Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Three, Ember Saturday, Our Lady of Expectation and Memorials of the Saints – 18 December

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Three:

Fast and Partial Abstinence

Our Lady of the Expectation – This Feast originated in Spain. When the Feast of the Annunciation (25 March) was transferred to 18 December because of the regulation forbidding Feasts in Lent, it remained on this date after the Annunciation was again celebrated on its original date. It impressed on the faithful, the sentiments of the Blessed Virgin as the time of her delivery approached.

More about the Feast here:

St Auxentius of MopsueStia
St Basilian of Laodicea
St Bodagisil of Aquitaine
St Desiderius of Fontenelle
Bl Eugenio Cernuda Febrero
St Flannán of Killaloe (7the Century) Bishop, Abbot, Missionary.

St Gatian of Tours (c 251-301) The founding Bishop of the See of Tours, Missionary..
About St Gatian:

Blessed Giulia Valle (1847-1916) Nun
About Blessed Giulia:

St Malachi the Prophet
St Mawnan of Cornwall
Bl Miguel San Román Fernández
St Phaolô Nguyen Van My
St Phêrô Truong Van Ðuong
St Phêrô Vu Van Truat
Bl Philip of Ratzeburg
St Rufus of Philippi
St Samthann of Clonbroney
St Theotimus of Laodicea

St Winebald OSB (c 701-761) Benedictine Priest, Abbot, Confessor, Missionary, Founder of many Monasteries, disciple of St Boniface.
St Winebald’s Life:

St Zosimus of Philippi

Martyrs of Northwest Africa – 42 saints:
Mercedarian Redeemers – 6 beati – These are a group of Mercedarian friars who worked together, under the leadership of Saint Peter de Amer, to ransom (e.g., redeem) prisoners and minister to them after.


Day One of the Christmas Novena and Memorials of the Saints – 16 December


St Adelaide of Burgundy (c 931-999) Holy Roman Empress, Widow, Foundress of monasteries and Apostle of Charity.
About St Adelaide:

St Adelard of Cysoing

St Ado of Vienne (Died 875) Archbishop of Vienne from 850 until his death, Writer, Reformer.

Bl Adolphus of Tunis
Bl Arnaldo of Tunis
St Albina of Caesarea
St Ananias
St Azarias
St Bean of Lough Derg
St Beoc
Bl Clemente Marchisio
St Dominic Dosso
Bl Elizabeth of Saint Francis

St Eusebius of Vercelli (c 283-371) Bishop, Confessor, Founder of monasticism in his region
His Feast Day was celebrated today until 1969. (General Roman Calendar 1729–1969)

St Eusebius Life:

St Everard of Friuli (c 815-867) Duke, Count, Soldier, Founder of Churches and a Monastery.
Bl Filip Siphong Onphithakt
St Irenion
Bl James of Tunis
Bl Jaume Mases Boncompte
St Jean Wauthier
St Macarius of Collesano

Blessed Mary of the Angels Fontanella OCD (1661-1717) “The Fragrant Rose of Turin,” Discalced Carmelite, Mystic, Stigmatist, Marian devotee and client of St Joseph, Prioress, Spiritual director.
Blessed Mary’s life:

St Misael
St Nicholas Chrysoberges
Bl Raynald de Bar

Blessed Sebastian Maggi OP (1414–1496) Priest of the Order of Preachers, Confessor.

Martyred Women of North-West Africa: A large group of women martyred in the persecutions of Hunneric, Arian King of the Vandals. 482 in North-West Africa.

Martyrs of Ravenna – (4 saints): A group of Christians martyred together. Four names and no other information has survived – Agricola, Concordius, Navalis and Valentine. c 305 at Ravenna, Italy.


Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Nine – 24 December

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Nine – 24 December

Day Nine

The Birth of Jesus in the Stable at Bethlehem

When the edict was issued by the emperor of Rome that everyone should go to his own city to be enrolled, Joseph and Mary went to be enrolled in Bethlehem.
How much the Holy Virgin must have suffered on this journey of four days, over mountainous road and in the wintertime, with its cold rain and wind!
When they arrived in Bethlehem, the time of Mary’s delivery was near.
Joseph, therefore, sought some lodging where she might give birth to her Child.
But because they were so poor, they were driven away from the houses and even from the public inn, where other poor people had found shelter.
So in that night they went a short way out of the town and there found a cave that was used as a stable and here Mary entered.
But Joseph said to his virgin wife, “Mary, how can you spend the night in this cold, damp cave and here give birth to your Child?”   Mary however replied, “Dear Joseph, this cave is the royal palace in which the King of kings, the Son of God, wishes to be born.”

When the hour of her delivery had arrived, the holy Virgin, as she knelt in prayer, all at once saw the cave illumined with a dazzling light.
She lowered her eyes to the ground and there saw before her the Son of God now born on earth, a poor little Babe, crying and shivering in the cold.
Adoring Him as her God, she took Him to her breast and fondled Him.
Then she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him on the straw of the manger that stood in the cave.
Thus did the Son of God choose to be born among us to prove His infinite love for us.

O Adorable Infant Jesus!
I should not have the boldness to cast myself at Your feet,
if I did not know that You Yourself invite me to draw near You.
It is I who by my sins have made You shed so many tears in the stable of Bethlehem.
But since You have come on earth to pardon repentant sinners,
forgive me also, now that I am heartily sorry for having spurned You,
my Saviour and my God, who art so good and who have loved me so much.
In this night, in which You bestow great graces on so many souls,
grant Your heavenly consolation to this poor soul of mine also.
All that I ask of You is the grace to love You always, more and more,
from this day forward, with all my heart.
Set me all on fire with Your holy love.
I love You, O my God, who have become a Babe for love of me.
Never let me cease loving You evermore.
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother,
you can obtain everything from your Son by your prayers.
This is the only favour I ask of you, that I might love Him more and more.
Please pray to Jesus for me, I beg you. Amen.


Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Eight – 23 December

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child

Day Eight
The Life Of The Child Jesus In Egypt And In Nazareth.

Our Blessed Redeemer spent the first part of His childhood in Egypt, leading there for several years, a life of poverty and humiliation.   In that land Joseph and Mary were foreigners and strangers, having there neither relatives nor friends.
Only with difficulty could they earn their daily bread by the labour of their hands.
Their home was poor, their bed was poor, their food was poor.   Here Mary weaned Jesus, dipping a piece of bread in water, she would put it in the sacred mouth of her Son.
Here she made His first little garments and clothed Him with them.
Here the Child Jesus took His first steps, stumbling and falling as other children first do.
Here too He spoke His first words but stammeringly. O wonder of wonders!
To what has not God lowered Himself for love of us!
A God stumbling and falling as He walks! A God stammering in His speech!

Not unlike this was the poor and humble life that Jesus led in Nazareth after His return from Egypt.   There, until He was thirty years old, He lived as a simple servant or workman in a carpenter shop, taking orders form Joseph and Mary.   “And He was subject to them.”   Jesus went to fetch the water, He opened and closed the shop, He swept the house, gathered the fragments of wood for the fire and toiled all day long, helping Joseph in his work.
Yet who is this?   God Himself, serving as a apprentice!
The omnipotent God, who with less than a flick of His finger created the whole universe, here sweating at the task of planing a piece of work!   Should not the mere thought of this move us to love Him?

O Jesus, my Saviour!
When I consider how, for love of me, You didst spend thirty years of Your life hidden
and unknown in a poor workshop, how can I desire the pleasures and honours and riches of the world?
Gladly do I renounce all these things, since I wish to be Your companion on this earth,
poor as you were, mortified and humble as You were,
so that I may hope to be able one day to enjoy Your companionship in heaven.
What are all the treasures and kingdoms of this world?
You, O Jesus, are my only treasure, my only Good!
I keenly regret the many times in the past when I spurned
Your friendship in order to satisfy my foolish whims.
I am sorry for them with all my heart.
For the future I would rather lose my life a thousand times
than lose Your grace by sin.
I wish never to offend You again but always to love You.
Help me to remain faithful to You until death.
O Mary, you are the refuge of sinners, you are my hope. Amen


Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Seven – 22 December

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Seven – 22 December

Day Seven

Flight Of The Child Jesus Into Egypt

Although the Son of God came from heaven to save men, scarcely was He born when men began to persecute Him to death.
Herod, fearing that this Child would deprive Him of his kingdom, seeks to destroy His life.  But St Joseph is warned by an angel in a dream to take the Infant and His Mother and flee into Egypt.   Joseph obeys at once and tells Mary about it.
He takes the few tools of his trade, that he may use them to gain a livelihood in Egypt for himself and his poor family.
Mary wraps up a small bundle of clothes for the use of her little Son and then, going to the crib, she says with tears in her eyes to her sleeping Child, “O my Son and my God!
You have come from heaven to save men but hardly are You born when they seek to take Your life.”
Lifting Him meanwhile in her arms and continuing to weep, she sets out that same night with Joseph on the road to Egypt.

Let us consider how much these holy wanderers must have suffered in making so long a journey, deprived of every comfort.   The divine Child was not yet able to walk and so Mary and Joseph had to take turns in carrying Him in their arms.
During their journey through the desert towards Egypt they had to spend several nights in the open air, with the bare ground for their bed.
The cold makes the Infant cry and Mary and Joseph weep in pity for Him.
And who would not weep at thus seeing the Son of God poor and persecuted, a fugitive on earth, that He might not be killed by His enemies!

Dear Infant Jesus, crying so bitterly!
Well have You reason to weep in seeing Yourself persecuted by men
whom You loved so much.
I, too, O God, have once persecuted You by my sins.
But You know that now I love You more than myself
and that nothing pains me more, than the thought
that I have so often spurned You, my sovereign Good.
Forgive me, O Jesus and let me bear You with me, in my heart
in all the rest of the journey that I have still to make through life,
so that together with You, I may enter into eternity.
So often have I driven You from my soul by my sins.
But now I love You above all things
and I regret above other misfortunes,
that I have offended You.
I wish to leave You no more, my beloved Lord.
But do You give me the strength to resist temptations.
Never permit me to be separated from You again.
Let me rather die than ever again lose Your good grace.
O Mary, my hope, make me always live in God’s love
and then die in loving Him.   Amen


Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Three – 18 December

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day Three – 18 December

Day Three
The Life Of Poverty Which Jesus Led From His Birth.

God so ordained that, at the time when His Son was to be born on this earth, the Roman emperor should issue a decree ordering everyone to go to the place of his origin and there be registered in the census.   Thus it came about that, in obedience to this decree, Joseph went to Bethlehem together with his virgin wife when she was soon to have her Child.
Finding no lodging either in the poor inn or in the other houses of the town, they were forced to spend the night in a cave that was used as a stable for animals and it was here that Mary gave birth to the King of heaven.   If Jesus had been born in Nazareth,   He would also, it is true, have been born in poverty but there He would at least have had a dry room, a little fire, warm clothes and a more comfortable cradle.   Yet He chose to be born in this cold, damp cave and to have a manger for a cradle, with prickly straw for a mattress, in order that He might suffer for us.

Let us enter in spirit into this cave of Bethlehem but let us enter in a spirit of lively faith.
If we go there without faith, we shall see nothing but a poor infant
and the sight of this lovely child shivering
and crying on his rough bed of straw may indeed move us to pity.
But if we enter with faith and consider that this Babe is the very Son, God,
who for love of us has come down on earth
and suffers so much to pay the penalty for our sins,
how can we help thanking and loving Him in return?

O Dear Infant Jesus,
how could I be so ungrateful and offend You so often,
if I realised how much You have suffered for me?
But these tears which You shed,
this poverty which you embraced for love of me,
make me hope for the pardon of all the offences
I have committed against You.
My Jesus,
I am sorry for having so often turned my back on You.
But now I love You above all else.
“My God and my all!”
From now on You, O my God,
shall be my only treasure and my only good.
With Saint Ignatius of Loyola I will say to You,
“Give me the grace to love You; that is enough for me.”
I long for nothing else;
I want nothing else.
You alone are enough for me,
my Jesus, my life, my love.
O Mary, my Mother,
obtain for me the grace
that I may always love Jesus
and always be loved by Him. Amen


Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day One – 16 December

Christmas Novena to the Christ Child – Day One – 16 December

God’s Love Revealed In His Becoming Man.

Because our first parent Adam, had rebelled against God, he was driven out of paradise and brought on himself and all his descendants the punishment of eternal death.   But the son of God, seeing man thus lost and wishing to save him from death, offered to take upon Himself our human nature and to suffer death Himself, condemned as a criminal on a cross.

“But, My Son,” we may imagine the eternal Father saying to Him, “think of what a life of humiliations and sufferings You wilt have to lead on earth. You will have to be born in a cold stable and laid in a manger, the feeding trough of beasts.
While still an infant, You will have to flee into Egypt, to escape the hands of Herod.
After Your return from Egypt, You will have to live and work in a shop as a lowly servant,
poor and despised.
And finally, worn out with sufferings, You will have to give up Your life on a cross, put to shame and abandoned by everyone.”
“Father,” replies the Son, “all this matters not. I will gladly bear it all, if only I can save man.”

What should we say if a prince, out of compassion for a dead worm, were to choose to become a worm himself and give his own life blood in order to restore the worm to life? But the eternal Word has done infinitely more than this for us. Though He is the sovereign Lord of the world, He chose to become like us, who are immeasurably more beneath Him than a worm is beneath a prince and He was willing to die for us, in order to win back for us the life of divine grace that we had lost by sin.

When He saw that all the other gifts which He had bestowed on us were not sufficient to induce us to repay His love with love, He became man Himself and gave all of Himself to us.

“The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us;” 
“He loved us and delivered Himself up for us.”christmas novena - day one - 16 dec 2017 God_s Love Revealed In His Becoming Man.

O Great Son of God,
You became man in order to make Yourself loved by men.
But where is the love that men give You in return?
You gave Your life blood to save our souls.
Why then are we so unappreciative that,
instead of repaying You with love,
we spurn You with ingratitude?
And I, Lord, I myself more than others have ill treated You.
But Your Passion is my hope.
For the sake of that love which led You to take upon Yourself
human nature and to die for me on the cross,
forgive me all the offences I have committed against You.
I love You, O Word Incarnate;
I love You, O infinite goodness.
Out of love for You, that I could die of grief for these offences.
Give me, O Jesus, Your love.
Let me no longer live in ungrateful
forgetfulness of the love You bear me.
I wish to love You always.
Grant that I may always preserve in this holy desire.
O Mary, Mother of God and my Mother,
pray for me that Your Son, may give me,
the grace to love Him always, unto death.