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The Christmas Season: Celebrating The “Birthday of Life”

January 5, 2015 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

The Church celebrates the birth of Christ every December 25, but continues thereafter to extend the joy in the period of time known as the Christmas Season.

The Breviarium Romanum is a treasury of Scripture and Tradition, used primarily by priests and religious from the Pope all the way down to the newest postulant or seminarian, in order to pray together daily as one Church, the Body of Christ, in obedience to her Lord who commanded “Pray always.” The day is divided according to Scripture and tradition in seven parts. The readings by the fathers and doctors included in Matins are especially propitious for meditation, preaching, and teaching.

On Christmas Day the readings from St. Leo the Great are truly beautiful and inspiring. I share a portion of that here in order to aid your own celebration of the Christmas Season.

“Dearly beloved brethren, Unto us is born this day a Saviour, (Luke 2:11). Let us rejoice.

“It would be unlawful to be sad to-day, for today is Life’s Birthday; the Birthday of that Life, Which, for us dying creatures, taketh away the sting of death, and bringeth the bright promise of the eternal gladness hereafter.

“It would be unlawful for any man to refuse to partake in our rejoicing. All men have an equal share in the great cause of our joy, for, since our Lord, Who is the destroyer of sin and of death, findeth that all are bound under the condemnation, He is come to make all free.

“Rejoice, O thou that art holy, thou drawest nearer to thy crown! Rejoice, O thou that art sinful, thy Saviour offereth thee pardon! Rejoice also, O thou Gentile, God calleth thee to life! For the Son of God, when the fulness of the time was come, which had been fixed by the unsearchable counsel of God, took upon Him the nature of man, that He might reconcile that nature to Him Who made it, and so the Devil, the inventor of death, is met and beaten in that very flesh which hath been the field of his victory.

“Which had been the very field of his victory.” Our God is a marvel to us in these days as we contemplate His work for He assures the victory for Himself and us. In the battle for life eternal He meets the Devil on the battlefield of the flesh which, in man and woman, is joined to that of soul and spirit. Christ the Lord is born for us in our human nature without any loss of that which also makes Him God. Let us marvel at this feat of our Creator who thus becomes the Author of the New Creation.

The defeat through disobedience of Adam and Eve is answered in the will and plan of God by the perfect obedience of the new Eve, our blessed Lady the Virgin Mary, whose body becomes under the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit the Ark of the New Covenant.

“When our Lord entered the field of battle against the Devil, He did so with a great and wonderful fairness. Being Himself the Almighty, He laid aside His uncreated Majesty to fight with our cruel enemy in our weak flesh. He brought against him the very shape, the very nature of our mortality, yet without sin. (Heb. iv. 15).

“His birth however was not a birth like other births for no other is born pure, nay, not the little child whose life endureth but a day on the earth. To His birth alone the throes of human passion had not contributed, in His alone no consequence of sin had had -part. For His Mother was chosen a Virgin of the kingly lineage of David, and when she was to grow heavy with the sacred Child, her soul had already conceived Him before her body. She knew the counsel of God announced to her by the Angel, lest the unwonted events should alarm her.

“The future Mother of God knew what was to be wrought in her by the Holy Ghost, and that her modesty was absolutely safe.”

I offer here also a prayer I wrote for Christmas:

“Happy birthday, Jesus.
“Never let our hearts become cold and empty without Your love. Never let our desire to be near you ever die.
“Give us the zeal to persevere in authentic love, seeking to be with you not only today but every Sunday as you make all of our churches another Bethlehem, “the house of bread,” through your real and abiding presence in the Holy Eucharist.
“Amen.”

Best wishes for a New Year 2015 blessed with an increase of faith, hope and love to all of our subscribers. Thank you for being with us throughout 2014.

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(Follow Father Cusick on Facebook at Reverendo Padre-Kevin Michael Cusick and on Twitter @MCITLFrAphorism. He blogs occasionally at ApriestLife.blogspot.com and mcitl.blogspot.com. You can email him at mcitl.blogspot.com@gmail.com.

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