By Alyssa Bormes



Moreover the LORD declares to you
that the LORD will make you a house.
~ 2 Samuel 7:11b

Today’s Mass Readings

I called my mom, crying. She said the loving mom thing, “I can’t understand you; you’re crying too hard.” Attempting to control my crying, I said, “I can’t go; it’s too much; I don’t deserve it.” 

It was Christmas Eve. I was in Rome and had a ticket to Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica with Pope John Paul II. 

Deserving It

I remembered my childhood watching Mass from St. Peter on TV with my grandparents. It’s a favorite memory. Also, Christmas was my grandmother’s birthday. She and my grandfather belonged in Rome at Mass with the Holy Father, not me.

My father lived in Italy for six months but could never go to Midnight Mass with the Pope. Wouldn’t it be better for him to be there?

Really—everyone who came to my mind was more deserving than me to be at this most holy Mass at this most holy site.

I told my mom these things. 

Then my mother said the next mom thing, which meant pull yourself up by your bootstraps, but it sounded like this. “Of course, everyone you mentioned would have loved to have been at Midnight Mass at St. Peter with the Pope, but you were the one chosen to do so. Alyssa, you are going for the whole family. Now go get in line. Pray for all of us there. We will watch the Mass with you; maybe we will see you.”

Ah—yes, thank you, Mom. 

I gathered myself and got in line in the Square at about 6 pm with about 20,000 of my brothers and sisters in Christ. It was raining. We were let into the Basilica at 10 pm, and Mass began at Midnight. Never have I been so at peace. 

My Whole Family

Somehow, in God’s providence, I found myself at Midnight Mass with the Pope. Pilgrims like me surrounded me; I was home, and my whole family was with me: those who had been, those who were, and those who were yet to come. We were together. With this realization, a few tears of joy began. Then there was a feeling of being mothered by the Church this time; this is exactly where you belong; cry if you need to. 

Providentially, for all of us, the Christ Child always knew we would be here. Go to Him in that tiny stable. And if you feel unworthy, His Mother will help to dry your eyes.



Mary, sometimes tears are my only response to your beautiful Baby Jesus. How humbling to be beckoned to come near. Thank you.

Call to Action

Sit in peace, whether it be with tears, with joy, with family, with friends, or alone—sit in peace and know that the Christ Child has come.

© 2023 WINE — All Rights Reserved