Thought of the day
Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight

Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787), Bishop and Doctor of the Church Address for the ninth day of Christmas, no. 10

The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight

Commentary of the day 

Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787), Bishop and Doctor of the Church Address for the ninth day of Christmas, no. 10

"I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people"

“I proclaim to you news of great joy.” These were the angel's words to the shepherds of Bethlehem. I will repeat them to you today, my faithful friends: I am bringing you news that should give you great joy. For poor exiles, condemned to death, could there be happier news than that of their Savior's appearing, who came not just to deliver them from death but to win for them their return to their homeland? Yet this is precisely what I am proclaiming to you: “A Savior is born to you”... 

      When a king first makes his entry into one of the towns in his kingdom, the greatest honors are showered on him: what decorations! what triumphal arches! Make yourself ready, then, to receive your King worthily, O happy Bethlehem... Know, the prophet says to you, that of all the cities of the earth you are the most favored, for the heavenly King has chosen you as his birthplace here below that he may later reign, not only over Judah, but over men's hearts everwhere... What will the angels have said on seeing the Mother of God enter a cave to give birth to the King of kings! Princely infants come into the world in bedchambers glittering with gold. They are surrounded by the highest dignitaries in the kingdom. But the King of heaven wished to be born in a cold, unheated stable; for covering he had only poor sheepskin; to rest his limbs only a wretched manger with a little straw... 

      Ah! simply to think of the birth of Jesus Christ and the circumstances that accompanied it should enflame us with love. And for us, the mere words 'cave', 'manger', 'straw', 'milk', 'cry', representing the Child of Bethlehem before our eyes as they do, should be so many burning arrows wounding all our hearts with love. O blessed cave, manger, straw! But even more blessed still those souls who fervently and tenderly cherish this loveworthy Lord and who, enflamed with burning charity, receive him in holy communion. With what alacrity and joy does Jesus come to rest in the soul who truly loves him!