January 6, 2012

The Spirituality of Christmas

I opted out of celebrating the memorial of Brother André for Mass this morning, not because I have anything against French-Canadians (God help me in this friary if I did) but because I just love the Collect for the weekday of Christmas:

Cast your kindly light upon your faithful, Lord, we pray,
and with the splendor of your glory
set their hearts ever aflame,
that they may never cease to acknowledge their Savior
and may truly hold fast to him.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

There's so much beautiful Christmas doctrine in that prayer.

How is that we are inspired to acknowledge the Savior? Exactly. We are inspired. Just as the Holy Spirit conceives the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, in the womb of Mary, so--by the same movement--the Spirit conceives the life of Christ in us. This is what faith is: the divine life of Christ at work in our humanity.

To acknowledge the Savior is to hold fast to him. The sequence of verbs is even better in the untranslated Latin: agnoscant...apprehendant. To know God is to love him; acknowledging him is holding fast to him, and it is by holding fast to him that we know and recognize him.

To know God is to love him. But in some sense it's more important to notice this the other way around: to love God is to know him, because God is love, and the only real knowledge of love is being in love.

When we surrender to the burning Love of the Spirit conceiving the knowledge of God in us, our spiritual life becomes the mystery of Christmas.

1 comment:

Judy Kallmeyer said...

What a beautiful prayer! And your final sentence (I changed the spelling of that word 4 times--how come a word that is spelled correctly doesn't look right?)is totally awesome. Struck a chord in me!!!