Category Archives: Christmas

The Royal Wedding

“Behold, the Lord, the Mighty One, has come; and kingship is in his grasp, and power and dominion.”

“Today the Bridegroom claims his bride, the Church, since Christ has washed her sins away in Jordan’s waters; the Magi hasten with their gifts to the royal wedding; and the wedding guests rejoice, for Christ has changed water into wine, alleluia.”

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Mass for Epiphany, in Stephansdom in Vienna, 2015.

Children dressed as the Three Kings, carrying the star, at the Mass shown above.

“We have seen his star in the East, and have come with gifts to adore the Lord.”

Saint Irenaeus, in his “Against Heresies,” says  “…Matthew says that the Magi, coming from the east, exclaimed For we have seen His star in the east, and have come to worship Him; and that, having been led by the star into the house of Jacob to Emmanuel, they showed, by these gifts which they offered, who it was that was worshipped; myrrh, because it was He who should die and be buried for the mortal human race; gold, because He was a King, of whose kingdom is no end; and frankincense, because He was God, who also was made known in Judea, and was declared to those who sought Him not.”

Notes on the Vigil of Epiphany: http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2017/01/liturgical-notes-for-vigil-of-epiphany.html . You may especially enjoy the quotation from Dom Guéranger.

Below are more pictures of the reliquary of the Three Kings, in Cologne, Germany.
         

The Brightness of God

The brightness of God illumined the holy city Jerusalem,
and the nations will walk by its light.
Cf. Bar. 5:5

A Christmas crib in Cologne, Germany.

A Christmas crib in Cologne, Germany.

There are many wonderful traditions associated with Epiphany. Saint John Cantius in Chicago gathers them here.

Saint Ephrem the Syrian sings of the star and of John the Baptist:

In the Height and the Depth the Son had two heralds.— The star of light proclaimed Him from above—John likewise preached Him from beneath:— two heralds, the earthly and the heavenly.

The star of light, contrary to nature, shone forth of a sudden—less than the sun yet greater than the sun.— Less was it than he in manifest light— and greater than he in secret might because of its mystery.

The star of light shed its rays among them that were in darkness—and guided them as though they were blind—so that they came and met the great Light:— they gave offerings and received life and adored and departed.

From the Prayer after Communion on Epiphany:
Renewed by sacred nourishment, we implore your mercy, O Lord,
that the star of your justice may shine always bright in our minds
and that our true treasure may ever consist in our confession of you.
Through Christ our Lord.

The Solemnity of Epiphany

On the twelfth day of Christmastide, January 6th, the church celebrates the ancient Solemnity of Epiphany, although in the United States the Solemnity is transferred to the weekend. We commemorate the visit of the kings to Jesus thus this is a moment of revelation to the Gentiles.

Over the next three days I will share pictures I took two years ago of the Cologne cathedral which houses the relics of the kings, as well as hymns that are associated with this solemnity.

Arise, Jerusalem, and look to the East
and see your children gathered from the rising to the setting of the sun.

The reliquary of the three kings, in the Cologne Cathedral.

The reliquary of the three kings, in the Cologne Cathedral.

May the splendor of your majesty, O Lord, we pray,
shed its light upon our hearts,
that we may pass through the shadows of this world
and reach the brightness of our eternal home.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

From the Facebook page of Musei Italiani. This fresco is from the Oratory of San Pellegrino in Bominaco, Italy.

From the Facebook page of Musei Italiani. This fresco is from the Oratory of San Pellegrino in Abruzzo, Italy.

The Feast of Saint Stephen

Saint Stephen

From the Church of Saint Stephen, in Jerusalem. This church was built over the place that commemorated the martyrdom of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr.

Apertae sunt inuae caeli beato Stephano, qui in numero Martyrum inventus est primus,
et ideo triumphat in caelis coronatus.

The gates of heaven were opened for blessed Stephen,who was found to be first among the number of the Martyrs and therefore is crowned triumphant in heaven.

During these 12 days of Christmastide, the church offers us a three-day feast called Comites Christi. Today we celebrate Saint Stephen the Protomartyr who was the first to witness to the truth of the gospel by the voluntary shedding of his blood. Tomorrow we celebrate Saint John the Evangelist who was spared martyrdom; however he witnessed to the truth of the Gospel through his Gospel and Epistle. On the third day we commemorate the slaughter of the Innocents who involuntarily shed their blood in witness to Jesus Christ the Messiah. Today, may we hold close to our hearts in prayer those who are being persecuted for the sake of the truth of the gospel of our Incarnate Lord Jesus.

During the twelve days of Christmas I will be sharing various Christmas carols that move my heart to pray to the Infant King.

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Church of the Nativity Restoration

The Church of the Nativity is undergoing a 19 million dollar restoration. The mosaics which have been hidden for centuries are being uncovered and restored by a team of Italians. The project is being financed by the Palestinian government, the Vatican, the King of Morocco and countries and churches around the world. What a treasure to be restored so pilgrims can delight for many more centuries in the beauty that extols the beauty of God Incarnate in human flesh and blood.

Merry Christmas! Let Us All Rejoice

From the Church of Shepherd’s Field in Bethlehem.

A child is born for us, and a son is given to us;
his scepter of power rests upon his shoulder,
and his name will be called Messenger of great counsel. ~Is. 9:6

The silver star in the Church of the Nativity where Christians venerate the birth of the Savior.

O God, who wonderfully created the dignity of human nature
and still more wonderfully restored it,
grant, we pray, that we may share in the divinity of Christ,
who humbled himself to share in our humanity.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:n
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

From O Come, O Come, Emmanuel:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O Rex Gentium

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.

From O Come, O Come, Emmanuel:
O come, Desire of Nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
O bid our sad divisons cease.
And be for us our King of Peace.