It is still Christmas. That is, we are in the Octave of Christmas. Holy Church stops her counting of time for a bit so that we can rest with the mystery of the Incarnation and contemplate it from various angles. Consider a trip to, say, Florence and the hall where Michelangelo’s great David is. You would not just walk in straight at it, blink, and then walk out. Instead, you would gaze and then walk around it to see it from different views. If that is how one views that statue, how much more fitting is it to contemplate the Christmas mysteries in a patient way?
That said, for years in my explanations of the Latin of the prayers of Holy Mass in both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Form, both in print and on this blog, I underscored that subtexts in the vocabulary add additional levels to the texts. For example, sometimes the vocabulary smacks of Neoplatonic thought, sometimes is redolent of agricultural or mercantile or nautical images. Fairly often the vocabulary is strongly military, which seems appropriate for us of the Church Militant.
Appropos the military dimension, I direct the readership’s attention to a piece for Christmas written by my friend Msgr. Charles Pope. HERE He writes about the spiritual war in which the Birth of the Savior played a critical role.
We are at war. The Enemy is relentlessly working for our destruction. We are soldiers on a march.
Msgr. Pope wrote:
Sorry for such a non-traditional message. But something tells me that we Catholics who remain in the midst of the current culture wars have to regain a deeper sense of what was really going that Christmas, and this one too. For the danger is that we have become too nice for our own good and that we fail to recognize the battle to which we are summoned and which was engaged that first Christmas. Jesus the King of the Universe entered the territory of the “prince of this world” and began to take back territory from him.
And while the more paradoxical victory of the Cross cannot be forgotten, neither can the daring raid of Christmas night where the Lord advances against the foes, takes back territory, and inflicts on him the most serious blows. In the wailing of an infant can be heard a great war cry: “The long night of sin is over, the Light begins to shine, Arise O sleeper and Christ will give you light.”
Read the rest there.
I like the image: The cry of the newly born King is a great war cry! The Babe of Bethlehem stretches out His arms for warmth and issues a call to arms.
We all have a role to play in this war. God called each of us into being at a place and time that He determined before the creation of the universe. He knows you and wants you to do something.
So, get your head straight about who you are and who you ought to be. Wake up. Line up behind the banner of our King and Captain. Get to it.
And, of course…
GO TO CONFESSION.