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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Oh Holy Night:
A melodic reflection on the eve of Our Savior’s birth

Christmas room mater ecclesiae
A view of the Christmas Room at Mater Ecclesiae.

By Lauren Hawkesworth

Christmas Eve is precious time for a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi.

After an Advent of meditations on the coming of Christ, decorating the house and chapel, and building a life-size nativity scene, the women in the (Greenville, Rhode Island) center of formation are ready to receive our King.

The night begins with a splendid dinner, accompanied by toasts and singing.  After the feast, we gather in recollection in the auditorium.  With great excitement, we draw names of saints to see who will be our patron for the year.  We also draw a “virtue” which we will try to incorporate into our spiritual development for the New Year. 

Now the moment has finally arrived - - Midnight Mass when, like Mary 2000 years ago, we will get to hold Jesus (in our hearts).  The One who became poor so we might be made rich will be born.

The stars are brightly shining... It is the night of our Dear Savior´s birth.

Walking into the chapel, we are overcome by the abundance of bright red poinsettias, pine wreaths, and warm candles decorating the sanctuary and every arch.  An empty crib lies amidst the flowers beneath the altar, waiting to embrace the Christ child.  Every consecrated woman is dressed in her finest and has her eye on the choir director for the command to burst into song as soon as the priest walks down the aisle.  The fervor is tangible; the joy indescribable.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ´til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
In this Mass, we pray in a special way for those who do not know Christ, or knowingly reject Him.  As women consecrated totally to God, we renew the offering of our lives in ransom for our brothers and sisters who are far from Him.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

The moment of the Eucharistic consecration finally arrives.  Each one of us goes “in spirit” to Bethlehem to adore the infant Jesus with St. Joseph and Mary and, as the wise men did of old, places her three gifts of poverty, chastity, and obedience at the feet of her King.

Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices!

The choir members, receiving communion first and fervently, make their way to the loft to sing Oh Holy Night. As the music fills their souls, those in the pews feel like the shepherds, keeping watch by night as the heavenly host sings Glory to God in the Highest and peace to his people on earth!

Each consecrated woman gathers her whole being as she approaches the priest to receive her Spouse, and renews her love for Him.  After communion the priest places the baby Jesus into the crib, and we savor the moment of silent thanksgiving.  After the closing prayer, the organist confidently strikes up Adeste fideles as a summons to all present to go up and kiss the baby Jesus.  The priest holds the Christ Child figure out to us.  Each one chooses where to kiss Him -- some His face, some His chubby foot, others His fingers.

Faith comes alive that night! God truly become a man; one like us.

Oh night divine. Oh night when Christ was born.

With Jesus truly present in our hearts, the whole team makes our way downstairs to the life-size nativity scene. For some time, we contemplate the scene: Mary and Joseph adoring Jesus; the wise men and the shepherds; the women and children of the villages.  We beg God to answer the needs of all our loved ones and those of the whole world.  It’s Christmas Eve – God will deny us nothing.

Oh night divine! Oh night, oh night divine.

The group slowly trickles away, each to her own bed, our hearts full with the love of God and the joy of our consecration.  We place ourselves one last time in the hands of Mary, and we thank her for our vocation, smiling to think that tomorrow morning we await yet another Christmas Mass.



Related links

Official web site of the Vatican.
Legionaries of Christ
For Your Vocation
Mater Ecclesaie College

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