Something that opened heaven for us…

Eyes shine, misted over with tears at the sight of a tiny infant…The infant in question is Jesus, born 2000 years ago, and still present in a handicraft stand at a fair, and in the hearts of those who contemplate him.

A humble little stand, but it drew admiration and astonishment:

  • A young mother paused for a long while gazing at the large Baby Jesus, then she took out her smartphone to show us a photo of her baby. She held it close to the image of Jesus and said, “See, they look alike,” and she left full of joy.   
    In fact, they did look alike.
  • An older man stood for a long time in front of the icons. Then he said, “I’m not a believer, but these icons move me. I’ve always wanted to go to St. Petersburg or Moscow to attend the big Orthodox liturgies and see their icons.”
  • “When I was little my parents bought me one of these Baby Jesus’s. I still have it. Now I want to buy one for my daughter.”
  • A lady stood gazing at the large crib for a long time…Then she looked at us and said, “This St. Joseph has such an extraordinary attitude of simplicity, recollection, availability, humility…It feels overwhelming.”
    She had tears in her eyes and was unable to pull herself away.
  • “When I first got married, I couldn’t have children. I bought a Baby Jesus, I prayed really hard to him, and I had a daughter. Now I’m buying a Baby Jesus for her.”                     
    She was very moved…
  • Once everything was put away, a man who had a stand a little further on came to tell us how happy he was that we were there at the fair. “You provided a Presence, and that’s very important. Something that opened heaven for us…Thank you…”       
    Several of the artisans there came to see us, and it created a camaraderie when we in turn went to admire their handicraft stands!

We have worked many such fairs, but we never experienced such enthusiasm from the people passing by our stand, even though it made such a modest presentation. We have often seen parents at fairs holding their children far back from the stand so they wouldn’t be tempted to ask for anything…Not this time.

At the end of the table L.Sr. Anila was offering to help children who wanted to to make a Baby Jesus or a sheep themselves. It was extremely popular, as much with the parents as with the children. Full of wonder, the children tried their best to make something while the parents looked on in admiration.

  • I asked one little girl named Jade, “Who is Jesus for you?” Answer: “God!” I had nothing to add.
  • Another child asked to make an image of Jesus “older.” I told him, “It’s more difficult.” But he insisted, “It’s for my grandmother.”
  • Mateo told me, “I love Jesus,” and he proceeded to make several of them.

How could we not think of L.Sr. Magdeleine, who never ceased speaking to us about the Baby Jesus and the Crib? “He is what is lacking. If we look at him in this state of littleness, we can’t keep hate in our hearts any more…A little baby changes a home, changes a group of people.” (Letters II, p. 386.)

In our world with so much suffering, torn apart by division and war, it’s a message with more relevance than ever.

Given the feebleness of human means, none of this would have been possible without the help, encouragement, and prayer of many persons, both Little Sisters and friends! Thank you to all for this beautiful “synodal” experience.

L.Srs. Bernadette-Colette and Anila