Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Ave Maria!
Christmas—25 December A.D. 2016

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English


    There is one small change in the Mass at Christmas—one which occurs at only one other time of the year; on the feast of the Annunciation on March 25th—that is that when we sing or recite the Nicene Creed, we kneel instead of genuflecting at the words: “And He Was Made Man—Et homo factus est.”

    The fact that this occurs only on these two feast days is not a coincidence.  In fact both days celebrate pretty much the same thing.  Both on March 25th and December 25th we are taken by the fact that Almighty God—who is so far away and above us, took up human nature and became one of us.  On both of these days we celebrate what we call the “Incarnation”—that the Son of God took a body of human flesh and bone and entered human history by uniting His divinity with our humanity.

    Most of the major feasts of the year honor some significant characteristic of our Lord or of our Blessed Mother.  For instance, we honor Him on the occasion of His Resurrection from the dead, or His glorious Ascension into heaven, or perhaps His Transfiguration into a state of glory.

    We honor Her for her Immaculate Conception, her bodily Assumption, or under any one of a great number of titles which reflect her prerogatives and achievements.

    In all cases, we are grateful for the divine favors granted to us here on earth—but the emphasis is usually on honoring our Lord and Lady.

    This feast of Christmas, the feast of our Lord's Incarnation, comes about as close as is possible to honoring mankind.  For certainly we are the ones honored by our Lord's becoming one of us.  This action of our Lord, in taking human nature and human flesh, is not something to be taken lightly.  It has a profound significance, in that it indicates something about the way in which our God regards us.

    There is an unfortunate tendency for us to view humanity from its worst side.  Not only do we acknowledge the fall of mankind through Adam and Eve—but we tend to view our situation as hopeless.  There is the temptation to “sin, and sin mightily,” (as Martin Luther said) because we don't see that we can ever do any better than that.[1]  We are tempted to break the Commandments—and to keep on breaking them—because we fail to see that with God's grace, we can do better.

    But fortunately, our Lord knew that there was some good left in the human race.  Even though we had fallen into sin—through Adam and Even and through our own personal sins—He felt that we were worth His while.  He felt that we were worth redeeming—that we were worth the trouble of becoming one of us.  “… That we might become partaker of His divinity, Who humbled Himself to become partaker of our humanity.”[2]

    This ought to be the thing that brings the most joy to us during this celebration of Christmas.  This is indeed a time for optimism; for feeling good; for renewing the bonds of friendship and family.

    Indeed some 1,600 years ago, Pope Saint Leo the Great went so far as to say:

    It would be unlawful to be sad today, for today is Life's Birthday the Birthday of that Life, Which, for us dying creatures, takes away the sting of death, and brings the bright promise of eternal gladness hereafter.[3]

    It is a time for feeling good because our Lord Himself has demonstrated that great things can come from the human race.  This is not a time of penance, not a time of gloominess, not a time for doubting our abilities.  It is a time for rejoicing, and a time for joining our Lord in the holiness which He brought to humankind by His Incarnation.

    Pope Leo continues:

    Rejoice if you are a saint: You are drawing nearer to the palm of victory!  Rejoice if you are a sinner, for your Savior offers you pardon!  Rejoice even if you are a Pagan: for God calls you to life!

     “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us.”[4]  Today we know that our Lord Jesus Christ became one of us.  Let us rejoice, and be one with Him.  He has demonstrated that He knows that we are capable.  Let us rejoice and be holy with Him

Merry Christmas!!



[1]   The absurd advice of Martin Luther; “Be a sinner and sin mightily, but more mightily believe and rejoice in Christ.”

[2]   Words at the blessing of the water at the Offertory.

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