Christmas with
Fr Colin

7 Day Pre-Christmas reflections with
Fr Jean Claude Colin

This is a excerpt from something that the Vocations committee has been working on to help young men in accompaniment learn our ‘Marist way’.
Tasting God is the ‘first week’ and it could be a helpful way for a Marist to prepare for Christmas with Fr Jean Claude Colin.

It can be prayed on devices online or printed
(There is a downloadable PDF at the bottom of this page)

Day 1 – Tasting God; Colin’s Expression 18 Dec

A Founder Speaks 63:2 (Tasting God)

“If I were in charge, I would try simply to unite them to God, to bring them to a spirit of prayer. When the good Lord dwells in the heart is He who sets everything in motion. Without that, everything that you do is completely useless; no matter how you plant the seed and tire yourself out, the life-giving principle is still lacking. But having once tasted God, a novice will turn to Him again and again. It is a treasure in his soul, something to which he is constantly brought back as to his own centre. There he will love to converse with God.”

Here Father Colin is speaking to the Marist at La Capucienere (Novitiate/Scholasticate in the 1840s) He starts to give us a glimpse of the very heart of his spiritual teaching. “To taste God” is an experience. This moment of grace is significant because it reminds us of God’s goodness and love for us. It’s a personal and intimate encounter that is more than just a feeling, or information we’ve read in a book. So, take the time, be patience, and listen attentively to remind yourself of the moment(s) when God captured your heart. He invites us to be available to Him, putting your fears, concerns and anxieties to the side and allow yourself to be dispositioned by Him.

 Reflection:

Remember the moment(s) you have already tasted God and thank Him for this gift.

PRAYER
God our Father, in your servant Jean-Claude
Colin you gave your people a zealous priest and
religious founder dedicated to serving the
Church in the spirit of Mary.
We ask you for the glorification of your faithful
servant in the midst of your Church and grant us
the favour which we ask through his intercession.
(mention request)
This we ask through Christ Our Lord.

Day 2 – Man’s Capacity for God -19 Dec

CCC 27
The Desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created
by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself.
Only in God will he find truth and happiness he never stops searching for.

“You made us for yourself, O Lord
and our heart is restless until they rest in You.”
 – St Augustine, Confessions

Our desire is what pushes us to achieve something.
It’s important to ask ourselves, what do I really want?
But some desires are disordered and some are life-fulfilling.
If our soul is searching for true completion, where would we find it?
God is inviting you to look for Him in your own personal way.

Reflection:
Ask yourself “What do I really want?”
Perhaps “Who do I really want?”
Pray for an increase in grace and that faith and the courage to cooperate with it.

PRAYER
God our Father, in your servant Jean-Claude
Colin you gave your people a zealous priest and
religious founder dedicated to serving the
Church in the spirit of Mary.
We ask you for the glorification of your faithful
servant in the midst of your Church and grant us
the favour which we ask through his intercession.
(mention request)
This we ask through Christ Our Lord.

Day 3 – The Ardent Longing for God -20 Dec

Psalm 63
“O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory.
For your love is better than life, my lips will speak your praise.
So I will bless you all my life, in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,
my mouth shall praise you with joy.
On my bed I remember you.
On you I muse through the night for you have been my help;
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
My soul clings to you; your right hand holds me fast.”

Psalm 63 is the first psalm that we pray on the first Sunday of the psalter
and every morning on major feast days. There’s no doubting why this
particular psalm is repeated so frequently in our liturgical calendar.
It is a rich and powerful psalm to reflect on because it expresses the
intimate relationship between God and the worshiper.
It contains powerful and striking symbolism that intertwines
these physical actions to a way of expressing the pursuit in the spiritual life.
Prayer isn’t a monologue but a relationship learning to long for,
yearn for, thirst and hunger for Him.

Reflection:
Reflect on the verbs (to long for, to thirst, to gaze, etc) and imagery
throughout this psalm, what does it mean and how can this be your prayer.

PRAYER
God our Father, in your servant Jean-Claude
Colin you gave your people a zealous priest and
religious founder dedicated to serving the
Church in the spirit of Mary.
We ask you for the glorification of your faithful
servant in the midst of your Church and grant us
the favour which we ask through his intercession.
(mention request)
This we ask through Christ Our Lord.

Day 4 – God’s Plan -21 Dec

Jeremiah 1:5-10
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I
dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. “Ah, Lord God!”
I said, “I do not know how to speak. I am too young!”
But the Lord answered me, do not say, “I am too young.”
To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you,
you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you – oracle of the Lord.
The Lord extended his hand and touched my mouth, saying to me,
See I place my words in your mouth! Today I appoint you over nations
and over kingdoms, to uproot and to tear down,
to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant.”

St Irenaeus once said, “God’s desire for man is to be fully alive.” Many of us resist the call of God. We can think to ourselves that we are not good enough or scared of the unknown. However, God knew us deeply and intimately. It’s a knowledge that is that of total love and purpose filled. He chose us personally like He did with Jeremiah. He knows our weaknesses and limitations, even our doubts holding us back. Yet, He also knows our strengths and capabilities to overcome what might discourage us from being fully alive.

Reflection:
What are my weaknesses and limitations holding me back but also my strengths and capabilities helping me to live “Fully Alive”?

PRAYER
God our Father, in your servant Jean-Claude
Colin you gave your people a zealous priest and
religious founder dedicated to serving the
Church in the spirit of Mary.
We ask you for the glorification of your faithful
servant in the midst of your Church and grant us
the favour which we ask through his intercession.
(mention request)
This we ask through Christ Our Lord.

Day 5 – Who is Jesus Christ? -22 Dec

Matthew 16:15-16
“But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah the Son of the living God.”
 A Founder Speaks 52 (There is still hope)
“A young man who used to come to confession to Father Colin, and who was no longer a child, was constantly falling back into bad habits which he could not shake off, despite all Father Colin’s efforts. ‘Ah, my son,’ Father Colin said to him one day, ‘that will not do.’ ‘Father, I can see that;’ said the young man, ‘do you think there may still be hope?’ – ‘My son, what are you saying? Yes of course, there is still hope. If you want to, you will shake off your habit. God has great plans for you.’ ‘Could that be true?’ asked the young man, surprised. To this question, which was as it were a first cry of hope, Father Colin replied will all the kindness and encouragement of a good father, adding in a tone of conviction. ‘Yes, I tell you, and you must remember it: God will do great things through you.’ The young man seemed to emerge as from a deep sleep and said to him, ‘Well then, I do wish it.’ From that moment no one recognized him anymore; he changed completely.

Reflection:
Jesus comes to change us. There are major eureka moments that we have, but there is also the daily acknowledgement of our need for God and allowing his grace to change us.

PRAYER
God our Father, in your servant Jean-Claude
Colin you gave your people a zealous priest and
religious founder dedicated to serving the
Church in the spirit of Mary.
We ask you for the glorification of your faithful
servant in the midst of your Church and grant us
the favour which we ask through his intercession.
(mention request)
This we ask through Christ Our Lord.

Day 6 – Heavy Burdens -23 Dec

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

“See, my children, to receive the Sacrament of [Confession], we need three things: faith, which reveals to us the presence of God in the priest; hope, which enables us to believe that God will give us His pardon; charity, which makes us love God and fills our heart with regret for having displeased Him.” – Saint John Vianney

The Cure of Ars, Saint John Vianney, was a close companion to the early Marists. In this quote, he clearly shows the virtues we need in preparation for this sacrament. Sometimes, we might feel that confession is painful or humiliating but we must remind ourselves that this is a conversation with Jesus. This sacrament was entrusted to the church for our healing to be in right relationship with God. It allows Him to carry that heavy yoke of sin that you are carrying and instead give the gentle yoke He has prepared for you. Hear the words “Come to me” and talk to Jesus in the confessional.

Reflection:
When was that last time you have been to the sacrament of confession? Is it time for you to go again?

NOVENA PRAYER
God our Father, in your servant Jean-Claude
Colin you gave your people a zealous priest and
religious founder dedicated to serving the
Church in the spirit of Mary.
We ask you for the glorification of your faithful
servant in the midst of your Church and grant us
the favour which we ask through his intercession.
(mention request)
This we ask through Christ Our Lord.

Day 7 – Self-Abandonment -24 Dec

A Founder Speaks 9:3 (Points on Prayer)
“Just be content with a sense of faith… not a sense, but rather the knowledge that faith gives you, the knowledge that God sees you. Go, walk in this certainty of faith and you will become strong.”

“The love-story between God and man consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God’s will increasingly coincide: God’s will is no longer for me an alien will, something imposed on me from without by the commandments, but it is now my own will, based on the realization that God is in fact more deeply present to me than I am to myself. Then self-abandonment to God increases and God becomes our joy.” –
Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est

This week, we have been reflecting on what it means to ‘Taste God’ and how God’s infinite love is so personal, and purpose filled. The affirmation of our identity and mission as Marists comes from this relationship built on faith and trust. We might have thought that God’s plan for us is crazy and unobtainable, but in fact, it is totally good and will allow us to be fully alive. As we continue to taste God and constantly return to Him, suddenly will start to hear ourselves saying ‘what I want is what God wants.’

Reflection:
Remember the moment(s) you have already tasted God and thank Him how good it was.

NOVENA PRAYER
God our Father, in your servant Jean-Claude
Colin you gave your people a zealous priest and
religious founder dedicated to serving the
Church in the spirit of Mary.
We ask you for the glorification of your faithful
servant in the midst of your Church and grant us
the favour which we ask through his intercession.
(mention request)
This we ask through Christ Our Lord.

Thank you to Hayden Powick and Joseph Mijares
for their contribution