Dear family and friends,
I know the stories I share, from my experiences with poverty, are never easy to read, but they do give important lessons about life and faith.
This story has a difficult beginning but a wonderful ending, and has a good Christmas message.
Just three weeks ago, when advent was young, I was coming back from burying the dead, when Kenson called in a panic.
He had found a woman unconscious on the street, in front of our kindergarten school, and needed help as to where to take her.
She had a bloody injury to the back of her head, and was in a coma.
Everything went wrong with what we tried to do.
The two best places for her condition could not receive her, and the CT Scan at St Luke Hospital, where she finally was admitted, was not working.
So we could not assess the damage to her brain.
We had no idea who she was, what happened to her, or how to find her family.
A few hours later, the kindergarten principal called, because the mother of two children (3 year old Jean, and 5 year old Sara), never came to get them. We called the phone numbers on file, and so discovered this injured woman’s family, and that her name was Margaret.
I had three ideas as to what might have happened:
1 Margaret was walking to the school alone, and thieves came out of the brush to attack and rob her.
2. A huge work truck came by with large side mirrors, which struck her on the back of the head as she was walking.
3. Margaret had a stroke from very high blood pressure (very common here), and hurt her head as she fell to the ground.
Her children had only one idea: mom never came to get them, mom was gone, they cry for mom.
The second and third weeks of advent passed.
They were excruciating for all of us, as we waited in hope.
As the days went by, Margaret lay nearly lifeless. Then Margaret started getting restless in her bed, moving arms and legs. Then Margaret started to open here eyes in unawareness. Then Margaret would look around, dazed and groggy.
Her opened eyes, in fact, opened the way for us to give her the best possible medicine: her two children.
Jean and Sara were ushered in, gazing wide-eyed, in confusion and fear, at a woman they thought was their mother, and Margaret was gazing back at them, in confusion and fear, at two children she started to think maybe were her own.
We held our breaths.
Margaret focused, and wobbled, her mind raced and searched, her lips trembled, she reached our her arms for them, and then, she remembered.
A mother’s love remembered her children, and then she remembered everything else. And they went home.
Margaret later explained what happened.
She was walking alone, had nearly arrived at the school, and two thieves came out of the bushes, struck her head with a rock, and she fell to the ground.
Our whole human race was similarly struck, very long ago, in the story of Adam and Eve, by a villain who did not use a rock, but an apple.
The intent was fully evil, and the consequence was that we bear a deep, original, bloody wound in our souls, and have fallen into a sleep of forgetfulness.
We don’t remember who we are, where we are going, why we are alive.
We do not all recognize the people around us, as brothers and sisters to us.
We stare at them with confusion and fear, which then become fanaticism and war.
We don't seem to know what is true and what is false, what is good and what is bad, or how to get out of the quagmire that is so dangerous for our race and for the planet.
Our eyes are dazed as we read the daily news, and watch what happens in our neighborhoods and cities, to our children and to our earth.
And then, on December 25th, the scriptures place before our dazed eyes, the best possible medicine.
If we look at Him, in wonder and adoration, we will start to remember, slowly and deeply.
We look at him.
Through his person, only once, and uniquely humanity and Divinity walk together in absolute oneness.
We remember his name, as Isaiah the prophet taught us:
"Wonderful! Counsellor! Mighty God! Everlasting Father! Prince of Peace!"
We start to remember:
Who we are
Why we are here
Who God is
We remember The enormous dignity of ourselves and of all people, the absolute wonder of our planet and universe, and the work carved out for us to do together.
Through His light we remember that even though we ourselves are not fully like him we are only human.
Divinity will work through us and live is us whenever we choose do be guided by the best angels of our nature.
The purpose of the many religions on the earth that have spanned millennia is to awaken within us the deep mystical music which unites the human family and lifts our lives to fullness and happiness and to God.
The sweet music that helps us to remember everything.
Let’s thank God, that after such a tragedy, Margaret, Jean and Sara can joyfully celebrate Christmas together.
Let’s thank God that as we receive the light of grace, and look in meditative wonder at this tiny child that we will see this clearly:
Peace on earth and good will toward all people is fully possible
Let us remember all those on our planet, for whom this is not even remotely true, yet
Most of all, let's multiply our efforts to make these Christmas promises real for all people.
The urgency to do this alarmingly evident.
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Many blessings! Much thanks!
Fr Rick Frechette CP DO
Port au Prince, Haiti
December 24, 2017