Another Visit from St. Nicholas

 Wow! Not one, but two visits from St. Nicholas this year! The good saint must be making extra rounds to cheer people up during this pandemic. 

One evening, as we were gathered at recreation, we heard sleigh bells down the hall! One of the sisters opened the door and in drove St. Nicholas on his motorized chair. (Too much walking, no doubt.) After regaling us with riddles and bad puns, St. Nick and his elfin helper distributed a stocking to each sister. Sorry we didn\’t get a picture this time!

 Among other useful gifts, each sister received a little stuffed toy–a toucan–and a hand-knitted washcloth. 

We had such a good time, groaning at the puns and sharing each other\’s company and opening our stockings. This is a good example of what Jesus meant when He said we should become like little children. Not childish, not naive, but women (and men) mature enough to enjoy the little surprises and joys of life with honest wonder and delight. If we have to remain bored sophisticates all our lives, how will we react to the wonders of Heaven? How will we react to the wonders God does in our fellow men and women every day, even in ourselves? Joy is not dependent on circumstance. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit that God gives to each one of us day by day. It\’s up to us to enter into it!

Help of Christians

St. John Bosco (or Don Bosco) had a great devotion to Mary under the title \”Help of Christians\”. In fact, he had a famous dream about how devotion to Mary and Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament would one day completely prevail over the power of the enemy. 

In the dream, Don Bosco sees two great columns standing side by side in the ocean, with chains and anchors waiting. One column is Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament; the other is Mary Help of Christians. As he watches, he sees a ship representing the Church trying to get to these two columns and there become safely anchored. But they are in grave danger of being defeated by an enormous number of enemy ships, equipped with all kinds of weapons. The Pope is the captain of the ship, and he strains to bring the ship between the columns, encouraging his brothers (priests, bishops, cardinals) not to give up. However, the Pope is seriously wounded. He gets up, but is killed by a second blow. The enemy has a moment of triumph, but they see to their dismay that the Church has elected a new Pope even before news of the former Pope\’s death was known. This new Pope is able to guide the ship safely between the columns and anchor it securely. A number of other, smaller boats join the ship, while the enemies are thrown into confusion, firing on each other, and eventually sinking. Don Bosco interpreted this dream as the attack of secularism on the Church. Although he had this dream in 1862, we can still see that the Church is under attack by the enemies of God. 

The Blessed Mother is celebrated under her title \”Mary, Help of Christians\” on May 24.

Mary, you are our Mother, who is always ready to help us when we are threatened in any way by the powers of evil. It may be something as terrifying as Don Bosco\’s dream, or it may be a seemingly simple desire to tell a \”little white lie\” or shoplift a candy bar. Help us in all things, so that we may one day guide the ships of our own souls in between the saving columns of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and Mary, Help of Christians.