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 During the Day
USCCB.org/New American Bible ^ | 12-25-08 | New American bible

Posted on 12/24/2008 5:33:20 PM PST by Salvation

December 25, 2008

                                The Nativity of the Lord -- Christmas

                                Mass During the Day

 
 
 
 
Reading 1
Responsorial Psalm
Reading 2
Gospel

Reading 1
Is 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
“Your God is King!”

Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry,
together they shout for joy,
for they see directly, before their eyes,
the LORD restoring Zion.
Break out together in song,
O ruins of Jerusalem!
For the LORD comforts his people,
he redeems Jerusalem.
The LORD has bared his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations;
all the ends of the earth will behold
the salvation of our God.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6

R. (3c) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
   for he has done wondrous deeds;
his right hand has won victory for him,
   his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
   in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
   toward the house of Israel.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
   the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
   break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
   with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
   sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Reading II
Heb 1:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways
to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son,
whom he made heir of all things
and through whom he created the universe,
who is the refulgence of his glory,
the very imprint of his being,
and who sustains all things by his mighty word.
When he had accomplished purification from sins,
he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
as far superior to the angels
as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say:
You are my son; this day I have begotten you?
Or again:
I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me?
And again, when he leads the firstborn into the world, he says:
Let all the angels of God worship him.

Gospel
Jn 1:1-18 or 1:1-5, 9-14

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 was 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.

or

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.
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.




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 5:33:20 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 5:35:06 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 5:36:18 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 5:37:34 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: All
Christmas and the Eucharist(Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)

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 5:38:43 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 5:40:55 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 5:41:49 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 5:42:45 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 5:43:34 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: All

From: Isaiah 52:7-10

The Messenger of Peace


[7] 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.” [8] 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.
[9] Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord
has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. [10] 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.

[11] Depart, depart, go out thence, touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst
of her, purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the Lord. [12] For you shall
not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight, for the Lord will go before you,
and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

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

52:7-12. Salvation is approaching; it has reached the gates of Zion, and its herald
is the messenger “who publishes salvation” (v. 7), proclaiming that the Lord is
returning to his holy city, like a victorious king coming back with his men, having
redeemed them from their captors (vv. 7-8). This victory parade includes songs of
joy extolling the salvation brought about by the Lord, and also a pressing call to
purification, to ensure that those who welcome the Lord are worthy to form part
of his holy company (vv. 11-12). These verses form the famous poem of the
“messenger of peace” who “brings good tidings”. The ideas of the first oracle of
this second part of the book (40:1-11) are repeated here very beautifully. The
messenger’s feet are praised—a symbol of his speed and surefootedness when
crossing the mountains, which is where important news comes from (ci. 40:9).
His message (v. 7) is described ver significantly as involving “peace”, which in
Isaiah means safety in Israel after the hardships of exile; “good tidings” or, more
literally, “news of goodness and well-being”, that is, genuine material and spiritual
prosperity; and “salvation”, which is permanent renewal on all levels. The three
words read together mean the highest degree of happiness imaginable. The core
of this message is the enthronement of God: “Your God reigns,” similar to 40:9:
“Behold your God.” What is new about this poem is that it depicts God as the
king of Zion (cf. 24:23). The kingdom of God is sublime; and only analogically is
it comparable to earthly kingdoms, as can be seen in the psalms of divine
kingship (Ps 47:8; 93:1; 96:10; 97:1), and, much more fully; in the New Testa-
ment, which records Jesus’ preaching centered on the Kingdom of God.

As in a stage play, the arrival of the messenger, which is really the same thing
as the arrival of God as king on Zion, causes the watchmen to raise shouts of
joy that resound across the city (v. 8). Those whose job it was to give warning
of any threat now provoke unconfined joy because of the “return of the Lord to
Zion” (v. 8; Ezek 43:1-5).

In a beautiful personification, the “waste places of Jerusalem” are called to join
in the watchmen’s song (v. 9). The restoration has come, and the credit must go
to the Lord, for he has bared his holy arm a symbol of vigorous action, as in the
time of the exodus (v. 10; ci. 40:10, 5 1:9; Ps 98:1).

The short hymn at the end (vv. 11-12) is an exhortation to be cleansed from every
trace of Babylonian idolatry and to follow the Lord’s path, who, in the early trek
through the wilderness (cf. Ex 13:21-22), travels at the head of the company and
is also its rearguard.

St Paul quotes the words of v. 7 in Romans 10:15 when he is making the point
that preaching is necessary if the Gospel is to be spread. So, they are an abiding
call to apostolate.

The words of this oracle (especially v. 11) have also been applied by Christian
tradition to those who have pastoral responsibilities: “A pastor should be a man
whose thoughts are pure and purified. No stain should mar the character of the
man who holds the office of pastor; thus shall he be able to cleanse the impurity
of those in his care. The one whose work it is to purify stains must have clean
hands, to ensure that, when he seeks to cleanse, he does not soil his charges
more. The prophet says: purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.
Those who are entrusted with leading souls along the path of faith to their eternal
home bear the vessels of the Lord. Considercarefully, then, how pure they must
be who have devoted themselves to the task of bearing living vessels to the
eternal Temple” (St Gregory the Great, “Regula Pastoralis”, 2, 2).

*********************************************************************************************
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 5:44:35 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: All

From: Hebrews 1:1-6

The Greatness of the Incarnate Son of God


[1] In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; [2]
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. [3] 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, [4] having become as much superior to angels as the name
he has obtained is more excellent than theirs.

Proof from Sacred Scripture


[5] 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”? [6] And
again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels
worship him.”

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

1-4. The first four verses are a kind of prologue to the letter, which does not carry
the greetings and words of thanksgiving to God normally found in letters of St
Paul. Like the prologue of St John’s Gospel, the letter moves immediately into its
main subject—the divinity of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. It speaks of Christ as a
Son whose sonship is eternal, prior to the creation of the world and to his Incar-
nation; it speaks also of Christ’s mission to save all men, a mission appropriate
to the Word who created all things. This exposition culminates in the affirmation
of Christ’s absolute superiority over angels, a theme dealt with, in different ways,
up to the end of the second chapter.

The entire epistle in fact develops the subject entered on in the prologue—the
sublimity of Christ, the natural and eternal Son of God, the universal Mediator,
the eternal Priest. This is why St Thomas Aquinas says that the subject matter
of this epistle is the “excellence” of Christ. In this respect the Letter to the Heb-
rews is different from the other letters in the Pauline corpus: in some letters (the
“Great Epistles” and the Captivity Letters) the Apostle deals with the grace which
imbues the entire mystical body of the Church; others (the Pastoral Letters) deal
with the grace bestowed on certain members of the Church (such as Timothy and
Titus); whereas the Letter to the Hebrews looks at grace as it is found in the Head
of the mystical body, Christ. This “excellence” of Christ the Angelic Doctor adds,
is examined by St Paul from four points of view: the first is that of Christ’s origin,
which the sacred writer identifies by calling him the true (natural, metaphysical)
Son of God, when he says that God has spoken to us by a Son; the second is
that of his power, for he depicts him as being made the heir of all things; the
third is that of his activity, when he affirms that he created the world; the fourth,
his sublime dignity, when he says that Christ reflects the glory of God (cf. “Com-
mentary on Heb.”, Prologue and 1:1).

Christ is thus presented as the pinnacle and fullness of salvific Revelation, as the
Second Vatican Council reminds us: “After God had spoken many times and in
various ways through the prophets ‘in these last days he has spoken to us by a
Son’ (Heb 1:1-2). For he sent his Son, the eternal Word who enlightens all men
to dwell among men and to tell them about the inner life of God [...]. He did this
by the total fact of his presence and self-manifestation—by words and works,
signs and miracles, but above all by his death and glorious resurrection from the
dead, and finally by sending the Spirit of truth. He revealed that God was with us,
to deliver us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to eternal life”
(”Dei Verbum”, 4).

1. Divine Revelation, which is rightly called “the Word of God”, develops in sta-
ges in the course of the Old and New Testaments. “By this Revelation,” Vatican
II teaches, ‘the invisible God (cf. Col 1:15; 1 Tim 1:17), from the fullness of his love,
addresses men as his friends (cf. Ex 33:11; Jn 15:14-15), and moves among men
(cf. Bar 3: 38), in order to invite and receive them into his own company.This eco-
nomy of Revelation is realized by deeds and words, which are intrinsically bound
up with each other. As a result, the works performed by God in the history of sal-
vation show forth and bear out the doctrine and realities signified by the words;
the words, for their part, proclaim the works, and bring to light the mystery they
contain” (”Dei Verbum”, 3). Revelation is, then, a gradual opening up of God’s
mysteries whereby little by little, like a wise teacher, it makes known who he is
and what his plans are concerning the salvation of all mankind. For, although
there is only one God and one way of salvation, man needs to be educated by
means of many precepts and to progress by stages on his way to God and so
advance in faith towards complete salvation in Christ. God in his mercy reveals
his mysteries to man in this way in order that the whole world experiencing “this
saving proclamation, on hearing it should believe, on believing it hope, on hoping
in it love” (St Augustine, “De Catechizandis Rudibus”, 4, 8).

When speaking of Revelation, the First Vatican Council recalled that although
‘God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural
light of human reason from the things that he created, [...] it was, nevertheless,
the good pleasure of his wisdom and goodness to reveal himself and the eternal
decrees of his will to the human race in another and supernatural way” (”Dei Fi-
lius”, Chap. 2). This supernatural revelation, as it says (reaffirming the teaching
of the Council of Trent), is contained in books and in oral traditions which the
Apostles received from Christ or from the Holy Spirit and passed on to us.
Christ’s Gospel had earlier been promised by the prophets and, more generally,
by the entire Old Testament. The epistle refers to this when it says that God
spoke in the past through the mouth of the prophets “in many ways”, that is, at
various stages in the history of the chosen people, and “in various ways”, that is,\
by means of visions, words, actions and historical events.

2. “The most intimate truth which this revelation gives us about God and the sal-
vation of man shines forth in Christ, who is himself both the mediator and the
sum total of Revelation” (”Dei Verbum”, 2).

St John of the Cross comments on this passage in a very beautiful and profound
way: “And this is as if he had said: That which God spoke of old in the prophets
to our fathers in sundry ways and divers manners, he has now, at last, in these
days, spoken to us once and for all in the Son. Herein the Apostle declares that
God has become, as it were, dumb, and has no more to say, since that which
he spoke before, in part, to the prophets, he has now spoken altogether in him,
giving us the All, which is his Son.

“And so he who would now enquire of God, or seek any vision or revelation would
not only be acting foolishly, but would be committing an offense against God, by
not setting his eyes altogether upon Christ, and seeking no new thing or aught
beside. And God might answer him after this manner, saying: ‘If I have spoken
all things to you in my Word, which is my Son, and I have no other word, what
answer can I now make to you, or what can I reveal to you which is greater than
this? Set your eyes on him alone, for in him I have spoken and revealed to you
all things”’ (”Ascent of Mount Carmel”, Book 2, Chap. 22).

The “last days” refer to the period of time between the first coming of Christ and
the second coming, or Parousia. These days have begun because the definitive
“Word” of God, Jesus Christ, can be seen and heard. Mankind already finds it-
self in the “last age”, in the “end of the ages” (cf. 1 Cor 10:11; Gal 4:4; Eph 1:10).

By speaking to us through his Son, God reveals to us his saving will from the mo-
ment of the Incarnation onwards, for the second person of the Blessed Trinity has
come into the world to redeem us by dying for us and to open for us the way to
heaven by his glorification. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the “prophet” par excellence
(cf. note on Jn 7:40-43), for he perfects and completes God’s merciful revelation.
The Incarnation and the subsequent events of our Lord’s life are, like his teaching,
a source of salvation.

It was appropriate that the Son who perfectly revealed God the Father should also
be the divine Word, the Creator of the world (cf. Jn 1:3). The creative action of the
divine “Logos” or Word is not contradicted by the statement that Creation is the
work of God the Father, for everything done by God outside himself (”ad extra”)
is an action common to the three divine persons; nor is it correct to see the Word
as merely an instrument used by the Father, for he is one in substance with him.

“It is the good Father’s own, unique Word who has ordered this universe. Being
the good Word he has arranged the order of all things [...]. He was with God as
Wisdom; as Word he contemplated the Father and created the universe, giving
it substance, order and beauty” (St Athanasius, “Oratio Contra Gentes”, 40 and
46). Not only did the Word make the Father manifest by creation; he, together
with the Father and the Holy Spirit, acted in the revelation of the Old Testament:
in fact, many patristic writers attributed to the Son—as “angel” or “messenger of
Yahweh”—the divine epiphanies witnessed by Moses and the prophets. St Ire-
naeus writes, for example, that Christ prefigured and proclaimed future events
through his “Patriarchs and prophets”, thereby acting in his role as Teacher, pro-
mulgating the divine commandments and rules andtraining his people to obey
God the Father (cf. “Against Heresies”, XIV, 21). A profound harmony links God’s
revelation in Creation, in the Old Testament and in the New Testament: in each
case it is the same God who is manifesting himself and the Word is ever actively
involved. This activity of the Word is hidden and happens through the prophets in
the Old Testament; whereas in the New the Word becomes flesh and acts direct-
ly. This passage in Hebrews combines the revelation of Jesus Christ as Mediator
and maker of the universe (cf. Col 1:15-18; 1 Cor 8:6) with the idea that God has
at last spoken to us in his Son, who “is in the bosom of the Father”, and has
made known to us the invisible mysteries of the Godhead (cf. Jn 1:18).

3a. These words, which describe Christ’s divinity and eternity, recall the passage
in the Book of Wisdom which reads, “For she is a reflection of eternal light, a
spotless mirror of the working of God” (Wis 7:26). What the Old Testament de-
scribed as an attribute of God is now revealed as a personal being the second
person of the Trinity, the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.

Using three images, the text teaches that Jesus Christ is perfect God, identical
to the Father. By saying that he “reflects” the glory of the Father it means that
he and the Father share the same nature—which is what we profess in the Creed
when we say that Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, is “light from light,
true God from true God” (Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed). “The author means”,
St John Chrysostom writes, “that Christ has this glory in his own right; it can
suffer no eclipse nor can it either increase or diminish” (”Hom. on Heb.”, 2).

The Son is also “stamped” with the nature of the Father; “stamp” is a translation
of the Greek word “character”, which means the mark left by a tool used to en-
grave or seal (for example, the impression of a seal on wax, or the seal affixed
to a document, or the brand used to identify livestock). This word indicates two
things—first, the perfect equality between the mark and the seal which makes
it, and second, the permanence of the mark.

“Upholding the universe by his word of power”: the Son, through whom all things
have been created, is also maintaining them in existence. God the Father not
only creates but, through the Son, maintains a continual, direct influence on his
creation; if he did not do so, as St Thomas Aquinas explains, the world would re-
vert into non-being: “If the divine power ceased to operate, existence would cease,
the being and subsistence of every created thing would end: (the Word) therefore
upholds all things in respect of their existence, and he sustains them also by vir-
tue of being the first cause of everything he has created” (”Commentary on Heb.”,
1, 2). It makes sense that God the Father should wish to keep the world in exis-
tence by means of the same Word by whom he created it.

3b. This is the central message of the Epistle to the Hebrews: Christ, the con-
substantial Son of the Father, the perfect reflection of his substance, who
created all things and maintains them in existence, by becoming man brought
about purification for sins and by his sacrifice was glorified and put at the right
hand of the Father, receiving “the name which is above every name” (cf. Phil 2:
6-11; Jn 1:1, 3, 14). The actions of Jesus Christ are a continuum of mercy and
salvation which extends from the creation of the world and mankind to the point
where he is seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father. Creation and Re-
demption are mysteries intimately linked to each other. The Son, the divine
Word, is both Creator and Redeemer. “It is appropriate to speak in the first in-
stance”, St Athanasius writes, “of the creation of the universe and of God its
Creator, in order correctly to appreciate the fact that the new creation of this
universe has been brought about by the Word who originally created it. For
there is no contradiction in the Father’s effecting the salvation of creatures by
him through whom they were created” (”De Incarnatione Contra Arianos”, 1).
This is why the tradition of the Church, echoing certain references in the New
Testament (cf. Gal 6:15; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 4:24; Col 3:10), describes the Re-
demption as a “new creation”.

To “sit down at the right hand of the Majesty” is equivalent to saying “has the
status of God”: “Majesty” is a term of reverence used to refer to God without
naming him; thus, Jewish rabbis would refer to God as “Lord”, “the most High”,
“the Power”, “Glory”, etc. Sitting in the presence of God was a prerogative of
the Davidic kings (cf.2 Sam 7:18; Ezek 44:3), and the person at the right hand
was seen as occupying the place of honor (cf. Ps 45: 10). Psalm 110 proclaims
that God will have the Messiah sit at his right hand, and at various times Christ
referred to that prophecy to assert that he was the Messiah and God (cf. Mt 22:
44; 26:63-65; Jn 5:17-18; 10:30-33). The exaltation of the Son to the right hand
of the Father was a constant theme of apostolic preaching (cf. Acts 2:33; Rom
8:34; 1 Pet 3:22; Rev 3:21; Eph 1:20). As St John Chrysostom comments, when

St Paul says that the Son sat down at the right hand of the Majesty he means
principally to refer to the status of the Son as equal to that of the Father. And
when he says that he is on high, in heaven, far from meaning to confine God
with in spatial limits, he wants us to see God the Son, as Lord of the universe,
raised up to the very throne of his Father (cf. “Hom. on Heb.”, 2).

4. The prologue ends with a very important statement, which introduces the
theme of the rest of the first chapter: Christ is superior to the angels. To under-
stand this comparison of Christ with the angels, one needs to bear in mind the
outlook of the Jews at the time. The period immediately prior to the New Tes-
tament had seen a considerable development of devotion to angels among the
ordinary religious Jews; with the result that this was the danger of Jesus, be-
cause he was a man, in some way being seen as on a lower level than angels,
who, created beings though they are, are pure spirits. In the Acts of the Apos-
tles (cf. Acts 23:9), we find the Pharisees in the Sanhedrin surmising that St
Paul’s preaching may result from revelation given him y an angel; and belief in
the existence of angels was a point of contention between Pharisees and Sad-
ducees (cf. Acts 23:7). For this reason the author of Hebrews wants to make
it quite clear to Christians of Jewish origin that Jesus is much more than an
angelic being.

Christ is superior to angels, the inspired writer says, because he has the title of
Son, which is his by natural right. This name demonstrates his divine nature, a
nature superior to that of any visible or invisible created being, whether material
or spiritual, whether earthly or angelic: something’s name describes its essence
and, particularly in Sacred Scripture, name and essence are at times one and
the same. Thus, for example, the phrase “in the name of” (cf. Mt 28:19; Acts
3:6; 4:7; 4:12; etc.) refers not just to the authority or power of the person named,
but to the person himself. Jesus Christ, because he is the very Son of God, is
superior to angels by virtue of the glory due to his eternal oneness with the
Father. As eternal Son of God, to him belonged, by right of inheritance, the title
of Son and Lord. Moreover, after his passion and resurrection he has “become”
superior to angels by a new title through his exaltation on high (cf. 1 Cor 15: 24-
27; Phil 2:9-11). This passage refers primarily to Jesus’ glorification as man; for
the words “having become as much superior to angels...” cannot refer, St John
Chrysostom points out, to his divine essence: by virtue of his divinity the Son is
equal to the Father and cannot be subject to change, cannot “become” anything:
he is eternally what he is by generation from the Father: “Eternal Word by nature,
he did not receive his divine essence by way of inheritance. These words, which
manifest his superiority over the angels, can only refer to the human nature with
which he has been clothed: for it is that nature that is a created one” (”Hom. on
Heb.”, 1).

On the essence of angels and what they are, see the note on Lk 1:11.

5. Ancient Hebrew exegesis of this verse of Psalm 2 took it in a messianic sense:
the Messiah or Anointed would be king of Israel and would enjoy God’s special
protection. Therefore he merited being called “Son of God”, in the same kind of
way, though more eminently, as other kings and just men of Israel deserved the
title. But in Hebrews 1:5 the verse is given a much more profound interpretation:
the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is the eternal Son of God, begotten “today”, that is,
in the continuous present of the eternal Godhead. It is affirming the generation
of the Son by the Father in the bosom of the Trinity, whereby the Son proceeds
eternally from the Father and is his mirror image. This form of generation is radi-
cally different from physical generation, whereby one living being physically be-
gets another like unto himself; and it is also quite different from Creation, where-
by God makes everything out of nothing. It is different from physical generation
because, in the Holy Trinity, Father and Son co-exist eternally and are one and
the same and only God, not two gods. It is different from Creation because the
Son has not been made from nothing but proceeds eternally from the Father.

God created angels in the context of time, as the Fourth Lateran Council says
in its profession of faith: “We firmly believe and profess without qualification that
there is only one true God [...], Creator of all things visible and invisible, spiritual
and corporeal, who, by his almighty power, from the very beginning of time, has
created both orders of creatures in the same way out of nothing, the spiritual or
angelic world and the corporeal or visible universe. And afterwards he formed the
creature man, who in a way belongs to both orders, as he is composed of spirit
and matter” (”De Fide Catholica”, Chap. 1).

The Son, on the other hand, proceeds from the Father eternally as light rays
come constantly from the sun or as water forms one single thing with the spring
from which it flows.

“These words have never been addressed to an angel,” St Thomas Aquinas com-
ments, “but to Christ alone. In them three things may be observed. First, the
mode of origin, expressed in the word ‘say’. It refers to a type of generation which
is not of the flesh but rather of a spiritual and intellectual kind. Second, this gene-
ration has an altogether singular character, for he says, ‘Thou art my Son’, as if
saying that although many others are called sons, being [God’s] natural son is
proper to Him alone; others are called sons of God because they partake of the
Word of God. Third, this is not a temporal but an eternal generation” (”Commen-
tary on Heb.”, 1, 3).

The quotation from Psalm 2 is completed by Nathan’s prophecy to David (2 Sam
7:14: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son”), which announces that a de-
scendant of David will be the Messiah and will ever enjoy God’s favor. But the
Hebrews text also makes it much clearer that the Messiah is the Son of God in
the proper sense of the word—a son by nature, and not by adoption (cf. Lk 1:32-
33). In Christ, therefore, two things combine: he is the Son of God and he is the
Messiah King.

6. Here the words of Deuteronomy 32:43, identical with those of Psalm 97:7
as given in the Septuagint, are used to convey, as a divine commandment ad-
dressed to spiritual beings, a directive to adore the Son. This is a further proof
of Christ’s superiority: the angels are to worship him. “This adoration shows his
absolute superiority over angels: it is the superiority of the master over his ser-
vants and his slaves. When Jesus Christ left the bosom of his Father to enter
this world, God required his angels to worship him. This is what a monarch does
when he brings some great personage into his palace and wishes to have him
honored: he orders his dignitaries to bow in his presence “Hom. on Heb.”, 3).

This reference to “bringing the first-born into the world” is consistently interpre-
ted by the Fathers of the Church and by ancient writers as a reference to the
Incarnation. Some authors also see this verse asreferring to the second coming
of Christ, when the world to come, unlike the present world, will be totally sub-
ject to the Redeemer. This interpretation connected with the end of time may
explain why the text of Deuteronomy 32:43 is used: that passage is followed
by reference to the last judgment by God.

Christ’s human nature should be worshipped now and always by angels and men
alike, for by doing so they adore Jesus, who is one person — which is divine—with
two natures, one divine and one human; he is worshipped as one: his divinity and
his humanity are worshipped at one and the same time.

This worship due to Christ over every created being is reminiscent of what St Paul
says in Philippians 2:10: “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven
and on earth and under the earth”, referring to the glorified human nature of Christ.
“It is fitting that the sacred humanity of Christ should receive the homage, praise
and adoration of all the hierarchies of the angels and of all the legions of the bles-
sed in heaven” (St. J. Escriva, “Holy Rosary”, Second Glorious Mystery).

*********************************************************************************************
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 5:45:42 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: All

From: John 1:1-18

Prologue


[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word
was God. [2] He was in the beginning with God; [3] all things were made through
him, and without him was not anything made that was made. [4] In him was life,
and the life was the light of men. [5] The light shines in the darkness, and the
darkness has not overcome it.

[6] There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. [7] He came for
testimony to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. [8] He
was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

[9] The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. [10] He
was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him
not. [11] He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. [12]
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become
children of God; [13] who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor
of the will of man, but of God.

[14] 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. [15] (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.’”) [16] And from his fullness have we all
received, grace upon grace. [17] For the law was given through Moses; grace
and truth came through Jesus Christ. [18] No one has ever seen God; the only
Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.

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

1-18. These verses form the prologue or introduction to the Fourth Gospel; they
are a poem prefacing the account of Jesus Christ’s life on earth, proclaiming
and praising his divinity and eternity. Jesus is the uncreated Word, God the
Only-egotten, who takes on our human condition and offers us the opportunity
to become sons and daughters of God, that is, to share in God’s own life in a
real and supernatural way.

Right through his Gospel St John the Apostle lays special emphasis on our
Lord’s divinity; his existence did not begin when he became man in Mary’s vir-
ginal womb: before that he existed in divine eternity as Word, one in substance
with the Father and the Holy Spirit. This luminous truth helps us understand
everything that Jesus says and does as reported in the Fourth Gospel.

St John’s personal experience of Jesus’ public ministry and his appearances
after the Resurrection were the material on which he drew to contemplate God’s
divinity and express it as “the Word of God”. By placing this poem as a pro-
logue to his Gospel, the Apostle is giving us a key to understand the whole
account which follows, in the same sort of way as the first chapters of the Gos-
pels of St Matthew and St Luke initiate us into the contemplation of the life of
Christ by telling us about the virgin birth and other episodes to do with his in-
fancy; in structure and content, however, they are more akin to the opening
passages of other NT books, such as Col 1:15-20, Eph 1:13-14 and 1 Jn 1-4.

The prologue is a magnificent hymn in praise of Christ. We do not know whe-
ther St John composed it when writing his Gospel, or whether he based it on
some existing liturgical hymn; but there is no trace of any such text in other
early Christian documents.

The prologue is very reminiscent of the first chapter of Genesis, on a number of
scores: 1) the opening words are the same: “In the beginning...”; in the Gospel
they refer to absolute beginning, that is, eternity, whereas in Genesis they mean
the beginning of Creation and time; 2) there is a parallelism in the role of the
Word: in Genesis, God creates things by his word (”And God said ...”); in the
Gospel we are told that they were made through the Word of God; 3) in Genesis,
God’s work of creation reaches its peak when he creates man in his own image
and likeness; in the Gospel, the work of the Incarnate Word culminates when
man is raised—by a new creation, as it were — to the dignity of being a son of
God.

The main teachings in the prologue are: 1) the divinity and eternity of the Word;
2) the Incarnation of the Word and his manifestation as man; 3) the part played
by the Word in creation and in the salvation of mankind; 4) the different ways
in which people react to the coming of the Lord — some accepting him with
faith, others rejecting him; 5) finally, John the Baptist bears witness to the
presence of the Word in the world.

The Church has always given special importance to this prologue; many Fathers
and ancient Christian writers wrote commentaries on it, and for centuries it was
always read at the end of Mass for instruction and meditation.

The prologue is poetic in style. Its teaching is given in verses, which combine
to make up stanzas (vv. 1-5; 6-8; 9-13; 14-18). Just as a stone dropped in a
pool produces ever widening ripples, so the idea expressed in each stanza
tends to be expanded in later verses while still developing the original theme.
This kind of exposition was much favored in olden times because it makes it
easier to get the meaning across—and God used it to help us go deeper into
the central mysteries of our faith.

1. The sacred text calls the Son of God “the Word.” The following comparison
may help us understand the notion of “Word”: just as a person becoming con-
scious of himself forms an image of himself in his mind, in the same way God
the Father on knowing himself begets the eternal Word. This Word of God is
singular, unique; no other can exist because in him is expressed the entire
essence of God. Therefore, the Gospel does not call him simply “Word”, but
“the Word.” Three truths are affirmed regarding the Word—that he is eternal,
that he is distinct from the Father, and that he is God. ‘’Affirming that he exis-
ted in the beginning is equivalent to saying that he existed before all things”
(St Augustine, “De Trinitate”, 6, 2). Also, the text says that he was with God,
that is, with the Father, which means that the person of the Word is distinct
from that of the Father and yet the Word is so intimately related to the Father
that he even shares his divine nature: he is one in substance with the Father
(cf. “Nicean Creed”).

To mark the Year of Faith (1967-1968) Pope Paul VI summed up this truth con-
cerning the most Holy Trinity in what is called the “Creed of the People of God”
(n. 11) in these words: “We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son
of God. He is the eternal Word, born of the Father before time began, and one
in substance with the Father, “homoousios to Patri”, and through him all things
were made. He was incarnate of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit,
and was made man: equal therefore to the Father according to his divinity, and
inferior to the Father according to his humanity and himself one, not by some
impossible confusion of his natures, but by the unity of his person.”

“In the beginning”: “what this means is that he always was, and that he is eter-
nal. [...] For if he is God, as indeed he is, there is nothing prior to him; if he is
creator of all things, then he is the First; if he is Lord of all, then everything
comes after him—created things and time” (St John Chrysostom, “Hom. on St
John”, 2, 4).

3. After showing that the Word is in the bosom of the Father, the prologue goes
on to deal with his relationship to created things. Already in the Old Testament
the Word of God is shown as a creative power (cf. Is 55:10-11), as Wisdom pre-
sent at the creation of the world (cf. Prov 8:22-26). Now Revelation is extended:
we are shown that creation was caused by the Word; this does not mean that
the Word is an instrument subordinate and inferior to the Father: he is an active
principle along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The work of creation is an
activity common to the three divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity: “the Father
generating, the Son being born, the Holy Spirit proceeding; consubstantial, co-
equal, co-omnipotent and co-eternal; one origin of all things: the creator of all
things visible and invisible, spiritual and corporal.” (Fourth Lateran Council, “De
Fide Catholica”, Dz-Sch, 800). From this can be deduced, among other things,
the hand of the Trinity in the work of creation and, therefore, the fact that all
created things are basically good.

4. The prologue now goes on to expound two basic truths about the Word—that
he is Life and that he is Light. The Life referred to here is divine life, the primary
source of all life, natural and supernatural. And that Life is the light of men, for
from God we receive the light of reason, the light of truth and the light of glory,
which are a participation in God’s mind. Only a rational creature is capable of
having knowledge of God in this world and of later contemplating him joyfully in
heaven for all eternity. Also the Life (the Word) is the light of men because he
brings them out of the darkness of sin and error (cf. Is 8:23; 9:1-2; Mt 4:15-16;
Lk 1:74). Later on Jesus will say: “I am the light of the world; he who follows
me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12; cf. 12:46).

Vv. 3 and 4 can be read with another punctuation, now generally abandoned but
which had its supporters in ancient times: “All things were made through him,
and without him nothing was made; in so far as anything was made in him, he
was the life and the life was the light of men.” This reading would suggest that
everything that has beencreated is life in the Word, that is, that all things re-
ceive their being and activity, their life, through the Word: without him they can-
not possibly exist.

5. “And the darkness has not overcome it”: the original Greek verb, given in
Latin as “comprehenderunt”, means to embrace or contain as if putting one’s
arms around it—an action which can be done with good dispositions (a friendly
embrace) or with hostility (the action of smothering or crushing someone). So
there are two possible translations: the former is that given in the Navarre
Spanish, the latter that in the RSV. The RSV option would indicate that Christ
and the Gospel continue to shine among men despite the world’s opposition,
indeed overcoming “it”, as Jesus later says: “Be of good cheer: I have over-
come the world” (Jn 16:33; cf. 12:31; 1 Jn 5:4). Either way, the verse expres-
ses the darkness’ resistance to, repugnance for, the light. As his Gospel pro-
ceeds, St John explains further about the light and darkness: soon, in vv. 9-11,
he refers to the struggle between them; later he will describe evil and the po-
wers of the evil one, as a darkness enveloping man’s mind and preventing him
from knowing God (cf. Jn 12:15-46; 1 Jn 5:6).

St Augustine (”In Ioann. Evang.”, 1, 19) comments on this passage as follows:
“But, it may be, the dull hearts of some cannot yet receive this light. Their sins
weigh them down, and they cannot discern it. Let them not think, however, that,
because they cannot discern it, therefore it is not present with them. For they
themselves, because of their sins, are darkness. Just as if you place a blind
person in the sunshine, although the sun is present to him, yet he is absent
from the sun; in the same way, every foolish man, every unrighteous man, every
ungodly man, is blind in heart. [...] What course then ought such a one to take?
Let him cleanse the eyes of his heart, that he may be able to see God. He will
see Wisdom, for God is Wisdom itself, and it is written: ‘Blessed are the clean
of heart, for they shall see God.’” There is no doubt that sin obscures man’s
spiritual vision, rendering him unable to see and enjoy the things of God.

6-8. After considering the divinity of the Lord, the text moves on to deal with his
incarnation, and begins by speaking of John the Baptist, who makes his appea-
rance at a precise point in history to bear direct witness before man to Jesus
Christ (Jn 1:15, 19-36; 3:22ff). As St Augustine comments: “For as much as he
[the Word Incarnate] was man and his Godhead was concealed, there was sent
before him a great man, through whose testimony He might be found to be more
than man” (”In Ioann. Evang.”, 2, 5).

All of the Old Testament was a preparation for the coming of Christ. Thus, the
patriarchs and prophets announced, in different ways, the salvation the Messiah
would bring. But John the Baptist, the greatest of those born of woman (cf. Mt
11:11), was actually able to point out the Messiah himself; his testimony marked
the culmination of all the previous prophecies.

So important is John the Baptist’s mission to bear witness to Jesus Christ that
the Synoptic Gospels stage their account of the public ministry with John’s
testimony. The discourses of St Peter and St Paul recorded in the Acts of the
Apostles also refer to this testimony (Acts 1:22; 10:37; 12:24). The Fourth Gos-
pel mentions it as many as seven times (1:6, 15, 19, 29, 35; 3:27; 5:33). We
know, of course, that St John the Apostle was a disciple of the Baptist before
becoming a disciple of Jesus, and that it was precisely the Baptist who showed
him the way to Christ (cf. 1 :37ff).

The New Testament, then, shows us the importance of the Baptist’s mission,
as also his own awareness that he is merely the immediate Precursor of the
Messiah, whose sandals he is unworthy to untie (cf. Mk 1:7): the Baptist stres-
ses his role as witness to Christ and his mission as preparer of the way for the
Messiah (cf. Lk 1:15-17; Mt 3: 3-12). John the Baptist’s testimony is undimi-
nished by time: he invites people in every generation to have faith in Jesus, the
true Light.

9. “The true light...” [The Spanish translation of this verse is along these lines:
“It was the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world.”] The
Fathers, early translations and most modern comentators see “the Word” as
being the subject of this sentence, which could therefore be translated as “the
Word was the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world...”.
Another interpretation favored by many modern scholars makes “the light” the
subject, in which case it would read “the true light existed, which enlightens...”.
Either way, the meaning is much the same.

“Coming into the world”: it is not clear in the Greek whether these words refer
to “the light”, or to “every man”. In the first case it is the Light (the Word) that
is coming into this world to enlighten all men; in the second it is the men who,
on coming into this world, on being born, are enlightened by the Word; the
RSV and the new Vulgate opt for the first interpretation.

The Word is called “the true light” because he is the original light from which
every other light or revelation of God derives. By the Word’s coming, the world
is fully lit up by the authentic Light. The prophets and all the other messengers
of God, including John the Baptist, were not the true light but his reflection,
attesting to the Light of the Word.

A propos the fullness of light which the Word is, St John Chrysostom asks: “If
he enlightens every man who comes into the world, how is it that so many have
remained unenlightened? For not all, to be sure, have recognized the high dignity
of Christ. How, then, does he enlighten every man? As much as he is permitted
to do so. But if some, deliberately closing the eyes of their minds, do not wish
to receive the beams of this light, darkness is theirs. This is not because of the
nature of the light, but is a result of the wickedness of men who deliberately
deprive themselves of the gift of grace (Hom. on St. John, 8, 1).

10. The Word is in this world as the maker who controls what he has made (cf.
St Augustine, “In Ioann. Evang.”, 2, 10). In St John’s Gospel the term “world”
means “all creation, all created things (including all mankind)”: thus, Christ
came to save all mankind: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only
Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For
God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world
might be saved through him” (Jn 3:16-17). But insofar as many people have
rejected the Light, that is, rejected Christ, “world” also means everything op-
posed to God (cf. Jn 17:14-15). Blinded by their sins, men do not recognize in
the world the hand of the Creator (cf. Rom 1:18-20; Wis 13:1-15): “they be-
come attached to the world and relish only the things that are of the world”
(St John Chrysostom, “Hom. on St John”, 7). But the Word, “the true light”,
comes to show us the truth about the world (cf. Jn 1:3; 18:37) and to save
us.

11. “his own home, his own people”: this means, in the first place, the Jewish
people, who were chosen by God as his own personal “property”, to be the
people from whom Christ would be born. It can also mean all mankind, for
mankind is also his: he created it and his work of redemption extends to every-
one. So the reproach that they did not receive the Word made man should be
understood as addressed not only to the Jews but to all those who rejected
God despite his calling them to be his friends: “Christ came; but by a myste-
rious and terrible misfortune, not everyone accepted him. [...] It is the picture
of humanity before us today, after twenty centuries of Christianity. How did this
happen? What shall we say? We do not claim to fathom a reality immersed
in mysteries that transcend us—the mystery of good and evil. But we can re-
call that the economy of Christ, for its light to spread, requires a subordinate
butnecessary cooperation on the part of man—the cooperation of evangeliza-
tion, of the apostolic and missionary Church. If there is still work to be done,
it is all he more necessary for everyone to help her” (Paul VI, General Au-
dience, 4 December 1974).

12. Receiving the Word means accepting him through faith, for it is through
faith that Christ dwells in our hearts (cf. Eph 3:17). Believing in his name means
believing in his Person, in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. In other words,
“those who believe in his name are those who fully hold the name of Christ, not
in any way lessening his divinity or his humanity” (St Thomas Aquinas, “Com-
mentary on St John, in loc.”).

“He gave power [to them]” is the same as saying “he gave them a free gift”—
sanctifying grace—”because it is not in our power to make ourselves sons of
God” (”ibid.”). This gift is extended through Baptism to everyone, whatever his
race, age, education etc. (cf. Acts 10:45; Gal 3:28). The only condition is that
we have faith.

“The Son of God became man”, St Athanasius explains, “in order that the sons
of men, the sons of Adam, might become sons of God. [...] He is the Son of
God by nature; we, by grace” (”De Incarnatione Contra Arrianos”). What is re-
ferred to here is birth to supernatural life: in which “Whether they be slaves or
freemen, whether Greeks or barbarians or Scythians, foolish or wise, female or
male, children or old men, honorable or without honor, rich or poor, rulers or
private citizens, all, he meant, would merit the same honor. [...] Such is the
power of faith in him; such the greatness of his grace” (St John Chrysostom,
“Hom. on St John”, 10, 2).

“Christ’s union with man is power and the source of power, as St John stated
so incisively in the prologue of his Gospel: ‘(The Word) gave power to become
children of God.’ Man is transformed inwardly by this power as the source of a
new life that does not disappear and pass away but lasts to eternal life (cf. Jn
4:14)” (John Paul II, “Redemptor Hominis”, 18).

13. The birth spoken about here is a real, spiritual type of generation which is
effected in Baptism (cf. 3:6ff). Instead of the plural adopted here, referring to
the supernatural birth of men, some Fathers and early translations read it in
the singular: “who was born, not of blood...but of God”, in which case the text
would refer to the eternal generation of the Word and to Jesus’ generation
through the Holy Spirit in the pure womb of the Virgin Mary. Although the
second reading is very attractive, the documents (Greek manuscripts, early
translations, references in the works of ecclesiastical writers, etc.) show the
plural text to be the more usual, and the one that prevailed from the fourth
century forward. Besides, in St John’s writings we frequently find reference
to believers as being born of God (cf. Jn 3:3-6; 1 Jn 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18).

The contrast between man’s natural birth (by blood and the will of man) and his
supernatural birth (which comes from God) shows that those who believe in
Jesus Christ are made children of God not only by their creation but above all
by the free gift of faith and grace.

14. This is a text central to the mystery of Christ. It expresses in a very con-
densed form the unfathomable fact of the incarnation of the Son of God.
“When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman”
(Gal 4:4).

The word “flesh” means man in his totality (cf. Jn 3:6; 17:2; Gen 6:3; Ps 56:5);
so the sentence “the Word became flesh” means the same as “the Word be-
came man.” The theological term “incarnation” arose mainly out of this text.
The noun “flesh” carries a great deal of force against heresies which deny that
Christ is truly man. The word also accentuates that our Savior, who dwelt
among us and shared our nature, was capable of suffering and dying, and it
evokes the “Book of the Consolation of Israel” (Is 40:1-11), where the fragility
of the flesh is contrasted with the permanence of the Word of God: “The grass
withers, the flower fades; but the Word of our God will stand for ever” (Is 40:8).
This does not mean that the Word’s taking on human nature is something pre-
carious and temporary.

“And dwelt among us”: the Greek verb which St John uses originally means
“to pitch one’s tent”, hence, to live in a place. The careful reader of Scripture
will immediately think of the tabernacle, or tent, in the period of the exodus
from Egypt, where God showed his presence before all the people of Israel
through certain sights of his glory such as the cloud covering the tent (cf., for
example, Ex 25:8; 40:34-35). In many passages of the Old Testament it is
announced that God “will dwell in the midst of the people” (cf., for example,
Jer 7:3; Ezek 43:9; Sir 24:8). These signs of God’s presence, first in the pil-
grim tent of the Ark in the desert and then in the temple of Jerusalem, are fol-
lowed by the most wonderful form of God’s presence among us—Jesus Christ,
perfect God and perfect Man, in whom the ancient promise is fulfilled in a way
that far exceeded men’s greatest expectations. Also the promise made through
Isaiah about the “Immanuel” or “God-with-us” (Is 7:14; cf. Mt 1:23) is comple-
tely fulfilled through this dwelling of the Incarnate Son of God among us. There-
fore, when we devoutly read these words of the Gospel “and dwelt among us”
or pray them during the Angelus, we have a good opportunity to make an act
of deep faith and gratitude and to adore our Lord’s most holy human nature.

“Remembering that ‘the Word became flesh’, that is, that the Son of God be-
came man, we must become conscious of how great each man has become
through this mystery, through the Incarnation of the Son of God! Christ, in fact,
was conceived in the womb of Mary and became man to reveal the eternal love
of the Creator and Father and to make known the dignity of each one of us”
(John Paul II, “Angelus Address” at Jasna Gora Shrine, 5 June 1979).

Although the Word’s self-emptying by assuming a human nature concealed in
some way his divine nature, of which he never divested himself, the Apostles
did see the glory of his divinity through his human nature: it was revealed in the
transfiguration (Lk 9:32-35), in his miracles (Jn 2:11; 11:40), and especially in
his resurrection (cf. Jn 3:11; 1 Jn 1:1) The glory of God, which shone out in the
early tabernacle in the desert and in the temple at Jerusalem, was nothing but
an imperfect anticipation of the reality of God’s glory revealed through the holy
human nature of the Only-begotten of the Father. St John the Apostle speaks
in a very formal way in the first person plural: “we have beheld his glory”, be-
cause he counts himself among the witnesses who lived with Christ and, in
particular, were present at his transfiguration and saw the glory of his resur-
rection.

The words “only Son” (”Only-begotten”) convey very well the eternal and unique
generation of the Word by the Father. The first three Gospels stressed Christ’s
birth in time; St John complements this by emphasizing his eternal generation.

The words “grace and truth” are synonyms of “goodness and fidelity”, two attri-
butes which, in the Old Testament, are constantly applied to Yahweh (cf., e.g.,
Ex 34:6; Ps 117; Ps 136; Osee 2:16-22): so, grace is the _expression of God’s
love for men, the way he expresses his goodness and mercy. Truth implies per-
manence, loyalty, constancy, fidelity. Jesus, who is the Word of God made
man, that is, God himself, is therefore “the only Son of the Father, full of grace
and truth”; he is the “merciful and faithful high priest” (Heb 2:17). These two
qualities, being good and faithful, are a kind of compendium or summary of
Christ’s greatness. And they also parallel, though on an infinitely lower level,
the quality essential to every Christian, as stated expressly by our Lord when
he praised the “good and faithful servant” (Mt 25:21).

As Chrysostom explains: “Having declared that they who received him were
‘born of God’ and ‘become sons of God,’ he then set forth the cause and reason
for this ineffable honor. It is that ‘the Word became flesh’ and the Master took
on the form of a slave. He became the Son of Man, though he was the true
Son of God, in order that he might make the sons of men children of God
(”Hom. on St John”, 11,1).

The profound mystery of Christ was solemnly defined by the Church’s Magiste-
rium in the famous text of the ecumenical council of Chalcedon (in the year 451):
“Following the holy Fathers, therefore, we all with one accord teach the profes-
sion of faith in the one identical Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We declare that he
is perfect both in his divinity and in his humanity, truly God and truly man, com-
posed of body and rational soul; that he is consubstantial with the Father in his
divinity, consubstantial with us in his humanity, like us in every respect except
for sin (cf. Heb 4:15). we declare that in his divinity he was begotten in this last
age of Mary the Virgin, the Mother of God, for us and for our salvation” (Dz-Sch,
n. 301).

15. Further on (On Jn 1:19-36) the Gospel tells us more about John the Bap-
tist’s mission as a witness to the messiahship and divinity of Jesus. Just as
God planned that the Apostles should bear witness to Jesus after the resur-
rection, so he planned that the Baptist would be the witness chosen to pro-
claim Jesus at the very outset of his public ministry (cf. note on Jn 1:6-8).

16 “Grace upon grace”: this can be understood, as it was by Chrysostom and
other Fathers, as “grace for grace”, the Old Testament economy of salvation
giving way to the new economy of grace brought by Christ. It can also mean
(as the RSV suggests) that Jesus brings a superabundance of gifts, adding on,
to existing graces, others—all of which pour out of the one inexhaustible source,
Christ, who is for ever full of grace. “Not by sharing with us, says the Evangelist,
does Christ possess the gift, but he himself is both fountain and root of all vir-
tues. He himself is life, and light, and truth, not keeping within himself the
wealth of these blessings, but pouring it forth upon all others, and even after
the outpouring still remaining full. He suffers loss in no way by giving his wealth
to others, but, while always pouring out and sharing these virtues with all men,
he remains in the same state of perfection” (St John Chrysostom, “Hom. on St
John”, 14, 1).

17. Here, for the first time in St John’s Gospel, the name of Jesus Christ ap-
pears, identified with the Word of whom John has been speaking.

Whereas the Law given by Moses went no further than indicate the way man
ought follow (cf. Rom 8:7-10), the grace brought by Jesus has the power to
save those who receive it (cf. Rom 7:25). Through grace “we have become
dear to God, no longer merely as servants, but as sons and friends” (Chry-
sostom, “Hom. on St John”, 14, 2).

On “grace and truth” see note on Jn 1:14.

18. “No one has ever seen God”: in this world men have never seen God other
than indirectly: all that they could contemplate was God’s “glory”, that is the
aura of his greatness: for example, Moses saw the burning bush (Ex 3:6); Eli-
jah felt the breeze on Mount Horeb—the “still small voice” (RSV)—(1 Kings 19:
11-13). But in the fullness of time God comes much closer to man and reveals
himself almost directly, for Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God
(cf. Col 1:15), the maximum revelation of God in this world, to such an extent
that he assures us that “he who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9).
“The most intimate truth which this revelation gives us about God and the sal-
vation of man shines forth in Christ, who is himself both the mediator and the
sum total of Revelation” (Vatican II, “Dei Verbum”, 2).

There is no greater revelation God could make of himself than the incarnation
of his eternal Word. As St John of the Cross puts it so well: “In giving to us, as
he has done, his Son, who is his only Word, he has spoken to us once and for
all by his own and only Word, and has nothing further to reveal” (”Ascent of
Mount Carmel”, Book II, chap. 22).

“The only Son”: the RSV note says that “other ancient authorities read “God”
(for Son); the Navarre Spanish has “the Only-begotten God” and comments as
follows: some Greek manuscripts and some translations give “the Only-begot-
ten Son” or “the Only-begotten”. “The Only-begotten God” is preferable be-
cause it finds best support in the codexes. Besides, although the meaning
does not change substantially, this translation has a richer content because
it again explicitly reveals Christ’s divinity.

*******************************************************************************************
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 5:47:06 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 5:48:06 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 5:49:03 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: All
Merry Christmas and may God bless us each and every one. Image and video hosting by TinyPic
15 posted on 12/24/2008 6:20:16 PM PST by patriot08
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

Am enjoying the broadcast of midnight mass from St. Peter’s in Rome. Merry Christmas to all.


16 posted on 12/24/2008 8:43:50 PM PST by Ciexyz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | 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!


17 posted on 12/24/2008 8:59:03 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | 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.]


18 posted on 12/24/2008 9:06:26 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Salvation
Merry Christmas to everyone reading this thread! I'm forwarding today's mass readings to a Catholic friend of mine who can't get out due to icy weather. Blessings to all!
19 posted on 12/25/2008 11:44:00 AM PST by Ciexyz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | 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.

20 posted on 12/25/2008 2:11:33 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | 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


21 posted on 12/25/2008 2:16:45 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | 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


22 posted on 12/25/2008 2:24:59 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | 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


23 posted on 12/25/2008 2:28:07 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | 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

24 posted on 12/25/2008 2:32:10 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | 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


25 posted on 12/25/2008 2:36:04 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | 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.


26 posted on 12/25/2008 2:41:38 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ 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 7:54:42 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Salvation
Jn 1:1-18
# Douay-Rheims Vulgate
1 In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God. in principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum et Deus erat Verbum
2 The same was in the beginning with God. hoc erat in principio apud Deum
3 All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. omnia per ipsum facta sunt et sine ipso factum est nihil quod factum est
4 In him was life: and the life was the light of men. in ipso vita erat et vita erat lux hominum
5 And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. et lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non conprehenderunt
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. fuit homo missus a Deo cui nomen erat Iohannes
7 This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. hic venit in testimonium ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine ut omnes crederent per illum
8 He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. non erat ille lux sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine
9 That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. erat lux vera quae inluminat omnem hominem venientem in mundum
10 He was in the world: and the world was made by him: and the world knew him not. in mundo erat et mundus per ipsum factus est et mundus eum non cognovit
11 He came unto his own: and his own received him not. in propria venit et sui eum non receperunt
12 But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. quotquot autem receperunt eum dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri his qui credunt in nomine eius
13 Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. qui non ex sanguinibus neque ex voluntate carnis neque ex voluntate viri sed ex Deo nati sunt
14 And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth. et Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis et vidimus gloriam eius gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre plenum gratiae et veritatis
15 John beareth witness of him and crieth out, saying: This was he of whom I spoke: He that shall come after me is preferred before me: because he was before me. Iohannes testimonium perhibet de ipso et clamat dicens hic erat quem dixi vobis qui post me venturus est ante me factus est quia prior me erat
16 And of his fulness we all have received: and grace for grace. et de plenitudine eius nos omnes accepimus et gratiam pro gratia
17 For the law was given by Moses: grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. quia lex per Mosen data est gratia et veritas per Iesum Christum facta est
18 No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son who is in the Bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. Deum nemo vidit umquam unigenitus Filius qui est in sinu Patris ipse enarravit

28 posted on 12/25/2008 8:04:58 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: annalex
1a. In the beginning was the Word,

CHRYS. While all the other Evangelists begin with the Incarnation, John, passing over the Conception, Nativity, education, and growth, speaks immediately of the Eternal Generation, saying, In the beginning was the Word.

AUG. The Greek word "logos" signifies both Word and Reason. But in this passage it is better to interpret it Word; as referring not only to the Father, but to the creation of things by the operative power of the Word; whereas Reason, though it produce nothing, is still rightly called Reason.

AUG. Words by their daily use, sound, and passage out of us, have become common things. But there is a word which remains inward, in the very man himself; distinct from the sound which proceeds out of the mouth. There is a word, which is truly and spiritually that, which you understand by the sound, not being the actual sound. Now whoever can conceive the notion of word, as existing not only before its sound, but even before the idea of its sound is formed, may see enigmatically, and as it were in a glass, some similitude of that Word of Which it is said, In the beginning was the Word. For when we give expression to something which we know, the word used is necessarily derived from the knowledge thus retained in the memory, and must be of the same quality with that knowledge. For a word is a thought formed from a thing which we know; which word is spoken in the heart, being neither Greek nor Latin, nor of any language, though, when we want to communicate it to others, some sign is assumed by which to express it. . . Wherefore the word which sounds externally, is a sign of the word which lies hid within, to which the name of word more truly appertains. For that which is uttered by the mouth of our flesh, is the voice of the word; and is in fact called word, with reference to that from which it is taken, when it is developed externally.

BASIL; This Word is not a human word. For how was there a human word in the beginning, when man received his being last of all? There was not then any word of man in the beginning, nor yet of Angels; for every creature is within the limits of time, having its beginning of existence from the Creator. But what says the Gospel? It calls the Only-Begotten Himself the Word.

CHRYS. But why omitting the Father, does he proceed at once to speak of the Son? Because the Father was known to all; though not as the Father, yet as God; whereas the Only-Begotten was not known. As was meet then, he endeavors first of all to inculcate the knowledge of the Son on those who knew Him not; though neither in discoursing on Him, is he altogether silent on the Father. And inasmuch as he was about to teach that the Word was the Only-Begotten Son of God, that no one might think this a possible generation, he makes mention of the Word in the first place, in order to destroy the dangerous suspicion, and show that the Son was from God impassibly. And a second reason is, that He was to declare to us the things of the Father. But he does not speak of the Word simply, but with the addition of the article, in order to distinguish It from other words. For Scripture calls God's laws and commandments words; but this Word is a certain Substance, or Person, an Essence, coming forth impassibly from the Father Himself.

BASIL; Wherefore then Word? Because born impassibly, the Image of Him that begat, manifesting all the Father in Himself; abstracting from Him nothing, but existing perfect in Himself.

AUG. As our knowledge differs from God's, so does our word, which arises from our knowledge, differ from that Word of God, which is born of the Father's essence; we might say, from the Father's knowledge, the Father's wisdom, or, more correctly, the Father Who is Knowledge, the Father Who is Wisdom. The Word of God then, the Only-Begotten Son of the Father, is in all things like and equal to the Father; being altogether what the Father is, yet not the Father; because the one is the Son, the other the Father. And thereby He knows all things which the Father knows; yet His knowledge is from the Father, even as is His being: for knowing and being are the same with Him; and so as the Father's being is not from the Son, so neither is His knowing. Wherefore the Father begat the Word equal to Himself in all things as uttering forth Himself. For had there been more or less in His Word than in Himself, He would not have uttered Himself fully and perfectly. With respect however to our own inner word, which we find, in whatever sense, to be like the Word, let us not object to see how very unlike it is also. A word is a formation of our mind going to take place, but not yet made, and something in our mind which we toss to and fro in a slippery circuitous way, as one thing and another is discovered, or occurs to our thoughts. When this, which we toss to and fro, has reached the subject of our knowledge, and been formed therefrom, when it has assumed the most exact likeness to it, and the conception has quite answered to the thing; then we have a true word. Who may not see how great the difference is here from that Word of God, which exists in the Form of God in such wise, that It could not have been first going to be formed, and afterwards formed, nor can ever have been unformed, being a Form absolute, and absolutely equal to Him from Whom It is. Wherefore; in speaking of the Word of God here nothing is said about thought in God; lest we should think there was any thing revolving in God, which might first receive form in order to be a Word, and afterwards lose it, and be canted round and round again in an unformed state.

AUG. Now the Word of God is a Form, not a formation, but the Form of all forms, a Form unchangeable, removed form accident, from failure, from time, from space, surpassing all things, and existing in all things as a kind of foundation underneath, and summit above them.

BASIL; Yet has our outward word some similarity to the Divine Word. For our word declares the whole conception of the mind; since what we conceive in the mind we bring out in word. Indeed our heart is as it were the source, and the uttered word the stream which flows therefrom.

CHRYS. Observe the spiritual wisdom of the Evangelist. He knew that men honored most what was as most ancient, and that honoring what is before every thing else, they conceived of it as God. On this account he mentions first the beginning, saving, In the beginning was the Word.

ORIGEN; There are many significations of this word beginning. For there is a beginning of a journey, and beginning of a length, according to Proverbs, The beginning of the right path is to do justice. There is a beginning too of a creation, according to Job, He is the beginning of the ways of God. Nor would it be incorrect to say, that God is the Beginning of all things. The preexistent material again, where supposed to be original, out of which any thing is produced, is considered as the beginning. There is a beginning also in respect of form: as where Christ is the beginning of those who are made according to the image of God. And there is a beginning of doctrine, according to Hebrews; When for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God. For there are two kinds of beginning of doctrine: one in itself, the other relative to us; as if we should say that Christ, in that He is the Wisdom and Word of God, was in Himself the beginning of wisdom, but to us, in that He was the Word incarnate. There being so many significations then of the word, we may take it as the Beginning through Whom, i.e. the Maker; for Christ is Creator as The Beginning, in that He is Wisdom; so that the Word is in the beginning, i.e. in Wisdom; the Savior being all these excellences at once. As life then is in the Word, so the Word is in the Beginning, that is to say, in Wisdom. Consider then if it be possible according to this signification to understand the Beginning, as meaning that all things are made according to Wisdom, and the patterns contained therein; or, inasmuch as the Beginning of the Son is the Father, the Beginning of all creatures and existences, to understand by the text, In the beginning was the Word, that the Son, the Word, was in the Beginning, that is, in the Father.

AUG. Or, In the beginning, as if it were said, before all things.

BASIL; The Holy Ghost foresaw that men would arise, who should envy the glory of the Only-Begotten, subverting their hearers by sophistry; as if because He were begotten, He was not; and before He was begotten, he was not. That none might presume then to babble such things, the Holy Ghost says, In the beginning was the Word.

HILARY; Years, centuries, ages, are passed over, place what beginning you will in your imagining, you grasp it not in time, for He, from Whom it is derived, still was.

CHRYS. As then when our ship is near shore, cities and port pass in survey before us, which on the open sea vanish, and leave nothing whereon to fix; the eye; so the Evangelist here, taking us with him in his flight above the created world, leaves the eye to gaze in vacancy on an illimitable expanse. For the words, was in the beginning, are significative of eternal and infinite essence.

AUG. They say, however, if He is the Son, He was born. We allow it. They rejoin: if the Son was born to the Father, the Father was, before the Son was born to Him. This the Faith rejects. Then they say, explain to us how the Son could; be born from the Father, and yet be coeval with Him from whom He is born: for sons are born after their fathers, to succeed them on their death. They adduce analogies from nature; and we must endeavor likewise to do the same for our doctrine. But how can we find in nature a coeternal, when we cannot find an eternal? However, if a thing generating and a thing generated can be found any where coeval, it will be a help to forming a notion of coeternals. Now Wisdom herself is called in the Scriptures, the brightness of Everlasting Light, the image of the Father. Hence then let us take our comparison, an from coevals form a notion of coeternals. Now no one doubts that brightness proceeds from fire: fire then we may consider the father of the brightness. Presently, when I light a candle, at the same instant with the fire, brightness arises. Give me the fire without the brightness, and I will with you believe that the Father was without the Son. An image is produced by a mirror. The image exists as soon as the beholder appears; yet the beholder existed before he came to the mirror. Let us suppose then a twig, or a blade of grass which has grown up by the water side. Is it not born with its image? If there had always been the twig, there would always have been the image proceeding from the twig. And whatever is from another thing, is born. So then that which generates may be coexistent from eternity with that which is generated from it. But some one will say perhaps, Well, I understand now the eternal Father, the coeternal Son: yet the Son is like the emitted brightness, which is less brilliant than the fire, or tile reflected image, which is less real than the twig. Not so: there is complete equality between Father and Son. I do not believe, he says; for you have found nothing whereto to liken it. However, perhaps we can find something in nature by which we may understand that the Son is both coeternal with the Father, and in no respect inferior also: though we cannot find any one material of comparison that will be sufficient singly, and must therefore join together two, one of which has been employed by our adversaries, the other by ourselves. For they have drawn their comparison from things which are preceded in time by the things which they spring from, man, for example, from man. Nevertheless, man is of the same substance with man. We have then in that nativity an equality of nature; an equality of time is wanting. But in the comparison which we have drawn from the brightness of fire, and the reflection of a twig, an equality of nature you cost not find, of time you lost. In the Godhead then there is found as a whole, what here exists in single and separate parts; and that which is in the creation, existing in a manner suitable able to the Creator.

EX GESTIS CONCILII EPHESINI; Wherefore in one place divine Scripture calls Him the Son, in another the Word, in another the Brightness of the Father; names severally meant to guard against blasphemy. For, forasmuch as your son is of the same nature with yourself, the Scripture wishing to show that the Substance of the Father and the Son is one, sets forth the Son of the Father, born of the Father, the Only-Begotten. Next, since the terms birth and son, convey the idea of passibleness, therefore it calls the Son the Word, declaring by that name the impassability of His Nativity. But inasmuch as a father with us is necessarily older shall his son, lest thou should think that this applied to the Divine nature as well, it calls the Only-Begotten the Brightness of the Father; for brightness, though arising from the sun, is not posterior to it. Understand then that Brightness, as revealing the co-eternity of the Son with the Father; Word as proving the impassability of His birth, and Son as conveying His consubstantiality.

CHRYS. But they say that In the beginning does not absolutely express in eternity: for that the same is said of the heaven and the earth: In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. But are not made and was, altogether different For in like manner as the word is, when spoken of man, signifies the present only, but when applied to God, that which always and eternally is; so too was, predicated of our nature, signifies the past, but predicated of God, eternity.

ORIGEN; The verb to be, has a double signification, sometimes expressing the motions which take place in time, as other verbs do; sometimes the substance of that one thing of which it is predicated, without reference to time. Hence it is also called a substantive verb.

HILARY; Consider then the world, understand what is written of it. In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. Whatever therefore is created is made in the beginning, and you would contain in time, what, as being to be made, is contained in the beginning. But, lo, for me, an illiterate unlearned fisherman is independent of time, unconfined by ages, advances beyond all beginnings. For the Word was, what it is, and is not bounded by any time, nor commenced therein, seeing It was not made in the beginning, but was.

ALCUIN. To refute those who inferred from Christ's Birth in time, that He had not been from everlasting, the Evangelist begins with the eternity of the Word, saying, In the beginning was the Word.

1b. And the Word was with God.

CHRYS. Because it is an especial attribute of God, to be eternal and without a beginning, he laid this down first: then, lest any one on hearing in the beginning was the Word, should suppose the Word Unbegotten, he instantly guarded against this; saying, And the Word was with God.

HILARY; From the beginning He is With God: and though independent of time, is not independent of an Author.

BASIL; Again he repeats this, was, because of men blasphemously saying, that there was a time when He was not. Where then was the Word? Illimitable things are not contained in space. Where was He then? With God. For neither is the Father bounded by place, nor the Son by aught circumscribing.

ORIGEN; It is worth while noting, that, whereas the Word is said to come [be made] to some, as to Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, with God it is not made, as though it were not with Him before. But, the Word having been always with Him, it is said, and the Word was with God: for from the beginning it was not separate from the Father.

CHRYS. He has not said, was in God, but was with God: exhibiting to us that eternity which He had in accordance with His Person.

THEOPHYL. Sabellius is overthrown by this text. For he asserts that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one Person, Who sometimes appeared as the Father, sometimes as the Son, sometimes as the Holy Ghost. But he is manifestly confounded by this text, and the Word was with God; for here the Evangelist declares that the Son is one Person, God the Father another.

1c. And the Word was God.

HILARY; You will say, that a word is the sound of the voice, the enunciation of a thing, the expression of a thought: this Word was in the beginning with God, because the utterance of thought is eternal, when He who thinks is eternal. But how was that in the beginning, which exists no time either before, or after, I doubt even whether in time at all? For speech is neither in existence before one speaks, nor after; in the very act of speaking it vanishes; for by the time a speech is ended, that from which it began does not exist. But even if the first sentence, in the beginning was the Word, was through your inattention lost upon you, why dispute you about the next; and the Word was with God? Did you hear it said, "In God," so that you should understand this Word to be only the expression of hidden thoughts? Or did John say with by mistake, and was not aware of the distinction between being in, and being with, when he said, that what was in the beginning, was not in God, but with God? Hear then the nature and name of the Word; and the Word was God. No more then of the sound of the voice, of the expression of the thought. The Word here is a Substance, not a sound; a Nature, not an expression; God, not a nonentity.

HILARY; But the title is absolute, and free from the offense of an extraneous subject. To Moses it is said, I have given you for a god to Pharaoh: but is not the reason for the name added, when it is said, to Pharaoh? Moses is given for a god to Pharaoh, when he is feared, when he is entreated, when he punishes, when he heals. And it is one thing to be given for a God, another thing to be God. I remember too another application of the name in the Psalms, I have said, you are gods. But there too it is implied that the title was but bestowed; and the introduction of, I said, makes it rather the phrase of the Speaker, than the name of the thing. But when I hear the Word was God, I not only hear the Word said to be, but perceive It proved to be, God.

BASIL; Thus cutting off the cavils of blasphemers, and those who ask what the Word is, he replies, and the Word was God.

THEOPHYL. Or combine it thus: From the Word being with God, it follows plainly that there are two Persons. But these two are of one Nature; and therefore it proceeds, In the Word was God: to show that Father and Son are of One Nature, being of One Godhead.

ORIGEN; We must add too, that the Word illuminates the Prophets with Divine wisdom, in that He comes to them; but that with God He ever is, because He is God. For which reason he placed and the Word was with God, before and the Word was God.

CHRYS. Not asserting, as Plato does, one to be intelligence, the other soul; for the Divine Nature is very different from this. . . But you say, the Father is called God with the addition of the article, the Son without it. What say you then, when the Apostle writes, The great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; and again, Who is over all, God; and Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father; without the article? Besides, too, it were superfluous here, to affix what had been affixed just before. So that it does not follow, though the article is not affixed to the Son, that He is therefore an inferior God.

2. The same was in the beginning with God.

HILARY; Whereas he had said, the Word was God, the fearfulness, and strangeness of the speech disturbed me; the prophets having declared that God was One. But, to quiet my apprehensions, the fisherman reveals the scheme of this so great mystery, and refers all to one, without dishonor, without obliterating [the Person], without reference to time , saying, The Same was in the beginning with God; with One Unbegotten God, from whom He its, the One Only-begotten God.

THEOPHYL. Again, to stop any diabolical suspicion, that the Word, because He was God, might have rebelled against His Father, as certain Gentiles fable, or, being separate, have become the antagonist of the Father Himself, he says, The Same was in the beginning with God; that is to say, this Word of God never existed separate from God.

CHRYS. Or, lest hearing that In the beginning was the Word, you should regard It as eternal, but yet understand the Father's Life to have some degree of priority, he has introduced the words, The Same was in the beginning with God. For God was never solitary, apart from Him, but always God with God. Or forasmuch as he said, the Word was God, that no one might think the Divinity of the Son inferior, he immediately subjoins the marks of proper Divinity, in that he both again mentions Eternity, The Same was in the beginning with God; and adds His attribute of Creator, All things were made by Him.

ORIGEN; Or thus, the Evangelist having begun with those propositions, reunites them into one, saying, The Same was in the beginning with God. For in the first of the three we learnt in what the Word was, that it was in the beginning; in the second, with whom, with God; in the third who the Word was, God. Having, then, by the term, The Same, set before us in a manner God the Word of Whom he had spoken, he collects all into the fourth proposition, viz. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; into, the Same was in the beginning with God. It may be asked, however, why it is not said, In the beginning was the Word of God, and the Word of God was with God, and the Word of God was God? Now whoever will admit that truth is one, must needs admit also that the demonstration of truth, that is wisdom, is one. But if truth is one, and wisdom is one, the Word which enuntiates truth and develops wisdom in those who ho are capable of receiving it, must be One also. And therefore it would have been out of place here to have said, the Word of God, as if there were other words besides that of God, a word of angels, word of men, and so on. We do not say this, to deny that It is the Word of God, but to show the use of omitting the word God. John himself too in the Apocalypse says, And his Name is called the Word of God.

ALCUIN; Wherefore does he use the substantive verb, was? That you might understand that the Word, Which is coeternal with God the Father, was before all time.

3a. All things were made by him.

ALCUIN; After speaking of the nature of the Son, he proceeds to His operations, saying, All things were made by him, i.e. every thing whether substance, or property.

HILARY; Or thus: [It is said], the Word indeed was in the beginning, but it may be that He was not before the beginning. But what says he; All things were made by him. He is infinite by Whom every thing, which is, was made: and since all things were made by Him, time is likewise.

CHRYS. Moses indeed, in the beginning of the Old Testament, speaks to us in much detail of the natural world, saying, In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth; and then relates how that the light, and the firmament, and the stars, and the various kinds of animals were created. But the Evangelist sums up the whole of this in a word, as familiar to his hearers; and hastens to loftier matter, making the whole of his book to bear not on the works, but on the Maker.

AUG. Since all things were made by him, it is evident that light was as also, when God said, Let there be light. And in like manner the rest. But if so, that which God said, viz. Let there be light, is eternal. For the Word of God, God with God, is coeternal with the Father, though the world created by Him be temporal. For whereas our when and sometimes are words of time, in the Word of God, on the contrary, when a thing ought to be made, is eternal; and the thing is then made, when in that Word it is that it ought to be made, which Word has in It neither when, or at sometime, since It is all eternal.

AUG. How then can the Word of God be made, when God by the Word made all things? For if the Word Itself were made, by what other Word was It made? If you say it was the Word of the Word by Which That was made, that Word I call the Only-Begotten Son of God. But if thou cost not call It the Word of the Word, then grant that that Word was not made, by which all things were made.

AUG. And if It is not made, It is not a creature; but if It is not a creature, It is of the same Substance with the Father. For every substance which is not God is a creature; and what is not a creature is God.

THEOPHYL. The Arians are wont to say, that all things are spoken of as made by the Son, in the sense in which we say a door is made by a saw, viz. as an instrument; not that He was Himself the Maker. And so they talk of the Son as a thing made, as if He were made for this purpose, that all things might be made by Him. Now we to the inventors of this lie reply simply: If, as you say, the Father had created the Son, in order to make use of Him as an instrument, it would appear that the Son were less honorable than the things made, just as things made by a saw are more noble than the saw itself; the saw having been made for their sake. In like way do they speak of the Father creating the Son for the sake of the things made, as it; had He thought good to create the universe, neither would He have produced the Son. What can be more insane than such language? They argue, however, why was it not said that the Word made all things, instead of the preposition by being used. For this reason, that you might not understand an Unbegotten and Unoriginate Son, a rival God.

CHRYS. If the preposition by perplex you, and you would learn from Scripture that the Word Itself made all thin as, hear David, You, Lord, in the beginning has laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. That he spoke this of the Only-Begotten, you learn from the Apostle, who in the Epistle to the Hebrews applies these words to the Son.

CHRYS. But if you say that the prophet spoke this of the Father, and that Paul applied it to the Son, it comes to the same thing. For he would not have mentioned that as applicable to the Son, unless he fully considered that the Father and the Son were of equal dignity. If again you dream that in the preposition by any subjection is implied, why does Paul use of the Father? as, God is faithful, by Whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son; and again, Paul an Apostle by the will of God.

ORIGEN; Here too Valentines errs, saying, that the Word supplied to the Creator the cause of the creation of the world. If this interpretation is true, its should have been written that all things had their existence from the Word through the Creator, not contrariwise, through the Word from the Creator.

3b. And without him was not any thing made.

CHRYS. That you may not suppose, when he says, All things were made by Him, that he meant only the things Moses had;, spoken of, he seasonably brings in, And without Him was not any thing made, nothing, that is, cognizable either by the senses, or the understanding. Or thus; Lest you should suspect the sentence, All things were made by Him, to refer to the miracles which the other Evangelists had related, he adds, and without Him was not any thing made.

HILARY; Or thus; That all things were made by him, is pronouncing too much, it may be said. There is an Unbegotten Who is made of none, and there is the Son Himself begotten from Him Who is Unbegotten. The Evangelist however again implies the Author, when he speaks of Him as Associated; saying, without Him was not any thing made. This, that nothing was made without Him, I understand to mean the Son's not being alone, for 'by whom' is one thing, 'not without whom another.

ORIGEN: Or thus, that you might not think that the things made by the Word had a separate existence, and were not contained in the Word, he says, and without Him was not any thing made: that is, not any thing was made externally of Him; for He encircles all things, as the Preserver of all things.

AUG. Or, by saying, without Him was not any thing made, he tells us not to suspect Him in any sense to be a thing made. For how can He be a thing made, when God, it is said, made nothing without Him?

ORIGEN; If all things were made by the Word, and in the number of all things is wickedness, and the whole influx of sin, these too were made by the Word; which is false. Now 'nothing' and 'a thing which is not,' mean the same. And the Apostle seems to call wicked things, things which are not, God calls those things which be not, as though they were. All wickedness then is called nothing, forasmuch as it is made without the Word. Those who say however ever that the devil is not a creature of God, err. In so far as he is the devil, he is not a creature of God; but he, whose character it is to be the devil, is a creature of God. It is as if we should say a murderer is not a creature of God, when, so far as he is a man, he is a creature of God.

AUG. For sin was not made by Him; for it is manifest that sin is nothing, and that men become nothing when they sin. Nor was an idol made by the Word. It has indeed a sort of form of man, and man himself was made by the Word; but the form of man in an idol was not made by the Word: for it is written, we know that an idol is nothing. These then were not made by the Word; but whatever things were made naturally, the whole universe, were; every creature from an angel to a worm.

ORIGEN; Valentinus excludes from the things made by the Word, all that were made in the ages which he believes to have existed before the Word. This is plainly false; inasmuch as the things which he accounts divine are thus excluded from the "all things," and what he deems wholly corrupt are properly 'all things!'

AUG. The folly of those men is not to be listened to, who think nothing is to be understood here as something because it is placed at the end of the sentence: as if it made so any difference whether it was said, without Him nothing was made, or, without Him was made nothing.

ORIGEN; If 'the word' be taken for that which is in each man, inasmuch as it was implanted in each by the Word, which was in the beginning then also, we commit nothing without this 'word' [reason] taking this word 'nothing' in a popular sense. For the Apostle says that sin was dead without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived; for sin is not imputed when there is no law. But neither was there sin, when there was no Word, for our Lord says, If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin. For every excuse is without drawn from the sinner, if, with the Word present, and enjoining what is to be done, he refuses to obey Him. Nor is the Word to be blamed on this account; any more than a master, whose discipline leaves no excuse open to a delinquent pupil on the ground of ignorance. All things then were made by the Word, not only the natural world, but also whatever is done by those acting without reason.

4a. In him was life.

BEDE; The Evangelist having said that every creature was made by the Word, lest perchance any one might think that His will was changeable, as though He willed on a sudden to make a creature, which from eternity he had not made; he took care to show that, though a creature was made in time, in the Wisdom of the Creator it had been from eternity arranged what and when He should create.

AUG. 'The passage can be read thus: What was made in Him was life. Therefore the whole universe is life: for what was there not made in Him? He is the Wisdom of God, as is said, In Wisdom have You made them all. All things therefore are made in Him, even as they are by Him. But, if whatever was made in Him is life, the earth is life, a stone is life. We must not interpret it so unsoundly, lest the sect of the Manicheans creep in upon us, and say, that a stone has life, and that a wall has life; for they do insanely assert so, and when reprehended or refuted, appeal as though to Scripture, and ask, why was it said, That which was made in Him. was life?

Read the passage then thus: make the stop after What was made, and then proceed, In Him was life. The earth was made; but, the earth itself which was, as made is not life. In the Wisdom of God however there is spiritually a certain Reason after which the earth is made. This is Life. A chest in workmanship is not life, a chest in art is, inasmuch as the mind of the workman lives wherein that original pattern exists. And in this sense the Wisdom of God, by Which all things are made, contains in art 'all things which are made, according to that art.' And therefore whatever is made, is not in itself life, but is life in Him.

ORIGEN; It may also be divided thus: That which was made in him; and then, was life; the sense being, that all things that were made by Him and in Him, are life in Him, and are one in Him. They were, that is, in Him; they exist as the cause, before they exist in themselves as effects. If you ask how and in what manner all things which were made by the Word subsist in Him vitally, immutably, causally, take some examples from the created world.

See how that all things within the arch of the world of sense have their causes simultaneously and harmoniously subsisting in that sun which is the greatest luminary of the world: how multitudinous crops of herbs and fruits are contained in single seeds: how the most complex variety of rules, in the art of the artificer, and the mind of the director, are a living unit, how an infinite number of lines coexist in one point. Contemplate these several instances, and you will be able as it were on the wings of physical science, to penetrate with your intellectual eye the secrets of the Word, and as far as is allowed to a human understanding, to see how all things which were made by the Word, live in Him, and were made in Him.

HILARY; Or it can be understood thus. In that he had said, without Him was not anything thing made, one might have been perplexed, and have asked, Was then any thing made by another, which yet was not made without Him? If so, then though nothing is made without, all things are not made by Him: it being one thing to make, another to be with the maker.

On this account the Evangelist declares what it was which was not made without Him, viz. what was made in Him. This then it was which was not made without Him, viz. what was made in Him. And that which was made in Him, was also made by Him. For all things were created in Him and by Him. Now things were made in Him, because He was born God the Creator. And for this reason also things that were made in Him, were not made without Him, viz. that God, in that He was born, was life, and He who was life, was not made life after being born. Nothing then which was made in Him, was made without Him, because He was life, in Whom they were made; because God Who was born of God was God, not after, but in that He was born.

CHRYS Or to give another explanation. We will not put the stop at without Him was not any thing made, as the heretics do. For they wishing to prove the Holy Ghost a creature, read, That which was made in Him, was life. But this cannot be so understood. For first, this was not the place for making mention of the Holy Ghost. But let us suppose it was; let us take the passage for the present according to their reading, we shall see that it leads to a difficulty. For when it is said, That which was made in Him, was life; they say the life spoken of is the Holy Ghost. But this life is also light; for the Evangelist proceeds, The life was the light of men.

Wherefore according to them, he calls the Holy Ghost the light of all men. But the Word mentioned above, is what he here calls consecutively, God, and Life, and Light. Now the Word was made flesh. If follows that the Holy Ghost is incarnate, not the Son. Dismissing then this reading, we adopt a more suitable one, with the following meaning: All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any thing made which was made: there we make a stop, and begin a fresh sentence: In Him was life. Without Him was not any thing made which was as made; i.e. which could be made. You see how by this short addition, he removes any difficulty which might follow. For by introducing without Him was not any thing made, and adding, which was made, he includes all things invisible, and excepts the Holy: Spirit: for the Spirit cannot be made.

To the mention of creation, succeeds that of providence. In Him was life. As a fountain which produces vast depths of water, and yet is nothing diminished at the fountain head; so works the Only-Begotten. How great soever His creations be, He Himself is none the less for them. By the word life here is meant not only creation, but that providence by which the things created are preserved. But when you are told that in Him was life, do not suppose Him confounded; for, as the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself. As then you would not call the Father compounded, so neither should you the Son.

ORIGEN; Or thus: Our Savior is said to be some things not for Himself, but for others; others again, both for Himself and others. When it is said then, That which was as made in Him was life; we must inquire whether the life is for Himself and others, or for others only; and if for others, for whom? Now the Life and the Light are both the same Person: He is the light of men: He is therefore their life. The Savior is called Life here, not to Himself, but to others; whose Light He also is. This life is inseparable from the Word, from the time it is added on to it.

For Reason or the Word must exist before in the soul, cleansing it from sin, till it is pure enough to receive the life, which is thus engrafted or inborn in every one who renders himself fit to receive the Word of God. Hence observe, that though the Word itself in the beginning was not made, the Beginning never having been without the Word; yet the life of men was not always in the Word. This life of men was made, in that It was the light of men; and this light of men could not be before man was; the light of men being understood relatively to men. And therefore he says, That which was made in the Word was life; not That which was in the Word was life. Some copies read, not amiss, "That which was made, in Him is life." If we understand the life in the Word, to be He who says below, 'I am the life,' we shall confess that none who believe not. in Christ live, and that all who live not in God, are dead.

4b. And the life was the light of men.

THEOPHYL. He had said, In him was life, that you might not suppose that the Word was without life. Now he shows that that life is spiritual, and the light of all reasonable creatures. And the life was the light of men: i.e. not sensible, but intellectual light, illuminating the very soul.

AUG. Life of itself gives illumination to men, but to cattle not: for they have not rational souls, by which to discern wisdom: whereas man, being made in the image of God, has a rational soul, by which he can discern wisdom. Hence that life, by which all things are made, is light, not however of all animals whatsoever, but of men.

THEOPHYL. He said not, the Light of the Jews only, but of all men: for all of us, in so far as we have received intellect and reason, from that Word which created us, are said to be illuminated by Him. For the reason which is given to us, and which constitutes us the reasonable beings we are, is a light directing us what to do, and what not to do.

ORIGEN; We must not omit to notice, that he puts the life before the light of men. For it would be a contradiction to suppose a being without life to be illuminated; as if life were an addition to illumination. But to proceed: if the life was the light of men, meaning men only, Christ is the light and the life of men only; an heretical supposition. It does not follow then, when a thing is predicated of any, that it is predicated of those only; for of God it is written, that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and yet He is not the God of those fathers only. In the same way, the light of men is not excluded from being the light of others as well. Some moreover contend from , Genesis, Let us make man after our image, that man means whatever is made after the image and similitude of God. If so, the light of men is the light of any rational creature whatever.

5. And the light shines in darkness.

AUG. Whereas that life is the light of men, but foolish hearts cannot receive that light, being so encumbered with sins that they cannot see it; for this cause lest any should think there is no light near them, because they cannot see it, he continues: And the light shines in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. For suppose a blind man standing in the sun, the sun is present to him, but he is absent from the sun. In like manner every fool is blind, and wisdom is present to him; but, though present, absent from his sight, forasmuch as sight is gone: the truth being, not that she is absent from him, but that he is absent from her.

ORIGEN; This kind of darkness however is not in men by nature, according to the text in the Ephesians, You were some time darkness, but now are you light in the Lord.

ORIGEN; Or thus, The light shines in the darkness of faithful souls, beginning from faith, and drawing onwards to hope; but the deceit and ignorance of undisciplined souls did not comprehended the light of the Word of God shining in the flesh. That however is an ethical meaning. The metaphysical signification of the words is as follows. Human nature, even though it sinned not, could not shine by its own strength simply; for it is not naturally light, but only a recipient of it; it is capable of containing wisdom, but is not wisdom itself. As the air, of itself, shines not, but is called by the name of darkness, even so is our nature, considered in itself; a dark substance, which however admits of and is made partaker of the light of wisdom. And as when the air receives the sun's rays, it is not said to shine of itself, but the sun's radiance to be apparent in it; so the reasonable part of our nature, while possessing the presence of the Word of God, does not of itself understand God, and intellectual things, but by means of the divine light implanted in it. Thus, The light shines in darkness: for the Word of God, the life and the light of men, ceases not to shine in our nature; though regarded in itself, that nature is without form and darkness. And forasmuch as pure light cannot be comprehended by any creature, hence the text: The darkness comprehended it not.

CHRYS. Or thus: throughout the whole foregoing passage he, had been speaking of creation; then he mentions the spiritual; benefits which the Word brought w with it: and the life was the light of men. He said not, the light of Jews, but of all men without exception; for not the Jews only, but the Gentiles also have come to this knowledge. The Angels he omits, for he is speaking of human nature, to whom the Word came bringing glad tidings.

ORIGEN; But they ask, why is not the Word Itself called the light of men, instead of the life which is in the Word? We reply, that the life here spoken of is not that which rational and irrational animals have in common, but that which is annexed to the Word which is within us through participation of the primeval Word. For we must distinguish the external and false life, from the desirable and true. We are first made partakers of life: and this life with some is light potentially only, not in act; with those, viz. who are not eager to search out the things which appertain to knowledge: with others it is actual light, those who, as the Apostle said, covet earnestly the best gifts, that is to say, the word of wisdom. (If the life and the light of men are the same, whoso is in darkness is proved not to live, and none who lives abides in darkness.)

CHRYS. Life having come to us, the empire of death is dissolved; a light having shone upon us, there is darkness no longer: but there remains ever a life which death, a light which darkness cannot overcome. Whence he continues, And the light shines in darkness: by darkness meaning death and error, for sensible light does not shine in darkness, but darkness must be removed first; whereas the preaching of Christ shone forth amidst the reign of error, and caused it to disappear, and Christ by dying changed death into life, so overcoming it, that, those who were already in its grasp, were brought back again. Forasmuch then as neither death nor error has overcome his light, which is every where conspicuous shilling forth by its own strength; therefore he adds, And the darkness comprehended it not.

ORIGEN; As the light of men is a word expressing two spiritual things, so is darkness also. To one who possesses the light, we attribute both the doing the deeds of the light, and also true understanding, inasmuch as he is illuminated by the light of knowledge: and, on the other hand, the term darkness we apply both to unlawful acts, and also to that knowledge, which seems such, but is not. Now as the Father is light, and in Him is no darkness at all, so is the Savior also. Yet, inasmuch as he underwent the similitude of our sinful flesh, it is not incorrectly said of Him, that in Him there was some darkness; for He took our darkness upon Himself, in order that He might dissipate it. This Light therefore, which was made the life of man, shines in the darkness of our hearts, when the prince of this darkness wars with the human race. This Light the darkness persecuted, as is clear from what our Savior and His children suffer; the darkness fighting against the children of light. But, forasmuch as God takes up the cause, they do not prevail; nor do they apprehend the light, for they are either of too slow a nature to overtake the light's quick course, or, waiting for it to come up to them, they are put to flight at its approach. We should bear in mind, however, that darkness is not always used in a bad sense, but sometimes in a good, as in Psalm xvii. He made darkness His secret place: the things of God being unknown and incomprehensible. This darkness then I will call praiseworthy, since it tends toward light, and lays hold on it: for, though it were darkness before, while it was not known, yet it is turned to light and knowledge in him who has learned.

AUG. A certain Platonist once said, that the beginning of this Gospel ought to be copied in letters of gold, and placed in the most conspicuous place in every church.

BEDE; The other Evangelists describe Christ as born in time; John witnesses that He was in the beginning, saying, In the beginning was the Word. The others describe His sudden appearance among men; he witnesses that He was ever with God, saying, And the Word was with God. The others prove Him very man; he very God, saying, And the Word was God. The others exhibit Him as man conversing with men for a season; he pronounces Him God abiding with God in the beginning, saying, The Same was in the beginning with God. The others relate the great deeds which He did amongst men; he that God the Father made every creature through Him, saying, All things were made by Him, and without Him was not any shiny made.

6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

AUG. What is said above, refers to the Divinity of Christ. He came to us in the form of man, but man in such sense, as that the Godhead was concealed within Him. And therefore there was sent before a great man, to declare by his witness that He was more than man. And who was this? He was a man.

THEOPHYL. Not an Angel, as many have held. The Evangelist here refutes such a notion.

AUG. And how could he declare the truth concerning God, unless he were sent from God.

CHRYS. After this esteem nothing that he says as human; for he speaks not his own, but his that sent him. And therefore the Prophet calls him a messenger, I send My messenger, for it is the excellence of a messenger, to say nothing of his own. But the expression, was sent, does not mean his entrance into life, but to his office. As Esaias was sent on his commission, not from any place out of the world, but from where he saw the Lord sitting upon His high and lofty throne; in like manner John was sent from the desert to baptize; for he says, He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, Upon Whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizes with the Holy Ghost.

AUG. What was he called? whose name was John?

ALCUIN. That is, the grace of God, or one in whom is grace, who by his testimony first made known to the world the grace of the New Testament, that is, Christ. Or John may be taken to mean, to whom it is given: because that through the grace of God, to him it was given, not only to herald, but also to baptize the King of kings.

AUG. Wherefore came he? The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light.

ORIGEN; Some try to undo the testimonies of the Prophets to Christ, by saying that the Son of God had no need of such witnesses; the wholesome words which He uttered and His miraculous acts being sufficient to produce belief; just as Moses deserved belief for his speech and goodness, and wanted no previous witnesses. To this we may reply, that, where there are a number of reasons to make people believe, persons are often impressed by one kind of proof; and not by another, and God, Who for the sake of all men became man, can give them many reasons for belief in Him. And with respect to the doctrine of the Incarnation, certain it is that some have been forced by the Prophetical writings into an admiration of Christ by the fact of so many prophets having, before His advent, fixed the place of His nativity; and by other proofs of the same kind. It is to be remembered too, that, though the display of miraculous powers might stimulate the faith of those who lived in the same age with Christ, they might, in the lapse of time, fail to do so; as some of them might even get to be regarded as fabulous. Prophecy and miracles together are more convincing than simply past miracles by themselves. We must recollect too that men receive honor themselves from the witness which they bear to God. He deprives the Prophetical choir of immeasurable honor, whoever denies that it was their office to bear witness to Christ. John when he comes to bear witness to the light, follows in the train of those who went before him.

CHRYS. Not because the light wanted the testimony, but for the reason which John himself self gives, viz. that all might believe on Him. For as He put on flesh to save all men from death; so He sent before Him a human preacher, that the sound of a voice like their own, might the readier draw men to Him.

BEDE; He says not, that all men should believe in him; for, cursed be the man that trusts in man; but, that all men through him might believe; i.e. by his testimony believe in the Light.

THEOPHYL. Though some however might not believe, he is not accountable for them. When a man shuts himself up in a dark room, so as to receive no light from the sun's rays, he is the cause of the deprivation, not the sun. In like manner John was sent, that all men might believe; but if no such result followed, he is not the cause of the failure.

CHRYS. Forasmuch however as with us, the one who witnesses, is commonly a more important, a more trustworthy person, than the one to whom he bears witness, to do away with any such notion in the present case the Evangelist proceeds; He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. If this were not his intention, in repeating the words, to bear witness of that Light, the addition would be superfluous, and rather a verbal repetition, than the explanation of a truth.

THEOPHYL. But it will be said, that we do not allow John or any of the saints to be or ever to have been light. The difference is this: If we call any of the saints light, we put light without the article. So if asked whether John is light, without the article, you may allow without hesitation that he is: if with the article, you alloy it not. For he is not very, original, light, but is only called so, on account of his partaking of the light, which comes from the true Light.

9. That was the true Light which lights every man that comes into the world.

AUG. What Light it is to which John bears witness, he shows himself, saying, That was the true Light.

CHRYS. Or thus; Having said above that John had come, and was sent, to bear witness of the Light, lest any from the recent coming of the witness, should infer the same of Him who is witnessed to, the Evangelist takes us back to that existence which is beyond all beginning, saying, That was the true Light.

AUG. Wherefore is there added, true? Because man enlightened is called light, but the true Light is that which lightens. For our eyes are called lights, and yet, without a lamp at night, or the sun by day, these lights are open to no purpose. Wherefore he adds: which lightens every man: but if every man, then John himself. He Himself then enlightened the person, by whom He wished Himself to be pointed out. And just as we may often, from the reflection of the sun's rays on some object, know the sun to be risen, though we cannot fool; at the sun itself; as even feeble eyes can look at an illuminated wall, or some object of that kind: even so, those to whom Christ came, being too weak to behold Him, He threw His rays upon John; John confessed the illumination, and so the illuminator Himself was discovered. It is said, that comes into the world. Had man not departed from Him, he had not had to be enlightened; but therefore is he to be here enlightened, because he departed thence, when the might have been enlightened.

THEOPHYL. Let the Manichean blush, who pronounces us the creatures of a dark and malignant creator: for we should never be enlightened, v ere we not the children of the true Light.

CHRYS. Where are those too, who deny Him to be very God? We see here that He is called very Light. But if He lightens every man that comes into the world, how is it that so many have gone on without light? For all have not known the worship of Christ. The answer is: He only enlightens every man, so far as pertains to Him. If men shut their eyes, and will not receive the rays of this light, their darkness arises not from the fault of the light, but from their own wickedness, inasmuch as they voluntarily deprive themselves of the gift of grace. For grace is poured out upon all; and they, who will not enjoy the gift, may impute it to their own blindness.

AUG. Or the words, lightens every man, may be understood to mean, not that there is no one who is not enlightened, but that no one is enlightened except by Him.

BEDE; Including both natural and divine wisdom; for as no one can exist of himself, so no one can be wise of himself.

ORIGEN; Or thus: We must not understand the words, lightens every man that comes into the world, of the growth from hidden seeds to organized bodies, but of the entrance into the invisible world, by the spiritual regeneration and grace, which is given in Baptism. Those then the true Light lightens, who come into the world of goodness, not those who rush into the world of sin.

THEOPHYL. Or thus: The intellect which is given in us for our direction, and which is called natural reason, is said here to be a light given us by God. But some by the ill use of their reason have darkened themselves.

10. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

AUG. The Light which lightens every man that comes into the world, came here in the flesh; because while He was here in His Divinity alone, the foolish, blind, and unrighteous could not discern Him; those of whom it is said above, The darkness comprehended it not. Hence the text; He was in the world.

ORIGEN; For as, when a person leaves off speaking, his voice ceases to be, and vanishes; so if the Heavenly Father should cease to speak His Word, the effect of that Word, i.e. the universe which is created in the Word, shall cease to exist.

AUG. You must not suppose however, that He was in the world in tile same sense in w which the earth, cattle, men, are in the world; but in the sense in which an artificer controls his own work; whence the text, And the world was made by Him. Nor again did He make it after the manner of all artificer; for whereas an artificer is external to what he fabricates, God pervades the world, carrying on the work of creation in every part, and never absent from any part: by the presence of His Majesty He both makes and controls what is made. Thus He was in the world, as He by Whom the world w as made.

CHRYS. And again, because He was in the world, but not coeval with the world, for this cause he introduced the words, and the world was made by Him: thus taking you back again to the eternal existence of the Only-Begotten. For when we are told that the whole of creation was made by Him, we must be very dull not to acknowledge that the Maker existed before the work.

THEOPHYL. Here he overthrows at once the insane notion of the Manichaean, who says that the world is the work of a malignant creature, and the opinion of the Arian, that the Son of God is a creature.

AUG. But what means this, The world was made by Him? The earth, sky, and sea, and all that are therein, are called the world. But in another sense, the lovers of the world are called the world, of whom he says, And the world knew Him not. For did the sky, or Angels, not know their Creator, Whom the very devils confess, Whom the whole universe has borne witness to? Who then did not know Him? Those who, from their love of the world, are called the world; for such live in heart in the world, while those who do not love it, have their body in the world, but their heart in heaven; as said the Apostle, our conversation is in heaven. By their love of the world, such men merit being called by the name of the place where they live. And just as in speaking of a bad house, or good house, we do not mean praise or blame to the walls, but to the inhabitants; so when we talk of the world, we mean those who live there in the love of it.

CHRYS. But they who were the friends of God, knew Him even before His presence in the body; whence Christ said below, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day. When the Gentiles then interrupt us with the question, Why has He come in these last times to work our salvation, having neglected us so long? we reply, that He was in the world before, superintending what He had made, and was known to all who were worthy of Him; and that, if the world knew Him not, those of whom the world was not worthy knew Him. The reason follows, why the world knew Him not. The Evangelist calls those men the world, who are tied to the world, and savor of worldly things; for there is nothing that disturbs the mind so much, as this melting with the love of present things.

11. He came to his own, and his own received him not.
12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the wild of man, but of God.

CHRYS. When He said that the world knew Him not, he c referred to the times of the old dispensation, but what follows H has reference to the time of his preaching; He came to his own.

AUG. Because all things were made by Him.

THEOPHYL. By his own, understand either the world, or Judea, which He had chosen for His inheritance.

CHRYS. He came then to His own, not for His own good, but for the good of others. But whence did He Who fills all things, and is every where present, come? He came out of condescension to us, though in reality He had been in the world all along. But the world not seeing Him, because it knew Him not, He deigned to put on flesh. And this manifestation and condescension is called His advent. But the merciful God so contrives His dispensations, that we may shine forth in proportion to our goodness, and therefore He will not compel, but invites men, by persuasion and kindness, to come of their own accord: and so, when He came, some received Him, and others received Him not. He desires not an unwilling and forced service; for no one who comes unwillingly devotes himself wholly to Him. Whence what follows, And his own received him not. He here calls the Jews His own, as being his peculiar people; as indeed are all men in some sense, being made by Him. And as above, to the shame of our common nature, he said, that the world which was made by Him, knew not its Maker: so here again, indignant at the ingratitude of the Jews, he brings a heavier charge, viz. that His own received Him not.

AUG But if none at all received, none will be saved. For no one will be saved, but he who received Christ at His coming; and therefore he adds, As many as received Him.

CHRYS. Whether they be bond or free, Greek or Barbarian, wise or unwise, women or men, the young or the aged, all are made meet for the honor, which the Evangelist now proceeds to mention. To them gave He power to become the sons of God.

AUG. O amazing goodness! He was born the Only Son, yet would not remain so; but grudged not to admit joint heirs to His inheritance. Nor was this narrowed by many partaking of it.

CHRYS. He said not that He made them the sons of God, but gave them power to become the sons of God: showing that there is need of much care, to preserve the image, which is formed by our adoption in Baptism, untarnished: and showing at the same time also that no one can take this power from us, except we rob ourselves of it. Now, if the delegates of worldly governments have often nearly as much power as those governments themselves, much more is this the case with us, who derive our dignity from God. But at the same time the Evangelist wishes to show that this grace comes to us of our own will and endeavor: that, in short, the operation of grace being supposed, it is in the power of our free will to make us the sons of God.

THEOPHYL. Or the meaning is, that the most perfect sonship will only be attained at the resurrection, as said the Apostle, Wailing for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. He therefore gave us the power to become the sons of God, i.e. the power of obtaining this grace at some future time.

CHRYS. And because in the matter of these ineffable benefits, the giving of grace belongs to God, but the extending of faith to man, He subjoins, even to those who believe on his name. Why then declare you not, John, the punishment of those who received Him not? Is it because there is no greater punishment than that, when the power of becoming the sons of God is offered to men, they should not become such, but voluntarily deprive themselves of the dignity? But besides this, inextinguishable fire awaits all such, as will appear clearly farther on.

AUG. To be made then the sons of God, and brothers of Christ, they must of course be born; for if they are not born, how can they be sons? Now the sons of men are born of flesh and blood, and the will of man, and the embrace of wedlock; but how these are born, the next words declare: Not of bloods; that is, the male's and the female's. Bloods is not correct Latin, but as it is plural in the Greek, the translator preferred to put it so, though it be not strictly grammatical, at the same time explaining the word in order not to offend the weakness of one's hearers.

BEDE; It should be understood that in holy Scripture, blood in the plural number, has the signification of sin: thus in the Psalms, Deliver me from blood-guiltiness.

AUG. In that which follows, Nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, the flesh is put for the female; because, when she was made out of the rib, Adam said, This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. The flesh therefore is put for the wife, as the spirit sometimes is for the husband; because that the one ought to govern, the other to obey. For what is there worse than a house, where the woman has rule over the man? But these that we speak of are born neither of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.

BEDE; The carnal birth of men derives its origin from the embrace of wedlock, but the spiritual is dispensed by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

CHRYS. The Evangelist makes this declaration, that being taught the vileness and inferiority of our former birth, which is through blood, and the will of the flesh, and understanding the loftiness and nobleness of the second, which is through grace, we might hence receive great knowledge, worthy of being bestowed by him who begat us, and after this show forth much zeal.

14a. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

AUG. Having said, Born of God; to prevent surprise and trepidation at so great, so apparently incredible a grace, that men should be born of God; to assure us, he says, And the Word was as made flesh. Why marvel you then that men are born of God? Know that God Himself was born of man.

CHRYS. Or thus, After saying that they were born of God, who received Him, he sets forth the cause of this honor, viz. the Word being made flesh, God's own Son was made the son of man, that he might make the sons of men the sons of God. Now when you hear that the Word was made flesh, be not disturbed, for He did not change His substance into flesh, which it were indeed impious to suppose; but remaining what He was, took upon Him the form of a servant. But as there are some who say, that the whole of the incarnation was only in appearance, to refute such a blasphemy, he used the expression, was made, meaning to represent not a conversion of substance, but an assumption of real flesh. But if they say, God is omnipotent; why then could He not be changed into flesh? we reply, that a change from an unchangeable nature is a contradiction.

AUG. As our word becomes the bodily voice, by its assumption of that voice, as a means of developing itself externally, so the Word of God was made flesh, by assuming flesh, as a means of manifesting Itself to the world. And as our word is made voice, yet is not turned into voice; so the Word of God was made flesh, but never turned into flesh. It is by assuming another nature, not by consuming themselves in it, that our word is made voice, and the Word, flesh.

EX GESTIS CONC. EPH. The discourse which we utter, which we use in conversation with each other, is incorporeal, imperceptible, impalpable; but clothed in letters and characters, it becomes material, perceptible, tangible. So too the Word of God, which was naturally invisible, becomes visible, and that comes before us in tangible form, which was by nature incorporeal.

ALCUIN. When we think how the incorporeal soul is joined to the body, so as that of two is made one man, we too shall the more easily receive the notion of the incorporeal Divine substance being joined to the soul in the body, in unity of person; so as that the Word is not turned into flesh, nor the flesh into the Word; just as the soul is not turned into body, nor the body into soul.

THEOPHYL. Apollinarius of Laodicea raised a heresy upon this text; saying, that Christ had flesh only, not a rational soul; in the place of which His divinity directed and controlled His body.

AUG. If men are disturbed however by its being said that the Word was made flesh, without mention of a soul; let them know that the flesh is put for the whole man, the part for the whole, by a figure of speech; as in the Psalms, Unto you shall all flesh come; and again in Romans, By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified. In the same sense it is said here that the Word was made flesh; meaning that the Word was made man.

THEOPHYL. The Evangelist intends by making mention of the flesh, to show the unspeakable condescension of God, and lead us to admire His compassion, in assuming for our salvation, what was so opposite and incongenial to His nature, as the flesh: for the soul has some propinquity to God. If the Word, however, was made flesh, and assumed not at the same time a human soul, our souls, it would follow, would not be yet restored: for what He did not assume, He could not sanctify. What a mockery then, when the soul first sinned, to assume and sanctify the flesh only, leaving the weakest part untouched! This text overthrows Nestorius, who asserted that it was not the very Word, even God, Who the Self-same was made man, being conceived of the sacred blood of the Virgin: but that the Virgin brought forth a man endowed with every kind of virtue, and that the Word of God was united to him: thus making out two sons, one born of the Virgin, i.e. man, the other born of God, that is, the Son of God, united to that man by grace, and relation, and love. In opposition to him the Evangelist declares, that the very Word was made Man, not that the Word fixing upon a righteous man united Himself to him.

CYRIL; The Word uniting to Himself a body of flesh animated with a rational soul, substantially, was ineffably and incomprehensibly made Man, and called the Son of man, and that not according to the will only, or good-pleasure, nor again by the assumption of the Person alone. The natures are different indeed which are brought into true union, but He Who is of both, Christ the Son, is One; the difference of the natures, on the other hand, not being destroyed in consequence of this coalition.

THEOPHYL; From the text, The Word was made flesh, we learn this farther, that the Word Itself is man, and being the Son of God was made the Son of a woman, who is rightly called the Mother of God, as having given birth to God in the flesh.

HILARY; Some, however, who think God the Only-Begotten, God the Word, Who was in the beginning with God, not to be God substantially, but a Word sent forth, the Son being to God the Father, what a word is to one who utters it, these men, in order to disprove that the Word, being substantially God, and abiding in the form of God, was born the Man Christ, argue subtilely, that, whereas that Man (they say) derived His life rather from human origin than from the mystery of a spiritual conception, God the Word did not make Himself Man of the womb of the Virgin; but that the Word of God was in Jesus, as the spirit of prophecy in the Prophets. And they are accustomed to charge us with holding, that Christ was born a Man, not of our body and soul; whereas we preach the Word made flesh, and after our likeness born Man, so that He Who is truly Son of God, was truly born Son of man; and that, as by His own act He took upon Him a body of the Virgin, so of Himself He took a soul also, which in no case is derived from man by mere parental origin. And seeing He, The Self-same, is the Son of man, how absurd were it, besides the Son of God, Who is the Word, to make Him another person besides, a sort of prophet, inspired by the Word of God; whereas our Lord Jesus Christ is both the Son of God, and the Son of man.

CHRYS. Lest from it being said, however, that the Word was made flesh, you should infer improperly a change of His incorruptible nature, he subjoins, And dwelt among us. For that which inhabits is not the same, but different from the habitation: different, I say, in nature; though as to union and conjunction, God the Word and the flesh are one, without confusion or extinction of substance.

ALCUIN; Or, dwelt among us, means, lived amongst men.

14b. And we saw his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

CHRYS. Having said that we are made the sons of God and in no other way than because the Word was made flesh; he mentions another gift, And we saw His glory. Which glory we should not have seen, had He not, by His alliance with humanity, become visible to us. For if they could not endure to look on the glorified face of Moses, but there was need of a veil, how could soiled and earthly creatures, like ourselves, have borne the sight of undisguised Divinity, which is not vouchsafed even to the higher powers themselves.

AUG. Or thus; in that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, His birth became a kind of ointment to anoint the eyes of our heart, that we might through His humanity discern His majesty; and therefore it follows, And we saw His glory. No one could see His glory, who was not healed by the humility of the flesh. For there had flown upon man's eye as it were dust from the earth: the eye had been diseased, and earth was sent to heal it again; the flesh had blinded you, the flesh restores you. The soul by consenting to carnal affections had become carnal; hence the eye of the mind had been blinded: then the physician made for thee ointment. He came in such wise, as that by the flesh He destroyed the corruption of the flesh. And thus the Word was made flesh, that you might be able to say, We saw His glory.

CHRYS. He subjoins, As of the Only-Begotten of the Father: for many prophets, as Moses, Elijah, and others, workers of miracles, had been glorified, and Angels also who appeared to men, shining with the brightness belonging to their nature; Cherubim and Seraphim too, who were seen in glorious array by the prophets. But the Evangelist withdrawing our minds from these, and raising them above all nature, and every preeminence of fellow servants, leads us up to the summit Himself; as if he said, Not of prophet, or of any other man, or of Angel, or Archangel, or any of the higher powers, is the glory which we beheld; but as that of the very Lord, very King, very and true Only-Begotten Son.

GREG. In Scripture language as, and as it were, are sometimes put not for likeness but reality; whence the expression, As of the Only-Begotten of the Father.

CHRYS. As if he said: We saw His glory, such as it was becoming and proper for the Only-Begotten and true Son to have. We have a form of speech, like it, derived from our seeing kings always splendidly robed. When the dignity of a man's carriage is beyond description, we say, In short, he went as a king. So too John says, We saw His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father. For Angels, when they appeared, did every thing as servants who had a Lord, but He as the Lord appearing in humble form. Yet did all creatures recognize their Lord, the star calling the Magi, the Angels the shepherds, the child leaping in the womb acknowledged Him: yes the Father bore witness to Him from heaven, and the Paraclete descending upon Him: and the very universe itself shouted louder than any trumpet, that the King of heaven had come. For devils fled, diseases were healed, the graves gave up the dead, and souls were brought out of wickedness, to the utmost height of virtue. What shall one say of the wisdom of precepts, of the virtue of heavenly laws, of the excellent institution of the angelical life?

ORIGEN; Full of grace and truth. Of this the meaning is twofold. For it may be understood of the Humanity, and the Divinity of the Incarnate Word, so that the fullness of grace has reference to the Humanity, according to which Christ is the Head of the Church, and the first-born of every creature: for the greatest and original example of grace, by which man, with no preceding merits, is made God, is manifested primarily in Him. The fullness of the grace of Christ may also be understood of the Holy Spirit, whose sevenfold operation filled Christ's Humanity. The fullness of truth applies to the Divinity but if you had rather understand the fullness of grace and truth of the New Testament, you may with propriety pronounce the fullness of the grace of the New Testament to be given by Christ, and the truth of the legal types to have been fulfilled in Him.

THEOPHYL. Or, full of grace, inasmuch as His word w as gracious, as said David, Full of grace are your lips; and truth, because what Moses and the Prophets spoke or did in figure, Christ did in reality.

15. John bore witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me, for he was before me.

ALCUIN; He had said before that there was a man sent to bear witness; now he gives definitely the forerunner's own testimony, which plainly declared the excellence of His Human Nature and the Eternity of His Godhead. John bore witness of Him.

CHRYS. Or he introduces this, as if to say, Do not suppose that we bear witness to this out of gratitude, because we were with Him a long time, and partook of His table; for John who had never seen Him before, nor tarried with Him, bore witness to Him. The Evangelist repeats John's testimony many times here and there, because he was held in such admiration by the Jews. Other Evangelists refer to the old prophets, and say, This was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet. But he introduces a loftier, and later witness, not intending to make the servant vouch for the master, but only condescending to the weakness of his hearers. For as Christ would not have been so readily received, had He not taken upon Him the form of a servant; so if he had not excited the attention of servants by the voice of a fellow-servant beforehand, there would not have been many Jews embracing the word of Christ. It follows, And cried; that is, preached with openness, with freedom, without reservation. He did not however begin with asserting that this one was the natural only-begotten Son of God, but cried, saying, This was He of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me. For as birds do not teach their young all at once to fly, but first draw them outside the nest, and afterwards try them with a quicker motion; so John did not immediately lead the Jews to high things, but began with lesser flights, saying, that Christ was better than he; which in the mean time was no little advance. And observe how prudently he introduces his testimony; he not only points to Christ when He appears, but preaches Him beforehand; as, This is He of whom I spoke. This would prepare men's minds for Christ's coming: so that when He did come, the humility of His garb would be no impediment to His being received. For Christ adopted so humble and common an appearance, that if men had seen Him without first healing John's testimony to His greatness, none of the things spoken of Him would have had any effect.

THEOPHYL. He said, Who comes after me, that is, as to the time of His birth. John was six months before Christ, according to His humanity.

CHRYS. Or this does not refer to the birth from Mary; for Christ was born, when this was said by John; but to His coming for the work of preaching. He then said, is made before me; that is, is more illustrious, more honorable; as if he said, Do not suppose me greater than He, because I came first to preach.

THEOPHYL. The Arians infer from this Word, that the Son of God is not begotten of the Father, but made like any other creature.

AUG. It does not mean - He was made before I was made, but He is preferred to me.

CHRYS. If the words, made before me, referred to His coming into being, it was superfluous to add, For He was before me. For who would be so foolish as not to know, that if He was made before him, He was before him. It would have been more correct to say, He was before me, because He was made before me. The expression then, He was made before me, must be taken in the sense of honor: only that which was to take place, he speaks of as having taken place already, after the style of the old Prophets, who commonly talk of the future as the past.

16. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.
17. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

ORIGEN; This is to be considered a continuation of the Baptist's testimony to Christ, a point which has escaped the attention of many, who think that from this to, He has declared Him, St. John the Apostle is speaking. But the idea that on a sudden, and, as it would seem, unseasonably, the discourse of the Baptist should be interrupted by a speech of the disciple's, is inadmissible. And any one, able to follow the passage, will discern a very obvious connection here.

For having said, He is preferred before me, for He was before me, he proceeds, From this I know that He is before me, because I and the Prophets who preceded me have received of His fullness, and grace for grace, (the second grace for the first.) For they too by the Spirit penetrated beyond the figure to the contemplation of the truth. And hence receiving, as we have done, of his fullness, we judge that the law was given by Moses, but that grace and truth were made, by Jesus Christ - made, not given: the Father gave the law by Moses, but made grace and truth by Jesus.

But if it is Jesus who says below, I am the Truth, how is truth made by Jesus? We must understand however that the very substantial Truth, from which First Truth and Its Image many truths are engraver on those who treat of the truth, was not made through Jesus Christ, or through any one; but only the truth which is in individuals, such as in Paul, e.g. or the other Apostles, was made through Jesus Christ.

CHRYS. Or thus; John the Evangelist here adds this testimony to that of John the Baptist, saying, And of his fullness have we all received. These are not the words of the forerunner, but of the disciple; as if he meant to say, We also the twelve, and the whole body of the faithful, both present and to come, have received of His fullness.

AUG. But whet have you received? Grace for grace. So that we are to understand that we have received a certain something from His fullness, and over and above this, grace for grace; that we have first received of His fullness, first grace; and again, we have received grace for grace. What grace did we first receive; Faith: which is called grace, because it is given freely. This is the first grace then which the sinner receives, the remission of his sins. Again, we have grace for grace; i.e. instead of that grace in which we live by faith, we are to receive another, viz. life eternal: for life eternal is as it were the wages of faith. And thus as faith itself is a good grace, so life eternal is grace for grace. There was not grace in the Old Testament; for the law threatened, but assisted not, commanded, but healed not, showed our weakness, but relieved it not.

It prepared the way however for a Physician who was about to come, with the gifts of grace and truth: whence the sentence which follows: For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth were made by Jesus Christ. The death of your Lord has destroyed death, both temporal and eternal; that is the grace which was promised, but not contained, in the law.

CHRYS. Or we have received grace for grace; that is, the new in the place of the old. For as there is a justice and a justice besides, an adoption and another adoption, a circumcision and another circumcision; so is there a grace and another grace; only the one being a type, the other a reality. He brings in the words to show that the Jews as well as ourselves are saved by grace: it being of mercy and grace that they received the law. Next, after he has said, Grace for grace, he adds something to show the magnitude of the gift; For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth were made by Jesus Christ. John when comparing himself with Christ above had said, He is preferred before me: but the Evangelist draws a comparison between Christ, and one much more in admiration with the Jews than John, viz. Moses.

And observe his wisdom. He does not draw the comparison. between the persons, but the things, contrasting grace and truth to the law: the latter of which he says was given, a word only applying to an administrator; the former made, as we should speak of a king, who does every thing by his power: though in this King it would be with grace also, because that with power He remitted all sins. Now His grace is shown in His gift of Baptism, and our adoption by the Holy Spirit, and many other things; but to have a better insight into what the truth is, we should study the figures of the old law: for what was to be accomplished in the New Testament, is prefigured in the Old, Christ at His Coming filling up the figure. Thus was the figure given by Moses, but the truth made by Christ.

AUG. Or, we may refer grace to knowledge, truth to wisdom. Amongst the events of time the highest grace is the uniting of man to God in One Person; in the eternal world the highest truth pertains to God the Word.

18. No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

ORIGEN; Heracleon asserts, that this is a declaration of the disciple, not of the Baptist: an unreasonable supposition; for if the words, Of His fullness have we all received, are the Baptist's, does not the connection run naturally, that he receiving of the grace of Christ, the second in the place of the first grace, and confessing that the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ; understood here that no man had seen God at any time, and that the Only Begotten, who was in the bosom of the Father, had committed this declaration of Himself to John, and all who with him had received of His fullness? For John was not the first who declared Him; for He Himself who was before Abraham, tells us, that Abraham rejoiced to see His glory.

CHRYS. Or thus; the Evangelist after showing the great superiority of Christ's gifts, compared with those dispensed by Moses, wishes in the next place to supply an adequate reason for the difference. The one being a servant was made a minister of a lesser dispensation: but the other Who was Lord, and Son of the King, brought us far higher things, being ever coexistent with the Father, and beholding Him. Then follows, No man has seen God at any time, &c.

AUG. What is that then which Jacob said, I have seen God face to face; and that which is written of Moses, he talked with God face to face; and that which the prophet Isaiah said of himself, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne?

GREG. It is plainly given us to understand here, that while we are in this mortal state, we see God only through the medium of certain images, not, in the reality of His own nature. A soul influenced by the grace of the Spirit may see God through certain figures, but cannot penetrate into his absolute essence. And hence it is that Jacob, who testifies that he saw God, saw nothing but an Angel: and that Moses, who talked with God face to face, says, Show me Your way, that I may know You: meaning that he ardently desired to see in the brightness of His own infinite Nature, Him Whom he had only as yet seen reflected in images.

CHRYS. If the old fathers had seen That very Nature, they would not have contemplated It so variously, for It is in Itself simple and without shape; It sits not, It walks not; these are the qualities of bodies. Whence he said through the Prophet, I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the Prophets: i.e. I have condescended to them, I appeared that which I was not. For inasmuch as the Son of God was about to manifest Himself to us in actual flesh, men were at first raised to the sight of God, in such ways as allowed of their seeing Him.

AUG. Now it is said, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God; and again, When He shall appear, we shall be like to Him, for we shall see Him as He is. What is the meaning then of the words here: No man has seen God at any time? The reply is easy: those passages speak of God, as to be seen, not as already seen. They shall see God, it is said, not, they have seen Him: nor is it, we have seen Him, but, we shall see Him as He is. For, No man has seen God at any time, neither in this life, nor yet in the Angelic, as He is; in the same way in which sensible things are perceived by the bodily vision.

GREG. If however any, while inhabiting this corruptible flesh, can advance to such an immeasurable height of virtue, as to be able to discern by the contemplative vision, the eternal brightness of God, their case affects not what we say. For whoever sees wisdom, that is, God, is dead wholly to this life, being no longer occupied by the love of it.

AUG. For unless any in some sense die to this life, either by leaving the body altogether, or by being so withdrawn and alienated from carnal perceptions, that he may well not know, as the Apostle says, whether he be in the body or out of the body, he cannot be carried away, and borne aloft to that vision.

GREG. Some hold that in the place of bliss, God is visible in His brightness, but not in His nature. This is to indulge in over much subtlety. For in that simple and unchangeable essence, no division can be made between the nature and the brightness.

AUG. If we say, that the text, No one has seen God, at any time, applies only to men; so that, as the Apostle more plainly interprets it, Whom no man has seen nor can see, no one is to be understood here to mean, no one of men: the question may be solved in a way not to contradict what our Lord says, Their Angels do always behold the face of My Father; so that we must believe that Angels see, what no one, i.e. of men, has ever seen.

GREG. Some however there are who conceive that not even the Angels see God.

CHRYS. That very existence which is God, neither Prophets, nor even Angels, nor yet Archangels, have seen. For inquire of the Angels; they say nothing concerning His Substance; but sing, Glory to God in the highest, and Peace on earth to men of good will. Nay, ask even Cherubim and Seraphim; you will hear only in reply the mystic melody of devotion, and that heaven and earth are full of His glory.

AUG. Which indeed is true so far, that no bodily or even mental vision of man has ever embraced the fullness of God; for it is one thing to see, another to embrace the whole of what you see. A thing is seen, if only the sight of it be caught; but we only see a thing fully, when we have no part of it unseen, when we see round its extreme limits.

CHRYS. In this complete sense only the Son and the Holy Ghost see the Father. For how can created nature see that which is uncreated? So then no man knows the Father as the Son knows Him: and hence what follows, The Only-Begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared, Him. That we might not be led by the identity of the name, to confound Him with the sons made so by grace, the article is annexed in the first place; and then, to put an end to all doubt, the name Only-Begotten is introduced.

HILARY; The Truth of His Nature did not seem sufficiently explained by the name of Son, unless, in addition, its peculiar force as proper to Him were expressed, so signifying its distinctness from all beside. For in that, besides Son, he calls Him also the Only-Begotten, he cut off altogether all suspicion of adoption, the Nature of the Only-Begotten guaranteeing the truth of the name.

CHRYS. He adds, Which is in the bosom of the Father. To dwell in the bosom is much more than simply to see. For he who sees simply, has not the knowledge thoroughly of that which he sees; but he who dwells in the bosom, knows every thing. When you hear then that no one knows the Father save the Son, do not by any means suppose that he only knows the Father more than any other, and does not know Him fully. For the Evangelist sets forth His residing in the bosom of the Father on this very account: viz. to show us the intimate converse of the Only-Begotten, and His co-eternity with the Father.

AUG. In the bosom of the Father, i.e. in the secret Presence of the Father: for God has not the fold on the bosom, as we have; nor must be imagined to sit, as we do; nor is He bound with a girdle, so as to have a fold: but from the fact of our bosom being placed innermost, the secret Presence of the Father is called the bosom of the Father. He then who, in the secret Presence of the Father, knew the Father, the same has declared what He saw.

CHRYS. But what has He declared? That God is one. But this the rest of the Prophets and Moses proclaim: what else have we learnt from the Son Who was in the bosom of the Father? In the first place, that those very truths, which the others declared, were declared through the operation of the Only Begotten: in the next place, we have received a far greater doctrine from the Only Begotten; viz. that God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth; and that God is the Father of the Only Begotten.

BEDE; Farther, if the word declared have reference to the past, it must be considered that He, being made man, declared the doctrine of the Trinity in unity, and how, and by what acts we should prepare ourselves for the contemplation of it. If it have reference to the future, then it means that He will declare Him, when He shall introduce His elect to the vision of His brightness.

AUG. Yet have there been men, who, deceived by the vanity of their hearts, maintained that the Father is invisible, the Son visible. Now if they call the Son visible, with respect to His connection with the flesh, we object not; it is the Catholic doctrine. But it is madness in them to say He was so before His incarnation; i.e. if it be true that Christ is the Wisdom of God, and the Power of God. The Wisdom of God cannot be seen by the eye. If the human word cannot be seen by the eye, how can the Word of God?

CHRYS. The text then, No man has seen God at any time, applies not to the Father only, but also to the Son: for He, as Paul said, is the Image of the invisible God; but He who is the Image of the Invisible , must Himself also be invisible.

Catena Aurea John 1
29 posted on 12/25/2008 8:05:26 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: annalex


Virgin and Child Enthroned with Scenes from the Life of the Virgin

Unknown Italian Master

1270-75
Tempera on wood, 79,2 x 120 cm
Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp

30 posted on 12/25/2008 8:05:56 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | 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.


31 posted on 12/25/2008 8:11:07 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | 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.”


32 posted on 12/25/2008 8:17:56 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | 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).
 

33 posted on 12/25/2008 8:22:46 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | 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.

34 posted on 12/25/2008 8:27:11 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | 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.)


35 posted on 12/26/2008 4:21:21 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | 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.)


36 posted on 12/26/2008 4:29:47 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | 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