Sunday, January 10, 2016

First Sunday after the Epiphany, Feast of the Holy Family, 10th January 2016


First Sunday after the Epiphany

Feast of the Holy Family

10 January 2016

 

“Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold in sorrow thy father and I have been seeking thee.” Lk. 2:48

 

          Today, in this period after the Epiphany, the Church continues to give us aspects of the early life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph: the Holy Family.  Today’s Gospel (Lk. 2:42-52) focuses on the time during the Paschal season when the Holy Family made their annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem On the return trip, the men and women travelled separately so Joseph and Mary each believed that Jesus was with the other.  (This uncertainty may easily have come about because Jesus was no longer a child, who would travel with the women, nor yet advanced enough in years to be considered eligible to accompany the men.  He was neither child nor man.) Their sorrow knew no bounds when they discovered Jesus was nowhere to be found among the pilgrims. Of course, being God, Jesus was not really lost, but to Joseph and Mary, who, saintly as they were, still had only human comprehension, he was missing, and they did not know what happened to Him.  Upon their return to Jerusalem, they found Him in the temple listening to the doctors of the law and asking them questions.  Mary asked Jesus,  “Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold in sorrow thy father and I have been seeking thee.” Lk. 2: 48  Jesus replied, “How is it that you sought me?  Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” Lk. 2:49.   At first, it appears that Jesus was being inconsiderate of His parents, but on a closer analysis, we see a most important teaching in our spiritual lives.  Our first obligation is to God.  Jesus is being obedient to His Father.  This is the primary lesson in today’s liturgy for the Feast of the Holy Family.  The second and closely-linked teaching is the need for charity within all of our relationships.  St. Paul highlights this in today’s Epistle (Col. 3:12-17):  “But above all these things have charity which is the bond of perfection.”  Col.  3:14.  These two virtues of charity and obedience are the essential virtues in every Catholic family.

 

Charity “is the bond of perfection.” Col.3:14

 

            In every family, there is the need for love, kindness, and mercy for all the members.  We need to be patient with one another’s faults.  Because charity “is the bond of perfection,” (Col. 3:14) it alone perfects all other virtues, and it alone is the virtue in which all perfection consists.  Where there is love, then no sacrifice will be too difficult. Where there is no love, then even our good deeds will be just acts of self-love. This is why in our families we need to practice what St. Paul gives us in today’s Epistle:  “Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity (goodness), humility, modesty, patience: bearing with one another and forgiving one another:  even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also.” Col 3:12-13.   These are the virtues that every member of the family needs to practice for true peace and harmony.

 

Perfect Charity is doing God’s Will

           

            All of our moral virtues must be motivated by charity or else they are not meritorious.  This is why it is so important for the soul to be in the state of grace.  Without sanctifying grace there are no meritorious actions.  St. Thomas Aquinas gives us the reason for this because “It is charity which united our will to that of God in the most perfect fashion. From charity all the other virtues are derived and take their true strength... Charity is the end in view; all other things are means to that end. Therefore, there are no limits to the extent of charity; but there are limits in the other virtues.”  “The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia,”  p. 275  The reason why there is so much unhappiness  in the world is because there is no peace in our hearts.  Peace implies the right order of things.  When we have ordered our lives to God with charity, we will be at peace. If we have not ordered our lives to God and His will, then we will never be at peace with ourselves or with others.  This is why we must do all of our actions out of love for God.  When our actions coincide with God’s will, then we show true love for God.  If we do actions which are  pleasing to ourselves and which are against God’s will as expressed in His Commandments and the duties of our state in  life,  then we will never be at peace and our hearts will be filled  with disordered self-love.

 

“Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” Lk. 2:49.

 

          In Jesus’ reply to His Mother Mary, we see the essence of true charity.   Jesus must obey God His Father first and foremost.  It was His Father’s will that Jesus spend these three days in the temple praying and listening to and asking the Jewish doctors of the law questions about the Messiah.  Jesus’ time away from Joseph and Mary was so mysterious that they did not fully understand it:  And they understood not the word that He spoke to them.” Lk. 2:50   Jesus needs to do the will of His Father rather than the will of His parents.  Sooner or later, He will be leaving home to establish the Kingdom of His heavenly Father.  Jesus does not blame His mother as St. Bede tells us:  “He blames her not because she sought Him as her son, but forces her to raise the eyes of her mind to what He owes Him whose Eternal Son He is.” 

 

Christ the God-Man

 

            In order to understand the divine person of Jesus Christ, we must see that in His nature, He performs actions as God and actions as man. In the latter actions as man, He performs functions common to all men such as eating, sleeping, labouring etc.; and then He performs actions proper to Him as the God-man, the Redeemer, the Christ and these are called “Theandric” (of the God-man, partly of God, partly of man).  These actions were those of teaching, working miracles, calling His disciples etc.  With regard to the actions of man, Christ was willing to obey His parents from whom He had received His human nature. With the “Theandric” actions, which are of a higher order, His actions were received and directed by God alone. Thus Jesus answered His parents based on the higher authority of His Father with the actions of the “God-man.” This is why Jesus must be about “His Father’s business” (Lk. 2:4) which is the salvation of souls. 

 

 

 

The Fifth Joyful Mystery

 

            The Church with the Holy Rosary, calls today’s gospel story, the mystery of “The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple.”  Like all the mysteries, the Fifth Joyful Mystery has a particular virtue or fruit that  can be learned from it.  The fruit of this mystery is charity that conforms our will to God’s will.  Other virtues related to charity in this mystery would include obedience to God’s will and zeal for the salvation of souls.  The mysteries of the rosary have depths of meaning that we can find when we pray the rosary daily by meditating on each mystery.  No wonder Our Lady at Fatima wanted us to pray the Holy Rosary daily.  The most important action that every family can do is to pray the “Family Rosary”:  “The family that prays together stays together.” 

 

White Flower Appeal

 

The  Society for the Protection of Unborn Children  (SPUC).

This organization performs a most (if not, the most) important work in our society today.  They protect the lives of unborn children.  Do all that you can to help this most deserving organization.  As you leave Mass today, someone will be at the door collecting for SPUC.

 

“Life, What A Beautiful Choice! “

 

 God loves a cheerful giver.” II Cor. 9:7

 

God will never be outdone in generosity.

 

How to attend Holy Mass

 

“The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar.  If you wish to hear Mass, as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him.  You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words, and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.”

His Holiness, Pope St. Pius X

 

“Make everything a sacrifice” 

 

At Fatima,  the Angel told the three   children:  “Make everything a sacrifice.”  St. John of the Cross explains how we can do this. 

 

 “To arrive at perfect union, there is needed a total and perfect mortification of the senses and desires. The shortest and most effectual method of obtaining it is this: As to the senses whatever pleasing object may offer itself to them, unconnected with pure love to God, we should refuse it to them instantly, for the love of Jesus Christ, who in this life neither had nor desired to have any pleasure except to do the will of His Father, which He called His food.  If, for example, there should arise a fancy or wish to hear or see things which do not concern the service of God or lead especially to Him, we should deny this fancy, and refrain from beholding or hearing these things; but if this is not possible, it is sufficient not to consent with the will.   Then as to the desires, we should endeavour to incline always to what is poorest, worst, most laborious, most difficult, most unpleasant, and to desire nothing except to suffer and be despised.”  St. John of the Cross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Solemnity of Epiphany, Sunday, 3 January 2016


Solemnity of  Epiphany

Sunday, 3 January  2016

 

“And entering the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they worshipped him and opening their treasures they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”  Mt. 2:11

Today we celebrate  the Solemnity of the  Epiphany. The Church commemorates the manifestation of  Jesus to the Gentiles in the person of  Three Magi from the East who represent all the nations of the world. Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year Vol. 3, comments on today’s feast: “Oh! the greatness of this glorious Day, on which begins the movement of all nations towards the Church, the true Jerusalem!  Oh! the mercy of our heavenly Father, who has been mindful of all these people that were buried in the shades of death and sin!  Behold! the glory of the lord  has risen upon the Holy City; and Kings set out to find and see the Light. Jerusalem is not large enough to hold all this sea of nations; another city must be founded, and towards her shall be turned the countless Gentiles of Median and Epha. Thou, O Rome! art this Holy City, and thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged. Heretofore thy victories have won thee slaves; but from this day forward, thou shalt draw within thy walls countless children. Lift up thine eyes and see—all these, that is the whole human race, give themselves to thee as thy sons and daughters; they come to receive from thee new birth. Open wide thine arms and embrace them that come from North and South bringing gold and frankincense to him who is thy King and ours.”  Gueranger, p. 122  What great mysteries are  revealed in the Word of God today! First, we have the fulfilment of several Messianic prophecies, and next we have the call of the Gentiles into the  kingdom of God.

 

Glory of the Lord Revealed to the Gentiles

In today’s Epistle (Is. 60: 1-6) the prophet Isaiah tells Jerusalem to rise because a great light has come:  “Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem; for the light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”  Is. 60:1   Not only will the inhabitants of  Israel  see the great light, but so will all the nations of the world: “All they  from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense, and showing forth praise to the Lord.” Is. 60:6  This great light is also prophesied by the pagan prophet Balaam in the Book of Numbers:  A star shall rise out of  Jacob, and a sceptre shall spring up from Israel.” Nu. 24:17  This theme of all nations adoring the Messiah is seen in today’s Offertory Antiphon: “And all the Kings of Earth shall adore Him, all nations shall serve him.”  Ps. 71:11

 

The Call of the Gentiles

St. Paul also gives us the same theme:  The Lord Jesus Christ has come for all nations and people.  For St. Paul this is the revelation of a great mystery hidden from other times.  It is now fully revealed in the person of Jesus Christ:  That the Gentiles are joint heirs, and fellow members of the same body, and joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”  Eph. 3:6

 

The Magi Believe in the Light of Christ

The account of the Magi by St. Matthew in today’s Gospel (Mt. 2:1-12) reveals much of the mystery of  the revelation to the Gentiles.  First of all, the Magi are pagan astrologers who by their faith are a contrast to the doubting Jews who possess all the prophecies about the Christ but still do not believe. The Magi have followed the star to Jerusalem in the hope of seeing the royal king.  The priests can tell them  and Herod that the king of the prophecy  will be born in Bethlehem, but  the priests choose not to believe the prophecy. Thus, they cannot claim that they knew nothing of  his coming since they  inform the Magi where he is to be born.  Even Herod, the wicked king acknowledges his birth:  “…when you have found him bring me word, that I too may go and worship him.”  Mt. 2:8  The Jews have no excuse for not believing for they have all the prophets to tell them the truth.  Ironically, the pagan Magi have only their one prophet Balaam, and yet they believe.  Only the Magi see the light of Christ’s star. Christ is the bright and morning star arising in the East. When the Magi turned to Jerusalem for guidance, they lost the star.  When they left Jerusalem and Herod, a symbol for the loss of faith, they regained the star and found Christ, the true light. 

 

“…and falling down, they worshipped him.” Mt. 2:11

            Having failed to find Christ where the earthly King reigned, the Magi found Him in poverty in the stable in Bethlehem.  The Magi thus realize the fulfilment of two prophecies.  The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem, and He shall be given gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh:  “The Kings of the Arabian and Saba shall bring gifts.” Ps. 71:10.  St. John Chrysostom comments on these gifts: “For by gold the power of a king is signified, by frankincense the honour of  God, by myrrh the burial of the body; and accordingly they gave Him gold as king, frankincense as God and myrrh as man.” 

 

“They went back to their own country by another way.”   Mt. 2:12

            One final point is important for understanding the story of  the Magi. They were warned in a dream about Herod’s evil intentions so they returned to their own homes by another route. Once they had seen the true light of Christ, their lives  changed.  They recognized the wickedness of  Herod, and the ignorance and the lack of faith of the Jews.  They returned to their own country to tell all about the great things that they  had seen, especially, the fulfilment of the prophecy on the star which “shall rise out of Jacob.” Num. 24:17   Their trip would bear fruit in the future when the Apostles taught all nations. Notwithstanding this time of  waiting until Christ’s death and  resurrection was preached to all nations, the visit of the Magi,  who are the canonized saints Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, is still another example of how God was preparing His people for His coming.  God was surrounding the birth of His Son with extraordinary events such  as angels singing  for poor shepherds and a star guiding the Magi from distant lands.

 

Be Imitators of the Three Wise Men

Let us imitate the faith and hope of the Magi who obey the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and leave their homeland to go to a far country.   Let us bring to the Infant Jesus the gold of our charity, the frankincense of our adoration and prayer, and the myrrh of suffering and sacrifice. Let us also fall down and adore our God who is so humble as to be  born as a babe in a lowly stable. Let us think about all these events of this Christmas season when we pray the Joyful Mysteries  of the rosary especially the third mystery of the Birth of  Jesus who is adored and honoured by the Gentile world with gifts of gold for His royalty, frankincense for His divinity and myrrh for His humanity.  We too can say with them and to Mary, His Mother, “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” Lk. 1:42   Let us not imitate the Herods of this world who, although they know the truth of God’s identity, are intent on destroying the life of the new-born King of the Jews.  Let us not imitate the modern-day Herods in the culture of  death who also abort the many babies whose lives are  the Father’s gift to our world as a blessing for humanity.

 

 

 

White Flower Appeal

 

 Next Sunday, 10 January 2016  we will have a collection at the chapel door after Mass for the The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).  This organization performs a most (if not, the most) important work in our society today.  It protects the lives of unborn children.  Do all that you can to help this most deserving organization! 

 

“Life, What A Beautiful Choice! “

 

God loves a cheerful giver.” II Cor. 9:7

 

God will never be outdone in generosity.

 

 

 

Epiphany Saints and Protectors

 

As in the past, we will have the drawing of  saints  after Mass today  in St. Joseph’s Hall.   This special drawing of Patron Saints, Virtues,  Names of Our Lady, and Spiritual Maxims will help us live holy lives in the coming year.  We will have the special guidance of all these holy patrons and virtues and Our Lady throughout the year.

How to attend Holy Mass

 

“The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar.  If you wish to hear Mass, as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him.  You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words, and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.”

 His Holiness, Pope St. Pius X

 

 

 

Sunday Within the Octave of Christmas 27 December 2015


Sunday Within the Octave of Christmas  27 December 2015

 

“Behold, this child is destined for the fall and for  the  rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted.” Lk. 2:34

 

            Today’s Holy Mass is an echo of Christmas as it speaks of peace and joy, but it also has a note of sorrow.  In the Gospel (Luke 2|:33-40), St. Luke transports us to the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, forty days after His birth, where we see the element of both joy and sadness with  Simeon’s  prophecy of  Jesus’ destiny:  “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and for  the  rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted.” Lk. 2:34.   No doubt this  prophecy joyfully relates to Jesus as the Messiah who will give His life for the salvation of all men. This prophecy also relates to sufferings and death of Jesus on the Cross which will be for some a curse and for others a great blessing.  It is to the latter that St. Paul refers in the Epistle to Galatians (4:1-7)  when he says that the Galatians have been called to be sons of God:  But when the fullness of time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, that he might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, ‘Abba,  Father.’” Gal. 4:4-6  Being sons of God and inheritors of the Kingdom of God in heaven is a blessing beyond our imagination.  Sadly, as Simeon points out, Jesus will also cause the fall of many in Israel because they will not accept Him. 

 

The Call to Salvation of  All Men

 

            The baby Jesus will offer salvation to all men, but many will not accept it.  This is the great mystery of human freedom.  Man has been given intelligence and a free will, and he can accept or reject the great promises which Jesus gives to all men.  Jesus came to save us and sanctify us.  Through His merits, which He gained by sacrificing His life on the cross, Jesus holds out eternal life for us, but we have to accept it. St. Teresa of Avila tells us:  God never forces anyone; He takes what  we give Him, but  does not give Himself wholly until He sees that we are giving ourselves wholly to Him.”  (The Way, 28)   Jesus “is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel...”, and those who reject Him will not be admitted to His heavenly kingdom.

 

“And thy own soul  a sword shall pierce...” Lk. 2:35

            Again, we see the contrast between the happiness and sadness of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the prophetic words of Simeon. At one moment, Our Lady is overjoyed at the future mission of her son who will be responsible for the salvation of many, and at the same time Simeon reminds her of the suffering which she will have to undergo when her Son  will be immolated on the Cross for the salvation of souls.  This will be the sword which will pierce her own soul.  She will see how those who reject her Son will crucify him and then be deprived of  His redemption

 

Rise and Fall of Many

 

St. John Chrysostom tells us of those who will rise and those who will fall because of Christ.  “For whose fall? Without doubt, that of those who do not believe and that of those who placed the innocent Christ on the cross. For whose resurrection?  For those who give thanks and turn to him with a grateful heart. And for a sign  which shall be contradicted. What sign is this?  None other than the torment of the cross; the sign which the Church proclaims as the salvation of the world and which the Jews have rejected.  A sign which heaven itself has also proclaimed to the world many times. It is exposed to contradiction in order that truth may triumph. Complete victory is not won by numbers alone, without a struggle. It must, therefore, meet with contradiction, so that in every age the Judge may triumph in meekness and patience. And for a sign that shall be contradicted... That is, by the unbelieving and the impious. The sign exposed to contradiction so that those who stand up against it, incited solely by their evil malice, shall be confounded. For if the truth were not exposed to such contradiction, virtue would receive no fitting confirmation. But the struggle which is permitted makes clear the light of truth to the soul that perseveres.” 

 

Witnesses to Christ and His Cross

 

            When Jesus was presented in the temple, there were only two souls of virtue who recognized Jesus as the Messiah: the aged Simeon and the prophetess, Anna. Of Simeon, it is said, “He was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him.” Lk. 2:25.  Of Anna, who was a widow of eighty-four years, St. Luke tells us: “She departed not from the Temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day.” Lk. 2:37  We can see here the characteristics of those who will be disposed to recognize the redemption of Christ: both were righteous in mind and will and longed to see the coming of the Messiah.  The light of the Holy Spirit comes to them and they recognize and proclaim to all that Jesus is the Messiah, the long-awaited hope of Israel. These are the same souls of whom  St. Paul writes in today’s Epistle who will be sons of God: “And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts , crying: Abba, Father!” Gal. 4:6

 

Let us cry, “Abba, Father.”

Although many souls do not recognize the great grace that has been given to them by God in  their baptism when they become adoptive sons of God and heirs of heaven, there are many who do recognize Christ.  “When, on the other hand, a soul generously corresponds with God’s action, He takes total possession of it, and the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, cries out from the depths of its heart, ‘Abba, Father.’ ....O my God, what responsibility men have when they consider Your great gifts, and especially the Incarnation of Your only begotten Son, who became man for our salvation!”   Fr. Gabriel, OCD, Divine Intimacy, p. 101 Christmas Novena:  Christmas Novena of Masses from Christmas Day 25th December 2014 to  2 January 2015.  This novena will be for all of the benefactors, friends and relatives of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate.  Thank you for all of your kind donations of alms and providence to us here in Lanherne.  

 

 

The First Friday, 1 January 2016

Now is a good time to continue (or begin) the  devotion to the “Nine  First Fridays” of the Month.   The Sacred Heart of Jesus promised to St. Margaret Mary:  "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."  There is no better way of  honouring the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus than in receiving Holy Communion on  the “Nine First Fridays.”.

 

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix (MIM)    2 January 2016

On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door)

  This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi,   St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”  (Article 2: Statute)

It is most important at this time in our world to come together and learn about Our Lady and her messages especially Fatima.  Pope John Paul II:  On November 9, 1976 said in the USA as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla:  “We are now standing in face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through.  I do not think that the wide circles of American society or the wide circles of  the Christian community realize this fully.  We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the Anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-gospel.”

We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of  so many souls who are in danger of being lost for all eternity in hell as Our Lady said at Fatima. 

 

 

The First Saturday:  2 January 2016

Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me."  If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation.  Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays! 

 

MIM Schedule for 2 January 2016

 

9:30 AM Tea and coffee

10:00 AM Conference

11:00 AM  Holy Mass and Rosary

12:15  Tea and Departure

          (Holiday schedule)

 

The Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Day, Friday 25 December 2015


The Nativity of the Lord

Christmas Day

Friday 25 December 2015

 

“Glory to God in the Highest and peace on earth among men of good will.”  Lk. 2:14

The Servant of God Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Life Vol. 2 calls out to us from the 19th Century with the  real meaning of Christmas with his comments on the three Masses of Christmas Day, Midnight Mass, Aurora (Dawn) Mass and Mass in the Day:  “It is now time to offer the Great Sacrifice, and to call down Emanuel (“God with us”) from heaven: he alone can fully pay the debt of gratitude which mankind owes to the Eternal Father.  He will intercede for us on the Altar, as he did in his Crib.  We will approach him with love, and he will give himself to us.

“But such is the greatness of today’s Mystery, that the Church is not satisfied with only once offering up the Holy Sacrifice. The long-expected and precious Gift deserves an unusual welcome. God the Father has given his Son to us; and it is by the operation of the Holy Ghost that the grant Portent is produced; let there be, then to the ever Blessed Three, the homage of a triple Sacrifice!

“Besides, this Jesus, who is born tonight, is born thrice.  He is born of the Blessed Virgin, in the stable of Bethlehem; he is born by grace, in the hearts of the Shepherds, who are the first fruits of the Christian Church; and he is born eternally from the Bosom of the Father, in the brightness of the Saints; to the triple Birth, therefore, let there be the homage of a triple sacrifice.

 

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great Light” Is. 9:2

“The first Mass honours the Birth according to the Flesh, which, like the other two, is an effusion of the Divine Light.  The hour is come: ‘The people that walked in darkness have seen a great Light; Light is risen to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death.’ Is. 9:2 Outside the holy place,  where we are now by reason of the sins of men, who either sleep in the forgetfulness of God, or wake to the commission of crime.  At Bethlehem, round the Stable, and in the City, all is deep darkness, and the inhabitants, who would not find room for the Divine Babe, are sleeping heavily: will they awaken when the Angels begin to sing?

“Midnight comes.  The Holy Virgin has been longing for this happy moment. Her heart is suddenly overwhelmed with a delight which is new even to her. She falls into an ecstasy of love. As her Child will one day, in his almighty power, rise through the unmoved barrier of his Sepulchre; so now, as a sunbeam gleaming through purest crystal, he is born, and lies on the ground before her. With arms outstretched to embrace her, and smiling upon her:  this is her first sight of her Son, who is Son also of the Eternal Father!  She adores—takes him into her arms—presses him to her heart—swathes his infant limbs—and lays him down in the manger. Her faithful Joseph unites his adoration with hers; and so, too, do the Angels in heaven, for the Royal Psalmist had sung this prophecy of their adoring him on his entrance into the world.   (cf. Ps. 96:7; Heb. 1:6).  Heaven opens over this spot of earth, which men call a Stable; and from it there mount to the Throne of the Eternal Father the first prayer, the first tear, the first sob of this Son, our Jesus, who thus begins the world’s salvation.”  Gueranger, p. 166-168.

 

“This day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord!”  Lk.  2:11

In the Epistle (Titus 3:4,7) and Gospel (Luke 2:15-20) in the Second Mass at Dawn (Aurora) Dom Gueranger comments on  the birth of grace first in the hearts of the Shepherds and then in the hearts of all men who believe in Jesus Christ: “The Sun which has appeared on our earth is God our Saviour, full of  tenderest  mercy.  We were far off from God, and were sitting in the shades of death; the rays of divine Light had to reach down to us, in the deep abyss of our sins; and now, praise be to this Infinite Mercy! we are set free, and with our freedom have received regeneration, justification and heirship to eternal life. Who shall henceforth separate us from the love of the Infant Jesus?  Is it possible that we ourselves can ever frustrate the designs of that love, by rendering all that it has done for us useless, and becoming once more the slaves of darkness and death?  May God forbid it! And grant us grace to maintain our hope of everlasting life, which the Mystery of our Redemption has purchased for us.

            “Let us imitate the earnestness of the Shepherds in hastening to Jesus. No sooner do they hear the Angel’s words, than they start for the holy Stable in Bethlehem. Once in the presence of the Divine Infant, they know him by the sign (‘Child, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger,’  Lk. 2:12)  that had been given them by the Angel; and Jesus is born in their souls by his grace. These happy men delight now in their poverty, for they find that he too is poor. They feel that they are united to him forever, and their whole lives shall testify to the change that this December Night has worked in them. They do not keep the great event to themselves; they tell everyone about the Babe of Bethlehem, they become his Apostles, and their burning words fill their listeners with astonishment. Like them, let us glorify the great God, who has set it in the very centre of our hearts by uniting us to himself. Let us often think of the Mysteries of this glorious night, after the example of Mary, who keeps unceasingly in her most pure Heart the wonderful things that God has been accomplishing by her and in her.”  Gueranger, p. 191-3. 

 

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jn. 1: 14

          “The mystery which the Church honours in this Third Mass is the eternal generation or Birth of the Son of God in the Bosom of the Father. At midnight she celebrated the God-Man, born in the Stable from the Womb of the glorious Virgin Mary; at the Aurora (dawn) this same Divine infant, born in the souls of the Shepherds; and there still remains for her adoration and praise a Birth more wonderful than these other two; a Birth, which dazzles the eyes of Angels by its splendour, and bears its eternal witness to the inward fruitfulness of God. The Son of Mary is also the Son of God; and a grand duty of today is that we hymn aloud the glory of this ineffable Generation, which makes him consubstantial to his Father, God of God,  Light of Light. Let us then, raise up our thoughts even to the eternal Word, who ‘was in the beginning with God, and was himself God,’ (Jn. 1:1) for he is the ‘brightness of the his Father’s glory, and the figure of his substance.’” ( Jn. 1:3)  Gueranger, p. 201-2

 

... the brightness of His glory, and the figure of His substance.’ Heb. 1:1-3

In this Mass of the Day, Dom Gueranger comments on the relationship of the Epistle (Hebrews 1:1-12) and Gospel ( John 1:1- ) to the eternal generation of  the Son of God.  “The great Apostle, in this magnificent opening of  his Epistle to his former brethren of the Synagogue, lays great stress on the Eternal Generation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whilst our eyes are fixed on the sweet Infant in his Crib, St. Paul bids us raise our thoughts up to that infinite Light, from the midst of which the Eternal Father thus speaks to this Child of Mary: ‘Thou are my Son; today have I begotten thee’:  this today is the Day of Eternity, a Day which neither morning nor evening, neither rising nor setting.  If the Human Nature which he has vouchsafed to assume places him below Angles; he is infinitely above them by his own essence, whereby he is the Son of God.  He is God, he is Lord, and no change can come upon him. He may be wrapped in swaddling-bands or nailed to a Cross, or put to a most ignominious death; all this is only in his human nature; in his Divinity he remains impassable (as to suffering) and immortal, for he was born of the Father from all eternity….

            “O Eternal Son of God!  In presence of the Crib, where for the love of us thou vouchsafest this day to show thyself to thy creatures, we confess thy eternity, thy omnipotence, thy divinity, and most profoundly do we adore thee. Thou wast in the beginning; thou wast in God; and thyself wast God. Everything was made by thee, and we are the work of thy hands. O Light infinite and eternal!  O Sun of Justice! Enlighten us, for we are but darkness. Too long have  we loved  our darkness, and thee we have not comprehended; forgive us our blindness and our errors.  Thou hast been long knocking at the door of our hearts, and we have refused to let thee in.  Today, thanks to the wonderful ways of thy love, we have received thee: for who could refuse to receive thee, sweet gentle Infant Jesus!  But leave us not; abide with us and perfect the New Birth which thou  hast begun in us. We wish henceforth to be neither of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, by thee and in thee.  Thou hast been made Flesh, O Word Eternal! In order that we may become sons of God. We beseech thee, support our weak human nature, and fit us for this our sublime destiny.  Thou art born of God thy Father; thou art born of Mary, thou art born  in our hearts; thrice glorified be thou for this thy triple Birth, O Jesus! so merciful in thy Divinity, and so divine in thy self-sought humiliations.”   Gueranger p. 206-7

 

 

Christmas Novena:  Christmas Novena of Masses from Christmas Day 25th December 2011 to  2 January 2012  This novena will be for all of the benefactors, friends and relatives of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate.  Thank you for all of your kind donations of alms and providence to us here in Lanherne. 

 

Christmas of Another Year

The Twelve Days of Christmas was written to help young Catholics remember the tenets of their faith through symbols. Below are the hidden meanings.   

  1. The Partridge in the Pear Tree - the one and only Son of God, Our Lord Jesus Christ
  2.   Two Turtle Doves - the Old and New Testaments
  3. Three French Hens - the Theological Virtues, Faith, Hope and Love 
  4.  Four Calling Birds – the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
  5.  Five Golden Rings - the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament
  6.  Six Geese a-Laying - the six days of creation.  
  7.  Seven Swans a-Swimming - the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgment, Knowledge, Courage, Reverence, Wonder & Awe
  8. Eight Maids a-Milking - the eight beatitudes.  
  9. Nine Ladies Dancing - the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self- Control.   Love,  Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness.  
  10.  Ten Lords a-Leaping - the Ten Commandments.  
  11.  Eleven Pipers Piping - the eleven faithful Apostles.
  12.  Twelve Drummers Drumming - the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed