Come Dance with Me

You might ask me: “What in tarnation makes you think: ‘you are God’s gift to the world?’” Well, I’ll tell you. Actually, no, I’ll let Aimee Mullins do that with her inspiring October 2009 TEDMED Talk: The opportunity of adversity.

If you take the time to listen to Aimee’s talk above I’d bet you’ll realize that Aimee is not the only gift God has given the world. We are all God’s gift to the world. Aimee ends her talk with the following poem from a fourteenth century Persian poet.

“Every child has known God,
not the God of names,
not the God of don’ts,
but the God who only knows four words
and keeps repeating them, saying,
‘Come dance with me.
Come, dance with me.
Come, dance with me.'”

(Hafiz)

I think it’s time to tell the real story of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, those characters we hear about from the evangelists. They probably did not have the hindsight that the gospel writers had. They probably wondered why they were given the adversities they experienced, a child being born out of wedlock in a world that believed the woman in such a situation should rightfully be stoned. And they were afraid. Why else would we keep hearing the words: “Be not afraid.”

So, it’s not even Christmas and I’ve received the gift, the gift of life, the very particular gift of who I am with all my frailties, talents and fears. Like Mary I can say yes to these and in turn give that gift back to the world, a world so in need of what I have to offer, myself—yourself.

Merry Christmas!

Dan O'Donnell
Dan O’Donnell

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey

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Morning Thoughts: Little Drummer Boys and Girls

From my good friend, Fr. Victor Hoagland, enjoy!

The Victor's Place

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Yesterday I witnessed a “dress” rehearsal for a live nativity. The cast was made up of first and second graders, and the audience was mostly composed of residents of a retirement home for religious sisters, Franciscans. It was spectacular.

Last week I was at Radio City Music Hall to watch the Rockettes in their “Christmas Spectacular”. It was quite a production.

Sitting in the dark this morning I cannot help but contrast the two.

I also cannot help but relate to the seven-year old who played the part of The Little Drummer Boy.

As that child walked so slowly toward the foot of the altar, where the rehearsal was being staged, I saw my vocation in an entirely different light.

The children were all singing their hearts out, and many of the eighty and ninety year-old sisters were mouthing the words. The boy with the drum didn’t utter a sound. He just kept walking, slowly, extremely…

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Memories of Christmas and It’s History

Following dinner and a day of dusting the blinds scouring every nook and helping mom prepare the canapés that were popular in the ’50 for the company on Christmas Eve, we were told to go upstairs to see what Santa had brought us. All excited, I’d run to the bedroom I shared with my four brothers, only to find a new pair of corduroys and a shirt. Those weren’t items I put on my imaginary list to Santa. The night wasn’t over though, so I donned the new clothes and hoped for better things to come.

Soon, the aunts, uncles and cousins starter showing up ‘til the house was filled with people who were becoming more and more familiar to me. I especially liked to see grandpa who would magically make pennies appear from quarters. We got to keep the pennies, and the dollar that came in a bank envelope with our name on it. When the evening was over, we’d go down the street to Immaculate Conception Church for Midnight Mass.

Today, I’m looking forward to our cousins party this coming Friday. I know all forty-five of my first cousins, many of whom will be there, but their children and now their grandchildren, throw me into a dither trying to remember who’s who. On Christmas Eve, my brothers and their families will gather at my niece’s, share some food, reminisce and once again, I’ll head back into town to attend Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s in downtown Chicago.

This Christmas business comes at just the right time of year. The long dark, cold nights and overcast days of December make me long for Spring even knowing that here in Chicago, that’s often not much better weather-wise. As a child I was taught that Christmas was all about the birth of Jesus in a stable at Bethlehem bringing God to life in our midst, our Emmanuel. Today, I appreciate that story, but understand why earlier Christians chose this time of year to remember our roots. It’s a holy day and a holiday, a holiday that started in pagan Rome and… well I’ll let the History Channel tell you all about it in their Real Story of Christmas… My hope, is that no matter what your religious beliefs, you’ll find much joy and peace at this festive time of year. Happy Holidays

Dan O'Donnell
Dan O’Donnell

Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey