Advent Weekday + 22nd December

Anniversary of the Approval of the Order of Preachers

798 years ago today – on 22nd December 1216 – Pope Honorius III gave Our Holy Father Dominic his approval to establish the Order of Preachers.  Unfortunately, the anniversary is impeded liturgically because of the primacy of these days before Christmas; but we remember in our prayers the Order and all who are associated with it.  May God grant us all his grace and his peace on this the birthday of the Order of Preachers.

The secular and materialistic society in which we live has pretty much hijacked Christmas Day as a day almost exclusively dedicated to children.  It’s designed to be a joyful, happy time for them as they open their many presents and begin to play with their expensive toys.  Adults too want to share their children’s simple pleasures.  We have developed almost a caricature of that attitude in the image of a father who spends more time playing with an electric train set than does his son to whom the present was given.

And yet Christmas is not meant for children any more than it is for adults.  Christmas is meant for those who have faith and humility as Our Lady did.  When Elizabeth praised her cousin for being given the gift of Jesus Christ as her son, Our Lady demonstrated how profound was her faith and how great was her humility: My spirit exults in God my Saviour, because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.

To feel the joy of Christmas we must have the faith to believe that God himself came into our world in the flesh of an infant.   To derive benefit from Christmas, we have to receive Jesus Christ as God’s special gift to us, to open our arms to embrace him, to let him become a part of our lives, as Our Lady did.   We must be humble enough to admit that we need Jesus and that without him we can’t make any sense of our lives or accomplish anything worthwhile.

All the happiness, which should be a part of Christmas, can be ours if we join Our Lady in saying: My spirit exults in God my Saviour, because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.

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