From the ENCHIRIDION INDULGENTIARUM
There is only one day within the Christmas Octave (i.e.the 30th of December) which is not a Saint’s Feast.
During the Octaves of the Epiphany, Easter and Pentecost, the Church is so absorbed in the respective mysteries that she puts off everything that could share her attention; whereas during this of Christmas, there is only one day which does not celebrate the memory of some glorious Saint, and our Infant Jesus is surrounded by a choir of heroes who loved and served him. Thus the Church, or, more correctly, God—for God is the first author of the cycle of the year—shows us how the Incarnate Word, who came to save mankind, desires to give mankind confidence by this his adorable familiarity.
We have already shown that the Birth of our Lord took place on a Sunday, the Day on which, in the beginning of the world, God created Light. We shall find, later on, that his Resurrection also was on a Sunday. This the first day of creation, and the first of the week, was consecrated by the old Pagans to the Sun; with us Christians, it is most sacred and holy, on account of the two risings of our divine Sun of Justice—his Birth and his Resurrection. Whilst the solemnity of Easter is always kept on a Sunday, that of Christmas falls by turns on each of the days of the week—we have already had this difference explained to us by the Holy Fathers: but the mystery of Jesus’ Birth is more aptly and strongly expressed, when its anniversary falls on a Sunday. Other years, when the coincidence does not happen, the Faithful will at least be led by their Christian instincts, to give special honour to the day within the Octave which falls on the Sunday.
The Church has honoured it with a proper Mass and Office....
The passage of the Gospel selected for this Mass, though bearing on the Divine Infancy, yet gives us, we may almost say prematurely, the terrible prophecy of Simeon regarding the dear Babe of Bethlehem. The heart of Mary, that was overflowing with joy at the miraculous Birth of her Child, is here made to feel the sword spoken of by the venerable Priest of the temple. Her Son, then, is to be but a sign that shall be contradicted! The mystery of man’s adoption by God is to cost this Child of hers his life! We that are the Redeemed in his Blood, we may not yet dwell on the fatigues and the Passion and the Death of our Emmanuel: the time will come for that. At Present we are forbidden to think of him other than as the sweet Child that is born to us, the source of all our happiness by his having come among us.
Commentary from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger (1805-1875)
A meditation : In Vigilia Nativitatis Domini
are on the threshold of the birth of Jesus Christ. This liturgy for today is filled with joy and if it were not for the violent vestments, one might think that the feast of Christmas had already begun.
In today's Gospel we are presented with the answer to the question of who Christ is.
St. Joseph not knowing that the Child that Mary was carrying is the Son of God, was contemplating privately putting away Mary so that there would not be as much scandal.
St. Joseph was a just man and had not as yet been informed of the miraculous event of the incarnation. Mary apparently had not mentioned it and God had as yet not informed St. Joseph directly or indirectly through His Angel. Therefore St. Joseph is without blame for his ignorance in this matter.
Those who today, are ignorant of who this Child is, do not have the same excuse as St. Joseph. Their ignorance is inexcusable. We have been told by the prophets, Christ Himself, His Apostles, our Holy Mother the Church, the Scriptures, and countless Saints.
With so much verifiable and trustworthy testimony, and with the countless miracles confirming it, it appears obvious that, only the fool says in his heart that Jesus Christ is not God.
And yet we see that even after 2,006 years, there are many in the world that are still fools who have yet to open their hearts to God and receive the salvation that Christ brought to this earth. Remember, no one gets to the Father but through the Son. By rejecting the Son they are in fact rejecting the Father.
There were not many that welcomed Christ to this earth on His birthday 2,006 years ago. The majority did not know, because they were not looking for Him. They were not in love with God and eagerly anticipating His coming. They were filled with their own pride and self-love. The few that were humble and that truly loved God were shown this wonderful miraculous gift (the Shepherds, and the wise men) the rest of the world went on as if nothing at all had happened.
Nothing has seemed to change in all these years, the majority live as if Christ had never arrived. Many claim to be awaiting His coming, but they have missed it and do not really even care, which only means that they are not truly anticipating the coming of the Messiah.
The joy of anticipation for tomorrow's feast is greatly mollified by the sadness caused by the coldness and hardness of so many hearts.
We hear the words of the angel to St. Joseph: "for He shall save His people from their sins" and we are filled with peace and joy. Yet, at the same time we recognize that it is only His people that He shall save, and the majority is not His, even today.
Even among so many who call themselves "Christians" how many among them are His? How many are members of His Mystical Body? There are many that are celebrating and rejoicing with their lips but their hearts are far from Christ.
Let us make sure that we are true members of His Mystical Body so that we may truly rejoice in His birth, and let us pray most fervently for those who are not, so that they may one day enter into the one fold and they may then also rejoice.
On this Sunday, the 'Vigil of the Nativity' is the Mass offered when using the 1962 calendar for all Masses offered before First Vespers of Christmas i.e. all day on Christmas Eve.
The Vigil of the Nativity takes the place of the IV Sunday of Advent, which is supressed this year. However, those who recite the Breviarium Romanum would say First Vespers of the IV Sunday of Advent as the 'Vigil of the Nativity' does not have any First Vespers!
This Mass is not the First Mass of Christmas (e.g. Midnight Masss) and neither does it fulfil the obligation to attend one of the three Nativity Masses (Midnight/Dawn/During the Day).
Dr Joseph Shaw has today published the thirty second Position Paper on behalf of the Fœderatio Internationalis Una Voce. This one focuses on the subject of Islam.
Dr Shaw puts forward two points:
Mass in the Extraordinary Form for Gaudete Sunday will be celebrated
just over the border [Shrewsbury Diocese] at
St Clare of Assisi, Downsfield Road, CHESTER, CH4 8HH at 12.30pm
A sermon for the Third Sunday of Advent from an unknown author ....
This Advent Season is quickly passing, and the Christmas Season appears not far off. The time for our penances and mortifications is drawing to a speedy close. We rejoice that the time of Christ's coming is at hand, but we mourn the fewness of days that are left for us to prepare. There never seems to be enough time for us to do the penances that are truly necessary for us to make a worthy abode in our souls for the Christ Child. While we strive with all our hearts and souls to clean the inner man of all that stands in the way of Christ's coming, we see the feebleness of our own efforts. Yet, we take solace in the thought that God was born in a stable, and even if our soul is nothing but a dirty stable, Jesus will accept our hearts' desire and enter there, and by His very presence purify and sanctify us.
Mary Magdalene was a known sinful woman, but Our Lord tells us that much has been forgiven her, because she has loved much. Likewise, God is ready to pardon us our offences to the extent that we are motivated to repentance by true charity.
St. John the Baptist was the Voice of one crying in the desert, to make straight the way of the Lord. These remaining days of Advent, we must become ever more vigilant in doing our best to align and straighten out our souls, hearts, and minds so that we can receive Him. In our unworthy state, we can, in a sense, compel Jesus by our good works to bestow His mercy on us, as He has Himself declared in the Holy Gospel: "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away." (Mt. xi. 12) The Kingdom of Heaven is Jesus Christ, Himself, and as St. Maximus says: "we do violence against It, as the Gospel lesson says: and the violent bear it away." St. Maximus continues: "We do violence, I say, against the Lord, not by compelling, but by weeping, not provoking Him by insults, but by pleading with tears of repentance; not by blaspheming in pride, but by grieving in humility. O Blessed violence! Which is not repelled with indignation, but forgiven in mercy. Blessed violence, I repeat, which stirs up goodness in the one who suffers this violence, and brings reward to the one who inflicts it. An assault is made, and no one complains of injury; violence is suffered, and respect for order is increased. He that used most violence against Christ, is by Christ esteemed the most devoted.
"Let us attack the Lord on the way, because He is the Way, (Jn. xiv, 6) and after the manner of robbers let us despoil Him of His goods; let us take from Him His kingdom, His treasures and His life. But He is so rich and so generous that He will not resist us, and when He has given us all that is His, He still possesses all things. Let us assault Him, I say, not with sword, or staff, or stone, but with mildness, with good works, with chastity."
In all our efforts to do good, let us keep before our mind these words of St. Gregory: "When you do any good, ever recall to memory the sins you may have committed, so that while you are discreetly mindful of the evil you may have done, your mind will never indiscreetly rejoice over the good you do. Let each esteem his neighbor as better than himself, especially those who are strange to you, even those whom you see do that which is wrong, because you know no the good that may be hidden in them. Let each one seek to be worthy of esteem, yet let him be as if he knew not that he was, lest haughtily claiming esteem, he lose it. Hence was it also said by the prophet: woe to you that are wise in your own eyes, and prudent in your own conceits. (Is, v. 21) Hence likewise Paul says: be not wise in your own conceits." (Rom. xii, 16)
Our desire is to ever strive to do better, while never becoming content with any progress that we might achieve. We have an infinite capacity to love, because we are commanded to love God who is infinite. We must never think that we have done enough, because there is always so much more that we can do. Jesus told us that after we have done all things well we should claim ourselves to be unprofitable servants, because we have only done that which we ought to have done. Let us never become satisfied with what we have done, but always strive to do more. We must not fall into despair thinking that we are never good enough and then stop trying. Rather, we must be filled with hope in all our endeavors, trusting that God will keep His promise and fill the void that is left within us, as long as we continue to struggle in all charity and humility. In this manner, despite all our faults and failings, Jesus will lovingly enter our souls on Christmas Day as he entered the humble, rough and unsuitable stable in Bethlehem; and transform us as He did the stable, into His beautiful abode.
Christmas Masses locally:
The Latin Mass Society Ordo for 2018 for use with the Roman Missal of 1962 and Breviary of 1961 is now on sale at the LMS shop.
This is a day-to-day liturgical calendar for the Missal of 1962 and reflects the General Roman Calendar as reformed in 1960 by Saint John XXIII's motu proprio Rubricarum instructum.
It also contains the calandar of feasts for England and Wales and that is where some extensive research comes in. Author Gordon Dimon has spent many years compiling what we believe is a comprehensive calander for the English and Welsh church, this year I have also pitched in to assist Gordon and I found the exercise really interesting.
It also includes guidance (confirmed by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei) regarding Holy Day celebrations in the Traditional Rite. With 22 pages of liturgical notes and full discussion of Indulgences, it really is worth every penny of the £8 price!
Order your copy early as they tend to sell out by clicking here.
Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui facis mirabilia magna solus: praetende super famulos tuos, et super congregationes illis commissas, spiritum gratiae salutaris; et, ut in veritate tibi complaceant, perpetuum eis rorem tuae benedictionis infunde.
Kevin Jones is the local representative for the Latin Mass Society in Wrexham Diocese. Any views expressed neither represent those of the Latin Mass Society or the Diocese of Wrexham.