 800 years ago, a small man, but a giant figure, a saint for all seasons, gives us many clues in his life, his passionate love of God, his loving, devoted ministry to the poor, the marginalized and all of creation. His words and his songs of praise, attribute everything to the glory of God.  As patron saint of ecology, nature and of poverty he teaches us by his example, his life and his legacy.  So too does St Clare his beloved friend and close companion. At this time of the year we revisit the story of the Christmas crib at Greccio in 1223  when LOVE CAME DOWN AT CHRISTMASTIME.   fFor more Advent practices go to Family Advent and Christmas practices https://marfam.org.za/2022/11/26/4596/

Pope Francis uses much of the thinking of St Francis in his ministry and in his writing to the Church and the world, in particular his recent encyclicals LAUDATO SI’ and FRATELLI TUTTI.   In LAUDATO SI’  he reminds us repeatedly to be conscious of the world around us, the harm we have caused, how climate change has resulted in violent storms, floods, droughts, loss of plant and animal species and increasing poverty.  All aspects of creation and CARE OF OUR COMMON HOME are our responsibility.  In FRATELLI TUTTI he speaks more of human relationships and of social friendship.  The 2022 MARFAM Family theme is “Our World, a Family of Families” and the December focus is “Family Hope for the Future.”  After a difficult year with many economic woes, we look forward to the feast of the Incarnation as we reflect on creation and on family. 

1st SUNDAY OF ADVENT A, November 27.   When little Michelle asked her mom, “Did St Francis really see the baby Jesus on that Christmas night so very long ago?”  she was talking about the Incarnation, or as we often say, “The Word was made flesh.’   We don’t use that kind of churchy, theological language when we talk to one another at home but that is our belief. Our life of faith in God is lived every single day, but in a more special way in the days leading up to Christmas and at Christmastime with Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Michelle, then said to her mom, “That must have been amazing, like a miracle.  Nearly like when I wake up on Christmas morning and find that baby Jesus has arrived in our crib.”  Michelle’s mom told her, “St Francis really saw Jesus in the crib and also in everyone and everything.  We’re going to try to follow St Francis and look for Jesus too this Advent as we get ready for Christmas,” with our ideal of OUR WORLD, A FAMILY OF FAMILIES.

Scripture: At that time Jesus said to his disciples: ”You must also be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matthew 24:37-44. Pope Francis:  Saint Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically.  He was particularly concerned for God’s creation and for the poor and the outcast.  He loved all God’s creatures and was deeply loved for his joy. He lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God. LS 10For Reflection and Sharing. As family members share what you already know about St Francis and how he can relate to our lives today.  ‘ For the sake of the house of the Lord, our God, I will seek good things for you.: