Thursday, December 26, 2013

St. John Vianney Sermon for Christmas

In the book Sermons of the Cure of Ars first printed in 1901 and reproduced by The Neumann Press, who is now under the publishing authority of TAN Books (see more HERE), we have the Patron Saint of Parish Priests giving us the following words:

"Beloved brethren assembled in the name of Jesus Christ:

. . . the angels' message on the plains . . . did not come from the palaces of earthly kings, or from the halls of pleasure, or from the markets of the earth; it came from heaven, bringing with it heavenly flowers, heavenly blessings, and heavenly graces.

. . . It is announced, not to one or the other, but to the beggar and the king, the child and the old man, the poor and rich.  The angels announced to the shepherds that it should be made known to all people, in the east and the west, in the north and the south; it shall ring forth and make joyful through all the ages; it shall never cease, not even when the world shall keep its vigil, and the book of humanity will be closed, and then it will ring on in eternity: a Saviour is born to you, who is Christ the Lord.

. . . God with us . . . is the meaning of the joyful message of the angel . . . in His humanity, in His childhood, in His poverty.

. . . In His humanity . . . the second Person of the Trinity had taken a human nature, a human body, and a human soul, the same as we have.  He has become one of us.  He is like us in all things, with the exception of sin, says the Apostle.  That is the first step of the mercy of God, which we devoutly adore, in the crib at Bethlehem.

. . . In His childhood . . . the Son of God took another merciful step when He appeared upon earth as a child . . . the Son of God might have appeared upon earth as a grown man.  But He did not do this.  He abased Himself, and lay in the crib as a helpless infant.  The heathens have represented Jupiter with lightning in his eyes, falcons at his feet, flaming swords in his hands; no hand free to bless.  Our divine Saviour wished to appear very differently.  Not a threatening, mighty figure; not armed with lightning.  No, He appeared as a child full of love, full of tenderness, full of joy.  The child looks at every one; at the sight of the child, all fear vanishes.  All may approach a child without fear, the high and the low, the learned and the unlearned, rich and poor.  How near has God come unto us!

. . . In His poverty . . . He is nearer to us . . . the Saviour wanted to be nearer to the poor man; that is why He appeared upon this earth in the utmost poverty.  The poor have a special right to the love and the association of the incarnate Son of God . . . No mother can provide a poorer bed for her child than that provided for the Son of God upon earth in the crib.  Now, through Him, the Son of God, poverty is no longer despicable, no longer shameful, no longer mean; through Him is poverty ennobled, exalted, and sanctified.

. . . His name shall be called Emmanuel, God with us, with us in His humanity, in His childhood, in His poverty . . . Then we will beseech Him to renew and strengthen in us the spirit of self-renunciation, the simplicity of our hearts, the love of poverty, so that the divine Infant will make us His own, and be and remain with us through all eternity, our Emmanuel, God with us.  Amen!"

This sermon and sermons for every Sunday and Feast Day throughout the liturgical calendar can be found in the Neumann Press book Sermons of the Cure of Ars.

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