"Behold the Lord the Ruler is come:
and the Kingdom is in His hand, and power, and dominion."
- Introit: Mass of Epiphany
The Christmas season comes to its liturgical culmination (and is the continuation of that mystery) with today's feast of the Epiphany of our Lord. In the word's of Dom Prosper Gueranger:
"The Epiphany is indeed a great Feast, and the joy caused us by the Birth of our Jesus must be renewed on it, for, as though it were a second Christmas Day, it shows us our Incarnate God in a new light. It leaves us all the sweetness of the dear Babe of Bethlehem, who hath appeared to us already in love; but to this it adds its own grand manifestation of the divinity of our Jesus. At Christmas, it was a few Shepherds that were invited by the Angels to go and recognise The Word made Flesh, but now, at the Epiphany, the voice of God Himself calls the whole world to adore this Jesus, and hear Him."
"All they from Saba shall come bringing gold and frankincense
and showing forth praise to the Lord."
Isaiah 60: 6, 1
Today we celebrate a feast of great Splendor: the Epiphany, or manifestation, of Christ to the Gentiles, "the festival of the eternal Word, clothed in the flesh, revealing Himself to mankind," (Roman Missal). As the Sacred texts are always applicable to our life today, it is not just to the Gentiles in that time that Christ manifested His divinity; He does so even now.
"The Church presents to us the 'first fruits' of these 'true Christians,' those who by their works, and even by their death, having sung the glory of the Redeemer. We see them in the retinue of the divine Child, like angels on earth, who unite their hymn to that of the angels in heaven."
Dominus dixit ad me:
Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te.
The Lord hath said to me: Thou art My Son, this day I have begotten Thee.
- Introit: Mass for Christmas Day (midnight)
“Arise … Mary invites all, rich and poor, just and sinners to enter the cave of Bethlehem, to adore and to kiss the feet of her new-born Son. Go in, then … go and see the Creator of heaven and earth on a little hay, under the form of a little Infant; but so beautiful that He sheds all around rays of lights. Now that He is born and is lying on the straw, the cave is no longer horrible, but is become a paradise. Let us enter, let us not be afraid …
‘Lord, I should not have dared to approach Thee, seeing myself so deformed by my sins, but since Thou, my Jesus, dost invite me so courteously, and dost call me so lovingly, I will not refused. After having so many times turned my back upon Thee, I will not add this fresh insult, namely, that of refusing this affectionate, this loving invitation, out of distrust.’ Say to Him: ‘Thou must know that I am poor, and that I have nothing to give Thee. I have nothing but this heart; this I now offer to Thee ….
I am a sinner, it is true, and I do not deserve to be pardoned; but I come before Thee, Who, being God, hast become a little Child to obtain pardon for me. Eternal Father, if I merit hell, look at the tears of Thy innocent Son; they invoke Thy pardon on my behalf. Thou dost deny nothing to the prayers of Thy Son …
“Most holy Mary, thou art the Mother of this great Son, but who art also my Mother, it is to thee that I consecrate my poor heart; present it to Jesus; and He will not refuse to receive it, when presented by thee. Do thou then, present it, and beg Him to accept it.”
Exhortation read during the Kissing of the Feet of the Holy Infant on Christmas
- adapted from St. Alphonsus Ligouri
May the joy of Our Lady be yours on this most blessed day, when Our Savior came into the world, and your hearts rejoice with the angels in singing Glory to God in the Highest!
We wish you, your family, and your loved ones a holy and merry Christmas.
"He whom the Virgin bore is acknowledged today by the whole world ... Today is the glorious Feast of His Manifestation." - Roman Breviary
The Twelve Days of Christmas comes to a close with one of the greatest feasts in the Church's liturgical year: Epiphany. On this feast, we celebrate God manifesting Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, as a humble little child to the Gentiles.
Prayer Before the Holy Crib
I adore Thee, O Word Incarnate, true Son of God from all eternity, and true Son of Mary ever Virgin in the fullness of time. Whilst, then, I adore Thy Divine Person, and the Humanity which is thereunto united, I cannot but venerate the poor manger which welcomed Thee when an Infant, and which was truly the throne of Thy love. Let me prostrate myself before it, with the simplicity of the shepherds, with the faith of Joseph, with the love of Mary!
Hodie Christus natus est hodie
Salvator apparuit: hodie in terra canunt Angeli, laetantur Archangeli:
hodie exsultant justi, dicentes: Gloria in excelsis Deo, alleluja.
Today is Christ born; today the Savior has appeared; today the Angels sing,
the Archangels rejoice; today the righteous rejoice, saying:
Glory to God in the highest. Alleluia!
Hodie Christus Natus Est by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck.