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Tag Archives: Christmas

GOD, OMNIPOTENT AND MERCIFUL (HOMILY BY ST LEO, POPE)

GOD, OMNIPOTENT AND MERCIFUL (HOMILY BY ST LEO, POPE)

God, omnipotent and merciful, whose nature is goodness, whose will is power, whose work is mercy, foretold at the very beginning of the world, as soon as the devil’s malice had poisoned us with the venom of his envy, what were the remedies his compassion had foreordained for our healing. He bade the serpent know that there was to be a Child of the Woman, who should effectually crush the pride of his injurious head, signifying Christ to come in the flesh, that is, God and man, born of the Virgin, who should condemn by his undefiled birth the seducer of the human race.

CHRIST IN THE FLESH; GOD AND MAN, BORN OF THE VIRGIN 

The devil rejoiced that he had so deceived man by his artifices as to make him lose the gifts of God, that he had stripped him of the privilege of immortality, had brought him under the hard sentence of death, and that he himself had found some sort of solace in his unhappiness, in that he had found a comrade in guilt. He thought also to bring it to pass that God, by a justly earned severity, should change his feelings towards man whom he had created in such honour. There was need, beloved brethren, that God who is unchangeable, whose will and loving-kindness are inseparable, should fulfil his original purpose of goodness by a mysterious dispensation, so that man, driven into crime by the wicked craft of the devil, should not perish and frustrate the plan of God.

MAN, DRIVEN INTO CRIME BY THE DEVIL, SHOULD NOT PERISH

When, therefore, beloved brethren, the fulness of time appointed for man’s redemption was come, our Lord Jesus Christ entered this lower world. He came down from his throne in heaven without withdrawing from the glory which he has equal with the Father, and was born by a new order, by a new birth: a new order because he who is invisible in his own nature became visible in ours; he who is incomprehensible, willed to be comprehended; he who existed before all time, began to live in time; the Lord of the universe veiled the dignity of his majesty, and assumed the form of a servant; the impassible God did not disdain to become man capable of suffering, nor the immortal God to lay himself under the laws of death.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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ADVENT REFLECTION

ADVENT REFLECTION

ADVENT – REFLECTING ON THE NEED I HAVE FOR CHRIST TO COMPLETE IN ME THE WORK BEGUN LONG AGO

“… The beauty of Christmas unlike, say, Thanksgiving, is not grounded in a celebration of human achievement successfully concluded. It does not stem from the beauty of human nature. It is, rather, a reminder that human beauty and virtues have their origins in the divinity of the Incarnate Christ. We are celebrating not simply the fact that Christ aspired to become a man like us; we are celebrating the fact that in becoming Man Christ wished to raise our humanity to his immortal nature. The perfection and beauty of the Christ Child is that of God-with-Us, not of some idealised version of what I was in childhood.

THE PREPARATION FOR A MORE INTENSE ENCOUNTER WITH CHRIST

To want to celebrate Christ’s birth then, for the Christian should theoretically be inseparable from a period of preparation in which I reflect on the need I have for Christ to come now, and to complete in me the work begun long ago – not just when he was born, but before time itself existed, when I was chosen in him, when his ‘Incarnate form’ became the possibility of my existence, the pattern of my humanity and the promise of my happiness. I need to become aware of the ever increasing urgency of the task of modelling my own life, my own sense of what makes for happiness on his own, through the grace of the Holy Spirit. The preparation cannot be just for a season of mirth; it must be for a more intense encounter with Christ through the medium of his historical Incarnation, which is an outward, visible sign of a divine reality which is the real reason for celebration. Without an explicit awareness of this Christological heart, as suggested by the very name Christmas, the outward, visible signs of celebration are Pagan and hollow.

ACKNOWLEDGING HIS ETERNAL DESIRE TO BECOME GOD-WITH-US

It is the Church as the Bride of Christ, who shows us how to share in such intimacy with Christ that the Spirit will be able to act in the depths of our souls to reproduce the pattern of Christ’s humanity in us. This presence of Christ, she reminds us, is dynamic. We should be celebrating it not merely as the recollection of a past occurrence, but as the possibility of Christ being born in our own time and milieu, in our own heart through faith, in prayer and sacrament, as we acknowledge his eternal desire to become God-With-Us. To bring us into this intimacy of likeness to Christ, the Church has given us Advent, not an anticipated Christmas.

A MAJOR MYSTERY OF FAITH

Not until December 17 does the liturgy focus on the birthday of the Child. If we do so, we are neglecting a major mystery of our faith, the truth that Christ will come again, that Christ will return in majesty to take us fully to himself. He has told us in no uncertain terms that he expects to find us watching, not just keeping up appearances.”
– From “Diary of a City Priest” by Pstor Iuventus, available from Amazon. This excerpt was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue December 6 2013.

 

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A SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE CHRISTMAS NOVENA

A SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE CHRISTMAS NOVENA

Christmas Novena

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires (mention your request here).
Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother. Amen.

 

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CHRISTMAS: PRAYER TO BEGIN A NEW LIFE

CHRISTMAS: PRAYER TO BEGIN A NEW LIFE

O Lord,

we desire to live the birth of Your Son

in all its truth and riches.

We want to welcome the God who comes

to pitch His tent among us.

We wish to give thanks for so great a gift

and to begin a new life –

the life that You bestow on us

for our true happiness.

 

Help us to throw off all fear,

all laziness,

and all infidelity.

Everything is possible for us now,

since Jesus is born with and for us.

Amen.

 

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ADVENT PRAYER OF THE GREAT “O” ANTIPHONS

ADVENT PRAYER OF THE GREAT “O” ANTIPHONS

O Wisdom,

holy Word of God,

You rule all creation with power and true concern.

Come to teach us the way of salvation.

 

O sacred Lord,

and Leader of ancient Israel,

You communicated with Moses at the burning bush

and gave him the law on Mount Sinai.

Come to set us free by Your mighty arm.

 

O Root of Jesse,

raised up as a sign of all peoples,

in Your presence kings become mute

and the nations worship before You.

Come to deliver us and do not delay.

 

O Key of David,

and Royal Power of Israel,

You open what no one can shut,

and You shut what no one can open.

Come and deliver Your people

imprisoned by darkness and the shadows of death.

 

O Radiant Dawn,

You are the Brightness of eternal light

and the Sun of justice.

Come to enlighten those who sit in darkness

and in the shadow of death.

 

O King of the Gentiles

and the longed-for Ruler of the nations,

You are the cornerstone Who make all one.

Come and save those whom You have created.

 

O Emmanuel,

our King and our Lawgiver,

You are the Desired of the nations

and the Saviour of all people.

Come to save us, O Lord our God.

 

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A “CHRISTMAS” WHICH IS BEING CELEBRATED FROM NOVEMBER ONWARDS HAS CEASED TO BE CHRISTMAS

ADVENT – REFLECTING ON THE NEED I HAVE FOR CHRIST TO COMPLETE IN ME THE WORK BEGUN LONG AGO

A “CHRISTMAS” WHICH IS BEING CELEBRATED FROM NOVEMBER ONWARDS HAS CEASED TO BE CHRISTMAS

“… The beauty of Christmas unlike, say, Thanksgiving, is not grounded in a celebration of human achievement successfully concluded. It does not stem from the beauty of human nature. It is, rather, a reminder that human beauty and virtues have their origins in the divinity of the Incarnate Christ. We are celebrating not simply the fact that Christ aspired to become a man like us; we are celebrating the fact that in becoming Man Christ wished to raise our humanity to his immortal nature. The perfection and beauty of the Christ Child is that of God-with-Us, not of some idealised version of what I was in childhood.

 

THE PREPARATION FOR A MORE INTENSE ENCOUNTER WITH CHRIST

 

To want to celebrate Christ’s birth then, for the Christian should theoretically be inseparable from a period of preparation in which I reflect on the need I have for Christ to come now, and to complete in me the work begun long ago – not just when he was born, but before time itself existed, when I was chosen in him, when his ‘Incarnate form’ became the possibility of my existence, the pattern of my humanity and the promise of my happiness. I need to become aware of the ever increasing urgency of the task of modelling my own life, my own sense of what makes for happiness on his own, through the grace of the Holy Spirit. The preparation cannot be just for a season of mirth; it must be for a more intense encounter with Christ through the medium of his historical Incarnation, which is an outward, visible sign of a divine reality which is the real reason for celebration. Without an explicit awareness of this Christological heart, as suggested by the very name Christmas, the outward, visible signs of celebration are Pagan and hollow.

 

ACKNOWLEDGING HIS ETERNAL DESIRE TO BECOME GOD-WITH-US

 

It is the Church as the Bride of Christ, who shows us how to share in such intimacy with Christ that the Spirit will be able to act in the depths of our souls to reproduce the pattern of Christ’s humanity in us. This presence of Christ, she reminds us, is dynamic. We should be celebrating it not merely as the recollection of a past occurrence, but as the possibility of Christ being born in our own time and milieu, in our own heart through faith, in prayer and sacrament, as we acknowledge his eternal desire to become God-With-Us. To bring us into this intimacy of likeness to Christ, the Church has given us Advent, not an anticipated Christmas.

 

A MAJOR MYSTERY OF FAITH

 

Not until December 17 does the liturgy focus on the birthday of the Child. If we do so, we are neglecting a major mystery of our faith, the truth that Christ will come again, that Christ will return in majesty to take us fully to himself. He has told us in no uncertain terms that he expects to find us watching, not just keeping up appearances.”

– From “Diary of a City Priest” by Pstor Iuventus, available from Amazon. This excerpt was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue December 6 2013.

 
 

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SIMPLE CHRISTMAS NOVENA PRAYER

SIMPLE CHRISTMAS NOVENA PRAYER – 16th TO 24th DECEMBER
THIS PRAYER IS RECITED DAILY FROM 16th DECEMBER TO 24th DECEMBER

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires (mention your request here).
Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother. Amen

 

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