The feast of Our Blessed Lord’s first shedding of His blood for us. Why did He do this? Was it needed?
Octave of Christmas
Cooperation with God’s Grace
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876
“And the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that has come to pass, which the Lord hath showed to us.”–Luke 2.
The joyous feast of Christmas once more fills with gladness the hearts of the children of the Church. It is the feast which bears the significant name of the gracious nativity of our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ. For, in truth, the incarnation and birth of the Son of God are the source of all the graces which we have received through His life here on earth, and through His death. But that these graces may really serve unto our salvation, depends upon the care with which we dispose ourselves to receive them, and upon the earnestness of our co-operation.
To understand the nature of that co-operation, which may prove meritorious, we need only glance at the shepherds, and consider their mode of acting when the angel addressed to them the words imparting the glad tidings of the birth of the world’s Redeemer: Today is born for you the Redeemer of the world–go to Bethlehem, and you will find the Infant lying in the manger. “Yes, let us go to Bethlehem,” said they; and they hastened thither and found the child with Mary and Joseph. Continue reading
The entire life of the Father in the Holy Trinity is to speak His Son, His Word; it is to engender, by a unique, simple and eternal act, a Son resembling Himself, to whom He communicates the plenitude of His Being and His perfections. In this Word, infinite like Himself, in this unique and eternal Word, the Father never ceases to recognize His Son, His own image, the splendor of His glory. This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased. These words, pronounced on Mount Tabor at the time of the Transfiguration, are the greatest revelation God has made to the earth; they are an echo of the very life of the Father. The Father, in His character of Father, lives by engendering His Son; this generation has neither beginning nor end. In eternity we will behold with astonishment, admiration and love, that procession of the Son engendered in the bosom of the Father, procession which is eternal: Thou art My Son; this day I have engendered Thee. The today is the perpetual present of eternity.
It is an excellent thing in the spiritual life to keep before the eyes of the heart, this testimony of the Father; nothing is more powerful to sustain our faith. And let us then say, Yes, Father, I believe it, and I want to repeat it: this Jesus who is in me through faith, through grace, through Holy Communion, is Your Son. Because You have said it, I believe it. And because I believe it, I adore Your Son, to render Him my homage and through Him, in Him, to render to You also, O Heavenly Father, in union with Your Spirit, all honor and all glory. Such a prayer is very agreeable to our Father in heaven; when it is true, pure and frequent, it makes us the object of the Father’s love. God envelops us in the complacency which He finds in His own Son Jesus. It is Our Lord Himself who tells us so: The Father loves you, because you have believed that I have come from Him — that I am His Son. What happiness for a soul to be the object of the Father’s love, this Father from whom every perfect gift comes down to rejoice hearts!
Le Christ dans Ses mystères, by Dom Columba Marmion (Granger Frères Ltée: Montreal, 1946)
The Circumcision of Our Lord
Our new-born King and Saviour is eight days old today; the Star, that guides the Magi, is advancing towards Bethlehem, and, five days hence, will be standing over the Stable where our Jesus is being nursed by his Mother. Today, the Son of Man is to be circumcised; this first sacrifice of his innocent Flesh must honour the eighth day of his mortal life. Today, also, a Name is to be given him–the Name will be Jesus, and it means Saviour. So that, Mysteries abound on this day: let us not pass one of them over, but honour them with all possible devotion and love.
But this Day is not exclusively devoted to the Circumcision of Jesus. The mystery of this Circumcision forms part of that other great mystery, the Incarnation and Infancy of our Saviour–a mystery on which the Church fixes her heart, not only during this Octave, but during the whole forty days of Christmas-Tide. Then, as regards our Lord’s receiving the Name of Jesus, a special Feast, which we shall soon be keeping, is set apart in honour of it. There is another object, that shares the love and devotion of the Faithful, on this great Solemnity. This object is Mary, the Mother of God. The Church celebrates, today, the august prerogative of this divine Maternity, which was conferred on a mere creature, and which made her the co-operatrix with Jesus in the great work of man’s salvation. Continue reading
THE MONTH OF THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS
In the Name of Jesus let every knee bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth and let every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.
The month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus. “In the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth and under the earth” (Phil 2:10). Christ’s name is chosen in heaven, and the Angel Gabriel announces it when he informs the Blessed Virgin of the incarnation: “Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus”. It is a name that has marvelous implications, for it means “savior.” The very name bespeaks the magnitude of His mission, His infinite love, a love that will cause Him to offer Himself up for us.
The name of Jesus is the sweetest of all names, and He who bears it is most worthy of all love. He who calls Jesus his friend can be assured that this friend is the most devoted and unselfish of all friends. Continue reading