Our Lady's Juggler
One special night, a young monk-in-training discovers the deep meaning of 'invisible gifts.'
Reprinted with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
A medieval legend tells us that in the country we know today as Austria the Burkhard family – a man, a woman and a child – used to amuse people at Christmas parties by reciting poetry, singing ancient troubadour ballads, and juggling. Of course, there was never any money left over to buy presents, but the man always told his son:
“Do you know why Santa Claus’s bag never gets empty, although there are so many children in the world? Because it may be full of toys, but sometimes there are more important things to be delivered, what we call “invisible gifts.” In a broken home, he tries to bring harmony and peace on the holiest night in Christianity. Where love is lacking, he deposits a seed of faith in children’s hearts. Where the future seems black and uncertain, he brings hope. In our case, the day after Father Christmas comes to visit us, we are happy to be still alive and doing our work, which is to make people happy. Never forget that.”
Time passed, the boy grew up, and one day the family passed in front of the impressive Melk Abbey, which had just been built.
“Father, do you remember many years ago you told me the story of Santa Claus and his invisible gifts? I think that I received one of those gifts once: the vocation to become a priest. Would you mind if now I took my first step towards what I have always dreamed of?”
Although they really needed their son’s company, the family understood and respected the boy’s wish. They knocked at the door of the monastery and were given a loving, generous welcome by the monks, who accepted the young Buckhard as a novice.
Christmas Eve came around. And precisely on that day, a special miracle happened in Melk: Our Lady, carrying the baby Jesus in her arms, decided to descend to Earth to visit the monastery.