There is nothing I can give you which you have not;
But there is much, very much, that while I cannot give,
You can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow.
Behind it, yet within our Reach is joy.
There is a radiance and glory in the darkness, could we but see,
And to see we have only to look.
I beseech you to look!
Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by the covering,
Cast them away as ugly, or heavy, or hard.
Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor,
Woven of love, by wisdom, with power.
Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel's hand
That brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty
Believe me, that angel's hand is there, the gift is there,
And the wonder of an overshadowing presence.
Our joys, too, be not content with them as joys.
They, too, conceal diviner gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose,
So full of beauty beneath its covering-
That you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.
And so, at this time, I greet you.
Not quite as the world sends greetings,
But with profound esteem
And with the prayer that for you, now and forever,
The day breaks, and all the shadows flee away.
- Fra Giovanni, Christmas Eve, 1513 A.D.