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Octave reflection

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The Octave of Christmas ~ Letting the Liturgical Word Speak

We have eight wondrous days to let the depth of the Christmas mystery, when Christ became one of us in all things but sin, sink deeply within us.

December 25 ~ The Nativity of the Lord
Restoration of the web of relationships in all of creation
“... though invisible in his own divine nature, he has appeared visibly in ours; ... he has begun to exist in time; ... so that, ... he might restore unity to all creation and call straying humanity back… .” (Preface II of the Nativity of the Lord)

Created for eternal destiny and in God’s image and likeness
“... when our frailty is assumed by your Word, not only does human mortality receive unending honor but by this wondrous union we, too, are made eternal.” (Preface III of the Nativity of the Lord)

December 26 ~ Feast of Saint Stephen, the First Martyr
Finding God in all things
“ ... and so, learn to love our enemies, for we celebrate the heavenly birthday of a man who knew how to pray even for his persecutors.” (Collect)

December 27 ~ Feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist, the ‘beloved disciple’
Drawing the fullness of life from the banquet and from the One who is the Word
“... grant that from the banquet of this supper we may draw the hidden wisdom of the eternal word … as you revealed it to your Apostle John.” (Prayer Over the Offerings)

December 28 ~ Feast of the Holy Innocents
Christ extended in time through our words and deeds
“... grant, we pray, that the faith in you which we confess with our lips may also speak through our manner of life.” (Collect)

December 30 ~ Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Devout and expectant delight
“... grant that we may imitate them in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards.” (Collect)

January 1 ~ The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, the Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord
Being a joy bearer and a joy giver
“She who knew not man becomes a mother; she who has given birth remains a virgin. What joy is hers at your two-fold gift: she is full of wonder at her virgin motherhood and full of joy at giving birth to the Redeemer.” (Preface of Mary, Mother of God in the Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is one of the oldest prefaces in honor of Our Lady)

Reflection by Paul Parker, Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, Miami, Florida
Image and sculpture by Timothy P. Schmalz