No, this isn't a joke. It's true. The nearest live donkey is, most likely, at the "kids farm" at the National Zoo up on Connecticut Avenue -- just three short miles away. The nearest "spiritual donkey" is, however, right here on 35th Street. We honor a Christmas custom in our monastery -- of which no sister seems to know the origin -- whereby we draw billets on Christmas Eve before supper. Each little card has on it a person or an item which (in the mind's eye of the author) would have been present at the birth of Our Lord. Some of the cards include The Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, the Angels, the Shepherd, the straw in the manger, the owner of the stable, the lamp in the stable, the manger itself, the ox and ... that famous card number 19, the ass. Each card has a spiritual message and a virtue to be cultivated. For those who may have missed this post a few years ago, we reprint here the spiritual message for the sister lucky enough to be the "Christmas Ass" this year.
THE ASS KNOWETH HIS MASTER'S CRIB
At the court of the king JESUS you will have the office of the Ass, which a GOD permitted to be near His crib.
Offer yourself very humbly to this divine King, to be engaged in the most abject services, since you are incapable of sublime and elevated employments. Resign yourself to suffer and to be despised in imitation of Our Lord; say to Him with the prophet King that you are as a beast of burden before Him; as Him to give you the understanding of Christian truths with humility of mind and heart.
Practice: Love to be unknown and reputed as nothing.
Aspiration: My Saviour, give me the treasure of Thy humility.