November 30, 2016, we received this year’s invitation from the Capuchin Poor Clares at the St. Joseph and St. Rita Monastery and committed to Christmas Eve Mass as before.
Left as a blog comment this Christmas morning, Steven’s memory of last night’s Mass clearly describes the small, intimate setting at St. Joseph’s chapel.
Angelic voices— soft, with Spanish accents, from the cloistered nuns behind the glass-and-wood partitions on either side of the altar— filled the chapel, first with the familiar prayers of the rosary and then with Christmas hymns.
Bishop Emeritus Reymundo Peña presided joyfully, his voice strengthening as he proclaimed God’s message of love for us.
Father Juan Manuel Salazar delivered the homily both in English and Spanish and, after Mass, lovingly presented the Infant Jesus for veneration.
Notable, too, was the family with three small children dressed in Christmas costumes similar to San Juan Diego’s peasant garb. At first shy and unsure but then overcome with eagerness to partake in the ceremony, their spiritual innocence captivated our collective heart with their unwavering leap of faith.
And, at evening’s end, amid the hugs, well wishes, and picture-taking, Mother Superior cheerfully thanked us for celebrating Mass with them and bid us a very resounding “Merry Christmas” and a safe drive home.
Behold the dear Infant Jesus and adore him fervently. Contemplate his poverty and humility in imitation of his most holy mother and of St. Joseph. Repose near him as sweetly as you can. He will not fail to love your heart, void as you find it of tenderness and feeling. Nothing will be wanting to you, since you will be in the presence of that holy Infant. Abide there and learn of him, how meek and humble he is, how simple and amiable. See how lovingly he has written your name in the depth of his divine heart, which beats on that couch of straw from the impassioned zeal it has for our advancement and heaves not one single sigh unto his Father in which you have not a part, nor a single movement of his spirit, except for your happiness (St. Francis de Sales).
“Dear parents, I implore you to imitate the Holy Family of Nazareth” (St. John Vianney).
God is here. This truth should fill our lives, and every Christmas should be for us a new and special meeting with God, when we allow his light and grace to enter deep into our soul (St. Josemaría Escrivá, The Way).
“On this night let us share the joy of the gospel: God loves us; he so loves us that he gave us his Son to be our brother, to be light in our darkness” (Pope Francis).
With the shepherds let us enter the stable of Bethlehem beneath the loving gaze of Mary, the silent witness of his miraculous birth…. May she teach us how to treasure in our hearts the mystery of God who, for our sake, became man (Pope Benedict XVI).
December 27, 2016
“Let us love not in word or speech, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18).
December 28, 2016
Oh, Jesus, with joy in my heart and in a spirit of gratitude, I thank you for your great blessings in my life. Thank you for the celebration of your birth. Thank you for restoring my hope of eternal life with you. Thank you for all the gifts I have received from your generous hand (Franciscan Media, A Eucharistic Christmas).
St. Joseph & St. Rita Monastery – 725 E. Bowie Avenue – Alamo, TX 78516-5500
Links of interest… Advent & Christmas page… Alamo, TX: Capuchin Poor Clares / quiet place for prayer / St. Joseph & St. Rita Monastery (more)… Away in a manger: St. Francis & the nativity… Boxing Day… Christ is born… Christmas: antiphons, celebrating, deeper meaning, lights around the world, mad humility, spiritual life, & trials, mercy, & Padre Pio (more)… Christmastide: customs / days / foods / octave (more) / other countries & cultures / overview / prayers (guide) / twelve days (more) / why celebrate… Cloistered nuns want to pray for you… How Jesus makes heaven present to us today (Fr. Romano Guardini: Meditations on the Christ)… Las posadas & the 2nd Christmas novena (Dec 16-24)… Living the Good News: Days of Christmas… Mary: cause of our joy / mother of God (more) & of our salvation… Our Lady of the Rosary Library… Prophecies fulfilled (Mary M. McGlone)… Soul of Christmas (Thomas Moore)…
WP posts… Advent prayers… Blue heaven… Capuchin Christmas… Christmas blessings… Christmas scenes… Christmas year ’round… Church time blues… Clarisas cookies… Finding St. Rita… God’s master plan… Mary’s seven joys… Oh, happy day!… On being Christian… Pink divinity… Promise of hope… Santo Niño… Slice of heaven… St. Felix… Sweet Jesus… Twelve candles… Venerable Margaret