Warmest season’s greetings to you and your loved ones.
Have you noticed how our Faith is supporting our journey towards holiness with the many memorials in its December calendar?
For example, at the outset of the month there are four days dedicated to our Blessed Mother, two of which I’m particularly fond of.
On December 8th we venerate her under the title of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the pristine vessel that bore Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Like him and unlike any other creature in all of time – past, present, or future, the Virgin Mary is conceived without the stain of original sin. Hence, she is the chosen instrument to receive her Redeemer Son into this world.
Another important memorial to her occurs on December 12. The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe recalls her appearance in 1531 to a humble Aztec farmer, Juan Diego, who we also memorialize in December. This apparition led to the conversion to the Christian faith of some 9 million men and woman over a nine year period since her apparition!
This celebration is significant for us who defend life. The tilma or cloak which Juan Diego wore bears the very image of the Virgin Mother who appeared to him - a very beautiful Mary, full of gentleness. She appears three months pregnant, a not insignificant detail affirming the importance of unborn children as well as the defense of human life.
Next is the most significant memorial in December: Christmas.
Though being in the form of God,
(Jesus) did not count equality with God something to be grasped.
But he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave, become as human beings are;
and being in every way like a human being,
(Phil. 2: 6-11, The New Jerusalem Bible)
On December 25th we celebrate the timeless celebration of Our Lord’s coming into embodiment, beginning his redeeming mission for mankind.
The Holy Innocents
A last memorial to note occurs on December 28th, the feast of the Holy Innocents, another not insignificant feast for those defending life.
The temporal ruler at the time of Jesus’ birth, King Herod, was of the jealous ilk, having done away with his rivals, his wife, and his own children to secure his power. Hence, word of the birth of the Messiah of the Jewish people had a predictable similar result, as he saw him as a usurper of his throne, not understanding that Christ’s kingdom was of another realm - the spiritual realm.
Herod’s misplaced passions drove him to order the killing of all male infants up to the age of two in Bethlehem and its surrounding region, which the evangelist Matthew links with the prophecy of Jeremiah: “A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning: Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be confronted, because they are not.”
The Ethiopians in their liturgy, as well as the Greeks in their calendar, count fourteen thousand children massacred on this occasion.
These innocent victims epitomize all innocent lives violently lost, particularly those in the mother’s womb.
Thank you for your on-going assistance to help us continue this work to protect the most innocent members of our society, thereby helping to further our Lord’s mission of redemption here on Earth.
Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed trip journey to holiness and a most merry Christmas.