Our Lady's Song
Sermon preached by Rev. Robert Brucciani at the Chapel of Ss. John Fisher & Thomas More, Herne, Kent on Christmas Day 2020.
Our Lady's Song
My dear brethren,
If we consider the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we can explore the mystery from different vantage points.
Catechism: to remind us of the fall
First, we could look at the Catechism for the bare doctrine of the Church which reminds us of the fall of man.
Why was God the Son made man?
God the Son was made man to redeem us from sin and hell, and to teach us the way to heaven.
This, my dear brethren, is the answer that the penny catechism gives. Of course it is doctrinally correct, but it gives the impression that God entered His creation like medic at the scene of an accident. He was heroic in doing an onerous job; He saved lives, but it was a pretty miserable affair.
Preface of the Nativity: to make us pray
Or we could look at the liturgy which gives a different perspective. It is painted on a broader canvas to lift hearts and minds to prayers of adoration and thanksgiving.
The Preface of the Nativity tells of the entrance of God into His creation that sent a thrill of exhilaration through mankind as they could now know God through their senses:
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, for through the Mystery of the Word made flesh, the new light of Thy glory hath shone upon the eyes of our mind, so that while we acknowledge God in visible form, we may through Him be drawn to the love of things invisible.
And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of Thy glory, evermore saying:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth! Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!
Poetry: to make us love
And finally, there is poetry. Poetry tells the story with devotion: telling the truths of the faith with all their pathos and joy – to inspire love.
Here is a poem written by J.R.R. Tolkein which serves admirably.
Noel by J.R.R. Tolkein (1936)
Grim was the world and grey last night:
The moon and stars were fled,
The hall was dark without song or light,
The fires were fallen dead.
The wind in the trees was like to the sea,
And over the mountains’ teeth
It whistled bitter-cold and free,
As a sword leapt from its sheath.
The lord of snows upreared his head;
His mantle long and pale
Upon the bitter blast was spread
And hung o’er hill and dale.
The world was blind, the boughs were bent,
All ways and paths were wild:
Then the veil of cloud apart was rent,
And here was born a Child.
The ancient dome of heaven sheer
Was pricked with distant light;
A star came shining white and clear
Alone above the night.
In the dale of dark in that hour of birth
One voice on a sudden sang:
Then all the bells in Heaven and Earth
Together at midnight rang.
Mary sang in this world below:
They heard her song arise
O’er mist and over mountain snow
To the walls of Paradise,
And the tongue of many bells was stirred
in Heaven’s towers to ring
When the voice of mortal maid was heard,
That was mother of Heaven’s King.
Glad is the world and fair this night
With stars about its head,
And the hall is filled with laughter and light,
And fires are burning red.
The bells of Paradise now ring
With bells of Christendom,
And Gloria, Gloria we will sing
That God on earth is come.
Do not let this day go to waste
Although Christmas is a busy day, even though it might be quieter this year, do not let the day disappear without a certain time of meditation. The feast today is that of God entering His creation to gather His creatures to Himself. Let this day not be without fruit.
Consider the doctrine, pray the Mass and perhaps you could meditate upon the song that Our Lady might have sung with Babe in arms which made heaven’s bells ring.
I wish you every grace this Christmas.