Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Christmas Season

"The Adoration of the Shepherds"
Gerrit van Honthorst (1622)

We are in the very last preparations for Christmas. The secularists have been preparing for this "holiday" for a couple of months now. They see it in terms of dollars and cents. That's why the Christmas season is over for them in a few days. For us who commemorated the real reason for Christmas, the season will begin with Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. There was a time when the Christmas tree was decorated after dinner on Christmas Eve? Then, it was not taken down before January 6 which, at that time, was the Feast of the Epiphany (Three Kings). This is the spirit of Christmas; we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God in our midst. Hence, we have the twelve days of Christmas.

Hopefully, we don't want to celebrate Christmas as if it were about money, presents and parties. It's about Christ. Because of Him, we have potential for true love, true peace and true joy. This is something for which to be happy.

The best way to celebrate is to pray the perfect prayer which is the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Then, we can continue this by going to Mass each day of the Christmas season. In our current liturgical calendar, this season lasts from Christmas day until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord which this time (2011) is on Sunday Jan. 9. So, instead of twelve days, we will have sixteen days of prayerful celebration.

May each of us at this time be fully open to Jesus. Let Him come into your heart. Know his Love. I now conclude with the words of Pope Benedict VI spoke a few years ago:

To enter into communion with Christ and contemplate his face, to recognize the Lord's face in that of brothers and in everyday affairs, 'innocent hands and pure hearts' are necessary. Innocent hands, that is, lives illuminated by the truth of love that overcomes indifference, doubt, falsehood and egoism; and, in addition, pure hearts are necessary, hearts ravished by divine beauty, as little Thérèse de Lisieux says in her prayer to the Holy Face, hearts that bear the imprint of the face of Christ. This is the experience of the true friends of God, the saints, who recognized and loved in their brothers, especially in the poorest and neediest, the face of that God long-contemplated with love in prayer. They are for us encouraging examples to imitate; they assure us that if we journey with faithfulness in this life, on the way of love, we also -- as the psalmist sings -- will be filled with the presence of God

The Holy Father said that one must allow oneself to be transformed "by the radiance of his Face."

I, Fr. Joseph, and Monsignor Hubba wish you a most happy Christmas, filled with the Love of Christ, our Lord.

Father Stanley