On this holy Vigil of the Birth of the Son of God, we consider meditations appropriate for this day. After reading the Scriptures and the Catechism, we will read from Dom Guaranger’s writings, hear the wisdom of Pope Pius XII, learn of the tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes this day, and more.Preview This Lesson
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The Nativity with the Holy Trinity
by Giambattista Pittoni, 1740
INTROIT Ex. 16:6-7 This day you shall know that the Lord will come and save us; and in the morning you shall see His glory.Ps. 23:1. The earth and its fullness is the Lord's; the world and all those who dwell therein. V. Glory be …
To begin, we have adapted from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger the following meditation appropriate for Christmas Eve, the Vigil of the Nativity of our Lord. We begin:
“At length,” says St. Peter Damian in his sermon for this holy eve, “we have come from the stormy sea into the tranquil port; hitherto it was the promise, now it is the prize; hitherto labor, now rest; hitherto despair, now hope; hitherto the way, now our home. The heralds of the divine promise came to us; but they gave us nothing but rich promises. Hence our psalmist himself grew wearied and slept, and, with a seemingly reproachful tone, thus sings his lamentation to God: ‘But thou hast rejected and despised us; Thou hast deferred the coming of Thy Christ’ (Ps. 138).
At another time he assumes a tone of command and thus prays: ‘O Thou that sittest upon the Cherubim, show Thyself!” (Ps. 129) Seated on Thy high throne, with myriads of adoring angels around Thee, look down upon the children of men, who are victims of that sin, which was committed indeed by Adam, but permitted by Thy justice. Remember what my substance is (Ps. 138); Thou didst make it to the likeness of Thine own; for though every living man is vanity, yet inasmuch as he is made to Thy image, he is not a passing vanity (Ps. 38). Rend Thy heavens and come down, and turn the eyes of Thy mercy upon us Thy miserable supplicants, and forget us not unto the end!
This holy eve is, indeed, a day of grace and hope, and we ought to spend it in spiritual joy. The Church, contrary to Her general practice, prescribes that if Christmas Eve fall on a Sunday, the Office and the Mass of the Vigil should take precedence over the Office and Mass of the 4th Sunday of Advent. How solemn, then, in the eyes of the Church, are these few hours, which separate us from the great Feast! On all other Feasts, no matter how great they may be, the solemnity begins no earlier then First Vespers, and until then the Church restrains Her joy, and celebrates the Divine Office and Mass of most vigils according to the Lenten rite. Christmas, on the contrary, seems to begin with the Vigil; and one would suppose that this morning’s Lauds were the opening of the Feast; for the solemn intonation o... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
Vigil of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas Eve) is part of the following course(s):