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 Benefactors, who, in their generosity have constantly contributed to the upkeep of this site. For those who, in the midst of their manifold duties during this very busy time, have still found time to send Christmas donations and prayers.
“Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken togethe and overflowing, will be poured into your lap …”
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! And my Love and Prayers to you and yours. 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 – 25 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Feast of the Nativity
“The world ignores the Birth of Jesus. There is no room for Him in the inns of Bethlehem and no room for Mary and Joseph, two poverty-stricken travellers, who are obliged, as a result, to take refuge in a miserable hovel. In the world, it is always so, for men judge one another by external appearances and by financial standards.
How do we behave towards Jesus Christ? How do we behave towards the needy and the afflicted, in whom we should discern the Person of Christ Himself?
If we are prepared to open our hearts to Jesus and to welcome Him as our King and absolute Master, we shall be so transformed, that we shall live His life and act in unison with Him. In short, we shall become saints! But if we are lacking in generosity and are reluctant to welcome Jesus unreservedly into our hearts, we shall never be more than half-Christian, tepid and ungrateful! We should even be prepared to welcome the poor as the representatives of Christ. “As long as you did it for one of these, the least of my brethren,” He has assured us, “you did it for me” (Mt 25-40).
Before the cave at Bethelehm then, we should learn two great lessons. We should learn to love Jesus intensely, as our highest and only good and we should learn to love, in an effective and practical way, those who are poverty-stricken or suffering, in whom we should be able to see Jesus Christ Himself.”
Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was 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.”
“On this day, on which the Lord of all came among servants, let the lords also bow down, to their servants lovingly.
On this day, when the rich One was made poor for our sake, let the rich man also make the poor man, a sharer at his table.
On this day, a gift came out to us without our asking for it, let us then give alms to those, who cry out and beg from us.
This Lord of natures, today was transformed, contrary to his nature; it is not too difficult for us also to overthrow our evil will.
Bound is the body by its nature, for it cannot grow larger or smaller but powerful is the will, for it may grow to all sizes.
Today the Deity imprinted itself on humanity, so that humanity might also be cut into the seal of Deity.”
St Ephrem (306-373) Father and Doctor
(Homily on Our Lord, 21)
“… 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) Father and Doctor of the Church
“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
One Minute Reflection – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ – Mass during the day – Readings: Isaiah 52:7-10, Psalm 98:1-6, Hebrews 1:1-6, John 1:1-18
Christ has been born for us, come, let us adore Him!
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 1:14
REFLECTION – “Christ has come from the Father, He has come from the Word, He has come from the Holy Spirit, since the whole Trinity accomplished His conception and His incarnation. For to come from the highest Trinity was, no other, than to be conceived and to become, a human being, by the same Trinity. Therefore, it was said: “His going forth is form the highest heaven.” (cf. Ps 18:6) The Only-Begotten … begotten of the Father eternally, begotten in time, He came forth from His Mother, remaining invisibly with the Father and dwelling visibly with us. For to go forth from the Father was this – to enter upon our world, to be seen openly and to become what, from the nature of the Father, He was not. This indeed is wonderful, He came from Him from Whom He did not depart, going forth from Him, with Whom He stayed, so that without intermission, He was wholly in eternity, wholly in time, wholly was He found in the Father, when wholly in the Virgin, wholly in His own Majesty and in His Father’s at the time, when He was wholly in our humanity. If you ask how, gather the truth by means of an illustration. A word conceived in the heart goes forth complete in the voice, so that it comes perfectly to others, yet remains wholly in the heart. So the good Word, spoken forth from the heart of the Father, went forth into the broad plain, yet did not leave the Father.” … St Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159) Cistercian Monk and Bishop (On the praises of the Blessed Mary, homily II).
PRAYER – Almighty God, Your incarnate Word fills us with the new light He brought to men. Let the light of faith in our hearts, shine through all that we do and say. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
The Word was God in the beginning and before all time, today, He is born to us, the Saviour of the world.
Our Morning Offering – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Jesus Christ
Let Me Love Your Jesus By St Ildephonsus (c 607-670)
Virgin Mary, hear my prayer, through the Holy Spirit, you became the Mother of Jesus, from the Holy Spirit, may I too have Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, your flesh conceived Jesus, through the same Spirit, may my soul receive Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, you were able to know Jesus, to possess Jesus and to bring Him into the world. Through the Holy Spirit, may I too come to know your Jesus. Imbued with the Spirit, Mary, you could say “I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your word,” in the Holy Spirit, lowly as I am, let me proclaim the great truths about Jesus. In the Spirit, you now adore Jesus as Lord and look on Him as Son, in the same Spirit, Mary, let me love your Jesus. Amen
Saint of the Day – 25 December – Blessed Peter the Venerable (c 1092–1156) Eighth Abbot of Cluny, Reformer, Scholar and Writer, Poet. Born in c 1092 in Auvergne, France and died on 25 December 1156 of natural causes. Also known as – Peter of Cluny, Peter of Montboissier. Additional Memorials – 29 April as one of the Abbots of Cluny, 11 May (Benedictine calendar), 29 or 30 December on some calendars.
A descendant of the noble family of Montboissier, Peter was born to Blessed Raingarde in Auvergne, He was “Dedicated to God” at birth and was educated at the Mmonastery at Sauxillanges of the Congregation of Cluny. Peter, aged seventeen, made his profession to his Abbot, St Hugh, shortly before the latter’s death in 1109.. By the age of twenty he gained a professorship and was appointed Prior of the Monastery of Vézelay, before he moved to the Monastery at Domène.
Success at Vézelay and Domène led to his election as General of the Order, aged thirty. After his predecessor, the Abbot Pontius, had been deposed by the Pope, Peter became a tireless reformer of the Cluniac Order, in the face of criticism from other Orders and prominent Monks and theologians, including his great friend, St Bernard of Clairvaux. His defence of his Order against critics and his introduction of radical reforms, earned him the appellation of “venerable”.
His interest in the pursuit of studies at Cluny brought about a controversy with his intimate friend, St Bernard, who wished to see the monastic life confined to prayer and manual work. In 1130 Peter supported Pope Innocent II against the antipope Anacletus II, himself a Cluniac Monk and in 1140, he gave shelter to Abelard first at Cluny and later at the priory of St-Marcel-de-Chalon.
Between his numerous journeys, which took him to Spain in 1142, to Germany in 1147, twice to England and ten times to Italy, he frequently retired to a hermitage to devote himself to study and meditation. He was the first to have the Koran translated into Latin (completed 1143) and himself, wrote against the Muslims. His works, among which are treatises against Peter de Bruys and against the Jews (1144–7), a number of sermons and some poems, show comparatively little acquaintance with the Fathers but profound knowledge of the Scriptures and a preference for the literal sense, which causes him to avoid allegorical speculations. His friendship and correspondence with Bishop Henry of Blois of Winchester and Glastonbury, between 1138 and 1142, together with his debating skills, brought wider recognition of his scholarship. And, his moderation and gentleness earned him the veneration of his contemporaries but, in the eyes of posterity, he was overshadowed by the great figure of his illustrious friend, St Bernard.
Peter died a holy death on Christmas Day in 1156. He was in buried in the southern end of the cloister of the Monastery Church of Cluny Abbey. Sadly, his grave was desecrated by the Huguenots in 1562 and most of his relics were destroyed in 1792 in the anti–Catholic excesses of the French Revolution.
Although he has always been honoured as a Saint, he was never canonised and the Martyrologies grants him the title of Blessed. His cult was finally confirmed in 1862 by Blessed Pope Pius IX. and in France and around Europe, he is called “Saint.”
The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Jesus Christ – Celebration of the anniversary of the Birth of Our Lord. In the earliest days of the Church there was no such Feast, the Saviour’s Birth was commemorated with the Epiphany by the Greek and other Eastern Churches. First mention of the Feast, then kept on 20 May, was made by Clement of Alexandria c 200. The Latin Church began c 300 to observe it on 25 December, though there is no certainty that Our Lord was born on that day. Priests have the privilege of saying three Masses, at midnight, daybreak and morning. This was originally reserved to the Holy Father alone – beginning about the 4th century he celebrated a midnight Mass in the Lateran Basilica (in which according to tradition, the manger of Bethlehem is preserved), a second in the church of Saint Anastasia, whose Feast comes on 25 December and a third at the Vatican Basilica. Many peculiar customs of the day are the outcome of the pagan celebrations of the January calendar. The Christmas tree, of which the first known mention was made in 1605 at Strasbourg, was introduced into France and England in 1840. The feast is a holy day of obligation, preceded by the preparatory season of Advent and by a special Vigil – should it fall on a Friday it abrogates the law of abstinence. Today’s Gospel is the prologue of John.
I know not how, dear Lady love, To offer you my praise, I cannot fashion as I wish The words that I world raise. You stand afar, celestial Queen, The stars are in your crown, They spangle at each gesture’s path And dust upon your gown. Perhaps I might recall the night You knelt beside the crib, The night when doors and casements shut And left a mountain’s rib, Alone, exposed, to hoard you close Beside the new-born Child And seek in Joseph’s kindly eyes For something worldly-mild. To counteract such mundane chill I hereby set my heart, Dim mirror of an Infant’s warmth, Its flaming but a part, A small, sad part of Endless Love That came on Christmas day To show a mother wonder-bright To guide us on our way.
St Adalsindis of Hamay St Alburga of Wilton St Anastasia of Sirmium Bl Artale St Basilée of the Via Latina Bl Bentivoglio de Bonis Bl Diego de Aro St Eugenia of Rome St Fulk of Toulouse
St Jovin of the Via Latina Bl Maria Therese von Wüllenweber Bl Matthew of Albano Bl Michael Nakashima Saburoemon Bl Nera Blessed Peter the Venerable (c 1092–1156) Abbot St Romulus of Berry —
Martyrs of Nicomedia: 20,000 Christians martyred by order of Diocletian. They were reported to have all been in the single basilica to celebrate Christmas. While there unquestionably was an endless series of martyrs under Diocletian, it’s likely the ancient sources exaggerated the numbers of this incident. And as the Christmas holy day was not celebrated in the East in 303, they were probably gathered for another feast. They were burned alive in 303 in the basilica of Nicomedia.