“Contemplating Him, we shall learn that deeds are better than words, that the greater the sacrifices they require, the greater the proof they give of real love. Furthermore, every undertaking must receive its baptism of blood in order to be fruitful.” (Divine Intimacy)
Today, the Octave of Christmas is the day we commemorate the first shedding of the precious blood of our Saviour, at His Circumcision. It is fitting that we start off the year with this commemoration of the first sacrifice of the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is His vivid lesson in humility and obedience, always necessary virtues.
From Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. we read:
The Magnificat antiphon of First Vespers of the Feast sums up perfectly the spirit of this day, ‘For His great love, wherewith He loved us, He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.’ This liturgical solemnity unites to the consideration of God’s immense charity, which illumines and dominates all the feasts of the Christmas cycle, this vision of the Incarnate Son of God in the likeness of sinful man. In order to transform us from sinners into children of God, the only Son of the Father willed to be clothed in human nature, thereby putting on our sinful flesh and submitting to all its most humiliating consequences. The law of circumcision could in no way affect Jesus, the Son of God, the Most Holy One; but Jesus willed to submit to it as the least of the sons of Abraham, for as St. Paul says, ‘It behooved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren … that He might be a propitiation for the sins of the people’ (Heb. 2, 17). The rite … caused the first drops of the Precious Blood to be shed from the immaculate flesh of Jesus. Thus, eight days after His birth, He is beginning His redemptive mission. He has not yet spoken; the world does not yet know Him; but He is already shedding His blood for the salvation of mankind.
Contemplating Him, we shall learn that deeds are better than words, that the greater the sacrifices they require, the greater the proof they give of real love. Furthermore, every undertaking must receive its baptism of blood in order to be fruitful. “
Father reminds us that this first shedding of the Blood of Our Savior marks the beginning of the civil year, consecrating it , making it truly the “year of Our Lord”, since time itself belongs to God. Our life too, belongs to God; it has been redeemed and sanctified by the Blood of Christ.
Quoting St. Ambrose, Father Gabriel points out that circumcision represents purification from sins and that we too, can “become new creatures, purified in the Blood of Christ, vivified and nourished by His grace, so that it may no longer be we who live, but Christ Who lives in us. A new year! A new life! The new year which begins today will acquire value only if lived in this light.”
Today, the first day of this new year of Our Lord, 2019, let us renew our consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who is suffering so greatly in the trials of His Bride, the Church. For today is, in Father Gabriel’s words, “an invitation to us to be docile to God’s will, whatever it may be. … Let us be ready to accept, or rather to embrace with courage and readiness, everything that God wishes or permits, certain that in His holy will we shall find our peace and our sanctification.”
This first shedding of the blood our Infant Savior contains within itself the bitter seed of the Passion and Death of Our Lord, for it is at this time that these two purest and most innocent hearts shared the first searing pain, the sacrifice required of every male of the Chosen People, an inexplicable pain suffered by the Son and shared by the Mother, whose sweet heart was always united to her Son’s Sacred Heart. As Simeon gently, sadly returned the sobbing Infant to His Mother, he saw her silent tears, and sensed the tremendous weight these two would bear. He quickly looked away and caught a glimpse, there, in the shadows, of an enormous Cross looming in the dark corner; there … Ah, was it but a trick of the light? One could not be sure, he thought … these tired old eyes…
By His actions in submitting to the Circumcision, the divine Child Jesus shows us the humble, obedient, sacrificial heart that must be our model for action in this coming year. We note that the action we refer to is not the secular, humanistic activism that is so prevalent today, even among faithful Catholics, but the action which is the fruit of of total union with the will of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In other words, spiritual childhood, modeled on the Divine Infant Himself.
Note: Portions of the above meditation are drawn from “Divine Intimacy” by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. (www.tanbooks.com).
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† Most Precious Blood of Jesus, save us, save our priests
† St. Joseph, chaste spouse of Our Lady, protect our families, protect our priests.
† St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
† Remember, pray the Rosary, and confound the devil!
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculata, Jan 1,2017.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!