I wish all of you a most Blessed Christmas and New Year! Christmas celebrates the Eternal Son of God taking to Himself our human nature. How precious that is to us! Without this astounding condescension of God to our level, we would not have the Eucharist; and without the Eucharist, what would be sustaining the world? Where would we be finding our strength? How would any of the other Sacraments be empowered?
Regarding the New Year, remember that all time belongs to Jesus, since all creation happened through Him and for Him. All time belongs to Him. On New Year's Eve we will have the opportunity for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the parish to pray in the new year. On the last day of the year (so anytime on New Year's Eve day) the Church grants a plenary indulgence to anybody who prays the Te Deum (“You, O God”), an ancient high hymn of praise. [Normal requirements for obtaining a plenary indulgence of course apply.] I love the sentiments of praise in this hymn. Somehow, growing up, I never realized I was supposed to praise God this way. That's what we do in Holy Mass, right? And then we should do it during our personal prayer times. I just didn't get it. Here's the prayer:
O God, we praise you, and acknowledge you to be the supreme Lord. Everlasting Father, all the earth worships you. All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers, All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to you: Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of Hosts! Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of your glory. The glorious choir of the Apostles, The wonderful company of Prophets, The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise you. Holy Church throughout the world acknowledges you: The Father of infinite Majesty; Your adorable, true and only Son; Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. O Christ, you are the King of glory! You are the everlasting Son of the Father. When you took it upon yourself to deliver man, You did not disdain the Virgin’s womb. Having overcome the sting of death, you opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers. You sit at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father. We believe that you will come to be our Judge. We, therefore, beg you to help your servants whom you have redeemed with your Precious Blood. Let them be numbered with your Saints in everlasting glory. Save your people, O Lord, and bless your inheritance! Govern them, and raise them up forever. Every day we thank you. And we praise your Name forever; yes, forever and ever. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us. Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in you. O Lord, in you I have put my trust; let me never be put to shame.
Then on New Year's Day itself, another prayer comes with a plenary indulgence – the Veni Creator (“Come, Creator ”):
Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest, And in our souls take up your rest; Come with your grace and heavenly aid To fill the hearts which you have made. O Comforter, to you we cry, O heavenly gift of God Most High, O fount of life and fire of love, And sweet anointing from above. You in your sevenfold gifts are known; You, finger of God’s hand we own; You, promise of the Father, you Who do the tongue with power imbue. Kindle our senses from above, And make our hearts o’erflow with love; With patience firm and virtue high The weakness of our flesh supply. Far from us drive the foe we dread, And grant us your peace instead; So shall we not, with you for guide, Turn from the path of life aside. Oh, may your grace on us bestow The Father and the Son to know; And you, through endless times confessed, Of both the eternal Spirit blest. Now to the Father and the Son, Who rose from death, be glory given, With you, O holy Comforter, Henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen.
Have a Blessed Christmas and New Year!
In cordibus Iesu, Mariae et Iosephus,