I offer today, special Prayers for you ALL and for all my extended family on WordPress. Most especially, my heart’s deepest thanksgiving for those most generous and loving Donors, who, in their generosity have constantly contributed to the upkeep of this site. For Rosemary, Hugh, Melanie who have sent Christmas gifts –
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4
And my wishes for a most Holy and Blessed Christmas May the Divine Babe of Bethlehem fill your hearts with His joy, peace and love! Love Ana
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.
Thought for the Day – 24 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Holy Family – Jesus
“We have in the Holy Family, the highest possible models of perfection – Jesus, Mary and Joseph. As God, Jesus is essentially holy. By means of the Hypostatic Union, this sanctity is transmitted also to His human nature. The holiness of Jesus was only gradually revealed as He grew older because He wished to be like us in everything, save in sin. As the Gospel says, He “advanced in wisdom and age and grace before God and men” (Lk 2:52). Jesus gave us an example of holiness which we should find easier to imitate because it was eternally increasing all the time. He offered us, as an example, the kind of sanctity which has its beginning and foundation in utter humility and detachment from worldly goods. “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29).
Socrates advised his followers to have few desires and to desire these as little as possible, in order to remain content, for the man who is full of desires is always uneasy and restless. This human counsel is very true but, it is incomplete. It recommends detachment from earthly things but fails to tech the ardent and practical desire for supernatural things. Jesus Christ teaches us both. After He has urged us to become gentle and humble like Himself, after He has told us not to worry about the future and not to fret about what to wear and what to eat, He points out the way in which Providence clothes the lilies of the filed and feeds the birds of the air. Then He adds: “Seek the kingdom of God and all these things shall be given you besides” (Cf Lk. 12:22-31).
We must limit and moderate our desire for earthly goods, therefore but, should ardently yearn to love God, to serve and obey Him in this life and to enjoy Him forever in Heaven. This is what the Infant Jesus wishes to teach us.”
Quote/s of the Day – 24 December – The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight
… Let us keep the Feast, not after the manner of a heathen festival but after a godly sort; not after the way of the world but in a fashion above the world; not as our own but as belonging to Him who is ours, or rather as our Master’s; not as of weakness but as of healing; not as of creation but of re-creation.”
St Gregory of Nazianzen (330-390) Archbishop of Constantinople Father and Doctor of the Church
“Jesus Christ, the God-Man, was born in a manger and is spiritually reborn on the altar. He suffered on Calvary and continues to offer Himself on the altar. In His earthly life, He spread His teaching and worked miracles among the crowds. In the Eucharist, He spans the centuries and communicates Himself to all.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor of the Church
“… For God it was too small a thing that His Son should show us the way, He made of Him the Way (cf Jn 14:6), the Way by which you would go under His direction, the Way you would follow…”
“Awake, mankind! For your sake God has become man. Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead and Christ will enlighten you. I tell you again, for your sake, God became man.”
St Augustine 354-430) Great Latin Father and Doctor of the Church
Know today that the Lord will come – in the morning you will see His glory.
“She will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” … Matthew 1:21
REFLECTION – “The heavens were glad, earth exulted when Mary gave birth and hell was troubled and aghast. The heavens in their joy produced a shining star and a glorious army of angels, uttering praise and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will.” (Lk 2:14) The earth, exulting, brought shepherds giving glory and magi adoring and offering gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. … Reflect how that night poured forth light in the darkness and instead of blackness, it offered radiance. It gave light before the sun arose and a brightness which, from its exceeding brilliance, obscured the splendour of the sun. Concerning this night the psalmist says: “Night is my light in my delights” and turning to the Lord he says: “The darkness will not be dark for you and the night will be as bright as the day, for the darkness is as light for him” (cf Ps 38:11-12 LXX). … Taking up the newborn Emmanuel, Mary beheld a Light incomparably fairer than the sun and saw a Fire that water cannot quench. She received, in the covering of flesh that she had borne, the Light that enlightens all things and she was worthy to carry in her arms, the Word that carries the universe.” – St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Bishop, Cistercian Monk – Homilies in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, IV, SC 72
PRAYER – Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel! May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 24 December – Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord/Mass at Midnight
What Child is This?
What child is this, who, laid to rest On Mary’s lap, is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping? This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing: Haste, haste to bring him laud, The Babe, the Son of Mary!
Why lies He in such mean estate, Where ox and ass are feeding? Good Christians, fear, for sinners here The silent Word is pleading. Nails, spear shall pierce Him through, The cross be borne for me, for you. Hail, hail the Word made flesh, The Babe, the Son of Mary.
So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh, Come peasant king to own Him, The King of kings, salvation brings, Let loving hearts enthrone Him. Raise, raise the song on high, The Virgin sings her lullaby: Joy, joy, for Christ is born, The Babe, the Son of Mary!
By William C Dix (1837-1898) English Hymnist and is sung to the tune of Greensleeves.
Saint of the Day – 24 December – Saint Hanno of Worms OSB (Died 978) Bishop of Worms from 950 until his death, Benedictine Monk – born in the 10th century Hesse, Germany and died on 24 December 978 in Worms, Germany of natural causes. St Hanno – also known as Anno – is also venerated on 20 September by the Benedictines and by the Diocese and City of Worms.
Hanno came from a noble family from the environment of Emperor Otto I. The Worms Chronicle of Friedrich Zorn (1604), based on older sources, says about the Bishop “a Hess with the name of Hanno” and also cites the text of his grave inscription. He began his Christian theological work as a Monk of the Benedictine Abbey of St Maximin in Trier. King Otto I appointed him first Abbot of the Mauritius monastery in Magdeburg in 937.
Thirteen years later in 950, Hanno became the 15th Bishop of Worms at the behest of the later emperor.
In 952 he took part in the Synod of Augsburg with St Ulrich. In 964 Bishop Hanno visited Rome – in the consecration bull of angels relating to the Swiss Benedictine monastery Maria Einsiedeln, Pope Leo VIII named him on 11 November of that year among the prelates who had come to Rome from Germany and were consulted by him on this matter. Hanno visited Rome again in 970 and visited Ravenna on 29 March with the Empress and Crown Prince Otto. In 976 Emperor Otto II transferred the Mosbach Benedictine monastery to Hanno administration and care.
Since 24 December 978 has been passed down as the anniversary of Hanno’s death, today on Christmas Eve he is listed in the Roman Martyrology.
According to the Worms Chronicle by Friedrich Zorn (1604), the episcopal successor Hildebold, was his brother.
24 December – Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord/Mass at Midnight In many Western Christian traditions Midnight Mass is the first liturgy of Christmastide that is celebrated on the night of Christmas Eve, traditionally beginning at midnight when Christmas Eve gives way to Christmas Day. This popular Christmas custom is a jubilant celebration of the Mass in honour of the Nativity of Jesus, even many of those Christian denominations that do not regularly employ the word “Mass” uniquely use the term “Midnight Mass” for their Christmas Eve liturgy.
Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote a commentary on these words and explained in his Summa Theologiae, “And from this the Mass derives its name … the deacon on festival days ‘dismisses’ the people at the end of the Mass, by saying: ‘Ite, missa est,’ that is, the victim [Jesus] has been sent to God through the angel, so that it may be accepted by God.”
All the Holy Ancestors of Christ – A commemoration of all the holy ancestors of Jesus Christ.
The New Testament has preserved two different genealogies of Our Lord, in Matthew 1; and Luke 3.
Saint Matthew’s list is divided artificially into three equal parts of 14 names each, with several intentional omissions: from Abraham the father of the chosen people to David the king, to whose family the promise was made (2 Kings 7); David and the royal line after him to the Babylonian captivity; the descendants of the royal line from the captivity to Joseph, the legal father of Our Lord.
Saint Luke proceeds in reverse order; he starts from Joseph and goes, beyond Abraham, back to Adam the father of the human race, in accord with the character of his Gospel; and he merely enumerates the names without grouping them according to a thesis or point, as is the case in Saint Matthew.
Few names are common to both lists: viz., those between Abraham and David, then Salathiel and Zorobabel after the captivity, and Joseph the foster-father of Christ; the others are absent from Matthew’s list, or the persons are different. To account for these differences several explanations have been advanced, but no decisive evidence is extant. Not a few authors hold that Saint Luke gives Mary’s genealogy; but this view is more generally considered improbable, so that both lists are taken as giving Joseph’s ancestry. Only it must be supposed that at several points, instead of the actual descent, the one or the other of the lists gives the legal relationship based on adoption in some manner. Our Lord was considered to belong to the family of David; this seems to be taken for granted in the New Testament, where we find no difficulty raised against Him on the ground of His descent. The genealogies show His relationship to the royal family of Juda through Joseph, as it was only through the father, legal or natural, that the rights could be transmitted, and Joseph was the legal father of Jesus. To trace Our Lord’s ancestry through His mother would not have served the purpose of the Evangelists.
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile. After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah.
Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah, fourteen generations.
When Jesus began his ministry he was about thirty years of age. He was the son, as was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
Blessed Mercedarian Sisters – (6 beati): Six cloistered Mercedarian nuns at the convent of Vera Cruz in Berriz, Spain. Noted for their devotion to the rules of the Order and for their deep prayer lives. • Blessed Anna Maria Prieto • Blessed Anna de Arrano • Blessed Orsola de Larisgoizia • Blessed Maguna Mary • Blessed Margaret • Blessed Mary of the Assumption Sarria
Martyred Maidens of Antioch – (40 saints): A group of forty virgins martyred in the persecutions of Decius. None of their names have come down to us. They were martyred in 250 in Antioch, Syria.
Martyrs of Tripoli – (6 saints): A group of Christians martyred together, date unknown. The only details that have surived are six of the names – Drusus, Lucian, Metrobius, Paul, Theotimus and Zenobius. They were martyred in Tripoli, Libya.