Dear Friends,

As this is my last posting of 2018, I must share with you that what you shall read below is not what I was planning to write one week before Christmas! In fact, I began to write and entitled the piece, “Full Circle!” That you shall read sometime in 2019 but for now Jesus has another plan for me and you!

This blog will get posted days after Christmas and shortly before the New Year and it seems that the Big Guy and maybe one of His angels prepared a beautiful gift for us. It is a  meditation set forth in a letter written on Christmas Eve in 1513 to Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi by Fra Giovanni Giocondo (c.1435–1515). He was a Renaissance pioneer, accomplished as an architect, engineer, antiquary, archaeologist, classical scholar, and Franciscan friar.

So where did I find this meditation now, you might ask?

In my desk drawer!

One evening I found myself trying to be organized and get all my papers together! Sorting through the pile, I found prayer cards, meditations and other gems that I was saving. I made different piles but one grouping I kept aside for another time time to read and reflect on.

That time came for me in the middle of the night a week later. I found myself not being able to sleep with with my mind flooded by thoughts of so many things that I still needed to do to prepare for Christmas! So instead of laying there, I got up! I think it was around 2:00 in the morning, and I went to my desk to retrieve the treasures that I had found to read at a later time. This seemed to be the angel’s hand prompting me to act. Certainly that angel got me out of bed in the middle of the night!

When I first read it, I did not even know who Fra Giovanni was and had to research what this beautiful meditation was all about. So there I was Googling in the middle of the night and was just so taken by the history of it being a Christmas Eve letter to Countess Allagia in 1513!

I felt Jesus saying, “Give it as a Gift for the New Year” to your readers. Give it to everyone!

And so here it is for you, a gift just days after Christmas to receive into your heart but also a meditation to take you through your personal journey of 2019!

May Fra Giovanni help us to live the words of wisdom that he wrote on a Christmas Eve so very long ago!


I salute you.

I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep. 

There is nothing I can give you which you have not.

But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven!


No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.

Take peace!


The gloom of the world is but a shadow.

Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.

There is radiance and glory in 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 their 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.

Your 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.

Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.



The treasure I found folded in my desk drawer!

fra giovanni






©2018 Anita Guariglia

Photo Credits/Anita Guariglia

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