|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
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.
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
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!
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.
alive that night! God truly become a man; one like
Oh night divine. Oh night when Christ was born.
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.
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