Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

(Artist: Simon Dewey; His Name Shall be Called Wonderful, 2001)

To you, my readers, a very merry and blessed Christmas!

This post has been updated - scroll down, if you visited previously.

I have changed the header and background for the season and am using a 2008 Christmas photo. I hope to update the header with a current photo once I have one. Since I am in the choir, I often cannot photograph Midnight Mass, but sometimes manage to get a few photos from the risers and during the homily. Stay tuned.

Here is one of many compositions for O Magnum Mysterium, this one by Giovanni Gabrieli.  This one has lyrics in Latin with English following underneath.  Beautiful words and beautiful polyphony.

Play also versions by Victoria  and this one by Palestrina (probably my favorite, but I wanted you to see the translation of lyrics in the video first).

Here is the second reading in the Office of Readings today.

From a sermon by Saint Leo the Great, pope
Dearly beloved, today our Savior is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.

No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing. Our Lord, victor over sin and death, finding no man free from sin, came to free us all. Let the saint rejoice as he sees the palm of victory at hand. Let the sinner be glad as he receives the offer of forgiveness. Let the pagan take courage as he is summoned to life.

In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of God’s wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind.

And so at the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to his people on earth as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvellous work of God’s goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men?

Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because in his great love for us he took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins he brought us to life with Christ, so that in him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off our old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh.

Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom.

Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ.

Update 1: The homily of Pope Benedict XVI is now available from the Christmas Eve Mass he celebrated in Rome.

Update 2: Urbi et Orbi in Video (untranslated, but offered for the awesome sites and sounds). I'll bring the translated text to you later. Look for a link here.

Update 3: Archbishop Vigneron's Christmas Message

Here is an excerpt:

The point: God, by the sovereign power of his love, filled the “emptiest” of times to the full. He made it “the fullness of time.” He transformed what seemed, until the very moment before the Angel appeared, to be a day of unremitting gloom into the dawn of a new age, the final age, the age of the triumph of life over death, of good over evil, of love over sin and selfishness.

And, God turned everything upside down by taking what looked totally impotent and filling it with power. He took the sterility of a virgin and made it fruitful beyond measure: Mary, who “did not know man,” gave birth to the founder of new human race. He who is God from God, begotten of the Father from before time, took on our flesh and filled his human nature with divine life. The omnipotent Son of God took to himself the weakness of a new-born infant and made that impotence powerful beyond measure, invincibly powerful to save us. That is how God make the empty time into the fullness of time. This is the good news; indeed, the very best news.

Parting shot...

"Kissing the Face of God"
by Morgan Weistling

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
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