As we end the calendar year, here within the Octave of Christmas and on the Feast of Pope St. Sylvester I (of whom I can never think without recalling Benson's Lord of the World), ready to usher in the New Year tomorrow on the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord, I thought I would put out a few lines. As Chesterton wrote so beautifully, the older I get the more I realize the gold that God has dropped within my daily reach.
1. I pray that all my readers are having a blessed and holy Christmas; I thank you for the many well-wishes and words of encouragement you have sent during the year. I thank those whom I annoy for sending me the many amusing comments that usually lift my spirits--and only occasionally dampen them-- as well.
2. The end of the year is a traditional time of thanksgiving for the blessings of a loving, almighty God. So for myself, I thank Him most of all for His Being, His Love, and all that He does for us. It is pretty nice of Him to keep the world and all of us in existence, and He sent His only Son to suffer, die and rise to save us from sin. I thank God for His Holy Catholic Church, which is the means of the salvation of man. I am grateful for His Mother, and I thank her as well for all she does to assist me as I try to work out my salvation in fear and trembling. I renew my consecration of myself, my family, my work and all that I do to her. Mother, do with me as you will.
I thank God for the embarrassing bounty of spiritual and material blessings He gives me. My sainted wife (far better than I could deserve), my beautiful children, the means to earn a living to support them, good friends, family and everything else. Our family has grown by one this year-- the sweetest little girl you ever did see. And all of my children had their special triumphs and tragedies, and "advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men."
I also thank him for the efforts of Cardinal Burke in particular, and of the other brave and faithful bishops, priests and laymen who so well resisted the attack on the family at this year's Synod, and pray that a similarly successful effort may be maintained in the coming year.
And I thank Him for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. I credit the Institute with being the oasis of the faith in my life. All of the canons, oblates, sisters, seminarians, candidates and lay members are in my daily prayers, and I am aware of what their spiritual efforts mean to me and mine.
3. Yes, there is much for which to be thankful. But it is well to remember our sinfulness and to beg earnestly for mercy. This recent post by Msgr. Charles Pope is a healthy reflection for today as well.
4. St. Francis de Sales Oratory will again be singing a solemn Te Deum in thanksgiving for the past year today at 5 pm. The faithful who attend may receive a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions of detachment from sin, sacramental confession, Holy Communion, and prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father.
Te Deum laudamus:
te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem
omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli;
tibi caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim
incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra
maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum
sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem,
non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo,
aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
(kneeling)Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni:
quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum,
Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
Per singulos dies benedicimus te;
Et laudamus Nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua,
Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi:
non confundar in aeternum.
(Translation, because it's Christmas:)
We praise thee, O God :
we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee :
the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud :
the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubin and Seraphin :
continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy :
Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty :
of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles : praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets : praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs : praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world :
doth acknowledge thee;
The Father : of an infinite Majesty;
Thine honourable, true : and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost : the Comforter.
Thou art the King of Glory : O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son : of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man :
thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death :
thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God : in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come : to be our Judge.
(kneeling) We therefore pray thee, help thy servants :
whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints : in glory everlasting.
O Lord, save thy people :
and bless thine heritage.
Govern them : and lift them up for ever.
Day by day : we magnify thee;
And we worship thy Name : ever world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord : to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us : have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us :
as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted :
let me never be confounded.
Merry Christmas again, and a very happy and blessed New Year!