Showing posts with label Christmas 2013. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas 2013. Show all posts

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Harry Christophers and The Sixteen Choir - "A Choral Christmas"

Harry Christophers has directed The Sixteen choir and orchestra throughout Europe, America and the Far East gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque and 20th-century music.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis for Christmas Midnight Mass



Saint Peter's Basilica
Wednesday, 25 December 2013

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light (Is 9:1).

This prophecy of Isaiah never ceases to touch us, especially when we hear it proclaimed in the liturgy of Christmas Night. This is not simply an emotional or sentimental matter. It moves us because it states the deep reality of what we are: a people who walk, and all around us – and within us as well – there is darkness and light. In this night, as the spirit of darkness enfolds the world, there takes place anew the event which always amazes and surprises us: the people who walk see a great light. A light which makes us reflect on this mystery: the mystery of walking and seeing.

Walking. This verb makes us reflect on the course of history, that long journey which is the history of salvation, starting with Abraham, our father in faith, whom the Lord called one day to set out, to go forth from his country towards the land which he would show him. From that time on, our identity as believers has been that of a people making its pilgrim way towards the promised land. This history has always been accompanied by the Lord! He is ever faithful to his covenant and to his promises. “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 Jn 1:5). Yet on the part of the people there are times of both light and darkness, fidelity and infidelity, obedience, and rebellion; times of being a pilgrim people and times of being a people adrift.

In our personal history too, there are both bright and dark moments, lights and shadows. If we love God and our brothers and sisters, we walk in the light; but if our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us and around us. “Whoever hates his brother – writes the Apostle John – is in the darkness; he walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 Jn 2:11).

2. On this night, like a burst of brilliant light, there rings out the proclamation of the Apostle: “God's grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race” (Tit 2:11).

The grace which was revealed in our world is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, true man and true God. He has entered our history; he has shared our journey. He came to free us from darkness and to grant us light. In him was revealed the grace, the mercy, and the tender love of the Father: Jesus is Love incarnate. He is not simply a teacher of wisdom, he is not an ideal for which we strive while knowing that we are hopelessly distant from it. He is the meaning of life and history, who has pitched his tent in our midst.

3. The shepherds were the first to see this “tent”, to receive the news of Jesus’ birth. They were the first because they were among the last, the outcast. And they were the first because they were awake, keeping watch in the night, guarding their flocks. Together with them, let us pause before the Child, let us pause in silence. Together with them, let us thank the Lord for having given Jesus to us, and with them let us raise from the depths of our hearts the praises of his fidelity: We bless you, Lord God most high, who lowered yourself for our sake. You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable.

On this night let us share the joy of the Gospel: God loves us, he so loves us that he gave us his Son to be our brother, to be light in our darkness. To us the Lord repeats: “Do not be afraid!” (Lk 2:10). And I too repeat: Do not be afraid! Our Father is patient, he loves us, he gives us Jesus to guide us on the way which leads to the promised land. Jesus is the light who brightens the darkness. He is our peace. Amen.

A Christmas Wish: That You May "Touch Immortal Things"

(The following message is a reprint of our first Christmas post in 2007)

"Adoration of the Magi" by Peter Paul Rubens, 1616-17

"Were Men to Learn the Message

Silence Always Brings,

They’d Learn to Span Earth’s Bridges

To Touch Immortal Things." 

 ~ Sister Elizabeth Loretto Triail, C.S.J.

My dear Friends, 

When I began blogging this past July, I could not have imagined the extraordinary worldwide network of friends and the powerful movement of which I was becoming a part. 

Among all the chatter and noise of the worldwide web, are a conversation and a movement from which I have drawn far more than I have contributed. It is a movement in defense of Truth and Beauty. It rejects what Malcolm Muggeridge called “The Great Liberal Death Wish.” It stands up to the new tyranny threatening Europe and America. It is a great multi-national effort to defend the gates of Christian civilization against the demonic Islamism that would murder us all, and it recognizes, as did Churchill, that victory at all costs is essential, “for without victory there is no survival.” 

This blog draws its name from a speech by the great Churchill because I believe that the crisis facing the West is of the same nature and no less perilous than that which Churchill confronted. We stand at a crossroads where we either “move forward into broad, sunlit uplands” or, if we fail, “the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.” 

T. S. Eliot in “Notes Towards a Definition of Culture” wisely recognizes that “no culture can appear or develop except in relation to a religion.” Eliot also states: “Fortunate the man who, at the right moment, meets the right friend; fortunate also the man who at the right moment meets the right enemy.” Has the West finally encountered the “right enemy,” the enemy that will drive us to our knees and turn our gaze once again to the baby born in a manger who split time into two, the God who “so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting?” 

During this holy season I pray that you and all those who may visit these pages in the months ahead will hear and know the God who speaks to us in silence. May you “touch immortal things” this Christmas, and may God richly bless you and all those you love, now and forever. 
Daniel Cassidy