Christmas Eve Reflection during Vespers 2017


The theme of my reflection, on this Christmas Eve night, is ‘ Peace’. The Order has just established the month of December as the month designated for all its members to pray for world peace and each year the whole Order will focus on praying for peace in a particular area of the world. This year the focus is on Colombia, South America, -that the peace agreement signed in 2016 will become a reality there. Conscious also of the lack of inner peace in ourselves at times  and in people in general, I was led to ponder the title given to Jesus before his birth, that of Prince of Peace,  in the book of the prophet Isaiah, which will be read tonight at Mass:

For there is a child born for us,

a son given to us

and dominion is laid on his shoulders;

and this is the name they give him:

Wonder – Counsellor, Mighty –God,

Eternal- Father, Prince-of –Peace.

Wide is his dominion

In a peace that has no end.( Is. 9: 5-6 )

We long so much for this peace that ‘has no end’. We long for it for ourselves, our families, our communities, our friends and for the world at large. We want Isaiah’s prophecy, which says;

For all the footgear of battle,

every cloak rolled in blood,

is burnt,

and consumed by fire

– we want that to be realised now, without further delay. The Gospel tonight further reinforces this message of peace when it says:

And  suddenly with the angel there was a great throng of the heavenly host,

praising God and singing:

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to

men who enjoy his favour’

This theme of peace abounds everywhere in the Christmas Liturgy tonight and tomorrow. In the entrance antiphon, Jesus is […]

Happy Christmas to all our readers

We wish all our readers of this blog the peace and joy of Christmas Christmas reflection “God sent His Son born of a woman to enable us to be adopted as sons” – can we ever grasp the depth of this mystery which we celebrate tonight? Eternity will not be long enough to plumb its depths.I would like to reflect a little on Mary’s role in this mystery of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word of God.  “She is the one who opened her heart to faith and her bosom to her Maker” as we read in St Bernard during the week.  She put her young life at the disposal of her Creator – and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  But Mary’s role did not end there – she continued to ponder the Word in her heart and accompanied her Son to the foot of the Cross where she received another mission from His dying lips: “Mother, behold your son!” Yes Mary is to continue to bring forth Christ in all those entrusted to her until the end of time.St Paul wrote to the Galatians: “My children, I am going through the pain of giving birth to you all over again, until Christ is formed in you – how I wish I could be there with you at this moment and find the right way of talking to you.” (Gal 4:19).  How these words can be applied to Mary – our gentle mother who longs to see Christ coming to birth in each of her children.  But like her Son she will not force herself on us – she waits patiently for our free response.  She knows from her own […]

By |December 24th, 2013|Liturgy|0 Comments

Happy Christmas

    “God made Himself small so that we could understand Him, welcome Him and love Him” Pope Benedict XVI We send all our readers our greetings and best wishes for Christmas and the coming New Year.  Remembering you in our prayer. Christmas Reflection “The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light;on those who live in a land of deep shadowa light has shone…….For there is a child born for usa son given to us”  (Isaiah Ch 9).This theme of ‘light dispelling darkness’ is like a silver thread woven into the Advent and Christmas liturgies.  As we look around our world we become aware of a great darkness – a lack of faith and hope as is evidenced by the violence and corruption, poverty and hunger, sickness and suicides – so many people wandering aimlessly searching for happiness which always eludes them.  No doubt we need go no further than our own heart to become aware of the darkness – after all the heart is the battleground between darkness and the light and to the extent that the light triumphs in the hearts of individual men and women there will be light in our world at large.Tonight we celebrate the breaking onto our world of darkness of a Light which is eternal as we sing at the Day Mass “Today a great light has shone down upon the earth.” The “glory of the Lord” shone around the shepherds when the angel brought them “news of great joy – a joy to be share with all the people” Our God who is Love and who lives in “inaccessible light” has broken into our world – the Word who is the “radiant light of the God’s glory” (Heb 1:3) has […]

By |December 25th, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

Happy Christmas

We wish all our readers the peace and joy which our Saviour brings during the Christmas season and throughout the coming New Year. We remember all of you and your loved ones in our prayers and ask to be remembered in yours.

By |December 25th, 2011|Catholic|0 Comments

Christmas Reflection

Below is the text of a Christmas reflection given by one of our sisters.(If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below). “With the Lord there is unfailing love; great is His power to set us free” – Vespers II of Christmas. The human heart longs for freedom – it is boundless in its aspirations for we were made in the image and likeness of God and are destined to live eternally with Him in love. He has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Him. (cf Confessions of St Augustine). A glance at our newspapers or TV news demonstrates this restlessness – this past year has witnessed the eruption of violence in many parts of our world – all seeking freedom of one sort or another. Left to ourselves, we humans, seek freedom apart from God and in the wrong places. Adam and Eve wanted to be like God – yet through fear, they hid from God. I have been very struck by the frequency of this theme of ‘freedom’ in our Advent liturgy – where we cry out to the Lord in such phrases as: “come and set us free”; Lord may your Son bring us freedom”; Come Lord, make no delay! Release your people from their bonds”. This theme of freedom resonates with the vision of monastic life as being “free for God alone”. Freedom always implies a ‘freedom from something’ and a ‘freedom for something’. We have a good example in the Book of Exodus: Moses asked Pharaoh to set the people free so that they could go to the desert to […]

By |December 25th, 2011|Liturgy|1 Comment

1st January: Octave Day of Christmas

Arms outstreched to save. This image of the babe in the crib with arms outstretched to save has been with me all week. “You shall call his name Jesus because He is the one to save his people from their sins”. All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. What an extraordinary definition of sin and its consequences- a falling short of the glory of God.All of us have sinned. And what is God’s response to our rejection of Him? Is it as we would expect one of criticism, of judgment, of condemnation, of banishment, of exclusion? No, rather wonder of wonders, God’s response to our disobedience is one of concern, concern for us. He doesn’t want us to be deprived of the happiness union of life with Him would bring us.Because of our sin we have forfeited the glory God had destined for us. Our sin excludes us from participating in the fullness of the Divine Love. And so that we who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God could regain access to that glory, God sent his Son in a mortal nature like ours to do away with sin by nailing it to the Cross in His very person, thereby enabling us to be adopted as children of God.How much love is contained in God’s decision to become Man. What depth of yearning for us to participate in his divine life provoked such a drastic solution. The All Holy, All powerful unseen God, Creator of the heavens and the Earth and all they contain sends his Son, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity to take flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary and […]

Feast of the Holy Family

Sunday within Octave of Christmas Mass Readings – Cycle A1st Reading – Eccles 3:2-6;12-142nd Reading – Col 3:12-21Gospel Mt 2:13-15;19-23 “Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you”.Who better than Mary and Joseph, who made a home for the Incarnate Word, can teach us to welcome Jesus into our hearts and homes?Mary and Joseph belonged heart and mind to those who waited expectantly to welcome the Messiah, belonged to the holy remnant foretold by the prophets.”I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord: the remnant of Israel.They shall do no wrong, and speak no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue.On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem : Fear not, O Sion, be not discouraged! The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty Saviour; He will rejoice over you with gladness and renew you in his love. He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals. Mary and Joseph were imbued with this generous spirit, totally open to the work of God on the nothingness of their being totally trusting and surrendered to God’s plan.’Get up and take the Child and his Mother… So Joseph got up’. Twice, we are given these words in the short passage from the Gospel. Who can doubt that Jesus mirrored the virtues taught at home – He went down to Nazareth and lived under their authority. Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature and in favour with God and men. The reading from Ecclesiaticus also describes the obedient […]

By |December 29th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

A Christmas Reflection

A short reflection given by one of our sisters for the First Vespers of Christmas.We have just sung the antiphon: “The Word of God born of the Father before time began, humbled himself today for us and became man”. Again at 2nd Vespers we will sing: “The Word was God in the beginning and before all time, today he is born for us, the Saviour of the world”.I would like to focus on the word ‘today’ which occurs so often in our Christmas liturgy. In our celebration of this wonderful feast of Christmas God’s eternal unchanging day breaks into our temporal day and we are caught up in the mystery of God. The Father eternally begets the Son in an act of total self-emptying love while the Son eternally receives His entire being in an act of total self-surrendering love, totally pouring himself out in response to the total love of the Father. This eternal generation takes place in the bond of loving union who is Himself the Person of the Holy Spirit. This is the mystery, which breaks into our world of time in the human birth of the Word of God. The kenosis, the self-emptying that takes place in the Incarnation of the Word, which will eventually lead to Calvary, mirrors the eternal self-emptying love at the heart of the Trinity.Eckhart reminds us that Christ’s birth in Bethlehem is of no avail if he is not born in us today – so we can say ‘today Christ is born in me as my Saviour’. All He needs is a welcoming, open heart like Mary’s and an empty space which does not need to be perfect – just […]

By |December 25th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

December 24th/25th – CHRISTMAS

On Christmas Eve we began the Divine Office with the antiphon Know today that the Lord will come: in the morning your will see his gloryWouldn’t it be wonderful if we could live each day with the conviction that yes, the Lord will come – that He will come is as sure as the dawn! During the past four weeks of Advent we have been waiting for His coming and we have reflected on His three comings:1) His coming at the end of time2) His coming on the first Christmas at Bethlehem3) His coming in grace to each individualWhile we remember and celebrate His coming on the first Christmas night when the angels brought the shepherds “the news of great joy that today a Saviour has been born” we can also look on our celebration of Christmas as a foretaste of that moment when that same Saviour will bring us through the gates of death to eternal life and then we shall see His glory! what our joy will be on that day we will never grasp until we experience it! Therefore each celebration of the Christmas mystery deepens our joy and our hope and unites us with our loved ones who have gone before us and who await us to share in the great banquet of our heavenly home.We wish all our readers a grace-filled Christmas.The following is a reflection given by one of the our sisters at First Vespers of Christmas which we would like to share with youREFLECTION This year marked the 30th Anniversary of Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s death. He was given this title “The World’s Preacher” because he had an audience of millions for his T.V. shows and […]

By |December 24th, 2009|Liturgy|1 Comment

Preparing for Christmas

Although the Novena for Christmas began yesterday, according to the liturgy the immediate preparation for Christmas begins today the 17th December.The Daily Office begins with the invitatory antiphon: “The Lord is at hand: come let us adore Him” which is re-echoes in the Benedictus antiphon: “Know that the kingdom of God is at hand; be sure that he will not delay”At Vespers today and during the coming days we sing the great ‘O Antiphons’ – each antiphon begins by addressing Christ the Word Incarnate by a messianic title – remembering God’s presence and promises throughout the Old Testament the Church prays that He may come to save His people now. In our community we usually sing these antiphons in Gregorian chant as the music expresses very beautifully the prayer and cry of the human heart to its Creator.We hope to post here a short reflection on each of these ‘O Antiphons’ in the coming days.O WISDOMO Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High. You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong yet gentle manner. O come and teach us the way of truthWe are immediately reminded of the wonderful passages in the Old Testament which speak of Wisdom – there we read of Wisdom as proceeding from God, as being begotten by Him, as being the beloved who at the beginning stood beside Him, assisting at the creation – “ever at play in His Presence and delighting to be with the children of men.”These passages concerning Wisdom can be applied to the Word who in the fullness of time took on our human nature and pitched His tent among us.While in the Old Testament […]

By |December 16th, 2009|Liturgy|0 Comments