DOES IT GET ANY BETTER ?
First Vespers of Christmas yesterday, at Blackfriars (Oxford), complete with the reading (to a wonderful Dominican chant) of Matthew 1 - and then, after dinner, a splendid Midnight Mass, preceded by a 'Vigil', and followed by cocoa and mince pies in the Refectory - some of us, I have to say, being favoured with 'cocoa plus' (and I'm saying no more than that, as I don't want to encourage jealousy in those not so favoured !)
Once I got home, and said Compline, bed was very welcome . . . for a few hours; but only a few, as my confessor was saying the three masses of Christmas at 09:45 !
I had, in effect, the three masses all to myself . . . other people in and out of the chapel, going to visit the Crib, but I was the only 'congregation' . . . quiet, focused, and (being the extraordinary form) not requiring constant activity on my part : just prayer . . . Wow ! is about all I can say. It was so easy to recognize, in that situation, the ultimate mystery of the Eucharist - that there, before me, on the altar, was the same Holy Child which I could see, in image, in the Crib at the end of the chapel; and in His infinite humility, He was there because man had brought Him there.
The humility of the Holy Child is amazing; that God would become a man, and a man in those circumstances, can really only be described as staggering - and yet that is as nothing compared with His infinite humility in being available to us all, always, and everywhere; being at the 'beck and call' of every priest, to come whenever He is called for; and this morning certainly brought that home to me as never before - that the ultimate Christmas present is Christmas itself; the gift we received then, and now, in the Incarnation.
I'm off shortly to Solemn Benediction; and shall pray for all those I know and love - and also for all those I don't know personally, but who read this blog; and those whose blogs I read, and who also try to witness to the wonder of God. May the Incarnate God bless us all, this Christmas day.