Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Voices of the Christmas Liturgies - II

At the Mass at Dawn

Entrance Antiphon

Today a light will shine upon us, for the Lord is born for us; 
and he will be called Wondrous God,;
Prince of peace, Father of future ages:
and his reign will be without end.
  • Dawn, with its morning light is breaking over our long Winter night. But as we make our way to this mass, it is a heavenly light lighting our way. The voices of the shepherds of long ago echo in our hearts; 
When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 

  • Seeing is believing on Christmas Day. As you approach this sacred liturgy, ask that your heart will be filled with that excitement which filled the hearts of the Christmas shepherds.
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that, as we are bathed in the new radiance of your incarnate Word,
the light of faith, which illumines our minds,
may also shine through in our deeds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

  • That the light of faith, which illumines our minds, may also shine through in our deeds. When we leave this Mass today, this world will be the same. What will have been changed is out minds, the way we see the world and our place in it. This prayer will now define me:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

Prayer over the Offerings
May our offerings be worthy, we pray, O Lord,
of the mysteries of the Nativity this day,
that, just as Christ was born a man and also shone forth as God,
so these earthly gifts may confer on us what is divine.
Through Christ our Lord.

  • The exchange of gifts is a customary practice for Christmas. It is never truer than here at mass. We bring gifts of bread and wine from our tables at home and we leave this communion table with "what is divine" in our hands.

Preface II
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.
For on the feast of this awe-filled mystery,
though invisible in his own divine nature,
he has appeared visibly in ours;
and begotten before all ages,
he has begun to exist in time;
so that, raising up in himself all that was cast down,
he might restore unity to all creation
and call straying humanity back to the heavenly Kingdom.

  • These words capture for us the true meaning Christmas story. As you see and read the more classic Christmas stories, recall how they all have these words as their inspiration. 

Prayer After Communion
Grant us, Lord, as we honor with joyful devotion
the Nativity of your Son,
that we may come to know with fullness of faith
the hidden depths of this mystery
and to love them ever more and more.
Through Christ our Lord.

  • As the mass ends, from the gospel reading, we have two models to take with us and imitate
  • Mary - "Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." Christmas may be over tonight in societies practice but for us we keep alive all that we have experienced this day, "reflecting" and learning more and more "the hidden depths of this mystery."
  • The Shepherds -  "Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them." As a suggestion, consider reading the Nativity gospel as a prelude to grace at your Christmas dinner.

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