24 December 2020

Ecce Agnus Dei; Ecce.

"She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes"

"I need not to tell you who this 'she' or who this 'Him'. The day rises with it in its wings. This day wrote it with the first ray of the morning sun upon the posts of the world. The Angels sung it in their choirs, the morning stars together in their courses. The Virgin Mother, the Eternal Son. The most blessed among women, the fairest of the sons of men. The woman clothed with the sun, the sun compassed with a woman. She the Gate of Heaven, He the King of Glory that came forth. She the Mother of the everlasting God: He the God without a mother; God blessed for evermore. Great persons as ever met upon a day.

"Yet as great as the persons, and great as the day, the great lesson of them both is to be little, to think and make little of ourselves; seeing the infinite greatness in this day become so little, Eternity a Child, the rays of glory wrapt in rags, Heaven crowded into the corner of a stable, and He that is everywhere want a room.

"It is Christmas time, and let us keep open house for Him; let His rags be our Christmas raiment, His manger our Christmas cheer, his stable our Christmas great chamber, hall, dining room. We must clothe with Him, and feed with Him, and lodge with Him at this feast.

He is now ready by and by to give himself to eat; you may see Him wrapped ready in the swaddling clothes of His Blessed Sacrament; you may behold Him laid upon the Altar as in His manger. Do but make room for Him
     and we will bring Him forth,
          and you shall look upon Him,
                and handle Him,
                    and feed upon Him;
bring we only the rags of a rent and torn and broken and contrite heart, the white linen cloths of pure intentions and honest affections to swathe Him in, wrap Him up fast, and lay Him close to our souls and bosoms.

It is a day of mysteries: it is a mysterious business that we are about;
     Christ wrapped up;
          Christ in the Sacrament;
               Christ in a mystery;
let us be content to let it go so, believe, admire and adore it."

Mark Frank, STP, Master of Pembroke College Cambridge (1613-1664), Chaplain and Censor Librorum to His Grace Archbishop Sheldon. From the Second Sermon for Christmas Day.


Hickory Bow said...

"The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
Here the impossible union,
Of spheres of existence is actual,
Here the past and future
Are conquered and reconciled..."

T.S. Eliot, The Dry Salvages

Atticus said...

There never was a birth like this
Hodie Christus natus est
A maid, a manger, angels' bliss
Salvator apparuit

Never did death so seal birth's joy
Hodie Christus natus est
As when it crowned the Virgin's boy
Salvator apparuit

O sweetest fruit, of womb, of Tree
Hodie Christus natus est
To eat thy flesh is to be free
Salvator apparuit

Of banquets and of babes the best
Et Verbum caro factum est