A Blessed Advent to You

It’s all about the kids, isn’t it?

That dawned on me over the Thanksgiving weekend, when I was back in St. Louis with my family.

Besides eating . . . which I obviously relished – - and sleeping, we spent most of our time just enjoying the kids!  There we sat, passing one little one to another, cooing, talking baby-talk, or laughing as the kids would do something new.

My nieces are mostly grown-up, and now the married ones are having babies!  So we’ve got five of them, four and under, with two on the way.  All we adults seem to do is get ready for them to arrive, wait for them, play with them, hold them, change them, feed them, get their coats back on, and tell them good-bye.  Then we can’t wait for the next time we see them.

Those babies, those kids, are the center of our lives.

Which, of course, is the way it should be!  Anthropologists, researching primitive cultures, tell us that they were centered on the protection and nurturing of babies, until the young grow up to have their own.  Not “primitive” at all, is it?  Rather “advanced”, I’d say.

I remember the old Ben Casey, M.D., TV series, which began each week, “Man-woman-birth-death-infinity.”

A culture not centered on babies and children becomes narcissistic, and soon, extinct.

Sociologists tell us, for instance, that Europe is in a “demographic winter,” since more people are dying than being born.

And I’m afraid we’re not far behind!

Babies not only insure survival but selflessness.  When a husband and wife become a father and mother, their very lives are changed:  All is now about their baby, not themselves.

And, as Blessed John Paul II reminded us, the greatest gift one can give a child is a brother or a sister.

We men are created to become husbands and fathers; women to become wives and mothers.

True, it doesn’t always happen.  Some can’t be; some (like the author) choose not to be.  But, all of us would like to be!  That drive is sacred, noble, natural, good.  Those of us who can’t be or choose not to be usually become doting aunts, uncles, and godparents!

A culture, a society, a country, that does not protect marriage, the baby, and the family, is dying.

Now we’re in Advent.  We await the baby Jesus.

All of history is dated either before or after the birth of this baby.

All existence centers on a pregnant woman, and her baby, who is our Savior.

This baby is intended to be the center of our lives.

A blessed Advent!

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6 Responses to “A Blessed Advent to You”

  1. Collins Adutwum says:

    Very excellent. It offers a clear image of how the truth is to be proclaimed as the Church embarks on the journey of New Evangelization. Thanks to God for your wisdom and to you Cardinal for allowing that wisdom to work through you. Blessed Advent!

  2. John D says:

    How true. The sooner people realize it is not about them but especially about children we will be in a better place.

  3. Mikey says:

    I wish the church understood that “kids” should extend to high school and college aged too. The church has forsaken the 18 to 30 crowd. It’s a tragedy.

  4. Denis O'Hare says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan –

    I think you know my cousin, Fr. Mike Penn – he often speaks of working with you.
    Anyway, was doing some research on Ecclesiastes when I came across your Advent message.
    Just wanted to relay to you my joy at becoming a father recently. My husband (Yes, I’m gay and legally married) adopted a boy from foster care – his mother is a crack addict and our boy is her 10th child. Becoming a parent has been an incredible gift and we are now going to adopt a second child in need so that our boy can have a sibing. What I have learned from all this is that anyone can produce a child (i.e. my boy’s birth mother) but not everyone is a parent.

    Respectfully,

    Denis O’Hare
    Fort Greene, Brooklyn

  5. Lynn says:

    Denis O’Hare –

    I pray and hope love and stability come to the adopted children in your life. Another great article to read on what God has defined as a family is found via http://blog.adw.org/2012/11/getting-the-marriage-conversation-right/.

    God bless you always!

  6. Jessica says:

    I love this reflection. Thank you Cardinal Dolan.