from the worst to the best on the last
"Children, it is the final hour; just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many such antichrists have appeared. This makes us certain that it is the final hour." —1 John 2:18
On this seventh day of Christmas and last day of the secular year, we celebrate the life of Pope St. Sylvester I. In Germany, they have a wine called "Sylvester wine" because the grapes for this wine are picked on December 31, the feast of St. Sylvester. Because these grapes are picked a few months late, they are shriveled up and have a high sugar content. The wine made from these grapes is expensive because Sylvester wine is highly valued.
In this Christmas octave, on this last day of the year, pick some fruit that should have been picked months or years ago. For example, maybe you have delayed repenting, forgiving, or obeying. Nevertheless, today the Lord in His mercy may be giving you the opportunity to accept what appear to be long-lost graces. The Lord may take up our shriveled lives of disobedience and mercifully use them to make a fine wine.
Jesus is the great Wine-Maker. If He made wine out of water (see Jn 2:7ff), He can surely make wine out of grapes — even grapes which look like raisins. By His mercy, let Jesus turn our sinful procrastinations of 2003 into something precious.
Prayer: Father, may I let You give me the best for last (Jn 2:10).
Promise: "To His own He came, yet His own did not accept Him. Any who did accept Him He empowered to become children of God." —Jn 1:11-12
Praise: Pope St. Sylvester was one of the first non-martyrs to be canonized a saint.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Developing A Deep, Personal Relationship with Jesus on audio AV 52-1 or video V-52.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert A. Stricker, June 23, 2003
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2003