Saturday 24 December 2016

Grand Master's Christmas Message

For a child has been born for us; a son given to us; authority rests upon His shoulders; and He is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isiah 9:6) 

The message of Christmas is one of hope and confidence amidst the vicissitudes of life.

In the tiny babe born in seemingly uncertain surroundings and in the wider context of a political and military occupation, all is not as it appears on the surface of the Christmas story. God's grace is truly at work for our eternal salvation. A grace that transforms the society and the people on whom it acts, even before it is seen or acknowledged by the world.

Our Christian vocation, and by extension the vocation of our Order, is a means of bringing this unseen grace into the world and into the lives of those who are suffering. Thus being in good standing in one’s faith, responding positively to the Gospel, provides a sure and certain way of bringing God’s goodness to this sometimes troubled world.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” [Mt 2. 2-3]  

Inspiration can be drawn from this journey of faith. Even in the face of change and hardship, to act for good begins to change the world. Through the same spirit which guided the wise men from the East to pay homage, the work and the spirit of the Order of St Lazarus should function in the world.

The goodness we bring to society may or may not be acknowledged but whether it is or is not, we must never tire of trying to renew our vocation of charity, tradition and chivalry. It is this that makes us good Christians and good citizens. The leaven in the dough of the world! A world searching for the good things our values offer.

Our loyalty to Tradition reminds us that in the midst of change and uncertainty, Christ, our unseen captain, will continue to give us the certainty that makes our charity worthwhile, showing God's mercy where it is most needed.

But to do all this, we need to work together, with trust in one another, without rancour or jealousy, following the beatitudes. Like a family who might sometimes have disagreements but whose love for one another never fails. For without this unity and loyalty to one another, our work and our true vocation will not bear the fruit that it should. 

This year has been one of growth for the Order and I greatly rejoiced at all the good things we learnt from one another at the General Chapter at the heart of Christendom in Rome. I thank you all for your contribution to those good things.

I pray that God will bless all our family of St Lazarus in this Christmas season and continue to bring us together in spirit and in truth.

HE Jan Count Dobrzensk├Ż z Dobrzenicz
The Grand Master