Well, Christmastime is almost over. We’ll have to wait another year for all the decorations and candy canes and radio stations incessantly playing secular Christmas carols. For some reason though, despite the fact that it never once mentions the baby Jesus, you never seem to hear this old classic on the radio anymore…
I don’t know, maybe the programmers have it in their mind that people don’t want to listen to that kind of stuff while they’re out tracking down Furbys and what not. But I don’t believe that. After all, there’s a reason the Salvation Army raises up to 70% of its total annual income during its Christmas kettle campaign. People really don’t mind being reminded to be charitable at this time of year. “Mankind is a great, an immense family. noted Pope John XXIII, “This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.”
That’s why it’s appropriate on this 11th day of Christmas that we honor St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized a saint. Among her achievements was the opening of the first American parish school, the establishment of the first American Catholic orphanage, and the founding of the first American religious community for women, the Sisters of Charity, a branch of the worldwide congregation of women devoted to corporal and spiritual works of mercy. And she did all of that while raising five children alone after her husband went bankrupt and died of tuberculosis.
It’s okay to feel inadequate in comparison, I know I do. But fortunately we don’t have to do it all ourselves these days. According to the list of largest charities as determined by Forbes, if you add up all the groups associated with the Catholic Church (Catholic Charities, Food for the Poor, Catholic Relief Services, St. Jude’s, et al), you’ll find the Church is by far the largest charitable organization not just in the States, but on the planet. So let’s remember to chip in our share to keep it that way throughout the year and maybe this time next year there’ll be a lot less reasons to have a song like The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot.