Let us celebrate with love and fervor
the Birth of the Savior!
The Christmas Mass
The Lord hath said unto Me: Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee.
Psalm. Why have the nations raged, and the people devised vain things? Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost and to the Mother of God. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.
The Angelic Hymn is preceded by the Kyrie eleison; but these nine supplications for mercy over, it bursts forth with those sublime words: Gloria in excelsis Deo; et in terra pax hominibus bone voluntatis! Let us unite, heart and voice, in this the chant of the Angels: Glory be to God! Peace be to men! These our heavenly Brethren first intoned it, and they are, at this moment, round our Altar, as they were round the Crib; they are singing our happiness. They are adoring that divine Justice, which gave not a Redeemer to their fallen fellow-angels, yet, to us gives the very Son of God to be our Redeemer. They are magnifying that deep humiliation of Him, who made both Angels and men, and who so lovingly favours the weaker of the two. They know that our gratitude needs help, and so they lend us their sweet voices to give thanks to Him, who, by this mystery of love and magnificence, is enabling us poor mortals to one day fill up the thrones left vacant by the rebel Spirits. Oh! yes; let us all, men and Angels, Church of earth and Church of heaven, let us sing: Glory be to God! and Peace to men! The more the Son of the Eternal Father has had to humble Himself in order to enrich and exalt us, the more fervently must we cry out our warmest praise, and hymn this Mystery of the Incarnation: Tu solus Sanctus! Tu solus Dominus! Tu solus altissimus, Jesu Christe! – Thou only, O Jesus! art Holy! Thou only art Lord! Thou only art Most High!
Let us Pray.
O God, who hast enlightened this most sacred Night by the brightness of Him, who is the true Light: grant, we beseech Thee, that we who have known the mysteries of this Light on earth, may likewise come to the enjoyment of it in heaven.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to Titus, chap. II
Dearly beloved, the grace of God, our Saviour, hath appeared to all men, instructing us, that denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly, and justly, and godly, in this world; looking for the blessed hope, and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to Himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works. These things speak, and exhort, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Reflexion on the Epistle
This God our Saviour has at length appeared! and with such grace and mercy! He alone could deliver us from dead works, and restore us to life. At this very hour, He appeareth to all men, laid in His narrow Crib, and fastly wrapped, as a Babe, in swaddling-clothes. Yea, here have we the Blessed One, whose visit we had so long hoped for! Let us purify our hearts, that He may be pleased with us; for though He is the Infant Jesus, He is, also, as the Apostle has just told us, the Great God, and the Son of the Eternal Father, born from all eternity. Let us unite with the Angels and the Church in this hymn to our Great God, Jesus of Bethlehem.
With Thee is the principality in the day of Thy strength; in the brightness of the Saints: from the womb, before the Day-star, I begot Thee. The Lord said to my Lord: Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies my footstool. Alleluia, Alleluia. The Lord hath said to Me: Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. Alleluia.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Saint Luke, chap. II
At that time, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. And Joseph, also, went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass, that when they were there, Her days were accomplished that She should be delivered. And She brought forth Her firstborn Son, and wrapt Him up in swaddling-clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night-watches over their flock. And behold an Angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them, and they feared with a great fear. And the Angel said to them: Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: for, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you: You shall find the Infant wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest; and on earth, peace to men of good will.
Reflexion on the Gospel
O Divine Infant! we, too, must needs join our voices with those of the Angels, and sing with them: Glory be to God! and Peace to men! We cannot restrain our tears at hearing this history of Thy Birth. We have followed Thee in Thy journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem; we have kept close to Mary and Joseph on the whole journey; we have kept sleepless watch during this holy Night, waiting thy coming. Praise be to Thee, sweetest Jesus, for Thy mercy! and love from all hearts, for Thy tender love of us! Our eyes are riveted on that dear Crib, for our Salvation is there; and there we recognise Thee as the Messias foretold in those sublime Prophecies, which Thy Spouse the Church has been repeating to us, in her solemn prayers of this Night. Thou art the Mighty God – the Prince of Peace – the Spouse of our souls – our Peace – our Saviour – our Bread of Life. And now, what shall we offer Thee? A good Will? Ah! dear Lord! Thou must form it within us; Thou must increase it, if Thou hast already given it; that thus, we may become Thy Brethren by grace, as we already are by the human nature Thou hast assumed. But, O Incarnate Word! this Mystery of Thy becoming Man, works within us a still higher grace: – it makes us, as Thy Apostle tells us, partakers of that divine nature, which is inseparable with Thee in the midst of all Thy humiliations. Thou hast made us less than the Angels, in the scale of creation; but, in Thy Incarnation, Thou hast made us Heirs of God, and Joint-Heirs with Thine own divine Self! Never permit us, through our own weaknesses and sins, to degenerate from this wonderful gift, whereby Thy Incarnation exalted us, and oh! dear Jesus, to what a height!
Receive, O Lord, the offerings we make to Thee, on this present solemnity: that by Thy grace, through the course of these sacred mysteries, we may be conformable to Him, in whom our nature is united to Thine.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord our God, that we, who celebrate with joy the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, by partaking several times of these sacred mysteries, may, by a worthy conduct of life, come to be united with Him.