Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus By St Alphonsus, Day Nine – 24 December

Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)

24 December
Meditation 9:
The Birth of the Infant Jesus in the cave of Bethlehem.

Since the Roman Emperor’s edict said that everyone was to enrol in his own country, Joseph and his wife, Mary, departed for Bethlehem. The trip took four days, travelling over mountainous roads, in the cold of winter wind and rain. Think of how much the Blessed Virgin must have suffered on that journey.

As soon as they arrived, the time of her delivery was at hand, so Joseph went around the Town looking for lodging where Mary could give birth to her child. But, because they were poor, they were driven away by everyone, even from the Inn where poor people were normally sheltered. So, they left the Town and found a cave. As Mary entered, Joseph protested, saying, “My dear wife, how can you spend the night in this cold, damp place? Can you not see that this is a stable for animals?” But she answered, “Joseph, this shed is the Royal Palace where the Son of God chooses to be born.”

And since the time for the birth had arrived, the Holy Virgin was in prayer. Suddenly the cave became brilliantly lit, as if by the sun or a star and the Son of God came forth into the world, as a tender Infant, crying and trembling with cold. The first thing Mary did was to adore Him as her God. Then she held Him to her bosom and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes which she had brought along. Finally, she laid Him on a little straw in the manger, the feeding trough for animals.

That is how the Son of the eternal God chose to be born for love of us.

A saint once said, that those who love Jesus Christ most, ought to kneel at the feet of the Holy Infant and, in spirit, perform for Him the same service as the beasts in the stable at Bethlehem did, who warmed Him with their breath. We should warm Him with our sighs of love.

Affections and Prayers:

O Adorable Infant Jesus!
I should not have the boldness
to cast myself at Thy feet,
if I did not know that Thou, Thyself,
invitest me to draw near Thee.
It is I, who by my sins,
have made Thee shed so many tears
in the stable of Bethlehem.
But since Thou hast come on earth
to pardon repentant sinners,
forgive me too, now that I am heartily sorry
for having spurned Thee, my Saviour and my God,
Who art so good and Who hast loved me so much.

In this night,
in which Thou bestowest great graces
on so many souls,
grant too, Thy heavenly consolation
to this poor soul of mine.
All that I ask of Thee
is the grace to love Thee always,
from this day forward,
with all my heart.
Set me on fire with Thy holy love.
I love Thee, O my God,
Who hast become a Babe for love of me.
Never let me cease loving Thee evermore.

O Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother,
thou canst obtain everything
from thy Son by thy prayers.
This is the only favour I ask of Thee.
Do thou pray to Jesus for me.


Thought for the Day – 24 December – The Holy Family – Mary

Thought for the Day – 24 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

A Christmas Novena IX
The Holy Family – Mary

The Blessed Virgin Mary, is the second model proposed for our imitation in the Holy Family.
She is the purest and most beautiful of creatures ever fashioned by the Hand of God.
As Mother of the Word Incanate, her dignity touches the Divine.
Preserved from all stain of sin from the moment of her conception, she is full of grace.
Except in God Himself, no greater beauty and holiness can be found elsewhere, than in Mary.

We do not read that Mary worked miracles, had ecstasies, or possessed any extraordinary external gifts.
Her sanctity was completely internal.
She trod the ordinary way of perfection, therefore, the way most easily imitated by us and, nevertheless, reached the highest peak of holiness.
Since we are her devoted and affectionate children, let us ask her for the grace to follow her in the way of perfection and of complete resignation to the will of God.
Although we may have to follow her from afar, let us follow with enthusiasm and love.

Antonio Cardinal Bacci



Quote/s of the Day – 24 December – Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Quote/s of the Day – 24 December – The Vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception”

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.

Silent Night, Holy Night!
Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht!
By Father Joseph Mohr (1792-1818)

Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child!
Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night!
Son of God, how the light
Radiates love from Thy heavenly face,
At the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.

Set to Music by Francis Xavier Gruber (1787-1863)

The story of Fr Mohr and his composition of this 204th Anniversary of the first sound of this favourite Catholic Christmas Carol, here:

The Midnight Hour
(Fr or Br) Frederick M Lynk, SVD

The Virgin Mother kneels upon the floor
And holds her Baby in her arm,
Her heart is gladder than her lips can say,
To keep her newborn Baby snug and warm,
A Babe more sweet and fair and dear
Than any rosebud in the bright sunshine,
Whose little eyes look straight into her own,
O, blessed maid, God’s Son is also thine.

‘Twas holy midnight, when He came to earth:
As pours a sun ray through a limpid glass,
Not leaving any mark upon its face;
A drop of dew upon the fresh green grass,
A little star that fell upon her lap,
A cooing Babe, that seeks her virgin breast.
The hopes of all the sin-cursed world
Upon this Baby’s eyelids rest.

And ever since the midnight hour is holy,
And millions of human hearts are stirred,
To wonderment and love for Him, Who came,
To save the world, God’s Own Incarnate Word.
He came in darkness, He who was The Light,
His Godhead shone from clear blue Baby eyes,
The curse of earth’s first sin, was lifted then,
That midnight hour re-opened paradise!


One Minute Reflection – 24 December – ‘ … The Name of Jesus, is light for our minds, food for our hearts, medicine for our souls. …’

One Minute Reflection – 24 December – The Vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception” – Romans 1:1-6, Matthew 1:18-21 – Scripture search here:

She shall bring forth a Son and thou shall call His Name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21

REFLECTION – “The Name of Jesus is a Divine Name which the Lord made known to Mary through the voice of the Archangel Gabriel: “Thou shalt give Him the Name, Jesus” (Lk 1,31). A Name which, for this reason, is called “above all names”, “the only Name by which we can be saved” (Phil 2,9; Acts 4,12). This great Name is compared to oil by the Holy Spirit: “Thy Name is oil poured out” (Sg 1,3). Why? Because, as Saint Bernard explains, just as oil is both light, food and medicine, so the Name of Jesus, is light for our minds, food for our hearts, medicine for our souls.

Light for our minds – it was the brilliance of this Name which enabled the world to pass from the shadows of idolatry, to the Light of Faith. We were born in a land, whose inhabitants were all pagans, before the coming of the Lord. We would be as they were, if He had not come to enlighten us. So how should we not give thanks to Jesus Christ for the gift of faith!…

Food for our hearts – this, too, is what the Name of Jesus is. For it calls to our minds all the painful work Jesus accomplished to save us. This is how he comforts us in tribulation, strengthens us to walk along the way of salvation, revives our hope and inflames us with love for our God.

And medicine for our souls – Jesus’ Name makes them strong in the face of temptation and our enemies’ attacks. Do they hear this Holy Name? The powers of hell tremble and take to flight. This is what Saint Paul says: “that at the Name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld” (Phil 2,10). No-one who is tempted, will fall, if he calls on Jesus and, for as long as he calls, he will persevere and be saved (cf Ps 18[17],4).” – St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Meditations for the Octave of Christmas no 8).

PRAYER – O God, Thou Who gladden us, year after year, with the expectation of our redemption, grant that we, who now welcome with joy Thy Only-begotten Son as our Redeemer, may also gaze upon Him without fear when He comes as our Judge, our Lord Jesus Christ. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).


Our Morning Offering – 24 December – O Come, O come, Emmanuel

Our Morning Offering – 24 December – The Vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord – “The Month of the Divine Infant and the Immaculate Conception”

O Come, O come, Emmanuel

O Come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Wisdom, from on high
And order all things far and nigh,
To us the path of knowledge show
And teach us in her ways to go.

O come, o come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times did give the law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From ev’ry foe deliver them
That trust Thy mighty power to save
And give them vict’ry o’er the grave.

O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heav’nly home,
Make safe the way that leads on high,
That we no more have cause to sigh.

O come, Thou Dayspring from on high
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadow put to flight.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid every strife and quarrel cease
And fill the world with heaven’s peace.

The favourite O Come, O Come Emmanuel carol was originally written in Latin text in the 12th Century. The author of the words and composer to the music of O Come, O Come Emmanuel is unknown. It is, however, believed that the melody was of French origin and added to the text a hundred years later. The Latin was translated into English by John Mason Neale in 1851.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 24 December – St Trasilla (Sixth Century) Virgin

Saint of the Day – 24 December – St Trasilla (Sixth Century) Virgin, Aunt of Saint Pope Gregory the Great (540-604). Born as a Roman citizen and died on 24 December, in the 6th Century, year unknown. St Trasilla is usually mentioned with St Emiliana, her sister and, therefore, also St Gregory’s Aunt but her Feast day is celebrated on 5 January. Also known as – Tarsilla, Tharsilla, Thrasilla.

The Roman Martyrology reads today: “At Rome, the birthday of the holy Virgin, Trasilla, Aunt of St Gregory, Pope, who writs of her that at the hour of her death, she saw Jesus coming to her.

Sts Trasilla and Emiliana

What we know of her life was recorded by the holy Pope, who was deeply moved by her model of Christian life and virtue.

Born in Rome, Trasilla and Emiliana were the daughters of Senator Gordian and Saint Silvia. Nieces of Pope Saint Felix III, the young women were destined for lives of holiness and together, while quite young, renounced the world. As young women, they together consecrated themselves to the Lord, desiring to stay pure.
Their house was as a convent and the two spent so much time kneeling in prayer that their knees and elbows arthritically locked in the position of prayer. Living as hermits, they encouraged one another in the ways of the faith, drawing deeper and deeper into the spiritual life.

Trasilla had a third sister, Gordiana, who had initially made the same vows and consecrated herself to the Lord. Gradually, however, she withdrew from her sisters, returning to the world. Their reproaches fell on deaf ears and caused them significant sadness and grief.

Saint Trasilla died prior to Saint Emiliana but not before she received a vision of her Uncle, Saint Pope Felix. In her vision, the late Pope appeared to her, showing her a place of great beauty. He said, “Come, I will receive you into this habitation of light.” Immediately, she fell ill with fever. Her sister ministered to her but to no avail. By the following day, her illness had grown worse. Saint Trasilla, in agonising pain, called out to those around her; “Make way! Jesus is coming!” With her eyes fixed firmly on Heaven, she died soon thereafter and a heavenly fragrance filled the room, confirming her visions.

And just as she had been visited by a vision of St Felix, so she too visited her sister, Emiliana from Heaven.

St Gregory the Great recounted the tale of his Aunts throughout his lifetime. He used it to illustrate the point that we must work constantly to save our souls, repenting for our actions. To Saint Gregory, there is no point in beginning the work of salvation, if we do not plan to see it through to the end. As we prepare for the birth of Our Lord, we look to our own commitments. Are we ready to greet the Infant Christ, come to redeem and save us?

Tonight, we echo the sentiment of Saint Trasilla: “Make way! Jesus is coming!” How might we use this dark night—lit by the choirs of angels—to prepare for the coming of the Lord?

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

The Vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord, the final day of the Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant and Memorials of the Saints – 24 December

The Vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord
Midnight Mass is the first liturgy of Christmastide which 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 Christ.

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.

Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant, Day Nine

All the Holy Ancestors of Christ – A commemoration of all the holy ancestors of Jesus Christ.

St Adam the Patriarch
St Adela of Pfalzel
Bl Alberic of Gladbach
Bl Brocard of Strasbourg
St Bruno of Ottobeuren
St Caran of Scotland
St Delphinus of Bordeaux

St Euthymius of Nicomedia
St Eve the Matriarch
Bl Francesco dei Maleficii
St Gregory of Spoleto

St Hanno of Worms OSB (Died 978) Benedictine Monk, Bishop of Worms from 950 until his death.

St Irmina of Oehren (Died c 716) Virgin Princess, Nun, Abbess, Founder and Co-founder of 2 Monasteries, benefactress of St Willibrord, the great Missionary Saint of Germany. The Roman Martyrology states: “In Trier in Austrasia, in Germany, Saint Irmina, Abbess of the Monastery of Öhren, who, a virgin consecrated to God, gave Saint Willibrord a small Monastery she founded in her villa in Echternach and was a generous giver of her goods.
Her Life:

St Mochua of Timahoe

Bl Peter de Solanes
St Trasilla (Sixth Century) Virgin, Aunt of Saint Pope Gregory the Great (540-604)
Bl Venerandus of Clermont

Blessed Mercedarian Brothers:

  • Blessed Dionysius Roneo
  • Blessed Philip Claro
  • Blessed Giulio Pons
  • Blessed Peter of Valladolid

Blessed Mercedarian Sisters:

  • 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 survived are six of the names – Drusus, Lucian, Metrobius, Paul, Theotimus and Zenobius. They were martyred in Tripoli, Libya.