Thomas à Kempis: A Meditation on the Incarnation of Christ
Sermons on the Life and Passion of Our Lord and Of Hearing and Speaking Good Words



“SEARCH the Scriptures,” saith the Lord. O most sweet Lord Jesus, grant me Thy unworthy servant devoutly to ponder the mystery of Thy incarnation; to search wisely, to understand sublimely; what is not understood to venerate humbly: and ever to give thanks to Thee for condescension so great, and love so inestimable. For to contemplate this mystery affords me the greatest delight; and amid all Thy other wonders brings me the sweetest savour, touches me most deeply: draws me most mightily, and ravishes my whole spirit within me. Grant me then often to dwell thereon: and carefully to consider how it was foreknown and foretold by the holy prophets. Open Thou my eyes: and I will consider the wondrous things of Thy law. For Thou art the founder of the law, Thou the inspirer and teacher of the prophets: by whose utterances in wonderful and manifold ways Thou wast foretold and prefigured; now clearly, now darkly: as the whole sequence of the Old Testament when examined manifestly shows forth. For nothing therein is without mystery; but most faithful witness is there contained as well of Thy divine as of Thy human nature. And although the testimony of men is not necessary to Thee, Who art the Truth, and, at Thy pleasure, makest of men prophets; nevertheless, for our instruction and strengthening in the faith, Thou didst will these things to be foretold and written long before by Thy saints: and Thou didst will to clothe their words with such authority, that no man might dare to gainsay them in any point; so that also when Thou shouldst be present in the flesh, Thou couldst be recognized the King of Israel and Saviour of the World: Whom Holy Writ in so many places had declared to be coming. And this it is that in person Thou didst give as answer to the doctors of the law not believing: but closely watching and cunningly tempting Thee. “Search the scriptures: for you think in them to have life everlasting. And the same are they that give testimony of Me.”

The patriarchs give witness: the prophets and the other just give witness of Thy incarnation. For Abraham, first of the patriarchs by the merit of his faith and his act of perfect obedience: received this promise, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” In which seed, to wit, Thou wert designated and prophesied: Who, born of the Virgin Mary, didst truly spring from the flesh of Adam, truly from the stock of Abraham. Who also didst transmit this blessing to all the nations throughout the world, saying, “He that believeth and is baptized: shall be saved.” This blessing, I say, is not an earthly, but a heavenly promise: not transitory fruitfulness, but everlasting bliss; unending life with the angels: not temporal length of days. Which, as it was promised to faithful Abraham: so also through Thee was it given to him, and to all the followers of the true faith. For not those only, who were born of Abraham according to the flesh, are to be reckoned children of the promise: but they that follow in the footsteps of his faith are included in the blessing; whether sprung from him of the flesh: or born again of the spirit from the other nations. And therefore he is called the father of many nations, not of the Jews only: but of all them that believe in Thee throughout the universe of peoples.

A splendid witness also to Thee bears Isaac, the son of Abraham, in the things that befell him. For his birth, foretold by an angel, is a presage of Thy nativity: which however far surpasses the manner of birth of all that are born of women. He was brought forth of a barren mother through the promise of an angel: but Thou, promised from the beginning of the world, in a more ineffable fashion wast born of a virgin mother for our salvation. He in his conception gave joy to parents and friends: but Thou in Thy birth didst give great joy to angels and men. This very miracle wrought in the womb of old age makes easy of belief the child-bearing of maidenhood. Thou therefore, Who didst perform this in Thy servant, couldst certainly do more in Thyself. For seeing that Thou art the Author of nature, Thou holdest all things under Thy power: and Thou art bound by the law or right of none.

In him also is resplendent a figure of Thy Passion: when he was bidden sacrifice himself by his Father, to whom a message from God to this effect had previously been brought by an angel. He carried the wood of the sacrifice: Thou didst bear the wood of the cross, unto the wiping out of the handwriting of original sin. He is bound and speedily placed upon the altar: Thou, after Thou hast been bound and cruelly scourged, art at length lifted up upon the cross, that Thou mayest draw all things to Thyself. He was obedient to his father Abraham: and Thou didst obey Thy Father God, even to the death of the cross. He is offered, but not slain: because he was the figure, Thou the truth: he the symbol, Thou the true sacrifice. He should not die, because he was not the redeemer of the world: but Thou shouldst die, still not of Thy own, but for our crime: because, true Redeemer of the world, Thou wert born unto this, and didst receive this commandment from the Father.

The patriarch Jacob likewise bears most true testimony to Thee. He, taught by the spirit of prophecy: foretold to his children many things to come. For he made known the tribe of which Thou wert to be born, and the time wherein Thou wert to come: when, blessing his son Juda, among other things he said: “The sceptre shall not be taken from Juda,” quoth he, “nor a ruler from his thigh, till He come that is to be sent: and He shall be the expectation of nations.” Which testimony indeed rightly understood stands undoubtedly accomplished in Thee, Who didst most worthily spring from the tribe of Juda: and didst enter this light of the world at that epoch, when a legitimate ruler had failed in Judea: and a king of foreign race, Herod, there held princely sway. Thou art not therefore awaited, as the Jew madly raves; but Thou art believed to have already come God in the flesh: as the Christian confesses, and the Catholic faith teaches. Certainly, there is no longer a ruler in Judea, the law has ceased therein; the priesthood is silent, the temple has fallen, the kingdom is destroyed, that nation is scattered through the world: that the whole world may know, that Thou, the Saviour of Israel, the expectation of the nations and the desired thereof, hast come. The ancient law then was due to cease, after the new grace and truth shone forth with Thy coming: for all that former dispensation was a minister to give witness to Thee. With this agree the voices of the prophets: who, foreknowing Thy coming, foretold the days of grace in which we abide.

For Moses, the lawgiver and teacher of Thy people Israel, utters a most trustworthy testimony: “The Lord Thy God will raise up to thee a prophet of thy nation and of thy brethren like unto me.” Moses called Thee simply a prophet addressing a rude people: who maybe was not yet found capable of grasping a more sublime title of Thee. Which also is sufficiently clear from the gospel, where, when Thou hadst worked the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes, this was the saying repeated by the people: “This is of a truth the prophet, that is to come into the world.” But we, now endued with a more certain truth and a higher understanding of faith: truly confess and believe Thee not only a prophet, but the Lord also of the prophets, and the true Son of God. Nor is it strange if Thou didst speak many things darkly to that people by Thy servant Moses, and to us more things more clearly in Thy own person: for thus it befitted the order of justice, thus the law in fine and grace. This Moses then, in the longing for Thy advent, prayed and said, “I beseech Thee, Lord: send Whom Thou wilt send.”

This is the Moses, who is sent into Egypt to free the children of Israel: to whom also is likewise given the power of working signs and marvels. He wrought many things and strange, which, read or heard, excite no little wonder: but, understood mystically and duly referred to Thee: convey to pious and faithful minds a higher meaning and a more saving fruit. He led forth the children of Israel from the land of Egypt: Thou didst redeem Thine from the old life, from the slavery of the devil, from the confines of hell. He, having overwhelmed Pharaoh in the Red Sea, made them enter the land of promise: Thou, having destroyed original sin by the water of baptism, makest Thy faithful enter the kingdom of the dwelling above. He on Mount Sinai received the law of the decalogue written on tables of stone, and delivered it to the people to observe: Thou, having become the mediator of the New Testament, didst preach the law of grace to the disciples on the Mount: which also by the spirit of love Thou didst deeply impress upon their minds. He wandered forty years in the desert with the children of Israel: by many signs and wonders he was glorious in their midst; Thou, three and thirty years seen upon earth and conversing with men, didst show forth so many signs of Thy divine power: that the world would scarcely be able to contain them, if they were all written. He acted as a faithful servant: Thou didst act as the Lord and the only Son of the Father: into Whose hands the Father gave all things. Therefore neither he can be compared with Thee: nor indeed any one of angels or men. For to all the spirit is given in measure; but to Thee remaineth power ever equal with the Father: there abideth also in Thee according to Thy human nature an excellence of singular dignity far above the other saints, communicable to no creature. “For to which of the angels hath it been said at any time, ‘Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten Thee’ ”? Or which of the saints has heard the Father saying to him, “Sit thou at my right hand”? It is a great thing for an angel to be a minister: it is a great thing for any of Thy saints, to sit at table in the kingdom of Thy Father: but to Thee is given all power in Heaven and on earth. And if Thou didst appear in the substance of our mortal flesh; Thou art nevertheless above all the unchangeable God: receiving what is ours, and not losing what is Thine own. Unwaveringly therefore and boldly we confess Thee the Christ, the only-begotten of God, the Saviour of the world, and the Holy of holies promised in the law; desired by the patriarchs; foreseen and foretold by the prophets. Whose witness if a man hesitate to believe, he deprives himself of the light of truth: not keeping the base on which to set the foot of faith: nor looking to the light shining in the darksome place. For the law is a flame, and prophecy a precious lantern, leading us on to Thee the true light of the soul: in Whom they that believe are saved by faith. For without faith and the knowledge of Thy name, there is no hope of life: no gaining of salvation is possible. Thou indeed art our salvation, our hope and redemption: Whom the saints of old awaited, who had received this promise.

Moreover in many symbols, in numerous and wondrous visions also, this salvation promised of Thee existed long before and lay concealed; but, when the mystery of Thy Incarnation and Passion was fulfilled, all these hidden things were made known and accomplished. Thee therefore that paschal lamb: which was ordered to be sacrificed every year in memory of the ancient deliverance from Egypt, prefigured. Thee the offering of calves and goats, Thee the incense of sweet gums: Thee the various celebration of sacrifices, and frequent sprinkling of blood, prefigured. Thou art mystically symbolized in the golden candlestick adorned with seven lamps: Thou in the High Priest, who once a year enters the holy of holies. But all these sacrifices of the law: Thou hast fully completed by the one sacrifice of Thy body offered once upon the cross. Now therefore there is left no profit in the observance of the former things: for what they signified Thou the eternal Truth hast made manifest to us. But they are read and, discussed according to the spirit by faithful doctors, are profitably brought forth for our edification: and their mystic meaning affords delight: but their observance in the letter is not allowed. And if formerly such sacrifices pleased Thee, this was the work of faith in a hidden mystery, which was to be made known: but now those ancient rites are ended: because the true sacrifice has now come, which with faithful devotion holy Church repeats throughout the world.

Thee also the rock springing fresh waters to the thirsty people: Thee the manna giving wondrous nourishment to the hungry: Thee the uplifted brazen serpent healing the poisoned of the bite: Thee the rod of Aaron the priest, flowering and producing nuts, beautifully foreshadowed.

Thee Joshua noble in deed and name: Thee Gideon the most victorious, Thee the most mighty Samson, Thee Samuel the most faithful prophet: Thee the illustrious virtue of each of the Nazarenes and judges wonderfully showed forth.

Thee David, the king and glorious prophet, chosen according to God’s heart, and exquisite psalmist evidently sings: devoutly prays, and ardently desires saying: “Lord bow down Thy heavens and descend. Stir up Thy might and come: to save us. Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy: and grant us Thy salvation. Lord, where are Thy ancient mercies: according to what Thou didst swear to David?” With these and like supplications in the psalms he often shows the desire of his bosom: but more sublime things also than these with the eyes of the heart unveiled he declares in witness to Thee. This is the holy David: to whom Thou didst make manifest the uncertain and hidden things of Thy wisdom: and promise that Thou wouldst be made flesh of his stock. This is the David comely of form, strong of hand, prudent in counsel: wise in word, mild under insults, lowly in his looks, observant of the holy law: precentor of the Gospel, true witness of Thy coming. He has most fully prophesied of Thy birth, passion, resurrection and ascension. Thou art therefore He of Whom he said: “He hath set His tabernacle in the sun: and He is as a bridegroom coming out of His bride chamber. He hath rejoiced as a giant to run the way: His going out is from the end of Heaven: and His circuit even to the end thereof.” Thou art the truth sprung out of the earth: Thou the justice looking down from Heaven: which, after the fall, reconciled us to God the Father. Thou art the beautiful above the sons of men: in Whose lips grace is poured abroad: yea from Whom mercy and grace have flowed to all. Thou art God our king before ages: Who hast wrought salvation in the midst of the earth. Thou art the man born in Judea: Whose name abides before the ages. Thou as rain upon the fleece didst come down upon Mary: and as showers falling gently upon the earth, Thou didst sprinkle the saving doctrine of the gospel. Thou, begotten of the Father before the Day-star, and clothed in the garb of our mortality: remainest a priest for ever, appointed by God, according to the order of Melchisedech. Thou didst drink of the torrent in the way: suffering for us as a true wayfarer the unmerited passion of death. Therefore in the day of Thy resurrection Thou didst put on strength and beauty; nor after our fashion didst Thou see the corruption of the flesh: but the selfsame flesh in which Thou didst suffer, Thou didst raise to life immortal: wherewith amid rejoicing angels Thou didst ascend with jubilee: to return on the last day in the sound of the trumpet. And thus have been fulfilled the faithful songs of David: written in various passages of the psalms.

O Jesus, only desire of the prophets: Thou art the Emmanuel, Whom the virgin conceived, the virgin brought forth, after Whose birth she remained a virgin: of Whom Isaias prophesied with luminous discourse: “A child is born to us: and a son is given to us. And the government is upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God, the Mighty, the Father of the world to come: the Prince of Peace. His empire shall be multiplied: and there shall be no end of peace.” Thou art the root of Jesse, Who standest for an ensign of peoples; Whom the gentiles shall beseech: Whose sepulchre is seen glorious even to this day. Thou art the flower rising up out of the root of Jesse; upon Whom rests the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness: and the spirit of the fear of the Lord. Thou art the lamb, the ruler of the earth: sent from Petra of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion. Thou art the mountain of the house of the Lord prepared on the top of the mountains, exalted above the hills; to Whom all the nations flow: that they may receive of Thy fullness. Thou art the light of Jerusalem, and the glory of Israel: Whose rising and brightness illumine the world. Thou art the tried stone, the precious corner stone: founded in the foundation of Sion. Thou art the bud of the Lord in magnificence, and the exalted fruit of the earth: now seated at the right hand of God the Father: with princes and powers all subject to Thee. Thus Isaias, who in his great spirit saw the future: and comforted all the mourners of Sion with Thy coming. Whence also he says: “Be comforted, be comforted my people, saith the Lord your God: for I myself that spoke, I am here.” O with what burning desire he longed for the fulfilment of the promise of Thy incarnation: when, full of the spirit of daring, he cried out. “O that Thou wouldst rend the heavens and wouldst come down: the mountains would melt away at Thy presence.” Who, unable to cool the heat of his desire: but seeking to make it known to all, said again: “For Sion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not rest; till her Just One come forth as brightness: and her Saviour be lighted as a lamp.” And who can unfold all his mystic words: which he uttered concerning Thy glorious incarnation, Passion, triumph, and the expectation of the judgement, as also concerning the calling of the gentiles and the preaching of the holy Gospel? He relates the future as if it were present: he describes each detail: as if he had been an eyewitness of all. But in sooth he did see: yet with the eyes of the understanding, not of the flesh. For by spiritual eyes divine mysteries are beheld: which the animal man cannot perceive. Whence the Pharisees, who considered only outwardly the bodily presence in Thee: were unable to rise to the majesty of the divinity. But Isaias, enlightened from Heaven and uplifted: uttered truthful witness concerning both natures. For of the godhead he spoke thus: “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated: and all the earth was full of His glory.” But of the human nature thus: “We have seen Him: and there was no sightliness. And we have thought Him as it were a leper: and as one struck by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our iniquities: He was bruised for our sins.”

Likewise also the most holy prophet Jeremias bears witness to Thee: when he describes the great mystery of Thy generation thus: “For the Lord,” he saith, “hath created a new thing upon the earth: a woman shall compass a man.” What thing so new, Lord Jesus, as Thy conception of the Holy Ghost, Thy birth of the virgin? This is the new thing unheard of from the ages: which has not seen its like before it, nor shall have another after it. O truly blessed novelty; by which the old wickedness was driven out: and the new holiness brought in.

Hail, new mother Mary, rejoice: thou art that blessed woman, of whom this prophecy speaks: who also hast merited to be made glad by the most happy bringing forth of this new thing. For Him, Whom all creation doth not contain: thou, raised higher than all creatures, hast compassed in thy spotless womb. And although thou didst bear Him long enclosed within thy virginal womb, small and clothed in fragile members: nevertheless Jesus was a man even while not yet born: but in virtue not in body; by perfection of wisdom, not by measure of age: yea, full of grace and truth as soon as He was conceived. Understanding it therefore thus, we are convinced that this was the great mystery: foretold from the mouth of Jeremias.

Hence also in Baruch that memorable testimony is set: “This is our God: and there shall be no other accounted of in comparison of Him. Afterwards He was seen upon earth: and conversed with men.” The prophet Ezechiel, who had witnessed many heavenly mysteries: this especially notes of Thee saying: “And upon the likeness of the throne, was a likeness as of the appearance of a man above upon it.” And again: “And there was one man in the midst of them clothed with linen: with a writer’s inkhorn at his reins.” He touches also upon the wondrous mystery of Thy most holy birth: when from the eastern gate, he merited to hear the divine answer: “This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened: and no man shall pass through it; because the God of Israel hath entered in by it: and it shall be shut for the prince.” Thou art that prince: Mary also the shut gate: who, in conceiving and bearing, remained ever a maiden untouched.

Daniel, the man of desires and seer of sublime secrets, when he wisely explained to king Nabuchodonosor his dream: assuredly foretells Thy coming faithfully: “Thus thou sawest,” saith he, “till a stone was cut out of a mountain without hands: and it struck the statue upon the feet thereof that were of iron and of clay: and it broke them in pieces. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain: and filled the whole earth.” Thou art symbolized by that stone: Who wast cut out of a mountain, to wit, out of the kingdom of the Jews, without hands: that is, formed of a virgin without the aid of a spouse. Who didst strike the statue in its feet: because even amid the wars of persecution Thou didst bow the state of worldly grandeur by words and signs to the obedience of faith. And thou hast become a great mountain and hast filled the whole earth: for Thou Who formerly wast known to but a few in Judea: afterwards by the bright light of the gospel grace hast revealed Thyself to the whole world.

Another testimony the same Daniel brings forward saying: “I beheld in the vision of the night: and lo one like the Son of man came with the clouds, and He came even to the Ancient of days: and they presented Him before Him. And He gave Him power and glory and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes and tongues shall serve Him. His power is an everlasting power that shall not be taken away: and His kingdom, that shall not be destroyed.” What more evident than this testimony; in which both Thy advents, in the flesh, and to the judgement, are clearly declared?

Michaeas gave a testimony such: that even the Scribes and Pharisees when questioned could not pass it over in silence. For when Herod asked of them, where the Christ should be born: they replied according to the words of this prophet, in Bethlehem of Juda. For so said the same blessed prophet. “And thou Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be the ruler in Israel. And His going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity.” In which words assuredly is interwoven the truth of Thy twofold birth: while one is declared an eternal going forth from the Father, the other a coming forth in time from a mother. Habacuc the prophet standeth upon the watch and fixeth his foot; that he may hear what is said to him concerning the future: and behold Thee upon the cross. “For as yet,” he saith, “the vision is far off: and it shall appear at the end, and shall not lie. If it make any delay, wait for it: for it shall surely come, and it shall not be slack.” And of Thy Passion thus: “His brightness shall be as the light: horns are in His hands. There is His strength hid: death shall go before His face. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people: for salvation with Thy Christ.” This one especially, more than the other prophets, expresses Thy most sweet name, which is above every name: speaking thus: “But I will rejoice in the Lord: and I will joy in God my Jesus.”

Sophonias weaves a prophecy of consolation: and raises to spiritual joy the mind, wearied now with long waiting: “Give praise,” he saith, “O daughter of Sion, shout, O Israel: be glad and rejoice with all thy heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in the midst of thee: He will save.”

Aggaeus also foretold: “Yet one little while, and I will move the heaven and the earth, and the sea and the dry land: and I will move all nations: and the desired of all nations shall come.”

Zacharias, with rejoicing heart and giving certain indications, bears witness, saying: “Sing, praise and rejoice, O daughter of Sion: for behold I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee.” And again: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion: shout for joy, O Jerusalem. Behold thy King cometh to thee, the just and Saviour: He is poor and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” This prophecy Thou didst then fulfil: when Thou didst approach Jerusalem seated upon the back of a lowly ass. And that no man may doubt that these things were foretold of Thee: words are added that leave no room for doubt: because the experience thereof is now possessed: “And He shall speak peace to the gentiles,” saith he: “and His power shall be from sea to sea.” The which it is clear was faithfully performed by the preachers of Thy holy gospel: who announced peace to them that were near, and to them that were afar. After this he turns to the Passion: showing that Thou wert to redeem the world by Thy blood: “Thou also by the blood of Thy testament hast sent forth Thy prisoners out of the pit: wherein was no water.” And many other testimonies indeed the same prophet and the rest of the prophets brought forth: of which not a few are inserted in the New Testament. Nor should it move the reader to unbelief: if he hears some testimonies rendered one way in the evangelists and another in the prophets. For the evangelists assert in brief and more clearly; as formed by a more free schooling of the Holy Ghost: that which the prophets often treated in a long discourse and obscurely.

Having heard then such great attestations of the truth: do not longer disbelieve, Jew or Gentile. Confess the incarnation of Christ; foretold by the mouth of the prophets, and fulfilled. And if thou dost not trust our writings: consult thy own books, and certainly thou shalt find it so. Only put away the understanding of the flesh, and strive not with senseless effort to defend the naked letter; seek the Spirit, and turn thy heart to the mysteries of Christ: if thou wilt have a right understanding in the holy writ. Otherwise if thou boastest in the law or the prophets outside of Christ; thy glorying is empty: and blind the understanding which thou followest. Nor shall Moses profit thee: if thou hearest not Christ, of Whom Moses wrote. Nor shall the prophets avail thee, if thou acceptest not the Lord of the prophets. In vain thou seekest to be justified by the law: since even before the giving of the law many fathers were found just. By faith Noah was called just: and Abraham believing God, even before the circumcision, received the praise of justice. Boast thee not therefore of nobility of race; nor of the virtues of thy fathers, nor of the divine words handed down to thee, full of heavenly promises: because God regards the hearts of the humble, and looks to the faith of them that rightly believe; and therefore thou shalt be glorious, and acceptable to God: if, believing in Christ, thou follow the faith and life of the early fathers. Who assuredly hoped for merit, not from the observance of the law, nor from a multitude of victims, nor from their own deeds: but from the grace of our Saviour Jesus Christ alone. For thus God promised by Isaias the prophet: “You were sold gratis: and you shall be redeemed without money.” Come back to thy senses, Jew, come back to thy senses: and be converted to the true light of the world, Jesus Christ. He is the Lord ruler and the angel of the testament: as saith Malachias. He has come to save all nations; sent especially to thee: but alack neither acknowledged nor received by many of thy children. For if thou believest that He has come, thou shalt be saved; if thou dost not believe, He shall come against thee, and thou shalt be condemned. For He saith: “If you believe not that I am He: you shall die in your sin.” What excuse wilt thou be able to offer in defence of thy error? Thou hast the law and the prophets; but as accusers rather than defenders: who shall stand in witness against thee, because thou wouldst not believe. Moses saith: “Hear ye, rebellious and incredulous. While I am yet living and going in with you, you have always been rebellious against the Lord; how much more when I shall be dead?” This obduracy abides even to this day in thee, and in thy seed. When thou art converted, God shall be propitious to thee again: even as to the other nations. Be converted, be converted to the Lord Jesus Christ, O Israel: and thou shalt no longer be a reproach among the Gentiles.

For there are two things that chiefly keep thee back in thy perfidy: love of temporal goods, and a carnal sense in the scriptures. However, lift up thy eyes round about, O Jerusalem: and see, O Israel, the number of Christ’s faithful widely spread through the whole world; and blush to be found ever in error: who by believing canst gain everlasting salvation. Let not be a stumbling block to thee the multitude of them that live carelessly, who can speedily amend by doing penance: but look rather to the example of good Christians: of whom thousands, even if hidden from the eyes of men: shall never be wanting in the Church.

But now leaving aside the crowd of the Jews, turn to Christ, O my soul: for He is thy salvation and redemption. If the Jew will not believe, do thou stand in the faith: that Jesus is the Son of God, to Whom bear witness all the prophets divinely instructed and inspired. Whom if the Jews believed, they would believe also the gospel of Christ: as He said to them: “For if you did believe Moses: you would perhaps believe Me also. For he wrote of Me.” But it is not wonderful if they fail to believe Him, carnal men, going after visible things only: since the law is spiritual: and admits none but a spiritual man to its understanding. But because the Lord Jesus Christ came humble, He was not known by them: although also they read of Him in the prophets coming thus. But the wretched men struck their foot against the stumbling stone and the rock of scandal: despising the lowly, and blaspheming Him that wrought things divine. Hearing this, my soul, be thou as a most prudent bee, avoiding the evil pride of the perfidious: and ever following with lowly steps the faith of the pious. Nor let it affright thee that wickedness is of many, and piety of few: since it is the sentence of the Lord, that many are called, but few chosen. Nor is that question thy concern: for to God alone belongs this distinguishing. Turn thine eyes to thyself; and see what great things have been bestowed on thee by God: and be instant in what thanksgivings thou canst render for thy calling and enlightenment. Rejoice and exult with thy whole heart in God thy Saviour: Who, the Orient from on high, has deigned to visit thee. For it was all of grace, and a proof of extreme love: that He, Who could succour, willed to come thus. And if He had made Himself a debtor in promising; He did not thereby deprive Himself of the favour of liberality: for His gifts came without any preceding merits.

O truly great and venerable mystery hidden from the ages: promised by many foregoing witnesses, long expected, burningly desired: and at length shown to the world and faithfully bestowed. Few of the common people had understood this great sacrament of the incarnation; and almost only the prophets seem to have penetrated its inner meaning: to whom by the gift of a special revelation it was granted to know beforehand and write. For they as the chosen friends of God were allowed to enter the secret of so heavenly a design: so that they understood that the human race on account of the guilt of the first offence, had fallen into a misery such as could not otherwise be taken away except by the grace of a Mediator: by Whose incarnation and suffering man should receive redemption. This the ears of the people, to whom all things happened in figure: could not clearly perceive. To them it was a great thing, if they received any gift of earthly promise; to the prophets nothing seemed great and joyous: except what savoured of the sweetness of eternal happiness. Whence one of the most sublime prophets, rising above all earthly things: showed what he loved more especially saying, “What have I in Heaven; and besides Thee what do I desire upon earth? Thou art the God of my heart: and the God that is my portion for ever.” But this love of heavenly and hope of future things all did not possess: and where the shadow and the truth differed, many did not know; until Thou, the true peace, camest down from Heaven: and didst enter, good Jesus, into the valley of this world to enlighten men. And so it was not till after it is recorded that Thou the Word wast made flesh, and not till after Thou the Creator of man didst deign to appear among men; that what long lay secretly enclosed, began to be made clear through Thee: and what was difficult of understanding, became comprehensible; and what to many seemed incredible, by Thy saving presence Thou didst make visible: and in a certain manner, if I may so speak, palpable to the hands.

Finally some things Thou hast humbly fulfilled to the very letter: showing that they were written of Thee. But some things Thou hast not accomplished literally, but hast referred rather to the mystic sense; teaching that all the oracles of the prophets are not to be taken according to the letter: although they are always whole and entire according to the spiritual understanding. For instance, as the evangelist attests, literally that scripture was fulfilled in Thee of the paschal lamb: “You shall not break a bone thereof.” But spiritually that which says, “It shall be a lamb without blemish: a male of one year.” For the lamb without blemish: symbolises Thee, innocent and free from all guilt. With the plain prophecies then Thou instructest the simple unto faith: but with darker sayings Thou drawest the more acute to search deep mysteries. A plain prophecy is, “They have dug My hands and feet, they have numbered all My bones.” A hidden: “I am a worm and no man.” An open prophecy is, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced.” A mysterious is, “Upon one stone there are seven eyes.” In this way also many other testimonies are found most truly foretold of Thee: which the fallacy of the Jews shall never be able to make void. For they strove to bring false witness against Thee: and their witness was not agreeing. Woe to thee, perfidious: who choosest rather to perish than to believe. Give assent to the words of truth: lest it be said to thee, which was said to the Sadducees carnally groping in the law and the prophets: “You err, not knowing the scriptures: nor the power of God.” For all prophecy tends to Christ: and in Christ receives fulfilment.

Nevertheless, Lord Jesus present in the flesh, Thou didst not think of the salvation only of the Jews; but also of all who were to believe in Thee, by the holy preaching of the apostles: whom Thou didst especially choose for this work. Who, although at first they were simple and unlettered men; still by Thy daily converse, and afterwards by the more generous inpouring of the Holy Ghost, as Thou didst promise them, were led into all truth: so as to grasp the fullness of the whole scripture. And their preaching is to be so much the more admired and to be given the more undoubting credit: the more truly evident it is, that they could never have wrought such wonders of themselves: unless Thy most omnipotent hand had strengthened them; seeing that it is an extremely difficult and truly divine work: to have subdued the whole world to the holy laws of the faith.

O Wisdom of God, which camest forth from the mouth of the Most High; what great things Thou hast wrought for our salvation: that Thou mightest recall us thither, whence we fell. Thou didst send before the patriarchs and prophets: to foretell us Thy coming. Then Thou didst appoint the apostles and evangelists: to teach that all things had been accomplished. O ineffable is Thy mercy, O Lord: which has been shown forth above all that can be conceived. For Thou didst diligently seek them that knew Thee not: them that forsook Thee Thou didst not forsake; them that sinned against Thee Thou didst most lovingly forgive: to them that were turned away far from Thee, Thou didst show the way of eternal salvation. If Thou hast been so kind to Thine enemies; what wilt Thou be to Thy friends? Assuredly all in all, that nothing may be wanting to them that feast with Thee and rejoice in the kingdom of Thy Father. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

BUT now from the New Testament: a few testimonies also are to be sought. All things that I read therein: without hesitation I believe to be testimonies of Thee. And not as formerly in figures and dark sayings: but with clear and plain words they declare Thee the Christ the Son of God.

This first testifies the angel Gabriel, sent to the Virgin Mary, saying, “The Holy which shall be born of thee: shall be called the Son of God.”

The angel also speaking to the shepherds witnesses: that this day is born to us a Saviour, Who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.

Those most devout Magi also bear witness, who had come from the East to Jerusalem; whence they were directed to Bethlehem: to honour with mystic gifts Him Whom they had foreseen in the star.

This same testifies that memorable Simeon, a just man and fearing God: who was waiting for the consolation of Israel. For he, having received an answer from the Holy Ghost that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord: by the spirit came into the temple. Taking therefore the members of Thine infant body into His arms, but recognizing the majesty within: with giving of thanks he devoutly sang, “Now Thou dismiss Thy servant, O Lord: according to Thy word in peace.” Which canticle when he had ended: he said also to Thy venerable Mother, “Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel: and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce: that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.” O devout and sincere faith of this most blessed old man. For he adored Thee an infant: Whom the scribes and Pharisees despised working miracles. He confesses Thee true God and man: they call Thee seducer and having a devil. Wherefore he is held worthy of veneration and praise: and they are deservedly disproved as children of perdition.

The venerable John Baptist also gives witness: who was sent into the world of God to bear testimony to Thee. And he cried, saying, “After me there cometh a man, Who is preferred before me: the latchet of Whose shoe I am not worthy to loose.” And seeing Thee walking amid men: but innocent of all stain of sin, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God: behold Who taketh away the sins of the world.” He was a lamp bright and burning: but Thou the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He the herald: but Thou the judge. He the lowly servant: and Thou the Lord of all. He the friend of the bridegroom: Thou the Bridegroom of the Church. He the prophet of the Most High: Thou the only-begotten Son of God, co-eternal with God the Father. He as the morning star went before Thee preparing the way: Thou as the bright sun didst follow fulfilling all justice. Who also didst send Thy blessed apostles as rays of the sun into the whole world: to preach the light of faith unto salvation to all peoples.

Thou hast still another witness greater than John. For the Father testifies from Heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son: in Whom I am well pleased.” The Holy Ghost, appearing in the shape of a dove: came down and rested upon Thee. Thou, present in the flesh, didst declare to Thy most faithful friend John more fully how great Thy glory and power: so that for the greatness of the revelation then made to him, accounting rather as ignorance the former knowledge of Thee which he had received, he said, “And I knew Him not.” O man most excelling in holiness, forechosen to behold the so singular and most sublime mystery of the Trinity: whose life, and death, baptism and preaching: stood forth as a most true witness of Thy coming in the flesh.

Now let the most blessed apostle Peter come, thy ardent lover and devout confessor of the truth; what he feels and how it behoves to believe in Thee: silencing the opinions of them that err, let him plainly declare: “Thou,” quoth he, “art Christ the Son of the living God.” O truly apostolic confession, which flesh and blood taught not: but a heavenly revelation inspired in the son of the dove. And so from the strength of his faith he merited to be called also Peter, after the rock: because leaving all things he cleaved to Thee as to a most solid rock. If one wonders that a rough fisherman was made chief of the apostolic order: let him wonder also that Moses the leader of the people and King David were first for a time shepherds of sheep. Who therefore raised Moses to a prophet, and David to a king from following the ewes great with young: He and no other raised Peter, whilom a fisherman, to be head of the whole Church.

Now let Paul come forth, the master of the gentiles and the teacher of the world, the vessel of election, and light of the universal Church: to give witness to Thee: “When,” saith he, “the fulness of the time was come, God sent His Son made of a woman, made under the law; that He might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons.” This is that most glorious Paul: to whom from Heaven Thou didst say, “I am Jesus of Nazareth Whom Thou persecutest.” Him of a persecutor Thou didst make a preacher, of a Pharisee an apostle; bidding him bear Thy name, which before he persecuted through the whole world: nor fear to carry it before the gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. Who zealously fulfilling the office of his apostolate: and traversing divers parts of the world, sounded the gospel trumpet: and the sound of Thy name came unto the boundaries of the world: through the mouth of the most glorious Paul. Now there is not in the world a church: which is not supported by the teaching of blessed Paul, under the Catholic rule. He confounded the Jews: and utterly silenced them by the authority of holy writ: asserting that Thou art the Christ the Son of God. He converted the Gentiles, taught that their idols are nothing: subdued barbarians, refuted philosophers: and brought all together to the light of faith. This is that divine Paul, who was rapt to the secrets of the third heaven: the gospel which he preached, he learnt not of man nor by man, but by Thy revelation, Christ Jesus. And so he was able to preach it with the greater confidence, and to write of it the more gloriously: as also he did: “Great is the mystery of godliness,” he saith: “which was manifested in the flesh, was justified in the spirit, appeared unto angels; hath been preached unto the gentiles, is believed in the world: is taken up in glory.”

Let Andrew also speak, the brother of Simon Peter, the most ardent lover of the cross: one of the disciples of blessed John, but afterwards following Thee, by Whom also he was chosen as an apostle: let him, I say, speak witness unto Thee, that we may hear and believe: “We have found the Messias,” he saith, “Who is called Christ.” O simple and constant faith: to be imitated by all Christians. For having followed Thee with a simple heart, with devout confession of the mouth he at once took pains to manifest to his brother Simon: the faith which he had drawn from Thee, the source of truth. And he brought him, namely Peter, to Jesus. For this is truly to have found Thee, to consult a brother’s salvation: and to show him the way of heavenly life. Not thus the Jews: who tempting said, “If Thou be the Christ: tell us plainly.” Wo to you, scribes and Pharisees: who believed in neither the signs nor the words of Christ. Andrew, a man of no letters, hearing Christ speak once: followed Him and believed. You, knowing the law and the prophets, moreover hearing the truth from the mouth of Christ: seeing also His signs and wonders such as none other wrought: did not yet believe in Him. Wherefore you shall receive the more severe judgement; and the pious simplicity of the believers shall judge you with those who said: “There is no God: and foolish are they that serve Him.”

Let also speak that beloved apostle John: who at the supper reclined upon Thy breast, Lord Jesus: “In the beginning,” he saith, “was the Word; and the Word was with God: and the Word was God.” And further on: “And the Word was made flesh: and dwelt among us. And we saw His glory, the glory as it were of the Only-begotten of the Father: full of grace and truth.” This is that disciple: who giveth testimony of these things, and hath written these things. And we know, that his testimony is true. But O most sweet John, what is the motive of this gospel narrative? “But these are written that you may believe, that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God: and that believing you may have life in His name.” This is the John whom Peter often took as his companion: and who with like constancy resisted the princes and magistrates. Who even scourged by the same held not his peace: but for Thy name Jesus joyously bore insults and blows. Afterwards dispatched by the apostles with Peter, gladly he went into Samaria: prayed that they that believed might receive the Holy Ghost, and was heard. This is John, the theologian, the most enlightened seer and historian of the sublime Trinity: the pillar of the primitive Church, the ruler and founder of all Asia: who for God’s word and the witness of Jesus cast into exile, there wrote the book of the Apocalypse, full of heavenly visions; manifesting in the beginning and in the end: that the spirit of his prophecy, is witness to Jesus. He in his epistles burning with divine love: interwove some most beautiful testimonies of the incarnation, saying, “Every spirit, which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh: is of God. And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus: is not of God.”

Let it please also to hear the witness of Philip: who finding Nathanael, saith to him, “We have found Him of Whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write: Jesus the son of Joseph of Nazareth.” For thus Thou didst still suffer Thyself to be named and deemed: before Thou didst reveal Thyself to the world. But in truth Thou art not the son of Joseph, but the son of the intact mother, the perpetual Virgin Mary; of whom Thou wast conceived by the operation of the Holy Ghost: and created free from all stain of sin.

To this truth a more sublime testimony bears Nathanael an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile: and he said, “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God: Thou art the King of Israel.”

If also the witness of a lawyer is sought: Nicodemus is here, a prince of the Jews, saying, “Rabbi, we know, that Thou art come a teacher from God. For no man can do these signs which Thou dost: unless God be with him.”

Now then weigh, O Jews, and see how many witnesses hath Christ: Whom you have not feared to deny. If you still require more, the faith of the thief will reprove you, and the confession of the centurion: of whom each acknowledged Christ; the former, as He hung upon the cross: the latter, when He expired with a great cry, who said, “Indeed this was the son of God.” False therefore is your objection: which you brought against Christ saying, “Thou givest testimony of Thyself: Thy testimony is not true.” For indeed witnesses are not wanting to Christ, either in the Old or in the New Testament: if you are willing to accept them. But because charity is wanting to you, and you have not the word of God abiding in you: therefore no authority is able to convince you.

What is there between me and these Jews? what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? Not more than the fellowship that light hath to darkness. Nevertheless while their manifest error is demonstrated: our faith in Thee, Lord Jesus, is the more strongly established. Their foolish questioning is profitable to me, as a warning: but much more profitable unto truth is Thy most sweet response. Thou didst say therefore to them, “I am the light of the world; he that followeth Me, walketh not in darkness: but shall have the light of life.” Willingly I listen to the prophets speaking of Thee: but more sweetly the word from Thy mouth falls upon my ear. Pleasing is the witness of the prophets: but with greater pleasure I receive the witness uttered by Thee. For if the testimony of man is received; the testimony of God is greater, for Thou art the truth, which does not deceive: the wisdom, which knows all things. However, to strengthen our weakness Thou didst use the prophets; who were of advantage to us, not to Thee: as also Thou didst answer certain men. “This voice came not because of Me: but for your sakes.” I rejoice then, most loving Jesus, in all things that the prophets have spoken: I exult also in those which the apostles and evangelists have delivered to us. Of all whom, the faith was one, the spirit one: and the understanding in the greatest accord. For the Holy Ghost filled their hearts: that they might grasp the secret things both of the past and the future. Which when I read or hear; I embrace with all devotion: and am inflamed in the love of Thy name although an unworthy sinner. The sayings of the prophets help me: their visions and heavenly colloquies. The writings of the evangelists profit me: and the physical beholding, hearing and touch of the disciples conversing with Thee. For me they saw who were worthy: for me they heard, that were to narrate: for me they touched, that were to strengthen me in the faith.

In after times the most glorious martyrs give the strongest testimony to Thee. For these not only with the confession of the mouth; but also by the pouring out of their precious blood bore witness: whom neither the bitterness of pain, nor the softness of luxuries, could in any way turn from the true faith.

Saint Stephen, the first martyr, bears this witness. “Behold I see the heavens opened: and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”

Blessed Laurence the martyr, when he was in torments: spake these words, “O Lord Jesus Christ, God of God, have pity on me Thy servant; for charged, I denied not Thy name: questioned I confessed Thee the Lord.”

Blessed Vincent, deacon and great-souled martyr, although he was racked in his whole body: was not however broken in spirit: but with a loud voice boldly cried. “This is the glory of the Christian name. The servant of Christ, I am ready for all things.”

Saint Ignatius, disciple of blessed John the apostle, scourged with leaden thongs, torn with hooks, and given over to living coals, rendered great witness to the faith: and how in his heart love had burned as strong as death: he showed by his fervent answer, saying, “Neither burning fire, nor boiling water: will be able to put out charity in me, Lord Jesus.” O noble martyr: whose constancy moved the Emperor Trajan to admiration: “Which of the Greeks,” he said, “would bear as much for his god?” Ah, how greatly he is worthy to be venerated, and everywhere attended with devout heralding of praise: who amid so many species of torments, we read, never gave over calling upon Thy most sweet name, Lord Jesus. Questioned thereupon he replied, “I HAVE THIS NAME WRITTEN ON MY HEART: and therefore I CANNOT CEASE FROM NAMING IT”; and afterwards, when taken from his body, and divided through the centre: it was found to have JESUS CHRIST inscribed in letters of gold. O good Jesus how lovable and pleasant is Thy name: in the heart of them that love Thee. O how supremely necessary also is the frequent invocation of Thy honied name to me dwelling amid so many divers temptations. Deign therefore, Lord Jesus, to write Thy most sweet name as a perpetual memorial upon my heart; and enkindle it with so mighty a zeal of charity, that neither sad things nor joyous may avail to separate me from Thy love.

The venerable confessors also and doctors, in their actions and teachings, bear many praiseworthy testimonies to Thee. For these are they that set themselves as a wall for the Church: and uttered most vigorous warnings against the guiles of heretics.

Of these is the glorious Jerome priest, the noble doctor Ambrose; the most blessed prelate Augustine, the most sweet Pope Gregory: the venerable Bede, the most devout Bernard, and the others of the same kind, honourable and famous men; strong in deed, eloquent in word, catholic in faith, rich in knowledge, edifying themselves and others most numerous: and leaving their posterity a worthy monument of divine learning.

For said the glorious father Jerome: when, approaching his end, he was about to receive Holy Communion: “Thou art He, Who, although Thou wert the only God before all time and begotten of God the Father without beginning by an eternal and unsearchable generation, didst shut Thyself up made man within the small body of one maiden, that is the glorious Virgin. For thus in the virgin’s womb Thou didst assume human nature: that Thou art neither God without being man, nor man without being God. Thou art truly the life by which every creature liveth: and without which it dies. Thou art the living life sweet and lovable and pleasant. The sweetness of Thine odour refreshes the weak and ailing: whom the taste of Thee renders healthy and most strong.”

Saith the poet-orator Ambrose: “O wondrous condescension of Thy love towards us. O inestimable love of charity: to redeem the slave, Thou hast given up the Son.”

Saith the most learned of doctors Augustine: “Our Redeemer and Creator, the Son of God, existing before the ages, was made the son of man at the end of time; that He, Who had created us by the power of His divinity to enjoy the blessedness of everlasting life: the same by the weakness of our humanity might restore us to recover the life which we lost.” This is that sublime, contemplative Augustine; whose heart the love of Christ had so wounded, that he bore His words in his breast as sharp arrows: who in the beginning of his conversion could not be sated pondering with wondrous sweetness the sublimity of the divine plan, concerning the salvation of the human race. Whence also, inflamed with the desire of divine knowledge, while he sought above himself the immutable truth: he burst forth into this cry of exultation. “O eternal truth, both true love and loved eternity: Thou art my God: to Thee I sigh day and night.”

Saith the most noble Pope Gregory: “The mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, came among men to show a simple example of life to men: He was upright, so that He might crush the evil spirits; He feared God, so that He might overcome pride: He avoided evil, so that He might wash away uncleanness of life in His elect.” The same: “O how great is the mercy of our Creator. We are not worthy slaves: and we are called friends.”

Origen. “The only-begotten Son of God, Who was ineffably born of the Father alone before the ages: now at the approach of the end of time by the will of the Father and the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, came in a human body to the midst of men.”

Isidore. “God seeing that the world, even when warned, would not confess its errors: sent His only begotten Son to take flesh and to appear to men: and heal sinners.”

Pope Leo. “The Son of God enters these weak things of the world, coming down from the heavenly abode, and leaving not the Father’s glory: in a new manner generated by a new birth. In a new manner: because invisible in His own, He was made visible in ours. The incomprehensible willed to be grasped: abiding before time, He commenced to be in time.”

Maximus Bishop. “The Saviour of the world took a time of birth through His mother: Who has no time of birth from the Father. The dweller of Heaven came to the earth: to call the inhabitants of the earth to Heaven. The Word was made flesh, not that God should be emptied into man: but that man should be glorified into God.”

Fulgentius Bishop. “Christ, the Son of God, true God of true God, and one with the Father by nature God: always nourishes the holy angels from Himself: but nevertheless the Son of God took not the nature of an angel. But that God might prove His love in us: His Son took our nature from us: and so the only begotten God, Who is the bread of the angels, that He might make Himself bread also for man: received together both the soul and the flesh of man. He received both real, both holy: both spotless. He took our soul without wickedness; He took our flesh with mortality: that dying therein, He might overcome death. He took a just soul: whereby to restore justice to our souls.”

Chrysostom. “Christ came to take upon Himself our weaknesses, and to bestow upon us His strength: to seek human things, to work divine: to accept insults, to confer dignities: to bear weariness, to restore health. He bore these necessities: that He might be proved a true man by human actions.”

Bede. “The Word was made flesh, that is, God was made man, and dwelt among us; that by the appearance of a man known to us He might be on a level with us in His daily actions, instruct us by His words, show us the way of life by His life, fight for us against the enemy: destroy our death by His death and resurrection.”

Bernard. “The only begotten of God, the sun of justice, as a taper of immense and glorious flame, was lighted to illumine the prison of this world; that every man, who wishes to be enlightened, may approach Him and be united with Him: so that there be no medium between Him and himself.”

The same. “I deem that this was the motive of the invisible God, wherefore He willed to be made visible in the flesh and converse with men; namely that HE MIGHT DRAW ALL THE AFFECTIONS OF CARNAL MEN, WHO WERE UNABLE TO LOVE EXCEPT OF THE FLESH TO THE SAVING LOVE OF HIS FLESH FIRST: and so lead them by degrees to a spiritual love.”

A most noble testimony to Thee also render Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus: who with single devotion cleaved to Thee living in the flesh.

This Mary is the most devout washer of Thy feet; to cleanse which she brought not exterior waters, but the tears of her own contrite heart: to wipe which she loosed her hair; to kiss which she gave her lips: to anoint which she exercised hands and arms. Indeed she turned to uses of piety everything: that formerly she had stained with the vanity of the world. O happy sorrow of this woman: which is immediately followed by the forgiveness of all her sins. For, she who had come fearful: returned in peace, free. She is more just than the Pharisee, more faithful than Simon the leper: for he doubts, she believes; he blames, she reverences and loves. He makes show of a false justice: she everywhere manifests true humility. She is Thy most pleasing and familiar friend; who after many services of kindness: also merited to be the witness, and the first messenger of Thy resurrection.

And Martha her sister, busy about much serving: renders Thee a testimony of perfect faith: “I have believed,” saith she, “that Thou art Christ the Son of God Who art come into this world.” This is that dear hostess of Thine, who with honour often received Thee into her home in Thy bodily presence; but within the home of her mind made ready a more pleasing dwelling-place: where Thou didst spiritually recline in the joyous concord of faith, hope and charity.

Rivalling her perfect faith also a certain woman from the crowd: with sublime voice cried: “Blessed is the womb that bore Thee: and the paps that gave Thee suck.” This woman is recognized to have been possessed of great faith and devotion: who while Scribes and Pharisees blaspheme Thee, with such sincerity confesses the mystery of Thy incarnation.

Witness also to Thee bear the holy virgins: of whom Thou hast deigned to become the spouse and comforter.

Blessed Agatha, a modest maiden and noble of race, said, “My mind is strengthened: and established in Christ.” This is she that went to prison for Thy name most joyously and exultantly. After the torture and the cutting away of her breasts, she sought no earthly remedy; but “I have my Lord Jesus Christ: Who by a word alone restores all things.”

Lucy, a devout maiden, making ready for Thee a pleasing dwelling in her virginity: showed the great force of her faith, saying, “For three years I have sacrificed to the living God: now since nothing is left over: I shall offer myself a living victim in sacrifice to God.” And when she was given over to the fire: she subdued the power of the flame by prayer, saying, “I have asked my Lord Jesus Christ: that this fire have not power over me.”

Agnes, a most blessed maiden, Thy especial and beloved spouse: bears Thee so manifest a testimony: that all that she said seems to have been not a human but a divine utterance. What this noble little virgin pronounced concerning faith and chastity, the love and beauty of her Spouse: surpasses nature and her years: “I,” saith she, “love Christ, into Whose bridal-chamber I have entered: Whose mother is a virgin: Whose Father knows not woman. To Him alone I keep my troth: with all devotedness I commit myself to Him, Whom angels serve: at Whose beauty the sun and moon marvel.” And she gloried, as was entirely befitting, saying, “With His ring my Lord Jesus Christ hath espoused me: and as a spouse He hath adorned me with a crown.”

Cecilia, a most glorious virgin, bearing the gospel words in her breast, and desiring to please Thee only, gave her mind to no amusement or vanity: but intent upon fastings and prayer, sang in her heart, saying, “May my heart and my body be made spotless, O Lord: that I be not shamed.” And questioned of her faith: with great constancy she answered, “We knowing the holy name: are utterly unable to deny it.”

Likewise also the other holy virgins, Catharine, Barbara, Ursula and Christina, constant in faith, fervent in the love of Thee: treading under foot the blandishments of the flesh, loving angelic purity, overcame their sex together with the world: and merited an undying name in Heaven.

The very elements which Thou didst establish: bear witness also to Thee. It was indeed befitting, that the irrational creatures also should acknowledge their Creator: and show forth by wondrous signs Him: Whom they could not announce with words. For to Thee as to its Creator: all creation was bound to pay service. Offering therefore an obedience of unwonted strangeness: by deeds it showed beyond doubt that it knew its Lord. For the heavens knew that Thou art the Lord of the heavens: for they immediately sent forth a star as a sign of Thy birth. The earth knew: for at the voice of Thy cry it rendered up Lazarus four days dead: but also in Thy Passion it was moved and quaked. The sea knew: for it offered a solid road to Thy feet: and made a wondrous path to Thee for Peter. The air knew: for at Thy command at once it ceased from fierce gales. The sun also knew: for at the time of the Passion it withdrew the rays of its light: lest it should behold dying Him, Whom it understood to be the author of its splendour. The rocks and stones knew: since at the same hour they were rent for compassion. The clouds knew: for they received Thee ascending into Heaven. Since therefore all these elements proclaim that their Lord and God is come in the flesh: be not thou, Oman, a rational creature, doubtful or slothful unto confessing the mystery of the incarnation of Christ, wrought chiefly for thy salvation: full of divine miracles, confirmed on all sides by scripture testimonies: lest perchance thou become more insensible than senseless things, or more stolid than the beasts of burden: as against the perfidy of the Jews, the Lord thunders by Isaias, “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel hath not known Me: My people hath not understood.” But now having briefly examined these things, let infinite thanks and praises be to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ: and in Thy name let every knee bow of those that are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth: and let every tongue confess, that Thou art in the glory of God the Father.

"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

HAIL, Lord Jesus Christ, King of the holy angels, Whom all the powers of Heaven obey, Whom the cherubim and seraphim adore, praise, and bless for ever and ever.

Hail, Lord Jesus Christ, true Messias and Saint of saints, sent from the citadel of the Father into this world, Whom all the holy ones from the beginning awaited, Whom the Patriarchs with great longing desired to behold, Whose coming the prophets with divers heraldings chanted. Hail, Lord Jesus Christ, Creator and Redeemer of the human race, Whom the apostles and evangelists preached to the world, and taught to be the true Son of God incarnate for us, slain and risen from the dead; and, resplendent with glorious signs and wonders, they planted the holy Church throughout the world. Hail, Lord Jesus Christ, most mighty warrior, and most faithful helper of the saints, Whom the noble martyrs, despising the pleasures of this world, despising also die sufferings of their own body, have followed in the agony of the blessed Passion, and for the witness of faith with constancy have given themselves up to death. Hail, Lord Jesus Christ, supreme priest and true Pontiff, and eternal shepherd, Whom priests and levites, doctors and confessors have glorified by their life, knowledge and virtues, Whom monks and hermits, going through a hard and straitened life, have loved with whole-souled devotedness. Hail, Lord Jesus Christ, Spouse of virgins, comfort of widows, hope of orphans, refuge of the destitute, relief of the sorrowful, eternal salvation of believers, and most wide gate to all them that come to Thee, Whom with a special beauty of chastity an innumerable band of virgins follow, bearing the spotless halo of their integrity. Hail, Lord Jesus Christ, light of the world, fount of life, paradise of the soul, joy of the heart, giver of grace, restorer of innocence, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God, Whom to know is to live, Whom to serve is to reign, Whom once to have seen is to have learnt all things, on Whom the angels long to gaze, and are sated gazing with ever fresh desire. To Thee be praise, to Thee glory, to Thee giving of thanks, with the Father and the Holy Ghost for ever and ever. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

LORD JESUS CHRIST, true light, eternal and unchangeable, Who to enlighten the darkness of man’s ignorance, didst deign to come down into the prison of this world, to show us the way to the fatherland of everlasting brightness, where with the holy angels Thou art ever present and givest light unfailingly, listen to the prayers of my lowliness, and pour into my heart with gracious generosity that godly light, which Thou didst preach to the world, and command to be preached to all nations through the earth, that I may know Thy way in the land of my pilgrimage, so that leaving the vanity of the world and casting aside the cares of the flesh I may follow Thee my Creator and Redeemer with the steps of love unto the end of my life in all poverty and humility, in patience and longsuffering, in faith, hope and charity, in sobriety, in chastity and perfect obedience. For Thou art the mirror of life and the light of all holiness, Who didst go before me in the way of virtue, that Thou mightest bring me back to the knowledge of truth, enveloped as I was in many errors and sins. Thou didst set Thyself before me as an example of living, so that if I wearied of following any one of Thy saints, at least I might not be slothful to follow Thee my God. And that I might not deem this impossible, Thou didst leave me many thousand examples of saints, who have eagerly followed Thy footsteps.

Give me therefore, most loving Jesus, the fervour of Thy spirit, enkindle in me the fire which Thou camest to send upon earth, that I may despise all these lower things, and desire to live to Thee alone, study to please Thee only, and for Thy love fear not to be contemned and neglected by men. Be Thou my joy, the sweetness of my soul, live with me and I with Thee, shutting out the whole world. Be my teacher and my master, my learning and my wisdom. Following Thee I cannot go astray; looking upon Thee, I will make no account of the words of them that would draw me back. May every toil for Thee seem small to me, every misfortune light, may every burden become bearable. May Thy love work this for me, which helpeth to overcome all things, may also humility of heart follow, which, accomplishing all, deems that it has done nothing worthy. Thou art my expectation and the fulfilment of my desire, Thou my recreation and the enlightenment of my heart, Who never forsakest them that hope in Thee, although Thou suffer them to be tempted for a while, that they may know themselves better and be mindful that without Thee they can do nothing. O only beloved Jesus, abandon me not without consolation in the exile of this world, but do with me as Thou hast said and promised, to go and come again to me in due time, until, when the strife of the trial is over, Thou takest me to Thyself into eternal glory. In which Thou livest and reignest God for all ages of ages. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre


BEHOLD the desired of all nations shall come. Give heed and listen, all ye faithful and devout: to what the books of the prophets say of Christ. For it is becoming now in the so holy time of the Lord’s Advent: to call to mind more particularly the prophecies that concern the incarnation of Jesus Christ. For therefore are the writings of the holy prophets concerning Christ daily cited to us in public: namely that hearing the voice of the fathers who have gone before, the whole affection of our heart may be more and more enkindled in the love of the Word Incarnate. O with what desire the holy patriarchs and prophets burned of old: concerning only the promise of what was to come. It is matter of great shame to us, if now we are inflamed with less desire towards the presence of Christ shown us in the flesh: when they were so ardent towards the memory only of the Word to be made flesh. Abraham, the father of all the faithful, rejoiced that he might see the day of Christ, Who, as he had foreseen in the spirit, would be born of his stock, and he rejoiced with no little joy: because of the certain hope which he had received of the Christ to be born. And so also frequently desired the same many other saints of old, who foreknew this by the spirit; longing for the speedy fulfilment of so great a mystery: while we now rejoice that it is accomplished. Which the Lord showed clearly enough: when present in the flesh He said to His disciples, “Many kings and prophets have desired to see the things that you see: and have not seen them.” Little love therefore he seems to have towards Christ, whoever does not reflect, in the love of his soul, how divine a mystery it is, how great a gift bestowed on man: that Christ willed to be made flesh. However the loving Lord is wont freely to bestow the grace of devotion ON THEM THAT MEDITATE UPON HIM, WHO CAME INTO THIS WORLD TO GIVE BLESSING: FOR CHRIST IS NOT WITHOUT UNCTION: NOR IS JESUS CONTEMPLATED WITHOUT SWEETNESS. Nor can it be doubted that much far-reaching, vast and beautiful matter of holy meditation occurs to earnest minds, which is hidden and remote for the slothful and careless: because they are not worthy to understand the mysteries of Christ: who do not seek them with humility and desire. Hence He Himself saith to the disciples, “To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but to the rest in parables.”

But the love of Jesus mightily draws His lovers to ruminate on the honied words that flow from His mouth, and to ponder His divine works wrought in the flesh: to weigh which worthily, no times or moments suffice. To such it is customary in whatever their needs and concerns to have recourse to their most beloved friend and consoler, Jesus; because He is the source of all graces and virtues: Who by a mere word and one only nod is able to reform all that is ill-ordered. And in divers ways they receive comfort from Him; and sometimes they merit very great illuminings of mind: who thus devotely and HUMBLY fly to Him. And the more intimately they turn themselves towards Him: so much the more sublime raptures of spirit do they enjoy, when visited by Him. Great pains therefore should be taken on these days of devotion, and some wholesome thought from the law or the prophets should be constantly turned over in the heart: concerning the desire of the ancient fathers, concerning the depth of the heavenly mysteries, concerning the revelation of the things to come: but more fully concerning the accomplishment of all the promises.

Frequently also and earnestly must we pray, that our affection may be drawn inwardly to Christ: and the understanding of spiritual things be opened to us with the prophets. For thus shall we be able to make progress in the knowledge, and increase more fully in the virtues of the Son of God: Who for our salvation deigned to be made man. What excuse wilt thou be able to offer, my soul; if thou neglectest to ponder so great a grace? What, I say, wilt thou answer Christ in the time to come; if thou hast not been grateful for the so great benefits, wherewith He has honoured thee in preference to so many peoples and tongues. For how many there have been who have not known Christ: and have not heard of Him, how many also who have despised Him and refused to believe. But to thee it has been given not only to believe and hear: but also to read and understand what things have been written and prophesied concerning Christ. Be thankful therefore to God for the bestowal of such blessings: and diligent in the study of the works of God. Without doubt all is full of spirit and truth; all full of love and sweetness: whatever is written or chanted concerning Christ. There is no lack of matter to exercise devotion: nor of time for sacred meditation. For the books are open, and the discourses of the saints numerous: and all things have been well arranged by the fathers in the celebration of the divine offices. What cause therefore hast thou to say, I am not able to meditate well; seeing that so much has been prepared for the consolation of all the faithful? This winter time also is fully suitable for the exercise of devotion: and for acquiring union with the Lord. For though it be cold: still the fire of internal love cannot be hindered, or extinguished. But the nights also longer than wont, give opportunity for longer praying and chanting: so also the bitterness of the storms, the violence and cold of the winds take away occasion of wandering abroad. For all things appear now to say: let each abide with himself: and busy himself only with Jesus day and night. Let no man therefore go outside the door of his tent, for the season does not suffer: but let him observe the sabbath of the soul: and prepare within himself for the Lord the place of a most beautiful dwelling. For the more the outward senses are restrained and collected; so much the more the spirit is free within: and capable of contemplating things divine. And now there seems to remain nothing more, save the grace and power of the Holy Ghost: without which our life is utterly poor: and all man’s diligence of no avail. But if it be present, it quickly bears away to higher things: and suffices the lover, even if he knows not letters. To him however that knows letters, the Spirit is necessary: for without the spirit the letter is void: as also all prayers are lacking in savour.

Strive therefore after greater devotion in the so holy time of the Advent of the Lord. But especially from that day on which is chanted “O sapientia,” on the feast of the blessed Lucy, virgin: then the heart and soul are to be raised with greater affection towards Christ: for He it is Whom holy mother Church desires to come. For this exclamation betokens the unbounded desire of the holy prophets: as also the affection of every faithful soul longing for the coming of Christ. As if amid her ardent prayers she were to say, “O good most loving Jesus, true and eternal wisdom of the Father, Who didst wonderfully create us: come now and, as Thou hast ordained, even more wonderfully save us, fallen. Come to visit us in the prison of flesh, being born free from the malady of the flesh; that Thy elect may be delivered, whom the weight of sin burdens: and the fear of death heavily oppresses. Come to enlighten the darkness of the world, and purify darkened consciences; so that freed from the chains of sin, we may rejoice in Thy compassion: and raised by Thy grace, be comforted by the hope of good things eternal. Through Thee, Christ Jesus, true light of the soul: born of the Father before the ages. Amen.”
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre


TELL ye the daughter of Sion: behold thy King cometh to thee, meek. Of old God, speaking to the fathers and prophets, sent before many witnesses of His incarnation: and now in almost the same words He proclaims the time of His coming to every faithful soul. “Tell ye,” He saith, “the daughter of Sion,” ye that are spiritual and have the spirit of prophecy; or ye that have read the prophets and know the scriptures: tell ye, I say, the soul awaiting and much desiring My coming; to open the eyes of her faith: and know that I am immediately at hand. For I seek such a soul that longs to see Me: and frequently thinks of Me. Her I bid and bid again to slumber not for weariness: but to awake, arise and await. Let her then also pray and read My letters addressed to her from Heaven: let her look into them often: and until I come refresh herself in them, and comfort herself manfully; nor desist from praying and desiring: for I will surely come and I will not be slack. I lengthened out a truly long period of delay, I willed not to come hastily: but I made go before many and magnificent heralds; often by them I sent word and message in order to arouse desire, and increase the rejoicing over My advent. For when a great monarch approaches any place: he should be received with great eagerness.

“Who therefore eagerly desires Me: he shall the more rejoice in My presence when I come. But who is given over to the world: he cannot desire Me. Who again despises all worldly consolation, and, fleeing from distractions of the heart, recollects himself interiorly, desiring eternal things, rejecting present: he prays to hasten the day of My visitation and the hour of the coming of the Saint of saints, the glorious presence also of the heavenly King, saying, ‘Come, Lord, visit me in peace: that I may joy before Thee with a perfect heart. Come, desire of my heart: light of my eyes and peace. Thou art my hope, the expectation of Israel. In Thee have I hoped, shame me not of my hope: because unto Thee with desire have I lifted up my soul.’ To such a soul desiring thus, and seeking Me from day to day I will speedily appear: and make Myself manifest. For I am the Lord her God: Who have spoken in the prophets. And even till now I speak to all: but nevertheless in a special manner to my faithful friends; and in a very special manner to him who beyond others more eagerly longs for Me: and more reverently desires to receive Me and bring Me into his house. And now I am nigh, saith the Lord; now My time is accomplished: I will not longer delay. I will fulfil the word which I have spoken; I will make good my promise: I will not put off the desire of the soul; what she hath sought shall be, what she hath desired shall come to pass: for I Myself Who speak, behold I am here.” Rejoice and be glad, faithful soul: for the King cometh to thee from Heaven. He is the Lord thy God, thy Creator and Redeemer; long awaited, ardently desired: and now ready to come to thee. “Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold thy King cometh.” Behold the Heaven, whence He cometh forth: behold the world, into which He entereth.

Behold a law of fire in His right hand: in His left riches and glory. Behold round about Him angels and archangels; before Him prophets, near Him apostles: after Him innumerable choirs of saints.

Behold how great is He Who enters: Whom the dominations haste to meet: and all the powers of Heaven serve. Behold He cometh, a compassionate and mild, poor and HUMBLE KING in human nature: Who is to judge the world in justice. BLESSED THE EYES THAT SEE THESE THINGS, and PONDER on the works of the eternal King TO THEIR OWN EDIFICATION; for THEREIN THEY SHALL NOT SEE THE POMP OF THE WORLD: but all humility and meekness shall they find in the coming of so great a King. Blessed all who have eyes of spiritual understanding: and in the light of faith see the light of eternal Truth. This visible world is seen with the eyes of the flesh even by infidels and pagans; but the invisible CREATOR of the world Himself is beheld with the eyes of the mind by ALL the faithful of Christ: WHO LOVE CHRIST FROM THEIR INMOST HEART. For TO BELIEVE in Christ, IS TO BEHOLD HIM WITH THE MIND, and ARDENTLY TO LOVE HIM, IS TO POSSESS HIM. For thus the holy patriarchs and ancient prophets saw him; who foretold His advent long before: and prophesied many things concerning Him.

For the prophets of old were named seers: because Whom others knew not they foresaw: and by their words and writings strove to make known to others who knew not. Thus likewise we also see Christ, who after His incarnation have come to the faith; because all things that we read or hear of Him, we firmly hold in our soul: and confess, praise and proclaim truly foretold by the prophets, and mightily confirmed by the apostles. Blessed therefore the eyes of those who, although they have not seen Christ in the flesh, nevertheless faithfully believe in Him; devoutly venerate, chastely love: and ardently desire to receive Him.

Behold our King comes from Heaven; let us joyously go forth to meet Him: and welcome Him with devout embraces. Let the heavens rejoice, to wit, sublime contemplatives; let the earth exult, to wit, simple ones given to the active life, before the face of the Lord because He cometh: for He comes to save us and to give Himself to us. SHOUT PRAISE, YE MOUNTAINS; and ye learned, distil THE SWEETNESS of the word: and let the hills flow WITH MILK AND HONEY UNTO THE SPIRITUAL COMFORT OF US ALL. Give voice on the trumpet in Sion: let all the torpid be aroused, all the dispersed gathered together into one; let the weak be strengthened, the sad comforted, the sick raised: let all assemble, let each hasten from his place; for a great day in Israel: the holy day of the Lord, the feast day of the eternal King hath arrived. Rejoice, Jerusalem, and make a gathering, all ye faithful that love Jesus Christ, the joy of all that love Him; for He shall not appear in tumult, nor in outward pomp: but in the spirit of gentleness and mildness you shall see Him from within. Let all peoples, tribes and tongues then rejoice and prepare: but do thou, devout soul, daughter of Sion, whose whole aim is fixed upon God, do thou, I say, exult the more. For to thee through the prophet is word sent by the Lord, to thee especially is the message given; thou art called AS A FRIEND BY NAME: that thou mayest hear and see what manner of one is He Who is about to come to thee. Behold thy King, He cometh to thee. Behold thy King: not earthly, not of time, not mortal: but heavenly, eternal, and immortal. Behold He cometh, not to reign in the world; but to save the world: by His blood. Behold thy King, not the king of Romans or Francs: but the King of kings and the Lord of all lords. By Him kings reign in the world: and without Him none shall be crowned in Heaven. He is the King of Heaven: and He cometh not to receive the earth: but to give the kingdom of Heaven. Who is willing to serve Him, him He shall make to reign with Him; and whosoever neglects to obey Him: shall be shut out from His Kingdom. Behold thy King, Whom thou desirest, Whom thou lovest: in Whom thou believest, in Whom thou hopest. He is indeed in general King to all creatures; but to thee in particular by love: as thy own spouse and familiar friend. Thine I say; because for thee He is more fully occupied with care, for thee more watchfully intent; towards thee more lovingly inclined, with thee more closely united: so that thou canst say in truth: “My King and my God.” For from eternity He has loved thee: and now to deliver and save thee, He has come from Heaven from the Royal dwellings. IN WHOM IF THOU WILT GLORY: I KNOW NOT HOW THOU CANST BE SADDENED OR DISCOURAGED. For He is the King and Ruler of all: and what things He hath made with power, He governs with the utmost wisdom: so that deservedly He should be named King and Lord of all: and nevertheless thine by the special favour of His gifts. On Him depend Heaven and earth: and all creation is ruled by His sway. None can resist His power: by His wisdom all things are ordered. His wisdom and power are with Him; and He made all things: and there is no end of His greatness. O how high and immense is He beyond all kings and princes: of Whom the prophet says in the psalm, “But God is our King before ages: He hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth.” Behold He cometh. He cometh not in gold and silver, nor clothed in purple and fine linen; not in caparisoned horses, nor resplendent arms, not in the blare of the bugle and lute: but in lowliness and poverty, in mildness and charity: that He may be loved rather than feared: that He may draw sinners to Him, not drive them away.

But wherefore did He come? He came for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us: that He might redeem whom He knew to be lost. He came because of thy need and faultiness: which was exceedingly manifold and great. He came to free thee from sins: and to cleanse by the outpouring of His precious blood. He came to enlighten thy ignorance: and to show the way of truth. He came to aid thy weakness: and to teach endurance in adversity. He came to call away from desire of earthly things: and to raise to love of heavenly. He came to preach virtue: and to put an end to vice. He came to pour in grace: and to make glad with the sweetness of heavenly consolations. HE CAME TO FILL THEE WITH ALL GOOD THINGS: AND TO DELIVER THEE FROM ALL EVILS. He came to bestow on thee everlasting bliss: and to bear the misery of time for thee. He came to give thee all that is His: and above all gifts to offer Himself to thee to be enjoyed for ever.

For that thou mightest eternally rejoice: He Himself came to accept toil and sorrow. That thou mightest be made rich: He came to be made poor. That thou mightest reign: He came to live in exile. He came, the way to the wanderer; truth to the ignorant, life to the dead: light to the blind, the physician to the sick; the comforter to the desolate, the deliverer to the condemned: the counsellor to the seduced, the saviour to the despairing. Behold wherefore He came: and how much He brought thee by His saving coming. He sent not an angel, nor archangel, nor patriarch, nor prophet; but He came Himself, the King of angels, and the Lord of prophets, to deliver thee: for He is the Lord thy God Who made thee. And indeed all the kings and prophets, who were before Him, could not free anyone from the hand of death, nor bring to eternal life; but this King, most powerful and glorious for ever, shall deliver His people from the hand of death: destroy the chains of hell, and lead His elect into paradise.

O if thou wouldst well understand and carefully observe of what and how great majesty is this King of glory: thou wouldst certainly lift up the gates of thy heart most lovingly, and bring in to thee the King of everlasting glory: for with greatest exultation, with immense honour and solemn preparation it is befitting to receive such and so great a King. For if any earthly king had sent word to thee, or one of his princes, “Tomorrow I will come to thee, prepare me a chamber, I wish to make a stay with thee”; what care wouldst thou have, dost thou think, and what wonder thou wouldst express? Behold now the King of Heaven, speaking by the prophet, sends word to thee, “Be prepared to meet thy God, O Israel: for I will come and I will dwell in the midst of thee.” Therefore to receive this guest, adorn the chamber of thy heart; for He desires not only to come to thee, but also to dwell in thee: and as in a bridal chamber sweetly to repose. Happy the soul that merits the coming into herself of this so great a guest: and Him Whom all creation does not fitly hold, SHE WITH LOVING DESIRES DRAWS INTO THE MOST HIDDEN RECESS; that she may the more blissfully rest within: the less she delights in aught without. Happy indeed, to whom deigns to come the most High King of Heaven, the Lord of kings: not to judge or terrify: but lovingly to visit and console her as one well-known and dear to Him. For the gentle King comes to visit and comfort all them that mourn in Sion: to give peace to them that dwell on earth: to put off severe judgement, to exercise mercy: to grant pardon to sinners, to receive the penitent, to deny grace to none: and finally to bestow everlasting glory on all them that await Him unto salvation. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre


THE light is come into the world. Aid me, I almighty Father, that according to the desire of my heart, as I meditate I on the solemnity of to-day’s festival of Thy most beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, some sweet and devout matter may come to me to bestir my sloth to devotion and giving of thanks. Enlighten my heart with the invisible light of Thy wisdom; Who didst make this most sacred night to shine with the dawn of the true light: and hast ordained that this day be solemnized with festive joys.

For nothing shall be pleasant or joyous to me: unless Thou Thyself first enlighten my mind; so that at rest from all disturbance of vice: it may be rapt in the contemplation of so great a celebration.

Happy festival on which both joy of mind is felt: and the soul invited by Thee is plentifully refreshed with spiritual banquets. For it is no feast to me: save it be in the heart. But indeed it is often celebrated outwardly on that account: that it may be the more joyously and gratefully solemnized within. For outward festivities are an encouragement to internal feasting: and a certain presage of eternal joys.

When therefore my interior man concords well and rejoices with the outward festivity; I seem to have now not a single but a double feast: for what is wrought without, is the more holily possessed within. It is also a double major feast: it is even a solemn. Which things the spiritual and devout soul better understands: that is wont to celebrate such feasts in spirit and in truth. FOR THE SPIRITUAL MAN JUDGES ALL THINGS. And how much one feast of the heart differs from another, and excels by a particular gladness: she, to whom Jesus deigns to come and TO MANIFEST HIMSELF ON THE FESTIVAL, knows well, taught by sweet experience. For He it is of Whom the chief festivals are solemnized: and happy she to whom He comes, and allows Himself to be seen with joy. But I think that the soul is not always drawn to God with one and the same affection of devotion, nor always visited by her Beloved in the same manner. And so, according to the lesser and the more sublime visitations, the diversity of festivals may not inaptly be distinguished; so that now it is a double feast in the soul: when according to the prophet David heart and flesh together rejoice in the living God; when so great a joy is felt poured into the heart, that it is necessary to express the same by exterior voice and gesture: and it becomes delightful to praise God devoutly in hymns and canticles. But then a double major is kept; when so great is the inebriation of the interior man, and the gladness of the exterior sensitive man: that human weakness for the heat of love cannot contain and endure it: but neither by any symbols of words can be expressed: what things the soul, visited by God, experiences wrought within her on such a feast. THEY ARE RATHER TO BE CONCEALED BY SILENCE: if ever any such are granted of God to be experienced.

But she secretly discourses of these things with God alone: Who understands her better in her silence and without words. FOR THEN IT BEHOVES EVERY CREATURE TO BE SILENT: WHEN GOD SPEAKS to a soul above natural understanding. AND THEN IS SHE BEST INSTRUCTED: WHEN THUS HER SPEECH IS WITH GOD ALONE. O teacher, truth: how speedily and perfectly is he imbued, to whom Thou dost manifest Thyself. On this feast the altar pieces are uncovered and the relics of the saints are exposed: for to this loving soul the hidden things of scripture are revealed: and the secrets of the heavenly fatherland, the state of the saints, and the eternal rewards are made known by way of special consolation.

O great and happy feast: whose celebration is granted not to all, but to a few. How far are these holy solemnities from the lovers of the world; who relish only earthly things: and look to outward things alone. To them appears foolish, and almost nothing: whatever is not resplendent with outward glitter. They usually wonder how the good can take leisure in God, and abstain from the pleasures of the flesh; for they know not how great comfort the spirit possesses within, and these experience: who for the love of God renounce all worldly delights. But such men live in ignorance and error: as pursue and love only visible things.

But when is a solemn festival of the soul celebrated? Would there were one to tell me and make me understand: if, however, that can be told which is so sublime and secret: as to be far removed from all previous standard. If ever then the soul resting in rapture of mind, FORGETFUL OF ALL THINGS PRESENT AND LIKEWISE OF HERSELF, abide mindful of God alone, and freed from all corporeal imagery pass into the abyss of the divine light, looking upon eternal things; what man would deny that she is celebrating a solemn feast, who, illumined by the rays of the eternal sun, stands so admirably raised above all things created? All this, however, seems to belong rather to the glory of eternal blessedness: than to the wretchedness of the present life. We possess therefore now rather the name and commemoration of a solemn feast than the real experience: because its perfect brightness is reserved for the saints in Heaven. O festival of festivals: where men and angels gathered together praise God three and one. O how solemnly they chant there, how sweetly they praise; where they have always present: clearly see, and joyously contemplate God. Indeed, from the thought of that rejoicing and perpetual solemnity of Heaven: I find all joyous festivity of the present time become discordant. Therefore towards that solemn and eternal festival, which for its greatness can neither be conceived nor expressed; the whole affection of our devotion should vehemently aspire and be incited: as often as feasts are solemnly celebrated on earth. Whence all our feasts are as it were prefaces to that eternal festivity: rather than to be named true festivals. Here, however, they commence in the light of faith: but there they are all perfected in the light of glory. For there is the praise of the angels, and the most sweet harmony of the holy souls: there in the Creator’s presence all rejoice in unison. But with us it is well: if at any time it is granted to experience a little thereof. Who would not be glad to be present among the hymning choirs of angels; where there is no discord of voices, no relaxing frivolity, no harassing occupation, no pressing need, no corrupting affection, no distracting imagination: no subject of disturbance, no occasion of temptation, no carelessness, no disorder, no toil, no weariness, no fatigue: but sovereign peace and tranquillity, supreme joy and honied sweetness, absolute concord and deifying brightness, full bliss and perfect security? O how brief and trifling is that which here we celebrate: how imperfect and wanting in splendour that which here we solemnize. For as long as we suffer the darkness of our own corruption, as long as we bear a mortal body: we scarcely grasp clearly anything of the light and the boundless spirit of immortality. For our celebration endures barely one night and day: SINCE OUR WEAKNESS CANNOT LONG PERSIST IN DEVOTION. And would that a greater part of the time were spent in spiritual melodies: and less were given to outward celebrations. If the truth be considered, it is clearly evident, that our festivals here are imperfect, however sublime our chant or music; however much interiorly we rejoice or praise: for speedily the present joy is lessened by divers hindrances. However this is not very wonderful, seeing that we are strangers and pilgrims upon earth; and that the whole time of our journeying is suited rather to struggle than to rejoicing: and that the celebration of feasts belongs rather to the citizens of Heaven than to the exile sons of Eve. But lest we be cast down and harassed by our miseries, and become forgetful of the divine blessings: the eternal wisdom of God has provided, and holy mother Church has ordained; that in the desire of the soul each year the festivals of Christ and His saints be solemnized: in order that devotion may be aroused, faith strengthened, charity increased. For so much the more devoutly does one celebrate the feasts, and the more worthily honour God in His saints: the more he makes progress in the spirit, and the more utterly he gives himself to the love of eternity. For therefore came the Light into the world to show us the way to Heaven: to enkindle our heart to the love of Itself, and draw us away from all earthly things; to give us the light of wisdom, and chase away the darkness of ignorance: to make us together with Itself sharers of the kingdom, children of grace, and coheirs of eternal glory. O glorious Light born of the Father: O bright Wisdom of God, brought forth of a virgin this night: grant me devoutly and worthily to tender Thee thanks; grant me to sing aloud to Thy name, reverently bow, humbly kneel, worshipfully adore: and with the holy angels solemnly to chant to Thee, “Glory in the highest.” For praise and honour befit Thee, O Lord; Who didst deign to be incarnate for our salvation. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre


SEEK ye the Lord, while He may be found; call on Him, while He is near. Arise, all ye faithful of Christ: hasten together to this solemnity of the birth of the Lord. For this is the most holy night: on which the Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ, willed to be born of the glorious Virgin Mary. Arise, therefore, all, and watch: prepare ye your hearts and pray. The Lord is come: come and adore. Seek Jesus, and you shall find Him: knock at the door, and it shall be opened to you: enter the house and you shall see. Our King is arrived: Christ is born to us. Come, let us adore and fall down before Him: for He it is Who made us. Come, ye angels and archangels: chant and rejoice and sing psalms. Be glad, ye just in the Lord; sing a hymn to our God: proclaim His works among the nations. God is come in the flesh; He is with us in human nature: Who is never away from us in the divine. Come, little and great: old and aged, youths and maidens; sing to the Lord a new canticle: for he hath wrought wonders this day. LIFT UP YOUR HEARTS WITH YOUR HANDS TO HEAVEN; AND ABOVE ALL REJOICING GIVE GLORY TO HIS PRAISE. The Lord is with us: be not sad. Put on, ye chosen ones of God, the garments of gladness and joy; cast away the works of darkness, and put ye on the armour of light: as in the open day, so let us watch this sacred night. Let us rejoice and exult; let us sing canticles and hymns: let us praise the God our Saviour. Let us offer Him our vows: let us present Him the service of our mouth. The Lord is with us, depart not: weary not; but stand manfully; and sing psalms to Him with cheerfulness.

Who can sleep now; while the angels are singing in the heavens, and the voice of praise resounds on high? Who would remain in his bed; while all rejoice to be with Jesus in gladness? Who would not rise this night with eagerness; when all things seem to be rejoicing? Therefore be glad and rejoice, daughter of Sion, give praise, O Jerusalem: for this day true peace has come down from Heaven, to appease and restore the things that are in Heaven and the things that are on earth. This day the true Light has shone upon the earth: to enlighten every man that believeth in Him. This day there is great joy in Israel: for Christ is born in Bethlehem. This day throughout the world the heavens are flowing with honey; for from the mouth of the learned come forth most sweet discourses: whereby the weak are refreshed, the devout consoled; the ignorant instructed, the slothful aroused: the faithful strengthened, and unbelievers put to shame.

To-day the angels rejoice, the archangels exult: and all the just are in devotion and spiritual joy. To-day night is turned into day and great brightness: for to the righteous of heart a light is risen up in darkness, the merciful and compassionate Lord. Let this night be blessed for ever: and numbered among the days of solemnity. Let them bless it who are wont to bless the day; and praise it all the children of light: for therein is born Christ the Son of God, the Light of eternal light. Let it not be dark; but let it be illumined by a light from above: and throughout the whole Church let many lamps be lighted. Let nothing therein be passed over that concerns its beauty: but let its praise be continued even to the breaking of the rising dawn. And when the day shall have dawned: may the Sun of Justice, Who is born, shine in the hearts of all them that love Him: and may fresh devotion again rise in the hearts of all that celebrate. A holy day has shone upon us to-day: let all the faithful rejoice: for God bespoke of old: “Be light made”: and light was made. O truly blessed night, brightened by the birth of the true Light, and made resplendent with the glory of angels: by whose hymns and praises it is rendered the more joyous for all the faithful throughout the world. O truly most blessed night, more brilliant than all the nights of time: which merited to know the season and the hour: when from the virgin’s womb came forth the Son of God, clothed in the body of our weakness. O sacred and stainless nativity: which the fruitfulness of a virgin brought forth. O fruitfulness above nature; which the purity of a virgin beautified, and the sovereign majesty chose: that man’s mortality might be saved. O blessed and gladsome birth; which has changed the curse of our first parents into blessing: and has turned their grief into everlasting joy. Deservedly is this night worthy of the veneration and love of all men: wherein Christ deigned to be born to deliver all. Blessed therefore be the holy Trinity: by Whose goodness and wisdom the dignity of mankind has been restored, and the cunning of the devil deceived. I bless Thee, heavenly Father: Who didst send Thy beloved Son into the world for our redemption. I bless Thee only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ: Who to redeem us men didst assume our nature. I bless Thee, Holy Ghost, the Paraclete: Who didst gloriously and wondrously perfect all the mysteries of our redemption from the beginning unto the end. To Thee be infinite praise and glory: to Thee be honour and empire, O supreme, eternal Trinity: by Whose providence and ordering so sweet and solemn a festival has come to us. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre


HAVE you seen Him whom my soul loveth? I speak to you, O holy angels: tell me what you know of my Jesus. Where is the Child that is born to us? Show me Him Whom my soul loveth. But if you will not show me: tell me at least by those whom you shall deem meet. I speak to you, O shepherds: tell me what you know of my Jesus. Where is the child that is born to us? What did the angel announce to you? “I bring you tidings,” he said, “of great joy: for this day is born to you a Saviour, Who is Christ the Lord in the city of David.” And what sign did he give you? “Ye shall find the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes,” he said: “and laid in a manger.” And what did the holy angels sing? “Glory to God in the highest,” they sang: and they added, “on earth peace to men of good will.” And after this what did you do? “At once with haste and joy we went over to Bethlehem: and we found Jesus lying in a manger.” O me, what do I hear: how sweet and pleasant is this which I learn. It is enough for me at present. I will go and see this child: before I die. But wait a little while: I will go with you: and we shall all be received together. And do you, all ye angels of God, hasten: and lead me by a quick route to the manger of Christ. Open to me, Joseph and Mary; open the door, my dear ones: that entering His tent, I may adore His sacred feet. All the kings of the earth desired to see Solomon: and to hear his wisdom. And behold here a greater than Solomon. Permit me then to enter: that I may kiss His footstool. For it is He of Whom the prophets foretold; Whom the angels announced: Whom the shepherds visited. It is He Whom I seek, Whom I love: Whom I long to see.

What fearest, my soul? Call, seek, knock: until the door be opened to thee. “Go over to the place of the wonderful tabernacle: even to the house of God.” Approach with trust, and draw nigh to the new-born Child WITH LOVE: for He shall not cast thee off, nor drive thee away: but freely He shall admit thee, and show thee His grace. Fear not the face of Him that wails in the manger: He is lamenting thy sins, not His own pains. He comes to seek thee: not to destroy. He comes to save thee: not to judge. He comes to loose thee: not to bind. He comes to suffer evils: not to inflict. He desires to deliver thee: not to imprison. What fearest thou before the poor little Child? He is God, thou sayest: and in His hand power and empire. It is true. Nevertheless He does not come now to judge: but to forgive sins. He offers mercy: He withholds vengeance. He tenders grace: He puts aside anger. He shows love: He casts out fear. HE DESIRES TO BE LOVED: RATHER THAN TO BE FEARED. Say therefore, “Thou art my Saviour and my Redeemer: O Lord my God, Thou art well come this day. O desirable and most lovable Child: show me Thy mercy: who am not yet fit to see Thy glory. Stretch out to me Thy right hand: who am not able to endure Thy justice. For Thy boundless love’s sake, blot out all my iniquity. I am sick and covered with sores, heal my soul. I am blind and naked: enlighten my darkness: and clothe me with true virtue. I AM WITHERED AND CRIPPLED: WATER MY FACE WITH TEARS, AND DIRECT ALL MY STEPS IN THY PATHS. My heart speaks to Thee, my face seeks Thee; I long to see Thy countenance, Lord Jesus: and with the angels and shepherds devoutly to visit Thee. For Thou art the salvation of my wee and my God: Whom truly I ought to love above all things. None is more beautiful than Thou, none more lovable: none more noble than Thou, none more holy than Thou. Thou art wiser than all the wise: richer than all, greater than all. Thine are the heavens, and Thine is the earth: the sea and all things that are in them. Thine is the day, and Thine is the night, the summer and the spring were formed by Thee; Thou hast ordered all things in certain seasons: Who didst will to be born in the dark night and the winter cold.”

O wondrous and ineffable love of God and my Lord Jesus Christ, wailing in the manger: Whom all the angels in Heaven praise and worship. O what great thanks am I bound to render to the most loving Lord my Saviour and my Redeemer, born for my salvation: Who refused not to be sheltered like a poor miserable man in a stable in the company of beasts. Certainly I have no worthy praise-offering: but nevertheless I FREELY PRESENT THEE A GOOD WILL IN SIGN OF LOVE AND GRATITUDE. What more? Shall I sing with the holy angels: or weep from compassion, thinking on the tears of the wailing infant? Each of these actions gives pleasure, each of these actions affords delight: both to weep with Jesus, and to praise Jesus with the angels. And all this I desire to do to the glory of God; and to humble myself before the eyes of His Majesty: Who humbled Himself even to the form of a little child.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre


O HOW venerable is this place: this is no other but the house of God and the gate of Heaven. Enter, enter, my soul, this poor little domicile of the King: seek hospitality here to-day: here set thy dwelling: abide with Jesus and Mary: and celebrate with them this day’s festival. Do not turn away elsewhere: but stand here to-day: or humbly sit NEAR THE CRIB. It is good for thee to be here: AND MUCH BETTER THAN TO DWELL IN THE GILDED MANSIONS OF KINGS. The dwelling in this little house ought to please thee much, and the society of these three staying here together; for even if the walls offend because of their poverty: the inhabitants nevertheless are exceedingly noble because of their patience and virtue. Here then today thou shalt dwell: here thou shalt abide, here THOU SHALT CONTINUE. But go in further and examine the building of this place more closely: seek and inquire where lies that venerable crib, which holds the Creator of the world: and guards the Child God, the treasure of Heaven, the price of redemption, the joy of angels and men. See how God born man lies bound in a cradle and holds His peace; in what great obscurity and poverty He dwells among strangers: Who with the Father in Heaven is the Giver of all things. Embrace this noble crib with loving arms; and kiss it with repeated kisses: then also humbly cast thyself down at Jesus’ feet. Here worship God: here weep for devotion. Here watch, here pray: here read, here sing. Here chant psalms, here praise: here exult with all thy heart. Tell this Child if thou hast aught sad or burdensome: open out thy desires to Him: and treat of everything with Him. The sweet and lovable Child will teach the meek His ways: and will receive the prayers of the humble. He can heal the sick: make whole the broken of heart, and bind up their wounds: grant pardon to the penitent, and deliver them from all their passions. Give Him thy heart: and beg Him to write thereon His most sweet name. Give Him all that thou hast: and be entirely His from henceforth and for evermore. The eternal and boundless love of Jesus will bring this to pass, that thou abandon thyself: and love Jesus above all things.

See now, my soul, and ponder: what riches are here and glory. I regard not perishable riches, nor joys of the world; but the incarnate Wisdom of God, the child-bearing Virgin: Joseph ministering, and the multitude of angels chanting. Truly the Lord is in this place: and I urge thee by no means depart hence. Where wilt thou find what thou hast here discovered? If thou wert to traverse the whole world, thou wouldst not find such a company: so holy a gathering, so united an assembly. The most holy in heaven and on earth are gathered together here: albeit they are very much neglected by worldlings, and reputed almost as nothing. For in all the world such wonders have not been wrought, nor sights so rare and strange beheld; nor such joyful tidings heard; as in this small shelter, where dwell Joseph and Mary, and the infant Jesus laid in the manger. Here are united God and man, mother and virgin: graybeard and child.

Weigh what means this condescension, such tenderness, such love: such humility, such poverty, such sweetness, such grace: and such overflowing mercy. Turn over all the deeds of old presaging Christ; and see how this day the witnesses of the Scriptures are fulfilled: and THE DEVOUT DESIRES of the holy prophets. Behold also the loving ministrations of the most blessed Virgin Mary; how boundless an exultation is hers with her noble offspring: what a sublime contemplation, to see the Son of God begotten of her, lying before her in the crib. Go over and ponder all in such manner: as if thou wert assisting in person at each. For no less ought to be thy love and devotion in revolving these things which have already taken place: than IF THOU SHOULDST BEHOLD THE SAME THIS DAY ACCOMPLISHED IN THY PRESENCE. Let therefore the holy remembrance abide with thee renewed each year; yea not only once a year shouldst thou be mindful of Jesus, born and laid in the manger: but very often should He have place in thy devotions. Great wisdom is learnt from this Child; great purity and patience: such as should be sufficient to edify thy whole life. Every action of Christ indeed is a lesson to thee: and His every suffering is thy comfort. For He has been made unto thee and all the people, salvation and redemption. He teaches thee rather by His example, than by word: He persuades effectively rather by His own actions; than by the deeds of others. Let therefore the sacred birth of Christ be always fresh to thee: and suffer not so venerable a festivity ever to pass without attentive contemplation. And if outward worship pass away with the season: diligent meditation shall not however pass from the mind. Be not therefore ungrateful to God for this grace, my poor little soul, who hast been so anxiously sought: so compassionately drawn, so lovingly called, so sweetly visited: so fully rejoiced this day. For it is not permitted thee to be sad on the birthday of life: since everywhere it is a day of joy. To thee this day the Infant Jesus is born, to thee a child is given: that with the little thou mayest become little, with the poor poor, with the humble humble, with the patient patient, with the meek sweet and mild. Bow thyself therefore humbly to Him, submit thyself freely: that thus thou mayest merit to exult with Him eternally: Who to gather the little came down from the high dwelling-places of Heaven, Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Gather now in this short space of time: what may serve for thy profit all thy life. How knowest thou whether this may not be thy last festival on earth? And would that thou couldst celebrate it now so devoutly, solemnize it so zealously; that thou mightest conceive a great trust towards Jesus: thereby also at the end of time to merit to pass with Him to the everlasting festival. Doubtless it shall be strictly demanded of thee: how much thou hast conformed thyself to Him in life. While therefore there is still time, and earnest devotion avails, take care that it pass not fruitlessly; but enter into such fellowship with Him: that thou mayest be known among His chosen friends. If it pleased Christ to manifest these things for thy salvation: let it not weary thee intently to meditate thereon. Christ is silent with His mouth: but He speaks in deed. His tongue utters no word: but His tender limbs are eloquent. His lowliness speaks: and His great poverty discourses. The blessed Virgin Mary likewise holds her peace: but the elements are not silent. He lies hid in a manger: but He is made known by an angel. He appears base and abject in the swaddling clothes: but in signs He is proclaimed magnificent. Herod is troubled: but the shepherds seek him. The Scribes and Pharisees disdain: but the three blessed Magi adore Him. Contemplate then in Him not only the great and sublime, but the little also and the lowly; for in each nature He is shown forth the Lord, great and exceedingly to be praised: high above all the angels, and among men the most lowly. Things human are united with the divine, the highest with the lowest; the noble with the base, the glorious with the little: to be venerated together with meet worship by all the faithful. Let not then the swaddling clothes scandalize thee: which preach the humility of the Son of God. Nor let the poor little crib trouble thee: which the King of kings and the Lord of angels hath chosen for Himself. Look not to what is brilliant in the eyes of the flesh: but how great a mystery of salvation is here wrought. LOOK UPON JESUS AND MARY, THE MASTER AND THE MISTRESS OF THE WORLD: that they have no thought for the things of the world. MIGHTY PALACES ARE NOT HERE: BUT HEAVENLY CONSOLATIONS. Here resounds not the clamour of trumpet or lute: but the voices of the heavenly host are heard. Would that thou didst feel thyself to be present in spirit to all this: and couldst not endure to abide elsewhere. The Word of God is now near to thy mouth; if only thou seek with a right heart. For He is found in the lap of His mother: Who before time was in the bosom of the Father. God has become so near to thee, that He can be held as an infant; carried as a babe: for “the Word is made flesh, and has dwelt among us.” Behold Whom all the world cannot contain: He lies as a poor child in a manger. And Who bears all things by the word of His power: He is borne by His mother. Whom the cherubim praise and the seraphim: He is nourished with a little milk. What herein is not wonderful; what not lovable? What more wilt thou have? How could He be nearer and more like to thee? BEHOLD THY BONE AND THY FLESH: THY GOD HAS BECOME THY BROTHER. Who ever saw the like: or who ever heard anything similar? Woe to thee if thou depart from Him: and well is it with thee if thou draw nigh to Him with thy whole heart. Draw near with confidence to the throne of His grace: for although He be poor in material things: in Him nevertheless are hid all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. Make ready then clean lips to kiss; wash thy eyes with tears to see: cleanse thy hands to touch; open thy arms to embrace: humbly bend thy knees to worship. O if thou hadst now a clean cradle, beautifully adorned on all sides with gold and gems: that thou mightest place the God born child therein. But there is no casket so meet and worthy to receive the God babe; as thy own heart purified from all sin. For He DOES NOT SEEK EXTERNAL ORNAMENT: BUT THAT WHICH IS MYSTICALLY SYMBOLIZED BY EXTERIOR ORNAMENT, THIS IS VERY DEAR AND PLEASING TO HIM. But how shalt thou be fit worthily to receive Him? Thou art black and ugly: and He exceedingly beautiful and comely. What wilt thou do? It is not well to retire from His presence: and it is not becoming to approach with unwashed countenance. How shalt thou be made clean, entangled as thou art in many vices? But be not too fearful: nor despair of thy wounds. Be displeased that thou art such: weep over the stains of thy faults, wash away with inward sorrow the guiltiness of thy conscience; and seek of Him the oil of mercy, the free granting of a full remission: and the restoring of fresh grace. Thou shalt not be without hope: although stained exceedingly. This Child can cleanse the unclean, make white the black, appease the tempestuous, sweeten the bitter: lighten the burdensome, and root out all that is vicious: speedily bring joy and peace of heart. He is such that He cannot be defiled: and by His touch diseases are healed, and the weak strengthened. Now therefore prepare for Him from within a beautiful crib; in which to place Jesus, the Son of God.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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