Tag Archives: Christmas

Our Advent observance

The scriptures tell us that there is a time and season for everything, for each particular event. There is a time of preparing for Christmas, and that is Advent, and then there is a time for Christmas itself. There is no doubt in my mind that the more serious we are about our personal Advent journey, the greater the joy we shall reap during our Christmas celebration.

It is a good practice to make concrete plans on how best to keep our Advent observance. Often, if no plans are made in advance, much of Advent goes unnoticed and wasted. Since Advent is basically a quiet time of waiting for the arrival of the Light at Christmas, it is good to start by trying to become more internally quiet during this rather brief season.

Above all, we must make the most of these moments of stillness by remaining calm, silent, and spending quality time with the Lord. The words from one of the psalms counsel us: Be still, and know that I am God. Monks always strive to preserve a more quiet recollected spirit during these lovely Advent days and thus enjoy the Lord’s intimate company.

There is no reason why others, in a monastery or elsewhere, could not do the same wherever they are. It is a question of resolving to do so and making the effort. The Holy Spirit will do the rest. Come, Holy Spirit.

A Monastery Journey To Christmas
Br. Victor-Antoine D’Avila-Latourrette, OSB

Holy Innocents

Holy InnocentsThe Christmas Octave has an unique way to keep the memory of Christ and His Way alive with the saints honored in these days: today, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents. As it is revealed in Scripture, King Herod felt threatened by the birth of the Infant King. He ordered the death of every male child of Bethlehem to preserve his own reign (cf. Matthew 2:16). Mother Church honors the multitude of child-martyrs because of the Presence of Jesus. Our theology teaches us that the infant voices eternally sing triumphant praises to the King of Kings, Lord of Lords: the Light of the World.

Here is a poem, “The Holy Innocents” by Laurence Housman

When Christ was born in Bethlehem,
Fair peace on earth to bring,
In lowly state of love He came
To be the children’s King.

And round Him, then, a holy band
Of children blest was born,
Fair guardians of His throne to stand
Attendant night and morn.

And unto them this grace was giv’n
A Saviour’s name to own,
And die for Him Who out of Heav’n
Had found on earth a throne.

O blessèd babes of Bethlehem,
Who died to save our King,
Ye share the martyrs’ diadem,
And in their anthem sing!

Your lips, on earth that never spake,
Now sound th’eternal word;
And in the courts of love ye make
Your children’s voices heard.

Lord Jesus Christ, eternal Child,
Make Thou our childhood Thine;
That we with Thee the meek and mild
May share the love divine.

Rejoice, O mystical rod of Jesse

“Rejoice, O mystical rod which blossomed the unfading Flower.”
(excerpt from the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos)

Jesse TreeThe genealogy of Jesus is very interesting and impressive for a variety of reasons. The Gospel of Saint Luke traces Jesus’ ancestry back from Joseph to Adam to show His connection to the inception of humanity; the Gospel of Saint Matthew begins his genealogy with Abraham –the Father of the Hebrew Nation– and moves forward, linking Him to the kingly line of David. Both strains of lineage demonstrate, therefore, that Jesus is the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies because He is a direct descendent of King David, the rightful heir to be the new “King of Israel.” 

This, too, was prophesied by Isaiah who proclaimed that, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him” (Is. 11:1-2); Jesse is the father of King David.

God fulfills His promise. The icon presented here depicts  mystical “root” often depicts the Virgin Mary in the center of a vine of the historic forefathers presents to the world the blossomed Fruit or Flower, Jesus, seated upon her throne-like lap.

Today, is a time to contemplate the Promise made Flesh in the birth of our Lord and Savior! For it is “Jesus who brought the fire of the Spirit, which takes away the desire for the things that are here, and removes us to another love” (Saint John Chrysostom).

Blessed Christmas

Asian NativityPuer natus est nobis, et filius datus est nobis, cuius imperium super humerum eius, et vocabitur nomen eius magni consilii Angelus.

A Child is born for us, and a son is given to us; his scepter of power rests upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Messenger of great counsel.

Here’s a thought from St. Augustine: “Let us all together then, perfectly united in mind and heart, celebrate today the birthday of the Lord…. In the one who for our sake sprang up from the earth, let us in turn take possession of heaven.”

Mutual prayers!

Saint Stephen

St StephenSaint Peter Damian thus begins his Sermon for this Feast: “We are holding in our arms the Son of the Virgin, and are honoring, with our caresses, this our Infant God. The holy Virgin has led us to the dear Crib. The most beautiful of the Daughters of men has brought us to the most beautiful among the Sons of men, [Ps. xliv. 3.] and the Blessed among women to Him that is Blessed above all. She tell us … that now the veils of prophecy are drawn aside, and the counsel of God is accomplished. … Is there anything capable of distracting us from this sweet Birth? On what else shall we fix our eyes? … Lo! whilst Jesus is permitting us thus to caress him; whilst he is overwhelming us with the greatness of these mysteries, and our hearts are riveted in admiration – there comes before us Stephen full of grace and fortitude, doing great wonders and signs among the people. [Acts, vi. 8.] Is it right, that we turn from our King, to look on Stephen, his soldier? No – unless the King himself bid us do so. This our King, who is Son of the King, rises … to assist at the glorious combat of his servant. … Let us go with him, and contemplate this standard-bearer of the Martyrs.”

Quoted by Dom Prosper Gueranger

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
coat of arms

Categories

Archives

Humanities Blog Directory