Friday, December 24, 2010
The Eve of Christmas
From Sermon XXI, "On the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ", by Pope St. Leo the Great
"My friends, this is the day our Savior was born: let us rejoice and give thanks. This is no season for sadness, this, the birthday of Life. Life removes all fear of death, giving birth to the joy of immortality.
No one is a stranger to this happiness. The same cause for joy is common to us all. No one of us was free from guilt when the Savior removed our chains. His salvation from sin and death was offered to all without exception. Let the saint rejoice who hastens towards heaven; let the sinner rejoice for pardon has been won; let those who feel excluded too rejoice at this untrammelled call to life and freedom.
When the fullness of time had come, chosen in God's inscrutable wisdom, the only Son of God became himself a human being, to realign us with God's plan...
My friends, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, whose tender compassion so overwhelms us, that in giving life to Christ they gave us life too, making a new creation out of our humanity...
Let us leave behind us the self we used to be, with all that held us back or held us down. As newborn sharers in the life of Christ let us break with our former way of life and live with him.
O Christian, be aware of your nobility: you now share in God's own nature. Do not fall back into your former way of life. Remember the Head, remember the Body to which you now belong. Remember that you have been removed from the threshold of darkness and made welcome in a household of light and of love.
Through the waters of baptism the Holy Spirit has made of you a temple. Do not forfeit your freedom by turning yourself once more into a slave. Remember that you were ransomed at the price of Christ's Blood."