Prayer for the Marginal in Society
December 22, 1996
Brother John Raymond
St. Joseph was a carpenter. In the eyes of his contemporaries
such work would not be something to brag about, neither would the
pay. Poor Mary and Joseph making their way to Bethlehem for the
census commanded by Ceasar hardly would be noticed among the
travellers on the road. A horse was a sign of power and authority.
Mary was seated on a donkey.
Upon arrival in Bethlehem this meek and humble couple were
rejected by the inns they inquired at for lodging. There was no room
for them. Perhaps, even in those days, a little extra money could
have made room. Apparently an expectant mother was not a good enough
reason for the inn keeper to make an exception. So Mary and Joseph
ended up in a cave. The Son of God Who became man in order to save
all was born in a cave. Their world saw no value in this poor couple
or in their Child. Abandoned at birth He would be abandoned in
death. Not long after His birth Herod would seek Jesus' death. Has
the world changed? No, not very much. Babies in the womb are killed
because they are an inconvenience. The inn is full. The child isn't
important__so some people think.
Our society judges people based on their usefulness. Children in
the womb, the elderly, the sick and the mentally-handicapped or
physically-handicapped are a burden to society, some say. Why keep
them around? Some have said this about monks.
In the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts lives Audrey Santo.
She has been in a coma for nearly a decade. At three years old she
fell into the family swimming pool and was found floating face down.
She was rushed to the hospital. After some time there the parents
were advised to put their daughter in an institution. The mother
refused. Audrey was coming home! The family and some visiting nurses
all pitched in to take care of the little girl. This was no easy
task. Audrey's mother was allowed to have the Blessed Sacrament in a
tabernacle in Audrey's room. Priests and even the retired bishop of
Worcester, Bernard Flanagan came to celebrate Holy Mass there.
Audrey's swimming accident had been well publicized in the
newspapers and the media followed her progress. People came to see
her and pray at her bedside.
Many would say that a life like Audrey's is not worth living. But
the decade of her comatose life has been filled with many blessings
both for her family, the diocese and people from all over the world.
Unexplainably, this bedridden child has been surrounded by reported
miracles and mystical phenomena. Although Audrey is unable to speak
or move, these mysterious events have drawn thousands of visitors to
her home. The family garage had to be turned into a chapel to
accomodate them. ("Audrey's Life: Voice of a Silent Soul," $24.95 +
$1.50 S&H, is an excellent video for those interested in learning
about this amazing child. To order: The Monks of Adoration,
2241 Englewood Road, Englewood, FL 34223.)
Christmas is about those like Audrey. It is about those who are
identified with Jesus in His abandonment and helplessness. This
Christmas, why not do something different? Visit or open up your
home to these people and you will be welcoming the Baby Jesus in
Father, we look forward to Christmas day when we will be filled
with new light by the coming of Your Word among us. May the light of
faith shine in our words and actions. May we welcome Your Son in
those around us, especially in the helpless, poor, abandoned and
outcasts of our society. Bring our country and the world to an ever
greater awareness of the value of human life. We ask You to grant
this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns
with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.