(the sacred space is filled with soft toys scattered around)
Scattered in this space are the detritus of life, discarded toys, relics of past times, long forgotton memories.
take a toy
hold it to yourself
comfort it, as if rather than simple cloth, it is flesh and blood, warm, wriggling
you may never have done this to a child, or it may be second nature
As you embrace the toy, imagine that you yourself are in those arms
That you are held, comforted, reassured.
She held him. Just as every mother has ever held a child.
She held him close in a dark and damp cave, amid the smells of cattle and donkey, because there was no room elsewhere
She held him on a hurried journey in the middle of the night to flee the implending slaughter of innocents, to become a refugee in fear and poverty
She held him and comforted him, when the thunder gave him fright or the shadows lept and prevented sleep
She rocked him and held him as in contentment and security he drifted off to sleep.
He knew what it was to receive love and would grow to show that love to others.
In the arms of Our Blesséd Mother Mary, lies the Christ-child, lies you.
The God that stepped into this world, who became flesh like you, shares that common bond with you… and you lie cradled together in Our Lady’s arms.
You are loved. You are nurtured. As you cradle this toy, imagine you are cradled, alongside the Christ whose calling is to firstly be nurtured and then to nurture the whole world in love, in compassion, in sacrifice.
If that is his calling, then are we not called also? Are we not also called to love, to compassion and yes, even to sacrifice for the whole world. Are we not called to care? Are we not called to preserve and to heal?
In your arms lies broken relationships and hurt, the fears and anxieties of ourselves and of others, the needs of those we love, and the needs of those we do not know. In your arms lie the capacity to nurture as you have been nurtured.
Unlike a child, this toy can be discarded. Returned to the floor and forgotton. Your call to nurture this world, cannot be thrown away so lightly.
You will be sent out from this place empowered by God’s holy and life-giving sacraments, and that power will be in your arms to heal and to care.
Embrace life. Return the embrace that God gives you.
Embrace Life, and change the world.