The feast of St. Nicholas.
Yesterday I was behind three old men in the checkout line who were from the Netherlands. I wished them a happy St. Nicholas Day. They laughed and said, "That's for children!" I chuckled and said, "I know! But I'm old and I still celebrate him!" For me it was a special visit from St. Nicholas.
Today I pray for all children and those who are like them.
Especially those children who suffer abuse and neglect.
The Holy Bishop of Myra is especially venerated as the patron of children. Devotion to him ought to be increased these days as children are abducted and exploited through human trafficking and slavery - victims of forced labor and sexual exploitation. While others are killed in the womb, and in some cases after live birth... yet many more endure intolerable and abusive childhoods without proper parenting, without faith or hope. Never forget the children of divorce, or same sex couples, as well as children of benign neglect - often left alone by a single parent or grandparent, struggling to make ends meet. Of course there are children suffering from poverty and hunger throughout the world, yet there is that deeper poverty of living in an immoral household, be it prostitution, substance abuse, or illegal activity - again, without faith or hope.
St. Nicholas, pray for us.
O champion wonderworker and splendid servant of Christ,
thou who pourest out for all the world
the most precious myrrh of mercy
and who art an inexhaustible sea of miracles,
we praise thee with love, Saint Nicholas.
Since thou art one having boldness toward the Lord,
from all dangers do thou deliver us,
so that we may cry unto thee:
Rejoice, Saint Nicholas, Great Wonderworker.