Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

Luke 2:22-32 – And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ”Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord.”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Holy Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

Is it still Christmas? Today is the 5th Day of the Octave of Christmas, which is why we continue the message brought to us by the birth of the Christ Child. In the Church, every day within the octave is as the original solemnity of the Nativity of our Lord. Here is a beautiful reminder at communion, which is spoken when Eucharistic Prayer I is used on this 5th Day:

Celebrating the most sacred night (day) on which blessed Mary the Immaculate Virgin brought forth the Savior for this world, and in communion with those whose memory we venerate, especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ…

From this Baby we continue to learn what is expected of us who call ourselves by the name Christian. When old Simeon laid eyes on Jesus, he was immediately at peace. He knew he could face death because he had, at last, seen the Light. Simeon spent his entire life waiting for that day. We can imagine he spent his days seeking God in prayer and worship. At our Baptism, we are brought into the Light of the Kingdom of God. We are called to seek God in prayer and the Sacraments, as well. Why? So that we can remain in the Light.

I work from our home that no longer has little children scurrying about, needing fairly constant attention. Though I am quite busy with my writing, my business, and my commitments at our parish, besides household responsibilities and my husband to spend time with, I have a good amount of time to offer to God in study, prayer, and worship at Mass and Adoration. I can even spend hours a week in Ignatian Imaginative Prayer or Lectio Divina. These actions the Lord has spoken to me of, and some are that which The Church has also laid out for me. In a sense it is what is ‘required’ of me to grow as a Catholic Christian, just as Mary and Joseph did what was required of them by Mosaic Law – the presentation of their Child at the temple. At this time of my life, I have little excuse not to be deepening my faith in the Light.

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But you might be a mom with several children living at home, who need you to meet most, if not all, of their needs. Or perhaps you are not a mom but are steeped in a time-consuming career. Perhaps you are a full time care-giver. Where is your time to grow?

Grace is the answer for us all. God knows every one of our commitments and how our time is often not our own. Thankfully, he judges our heart, not our clock or calendar. Whatever time we can set aside just for him throughout the day – be it minutes or hours – will faithfully be used by him to re-fill us with the knowledge of his faithfulness. Sunday Mass will be used by him to refuel our spiritual energy as though we participated daily when daily is not a realistic option. Reconciliation as often as we are able, will renew us gloriously every single time. He wants us to walk well in our vocation – at every stage of life – and he gives us the way through Grace.

We all have the Mother of God, another gift of Grace. She walks beside us, as well. She guides us to follow her Son from the place we are, not the place we wish we could be. And she prays for us unceasingly.

If we keep our minds and hearts on him, and ask for help from his Mother and the Holy Spirit who lives within, then we, like Simeon, will know perfect peace that only the Light of Jesus can bring. Merry Christmas!

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