Fallen men waited for four thousand years from the time of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden for this happy day to occur. It was, however, in God's Holy Providence that most of those alive at the time that the Word Incarnate issued forth from His Most Blessed Mother's Virginal and Immaculate Womb in piercing cold at Midnight on Christmas Day did not know that their Divine Redeemer, God Incarnate in the very Flesh, had been born to save them from their sins.
Sadly, most men alive today treat this most joyful day as though the Nativity of the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity made Man was merely an occasion for some kind of ritualistic gift-giving that has nothing to do with truly honoring the Newborn Babe Who was born to pay back the debt of their sins as He suffered His ignominious death on the wood of the Holy Cross. There is little thought given to the fact that it was God's ineffable love for His rational creatures to send His Co-Equal and Co-Eternal Divine Son to suffer and to die for their own sins, and there is even less thought of the fact that men must quit their sins and make reparation for them by cooperating with the graces won for us all by Our Divine Redeemer Who was born for us on this happy day.
Sadder still is the fact that so many men alive today do not pay any heed to the inestimabile privileges bestowed upon the very Mother of God as she brought forth her only Son, Who had been begotten of the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost, at the Annuciation, and thus do not understand the joyful circumstances in which the Nativity of her Divine Son occurred so miraculously. There is thus little contemplation given to the glories of this day on which a Saviour was born for us.
Indeed, even so many Catholics alive today permit themselves any time to spend in contemplation of the mysteries of Christmas, agitated as they are by the events of a world that still looks for a redeemer in all of the wrong places.
It is good, therefore, for us to on this day, which is full of such sublime and inexpressible joy, to consider Venerable Mary of Agreda's description of the circumstances in which the Baby Jesus was born for us that she learned from the very Mother of God herself, the Queen of Heaven: Our Lady:
The palace which the supreme King of kings and Lord of lords had chosen for entertaining his eternal and incarnate Son in this world was a most poor and insignificant hut or cave, to which most holy Mary and St. Joseph went after they had been denied all hospitality and the most ordinary kindness by their fellow men, as I have described in the previous chapter. This place was held in such contempt that although the town of Bethlehem was full of strangers in need of night shelter none would demean or degrade himself so far as to make use of it for a lodging, for there was no one who deemed it suitable or desirable for such a purpose except the Teachers of humility and poverty, Christ our Savior and his most pure Mother. For this reason the wisdom of the eternal Father had reserved it for Them, consecrating it in all its bareness, loneliness and poverty as the first temple of light, and as the house of the true Sun of justice (Mal. 4:2), who for the upright of heart was to be born from the most resplendent aurora Mary in the midst of the darkness of night (symbolic of the night of sin) which filled the entire world (Ps. 111:4). (New English Edition of the The Mystical City of God, The Book Four: The Incarnation, Chapter Ten.)
The conditions described above can be applied to our sins, can it not?
That is, are our souls truly fit to be the dwelling place for Our King of Kings when we receive Him in Holy Communion? Yet it is His Holy Will that, despite our lukewarmness and worldliness, He deigns to enter into the poor, pitiable dwelling that we offer unto Him. The God Who entered the world in humility condescends to come us humbly under the appearances of bread and wine. How are we prepared to receive Him? Is there truly place in the "inn" of our hearts for Him?
The Venerable Mary of Agreda then described the gratitude of Our Lady and Saint Joseph for finding a dwelling place that was of such poor and humble estate as this was but the will of the very God Who came to be born in poverty and anonymity:
469. Most holy Mary and St. Joseph entered the lodging thus provided for them, and by the effulgence of the ten thousand Angels of their guard they could easily ascertain its poverty and loneliness, which they esteemed as favors and welcomed with tears of consolation and joy. Without delay the two holy travelers fell on their knees and praised the Lord, giving Him thanks for this benefit which they knew had been provided by his wisdom for his own hidden designs. Regarding this mystery the heavenly Princess Mary had a better insight, for as soon as She sanctified the interior of the cave by her sacred footsteps She felt a fullness of joy which entirely elevated and vivified Her. She besought the Lord to bless with a liberal hand all the inhabitants of the neighboring city, because by rejecting Her they had given occasion for the vast favors which She awaited in this neglected cavern. It was formed entirely of the bare and coarse rocks, without any natural beauty or artificial adornment, a place intended merely for the shelter of animals, yet the eternal Father had selected it for the shelter and dwelling place of his own Son.
We must always be content and grateful no matter are our temporal circumstances. What matters to God is that we accept His Holy Will with equanimity and gratitude, finding in its acceptance and peaceful acceptance endless opportunities to imitate the virtues exhibited by Our Lady and her Most Chaste Spouse, our Good Saint Joseph, the just and quiet man of the House of David who is the Patron of the Universal Church and the Protector of the Faithful.
Consider how Our Lady set about cleaning the cave with her own royal hands so that her Divine Son could be born and placed in His royal throne, namely, the Crib, made of the very wood with which He would later make a living as a humble carpenter and on which He would be crucified to effect our Redemption:
470. The angelic spirits, who like a celestial militia guarded their Queen and Lady, formed themselves into cohorts in the manner of court guards in a royal palace. They showed themselves in their visible forms also to St. Joseph, for on this occasion it was appropriate for him to enjoy such a favor, on the one hand in order to assuage his sorrow by allowing him to behold this poor lodging thus beautified and adorned by their celestial presence, and on the other in order to enliven and encourage him for the events which the Lord intended to bring about during that night and in this forsaken place. The great Queen and Empress, who was already informed of the mystery to be transacted here, set about cleaning with her own hands the cave which was so soon to serve as a royal throne and sacred mercy seat, for neither did She want to miss this occasion for exercising her humility, nor would She deprive her onlybegotten Son of the worship and reverence implied by this preparation and cleansing of his temple. (New English Edition of the The Mystical City of God, The Book Four: The Incarnation, Chapter Ten.)
Do we truly examine our consciences when preparing to go to Confession? Do we set about the hard work of cleaning out the nooks and crannies of sins that we may have forgotten or treated too lightly? If so, Our Lady's example provides us with the impetus to remember that spiritual sloth is culpable to our condemnation. Our Lady took great care to prepare the cave in Bethlehem just as her Divine Son would take great care thirty-three years later after His Resurrection to neatly fold up His burial shroud, a detail that was recounted as follows by Saint John the Evangelist in his Gospel:
And on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen cometh early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre; and she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
She ran, therefore, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith to them: They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
Peter therefore went out, and that other disciple, and they came to the sepulchre. And they both ran together, and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying; but yet he went not in.
Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen cloths lying. And the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped into one place.
Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw, and believed. (John 20: 1-8)
Such is the care that we must take to save our souls as nothing we accomplish or fail to accomplish in this passing, mortal vale of tears matters. To save one's soul by the graces made possible for us by the shedding of the Most Precious Blood of the Child born for this this day as He died for us on the wood of the Holy Cross thirty-three years later is the only accomplishment that should matter to us, and to do this we need the help of Our Lady, who cleaned the stable in Bethlehem, and her Most Chaste Spouse, who desires us to rely upon his paternal intercession on a daily basis without fail:
471. St. Joseph, mindful of the majesty of his heavenly Spouse (which it seemed to him She was forgetting in her ardent longing for humiliation), besought Her not to deprive him of this work which he considered as his alone, and he hastened to set about cleaning the floor and the corners of the cave, although the humble Queen continued to assist him therein. Since the holy Angels were in human visible form, they were (according to our mode of speaking) abashed at such eagerness for humiliation, and they speedily emulated with each other to join in this work; or rather, in order to say it more succinctly, in the shortest time possible they had cleansed and set in order that cave, filling it with holy fragrance. St. Joseph started a fire with the material which he had brought for that purpose. Since it was very cold they sat at the fire in order to get warm. They partook of the food which they had brought, and they ate this, their frugal supper, with incomparable joy of their souls. The Queen of heaven was so absorbed and taken up with the thought of the impending mystery of her divine delivery that She would not have partaken of food if She had not been urged thereto by obedience to her spouse. (New English Edition of the The Mystical City of God, The Book Four: The Incarnation, Chapter Ten.)
Thus it is that we must do our daily duties and be satisfied with the lot in life that we, sinners who have so much for which to make reparation, experience according to the wonderful Providence of God, saying like Saint Francis himself, who is responsible for providing us with the example of the Nativity scene, "Deo gratias" no matter the material circumstances in which we find ourselves, and no matter the state of the world, victim of its own inquities.
Pope Pius XII's Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary mentions how the world, then being torn asunder by World War II, was indeed the victim of its own iniquities:
Queen of the most holy Rosary, help of Christians, refuge of the human race, victorious in all the battles of God, we prostrate ourselves in supplication before thy throne, in the sure hope of obtaining mercy and of receiving grace and timely aid in our present calamities, not through any merits of our own on which we do not rely, but only through the immense goodness of thy mother’s Heart. In Thee and in thy Immaculate Heart, at this grave hour of human history, do we put our trust; to thee we consecrate ourselves, not only with all of Holy Church, which is the mystical body of thy Son Jesus, and which is suffering in so many of her members, being persecuted, but also with the whole world, torn by discords, agitated with the hatred, the victim of its own iniquities. Be thou moved by the sight of such material and moral degradation, such sorrows, such anguish, so many tormented souls in danger of eternal loss! Do thou, O Mother of mercy, obtain for us from God a Christ-like reconciliation of the nations, as well as those graces which can convert the souls of men in an instant, those graces which prepare the way and make certain the long desired coming of peace on earth. O Queen of peace, pray for us, and grant unto the world in the truth, the justice, and the charity of Christ. Above all, give us peace in our hearts, so that the kingdom of God, may spread it the tranquility of order. Accord thy protection to unbelievers and to all those who lie in the shadow of death; cause the Sun of Truth to rise upon them; may they enabled to join with us in repeating before the Saviour of the world: “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to men of good will.” Give peace to the nations that are separated us from error or discord, and in a special manner to those peoples who profess a singular devotion toward thee; bring them back to Christ’s one fold, under the one true Shepherd. Obtain full freedom for the holy Church of God; defend her from her enemies; check the ever-increasing torrent of immorality; arouse in the faithful a practical love of purity, a practical Christian life, and an apostolic zeal, so that the number of those who serve God may increase in merit and in number. Finally, even as the Church and all mankind were once consecrated to the Heart of thy Son Jesus, because He was for all those who put their hope in Him an inexhaustible source of victory and salvation, so in like manner do we consecrate ourselves forever to thee also and to thy Immaculate Heart, Of Mother us and Queen of the world; may thy love and patronage hasten the day when the kingdom of God shall be victorious and all the nations, at peace with God and with one another, shall call thee blessed and intone with thee, from the rising of the sun to its going down, the everlasting “Magnificat” of glory, of love, of gratitude to the Heart of Jesus in which we alone can find truth, life, and peace. (Pope Pius XII, Rescript from the Secretariat of State, November 17, 1942, document exhibited, November 19, 1942, The Raccolta: A Manual of Indulgences, Prayers and Devotions Enriched with Indulgences, approved by Pope Pius XII, May 30, 1951, and published in English by Benziger Brothers, New York, 1957, pp. 345-347.)
The birth of the Divine Redeemer on this day, Christmas Day, is meant to penetrate the souls of all men everywhere with the effulgent radiance of the Newborn Baby Jesus, a radiance that can bring true warmth, joy, peace and contentment to a world that is even more torn apart by discord and is more agitated with hatred agitated with hatred than was the case seventy-four years ago when Pope Pius XII composed the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The world in which we live is indeed suffering mightily. It is the victim of its own iniquities now just as it was in 1942. Indeed, there can be no true peace in the world absent the peace that is given to souls alone by Christ the King, Who was born for us on this happy day 2016 years ago.
The Introit prayed at the beginning of the Second Mass on Christmas Day explains that the darkness of the world was disspelled by the Light of Christ, the Light Whose Passion, Death, and Resurrection thirty-three years later would bring an end to the adversary's tyranny over the human race:
A light shall shine upon this day: for the Lord is born to us: and He shall be called Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace: of Whose reign there shall be no end. Ps 92:1 The Lord is King, in splendor robed; robed is the Lord and girt about with strength.
The Venerable Mary of Agreda conveyed the truly miraculous nature of the Nativity of the Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father, Forever, Prince of Peace of Whose reign there shall be no end:
475. Most holy Mary remained in this ecstasy and beatific vision for over an hour immediately preceding her divine delivery. At the moment when She issued from it and regained the use of her senses She felt and saw the body of the infant God begin to move in her virginal womb; how, releasing and freeing Himself from the place which in the course of nature He had occupied for nine months, He now prepared to issue forth from that sacred bridal chamber. This movement not only did not cause any pain or hardship, as happens with the other daughters of Adam and Eve in their childbirths (Gen. 3:16), but filled Her with incomparable joy and delight, causing in her soul and in her virginal body such exalted and divine effects that they exceed all thoughts of men. Her body became so spiritualized with the beauty of heaven that She seemed no more a human and earthly creature. Her countenance emitted rays of light like a sun incarnadined, and shone in indescribable earnestness and majesty, all inflamed with fervent love. She was kneeling in the manger, her eyes raised to heaven, her hands joined and folded at her breast, her soul rapt in the Divinity, and She herself was entirely deified. In this position, and at the end of the heavenly rapture, the most exalted Lady gave to the world the Onlybegotten of the Father and her own, our Savior JESUS, true God and man, at the hour of midnight, on a Sunday, in the year of the creation of the world five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine (5199), which is the date given in the Roman Church, and which date has been manifested to me as the true and certain one. . . .
477. At the end of the beatific vision and rapture of the Mother ever Virgin, which I have described above (473), was born the Sun of justice, clean, most beautiful, refulgent and pure, the Son of the eternal Father and of Mary most holy, leaving Her untouched in her virginal integrity and purity, and making Her more divinized and consecrated; for He did not divide, but penetrated the virginal chamber as the rays of the sun penetrate the crystal shrine, lighting it up in prismatic beauty. Before the explanation of the miraculous manner in which this was executed, I say the Infant God was born pure and disengaged, without the covering called secundina, surrounded by which other children are commonly born and in which they are enveloped in the wombs of their mothers. I will not detain myself in explaining the cause and origin of the error which is contrary to this statement. It is enough to know and suppose that in the generation and birth of the incarnate Word the arm of the Almighty selected and made use of all that substantially and unavoidably belonged to natural human generation, so the Word would be made true man, truly calling Himself conceived, engendered and born as the Son of the substance of his Mother ever Virgin. Regarding the other circumstances which are not essential but accidental to generation and birth we must disconnect our ideas of Christ our Lord and most holy Mary, not only from all that are in any way related or consequent upon any sin, original or actual, but also from many others which are not necessary for the essential reality of the generation or birth and which imply some impurity or superfluity that could in any way lessen or impair the dignity of Mary as the Queen of heaven and as true Mother of Christ our Lord; for many such imperfections of sin or nature were not necessary either for the true humanity of Christ, or for his office of Redeemer or Teacher, and whatever was not necessary for these three ends, and whatever by its absence would redound to the greater dignity of Christ and his Mother, must be denied of both. Neither were the miracles necessary for such a birth given sparingly by the Author of nature and grace in favor of Her who was his worthy Mother, prepared, adorned, and made increasingly beautiful for this purpose, for the divine right hand enriched Her at all times with gifts and graces, and reached the utmost limits of his omnipotence possible in regard to a mere creature. 478. Conformable to this truth the fact She was a Virgin in conceiving and giving Him birth, remaining ever Virgin by the operation of the Holy Ghost, did not derogate from her being a true Mother. Though She could have lost her virginity in a natural manner without incurring any fault, yet in that case the Mother of God would also be without this singular prerogative of virginity; hence we must say the divine power of her most holy Son preserved it for Her so She would not be without it. Likewise the divine Child could have been born with this covering or cuticle in which others are born, yet this was not necessary in order to be born a natural Son of the Blessed Mother; hence He could choose not to take it forth with Him from the virginal and maternal womb, just as He chose not to pay to nature other penal tributes of impurity which other human beings do pay at their coming into the light. It was not just for the incarnate Word to be subject to all the laws of the sons of Adam; rather it was consequent upon his miraculous birth for Him to be exempt and free from all that could be caused by the corruption or uncleanness of matter. Thus also this covering, or secundina, was not to fall a prey to corruption outside of the virginal womb, because it had been so closely connected and attached to his most holy body, and because it was composed of the blood and substance of his Mother. In like manner it was not advisable to keep and preserve it outside of Her, nor was it appropriate to give it the same privileges and importance as his divine body in coming forth from the body of his most holy Mother, as I will yet explain. The wonder which would have to be wrought to dispose of that sacred covering outside of the womb could be wrought much more appropriately within.
479. The infant God therefore was brought forth from the virginal chamber unencumbered by any corporeal or material substance foreign to Himself, but came forth glorious and transfigured, for the divine and infinite wisdom decreed and ordained that the glory of his most holy soul should in his Nativity overflow and communicate itself to his body, participating in the gifts of glory in the same way as happened afterwards in his Transfiguration on mount Tabor in the presence of the Apostles (Mt. 17:2). This miracle was not necessary in order to penetrate the virginal enclosure and leave unimpaired her virginal integrity, for without this transfiguration God could have brought this about by other miracles. That the Child was born leaving his Mother a Virgin is certain, as the holy Doctors say who know of no other mystery in this Nativity. It was the will of God for the most blessed Virgin to look upon the body of her Son, the Godman, for this first time in a glorified state for two reasons. The first was so by this divine vision the most prudent Mother would conceive the highest reverence with which to treat her Son, true God and true man. Though She was already informed of his twofold nature, the Lord nevertheless ordained that by ocular demonstration She would be filled with new graces corresponding to the greatness of her most holy Son which was thus manifested to Her in a visible manner. The second reason was to reward by this wonder the fidelity and holiness of the divine Mother, for her most pure and chaste eyes which had turned away from all earthly things for love of her most holy Son were to see Him at his very birth in this glory, and thus be rejoiced and rewarded for her loyalty and beautiful love.
480. The sacred evangelist Luke (2:7) tells us the Virgin Mother, having brought forth her firstborn Son, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and placed Him in a manger. He does not say She received Him in her arms from her virginal womb, for this did not pertain to the purpose of his narrative; however, the two sovereign princes, St. Michael and St. Gabriel, were the assistants of the Virgin on this occasion. They stood by at a proper distance in human corporeal forms at the moment when the incarnate Word, penetrating the virginal chamber by divine power, issued forth to the light, and they received Him in their hands with ineffable reverence. In the same manner as a priest exhibits the sacred host to the people for adoration, so these two celestial ministers presented to the divine Mother her glorious and refulgent Son. All this happened in a short space of time. In the same moment in which the holy Angels thus presented the divine Child to his Mother, both Son and Mother looked upon each other, and in this look She wounded with love the sweet Infant and was at the same time exalted and transformed in Him. From the arms of the holy Princes the Prince of heaven spoke to his happy Mother and said to Her: “Mother, become like unto Me, since for the human existence thou hast given me, I desire from today to give thee another more exalted existence in grace, assimilating thy existence as a mere creature to the likeness of Me, who am God and Man.” The most prudent Mother answered: Trahe me post Te, curremus in odorem unguentorum tuorum (Cant. 1:3); draw me after Thee, Lord, and we will run after Thee in the odor of thy ointments. In the same way many of the hidden mysteries of the Canticles were fulfilled, and other sayings which passed between the Infant God and the Virgin Mother which had been recorded there, as for instance: My Beloved to me, and I to Him, and his turning is towards me (Ib. 2:16; 7:10); behold thou art fair, my friend, and thy eyes are dove’s eyes; behold, my beloved, for thou art fair (Ib. 1:14-15); and many other sacramental words, which to mention would unduly prolong this chapter.(New English Edition of the The Mystical City of God, The Book Four: The Incarnation, Chapter Ten.)
Who cannot be inspired to fall on his knees to give one's adoration and gratitude to the Word Who was made Flesh to dwell amongst us?
Who cannot be inspired to surround Our Lady with acts of love as we venerate her for the sublime privilges and singular graces with which she was conceived without stain of Original Sin so as to bear within her and give birth to her Divine Son, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?
The world was changed forever by the Incarnation and Nativity of God in the very Flesh this day, Christmas Day, as lowly shepherds were chosen to have the Good News of His Nativity announced to them by the angelic choirs, who knew them to be men of good will. Indeed, they were of such good will that they left their posts to adore the Baby King, the Good Shepherd Himself, and to honor His Most Blessed Mother and His foster-father, Saint Joseph. How tragic it is that so many Catholics worship at the altars of a variety of false gods, forgetting that there can no peace in their own souls or in the world absent Christ the King as He has revealed Himself to us exclusively through His true Church.
In a word, we must believe the Gospel as taught by His true Church:
Lest thou shouldest think all things mean, as thou art accustomed to think of things human, hear and digest this The Word was God. Now perhaps there will come forward some Arian unbeliever, and say that the Word of God was a creature. How can the Word of God be a creature, when it was by the Word that all creatures were made? If He be a creature, then there must have been some other Word, not a creature, by which He was made. And what Word is that? If thou sayest that it was by the word of the Word Himself that He was made, I tell thee that God had no other, but One Only-begotten Son. But if thou say not that it was by the word of the Word Himself that He was made, thou art forced to confess that. He by Whom all things were made was not Himself made at all. Believe the Gospel. (Saint Augustine. As found in the readings for Matins, Christmas Day.)
Yes, those who do not believe in the Gospel are the most pitiable of men. It is because most men in the world today do not believe in the Gospel as it has been entrusted exclusively to the Catholic Church for its infallible explication still prefer the darkness to the light of the Light Himself Who was born for us this very day.
Pope Leo XIII made this point very strenuously in Laetitiae Sanctae, September 8, 1893, while explaining the connection between Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary and social order:
There are three influences which appear to Us to have the chief place in effecting this downgrade movement of society. These are -- first, the distaste for a simple and laborious life; secondly, repugnance to suffering of any kind; thirdly, the forgetfulness of the future life.
5. We deplore -- and those who judge of all things merely by the light and according to the standard of nature join with Us in deploring-that society is threatened with a serious danger in the growing contempt of those homely duties and virtues which make up the beauty of humble life. To this cause we may trace in the home, the readiness of children to withdraw themselves from the natural obligation of obedience to the parents, and their impatience of any form of treatment which is not of the indulgent and effeminate kind. In the workman, it evinces itself in a tendency to desert his trade, to shrink from toil, to become discontented with his lot, to fix his gaze on things that are above him, and to look forward with unthinking hopefulness to some future equalization of property. We may observe the same temper permeating the masses in the eagerness to exchange the life of the rural districts for the excitements and pleasures of the town. Thus the equilibrium between the classes of the community is being destroyed, everything becomes unsettled, men's minds become a prey to jealousy and heart-burnings, rights are openly trampled under foot, and, finally, the people, betrayed in their expectations, attack public order, and place themselves in conflict with those who are charged to maintain it.
6. For evils such as these let us seek a remedy in the Rosary, which consists in a fixed order of prayer combined with devout meditation on the life of Christ and His Blessed Mother. Here, if the joyful mysteries be but clearly brought home to the minds of the people, an object lesson of the chief virtues is placed before their eyes. Each one will thus be able to see for himself how easy, how abundant, how sweetly attractive are the lessons to be found therein for the leading of an honest life. Let us take our stand in front of that earthly and divine home of holiness, the House of Nazareth. How much we have to learn from the daily life which was led within its walls! What an all-perfect model of domestic society! Here we behold simplicity and purity of conduct, perfect agreement and unbroken harmony, mutual respect and love -- not of the false and fleeting kind -- but that which finds both its life and its charm in devotedness of service. Here is the patient industry which provides what is required for food and raiment; which does so "in the sweat of the brow," which is contented with little, and which seeks rather to diminish the number of its wants than to multiply the sources of its wealth. Better than all, we find there that supreme peace of mind and gladness of soul which never fail to accompany the possession of a tranquil conscience. These are precious examples of goodness, of modesty, of humility, of hard-working endurance, of kindness to others, of diligence in the small duties of daily life, and of other virtues, and once they have made their influence felt they gradually take root in the soul, and in course of time fail not to bring about a happy change of mind and conduct. Then will each one begin to feel his work to be no longer lowly and irksome, but grateful and lightsome, and clothed with a certain joyousness by his sense of duty in discharging it conscientiously. Then will gentler manners everywhere prevail; home-life will be loved and esteemed, and the relations of man with man will be loved and esteemed, and the relations of man with man will be hallowed by a larger infusion of respect and charity. And if this betterment should go forth from the individual to the family and to the communities, and thence to the people at large so that human life should be lifted up to this standard, no one will fail to feel how great and lasting indeed would be the gain which would be achieved for society.
7. A second evil, one which is specially pernicious, and one which, owing to the increasing mischief which it works among souls, we can never sufficiently deplore, is to be found in repugnance to suffering and eagerness to escape whatever is hard or painful to endure. The greater number are thus robbed of that peace and freedom of mind which remains the reward of those who do what is right undismayed by the perils or troubles to be met with in doing so. Rather do they dream of a chimeric civilization in which all that is unpleasant shall be removed, and all that is pleasant shall be supplied. By this passionate and unbridled desire of living a life of pleasure, the minds of men are weakened, and if they do not entirely succumb, they become demoralized and miserably cower and sink under the hardships of the battle of life. (Pope Leo XIII, Laetitiae Sanctae, September 8, 1893.)
This can applied to all naturalists, whether of the false opposite of the "right" or "left," and to their chief standard-bearer in clerical clothing, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. We live in a world of naturalism, which is why it is so important during this joyful season of Christmas to pray the Joyful Mysreries.
May our devout meditation on the Joyful Mysteries of Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary help us to bring forth the joy of Chistmas Day to all whom it is within God's Providence for us meet as it us up to us to plant the seeds of the Holy Faith in the souls of the pagans of Modernity who have no knowledge that the true God of Divine Revelation loves them personally and seeks to lead them to Him through His Holy Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation and without which there can be no true social order.
We are now at the beginning of the Christmas Octave, although the Christmas season lasts until the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary on February 2, 2017. It is time for the effulgent radiance of the Newborn Christ-Child to show through us, and that can happen only if we beg His Most Blessed Mother to send us the graces that He has won for us during the Passion and Death for which He condescended to become one of us in all things but sin.
A Child is Born unto us!
A continued blessed Christmas to you all!
Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
481. The words which most holy Mary heard from the mouth of her most holy Son served to make Her understand at the same time the interior acts of his most holy soul united with the Divinity, so by imitating them She could become like unto Him. This was one of the greatest blessings which the most faithful and fortunate Mother received at the hands of her Son, true God and true man, not only because it was continued from that day on through all her life, but because it furnished Her the means of copying his own divine life as faithfully as was possible to a mere creature. At the same time the heavenly Lady perceived and felt the presence of the most holy Trinity, and She heard the voice of the eternal Father saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased and satisfied (Mt. 17:5). The most prudent Mother, entirely deified in the overflow of so many sacraments, answered: “Eternal Father and exalted God, Lord and Creator of the universe, give me anew thy permission and benediction to receive in my arms the Desired of nations (Ag. 2:8), and teach me to fulfill as thy unworthy Mother and lowly slave thy holy will.” Immediately She heard a voice which said: “Receive thy onlybegotten Son, imitate Him and raise Him; and remember, Thou must sacrifice Him when I shall demand it of Thee.” The divine Mother answered: “Behold the creature of thy hands, adorn me with thy grace so thy Son and my God may receive me for his slave; and if Thou shalt come to my aid with thy mighty power I shall be faithful in his service. And do not Thou count it as audacity in thy insignificant creature that she bear in her arms and nourish at her breast her own Lord and Creator.”
482. After this interchange of words, so full of mysteries, the divine Child suspended the miracle of his transfiguration, or rather He inaugurated the other miracle, that of suspending the effects of glory of his most holy body, confining them entirely to his soul, and He now assumed the appearance of one capable of suffering. In this form the most pure Mother now saw Him, and still remaining in a kneeling position and adoring Him with profound humility and reverence She received Him in her arms from the hands of the holy Angels. And when She saw Him in her arms, She spoke to Him and said: “My sweetest Love, light of my eyes and being of my soul, Thou hast arrived in good hour into this world as the Sun of justice (Mal. 4:2) in order to disperse the darkness of sin and death (Is. 9:2). True God of true God, save thy servants (Ps. 33:23), and may all flesh see Him who brings salvation (Is. 40:5; 52:10). Receive me thy servant as thy slave, and supply my deficiency so I may properly serve Thee. Make me, my Son, such as Thou dost desire me to be in thy service.” Then the most prudent Mother turned toward the eternal Father to offer up to Him his Onlybegotten, saying: “Exalted Creator of all the universe, here is the altar and the sacrifice acceptable in thine eyes (Mal. 3:4). From this hour on, O Lord, look upon the human race with mercy, and though we have deserved thy anger it is now time for Thee to be appeased in thy Son and mine. Let thy justice now come to rest, and let thy mercy be exalted, since for this reason the Word has clothed Himself in the semblance of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3) and become a Brother of mortals and sinners (Philip. 2:7). In this title I recognize them as brothers and intercede for them from my inmost soul. Thou, Lord, hast made me the Mother of thy Onlybegotten without my merit, since this dignity is above all merit of a creature; but I partly owe to men the occasion of this incomparable good fortune, since it is on their account that I am the Mother of the Word made man and Redeemer of them all. I will not deny them my love, my care, and my watchfulness for their salvation. Receive, eternal God, my desires and petitions for that which is according to thy pleasure and good will.”
483. The Mother of Mercy turned also toward all mortals and addressed them, saying: “Be consoled ye afflicted and rejoice ye disconsolate (Is. 61:1-3); be raised up ye fallen, come to rest ye uneasy (Mt. 11:29). Let the just be gladdened and the saints rejoiced (Ps. 95:11); let the heavenly spirits break out in new jubilee; let the Prophets and Patriarchs of limbo draw new hope (Is. 9:2); and let all generations praise and magnify the Lord (Ps. 71:17), who renews his wonders (Ecclus. 36:6). Come, come ye poor (Lk. 4:18), approach ye little ones without fear, for in my arms I bear the Lion made a lamb (Is. 16:1), the Almighty become weak, the Invincible subdued. Come to draw life, hasten to obtain salvation, and approach to gain eternal rest, since I have this for all, and it shall be given to you freely (Is. 55:1) and communicated to you without envy (Wis. 7:13). Do not be slow and heavy of heart, ye sons of men (Ps. 4:3); and Thou, O sweetest joy of my soul, give me permission to receive from Thee that kiss desired by all creatures (Cant. 1:1).” Therewith the Blessed Mother applied her most chaste and heavenly lips in order to receive the loving caresses of the divine Child, who on his part as her true Son had desired them from Her.
484. Holding Him in her arms She thus served as the altar and sanctuary where the ten thousand Angels adored in visible human forms their Creator incarnate. And as the most blessed Trinity assisted in a special manner at the birth of the Word, heaven was as it were emptied of its inhabitants, for the whole heavenly court had transported itself to that happy cave of Bethlehem and was adoring the Creator in his garb and habit of a pilgrim (Philip. 2:7). And in their concert of praise the holy Angels intoned the new canticle: Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis (Lk. 2:14). In sweetest and sonorous harmony they repeated it, transfixed in wonder at the new miracles then being fulfilled, and at the unspeakable prudence, grace, humility and beauty of that tender Maiden of fifteen years who had become the worthy Trustee and Minister of such vast and magnificent sacraments.
485. It was now time to call St. Joseph, the faithful spouse of the most discreet and attentive Lady. As I have said above (472) he was rapt in ecstasy in which he was informed by divine revelation of all the mysteries of the sacred Nativity during this night; yet it was proper for him to see and before all other mortals in his corporeal faculties and senses to be present and experience, adore and reverence the Word made flesh, for he of all others had been chosen to act as the faithful guardian of this great sacrament. At the desire of his heavenly Spouse he issued from his ecstasy, and upon being restored to consciousness the first sight of his eyes was the divine Child in the arms of the Virgin Mother, reclining against her sacred countenance and breast. There he adored Him in profoundest humility and in tears of joy. He kissed his feet in great joy and admiration, which no doubt would have taken away and destroyed life in him if divine power had not preserved it, and he certainly would have lost all use of his senses if the occasion had permitted. When St. Joseph had begun to adore the Child, the most prudent Mother asked leave of her Son to arise (for until then She had remained on her knees), and while St. Joseph handed Her the wrappings and swaddling clothes which She had brought She clothed Him with incomparable reverence, devotion and tenderness. Having thus swathed and clothed Him his Mother, with heavenly wisdom, laid Him in the crib as related by St. Luke (2:7). For this purpose She had arranged some straw and hay upon a stone in order to prepare for the Godman his first resting place upon earth next to that which He had found in her arms. According to divine ordainment an ox from the neighboring fields ran up in great haste, and entering the cave joined the beast of burden brought by the Queen. The Blessed Mother commanded them, with what show of reverence was possible to them, to acknowledge and adore their Creator. The humble animals obeyed their Mistress and prostrated themselves before the Child, warming Him with their breath and rendering Him the service refused by men. And thus the God made man was placed between two animals, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and wonderfully fulfilling the prophecy the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; but Israel hath not known me, and my people hath not understood (Is. 1:3).
INSTRUCTION OF THE QUEEN, MARY MOST HOLY
486. My daughter, if mortals would keep their hearts disengaged, and if they would rightly and worthily consider this great sacrament of the kindness of the Most High towards men, it would be a powerful means of conducting them in the pathway of life and subjecting them to the love of their Creator and Redeemer; for since men are capable of reasoning, if they would only make use of their freedom to treat this sacrament with the reverence due to its greatness, who would be so hardened as not to be moved to tenderness at the sight of their God become man, humiliated in poverty, despised, unknown, entering the world in a cave, lying in a manger among brute animals, with only the shelter of a poor Mother, and cast off by the foolish arrogance of the world? Who shall dare to love the vanity and pride which were openly abhorred and condemned by the Creator of heaven and earth in his conduct? Neither may creatures abhor the humility, poverty and indigence which the Lord loved and chose for Himself as the very means of teaching the way of eternal life. Few there are who stop to consider this truth and example, and because of this vile ingratitude few there are who shall reap the fruit of these great sacraments.
487. But if the condescension of my most holy Son was so great as to bestow so liberally upon thee his light and knowledge concerning these vast blessings, ponder well how much thou art bound to cooperate with this light. So thou mayest correspond to this obligation I remind and exhort thee to forget all that is of earth and lose it out of thy sight, and seek nothing or engage thyself with nothing except what can help thee to withdraw and detach thee from the world and its inhabitants, that with a heart freed from all terrestrial affection thou mayest dispose thyself to celebrate in it the mysteries of the poverty, humility and divine love of the incarnate God. Learn from my example the reverence, fear and respect with which thou must treat Him, remembering how I acted when I held Him in my arms. Follow my example whenever thou dost receive Him in thy heart in the venerable Sacrament of the Eucharist, wherein is contained the same true God and true man who was born of my womb. In this holy Sacrament thou dost receive and possess Him just as truly and He remains in thee just as actually as I possessed Him and conversed with Him, although in another manner.
488. I desire thee to go even to extremes in this holy reverence and fear, and I desire thee to take notice and be convinced that in entering into thy heart in the holy Sacrament thy God exhorts thee in the same words which thou hast recorded as spoken to me, become like unto Me. His coming down from heaven to earth, his being born in humility and poverty, his living and dying in it, giving such rare example of the contempt of the world and its deceits, and the knowledge which thou hast received of these works, having them pointed out to thee in lofty and exalted enlightenment and penetration, all these things must be for thee like living voices which thou must heed and inscribe into the interior of thy heart. These privileges have all been granted to thee in order for thee to discreetly use the common blessings to their fullest extent, understand how grateful thou must be to my most holy Son and Lord, and strive to make as great a return for his goodness as if He had come from heaven to redeem thee alone, and had instituted all his wonders and doctrines in his holy Church for no one else than thee (Gal. 2:20). (New English Edition of the The Mystical City of God, The Book Four: The Incarnation, Chapter Ten.)
The New English Edition of The Mystical City of God Book Four: The Incarnation, Chapter Ten:
472. After their supper they gave thanks to the Lord as was their custom. Having spent a short time in this prayer and conferring about the mysteries of the incarnate Word, the most prudent Virgin felt the approach of the most blessed birth. She requested her spouse St. Joseph to rest and sleep since the night was already far advanced. The man of God yielded to the request of his Spouse and urged Her to do the same, and for this purpose he arranged and a sort of couch with the articles of wear in their possession, making use of a crib or manger which had been left by the shepherds for their animals. Leaving most holy Mary in the portion of the cave thus furnished, St. Joseph retired to a corner of the entrance, where he began to pray. He was immediately visited by the divine Spirit and felt a most sweet and extraordinary influence by which he was rapt and elevated into an ecstasy. In it was shown to him all that passed during that night in this blessed cave, for he did not return to consciousness until his heavenly Spouse called him. Such was the sleep which St. Joseph enjoyed that night, more exalted and blissful than that of Adam in paradise (Gen. 2:21).
473. The Queen of all creatures was called from her resting place by a loud voice of the Most High, which strongly and sweetly raised Her above all created things and caused Her to feel new effects of divine power, for this was one of the most singular and admirable ecstasies of her most holy life. She was also immediately filled with new enlightenment and divine influences, such as I have described in other places, until She reached the clear vision of the Divinity. The veil fell and She saw intuitively the Divinity himself in such glory and plenitude of insight as all the capacity of men and angels could never describe or fully understand. All the knowledge of the Divinity and humanity of her most holy Son which She had ever received in former visions was renewed, and moreover other secrets of the inexhaustible archives of the bosom of God were revealed to Her. I have not ideas or words sufficient and adequate for expressing what I have been allowed to see of these sacraments by the divine light, and their abundance and multiplicity convince me of the poverty and lack of proper expression in created language.
474. The Most High announced to his Virgin Mother that the time of his coming into the world had arrived, and what would be the manner in which this was now to be fulfilled and executed. The most prudent Lady perceived in this vision the purpose and exalted scope of these wonderful mysteries and sacraments insofar as they related to the Lord himself, as well as how they concerned creatures, for whose benefit they had been primarily decreed. She prostrated Herself before the royal throne of the Divinity and gave Him glory, magnificence, thanksgiving and praise for Herself and for all creatures