Advent Reflection: The Divine Romance Of Christmastime


#1

THE DIVINE ROMANCE OF CHRISTMASTIME

Many of us have known and have loved the story of Cinderella; the tale of the poor girl left alone in the cold and gloomy kitchen until she was rescued, wooed, and wed by the Prince of her dreams. I wonder how many of us can contemplate the thought of knowing likewise that the story of Cinderella reflects also the story of Humanity in disguise? If we examine this allegory, we can see that for thousands of years before Christ this Cinderella had sat helpless and forlorn at the cold hearth of heathendom, shut out from the festive ball of Paradise and utterly destitute of any means for bettering her condition. Likewise most of the human race before Christ had either been enslaved or held under the cruel domination of the greedy conqueror of the Roman Empire. Charity, as a virtue, was almost unknown. There was no such thing as a hospital or any charitable institution for the poor. So the human race was really like a Cinderella, destitute and forced to labour for her cruel and haughty stepmother, the pagan demons of a world-wide idolatry.
Then came the Prince, God’s own Son, to rescue the Cinderella of Humanity. He came in the disguise of a beggar, in that He had to assume the flesh and blood of our destitute and helpless human race. Moreover, He actually wedded our poor Humanity by uniting it---actually making it one---with His own divinity to form the Mystical Body, of which He is the Head and we the members.

But; the most remarkable thing about the Cinderella story is that it never grows old or dated, since it is re-enacted every year during reflections of Advent and Christmastime by each one of us, the modern Cinderella’s of Humanity. This Cinderella story began for most of us when we were unbaptized infants, we were like poor little Cinderella’s at the cold hearth of un-redemption. But at our baptism the Prince came down spiritually in sacramental form and wedded each one of us individually uniting our human nature to His divinity; in so close a union that individually in God we became “two in one flesh”. This He did by sharing with us intimately, His own divine “Life”, which we Catholics call “Sanctifying Grace”; which works a wonderful change in us, as if we had been a marble statue that Christ had suddenly changed to a real infant with flesh, warm and alive. Something new was added in our baptism to make each of us individually super-natural. Now His Life flows through us just as truly as our own blood circulates through our entire human flesh. This, then, is a real love story in our life journey, the sublimest, and most enchanting romance ever imagined. But what has all this to do with Christmas? Our divine romance with the Prince of our dreams, since we the Church our His Bride, is re-enacted each year at this time beginning in Advent through the season of Christmas and indeed throughout the year all through are lives.. After all Advent is a threefold event: a past, present, and future. The past, we are all familiar with the first Advent coming, of the Prince "Christ" coming to earth in Bethlehem some two-thousand years ago, when He wooed and won Humanity as a whole. But few Catholics realize today that the Advent of Christmas is also a very real coming of the Prince to each one of us with all the special graces that His first coming brought.

This means that when Christ comes down miraculously on the altar at our Christmastime Mass, when He comes into the very core of our inner heart during Christmas communion, He comes most especially as a Prince in order to woo and awe and wed us individually to a life of divine romance, still a closer union with Him. That is to say, that “Our Christmas”, “Your Christmas”, “My Christmas”, this year should mean a real growth in union and intimacy with Christ.
There is also a third Advent coming that Christmas means for all of us. Namely; it is a preview of the last great Advent of the Prince who comes by promise to take the Cinderella’s of Humanity with Him into His kingdom for eternity. This coming of Christ, which Christmas celebrates by anticipation, is almost unknown to our present generation, but the Church sings about it in the Advent hymn of her liturgy.

Hark! an awe-full voice is sounding:
"Christ is nigh! it seems to say;
"Cast away the dreams of darkness
O ye children of today...

So when next He comes with glory,
Wrapping all the earth in fear.
may He then as our Defender
On the clouds of Heaven appear.
("Lauds of Advent")

Nor is this the reminder of this Third-Coming so far-fetched as anyone might suppose. For the Prince who comes down upon the Holy Altar at the Consecration of the Christmas Mass, the Christ who comes into into our hearts in our Christmas Communion, is the self-same King of Glory, the identical Person who will come in power and majesty on the last day of the world. So this Advent is the time given to us to anticipate, to prepare for, the last Advent coming, not in the spirit of fear, but of glad welcome for the Prince of our dreams, so we may possess Him for all eternity in that closest union of divine romance, of which human marriage is but a faint figure here on earth.


#2

How nice:love:

Are these your own words?


#3

[quote="ljubim, post:2, topic:177820"]
How nice:love:

Are these your own words?

[/quote]

Actually yes; you may have thought I borrowed exerts from a Archbishop Fulton J Sheen's book entitled ("The Divine Romance") catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=3782 or here piercedhearts.org/heart_church/divine_romance_pulpit_cross_sheen.htm

Though you may find similarities with the concept of the Divine Romance with Christ which in actuality, Archbishop Sheen borrows from the inspired writings of Saint John of the Cross.
I believe you'll find one of Saint John of the Cross books entitled the Living Flame of Love a great source that reflects a profound spiritual union with God not unlike a Divine Romance that far exceeds any articulate human language.

I believe that such a Divine Spiritual Romance Union with God is a thing so, so stupendous that it cannot be grasped by our finite minds, except in small parts of vague comprehension that the spirit of God allows us to perceive. In other words it is not our doing that we reach a divine romance with God, but it is Jesus who sees a pure heart that seeks Him as a child and brings us to a spiritual union of romance in His choosing.
The Blessed Virgin Mother "Mary" of Jesus knew implicitly such Divine Romance.


#4

[quote="centurionguard, post:3, topic:177820"]
Actually yes; you may have thought I borrowed exerts from a Archbishop Fulton J Sheen's book entitled ("The Divine Romance") catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=3782 or here piercedhearts.org/heart_church/divine_romance_pulpit_cross_sheen.htm

Though you may find similarities with the concept of the Divine Romance with Christ which in actuality, Archbishop Sheen borrows from the inspired writings of Saint John of the Cross.
I believe you'll find one of Saint John of the Cross books entitled the Living Flame of Love a great source that reflects a profound spiritual union with God not unlike a Divine Romance that far exceeds any articulate human language.

I believe that such a Divine Spiritual Romance Union with God is a thing so, so stupendous that it cannot be grasped by our finite minds, except in small parts of vague comprehension that the spirit of God allows us to perceive. In other words it is not our doing that we reach a divine romance with God, but it is Jesus who sees a pure heart that seeks Him as a child and brings us to a spiritual union of romance in His choosing.
The Blessed Virgin Mother "Mary" of Jesus knew implicitly such Divine Romance.

[/quote]

That's the best way to know God, through His love!:)

You might want to think about becoming an author;)


#5

Thank you for sharing that.
(I was about to start a thread ... 'Have we lost our ability to celebrate Advent?' ... but I'm going to meditate on these ideas before I decide if I want to bother.)
A very nice and helpful way to look at the Advent and Christmas seasons. :)


#6

In my last post I touched very briefly on Mary the Immaculate Conception, mother of Jesus who understood profoundly the Divine Romance in the mystery of our Triune God. It is most fittingly to mention that the Blessed Virgin Mary would subject herself to the greatest humble role in our humanity on that first Advent. We can picture in our minds a little Jewish maid, who was ready in her heart to receive Christ, though she herself probably never really dreamed of such a privilege when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her. And her readiness? Besides her immaculate purity; her readiness consisted chiefly of this: she was completely at God’s disposal. When the great surprise of motherhood was suddenly thrust upon her, she was no more disturbed than if she had planned things that way all her life. When the necessity of a long and difficult journey was presented to her, she received it as casually as if that too had been part of her preparation. And when she found “no room in the inn” for the birth of her Child, she was resourceful as if all the world’s wealth had been at her disposal. Now in the closing of 2009 we begin a new liturgical Church year.

The Church gives us Mary as one of our guides for Advent, which reminds us that our best preparation in these four weeks of Advent, should be like what Mary expressed in her total surrender to whatever was God’s will for her “Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Be it done to me according to thy word”. This is why in the opening Mass of the holy season, the liturgy has chosen for the Stational Church that of Saint Mary Major, which even today two thousand years later possesses the actual manger of Bethlehem. Would it not be proper for God to say to us, “Kneel here with her the Immaculate Conception, for she herself is the spotless crib where divinity and humanity met in a perfect embrace. My Blessed Mother Mary will teach you how you can prepare your own soul to cradle the Christ Child to become the abiding resting place for divinity upon the earth.


#7

[quote="centurionguard, post:6, topic:177820"]

The Church gives us Mary as one of our guides for Advent, which reminds us that our best preparation in these four weeks of Advent, should be like what Mary expressed in her total surrender to whatever was God’s will for her “Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Be it done to me according to thy word”.

[/quote]

Hmm..
I think I'll persevere with my rosary 'experiment'.
I've been lazy with my prayer life and I'm hoping that praying the rosary this advent will help. Coming from an Anglican background I'm finding it difficult to pray to Mary and be aware that she's praying to God with me.
Sorry. I don't want to derail your thread. Mary will help me this Advent I trust.

God bless you Centurion!:o


#8

There are some old writings within the Church that tells the story of the Mystery Play of the Christmas Cycle. newadvent.org/cathen/10348a.htm
Mysteries and Plays These two names are used to designate the religious drama which developed among Christian nations at the end of the Middle Ages. It should be noted that the word “mystery” has often been applied to all Christian dramas prior to the sixteenth century, whereas it should be confined to those of the fifteenth century, which represent the great dramatic effort anterior to the Renaissance. Before this period dramatic pieces were called “plays” or “miracles”. The embryonic representations, at first given in the interior of the churches, have been designated as liturgical dramas.

The mystery play of the Christmas Cycle naturally falls into three acts, corresponding to the three divisions of the season: Advent, Christmastide, and the Epiphany. Here in the following is a synopsis of that play:

ACT: 1 Advent: The Desired of Nations, The Spouse of Humanity Comes. Prepare the Way Of the Lord.

  1. He is so long awaited as seen from afar. (“First Sunday of Advent”)
  2. Humanity (“the Church”) His Bride-to-Be, arrays herself to meet Him (“Second Sunday of Advent”)
  3. “Rejoice” He is very near indeed (“Third Sunday of Advent”)
  4. “A King of shreds and patches!”- Divinity clothed in frail Humility! (“Ember Week” “Fourth Sunday of Advent”)
  5. Breathless expectancy! He is at the very door of this world born in a cave (“Christmas Eve”)

ACT: 2 He Comes: A Vagabond King in the Garb of Humanity! (“Christmas”) (“Love in a cave beneath the earth, while the minions of Hate still scour the outer darkness to destroy Him.”)
His Retinue:

  1. Martyrs: Saint Stephen Dec 26th
  2. Virgins: Saint John, Dec 27th
  3. Little Children: Holy Innocents, Dec 28th

ACT 3. The Prince in Shining Majesty Weds the Lowly Spouse Humanity. (“Epiphany”)
In a dramatic climax the Vesper antiphon proclaims; Tis today that the Church (“in you and me”) is united to her Divine Spouse: for Christ has cleansed her sins in the royal nuptials (“Epiphany”); and the guest of the wedding banquet rejoice at the changing of water into wine (“at the Eucharistic Sacrifice”)
Thus has the Church in her Christmas Cycle taken the external texture of her unchanging Sacrifice and, with the threads of prophecy, of psalmist yearnings and of gospel lore, woven the living tapestry of her Divine Romance. Such a love story can never grow old until the Prince of Love, having wedded the last forlorn human soul on earth, comes in His final Advent to invite us all into the eternal marriage feast of heaven.


#9

St. John of the Cross Doctor of the Church wrote Poetry on Romance of the Incarnation

Romance #8.

  1. Then He called

The Angel Gabriel

And sent him to

The Virgin Mary,

  1. At whose consent

The mystery was wrought,

In whom the Trinity

Clothed the Word with flesh.

  1. And though Three work this,

It is wrought in the One:

And the Word lived incarnate

In the womb of Mary.

  1. And He who had only a Father

Now had a Mother too,

But she was not like others

Who conceive by man.

  1. From her own flesh

He received His flesh,

So He is called

Son of God and of man.

Romance #9.

  1. When the time had come

For Him to be born

He went forth like the bridegroom

From his bridal chamber,

  1. Embracing His bride,

Holding her in His arms,

Whom the gracious Mother

Laid in a manger

  1. Among some animals

That were there at that time.

Men sang songs

And angels melodies

  1. Celebrating the marriage

Of Two such as these.

But God there in the manger

Cried and moaned;

  1. And these tears were jewels

The bride brought to the wedding.

The Mother gazed in sheer wonder

On such an exchange:

  1. In God, man's weeping,

And in man, gladness,

To the one and the other

Things usually so strange.

..............................................

The very root of our life in the Trinity is given to us in the Romances; especially in the sixth and final verse of Romance 9.


#10

Saint Augustine of Hippo; Bishop of Milan; who was baptised by Saint Ambrose in 386 gave one of the most beautiful sermons ever spoken on the INCARNATION OF THE SON OF GOD*: amazon.com/gp/richpub/syltguides/fullview/12AU3BDLB7KQE

He by whom all things were made was made one of all things. The Son of God by the Father without a mother became the Son of man by a mother without a father. The Word Who is God before all time became flesh at the appointed time. The maker of the sun was made under the sun. He Who fills the world lays in a manger, great in the form of God but tiny in the form of a servant; this was in such a way that neither was His greatness diminished by His tininess, nor was His tininess overcome by

His greatness. (St. Augustine, Sermon 187 1.1)
+ God became a human being, so that in one person you could have both something to see and something to believe. (St. Augustine, Sermon 126, 5)

  • He lies in a manger, but contains the world. He feeds at the breast, but also feeds the angels. He is wrapped in swaddling clothes, but vests us with immortality. He found no place in the inn, but makes for Himself a temple in the hearts of believers. In order that weakness might become strong, and strength became weak. (St. Augustine, Sermon 190 3, 4)

  • He so loved us that for our sake He was made man in time, through Whom all times were made; was in the world less in years than His servants, though older than the world itself in His eternity; was made man, Who made man; was created of a mother, whom He created; was carried by hands which He formed; nursed at the breasts which He had filled; cried in the manger in wordless infancy, He the Word without Whom all human eloquence is mute.(St. Augustine Sermon 188 2,2)

  • He who was God was made man by taking on what He was not, not by losing what He was... Let Christ, therefore, lift you up by that which is human in Him; let Him lead you by that which is God—man; let Him guide you through to that which is God. (St. Augustine, on 1 .John 23, 61)

  • Truth, eternally existing in the bosom of the Father, has sprung from the earth so that He might exist also in the bosom of a mother. Truth, holding the world in place, has sprung from the earth so that He might be carried in the hands of a woman. (St. Augustine, Sermon 185, 3)


#11

A noted poet was once asked in an interview if he could explain one of his poems “in ordinary terms.” He replied with some feeling: “If I could say what I meant in ordinary terms, I would not have had to write such poem.

From the time of Christ’s birth, the people of God have felt compelled inwardly to write poems about Christmas, composing a single stranded paean of praise spanning down through the centuries, because ultimately the meaning of Christmas resist being fully spelled out “in ordinary terms” Some strands in these poems recur consistently, albeit with infinite varied nuances, becoming as familiar and necessary to the whole of the rhythm of the author. One such nuance is the ever-incredible paradox of the powerless Almighty-as, for instance, in the words about the Incarnation by Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers in France: “We hear the one at whose Word the angels and archangels tremble, cry like a child.

Other poets speak of the infinite mercy of God, of Hope renewed, or the motherhood of Mary. Still other poetic strands, instead, seem to startle us with a flash of intuition, suddenly casting a new light on what we already know: God became human that we might become human (“St. Augustine”). And through all these poetic strands runs a joyful refrain giving tongue to our deep-seated need to worship: “God’s Son became a human being. All our efforts to fully understand this great mystery are in vain. All that we can do is what the shepherds of the field did...namely, worship, believe and praise God.
No one who has been exposed to any part of this sublime mystery can fail to be affected by it. And yet so often a gnawing doubt assails us:

Our “real” Christmases, the ones we celebrate with decorated trees and Christmas presents, seem to be lived out under the fluctuation of two very different and yet related realms in society. One is the world of suffering: all that public and private anguish, loneliness and destruction that appear to be irreversibly cut off from the “good cheer” of the season which seems in fact only to deepen the sense of despair for those unfortunate enough to be caught (“on the outside”) of Christmas; on the other hand is the realm of the “Mammon” or the material wealth and greed of society, which seems to have appropriated Christmas for itself, retaining all the appearances of pious sentiment, of lights and color (“and of course, the essential exchanging of gifts”), while emptying our “real” Christmas of all else and in the process, compounding the loneliness and despair for the poor who live on the “outside” of Christmas.

It is a wonder how such devout Christian beliefs and practices of a simpler age can hold out against such a harsh reality in this world.

(“God’s Only Beloved Son becoming human is not some light-hearted carefree event in time. In reality it is a scandal when one contemplates the wood of His very crib one day becoming the wood of His Cross. God meets us in the lowliness of a child”)
This then is reality; it is the suffering world, desperately in need of redemption, that cried out for God to come into our world. God answered unexpectedly by becoming a small infant child destined to be martyred. The Christmas celebrated in our secular society, is an illusion that we children of God are called to penetrate and reclaim for reality. “God became human. We did not become God.

The human dispensation of suffering continues, and it must continue (“if we have something in common with Christ’s suffering”) but it is consecrated by God. And we have become more. We have also been strengthened. Let us trust our life, then, because the holy Eve and Season of Christmas has brought us Light. Let us trust life, because we do not live it alone. God lives it with us.

Written by a Jesuit Priest (“Alfred Delp”) awaiting execution by the German Nazis.


#12

Who could doubt the greatness of this event that the exalted ruler of creation should come down from such a great heavenly distance to a place that was so unworthy? Why, then, did He come down? We know why, because what he actually said and did tell us clearly the reason for His coming. He hurried down from the mountains to look among the hundreds of sheep for the one that had gone astray. He came for our sake, so that His mercy and His wonderful deeds would proclaim to the human race more visibly the praise of the Lord.

How wonderful is the condescension of the God who seeks us and how great is the dignity of those who are sought by Him!

All the wealth and all the glory of the world and everything that is desirable in the world...None of this means so much as this great honour. Nothing can be compared with it. Lord; what is the human-race, that you have made it so great?

Why are you so attached to it? It would have been more appropriate, surely, if we had come to Him. But two things prevented us from doing that. Our eyes were clouded and He dwells in inaccessible light. And we were crippled and could not come to Him. That is why He came to us...He the Physician of our souls.

By Saint Bernard de Clairvaux (1090-1153)


#13

Lord; what suitable response can we make to such a great honor? The honor that you have bestowed on the human race by giving us such great love?

God’s only Son, whose divine origin is beyond description, entered the womb of the holy Virgin and assumed the form of a human being.

He, who holds everything into being and in whom and for whom everything exists, was born in harmony with the laws of human nature. The One, at whose voice angels and archangels tremble and heaven and earth and all the elements of this world melt away.

The Unseen One, who does not let himself be confined to any human reality, whom we can neither touch, nor feel, nor hold.

We see Him in a manger, wrapped in swaddling cloths. Anyone who thinks about these things that are so unworthy of God will be all the more strongly convinced of His love. For Him, by whose will we were created, it was, after all, not necessary for Him to become human.

But it was for us that He assumed human nature and wanted to live among us. His humility is our great dignity. God was born as a human being! Or, to look at it from another point of view, we were reborn in God.

By Saint Hilary (Bishop of Poitiers France) died 367 A.D.


#14

Out on a hillside in a stable cave, where shepherds sometimes drove their flocks in time of storm, Joseph and Mary went at last for shelter. There, in a place of peace in the lonely abandonment of a cold windswept cave, there under the floor of the world, He Who is born without a mother in heaven, is born without a father on earth.

Of every other child that is born into this world, friends can say that it resembles his mother. This was the first instance in time that anyone could say that the mother resembled the Child. This is the beautiful paradox of the Child Who made his mother, the mother, too, was only a child. It was also the first time in history of this world that anyone could ever think of heaven as being anywhere else than “somewhere up there”; when the infant Child Jesus was in her arms, Mary now looked down to Heaven.

In the filthiest place in the world, Purity is born. He, Who was later to be slaughtered, “crucified” by men acting as beasts, was born among beasts. He, Who would call Himself the “living Bread descended from Heaven,” was laid in a manger, literally, a cow trough, a place to eat. Centuries before, the Jews had worshiped the golden calf, and the Greeks, the donkey. Men bowed down to them as a God. The ox and the donkey now were present in the stable to make their innocent reparation, bowing down before their God.

There was no room in the inn, but there was room in the stable. The inn is the gathering place of public opinion, the focal point of the world’s moods, the rendezvous of the worldly, the rallying place of the popular and the successful. But the stable is a place for the out-casts, the ignored, the forgotten.

The world might have expected the Son of God to be born…if He was to be born at all…in an inn. A stable would be the last place in the world where one would have looked for Him. (“Divinity is always where one least expects to find it”) No worldly mind would ever have suspected that He, Who could create the sun to warm the earth would one day have need of an ox and donkey to warm Him with their breath; and to think that He, Who in the language of Scriptures, could stop the turning about of the star Arcturus would have His birthplace dictated by an imperial census; that He, Who clothed the fields with grass, would Himself be naked; that He, from Whose hands came the planets and stars, would one day have tiny arms that were not long enough to touch the huge heads of cattle, that the feet which trod the everlasting hills would one day be too weak to walk; that the Eternal World would be dumb, that Omnipotence would be wrapped in swaddling clothes, that Salvation would lie in a manger, a place where cows eat. No one would ever have suspected that God coming to this earth would ever be so helpless.

And that is precisely why so many miss Him. (“Divinity is always where one least expects to find it”) For the Creator to come among His creatures and be ignored by them, for God to come among His own and not be received by His own; for God to be homeless at home; that could only mean one thing to the worldly mind: the Babe could not have been God at all. And that is just why the world missed Him. (“Divinity is always where on least expects to find it”)

The Son of God made man was invited to enter His own world through a back door. Exiled from the earth, He was born under the earth, in a sense, the first Cave Man in recorded history. There He shook the earth to its very foundations. Because He was born in a cave, hewn out of rock, all who wish to see Him must stoop.
To stoop is the mark of humility. The proud refuse to stoop and, therefore, they miss Divinity. Those however, who bend their egos and enter, find that they are not in a cave at all, but in a new universe where sits a Holy Babe on His mother’s lap, with the world poised on His fingers.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
b: May 8, 1895 – d: December 9, 1979


#15

**DECEMBER 8th
FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

“God freely chose Mary from all eternity to be the Mother of his Son. In order to carry out her mission she herself was conceived immaculate. This means that, thanks to the grace of God and in anticipation of the merits of Jesus Christ, Mary was preserved from original sin from the first instant of her conception.” – Compendium of the CCC

“Just suppose that you could have pre-existed your own mother, in much the same way that an artist pre-exists his painting. Furthermore, suppose that you had the infinite power to make your mother anything that you pleased, just as a great artist like Raphael has the power of realizing his artistic ideas. Suppose you had this double power, what kind of mother would you have made for yourself? Would you have made her of such a type that would make you blush because of her unwomanly and un-mother-like actions? Would you have made her exteriorly and interiorly of such a character as to make you ashamed of her? Or would you have made her, so far as human beauty goes; the most beautiful woman in the world; and so far as beauty of the soul goes, one who would radiate every virtue, every manner of kindness and charity and loveliness; one who by the purity of her life and her mind and her heart would be an inspiration not only to you but even to your fellow men, so that all would look up to her as the very incarnation of what is best in motherhood?

Now if you who are an imperfect being and who have not the most delicate conception of all that is fine in life would have wished for the loveliest of mothers, do you think that our Blessed Lord, who not only pre-existed His own mother but who had an infinite power to make her just what He chose, would in virtue of all the infinite delicacy of His spirit make her any less pure and loving and beautiful than you would have made your own mother? If you who hate selfishness would have made her selfless and you who hate ugliness would have made her beautiful, do you not think that the Son of God, who hates sin, would have made His own mother sinless and He who hates moral ugliness would have made her immaculately beautiful?” –
Archbishop Fulton Sheen
**


#16

MYSTERY OF THE INCARNATION:
THE REASON FOR CHRISTMAS

Awake, mankind! For your sake God has become man. Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you. I tell you again: for your sake, God became man.

You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh. You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for this mercy. You would never have returned to life, had he not shared your death. You would have been lost if he had not hastened ‘to your aid. You would have perished, had he not come.

Let us then joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption. Let us celebrate the festive day on which he who is the great and eternal day came from the great and endless day of eternity into our own short day of time.

He has become our justice, our sanctification, our redemption, so that, as it is written: Let him who glories glory in the Lord.

Truth, then, has arisen from the earth: Christ who said, I am the Truth, was born of the Virgin. And justice looked down from heaven: because believing in this new-born child, man is justified not by himself but by God.

Truth has arisen from the earth: because the Word was made flesh. And justice looked down from heaven: because every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

Truth has arisen from the earth: flesh from Mary. And justice looked down from heaven: for man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.

Justified by faith, let us be at peace with God: for justice and peace have embraced one another. Through our Lord Jesus Christ: for Truth has arisen from the earth. Through whom we have access to that grace in which we stand, and our boast is in our hope of God’s glory. He does not say: “of our glory”, but of God’s glory: for justice has not come out of us but has looked down from heaven. Therefore he who glories, let him glory, not in himself, but in the Lord.

For this reason, when our Lord was born of the Virgin, the message of the angelic voices was: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to men of good will.

For how could there be peace on earth unless Truth has arisen from the earth, that is, unless Christ were born of our flesh? And he is our peace who made the two into one: that we might be men of good will, sweetly linked by the bond of unity.

Let us then rejoice in this grace, so that our glorying may bear witness to our good conscience by which we glory, not in ourselves, but in the Lord. That is why Scripture says: He is my glory, the one who lifts up my head. For what greater grace could God have made to dawn on us than to make his only Son become the son of man, so that a son of man might in his turn become son of God?

Ask if this were merited; ask for its reason, for its justification, and see whether you will find any other answer but sheer grace.

By Saint Augustine


#17

**THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)
On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.
On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)
On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.
On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.
On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Six Geese A-laying
The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).
On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Eight Maids A-milking
The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)
On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness,
6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)
On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.
On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

Epiphany, January 6**


#18

**MYSTERY OF THE INCARNATION
The Immeasurable Love of God

My sweet Lord, look with mercy upon your people and especially upon the mystical body of your Church. Greater glory is given to your name for pardoning a multitude of your creatures than if I alone were pardoned for my great sins against your majesty. It would be no consolation for me to enjoy your life if your holy people stood in death. For I see that sin darkens the life of your bride the Church - my sin and the sins of others.

It is a special grace I ask for, this pardon for the creatures you have made in your image and likeness. When you created man, you were moved by love to make him in your own image. Surely only love could so dignify your creatures. But I know very well that man lost the dignity you gave him; he deserved to lose it, since he had committed sin.

Moved by love and wishing to reconcile the human race to yourself, you gave us your only-begotten Son. He became our mediator and our justice by taking on all our injustice and sin out of obedience to your will, eternal Father, just as you willed that he take on our human nature. What an immeasurably profound love! Your Son went down from the heights of his divinity to the depths of our humanity. Can anyone’s heart remain closed and hardened after this?

We image your divinity, but you image our humanity in that union of the two which you have worked in a man. You have veiled the Godhead in a cloud, in the clay of our humanity. Only your love could so dignify the flesh of Adam. And so by reason of this immeasurable love I beg, with all the strength of my soul, that you freely extend your mercy to all your lowly creatures.

Saint Catherine of Sienna
**


#19

**He became a child so that you could become a full mature human being. He was wrapped in swaddling cloths so that you could become unravelled from the meshes of death. He came on earth so that you could live beneath the stars. There was no place for Him in the inn so that there could be many dwelling places for you in heaven.
He was rich, but became poor for us. His poverty is our riches and His weakness is our strength. He is poor for us, but in Himself he is rich. You can see Him lying there in swaddling cloths, but what you cannot see is that He is God’s Son.

Saint Ambrose (Bishop of Milan, d: 397)
.................................................................................................
How I admire the Lord, the Creator of the world
He wanted to be born not surrounded by gold and silver,
But just on a piece of this earth.

By Saint Jerome
(Latin Church Father, d: 420)

**


#20

Bump:thumbsup:


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