Sunday, December 22, 2002

When Venerable Newman became Catholic...
it was not the custom for Catholic priests to write out their sermons, while Anglican clergy did generally write down what they would preach. Therefore we have fewer sermons from the Venerable's Catholic period than his Anglican one. However, there is a volume of his sermon notes, dating from his Catholic years. While they are not complete, they are interesting nevertheless. Here is the set of notes from one sermon:
The Special Charm of Christmas
1. INTROD.—[The] two chief festivals [of the Church are] Easter and Christmas; [of these] Easter [is] the greater.

2. Yet somehow we adorn our churches more brightly and spontaneously, now than then. There is more of heart, apparently, in what we do. And there is an inexpressible charm over all. The midnight Mass, the three Masses. The special representations, whether the Stable or the Infant. [Again, the singing of] carols.

3. Why is this? Christmas is easier to understand to the mass of men; it comes home to them more readily, and imposes an easier duty on our worship.

4. It is the difference between coming and going. The apostles felt that sorrow filled their hearts [at the going of the Lord]. Mane nobiscum Domine.
Easter is the feast of the perfect. If we were perfect, we should rejoice in Easter the more [of the two festivals]. In the one Christ comes to us, in the other we go to Christ.

5. All our human feelings are soothed by Christmas— Abraham had to leave his country.—We naturally do not like to move. We are allowed to remain at home: Christ comes to us as our guest.

6. And coming, He brightens everything. He does not take away, He adds. He adds grace to Nature. If at any time we might love the world, it is now. If at any time, [it is when He is come to be our Emmanuel].

7. He makes the world our home, for he deigns to be the light of it. He sanctifies families with the image of Mary and Jesus. And where there is no home in a family, then He brings us all together in one family in church. The midnight Mass is our holy celebration [of Christmas], eclipsing the world's merrymaking.

8. And we think of Him who put off all His glory, of which our celebrations are but a type. The priestly vestments a type of His glory, [which He put off in order] to come into this bleak prison and suffer for us.

9. Let us rejoice in Him.


Post a Comment

<< Home