“Light dawns for the just; and gladness, for the upright of heart” (Psalm 97:11)
On This Date…
Ruins of Chapel of Saint John the Baptist
On December 25, 1121 Saint Norbert and about forty companions professed religious vows in the chapel of Saint John the Baptist in Premontre, France, and so was born the Norbertine Order. According to a biography of Saint Norbert, “By the profession of this Rule (of Saint Augustine), on Christmas Day, one by one they voluntarily enrolled themselves into that city of blessed eternity.”
On December 25, 2016 the Jewish People observe the first day of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, lighting a candle on each of the eight days of the celebration, recalling the re-dedication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in December 164 BC.
The last time Hanukkah began on Christmas was in 1978 and the next time will be in 2027. At Mass today we prayed from the Hebrew Scriptures, “Light dawns for the just; and gladness, for the upright of heart”. The Feasts of Hanukkah and Christmas bring us light and joy and the promise of “blessed eternity.”
On This Date… On December 21, 1620 the Mayflower landed at Plymouth, MA. The 105 pilgrims were actually called Puritans; they were a reform movement of the Church of England which sought to purify their religion of any traces of Roman Catholicism. They did not use Christmas cribs, Christmas trees, decorations, and gift giving. Some colonies even banned the celebration of Christmas.
In our day Christians are more united in preparing for the celebration of Christmas. On this darkest day of the year (Winter began at 5:44 AM today) we sang three times at the abbey, “Come, O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death” – a good prayer for all pilgrims.
“Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty if we are strong” (Psalm 90:10)
On This Date…
On December 17, 1936 Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to Italian immigrant parents. He was the oldest of five children. He studied chemistry in college. After college he entered the Jesuit Order and was ordained a priest on December 13, 1969. He was serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires when he was elected on March 13, 2013 as the 266th pope, taking the name “Francis” in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi.
The Psalmist wrote, “Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty if we are strong”. At Evening Prayer this evening we sang, “Wisdom, O Holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care.” At age 80 Pope Francis guides the Church with strong yet tender care.