Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 12-25-08, Solemnity, Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Dawn
USCCB.org/New American Bible ^ | 12-25-08 | New American Bible

Posted on 12/24/2008 5:14:17 PM PST by Salvation

December 25, 2008

                                The Nativity of the Lord -- Christmas

                                Mass at Dawn

 
 
 
 
Reading 1
Responsorial Psalm
Reading 2
Gospel

Reading 1
Is 62:11-12

See, the LORD proclaims
to the ends of the earth:
say to daughter Zion,
your savior comes!
Here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
They shall be called the holy people,
the redeemed of the LORD,
and you shall be called “Frequented,”
a city that is not forsaken.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 97:1, 6, 11-12

R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
   let the many isles be glad.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
   and all peoples see his glory.
R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.
Light dawns for the just;
   and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
   and give thanks to his holy name.
R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.

Reading II
Ti 3:4-7

Beloved:
When the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Gospel
Lk 2:15-20

When the angels went away from them to heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
“Let us go, then, to Bethlehem
to see this thing that has taken place,
which the Lord has made known to us.”
So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.




TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiclist; christmas
For your reading, reflection, faith-sharing, comments, questions, discussion.

1 posted on 12/24/2008 5:14:17 PM PST by Salvation
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; markomalley; ...
Alleluia Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Alleluia Ping List.

2 posted on 12/24/2008 5:15:22 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

3 posted on 12/24/2008 5:16:30 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: everyone
Merry Christmas, everyone!

4 posted on 12/24/2008 5:17:53 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: All
Preface: Memories of Christmas
Christmas Overview
The Manger -- Nativity Scene -- Crêche
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Christmas Quiz; How Much Do You Really Know?

Christmas Prayers: Prayers and Collects for the Feast of the Nativity
[Christmas] Customs from Various Countries and Cultures
The 12 Days of Christmas and Christmastide: A Rich Catholic Tradition
The 12 Days of Christmas -- Activities, Customs, Prayers, Blessings, Hymns -- For the Family
Iraqis Crowd Churches for Christmas Mass

Pope Wishes the World a Merry Christmas
On this night, a comforting message(Merry Christmas!)
Advent through Christmas -- 2007
Bethlehem beyond the Christmas calm
The Origin of Nativity Scenes

Various Orthodox Texts for the Feast of the Nativity
The Five Best Christmas Stories
What Are We Celebrating When We Celebrate Christmas?
Secular Christmas Celebration Pointless, Pope Says
The Wonder of Christmas - 1959

The Real Meaning of Christmas Lights
Top ten Carols and things you didn't know about them
The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
Christmas Proclamation
Christmas gifts are a reminder of Jesus, the greatest gift given to mankind, Pope tells youth

The Senses of Christmas
Pope celebrates Christmas mass
Christmas: The Turning Point of History
The Original Christmas Story
Bringing Christmas to Life Again

Christmas: the beginning of our redemption
Christmas and the Eucharist
Catholic Caucus: The 16 Days of Christmas (Christmas to the Baptism of the Lord)
Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas [An Underground Catechism]
Origin of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" [Underground Catechism]

5 posted on 12/24/2008 5:18:46 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: All
Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. >From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.


The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.


The Luminous Mysteries or Mysteries of Light
(Thursdays) see Rosarium Virginis Mariae
1. Jesus' Baptism in the Jordan (II Corinthians 5:21, Matthew 3:17 and parallels) [Spiritual fruit - Gratitude for the gift of Faith]
2. Jesus' self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana (John 2:1- 12) [Spiritual fruit - Fidelity]
3. Jesus' proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with His call to conversion (Mark 1:15, Mark 2:3-13; Luke 7:47- 48, John 20:22-23) [Spiritual fruit - Desire for Holiness]
4. Jesus' Transfiguration (Luke 9:35 and parallels) [Spiritual fruit - Spiritual Courage]
5. Jesus' institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery. (Luke 24:13-35 and parallels, 1 Corinthians 11:24-25) [Spiritual fruit - Love of our Eucharistic Lord]

6 posted on 12/24/2008 5:20:38 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: All



~ PRAYER ~

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits
who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
 Amen
+

7 posted on 12/24/2008 5:21:43 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: All
immaculate_conception.jpg (155743 bytes)

December Devotion: The Immaculate Conception

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of December is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moment of her conception, by a singular privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, our Savior and hers, was preserved from all stain of original sin. This age-old belief of the Church was defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854 as an article of revealed truth.

Mary was in need of redemption and she was indeed redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. The manner of Mary's redemption, however, was unique. Instead of being freed from original sin after having contracted it, she was preserved from contracting it. This was a most fitting favor for the Mother of the Redeemer.

INVOCATION
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

TO THE VIRGIN IMMACULATE
O Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from thy sublime height turn upon me thine eyes of pity. Filled with confidence in thy goodness and knowing full well thy power, I beseech thee to extend to. me thine assistance in the journey of life, which is so full of dangers for my soul. And in order that I may never be the slave of the devil through sin, , but may ever live with my heart humble and pure, I entrust myself wholly to thee. I consecrate my heart to thee for ever, my only desire being to love thy divine Son Jesus. Mary, none of thy devout servants has ever perished; may I too be saved. Amen.

PRAYER OF PRAISE
O pure and immaculate and likewise blessed Virgin, who art the sinless Mother of thy Son, the mighty Lord of the universe, thou who art inviolate and altogether holy, the hope of the hopeless and sinful, we sing thy praises. We bless thee, as full of every grace, thou who didst bear the God-Man: we all bow low before thee; we invoke thee and implore thine aid. Rescue us, 0 holy and inviolate Virgin, from every necessity that presses upon us and from all the temptations of the devil. Be our intercessor and advocate at the hour of death and judgment; deliver us from the fire that is not extinguished and from the outer darkness; make us worthy of the glory of thy Son, O dearest and most clement Virgin Mother. Thou indeed art our only hope, most sure and sacred in God's sight, to whom be honor and glory, majesty and dominion for ever and ever world without end. Amen.   
Saint Ephrem the Syrian

PRAYER OF POPE PIUS XII
This prayer, dedicated to Mary Immaculate, was composed by the Pope for the Marian Year (December 8, 1953-December 8, 1954), which was proclaimed to mark the centenary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Enraptured by the splendor of your heavenly beauty, and impelled by the anxieties of the world, we cast ourselves into your arms, 0 Immacuate Mother of Jesus and our Mother, Mary, confident of finding in your most loving heart appeasement of our ardent desires, and a safe harbor from the tempests which beset us on every side.

Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery, we admire and praise the peerless richness of sublime gifts with which God has filled you, above every other mere creature, from the first moment of your conception until the day on which, after your assumption into heaven, He crowned you Queen of the Universe.

O crystal fountain of faith, bathe our minds with the eternal truths! O fragrant Lily of all holiness, captivate our hearts with your heavenly perfume! 0 Conqueress of evil and death, inspire in us a deep horror of sin, which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of hell!

O well-beloved of God, hear the ardent cry which rises up from every heart. Bend tenderly over our aching wounds. Convert the wicked, dry the tears of the afflicted and oppressed, comfort the poor and humble, quench hatreds, sweeten harshness, safeguard the flower of purity in youth, protect the holy Church, make all men feel the attraction of Christian goodness. In your name, resounding harmoniously in heaven, may they recognize that they are brothers, and that the nations are members of one family, upon which may there shine forth the sun of a universal and sincere peace.

Receive, O most sweet Mother, our humble supplications, and above all obtain for us that, one day, happy with you, we may repeat before your throne that hymn which today is sung on earth around your altars: You are all-beautiful, O Mary! You are the glory, you are the joy, you are the honor of our people! Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Mary Immaculate: Patroness of the United States [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Catholic/Orthodox Caucus: The Immaculate Conception: A Marvelous Theme - Novena Starts Nov. 30

THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION - Satan's Mighty Foe(Catholic Caucus)
Historian reveals how Pius IX decided to proclaim dogma of Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)
The Immaculate Vs. the Proud
Immaculate Conception Novena -- starts November 30th [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Blessed John Duns Scotus Champion Of Mary's Immaculate Conception (CATHOLIC CAUCUS)

The Crusade of Mary Immaculate - St. Maximilian Kolbe (Catholic Caucus)
The Early Church Fathers on the Immaculate Conception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Three Reasons the Church’s Enemies Hate The Immaculate Conception
Her saving grace - the origins of the Immaculate Conception
Mary Is a Model Who Works With Us and in Us

U.S. Catholic bishops to renew consecration of nation to Immaculate Conception
Catholic Meditation: To the Immaculate Conception on this Election Day
My visit to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
On Solemnity of Immaculate Conception - "In Mary Shines the Eternal Goodness of the Creator"
Pope makes pilgrimage to Mary statue in Rome, marking the feast of the Immaculate Conception

Pope: Mary the Immaculate Conception... (text of BXVI speech)
"Tota pulchra es, Maria, et macula originalis non est in te" (The Immaculate Conception)
The Immaculate Conception — Essential to the Faith
"Who Are You, Immaculate Conception?"
TURKEY Ephesus: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception at Mary’s House
Coming Dec 8th. Feast of the "Immaculate Conception"

Why the Immaculate Conception?
Catholic Encyclopedia: Immaculate Conception (The Doctrine and Its Roots)
The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady December 8
Mary's Immaculate Conception: A Memorable Anniversary
Ineffabilis Deus: 8 December 1854 (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception)

Why do we believe in the Immaculate Conception?
John Paul II goes to Lourdes; reflections on the Immaculate Conception
Your Praises We Sing--on the Dogma of the Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8th
Eastern Christianity and the Immaculate Conception (Q&A From EWTN)
Memorandum on the Immaculate Conception [Newman]

8 posted on 12/24/2008 5:22:37 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: All
DECEMBER 2008
General:
That in the face of a spreading of a culture of violence and death the Church through her apostolic and missionary activity may promote with courage the culture of life.
Mission:
That especially in mission countries Christians may show with acts of fraternal love that the Child born in the stable at Bethlehem is the luminous Hope of the world..


9 posted on 12/24/2008 5:23:23 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: All

From: Isaiah 62:11-12

Names of the new Jerusalem


[11] Behold, the Lord has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion,
“Behold, your salvation comes;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.”
[12] And they shall be called The holy people,
The redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought out,
a city not forsaken.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

The Navarre has no commentary for this reading. Please reflect on God’s word
and invite the Holy Spirit to enter your heart with His inspiration.

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


10 posted on 12/24/2008 5:24:13 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: All

From: Titus 3:4-7

Renewal of the Christian Life in the Holy Spirit


[Beloved], [4] ... when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior ap
peared, [5] he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but
in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy
Spirit, [6] which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, [7]
so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

[T]he coming of Christ has opened up a new panorama (vv. 4-7). As elsewhere in
these letters (cf. 1 Tim 3:15; Tit 2:11-14), we have here a hymn to Christ which
may well have come from primitive Christian liturgy or from a confession of faith.
It summarizes Christian teaching on the Incarnation, the Redemption and the
application of salvation to the individual.

According to this text, the Incarnation is the revelation of God our Savior, who
makes known his goodness (”benignity”, a word which often occurs in the Old
Testament and sometimes in the New: cf. Rom 2:4; 11: 22; Gal 5:22; Eph 2:7)
and “loving goodness” (literally “philanthropy”, a word taken from Greek). The
Redemption is referred to in Old Testament language: “he saved us in virtue of
his own mercy.”

Finally, the Christian’s access to salvation is something gratuitous: without any
prior merit on our part, God’s mercy has sought us out (v. 5; cf. note on Rom
:27-31); Baptism is the door to salvation, for it is the sacrament of “regeneration
and renewal” (cf. Eph 5:26); the Holy Spirit sent by Christ (cf. Jn 14:26) makes
the waters of Baptism effective; his grace gives life to the soul and entitles it to
eternal life (cf. Gal 4:7; Rom 8:16-17). The Council of Trent specified that “justifi-
cation is not only the remission of sins, but sanctification and renovation of the
interior man through the voluntary reception of grace and gifts whereby a man
becomes just instead of unjust and a friend instead of an enemy, that he may
be an heir in the hope of life everlasting” (”De Iustificatione”, chap. 7).

The magnificent resume of faith in Christ contained in Titus 3:3-7 also helps
Christians see how to approach their work and social involvement; the Second
Vatican Council has reminded us once again that “the promised and hoped-for
restoration has already begun in Christ. It is carried forward in the sending of
the Holy Spirit and through him continues in the Church in which, through our
faith, we learn the meaning of our earthly life, while we bring to term, with hope
of future good, the task allotted to us in the world by the Father, and so work
out our salvation” (”Lumen Gentium”, 48).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


11 posted on 12/24/2008 5:25:25 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: All

From: Luke 2:16-21

The Adoration of the Shepherds (Continuation)


[15] When the angles went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to
one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened
to us, which the Lord has made known to us.” [16] And they went with haste,
and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. [17] And when they
saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this
child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. [19] But
Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. [20] And the shepherds
returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had
been told them.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

15-18. The birth of the Savior Messiah is the key event in the historyof mankind,
but God wanted it to take place so quietly that the world went about its business
as if nothing had happened. The only people he tells about it are a few shepherds.
It was also to a shepherd, Abraham,that God gave his promise to save mankind.

The shepherds make their way to Bethlehem propelled by the sign they have
received. And when they verify it they tell what they heard from the angel and
about seeing the heavenly host. They are the first witnesses of the birth of the
Messiah. “The shepherds were not content with believing in the happy event
which the angel proclaimed to them and which, full of wonder, they saw for a
fact; they manifested their joy not only to Mary and Joseph but to everyone
and, what is more, they tried to engrave it on their memory. ‘And all who heard
it wondered at what the shepherds told them.’ And why would they not have
wondered, seeing on earth him who is in heaven, and earth and heaven recon-
ciled; seeing that ineffable Child who joined what was heavenly—divinity—and
what was earthly—humanity—creating a wonderful covenant through this union.
Not only were they in awe at the mystery of the Incarnation, but also at the
great testimony born by the shepherds, who could not have invented something
they had not heard and who publish the truth with a simple eloquence” (Photius,
“Ad Amphilochium”, 155).

16. The shepherds hasten because they are full of joy and eager to see the Savior.
St Ambrose comments: “No one seeks Christ halfheartedly” (”Expositio Evangelii
Sec. Lucam., in loc.”). Earlier on, the evangelist observed that our Lady, after the
Annunciation, “went in haste” to see St Elizabeth (Lk 1:39). A soul who has given
God entry rejoices that God has visited him and his life acquires new energy.

19. In very few words this verse tells us a great deal about our Lady. We see the
serenity with which she contemplates the wonderful things that are coming true
with the birth of her divine Son. She studies them, ponders them and stores them
in the silence of her heart. She is a true teacher of prayer. If we imitate her, if we
guard and ponder in our hearts what Jesus says to us and what he does in us,
we are well on the way to Christian holiness and we shall never lack his doctrine
and his grace. Also, by meditating in this way on the teaching Jesus has given
us, we shall obtain a deeper understanding of the mystery of Christ, which is how
“the Tradition that comes from the Apostles makes progress in the Church, with
the help of the Holy Spirit. There is a growth in insight into the realities and words
that are being passed on. This comes about in various ways. It comes through
the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts.
It comes from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which they experience. And
it comes from the preaching of those who have received, along with their right of
succession in the episcopate, the sure charism of truth” (Vatican II, “Dei Verbum”,
8).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


12 posted on 12/24/2008 5:26:33 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: All
Thursday, December 25, 2008
The Nativity of the Lord – Christmas (Solemnity)
Midnight  
First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:
Isaiah 9:1-6
Psalm 96:1-3, 11-13
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14
Dawn  
First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:
Isaiah 62:11-12
Psalm 97:1, 6, 11-12
Titus 3:4-7
Luke 2:15-20
During the Day  
First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:
Isaiah 52:7-10
Psalm 98:1-6
Hebrews 1:1-6
John 1:1-18 or John 1:1-5, 9-14

Let us love the Child of Bethlehem. Come souls and love a God who has become a Child, poor and so lovable, in need of our tender love, who has come down from heaven to give Himself entirely to you. If we but ask for pardon and salvation, He has come to pardon us and to save us.

-- St. Francis of Assisi


13 posted on 12/24/2008 5:27:39 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: All



The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
our death. Amen. 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary . . . 


Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen. 


14 posted on 12/24/2008 5:29:04 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: All
Vultus Christi

Gesu%20bambino.jpg

December 24

Collect at the Hours and at the Mass in the Morning

Come quickly, we beseech You, Lord Jesus, and do not delay, so that those who trust in Your loving mercy may be lifted up by the consolations of Your coming.

Come, Lord Jesus

Today, in the last Collect of Advent -- at Vigils, Lauds, Tierce, Holy Mass, Sext, and None -- the Church addresses the Lord Jesus. It is as if she can no longer contain her longing; she compelled to utter His Holy Name. The last Collect of Advent is inspired by the last page of the Bible. There, Our Lord speaks, saying, "Surely I am coming soon." And the Church, His Spouse, replies, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus" (Ap 22:20).

Domine Jesu

Whereas all throughout Advent the Church, according to her custom, has, for the most part, addressed the Father in her prayers, today she appeals to the Son directly. She calls the Son by his human Name -- Jesus -- and to that Name revealed by the Angel she adds the divine vocative: Lord, Domine Iesu. Hers is a prayer inspired by the Holy Spirit, for the Apostle says, "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord'; except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12:3).

Do Not Linger on the Way

Today's Collect is remarkably concise. Three lines only. The first line is inspired, not only by the final cry in the Apocalypse of Saint John, but also by Psalm 39:18: "Do not tarry, O my God"; or, as the Douai translation puts it, "O my God, be not slack!"; Ronald Knox translates the same with a certain courtesy: "My God, do not linger on the way."

Expectans Expectavi

The two words borrowed from Psalm 39 -- ne tardáveris -- should make us want to review the whole psalm. What do we discover? That the psalm begins with a verse that sums up the whole Advent experience. Expectans, expectavi! -- "With expectation I have waited for the Lord, and He was attentive to me" (Ps 39:1).

The Consolations of His Coming

The second part of the Collect is: "so that those who trust in your loving mercy may be lifted up by the consolations of your coming." Where our English translation gives "may be lifted up," the Latin text uses sublevéntur, a verb that is wonderfully rich in meaning. It means not only to be lifted up, but also to be relieved of a heavy burden, to be assuaged.

Trust in His Merciful Goodness

What must we do in order to be lifted up? The Collect says that we have only to trust in the pietas of the Lord Jesus, in His tenderness, His lovingkindness, His unwavering divine affection for us. Qui in tua pietate confidunt.

Weakness No Obstacle

Weakness is no obstacle to a holy Christmas. A mediocre Advent is no obstacle to a holy Christmas. The grace of Christmas is not earned; it is freely given. The grace of Christmas will prevail even over our sins, provided that we trust in the pietas of the Infant Christ, in the tender pity of him who comes to us, comes for us already in the mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist. O Jesus, King of Love, I put my trust in Thy merciful goodness!


15 posted on 12/24/2008 8:58:05 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: All
All the Christmas Readingns


Christmas Season


Scripture Readings for Masses of Christmas 

Christmas Eve - Vigil Mass

Old Testament - Isaiah 62:1-5
For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her vindication goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My delight is in her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

Epistle - Acts 13:16-17,22-25
So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said:

"Men of Israel, and you that fear God, listen. The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm He led them out of it.

And when He had removed him[Saul], He raised up David to be their king; of whom He testified and said, 'I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all My will.' Of this man's posterity God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as He promised. Before His coming John had preached a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John was finishing his course, he said, 'What do you suppose that I am? I am not He. No, but after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.'

Gospel - Matthew 1:1-25 or [1:18-25]
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa, and Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of She-alti-el, and She-alti-el the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

[Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a Son; and he called His name Jesus.]

Christmas Eve Midnight Mass

Old Testament - Isaiah 9:1-6
But there will be no gloom for her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased its joy; they rejoice before Thee as with joy at the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of His burden, and the staff for His shoulder, the rod of His oppressor, thou hast broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Epistle - Titus 2:11-14
For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for Himself a people of His own who are zealous for good deeds.

Gospel - Luke 2:1-14
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirini-us was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with Child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born Son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased!"


Christmas - Mass at Dawn

Old Testament - Isaiah 62:11-12
11 Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, "Behold, your salvation comes; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him." And they shall be called The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought out, a city not forsaken.

Epistle - Titus 3:4-7
When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Gospel - Luke 2:15-20
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this Child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.


Christmas - Mass during the Day

Old Testament - Isaiah 52:7-10
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns." Hark, your watchmen lift up their voice, together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion. Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Epistle - Hebrews 1:1-6
In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by a Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of His nature, upholding the universe by His word of power. When He had made purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name He has obtained is more excellent than theirs.

For to what angel did God ever say,
"Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"? Or again, "I will be to Him a father, and He shall be to me a son"? And again, when He brings the first-born into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship Him."

Gospel - John 1:1-18 or 1:1-5, 9-14 [omitted verses in brackets]
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

[There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through Him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.] The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world knew Him not. He came to His own home, and His own people received Him not. But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. [(John bore witness to Him, and cried, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, for He was before me.'") And from His fulness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known.]


16 posted on 12/24/2008 9:05:42 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: All
Office of Readingns and Invitatory Psalm

Office of Readings

If this is the first Hour that you are reciting today, you should precede it with the Invitatory Psalm.

O God, come to my aid.
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen. Alleluia.


A suitable hymn may be inserted at this point.

Psalm 2
The Messiah, king and victor
Why are the nations in a ferment? Why do the people make their vain plans?

The kings of the earth have risen up; the leaders have united against the Lord, against his anointed.
“Let us break their chains, that bind us; let us throw off their yoke from our shoulders!”

The Lord laughs at them, he who lives in the heavens derides them.
Then he speaks to them in his anger; in his fury he throws them into confusion:
“But I – I have set up my king on Sion, my holy mountain.”

I will proclaim the Lord’s decrees.
The Lord has said to me: “You are my son: today I have begotten you.
Ask me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, the ends of the earth for you to possess.
You will rule them with a rod of iron, break them in pieces like an earthen pot.”

So now, kings, listen: understand, you who rule the land.
Serve the Lord in fear, tremble even as you praise him.
Learn his teaching, lest he take anger, lest you perish when his anger bursts into flame.

Blessed are all who put their trust in the Lord.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen.

Psalm 18 (19)
Praise of God the creator
The skies tell the story of the glory of God,
 the firmament proclaims the work of his hands;
day pours out the news to day,
 night passes to night the knowledge.

Not a speech, not a word,
 not a voice goes unheard.
Their sound is spread throughout the earth,
 their message to all the corners of the world.

At the ends of the earth he has set up
 a dwelling place for the sun.
Like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
 it rejoices like an athlete at the race to be run.
It appears at the edge of the sky,
 runs its course to the sky’s furthest edge.
Nothing can hide from its heat.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen.

Psalm 44 (45)
The wedding of the King
My heart cries out on a joyful theme:
 I will tell my poem to the king,
 my tongue like the pen of the swiftest scribe.

You have been given more than human beauty,
 and grace is poured out upon your lips,
 so that God has blessed you for ever.

Strap your sword to your side, mighty one,
 in all your greatness and splendour.
In your splendour go forth, mount your chariot,
 on behalf of truth, kindness and justice.
Let your right hand show you marvels,
 let your arrows be sharp against the hearts of the king’s enemies
 – the peoples will fall before you.

Your throne is firm, O God, from age to age,
 your royal sceptre is a sceptre of justice.
You love uprightness, hate injustice
 – for God, your God has anointed you
 with the oil of gladness, above all your companions.

Myrrh and aloes and cassia anoint your garments.
From ivory palaces the sound of harps delights you.
In your retinue go the daughters of kings.
At your right hand, the queen is adorned with gold of Ophir.

Listen, my daughter, and understand;
 turn your ears to what I have to say.
Forget your people, forget your father’s house,
 and the king will desire you for your beauty.
 He is your lord, so worship him.
The daughters of Tyre will bring you gifts;
 the richest of your subjects will beg you to look on them.

How great is the king’s daughter, within the palace!
 She is clothed in woven gold.
She will be taken to the king in coloured garments,
 her maidens will escort her to your presence.
In gladness and rejoicing they are brought
 and led to the house of the king.

Instead of your fathers you will have sons:
 you will make them rulers over all the world.
I will remember your name
 from generation to generation.
And so your people will do you honour
 for ever and for ever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen.

Reading Isaiah 11:1-10 ©
A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse,
a scion thrusts from his roots:
on him the spirit of the Lord rests,
a spirit of wisdom and insight,
a spirit of counsel and power,
a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
(The fear of the Lord is his breath.)
He does not judge by appearances,
he gives no verdict on hearsay,
but judges the wretched with integrity,
and with equity gives a verdict for the poor of the land.
His word is a rod that strikes the ruthless,
his sentences bring death to the wicked.

Integrity is the loincloth round his waist,
faithfulness the belt about his hips.

The wolf lives with the lamb,
the panther lies down with the kid,
calf and lion feed together,
with a little boy to lead them.
The cow and the bear make friends,
their young lie down together.
The lion eats straw like the ox.
The infant plays over the cobra’s hole;
into the viper’s lair
the young child puts his hand.
They do no hurt, no harm,
on all my holy mountain,
for the country is filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters swell the sea.

That day, the root of Jesse
shall stand as a signal to the peoples.
It will be sought out by the nations
and its home will be glorious.

Reading A sermon of Pope St Leo the Great
Christian, remember your dignity
Dearly beloved, today our Saviour is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.
No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing. Our Lord, victor over sin and death, finding no man free from sin, came to free us all. Let the saint rejoice as he sees the palm of victory at hand. Let the sinner be glad as he receives the offer of forgiveness. Let the pagan take courage as he is summoned to life.
In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of God’s wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind.
And so at the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to men of good will as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvellous work of God’s goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men?
Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because in his great love for us he took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins he brought us to life with Christ, so that in him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off our old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh.
Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom.
Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ.

Hymn Te Deum
God, we praise you; Lord, we proclaim you!
You, the Father, the eternal –
all the earth venerates you.
All the angels, all the heavens, every power –
The cherubim, the seraphim –
unceasingly, they cry:
“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts:
heaven and earth are full of the majesty of your glory!”

The glorious choir of Apostles –
The noble ranks of prophets –
The shining army of martyrs –
all praise you.
Throughout the world your holy Church proclaims you.
– Father of immeasurable majesty,
– True Son, only-begotten, worthy of worship,
– Holy Spirit, our Advocate.

You, Christ:
– You are the king of glory.
– You are the Father’s eternal Son.
– You, to free mankind, did not disdain a Virgin’s womb.
– You defeated the sharp spear of Death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to those who believe in you.
– You sit at God’s right hand, in the glory of the Father.
– You will come, so we believe, as our Judge.

And so we ask of you: give help to your servants, whom you set free at the price of your precious blood.
Number them among your chosen ones in eternal glory.
Bring your people to safety, Lord, and bless those who are your inheritance.
Rule them and lift them high for ever.

Day by day we bless you, Lord: we praise you for ever and for ever.
Of your goodness, Lord, keep us without sin for today.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Let your pity, Lord, be upon us, as much as we trust in you.
In you, Lord, I trust: let me never be put to shame.

Concluding Prayer
O God, human nature is the wonderful work of your hands; still more wonderful, the way you redeemed it.
 We ask you to make us sharers in the divinity of Christ,
 who deigned to share in our humanity.

He lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.
Amen.

17 posted on 12/25/2008 2:10:40 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: All
The Christmas Season -- Yes, it's more than just one day!

Christmas Season


Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Mealtime prayers for the Christmas Season

Blessings for Christmas Tree and Crib - December 24 

The Creche

The Christmas Novena [Spanish edition: Novena de Navidad]

The "O" Antiphons

Christmas Hymns and Carols

Scripture Readings for Christmas Masses

Saint Stephen - December 26

Saint John the Evangelist - December 27

Feast of the Holy Innocents - December 28

Saint Thomas Becket - December 29


The Holy Family

Saint Sylvester I - December 31

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God - January 1

Saints Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen - January 2

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton - January 4


Epiphany - January 6 (traditional date)

Blessed André Bessette - January 6

Saint Raymond Penyafort - January 7

Our Lady of Prompt Succor - January 8


The Baptism of the Lord

 

See also Celebrating Advent and Christmas - Family Sourcebook


18 posted on 12/25/2008 2:15:54 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: All
Catholic Culture

Daily Readings (on USCCB site):
» December 25, 2008
(will open a new window)

Collect: Father, we are filled with the new light by the coming of your Word among us. May the light of faith shine in our words and actions. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Month Year Season
« December 25, 2008 »

Solemnity of Christmas
Old Calendar: The Nativity of Our Lord #cal_links li { padding: 0px; }

Today the Church celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ, the first day in the octave of Christmas. Throughout Advent the Church longed ardently for the coming of our Savior. Today she celebrates His birth with unrestrained joy. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." The Son of God became man to give us a share in that divine life which is eternally His in the Blessed Trinity. Christmas time begins on December 24 with the first Vespers of the feast and ends on the feast of the Baptism of Christ. White vestments reappear in our churches as a sign of joy.

The Christmas feast is a festival full of joy. The Eternal Word has become Man and dwells among us. The longings of the patriarchs and prophets are fulfilled. With the shepherds we hurry to the manger and adore the Incarnate Son of God, who for us and for our salvation descended upon earth. The purpose of the Christmas feast is beautifully expressed in the Preface of the Nativity: "For by the mystery of the Word made flesh the light of Thy glory hath shone anew upon the eyes of our mind; so that while we acknowledge Him a God seen by men, we may be drawn by Him to the love of things unseen."

During the Christmas season there is an extensive exchange of greetings and good wishes among friends. These greetings are a reminder of those "good tidings of great joy that shall be to all the people, for this day is born to you a Savior Who is Christ the Lord" (Lk. 2:11). They are a reminder, too, that all blessings and graces come to us from Christ: "Hath He not also with Him given us all things?" (Rom. 8:32).

During the Christmas season there is also an exchange of gifts. This custom should recall to us that on this day God Himself gave to us the greatest of all gifts, His beloved Son: "God so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son" (John 3: 16).

The Christmas tree, of which the first-known mention was made in 1605 at Strasbourg, was introduced into France and England in 1840. It symbolizes the great family tree of Christ which through David and Jesse has its roots in Abraham, the father of the chosen race. It is often laden with gifts to remind us that Christmas brought us the priceless gifts of grace and of eternal life. It is frequently adorned with lights that recall to us that Christ is the Light of the world enlightening those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Though not entirely unknown before, the custom of the Christmas Crib was adopted by St. Francis of Assisi at Greccio, Italy, on Christmas 1225. It is a concrete and vivid way of representing to ourselves the Incarnation and birth of Christ. It depicts in a striking manner the virtues of the newborn Savior, especially His humility, poverty, and charity.

The First Day of Christmas


19 posted on 12/25/2008 2:24:12 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: All
The First Day of Christmas

The purest of Virgins gave us our God, who was this day born of her, clothed in the flesh of a Babe, and she was found worthy to feed him at her Breast: let us all adore Christ, who came to save us.

Ye faithful people, let us all rejoice, for our Savior is born in our world: this Day there has been born the Son of the great Mother, and she yet a pure Virgin.

O Queen of the world, and Daughter of a kingly race! Christ has risen from thy womb, as a Bridegroom coming from the bride-chamber: He that rules the stars lies in a Crib. — Antiphon from the ancient Church of Gaul


20 posted on 12/25/2008 2:27:15 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: All

Morning Prayer (Lauds)

If this is the first Hour that you are reciting today, you should precede it with the Invitatory Psalm.

O God, come to my aid.
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen. Alleluia.


A suitable hymn may be inserted at this point.

Psalm 62 (63)
Thirsting for God
O God, you are my God, I wait for you from the dawn.
My soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you.
I came to your sanctuary,
 as one in a parched and waterless land,
 so that I could see your might and your glory.
My lips will praise you, for your mercy is better than life itself.

Thus I will bless you throughout my life,
 and raise my hands in prayer to your name;
my soul will be filled as if by rich food,
 and my mouth will sing your praises and rejoice.
I will remember you as I lie in bed,
 I will think of you in the morning,
for you have been my helper,
 and I will take joy in the protection of your wings.

My soul clings to you; your right hand raises me up.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen.

Canticle Daniel 3
All creatures, bless the Lord
Bless the Lord, all his works, praise and exalt him for ever.

Bless the Lord, you heavens; all his angels, bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord, you waters above the heavens; all his powers, bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord, sun and moon; all stars of the sky, bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord, rain and dew; all you winds, bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord, fire and heat; cold and warmth, bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord, dew and frost; ice and cold, bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord, ice and snow; day and night, bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord, light and darkness; lightning and storm-clouds, bless the Lord.

Bless the Lord, all the earth, praise and exalt him for ever.

Bless the Lord, mountains and hills; all growing things, bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord, seas and rivers; springs and fountains, bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord, whales and fish; birds of the air, bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord, wild beasts and tame; sons of men, bless the Lord.

Bless the Lord, O Israel, praise and exalt him for ever.

Bless the Lord, his priests; all his servants, bless the Lord.
Bless the Lord, spirits of the just; all who are holy and humble, bless the Lord.

Ananias, Azarias, Mishael, bless the Lord, praise and exalt him for ever.

Let us bless Father, Son and Holy Spirit, praise and exalt them for ever.
Bless the Lord in the firmament of heaven, praise and glorify him for ever.

Psalm 149
The saints rejoice
Sing a new song to the Lord, his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in its maker, and the sons of Sion delight in their king.
Let them praise his name with dancing, sing to him with timbrel and lyre,
for the Lord’s favour is upon his people, and he will honour the humble with victory.

Let the faithful celebrate his glory, rejoice even in their beds,
the praise of God in their throats; and swords ready in their hands,
to exact vengeance upon the nations, impose punishment on the peoples,
to bind their kings in fetters and their nobles in manacles of iron,
to carry out the sentence that has been passed: this is the glory prepared for all his faithful.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen.

Short reading Hebrews 1:1-2 ©
At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the Son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is.

Canticle Benedictus
The Messiah and his forerunner
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has come to his people and brought about their redemption.
He has raised up the sign of salvation in the house of his servant David,
as he promised through the mouth of the holy ones, his prophets through the ages:
to rescue us from our enemies and all who hate us, to take pity on our fathers,
to remember his holy covenant and the oath he swore to Abraham our father,
that he would give himself to us, that we could serve him without fear – freed from the hands of our enemies –
in uprightness and holiness before him, for all of our days.

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High: for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare his path,
to let his people know their salvation, so that their sins may be forgiven.
Through the bottomless mercy of our God, one born on high will visit us
to give light to those who walk in darkness, who live in the shadow of death;
to lead our feet in the path of peace.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen.

Prayers and Intercessions ?
Let us celebrate the name of the Word of God – existing before time began, born into time for us, worthy of great praise. Let us cry out in delight:
Let the earth rejoice, for you have come.
Christ, eternal Word, your coming saturated the earth with joy:
make our hearts constantly happy, because you have come.
Christ, our Saviour, your nativity showed us how faithfully God keeps his promises:
may we faithfully keep the promises of our baptism.
Christ, King of heaven and earth, whose peace the angels announced to us:
enfold us always in your peace.
Christ and Lord, you are the true vine, bearing for us the fruit of life:
let us be true sprouts from that vine, never separated, always fruitful.
Our Father, who art in Heaven,
 hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
 thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
 and forgive us our trespasses
 as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
 but deliver us from evil.

Almighty God, the incarnation of your Word saturates us with light.
 May it shine in our minds by faith
 and shine out from us through our works.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.
Amen.

May the Lord bless us and keep us from all harm; and may he lead us to eternal life.
A M E N

21 posted on 12/25/2008 2:31:26 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: Hebrews 1:1-6

The Nativity of the Lord

What a glorious day filled with the unexpected! No one thought a virgin could become pregnant. No one expected a little baby to turn the world upside down. No one thought that this young carpenter’s name would be revered centuries after his death. No one thought that this man, who stood against the rich and the religious elite, could possibly be the Messiah. They didn’t expect him to preach forgiveness, turning the other cheek, and loving one’s enemies. No one expected Jesus.

Jesus confounded the rich, and he aggravated the religious. He called the poor rich, and said that those who are blind could receive their sight (Luke 4:18). He said that the Messiah wasn’t born to lead the Israelites out of physical captivity but to lead sinners out of spiritual captivity so that they could love and serve God. Even today, it all sounds so radical and so foolish.

So let’s look at that baby in the manger. Let’s ask, “Why did God entrust his Son to human care? Why did Jesus accept death on a cross when he could have prevented it? Was he being foolish, or did he know exactly what he was doing? Why does the Spirit stay with us and persist, even when we can be so quick to turn away from him?”

Why? Because of love.

Love makes us fools. We can be pretty irrational when we are in love. And our God is in love with us. He does irrational things like sending his Son to save us and his Spirit to comfort and guide us. He does foolish things like forgiving us and giving us the Eucharist. Today, as we celebrate Christmas, Jesus wants us to put our trust in God’s foolish, perfect love. For those who consider themselves to be “fools” for Christ are on the right path (1 Corinthians 4:10; 1:18). Have a blessed and happy Christmas.

“All glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus, for your love! May all your children come to embrace you, and may the foolishness of your gospel prevail over the ‘wisdom’ of this world!”

Isaiah 52:7-10; 
 Psalm 98:1-6; John 1:1-18


22 posted on 12/25/2008 2:35:20 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: All
Vultus Christi

In principio erat Verbum

|

06nativi.jpg

You Can No Longer Fear Me, You Can Only Love Me

Last night, in his Christmas homily, Pope Benedict XVI said, "The medieval theologian William of Saint Thierry once said that God - from the time of Adam - saw that his grandeur provoked resistance in man, that we felt limited in our own being and threatened in our freedom. Therefore God chose a new way. He became a child. He made himself dependent and weak, in need of our love. Now - this God who has become a child says to us - you can no longer fear me, you can only love me."

The Wood of Crèche and of Cross

This is an extraordinary painting of the Nativity, principally because of the crucifix on the rustic shelf inside the stable. It is the work of Lorenzo Lotto (1480-1556). The nakedness of the Child in the manger presages His nakedness on the cross. His arms are outstretched in the manger as on the cross. In Bethlehem, the Virgin Mother and Saint Joseph contemplate Him; on Calvary the Virgin Mother and Saint John will look upon Him pierced.

Lotto Nativity Detail Bambino.jpg

Adoring Silence

According to an ancient monastic tradition, there is no homily at the Mass of Christmas Day. The Prologue of Saint John -- the mystery of the Word out of silence -- calls for an adoring silence. At Mass today I will sing the Gospel of the Prologue of Saint John to an exquisite First Mode melody. The Prologue is a Gospel that simply has to be sung. And after it, there has to be silence. After the Word -- no other words. Tacere et adorare.

Saint John the Theologian presents us with the ineffable mystery of the Word: the Word facing the Father from all eternity; the Word made flesh, pitching his tent among us, that we might see his glory. Before the glory of the Word, all other words fall silent. In the presence of the Word, human discourse stammers and fails. Silence alone is worthy of the mystery.


23 posted on 12/25/2008 2:40:53 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Salvation
Lk 2:15-20
# Douay-Rheims Vulgate
15 And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us. et factum est ut discesserunt ab eis angeli in caelum pastores loquebantur ad invicem transeamus usque Bethleem et videamus hoc verbum quod factum est quod fecit Dominus et ostendit nobis
16 And they came with haste: and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. et venerunt festinantes et invenerunt Mariam et Ioseph et infantem positum in praesepio
17 And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. videntes autem cognoverunt de verbo quod dictum erat illis de puero hoc
18 And all that heard wondered: and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. et omnes qui audierunt mirati sunt et de his quae dicta erant a pastoribus ad ipsos
19 But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. Maria autem conservabat omnia verba haec conferens in corde suo
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. et reversi sunt pastores glorificantes et laudantes Deum in omnibus quae audierant et viderant sicut dictum est ad illos

24 posted on 12/25/2008 7:52:32 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: annalex
15. And it came pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even to Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.
16. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told to them.

GREEK EX. The shepherds were filled with astonishment at the things that they saw and heard, and so they left their sheepfolds, and set out by night to Bethlehem, seeking for the light of the Savior; and therefore it is said, They spoke one to another, &c.

THEOPHYL; As men who were truly watching, they said not, Let us see (the child; but) the word which has come to pass, i.e. the Word which was from the beginning, let us see how it has been made flesh for us, since this very Word is the Lord. For it follows, Which the Lord has made, and has shown to us; i.e. Let us see how the Lord has made Himself, and has shown His flesh to us.

AMBROSE; How remarkably Scripture weighs the import of each word. For when we behold the flesh of the Lord, we behold the Word, which is the Son. Let not this seem to you a slight example of faith, because of the humble character of the shepherds. For simplicity is sought for, not pride. It follows, And they came in haste. For no one indolently seeks after Christ.

ORIGEN; But because they came in haste, and not with loitering steps, it follows, They found Mary, (i.e. her who had brought Jesus into the world,) and Joseph, (i.e. the guardian of our Lord's birth,) and the babe lying in the manger, (i.e. the Savior Himself.)

THEOPHYL; It seems to succeed in due order, that after having rightly celebrated the incarnation of the Word, we should at length come to behold the actual glory of that Word. Hence it follows: But when they saw it, they made known the word which had been spoken to them.

GREEK EX. Beholding with hidden faith indeed the happy events which had been told them, and not content with marveling at the reality of those things which at the very first they saw and embraced when the Angel told them, they began to relate them not only to Mary and Joseph, but to the others also (and what is more they impressed them on their minds,) as it follows, And all who heard it marveled. For how could it be otherwise, at the sight of one of the heavenly host upon earth, and earth in peace reconciled to heaven; and that ineffable Child binding together in one, by His divinity, heavenly things, by His humanity, earthly things, and by this conjunction of Himself ejecting a wonderful union!

GLOSS. Not only do they marvel at the mystery of the incarnation, but also at so wonderful an attestation of the shepherds, men who could not have devised these unheard of things, but were with simple eloquence proclaiming the truth.

AMBROSE; Esteem not the words of the shepherds as mean and despicable For from the shepherds Mary increases her faith, as it follows: Mary kept all these sayings, and pondered them in her heart. Let us learn the chastity of the sacred Virgin in all things, who no less chaste in her words than in her body, gathered up in her heart the materials of faith.

THEOPHYL; For keeping the laws of virgin modesty, she who had known the secrets of Christ would divulge them to no one, but comparing what she had read in prophecy with what she now acknowledged to have taken place, she did not utter them with the mouth, but preserved them shut up in her heart.

GREEK EX. Whatever the Angel had said to her, whatever she had heard from Zacharias, and Elisabeth, and the shepherds, she collected them all in her mind, and comparing them together, perceived in all one harmony. Truly, He was God who was born from her.

ATHANAS. But every one rejoiced in the nativity of Christ, not with human feelings, as men are wont to rejoice when a son is born, but at the presence of Christ and the luster of the Divine light. As it follows: And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for every thing they had heard, &c.

THEOPHYL; That is to say, from the Angels, and had seen, i.e. in Bethlehem, as it was told them, i.e. they glory in this, that when they came they found it even as it was told them, or as it was told them they give praise and glory to God. For this they were told by the Angels to do, not in very word commanding them, but setting before them the form of devotion when they sung glory to God in the highest.

THEOPHYL; To speak in a mystery, let the shepherds of spiritual flocks, (nay, all the faithful,) after the example of, these shepherds, go in thought even to Bethlehem, and celebrate the incarnation of Christ with due honors. Let us go indeed casting aside all fleshly lusts, with the whole desire of the mind even to the heavenly Bethlehem, (i.e. the house of the living bread,) that He whom they saw crying in the manger we may deserve to see reigning on the throne of His Father. And such bliss as this is not to be sought for with sloth and idleness, but with eagerness must we follow the footsteps of Christ. When they saw Him they knew Him; and let us haste to embrace in the fullness of our love those things which were spoken of our Savior, that when the time shall come that we shall see with perfect knowledge we may be able to comprehend them.

THEOPHYL; Again, the shepherds of the Lord's flock by contemplating the life of the fathers who went before them, (which preserved the bread of life,) enter as it were the gates of Bethlehem, and find therein none other than the virgin beauty of the Church, that is, Mary; the manly company of spiritual doctors, that is, Joseph; and the lowly coming of Christ contained in the pages of Holy Scripture, that is, the infant child Christ, laid in the manger.

ORIGEN; That was the manger which Israel knew not, according to those words of Isaiah, The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib.

THEOPHYL; The shepherds did not hide in silence what they knew, because to this end have the Shepherds of the Church been ordained, that what they have learned in the Scriptures they might explain to their hearers.

THEOPHYL; The masters of the spiritual flocks also, while others sleep, at one time by contemplation enter into the heavenly places, at another time pass around them by seeking the examples of the faithful, at another time by teaching return to the public duties of the pastoral office.

THEOPHYL; Every one of us, even he who is supposed to live as a private person, exercises the office of shepherd, if, keeping together a multitude of good actions and pure thoughts, he strive to rule them with due moderation, to feed them with the food of the Scriptures, and to preserve them against the snares of the devil.

Catena Aurea Luke 2
25 posted on 12/25/2008 7:53:03 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: annalex


Adoration of the Shepherds

Agnolo Bronzino

1535-40
Oil on wood, 65,3 x 46,7 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

26 posted on 12/25/2008 7:53:33 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: All
Vespers -- Evening Prayer

Vespers (Evening Prayer)

O God, come to my aid.
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen. Alleluia.


A suitable hymn may be inserted at this point.

Psalm 109 (110)
The Messiah, king and priest
The Lord has said to my lord: “Sit at my right hand while I make your enemies into your footstool.”

From Sion the Lord will give you a sceptre, and you will rule in the midst of your foes.
Royal power is yours in the day of your strength, glorious and holy; from the time of your birth, before the dawn.

The Lord has sworn, and he will not repent: “You are a priest for ever, a priest of the priesthood of Melchisedech.”
The Lord is at your right hand, and on the day of his anger he will shatter kings.

He will judge the nations, he will pile high their skulls;
he will drink from the stream as he goes – he will hold his head high.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen.

Psalm 129 (130)
Out of the depths
Out of the depths I have cried to you, Lord: Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears listen out for the voice of my pleading.

If you took notice of our transgressions, Lord – Lord, who would be left?
But with you is forgiveness, and for this we revere you.
I rely on you, Lord, my spirit relies on your promise;
my soul hopes in the Lord, more than the watchman for daybreak.

More than the watchman for daybreak, let Israel hope in the Lord:
for with the Lord there is kindness and abundant redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel from all its transgressions.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen.

Canticle (Colossians 1)
Christ, firstborn of all creatures and firstborn from the dead
Let us give thanks to God the Father, who has made us worthy to share in the light that is the saints’ inheritance.
He has rescued us from the power of the shadows and brought us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation,
for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
thrones and dominations, principalities and powers.

All things were created through him and for him: he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

And he is the head of the body, the Church. He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, and so he is pre-eminent above all.
For it was the Father’s will that the fullness of God should dwell in him, and that through him all things should be reconciled to himself.
Through the blood of the Cross he brought peace to all things, both on Earth and in the heavens.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen.

Short reading 1 John 1:1-3 ©
Something which has existed since the beginning,
that we have heard,
and we have seen with our own eyes;
that we have watched
and touched with our hands:
the Word, who is life –
this is our subject.
That life was made visible:
we saw it and we are giving our testimony,
telling you of the eternal life
which was with the Father and has been made visible to us.
What we have seen and heard
we are telling you
so that you too may be in union with us,
as we are in union
with the Father
and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Canticle Magnificat
My soul rejoices in the Lord
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
 and my spirit rejoices in God, my salvation.
For he has shown me such favour –
 me, his lowly handmaiden.
Now all generations will call me blessed,
 because the mighty one has done great things for me.
His name is holy,
 his mercy lasts for generation after generation
 for those who revere him.

He has put forth his strength:
 he has scattered the proud and conceited,
 torn princes from their thrones;
 but lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
 the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
 he has remembered his mercy as he promised to our fathers,
 to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen.

Prayers and Intercessions ?
Let us greet Christ with jubilation, for at his birth the angels announced peace to the world. Let us sincerely beg him:
May your birth bring peace to all.
Lord, fill your church with all goodness
and give her strength by the mystery of your nativity.
You came as the prince of shepherds, as guide and leader of our souls:
the Pope and the bishops, our guides and leaders, faithful channels of your many graces.
King of eternity, by your birth you chose to be confined in time and suffer human tribulations.
We are fallen, we are mortal: raise us to be eternal with you.
Age after age awaited you and in the fullness of time you came:
show your presence to those who are still waiting for you.
Human nature was corrupted by death: by becoming flesh you restored its integrity.
restore to wholeness those who have died.
Our Father, who art in Heaven,
 hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
 thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
 and forgive us our trespasses
 as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
 but deliver us from evil.

O God, human nature is the wonderful work of your hands; still more wonderful, the way you redeemed it.
 We ask you to make us sharers in the divinity of Christ,
 who deigned to share in our humanity.

He lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.
Amen.

May the Lord bless us and keep us from all harm; and may he lead us to eternal life.
A M E N

27 posted on 12/25/2008 7:53:47 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: All
Regnum Christi

Flesh, Glory, Grace
December 25, 2008
| SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY
The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

Father Ernest Daly, LC

John 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man´s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father´s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, "This is he of whom I said, ´The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.´" From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father´s side, has revealed him.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for this Christmas day. I believe that you became a little child to redeem me and show me the Father’s love. I love you. Your birth shows the depth of your love for me. I choose to recommit myself today to be a Christian in love with you.

Petition: Lord, help me to grow in wonder at your love.

1. Flesh
“And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” For most families, Christmas is a day of special closeness. We take time to be with each other. We also know that God is close. He is that “someone” who unites us in love. Today, in astonished silence, we contemplate the Christ Child. Amid all the excitement and emotion of our Christmas day we cannot help but stop in amazement: My God lets me put my arms around him. Here is an amazing mystery of closeness. Here is where all human closeness finds its greatest expression. It is God’s initiative. He became flesh. He lives among us. Do I let myself draw close to Christ? Do I allow him to love me? Do I allow myself to love him?

2. Glory
“And we saw his glory.” For John, the glory of God that shines in the face of Christ is the glory of love. Jesus glories in being able to love — in being able to love us. What an amazing God we have! He defies our reason. His Christmas glory lies in making himself so humble that he becomes a tiny child dependent on our love. His glory will later consist in embracing his cross and dying out of love for us. Do I appreciate this glorious love? Am I ready to enter into its mystery? Am I ready to make my heart today shine with this glory of God’s love?

3. Grace
“Full of grace and truth.” The grace spoken of here is the Father’s loving glance. Jesus brings the Father’s loving glance to our world, to our lives. He transforms our world into the very place where the Father finds his Son. The Father is pleased; Christ lives among us. This is the grace that is Christ: God’s initiative of love. Grace is a gift. It does not depend on me. I simply have to receive it. I simply have to appreciate it, as John did. Do I appreciate Christ? Do I try to make my life a gift like his was?

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, thank you for this Christmas day. I know it may be busy, but I also know it is very beautiful. It is beautiful because you are here, Lord. Thank you for being here this Christmas day. I want to love you as Mary did. I want to bring your grace and glory to those around me.

Resolution: Today I will strive to show special joy and goodness in my relations with others, especially with my family. I will look for an extra way to make each of them happy today.


28 posted on 12/25/2008 8:09:52 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: All

Homily of the Day

I Promise I Won’t Waste Your Gift!

December 25th, 2008 by Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.

The Feast of Christmas

Luke 2:1-14

A woman had a dog, and that little dog was the most precious friend in all her life. When Christmas came, she wanted to find just the right gift for her little friend, so she searched the department stores and boutiques high and low. Finally she found the perfect gift, a handsome jeweled dog collar. “This is it!” she cried.

“What size would you like?” asked the clerk.

“Oh, dear,” she fretted, “I just don’t know.”

The clerk was sensible: “Why not take a tape measure and measure him?”

“Oh, I couldn’t do that!” she exclaimed.  “This is a Christmas present.  It has to be a surprise!”

+     +     +

Tonight we celebrate the biggest surprise that God ever gave us: His very own Son, Jesus, who came to help us find our way home.

When God made us, He made us good, every last one of us. But we weren’t finished, just barely started! Each of us has the lifetime task of growing into the persons God always dreamed we’d be. But as we’ve all discovered, it’s not a task we can do alone. On our own, we get stuck in an endless cycle of trial and error, trial and error!  Eventually, we lose heart and give up.

That’s not what God wants. So He sent Jesus to give us back our hearts; to give us hope that all our striving is going somewhere; to pick us up, dust us off, take us by the hand, and show us the way home. Jesus came to save our lives. And now tonight He needs to hear from us: “Thank you, Jesus. I promise I won’t waste your gift.”


29 posted on 12/25/2008 8:16:48 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: All
One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body


<< Thursday, December 25, 2008 >> Christmas
Saint of the Day
 
Isaiah 52:7-10
Hebrews 1:1-6

View Readings
Psalm 98
John 1:1-18

 

CONSTRICTED BY LOVE

 
"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." —John 1:14
 

On this great celebration of Christmas, we recall Jesus being constricted for love of us:

  • Jesus, Son of God and Eternal Word of God, Whom the universe cannot contain (2 Chr 6:18), is constricted in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
  • Jesus, through Whom all things came into being (Jn 1:3), accepts the constraints and limitations of a human body.
  • After birth, Jesus was "wrapped in swaddling clothes" (Lk 2:12). These clothes encircled His body, constricting Him.
  • The Baby Jesus was hunted down by the government. His family fled to Egypt. He was constricted through life as a Refugee in a land far from His home (Mt 2:14ff).
  • Jesus was constricted on the cross, the almighty God pressed to its wood by a few nails.
  • Jesus was constricted again by swaddling clothes. His burial cloths were wrapped around His immobile body.
  • After dying, the body of Jesus was constricted in a tomb.

Why did Jesus submit to these constrictions for our sake? "God is love" (1 Jn 4:16), and love endures all things (1 Cor 13:7).

 
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for taking on the constrictions of our humanity so You could set us free in the power of Your resurrection! I join my human life to Yours. I put my life in Your hands.
Promise: "Any who did accept [Jesus] He empowered to become children of God." —Jn 1:12
Praise: "For a Child is born to us, a Son is given us; upon His shoulder dominion rests" (Is 9:5). "With the Lord is kindness and with Him is plenteous redemption" (Ps 130:7).
 

30 posted on 12/25/2008 8:21:27 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: All
Compline -- Night Prayer

Compline (Night Prayer)

O God, come to my aid.
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen. Alleluia.


This is an excellent moment for an examination of conscience. In a communal celebration of Compline, one of the penitential acts given in the Missal may be recited.

A suitable hymn may be inserted at this point.


Psalm 15 (16)
The Lord, my inheritance
My body will rest in calm and hope.
Preserve me, Lord, I put my hope in you.

I have said to the Lord “You are my Lord, in you alone is all my good.”
As for the holy and noble men of the land, in them is all my delight.
But for those who run to alien gods, their sorrows are many.
I will not share in their libations of blood. I will not speak their names.

You, Lord, are my inheritance and my cup. You control my destiny,
the lot marked out for me is of the best, my inheritance is all I could ask for.
I will bless the Lord who gave me understanding; even in the night my heart will teach me wisdom.
I will hold the Lord for ever in my sight: with him at my side I can never be shaken.
Thus it is that my heart rejoices, heart and soul together; while my body rests in calm hope.

You will not leave my soul in the underworld. You will not let your chosen one see decay.
You will show me the paths of life, the fullness of joy before your face, and delights at your right hand until the end of time.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen.
My body will rest in calm and hope.

Reading 1 Thessalonians 5:23
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you in every way and preserve your life and your soul and your body without blemish, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Short Responsory ?
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
- Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
You have redeemed us, Lord, God of faithfulness.
- Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
- Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

Canticle Nunc Dimittis
Now, Master, you let your servant go in peace.
 You have fulfilled your promise.
My own eyes have seen your salvation,
 which you have prepared in the sight of all peoples.
A light to bring the Gentiles from darkness;
 the glory of your people Israel.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen.

Prayer
Let us pray.
Lord our God, we are tired by the work of the day. Refresh us with peaceful sleep and, forever renewed by the help you give, let us always be dedicated to you in body and mind.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

May the almighty Lord grant us a quiet night and a perfect end.
A M E N
An antiphon to Our Lady should be recited here.

31 posted on 12/25/2008 8:26:10 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: All
He Conquers by Humility

He Conquers by Humility

December 26th, 2008 by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.

In the days of Caesar Augustus, an era of peace was established in the Mediterranean world after centuries of strife.  But this peace was forged by the proud ambition of emperors and the edge of their armies’ swords.

Upon this stage appears a baby acclaimed as king by eastern dignitaries.  Neither Caesar nor Herod will brook any rivals.  So brutal hordes are sent to slay Him at birth, though He himself comes without armies.  The thugs are thwarted, but only for a season.  For the royal child is laid in a manger, and the wood of that manger foreshadows the wood of the cross.

Caesar and Herod were bound to misunderstand Him.  They climbed their way to the top, stepping on all who stood in their way.  He emptied himself and plunged to the bottom, from the glory of heaven to the squalor of a stable.  Pharaohs and Caesars strained towards immortality.  Yet He who was Immortal by nature embraced mortality.  The great ones of the world took every opportunity to exalt themselves.  In the very act of being born, He humbled Himself.

You would think that He would have chosen Rome or Athens as the place of His appearance.  But He selects an obscure desert town in a dusty provincial outpost.  Even in this humble spot, not even a seedy inn would make room for Him.  So they had recourse to a cave, welcomed only by the animals.  Isaiah said it well: “an ox knows its owner, and an ass its master’s manger; but Israel does not know, my people has not understood” (Is 1:2).

Everything was in fulfillment of Scripture.  He was born in Bethlehem, a town whose name means “house of bread.”  His crib was a manger, a feeding trough.  But they did not understand that He was the Bread of Life.  He was wrapped, like Solomon, in swaddling clothes (Wis 7:4-5), but they did not recognized Him as the new King and embodiment of divine wisdom.

The only people who recognize Him are shepherds, the humblest in society, and Magi, the wisest.  But most Israelites, like us, were neither very humble nor very wise, so they missed it.  They especially missed this — that one of the birthday gifts was incense, used in the worship of gods.  He was not only king, wise man, messiah, and savior — He was God incarnate.

How could Jews have believed this?  God is infinite, invulnerable, and omnipotent.  What is more vulnerable, fragile, and helpless than an infant?  Can the Eternal be born in time?  Can the Divine Word be a child at the breast, incapable of speech?  Can a mere teenage girl be the Mother of God?

It was just as hard for the pagans to believe it.  For their philosophers had taught that God is spirit and the body is a prison.  Salvation means liberation from the confines of the physical body.  So the idea that a divine Savior would embrace human flesh just did not compute.

Love sometimes does strange things.  It takes great risks and goes to extreme lengths that many would call foolish.  On that first Christmas day, God’s foolishness was wiser than men, and His weakness was stronger than men.  It took them all by surprise.

But this, of course, was part of God’s strategy.  The element of surprise is critical in warfare.  And Christmas was an act of warfare.  In fact it was D-Day, the day of deliverance.  The preparation had taken centuries, but now it was time for the Conqueror to land on enemy-occupied territory.  He came in humility, and would finish the conquest thirty years later by the greatest act of humility the world had ever seen.

“Peace on Earth, Good will towards men.”  True peace can never be forged by steel, but only by love.  It is the humble babe in the manger, not Caesar in his chariot, who is the real prince of peace.

 

Dr. D'Ambrosio studied under Avery Cardinal Dulles for his Ph.D. in historical theology and taught for many years at the University of Dallas. He now directs www.crossroadsinitiative.com, which offers Catholic resources for RCIA and adult and teen faith formation, with a special emphasis on the Eucharist, the Theology of the Body, the early Church Fathers, and the Sacrament of Confirmation.

(This article originally appeared in Our Sunday Visitor and is used by permission of the author.)


32 posted on 12/26/2008 4:20:18 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: All
A Baby Changes Everything

A Baby Changes Everything

December 25th, 2008 by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

In the quiet of night, a young mother holds her baby to her, admiring his fingers and toes, exploring the features of his face. Her son is new to this world, a gift from God. She is like every other new mother, filled with wonder and exhaustion and, perhaps, fear. She is very young. Is she up to this awesome task that God has seen fit to entrust to her? After all, this is no ordinary child. His birth was foretold by the prophets. An angel came to tell her he was coming! She replays the vision in her memory. It was just an ordinary day when the angel came with his divine message. Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son . . . He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High (Luke 1:30-32). Fear not? A child? It had been a lot to take in, but she believed, she trusted, she said “yes.” From that moment, nothing would ever be ordinary again.

She had gone to her cousin Elizabeth to help her with her own miraculous birth. She had returned home to begin her life with her husband, Joseph. Then, heavy with child, she had to travel to Bethlehem. Now, she had just given birth among the animals, far from her family and friends. This really wasn’t what she had in mind. Yet, she is thankful. The innkeeper was kind to let them stay here. They are safe, they are warm, and all went well with the birth. She smiles at her child. He is perfect, so perfect. If only her mother could be here to see him. He is the One her people have waiting for: the Savior, the Messiah, the Promised One. These are such big names for such a tiny baby, her baby who sleeps so peacefully in her arms.  My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior (Luke 1:46-47).

Who are these strangers who have come to visit? Joseph is talking to them, inviting them in. He whispers to her, “The angels told them.” She nods. This baby is special. The secret that few had known is secret no more. She resists the urge to hold him tighter, keep him to herself. He is not just her baby. He belongs to the world. She lays him in the manger so that they can take a closer look. They tell her about the angels, too. The light was so bright! There were so many! The whole of heaven was rejoicing! Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests (Luke 2:14). The shepherds stay for a little while, and then they return to their fields. She can hear them praising God as they leave. Joseph looks kindly at her, then lays down to get some rest. She should rest, too. It has been quite a day! But, her mind will not quiet down. There is so much to think about.

She checks on the baby again, makes sure that he is warm and dry. She remembers the shepherds looking at him. They had such reverence in their eyes. They knew that they were beholding a miracle. Yes, a miracle, a miracle entrusted to her care. She thought of the future, of all the things that he would need to learn. Yes, there was so much to think about. That young girl who had been living a quiet life before the angel came no longer existed. She was a mother now, the mother of the Savior. All ages will call me blessed (Luke 1:48). Why did God choose her, out of all the girls in all the world during all the ages? Why her, a simple, poor girl? Why did the savior come as a baby? He could have just appeared in glory. Why come in such impoverished conditions? It didn’t make much sense to her, but she knew that God must have his reasons. She would continue to trust, to hope, to believe. She would continue to say “Yes” wherever the road would lead. This baby would not only change her life. He would change the world. She is tired. She closes her eyes and dreams of the future. Yes, this baby would change everything.

 

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur has a Master of Arts degree in Applied Theology from Elms College, and is editor of SpiritualWoman.net. She is also the author of Letters to Mary from a Young Mother (2004).

(This article is adapted from a weekly column Patrice writes for CatholicMom.com, and is used by permission.)


33 posted on 12/26/2008 4:30:39 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson