The Value of Time

Something to reflect upon as we end the year and begin the new one.

Time passes and does not return. God has assigned to each of us a definite time in which to fulfill His divine plan for our soul; we have only this time and shall have no more. Time ill spent is lost forever. Our life is made up of this uninterrupted continual flow of time, which never returns. In eternity, on the contrary, time will be no more; we shall be established forever in the degree of love which we have reached now, in time. If we have attained a high degree of love, we shall be fixed forever in that degree of love and glory; if we possess only slight degree, that is all we shall have throughout eternity. No further progress will be possible when time has ended. “Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men” (Gal. 6:10). “We must give every moment its full amount of love, and make each passing moment eternal, by giving it value for eternity” (Sr. Carmela of the Holy Spirit, O. C. D.) This is the best way to use the time given us by God.

(Taken from Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. -#35 p. 103)

Carrying This Invisible Heavenly Treasure Within

Things changed since the reign of the divine King was interpreted in terms of the psalms and the prophets. The Romans remained the rulers of the land and the high priests and scribes continued to keep the poor people under their yoke. Anyone who adhered to the Lord carried his heavenly treasure invisibly within himself. His temporal burden was not removed from him; on the contrary, many others were added. Yet, what he bore within himself was an exhilarating strength which softened the yoke and lightened the burden. This remains true today of every child of God. The divine life which is enkindled in the soul is the Light that came into the darkness – the mystery of the Holy Night. The one who bears it within himself understands its meaning. For others, on the contrary, it remains an enigma regardless of any explanation

The Mystery of Christmas, Incarnation and Humanity – Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

One With Us

O wonderful exchange! The Creator of mankind, by taking on a human body, imparts to us his divinity. It is for this wondrous task that the Saviour came into this world. God became a Child of man so that the human race could become children of God. One of our race severed the bond of our divine adoption; one of us had to bind it up again and pay for the sin. No one from the ancient, sick and degenerate race could do it. A new, healthy and noble sprout had to be grafted. He became one of us; but even more than that: one with us. That is precisely the wonderful thing about the human race – that we are all one. If it were otherwise, were we all to exist as independent and separate individuals, then the fall of one could not have brought about the fall of all. Then, on the other hand, the price of sin could probably have been paid for us and charged to us, but his justification would not have passed on to sinners; no vindication would have been possible. But he came to be a mysterious Body with us: he as head, we as members. Let us place our hands in the hands of the divine Child, let us speak our ‘yes’ to his ‘follow me’. Thus we shall be his and the path shall be open for his divine life to pass over upon us.

The Mystery of Christmas, Incarnation and Humanity – Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

The Proclaimation of the Birth of Christ

Traditionally a formal “Proclamation of the Birth of Christ” is recited or sung at the beginning of Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. The text situates the birth of Jesus Christ within the context of salvation history. Jesus is truly a historical figure. Our present system of the calendar places Him at the center. This proclamation begins with the creation of the world, mentioning key events in the history of Israel, and concludes with the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior, Redeemer and King.

“The twenty-fifth day of December in the 5,099th year of the creation of the world from the time in the beginning when God created the heaven and the earth, the 2,957th year after the flood, the 2,015th year from the birth of Abraham, the 1,510th year from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt, the 1,032nd year from David’s being anointed king, and the 65th week according to the prophecy of Daniel and the 194th Olympiad, the 752nd year from the foundation of the city of Rome, the 42nd year of the reign of Octavius Augustus, the whole world being at peace, in the sixth age of the world, Jesus Christ, the Eternal God and the Son of the Eternal Father willing to consecrate the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and nine months having passed since his conception, (all kneel) was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary being made man (rise), the nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.”

Where the Star is Leading Us

“When the days grow shorter and shorter, when – in normal winter – the first snowflakes fall, then quietly and softly thoughts of Christmas begin to surface, and from the mere word a certain magic exudes that affects every heart. Even those of other faiths, or of no faith at all, to whom the story of the Child of Bethlehem has no meaning, prepare for the feast and even make plans to convey its joy here or there. Months and weeks in advance, there flows a warmth like a stream of love over the whole world. A festival of love and joy – that is the star which beckons all mankind in the first winter months.

For the Christian, and especially for the Catholic Christian, it is yet something else. Him the star leads to the manger with the little Child who brings peace to earth. In countless endearing pictures, artists have created the scene for our eyes; ancient legends, replete with all the magic of childhood, sing to us about it. Whoever lives along with the Church hears the ancient chants and feels the longing of the spirit in the Advent hymns; and whoever is familiar with the inexhaustible fount of sacred liturgy is daily confronted by the great prophet of the Incarnation with his powerful word of warning and promise:
Drop down dew from above and let the clouds rain
the Just One! The Lord is near! Let us adore Him!
Come, Lord, and do not delay! Jerusalem, rejoice
with great joy, for you Saviour comes to you!

From 17 to 24 December, the great O Antiphons to the Magnificat call out with ever greater longing and fervour their ‘Come, to set us free’. And with still more promise (on the last Advent Sunday), ‘Behold, all is fulfilled’; then, finally, ‘Today you shall know that the Lord is coming and tomorrow you shall see his splendour’.

Yes, on that evening when the lights on the tree are lit and the gifts are being exchanged, that unfulfilled longing is still there groping for another ray of Light until the bells for Midnight Mass ring out, and the miracle of that Holy Night is renewed upon altars bedecked with lights and flowers: ‘And the Word was made flesh’. Now the moment of blessed fulfilment has arrived. “

(The Mystery of Christmas, Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross), January 1931)