24 December 2016

Christmas Eve Morning

Jer. 29:11, 12, 14

Said the Lord: "I think thoughts of peace and not of affliction. You shall call upon Me and I will hear you, and I will bring you back from captivity from all places."


Since the moment I read the passage above on the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost earlier this year, I have drawn great comfort and joy from it. From that day to today, so many things that have happened in the world and the Church that confirm the trust and joy we must have in God and His plan. 

He thinks thoughts of peace and not of affliction. 

We shall call upon Him and He will hear us.

He will bring back us back from all our captivity.

Of course, we deserve punishment for our sins and those of the world. Of course, if we were hit with the chastisement Our Lady forewarned us of at Fatima, Akita and other places, we would have no cause for complaint.  But get this: there is a reason He sent His Mother to us. There is a reason He was born in Bethlehem.

He thinks thoughts of peace and not of affliction.

Our prayers always are heard by God, and lately it seems that on some of the larger issues in the Church and world the answers are positive: In the one field, Brexit, Trump, and other votes in Europe finally bring a defense against the centrally planned globalist regime of slavery. In the other, the dubia of the Four brave Cardinals have roused the faithful from despair, paralysis and lethargy. We have identified a way to witness for Christ in the saddest of circumstances.

We have called upon Him and He has heard us.

And of course, more important for each of us than our external freedom, our lives, even the visible structure of the Church, is freedom from sin. The times, being evil, are making us wake up. The sifting of souls in response to the truth is what Christ said it was: a sword. It divides. We are for Christ or against Him. We must remain faithful. He will come quickly to save us.

He will bring back us back from all our captivity.

So, be joyful. Be thankful. Our Lord is nigh! Come, let us adore Him! And what better way than to meditate upon the martyrology from today's Prime, which as usual anticipates the martyrology of the succeeding day. Thus, today, we read these wonderful words:

In the year, from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created Heaven and Earth, five, thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine; from the flood, two thousand, nine hundred and fifty-seven; from the birth of Abraham, two thousand and fifteen;  from Moses and the coming of the Israelites out of Egypt, one thousand, five hundred and ten; from the anointing of King David, one thousand and thirty-two; in the sixty-fifth week, according to the prophecy of Daniel; in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad; in the year seven hundred and fifty-two from the founding of the city of Rome; in the forty-second year of the empire of Octavian Augustus, when the whole earth was at peace, in the sixth age of the world, Jesus Christ, eternal God, and Son of the eternal Father, desirous to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months having elapsed since his conception, is born in Bethlehem of Juda, having become man of the Virgin Mary. 

The same day, the birthday of St. Anastasia, who, in the time of Diocletian, first suffered a severe and harsh imprisonment on the part of her husband Publius, in which, however, she was much consoled and encouraged by the confessor of Christ, Chrysogonus. Afterwards she was thrown into prison again by order of Florus, prefect of Illyria; and finally, having her hands and feet stretched out, she was tied to stakes, with a fire kindled about her, in the midst of which she ended her martyrdom in the island of Palmarola, whither she had been conveyed with two hundred men and seventy women, who have made martyrdom a glorious thing by the various kinds of death they so courageously endured. 

At Rome, in the cemetery of Apronian, St. Eugenia, virgin. In the time of the emperor Gallienus, after working many miracles and gathering to Christ troops of sacred virgins, and after long combats under Nicetius, prefect of the city, she was finally put to the sword. 

At Nicomedia, many thousand martyrs, who had assembled for divine service on our Lord's Nativity, when the emperor Diocletian, ordering the doors of the Church to be closed, and fire to be kindled here and there, as also a vessel with incense to be put before the entrance, and a man to cry out that those who wished to escape from the conflagration should come out and burn incense to Jupiter, all with one voice answered that they preferred to die for Christ. They were consumed in the fire, and thus merited to be born in Heaven on the day on which Christ vouchsafed to be born on Earth for the salvation of the world. 

At Barcelona, in Spain, the birthday of St. Peter Nolasco, confessor, and founder of the Order of Mercedarians, renowned for virtue and miracles. His feast is celebrated on the 31st of January, by order of Alexander VII.

And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

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