Advent Message of Mons. Ladislaus Szakál, Chaplain of His Holiness, Magisterial Chaplain of the Knights of Malta (KMFAP) – 2020
Dear Dames and Esteemed Knights,

we used to say that Christmas is primarily for children and it is our mission as adults to make the togetherness in our families beautiful and intimate for them by our peaceful presence along with the gifts. I know that you will not only experience the joy of gift-giving love in your families, because with many beautiful greetings, good wishes, and beneficial love donations you will make Christmas memorable for so many people.

We are pleased to see that the Feast of Love can forge our celebrating communities all around the world, but since Christmas is a religious holiday, we must not forget its intention to bring us together primarily with God.

According to a charming legend, at the birth of Jesus, the shepherds came to His manger in the cave with various gifts. Each of them took with him what he had: one the results of his work, the other something valuable. But there was a shepherd among them who could offer nothing because of his poverty. As the others competed to show off their gifts, he was left behind in shame. After a while, however, the Virgin Mary, holding the baby in her hands was tired of receiving donations, addressed and asked the empty-handed shepherd to hold her child for a while. He was touched while taking the Little One and was so happy to see that his empty hands had now become the cradle of the Son of God. I wish this Christmas, in the great family of mankind, we would pay more attention to the gift that God is giving us and all people would recognize that God is not just a remote reality, but an all-kind Father who has entered our history through His Son, who was born according to flesh.

Theology says that the incarnation represents a new age not only in the lives of those who believe in Christ, but also in those who know nothing of Him, or even in those who have not yet recognized the Saviour in Him. For the new age lies in the fact that God in Jesus Christ not only redeemed believers, but through Him everyone can be saved.

The dogmatic constitution of the Second Vatican Council, starting with Lumen gentium, explains that as “Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. For what is good and true in men, they see as a preparation for the Gospel, a gift of the Church and of God. For God, without exception, enlightens every single person to have a full life.”

I wish Christians to experience the time of the Lord’s Coming in love with all people of good will and to feel a more intense desire in this year’s Advent to begin a new life in Christ. According to the ancient belief of the Church, the purpose of the celebration of Christmas is precisely the rebirth in grace, for Christ was born in vain in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, if He is not born in our hearts.

Our prayers and Advent silences help us to experience the closeness of God in the depths of our souls, to have the Lord’s peace settled in our hearts, and to enable us to forward the peace message of Christmas to others. Pope Francis refers to just this while stating: “Go to the periphery, among those who are waiting for your love. Notice those who were born as human as you, and who have the same right to human dignity, the warmth of home, the taste of Christmas holiday food as you do.”

God grant that we could give others at least a tiny piece of the love that touches our hearts.
While embracing all the Dames and Knights in friendly love, I remain with great respect and grateful love,

Monsignor Ladislaus Joannes Szakál
Chaplain of His Holiness
Magisterial Chaplain of the Knights of Malta (KMFAP)

15th December 2020