Sunday, December 24, 2006

The coming of the Lord

Wisdom 18:14-15. For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, Thy Almighty word leaped down from heaven from thy royal throne, as a fierce conqueror into the midst of the land of destruction

Let us consider the Nativity; here is the "Shepherd's Cave" in Bethlehem. It was in such a place that our Lord was born. A rough cave, a cleft in the limestone rock, where shepherds and their flocks found shelter. When one thinks of cracks in the rock, one thinks of Christ, The Rock. Moses asked to see God's face, and God said he could not, but He would allow Moses to see Him as He passed, from the cleft in the Rock.

Ezechiel spoke of hearts to; he prophesied that the Lord God would take away our stoney hearts, and give us hearts of flesh.

What does one find in a stoney heart? blackened by the fires of illicit passions, the source of a multitude of sins? Without grace, are not our passions like wild animals, subject to no law but their own?

And yet, Christ deigns to come to us. He comes to the cave of our heart to subdue all that is not true. He comes to a blackened cave that that which is wild will be subdued.

For, if there He finds "men of good will," He brings the blessing of peace.

Come, let us adore Him!
Te Deum

We praise You, O God; *
we acclaim You Lord and Master.
Everlasting Father, *
all the world bows down before You.
All the angels sing Your praise *
the hosts of heaven and all the angelic powers;
All the cherubim and seraphim *
call out to You in unending chorus:
Holy, Holy, Holy *
is the Lord God of angel hosts!
The heavens and the earth are filled, Lord, *
with Your majesty and glory.
Your praises are sung *
by the renowned apostles;
By all the prophets *
who themselves deserve our praise;
By that mighty white-robed army *
who shed their blood for Christ.
And to the ends of the earth, *
the holy Church proclaims her faith in You:
Father, *
whose majesty is boundless;
Your only Son, *
who is true God, and who it to be adored;
The Holy Ghost, *
sent to be our Advocate.
O Christ, the King of glory! *
You alone are the Father's eternal Son.
When You were to become man so as to save mankind, *
You did not shrink back from the chaste Virgin's womb.
When You triumphantly destroyed death's sting,
You opened up to believers the kingdom of heaven.
You are now enthroned at God's right hand, *
in the Father's glory.
We believe *
that You will come for judgement.

V. We therefore implore You to grant Your servants grace and aid, *
R. for you shed Your precious blood for their redemption.
V. Admit them all to the ranks of Your saints *
R. in everlasting glory.
V. Be the Savior of Your faithful people, Lord; *
R. grant them Your blessing, for they belong to You.
V. Be their Shepherd, Lord, *
R. uphold and exalt them forever and ever.
V. Day by day we praise You, *
R. daily we acclaim You.
V. We will confess and glorify Your holy Name, *
R. now and for all eternity.
V. In Your great mercy, Lord, throughout this day *
R. keep us free from sin by Your protection.
V. Have mercy on us, we humbly pray; *
R. Lord, have mercy on us.
V. May Your mercy, Lord, Your loving-kindness, always remain with us; *
R. for we have placed our confidence in You.
V. In you alone, Lord, I have hoped; *
R. may I not be disappointed.

(from A Short Breviary, The Liturgical Press, 1962)

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