I haven't written a post in this blog since last April when Pope Benedict XVI decided to step down and the conclave had started. Many were surprised at Pope Francis election, he has since demonstrated his very Christ-like imitation in his service to the poor and outcasts of society. He has called on all Christians to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ and identifies evangelization as the center of the Church's concern. I am fond of Pope Francis and see his work not in a radically different direction but rather a synthesis of the philosophy of Pope John Paul II, the theology of Pope Benedict XVI. It is in knowing God, through reason and expounding on his mysteries that we encounter Jesus Christ, who then "lives within us." The title of the post "Silent Night" has for me several different themes: the song itself evokes the wonder, and awe and splendor of a silent night, when God mysteriously enters, yes Christmas is getting near, but I think we should focus on that cold, silent and still night and what is about to happen, why it is about to happen, and why it happened to you and me, focus on it on a very personal level. The other theme of Silent Night is the silence of a world that has shut the door on God. A world that is super materialistic, self absorbed, shallow and superficial. A silent night where church pews are empty, where immorality, violence and sensual pleasure take precedence. A silent night where the pursuit of power and money leaves no room for charity and even less room for God. Yet another theme is the silent night for those living in poverty, the voices that fall silent to the world. Finally, there is a silent night, one that at times is dreadful, as we make our spiritual journey realizing how great sinners we are. The night is still and dark as we await the only real hope we have. We need as Jesus tells us" to stay awake," to hang in there, to turn away from evil, immorality, and turn towards good, findind a place to prepare in our heart for Christ the Savior.