To the children and young adults of the Hennessey tribe,
Every year at this time I hear friends or folks at work complaining about their family gatherings. It seems that very few families, if any, are exempt from some type of estrangement within their ranks. I consider myself very blessed to have a family that truly does love one another. I pray that each of you develop a deep appreciation for the blessings you have in your siblings and in-laws. God has chosen us to be the members of this special domestic church, and it’s our obligation to be a light for the world and salt for the earth.
Early in his ministry, Fr. Al used to say that 50% of life’s problems were caused by a lack of forgiveness. Toward the end of his ministry, he said that failing to forgive caused at least 99% of our problems. . . I believe his later opinion was correct. When we are humble and quick to forgive the faults and failings of others we bring Christ into the lives of those who offend us. The whole reason for this season and Christ coming into the world was for the forgiveness of sins.
I wrote this poem because folks are always wondering what to get me for Christmas, and there really is not much that I need. But the greatest gift I could imagine would be the gift of a strong Catholic faith, a humble spirit, and a steadfast love for God and neighbor, in every member of my family.
A Gift For Me
The greatest Christmas gift for me
Cannot be found beneath the tree.
No bow surround, nor box contain
What I desire to obtain.
Not snow about on Christmas day
Nor some new toy with which to play
The gift so great that I describe
Is from the members of this tribe.
The gift of all in one accord
Committed to our faithful Lord
In chastity and love divine
Held firmly to the living Vine.
I look around and see such pain
From grasping after greedy gain
And unforgiving hearts are rent
In those refusing to repent.
No job is this for faint of heart,
For those who see and then depart,
That work is needed in this place
Refusing sanctifying grace.
It’s work for me and work for you
To show His love in all we do.
And grant forgiveness to them all
For their offenses great and small.
But this is what I ask of thee
Instead of presents under tree.
A humble spirit, soul, and mind
The Christmas gift I hope to find.
In every single child of mine
On every branch upon this vine.
A firm attachment to the Root,
Then you will bear abundant fruit.