January 1, 2020
A happy Octave-Day of the Nativity and a blessed New Year to all! On this day we commemorate the Circumcision of Our Lord, when He was given the divine Name of Jesus pronounced by the Angel at the Annunciation of Our Lady and in the dream of St. Joseph. Today is a Holy Day of Obligation, so be sure to get to Mass to begin this new year of 2020. You can also gain a plenary indulgence today under the usual conditions by participating in a public recitation of the Veni Creator.
During the days of the Octave we celebrated several great martyrs’ feasts, Our Lord’s Nativity seemingly surrounded by the commemorations of those who witnessed to Him with particular fervor and often close historical proximity: St. Stephen (Dec. 26th), the first martyr, offered up his life just after the time of Christ, and even during Our Lord’s infancy, the Holy Innocents (Dec. 28th) proclaimed Him through their deaths at the hands of Herod. St. John (Dec. 27th) was the Apostle closest to Our Lord and witnessed to Him through his Gospel, Epistles, Apocalypse, preaching and the martyr’s death that would have been his had he not been divinely preserved. Finally, the feast of St. Thomas à Becket, the great martyr-bishop of Canterbury who was slain in his cathedral in 1170 for the sake of the liberty of the Church, is normally celebrated on December 29th, though his feast was superseded this year by the Sunday within the Octave.
Such a great cloud of witnesses adorns this time of Christmas, they who through their own heroic lives and deaths speak to us of the Divinity of this Child. Let us continue to rejoice in this blessed season, which continues beyond the Octave through the feast of Candlemas on February 2nd. +
Multifárie olim Deus loquens pátribus in prophétis, novíssime diébus istis, locútus est nobis in Fílio suo.
God, Who in diverse manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days hath spoken to us by His Son.
– from the Alleluia for today
Cover photo: 2019 Christmas Midnight Mass at FSSP Dallas.