Sunday in the Octave of the Nativity
29 December 2013
“For His great love, wherewith God loved us, He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.” Magnificat Antiphon for First Vespers
Fr. Gabriel of St. Magdalen in his book of meditations on the Mass for the Extraordinary Form, Divine Intimacy, tells us how this Magnificat antiphon from First Vespers “sums up perfectly the spirit of this day: ‘For His great love, wherewith God loved us, He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.’ This liturgical solemnity unites to the consideration of God’s immense charity, which illumines and dominates all the feast of the Christmas cycle, this vision of the Incarnate Son of God in the likeness of sinful man. In order to transform us from sinners into children of God, the only Son of the Father willed to be clothed in human nature, thereby putting on our sinful flesh and submitting to all its most humiliating consequences. The law of circumcision could in no way affect Jesus, the Son of God, the Most Holy One; but Jesus willed to submit to it as the least of the sons of Abraham, for as St. Paul says, ‘It behoved Him in all things to be made unto his brethren …. that he might be a propitiation for the sins of the people.’ Heb. 2:17 The rite, which Joseph may have performed in the intimacy of the family, caused the first drops of the Precious Blood to be shed from the immaculate flesh of Jesus. Thus eight days after His birth He is beginning His redemptive mission. He has not yet spoken; the world does not know Him: but He is already shedding His Blood for the salvation of mankind.
“Contemplating Him, we shall learn that deeds are better than words, that the greater the sacrifices they require, the greater the poof they give of real love. Furthermore, every undertaking must receive its baptism of blood in order to be fruitful.
“Annus Domini, The Year of the Lord”
“This feast coincides with the beginning of the civil year; the first drops of Jesus’s Blood seal and consecrate each new year, making it really the ‘annus Domini,’ the year of Our Lord, which it actually is, since time belongs to God. Our life too is God’s; it has been redeemed and sanctified by the Blood of Christ.
“Let us, then begin the year by circumcising our hearts for as St. Ambrose says, ‘He who has been circumcised of every vice will be judged worthy of the Lord’s attention…See how all the events which followed one another in the Old Testament prefigure what was to happen later, for the circumcision also represents purification from sins.’” (Roman Breviary) Fr. Gabriel, Divine Intimacy, p. 106-7
Mary’s Divine Maternity
Dom Gueranger reminds us that this day is not only devoted to the Circumcision but also to Mary, the Mother of God: “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 made her the co-operatrix with Jesus in the great work of man’s salvation….
“Let us not be surprised therefore, at the enthusiasm and profound respect wherewith the Church extols the blessed Virgin and her prerogatives. Let us on the contrary be convinced that all the praise the Church can give her, and all the devotion she can ever bear towards her, are far below what is due to her as Mother of the Incarnate God. No mortal will ever be able to describe, or even comprehend, how great a glory accrues to her from this sublime dignity. For, as the glory of Mary comes from her being the Mother of God, one would have first to comprehend God himself, in order to measure the greatness of her dignity. It is to God that Mary gave our human nature; it is to God whom she has her Child; it to God who gloried in rendering himself, inasmuch as he is Man, subject to her: hence the value of such a dignity, possessed by a mere creature can only be appreciated in proportion to our knowledge of the sovereign perfection of the great God, who thus deigns to make himself dependent upon that favoured creature. Let us therefore bow in deepest adoration before the Majesty of our God; let us therefore acknowledge that we cannot respect as it deserves the extraordinary dignity of her whom he chose for his Mother.” Gueranger p. 371-3 From her exalted position as Mother of God, we can trust that Our Blessed Mother will gain for us all the graces which we will need in in the beginning of the New Year of 2014.
“… we should live soberly and justly and godly in this world…” Titus, 2:11.
Dom Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year Vol. 2, comments on the need to live good lives in today’s Epistle to Titus (2:11-15): “These counsels of our great Apostle, who warns the Faithful of the obligation they are under of making a good use of the present life, are most appropriate to this first day of January, which is now the beginning of the new Civil Year. Let us therefore, renounce all worldly desire; let us live soberly, justly and piously, and permit nothing to distract us from the expectation of that blessedness, which is our hope. The great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who shows himself in these days of his mercy in order to instruct us, will come to us in a second coming in order to give us our reward. The beginning of a New Year tells us plainly enough that this last day is fast approaching; let us cleanse ourselves from all iniquity, and become a people acceptable to our Redeemer, a people doing good works.” Gueranger, p. 383
“After eight days were accomplished that the Child should be circumcised , his name was called Jesus…” Lk. 2: 21
In today’s Gospel (Luke 2:21), Dom Gueranger reminds us of the sacrifice of Jesus’ Precious Blood on the Cross. “The Child is circumcised: he is now not only a member of the human race; he is made today a member of God’s chosen People. He subjects himself to this painful ceremony, to this symbol of one devoted to the Divine service, in order that he may fulfil all justice. He receives, at the same time, his Name: the Name is Jesus, and it means a Saviour. A Saviour! Then he is to save us? Yes; and he is to save us by his Blood. Such is the divine appointment, and he has bowed down his will to it. The Incarnate Word is upon the earth in order to offer a Sacrifice, and the Sacrifice is begun today. This first shedding of the Blood of the Man-God was sufficient to the fullness and perfection of a Sacrifice; but he is come to win the heart of the sinner, and that heart is so hard that all the streams of that Precious Blood, which flow from the Cross on Calvary will scarcely make it yield. The drops that were shed today would have been enough to satisfy the justice of the Eternal Father, but not to cure man’s miseries, and the Babe’s Heart would not be satisfied to leave us uncured. He came for man’s sake, and his love for man will go to what looks like excess—he will carry out the whole meaning of his dear name—he will be our ‘Jesus,’ our Saviour.” Gueranger, p. 384-5
“A New Year, A New Life”
Fr. Gabriel also reminds us of the importance of this day: It is a new beginning, in a new year and we must embrace it with strong resolutions of our will. “A new year, a new life! A new life indeed!—for if we circumcise in ourselves the ‘old man’ with his vices and passions, the ‘Christian’ can grow in us: we can become new creatures, purified by the Blood of Christ, vivified and nourished by the His grace, so that it may no longer be we who live, but Christ who lives in us. The new year which begins today will acquire value only if lived in this light. Only by this daily circumcision of the heart will grace triumph in us, thus making the Christ-life an ever-increasing reality in our souls.” Fr. Gabriel, p. 106
God’s Will is our peace for the New Year
Fr. Gabriel reminds us how carefully God prepared the events of our life for our peace and sanctification: “Jesus’ humble submission to His Father’s will, manifested by His obedience to the law, is another lesson to be learned from today’s Feast. It is an invitation to us to be docile to God’s will, whatever it may be. None of us knows what awaits us in this New Year, but God knows. His will has already prepared our path; every detail of our life is already determined in His mind. Let us be ready to accept, or rather to embrace with courage and readiness everything that God wishes or permits, certain that in his Holy will we shall find our peace and our sanctification.” Fr. Gabriel, p. 107
Christmas Novena: Christmas Novena of Masses from Christmas Day 25th December 2013 to 2 January 2014. 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.
Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix (MIM) 4 January 2014
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: 4 January 2014
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!
Solemnity of the Epiphany,
5 January 2014
In all the dioceses of England and Wales: the External Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.