Christmas

Heart’s Protection

Heart’s Protection posted in Eleison Comments on December 22, 2018

Here is a precious account of how Christmas may have protected the Immaculate Heart of Mary from being overcome by her intimate participation in the Passion of her divine Son –

“The ecstatic bliss of my giving birth came over me like the essence of a flower, enclosed in the living vase of my heart, for the rest of my life. An indescribable joy. Human, and superhuman. Perfect joy.

“When my heart was pierced every evening of my Son’s life with the painful reminder, ‘One day less of waiting, one day closer to Calvary,’ and when my soul was smothered in pain as though a wave of torture had swept over it, being a wave in advance from the flood of torment that overwhelmed me on Golgotha, I would in spirit lean over the memory of the bliss of Holy Night that had remained alive in my heart, like one would lean over a narrow mountain gorge to listen to the echo of a song of love, or to see in the distance the home of one’s joy.

“That was my strength through life, especially in the hour of my mystic death at the foot of the Cross. God was punishing the two of us, me and my gentle Son, for the sins of a whole world, but in order not to tell Him that the punishment was too terrible and that the hand of His Justice was being laid too heavily upon us, I was obliged, through the veil of the bitterest tears that ever woman wept, to fasten my heart on that Holy Night, that memory of light, of bliss, of holiness, which rose up before me on Golgotha as a comforting vision from inside my heart to tell me how much God had loved me – the vision had come to me there on its own without waiting for me to seek it out, because it was a holy joy and everything holy is infused with love, and love gives life even to things seemingly lifeless.

“Here is what we need to do when God strikes –

* Recall the times when God gave us joy, so that we can say even amid the torment, “Thank you, God. You are good to me.”

* Accept to be comforted by remembering a gift from the past, to strengthen us in moments of present suffering, when we are crushed to the point of despair, like plants being crushed in a storm, so that we will not despair of the goodness of God.

* Make sure that our joys are of God, in other words not just human joys of our own choosing and all too easily not of God, as is everything we do if it is disconnected from God, from His divine Law and Will. We must look for joy from God alone.

* Keep in mind God’s Law and Will for past joys as well, because recalling a memory that spurs us on to do good and to bless God is not blameworthy, it is to be encouraged and blessed.

* Shine the light of past joy on present darkness to make the darkness so bright that even in the blackest night we can see the holy Face of God.

* Sweeten a bitter chalice with a relished memory so as to be able to endure the horrible taste and drink the chalice down to the last drop.

* Sense by the precious memory that we cherish, the sensation of God’s caress even while the thorns press in on our forehead.

“There you have the seven sources of happiness opposed to the seven swords, such as they pierced my Immaculate Heart. They form my Christmas lesson for you, and together with yourself I make a present of them to my favourite children. I bless them all.”

Kyrie eleison.

Christmas Narrative

Christmas Narrative posted in Eleison Comments on December 23, 2017

The following highpoint from a narrative certainly suitable for Christmastide is placed in the mouth of the Mother of God as she re-enters the sacred cave in Bethlehem to describe to friends the human birth of God in the very place where it happened. It is a brave writer who undertakes to describe the scene, and to put words into the mouth of the Mother. Not all readers of these “Comments” may agree that this attempt has been successful. No matter. Other readers may find great delight in the scene, which truly happened, and must have happened in some such way, and for such readers it is presented here:—

“Mary gets to her feet again and enters the cave: “Everything is just like it was then. Only then it was night-time . . . . Joseph struck a light as I entered. Then and only then, getting down from the donkey, did I realise how tired and frozen cold I was. We were greeted by an ox. I went up to it to feel a little warmth, to rest on the hay . . . where I am standing now Joseph spread out the hay to make me a bed, and he dried it out for the two of us, Jesus and me, at the little fire in that corner . . . because my angelic husband had for us the love of a true father . . . and he and I, holding one another by the hands like two brothers lost in the dark of the night, we ate our bread and cheese, and then he went over there to look after the fire, taking off his coat to block the cave entrance . . . . Actually he was veiling the glory of God about to descend from the heavens. With Jesus I stood on the hay between the warmth of the two animals, wrapped up in my coat and the woollen blanket. My dear husband! . . . In that anxious moment for me, facing alone the mystery of giving birth for the first time, an unknown for any woman but heightened for me by the uniqueness of my motherhood, and heightened still further by the prospect of seeing the Son of God emerge from mortal flesh, he, Joseph was like a mother to me, an angel . . . my comforter . . . then and always . . .

“And then silence and sleep came down to enwrap the Just Man . . . so that he should not see what was for me the daily embrace of God . . . . And for me began the boundless waves of ecstasy, rolling in from a sea of paradise, lifting me up again on crests of light, higher and higher, carrying me upwards, upwards, with them, in an ocean of light, more light, peace and love, until I found myself lost in the sea of God, of the bosom of God . . . . A voice still reached up to me from earth; “Are you asleep, Mary?” Oh, so far away! . . . A bare echo, calling from earth! . . . and so faint as hardly to touch the soul, and I have no idea what answer I give him while I climb, I am still climbing in the abyss of fire, of infinite bliss, of the foreknowledge of God . . . until it is God, God Himself . . . . Oh, was Jesus born of me, or was I born of the splendours of the Holy Trinity on that night? Was it I who gave Jesus birth, or was it Jesus that drew me up to give birth to me? I have no idea . . .

“And then the descent, from Choir to Choir of angels, from layer to layer of stars, a descent as gentle and slow and blissful and peaceful as that of a flower being carried on high by an eagle and then dropped, falling slowly on wings of air, glistening in a pearl of rain with the fragment of a rainbow stolen from heaven, and landing back on its native soil . . . . And my jewelled crown: Jesus, Jesus upon my heart . . .

“Seated over here, after adoring Him on my knees, I loved Him. At last I could love Him with no barrier of flesh coming between us, and from here I stood up to carry him over to be loved by the Just One who deserved like me to be among the first ones to love Him. And here between these two rustic pillars, I offered Him to the Father. And here He rested for the first time on Joseph’s heart . . . . I rocked Him on my breast while Joseph dried out the hay at the fire and kept it warm to place it on the Baby’s chest, and then over there, for the two of us to adore Him and bend over Him just as I am bending over now, to drink in His breath, to marvel at just how far God’s love can stoop down to love men, to weep the tears certainly being wept in Heaven for the inexhaustible joy of gazing on God.”

Kyrie eleison.

Isaiah’s Card

Isaiah’s Card posted in Eleison Comments on December 24, 2016

If Almighty God were himself to send Christmas cards, what might he write in his about the coming of his own Son to be born on earth as a human child of his human Mother? In fact God wrote many things about the Messiah through the writers whom he directly inspired to put together the books of the Old Testament, and of course one of the best-known of these quotes comes from the prophet Isaiah, Chapter IX. In the preceding Chapter Isaiah has been prophesying the desolation and ruin that will come upon the Jews for their sins. In IX he turns to the glory of the Messianic age: a great light will light up Galilee – v. 1,2. (Jesus’ home province). Then joy as at harvest-time or after a military victory will come(v.3), after the defeat of the Assyrians, as after Gideon’s defeat of the Madianites (v.4), and the features of war will disappear (v.5). Isaiah continues with the “Christmas card” (glorified in the music of Handel’s Messiah):

6: For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace. 7: His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

6: Thus the supreme reason for joy is the coming of the Messiah: to us, to redeem all of us will be born a royal child and son, who will take the weight of the world upon his shoulder (the Church Fathers take this weight to be the Cross), and with a series of epithets Isaiah tells who the child will be: Wonderful, Counsellor, more than able to counsel all nations for their true happiness and prosperity down to the end of the world. God the Mighty – Talmudic Scripture scholars do their best to avoid admitting that Isaiah is saying that the Messiah will also be God (as Catholics know, Second Person of the Holy Trinity), but the definite article in the Hebrew and the meaning of the expression “God the Mighty” everywhere else in the Old Testament strongly indicate that Isaiah means exactly that. The Father of the world to come – the Messiah will be a true and tender Father for the messianic age, for ever and ever (cf. Mt. XI, 28).

7: His empire shall be multiplied – the Catholic Church will spread all over the world and there shall be no end of peace because the Messiah’s Church will generate peace wherever it is respected, until world’s end. He will be a royal descendant of David to sit upon the throne of David to which it was promised that it would last for ever (II Sam. VII), as Our Lord promised to his Church (Mt. XVI, 18; XXVIII, 20). But this kingdom will be a kingdom of the King of Hearts (Jn. XII, 32), strengthened with judgment and with justice, not a kingdom of the Knave of Clubs, established by force (Mt. XXVI, 52; Jn. XVIII, 36). All these marvels will come from the zeal of the Lord God, from his burning desire to bring souls to Heaven to share eternal and uninterrupted bliss with him, for ever and ever.

What makes it difficult for us today to appreciate Isaiah’s glorious vision of the messianic future is that it has turned into the masonic past. The fifth age of the Messiah’s Church, the Age of Apostasy, began 500 years ago when Luther broke up Christendom, so that when another 200 years later it was still not yet obvious for many men that the benefits of Christendom were well on the way to being undermined, Judeo-masons could begin to persuade men that Christendom, or Christ, was no longer necessary. And not even the horrors of another 200 years later of anti-Christian Communism, let loose by the Russian Revolution and spreading worldwide, could persuade men that from the Incarnation onwards, the alternatives for any civilisation are Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church, or the Devil. But it is true.

Happy Christmas, readers!

Kyrie eleison.

Necessary Child

Necessary Child posted in Eleison Comments on December 24, 2011

Constantly in the news today is the world’s financial and economic crisis, especially in Euroland. A Dutch commentator (courtfool.info) proposes for his country a classic solution: get State money out of the hands of the banksters. Christmas may seem a strange moment to consider such money problems, but the whole question is whether apparent solutions are real solutions.

Unless the Euro was positively designed as a means of forcing political unity upon the variety of European nations, it was, as a common currency for a dozen very different national economies, flawed from the start. To begin with it did enable the poorer member nations to borrow and spend, borrow and spend, while it did help the richer nations to export and lend, export and lend, but the process could not go on for ever. When the poorer countries could no longer manage even the interest on their debts, the richer countries were also threatened with the paralysis of their economies by the bankruptcy of their major banks that had made the foolish loans.

At this point the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund co-operate to provide emergency funding, in other words to solve the problem of debt by more debt! However, a condition of receiving these funds is that the hopelessly indebted countries must submit to international guardianship, which will impose spending cuts that make the national governments less and less able to rule. As for the richer governments, they too must make themselves unpopular by cutting spending, in order to cover the losses incurred by their major banks’ foolish loans, says Mr.de Ruijter.

Now comes his solution. He says it is simple. Instead of pouring dozens of billions more into a Euro that is doomed to disappear sooner or later, and instead of having the international agencies impose spending cuts, “we can introduce State money.” A State central bank will replace the present central bank which, as in almost all States of the world, is now under private control. The State bank alone will be authorized to create money. All loans will be supplied as State money. All private or non-State banks will be forbidden to create balances out of thin air, in other words fractional reserve banking will be forbidden (cf. EC 224). These non-State banks will receive a fee for their services, but they will not be allowed to charge interest.

And who will control the State bank? Mr.de Ruijter writes, “It will fall under the responsibility of the Minister of Finance, and it will be controlled by Parliament. A commission of well formed people will watch over the long term interest of the money system.”

Well and good. But, Mr. De Ruijter, who will do the forming of these “well formed” people? At what school will they learn truly to look after the common good? And what motivation will be given to them powerful enough to prevent them from being cunningly bought out by the banksters? Democracy? It is democracy that has landed Europe in its present mess!

There is only one true and complete solution: the divine Child in the Crib of Bethlehem. Happy Christmas, dear readers (and thanks to all of you that sent me a Christmas card, but thanks also to those that didn’t!).

Kyrie eleison.

Wonderful, Counsellor

Wonderful, Counsellor posted in Eleison Comments on December 25, 2010

Christmas Day is a suitable moment to recall why we may and should rejoice in the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He and he alone can solve all the real problems of men, which go back to the very beginnings of mankind, and which are graver than ever today.

This is because all real problems of men involve sin. Any purely material disorder only becomes serious if it is in some way spiritual, for instance if a physical illness makes a man curse or bless. And anything spiritual that goes on inside me is only a disorder if it is in some way a sin. For instance Job lamented bitterly his physical afflictions, but his lamenting was not sinful. As for sin, it is a disorder or offence primarily against God, secondarily against self and only thirdly against neighbour.

Therefore all real problems of men which are not merely material problems, are problems of men having offended God. A terrible example is provided by a woman who has committed an abortion. Superficially her problem is solved. The baby is out of the way, and her life is “back to normal.” But deep down, either she hardens her heart (and joins in a world coming to hate and suppress Christmas), or she knows and admits to herself that she has done something terribly wrong. Either way something in her is more or less twisted out of true for the rest of her days, and many such women, even if they are Catholics and know by their Faith that God has forgiven them through sacramental Absolution, can still be tormented, such is the wound that that sin has inflicted on their souls. Nor is abortion the worst of sins. Sinning directly against God is graver.

Grim thoughts for Christmas Day? Yes and no. The problem of sin is grim, but the joy of knowing that it has a real solution is correspondingly great. If the poor girl goes to confession, almost every Catholic priest will do all he can to persuade her that if she is truly sorry for her sin (with a sorrow of Peter and not of Judas Iscariot), then through his absolving her she may not doubt that God has forgiven her. How many penitents then walk out of the confessional with a sense of relief and joy that nothing else can give them, because offending God was at the heart of their torment, and they know that God has forgiven them.

And where did this joy take its beginning? In the certainty that God took a human nature from a Jewish maiden, lived upon earth and gave us, amongst other sacraments, that of Penance, deriving its force from the merits of his Passion and Death, which he endured only with the help of the same maiden and mother. But how could he have died unless he had been born? It all began with his human birth from the Blessed Virgin Mary – Christmas.

So the solution of all the world’s most terrible problems of my fellow-men and myself is available. No wonder Catholics are joyful. No wonder there is a special joy available even to disbelievers at Christmastime – so long as they have not yet hardened their hearts.

Kyrie eleison.

Christmas Fear

Christmas Fear posted in Eleison Comments on December 26, 2009

So Christmas Day has come and gone once more, reminding us of the great joywhichOur Lord brought to the entire world by His Incarnation and Birth, but especially to his Mother. At last she holds him safe in her arms where she tends to him like a mother, but where she also adores him as her God. Alas, who that has an inkling of religion cannot lament how the world around us cashes in on the joy, but in large part forgets the God?

In this respect the joy of Christmas today resembles the smile of the Cheshire Cat, especially in capitalist lands (but Pius XI observed back in 1931 that capitalism was extending all over the world – “Quadragesimo Anno,” 103–104). Readers of “Alice in Wonderland” will remember how the smile of the Cat could still be seen when the rest of the Cat had disappeared. The substance is gone, but the effects linger, at least for a while. Belief in the Divine Child is being killed off all the time, thanks especially to Vatican II, yet the joy of Christmas is lingering. This is partly because God, being supremely generous, commemorates each year the Birth of his Son amongst men with a flood of actual graces, to which many souls respond by being a little nicer than they are at any other time of year, but it is partly also because joy is enjoyable. This is rather less secure.

For as the true worship of God continues to disappear, and with it any true grasp of what the coming of the Saviour meant, indispensable for our eternal happiness, so the joy of Christmas is being reduced to the commercialism and carousing we all know. The smile cannot indefinitely survive the Cat. Even the nicest of NIFs (Nice Internal Feelings) cannot survive indefinitely without their object. If Jesus Christ is not God, let alone the one and only Saviour of mankind, why rejoice in his birth? I love my Nifs, but if they are based only on themselves, sooner or later they will collapse, leaving only a sour taste of disillusion behind them. I may love feeling all “Christmassy,” but if I am reacting to my feelings instead of to what they are based on, I am heading for some emotional collapse or other.

It is the difference between sentimentality and sentiments. Our Lord was full of sentiments, when for instance he met the widow of Naim, distraught over her only son being carried to the grave (Lk. VII, 11–15). But there was no trace of sentimentality in Our Lord (nor, I declare, in “The Poem of the Man-God”), because the sentiments are never being sought out for their own sake. His sentiments were always stirred directly by a real object, eg the widow’s grief, which put him vividly in mind of what would be his own Mother’s desolation when he himself was being carried to the grave.

Subjectivism is the plague of our times, i.e. man shutting out objective reality in order to re-arrange it how he likes it subjectively within himself. Subjectivism is the heart and soul of the Neo-modernism now desolating the Church. And subjectivism cutting off the mind from its outside object necessarily engenders sentimentality in the heart, because it takes away from the heart all outside object for its sentiments. Capitalist Christmas will finally be killed by sentimentality. Either men return to the true God, to Our Lord Jesus Christ and to the true importance of his Birth, or the collapse of some of their nicest Nifs, the “Christmassy” Nifs, risks leaving the little that remains of “Western Civilization” with one more reason for suicidal sourness.

Kyrie eleison.