Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) – Christmas! Mass During the Day – John 1:1–18
The Birth of Jesus
“Consider that the birth of Jesus Christ, caused universal joy in the whole world. Jesus was the Redeemer who had been desired and awaited for so many years. He was called ‘the desire of the nations’ and ‘the desire of the eternal hills.’ Today, we behold Him, born in a little cave! Let us consider, that this day, the angel also announces to us the same great joy announced to the shepherds. “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, for a saviour has been born.”
What great rejoicing there is in a country when the firstborn son of a king is born. But surely, there should be even greater rejoicing when we see the Son of God born! We were lost and he came to save us. He is the shepherd who has come to save His sheep from death. He is the lamb of God, who has come to sacrifice Himself, to become our deliverer, our life, or light and even our food in the Most Holy Sacrament.
Saint Maximus says that for this reason, among many others, Jesus chose to be laid in the manger, where the animals are fed, to make us understand that He has become human and also our food. “In the manger, where the food of animals is placed, He allowed Himself to be laid, demonstrating that His own body would be the eternal food of humankind.”
Besides this, He is born every day in the Sacrament of the Altar, the Altar is the crib and we go to the Altar to be fed and nourished. Some might desire to hold the Infant Jesus in their arms as the prophet Simeon did but faith teaches us, that when we receive Holy Communion, we too, hold the same Jesus, who was in the manger in Bethlehem, not in our arms alone but in our hearts.
My beloved Jesus, if I do not love You, who are my Lord and God, whom shall I love?”
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
full of grace and truth;
we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
Almighty God, Your incarnate Word fills us with the new light He brought to men. Let the light of faith in our hearts shine through all the ages, to bring Your light to all nations. Come, come, let us adore our Holy Babe of Bethlehem, through whom we pray, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever amen.
“Let us, at this season, approach Him with awe and love, in whom resides all perfection and from whom we are allowed to gain it. Let us come to the Sanctifier to be sanctified….
May each Christmas, as it comes, find us more and more like Him, who as at this time became a little child for our sake, more simple-minded, more humble, more holy, more affectionate, more resigned, more happy, more full of God.”…Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)