That day is called the birthday of the Lord on which the Wisdom of God manifested Himself as a speechless Child and the Word of God wordlessly uttered the sound of a human voice. His divinity, although hidden, was revealed by heavenly witness to the Magi and was announced to the shepherds by angelic voices. With yearly ceremony, therefore, we celebrate this day which saw the fulfillment of the prophecy: “Truth is sprung out of the earth: and justice hath looked down from heaven.” 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. Truth, incorruptibly nourishing the happiness of the angels, has sprung from the earth in order to be fed by human milk. Truth, whom the heavens cannot contain, has sprung from the earth so that He might be placed in a manger.
For whose benefit did such unparalleled greatness come in such lowliness? Certainly for no personal advantage, but definitely for our great good, if only we believe.
Arouse yourself, O man; for you God has become man. “Awake, sleeper, and arise from among the dead, and Christ will enlighten thee.” For you, I repeat, God has become man. If He had not thus been born in time, you would have been dead for all eternity. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, if He had not taken upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh. Everlasting misery would have engulfed you, if He had not taken this merciful form. You would not have been restored to life, had He not submitted to your death; you would have fallen, had He not succored you; you would have perished, had He not come
Let us joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption. Let us celebrate the festal day on which the great and timeless One came from the great and timeless day to this brief span of our day. He has become for us ... justice, and sanctification, and redemption; so that, just as it is written, “Let him who takes pride, take pride in the Lord.” For, so that we might not resemble the proud Jews who, “ignorant of the justice of God and seeking to establish their own, have not submitted to the justice of God.” When the Psalmist had said: “Truth Is sprung out of the earth,” he quickly added: “and justice hath looked down from heaven.” He did this lest mortal frailty, arrogating this justice to itself, should call these blessings its own, and lest man should reject the justice of God in his belief that he is justified, that is, made just through his own efforts. Truth Is sprung out of the earth because Christ who said: “I am the truth” was born of a virgin; and “justice hath looked down from heaven” because, by believing in Him who was so born, man has been justified not by his own efforts but by God. “Truth is sprung out of the earth” because “the Word was made flesh” and “justice hath looked down from heaven” because “every good and perfect gift is from above.” “Truth is sprung out of the earth,” that is, His flesh was taken from Mary; and “justice hath looked down from heaven” because “no one can receive anything unless it Is given to him from heaven.”
“Having been justified therefore by faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith unto that grace in which we stand and exult in the hope of the glory of God.” With these few words, which you recognize as those of the Apostle, it gives me pleasure, my brethren, to mingle a few passages of the psalm [which we are considering] and to find that they agree in sentiment. “Having been justified by faith, let us have peace with God” because “justice and peace have kissed”; “through our Lord Jesus Christ” because '”truth is sprung out of the earth”; “through whom we also have access by faith unto that grace in which we stand, and exult in the hope of the glory of God.” He does not say of our glory, but “of the glory of God” because justice has not proceeded from us but “hath looked down from heaven.” Therefore, “let him who takes pride, take pride in the Lord,” not in himself. Hence, when the Lord whose birthday we are celebrating today was born of the Virgin, the announcement of the angelic choir was made in the words: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of good will.” How can peace exist on earth unless it be because “truth is sprung out of the earth,” that is, because Christ has been born in the flesh? Moreover, “He Himself is our peace, he it is who has made both one” so that we might become men of good will, bound together by the pleasing fetters of unity.
Let us rejoice, then, in this grace so that our glory may be the testimony of our conscience wherein we glory not in ourselves but in the Lord. Hence the Psalmist [in speaking of the Lord] has said: “My glory and the lifter up of my head.” For what greater grace of God could have shone upon us than that, having an only-begotten Son, God should make Him the Son of Man, and thus, in turn, make the son of man the Son of God? Examine it as a benefit, as an inducement, as a token of justice, and see whether you find anything but a gratuitous gift of God.
Christ lowered Himself not for His own personal advantage but for our good; in order to justify us and give us peace and happiness.
This Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Advent leading us into the last week of preparation for the joyful and glorious coming of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. The Gospel tells the story of St. Joseph and his reaction to finding Mary to be pregnant when they have had no relations. As an honest and upright man, he resolves to leave her quietly to protect her from the public’s wrath. However, Joseph receives a dream telling him that Mary has conceived of the Holy Ghost and that he is to take her into his home to be his wife.
Joseph does what every good Christian should do: he follows the will of God. He does not question the divine instructions he was given. Hearing the word of God, he acted upon it. He immediately took Mary in and cared for her and the soon-to-be-born child. The faith and obedience of Joseph is great. Often when we think of obedience we groan; as part of our fallen nature, we have a hunger to cherish our own pride. But this desire is not of God. It is a twisted, disillusioned temptation which we so often cave to. With Christ’s coming near, we would be wise to humble ourselves. How humiliating would it be if we met Jesus on the Last Day with our noses stuck up and chest puffed out, only to realize the greatness and glory of God as infinitely superior to that of our own? And yet we constantly plead with God for signs of his presence or even existence, as we see in the first reading from Isaiah. But we are not to dwell on our sins. We are to contemplate the goodness and the nearness of God, for God is with us!
Going forth, let us learn from the example of St. Joseph. Let us humble ourselves, obeying the Lord’s every command and placing our trust in Him. May we grow in virtue without ceasing until we, by God’s grace, receive eternal union with Him. Have faith, pray constantly, and believe in the Gospel. Be who God created you to be! Veni, veni Emmanuel!
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
On this Third Sunday of Advent, the focus of our preparation shifts drastically. For two weeks now we have meditated on the coming of Christ in penance and violet. For this one Sunday of the penitential season, we reflect on the coming joy instead of what we need to fix in ourselves. We mix the joy of Christmas with the penance of Advent, so we also mix the liturgical white of Christmas with the violet of Advent. As an outward expression of this shift, the liturgical color for this one Sunday is rose. Thus, this Sunday is aptly named Gaudete Sunday. This comes from the beginning words of the Introit: “Gaudete in Domino semper; iterum dico, gaudete.” These words, taken from the book of Philippains, remind us to rejoice in our Lord’s coming while maintaining virtue of humility. We must continue to give thanksgiving in our prayers for the Lord is almost here.
This week also begins the beautiful tradition of the “O Antiphons.” This refers to the antiphons of the Magnificat in the Divine Office from December 17 to December 23. These antiphons are “O Sapientia,” “O Adonai,” “O Radix Jesse,” “O Clavis David,” “O Oriens,” “O Rex Gentium,” and “O Emmanuel.” Each of these are a title for Christ. Pulled from the prophecy of Isaiah, these antiphons aid our preparation for Christmas in a special way for the final days of Advent.
In this week of joyous preparation, let us recall in a special way exactly what we are preparing for: Christ’s coming at His birth, Christ’s coming in our everyday lives, and Christ’s coming at the end of time. We are preparing for each and every one of these comings of Christ throughout this Advent season. I urge all of you, especially if you are struggling in your prayer life, to pray with the O Antiphons this week. Either within the entirety of Vespers, or just the Magnificat and antiphon.
“O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.”
“O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence.” (Magnificat Antiphon, December 17)
Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione et obsecratione cum gratiarum actione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.
On this Second Sunday of Advent we celebrate the Great Feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. The Collect for Sunday Mass, according to the 1960 Roman Calendar reads, “O God, Who, by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, didst prepare a worthy dwelling-place for Thy Son…” God the Father, prepares for His Son’s coming by creating Mary, creating her without even the stain of original sin. It is in Mary that the Messiah will be born.
It is in this season of Advent that we meditate on Christ’s first coming to Earth, coming to Earth through the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is God who when creating Mary, creates a creature perfect, full of His grace, creating a dwelling-place that is worthy to hold the Christ. Mary, as the perfect follower of Christ, should be our model daily, so that we too may create a dwelling-place in our lives worthy to hold the Christ.
Each of us is a dwelling-place for Christ. It is when we receive Jesus Christ in the Eucharist that we ask Him to dwell with us, as He comes to us in His body, blood, soul, and divinity. It is our responsibility, our duty to receive Jesus Christ in the Eucharist worthily and reverently. As we continue to prepare ourselves this Advent for the coming of Christ at Christmas, may we recall this great feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, knowing that God created in her the best dwelling for Christ. And may we strive to follow Mary’s example, and create a worthy dwelling in ourselves for the Eucharistic Lord.
O Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from thy sublime height turn upon thine eyes of pity. Filled with confidence in thy goodness and knowing full well thy power, I beseech Thee to extend to me thine assistance in the journey of life, which is so full of dangers for my soul. And in order that I may never be the slave of the devil through sin, but may ever live with my heart humble and pure, I entrust myself wholly to thee. I consecrate my heart to thee forever, my only desire being to love thy Divine Son, Jesus. Mary, none of thy devout servants has ever perished; may I too be saved. Amen.
The Advent of Christ is upon us! Often many of us infiltrate this sacred season of expectation with parties, shopping, movies, and music. It is, however, a realization that each of us must come to: that Advent is separate from Christmas. Without Advent, there wouldn’t be a Christmas. Each of us is invited to journey with the Blessed Mother Mary and St. Joseph during these four weeks and in return, we will be able to welcome the Christ Child on that Christmas morning. Therefore, make a pledge to yourself this Advent to truly enter into a mindset of awaiting. Awaiting for the parties, the gifts, the movies, the music. But most importantly, awaiting for our Savior, the Christ.
It is in this Sunday’s Gospel from St. Luke, according to the 1960 Roman Calendar, that Jesus shares with the disciples what is due to happen at the end of time. Jesus instructs that many will fall away and that there will be much confusion. One could argue that this is already happening, and given the circumstances, I may agree. However, it is in the time of Advent that each of us is able to renew our lives and devotion to the Church and to Christ. Jesus Christ is so much wanting each of us to actively participate in His joyful birth on Christmas Day.
As we enter into this season, may we recall the prophetic words from Jesus on the end times (Luke 21:25-33), and also begin to reflect on our own life and its path. Each of us will enter into our own “end times”, whether it is of tragedy, illness, or of old age, each of us will be summoned before the Just Judge. Let us use this time set aside by God for His people to examine our lives and begin to practice ever more closely the teachings of Christ and His Church.
Veni, Veni Emmanuel! O Come, O Come Emmanuel!
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves; Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved; And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty. But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand. And he spoke to them in a similitude. See the fig tree, and all the trees: When they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh; So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. Luke 21:25-31