Posted by: fvbcdm | December 15, 2012

Feast of Saint John of the Cross (14 Dec 2012)

 It is Friday, December 14, as I write and record this message. This Sunday will be Gaudete Sunday, the mid-point in the season of Advent, and nine days before Christmas. I’d like to ask you to try to withdraw a little from all the activity and the bu sy-ness of the Christmas season, and remind yourself very simply and soberly that what we are SUPPOSED to be doing at this time of year is preparing to celebrate in a truly Christian, Catholic manner the great Christian festival of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

That doesn’t require any shopping, any gift-wrapping, any gift-giving, any writing of cards or letter or making phone calls. It doesn’t require any decoration of the house or the yard or anything else. It doesn’t require any big meals, or inviting anyone to your house or accepting the invitations to other people’s houses for meals or parties or any other social events.

What it requires is some quiet time to think and to pray, and the best way we can pray is by attending Mass and receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion. These Advent Masses are beautiful in terms of their prayers and readings and spirit, and there is no better way to put ourselves into the REAL spirit of Christmas than by making use of them. If we need to receive the Sacrament of Penance, then that, too, is extremely appropriate at this season of the year.

Now, if you want to celebrate the birth of our Lord with all the shopping, wrapping, writing, inviting, going to meals and parties, etc., etc., I would suggest that you do so judiciously and not try to do it all. If you do, you’ll be exhausted by all the activity, and I promise you, you will not enjoy Christmas as you should and will not celebrate it according to the will of God or the mind of the Church and our sacred liturgy. How many times have I heard people complain about all they HAVE TO DO for Christmas! How foolish! The only thing we HAVE TO DO is attend Mass on Christmas or its eve. The rest is of our own making, and we sometimes create monsters and then heave sighs of relief when they are ended.

I remember years ago, I decided to stop Christmas shopping and giving of gifts. It was entirely too much hassle. So I let it be known that I would no longer give gifts and of course, didn’t expect any. Later on, I stopped sending Christmas cards, and instead I sent out a mimeographed newsletter in October when people had more time to read things like that and then to respond, if they wished, immediately or at Christmas. It worked out fine; now, I do most of that on this computer, very simply and easily. And Christmas is SO MUCH less hectic now and more what we would all like it to be, I believe.

So, as we prepare for the birth of our Savior, let us notice the circumstances in which he was born. He made the world and allows men and women to come up with all the pomp and ceremony and flashy department stores and exciting electronic toys and fancy clothes and fancier cars. And he was born in a stable and laid in a manger—a trough for feeding livestock—because there was no room in the inn. If he can come in that kind of simplicity, we don’t have to make of the anniversary of that very simple birth the complicated and difficult event that it often becomes. Let’s pay much more attention to the Child in the manger and much less attention and effort on all the materialism and consumerism with which we surround the celebration of his very poor, quiet, simple birth. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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