MEDITATIONS FOR EVERY DAY IN THE YEAR

BY BISHOP CHALLONER


DECEMBER 19TH

ON OUR SAVIOUR AS OUR KING AND OUR PRIEST

Consider first, that the Son of God, by his incarnation, came also amongst us to be both our king and our priest; and in these qualities to impart all blessings to us; and even to make us also kings and priest to his Father, Apoc i. 6. He is our true Melchisedech, sovereign king and high priest forever; he is the true king of justice, and king of peace; of whose reign there shall be no end. He came, by his incarnation, to dethrone the usurper Satan, and to establish amongst us the kingdom of grace, by which he reigns in all the souls of his true subjects. For his kingdom is not of this world; not like to any of the petty kingdoms of this world; but is of a far more excellent constitution, a more noble foundation, and a more extensive dominion, reaching to all nations and to all ages: it is never to be conquered: it shall be glorious for evermore. Of this great king and his reign the royal prophet sings, (Ps. lxxi.,) 'Give to the king thy judgment, O God - to judge thy people with justice, and thy poor with judgment. Let the mountains receive peace for the people, and the hills justice. He shall judge the poor of the people, and he shall save the children of the poor, and he shall bring down the oppressor, (the devil.) And he shall continue with the sun, and beyond the moon, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the fleece, and as showers falling gently upon the earth. In his days shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken away. And he shall rule from sea to sea: all kings of the earth shall adore him; all nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the poor from the mighty, and he shall save the souls of the poor. He shall redeem their souls from usuries and iniquities, and their names shall be honourable in his sight.' Such, Christians, is our great king, who shall rule us for evermore: and such are the blessings he brings us by his reign; according to what is written in the same psalm: 'In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed. O let his name then be blessed for evermore; and blessed be his heavenly Father, who worketh these wonderful things in our favour. Yea, blessed be the name of his majesty for ever; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. So be it. So be it.'

Consider 2ndly, that the Son of God, incarnate for us, is not only our king; he is our priest too - the high priest of God and man. 'Now every high priest,' says the apostle, Heb v. 1, 'taken from among men, is appointed for men, in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sin.' And thus the Son of God, becoming man by his incarnation, was called by his Father, and anointed to this high priestly office by his holy Spirit, to execute every branch of it to the glory of his Father, and in behalf of us men. This he did 'in the days of his flesh, that is, of his mortal life, by offering up prayers and supplications, with a strong cry and tears,' Heb. v. 7: this he did in death, by the great sacrifice for the sins of the whole world which he then offered upon the altar of the cross. This he still continues to do in the sanctuary of heaven, into which he has carried the blood of his sacrifice, to be there presented before the throne of his Father; where also with his blood he continually makes intercession for the obtaining of mercy, grace, and salvation for us. Such are the benefits which are derived from the everlasting priesthood of our Lord. 'Seeing then,' says the apostle, 'that we have this great high priest, that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God: let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities; but one temped in all things like as we, yet without sin. Let us go, therefore, with confidence to the throne of grace; that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid.' Heb. vi 14, 15, 16.

Consider 3rdly, that Christ our Lord, not content with executing the priestly office in our behalf, whilst he was here upon earth in his own person; and continuing to execute it himself after his ascension into the sanctuary of heaven, was pleased moreover, before his departure hence, to ordain others, not as his successors (for his priesthood is eternal,) but as his ministers, to exercise in his name, and for the benefit of his people, all the offices and functions of the priesthood here amongst us; he assisting and co-operating with them from heaven; and as he has promised, being always with them, and keeping up a perpetual succession of them all days, even till the consummation of the world, Matt. xxviii. 18, 19, 10. So that we not only owe to that great high priest, and to his priesthood, all those blessings which he himself in person has at any time bestowed upon mankind, but also those many graces and spiritual benefits which he daily confers upon us, by the ministry of men, whom he has employed and commissioned to preach his gospel, administer sacraments, remit sins to his name, bless in his name, impart the grace of Holy Ghost by imposition of hand, and to consecrate and offer up daily to his name his body and blood for all the great ends of sacrifice. In all these offices our Lord assists us as our high priest; and whatsoever grace is here given to the faithful, it is all derived from his priesthood, who has imparted indeed to those whom he has made his vicegerents the doctrine, the authority , the spirit, the anointing, and the keys of the kingdom of heaven, which he has received of his Father; yet so that in all their performances, he himself is still the principal actor. See then, Christians, how happy we are in having such a high priest. 

Conclude to keep up in your souls a grateful sense of the innumerable benefits which have been conferred upon all mankind by the incarnation of the Son of God, by which he is become our king and our priest. Adhere to him in both these his qualities; daily beg that he would establish his reign in you, and by his priesthood deliver you from your sins, and bring you to his Father, to be eternally his.


DECEMBER 20TH

ON OUR SAVIOUR AS OUR SACRIFICE

Consider first, that the Son of God by his incarnation did not only come amongst us to be our king and our priest, but to be our sacrifice too, and in that quality to be an inexhaustible source of all good to our souls. Man, from the beginning, always owed to his God the homage of adoration, praise, and glory; he was ever bound to make him the best offerings he was able; he owed his God perpetual thanksgiving for his perpetual goodness and bounty to him; and he was ever bound to acknowledge, by prayer, his total dependence upon this giver of all good gifts, without whom he could do nothing. But after sin he contracted a new debt, by which he was bound to make satisfaction also to the divine justice for the offence he had committed. hence we find, from the beginning of the world, frequent mention in the scriptures of sacrifices offered to God; hence, in the law, were so many ordinances, relating to burnt-offerings, sin-offerings, and peace-offerings: as so many different kinds of sacrifices to answer the different branches of man's duty to his maker. But alas! how little proportion was there in all, or any of these ancient sacrifices, with those great ends for which they were offered! How insignificant in itself, (abstracting from that sacrifice to come, of which they were all types,) was all that homage, adoration, glory, and thanksgiving, which was paid to the infinite majesty of God by these oblations of oxen, goats, and sheep! How much less could the blood of oxen or blood of goats take away sins, or be a proper atonement for the great sin of the world, by which man had fallen from his God! Therefore the Son of God came by his incarnation to make himself the victim and sacrifice of all mankind, to substitute himself instead of all those ancient burnt-offerings, sin-offerings, and peace-offerings; to answer in a most perfect manner all the ends of sacrifice; and to wash away all our sins with his own most precious blood. O blessed be his name through all generations, for his infinite goodness to us!

Consider 2ndly, what great things the Son of God has done for us all in making himself our sacrifice; and what great things he has enabled us to do by virtue of his sacrifice. In dying for us upon the cross, he has made himself a holocaust or whole burnt-offering for us, of most sweet savour to his heavenly Father; a sacrifice of homage, adoration, praise, and glory, worthy of the infinite majesty of God, because of the infinite dignity both of the offerer and of the offering. In bowing down his head, and yielding up his spirit for us by his death he has also made an oblation of himself, infinitely agreeable to his Father, for all the other ends of sacrifice - here he offered a thanksgiving, truly worthy of God, both for himself and for us; a peace-offering of infinite value, for purchasing peace and all happiness for us, and for opening in our favour all the fountains of grace and life; and particularly he here made himself a sin-offering for us all; a victim of propitiation of infinite virtue, for taking away all the sins of the world, and reconciling and bringing back lost man to an eternal union with his God. And this great sacrifice of his, with all its fruits, he has in such a manner made over to us, as to authorize and enable us to offer up the same sacrifice with him, and in his name, to his Father, for all the same ends as he did; and to give thereby infinite glory to God, and to procure infinite blessings to ourselves and to all the world.

Consider 3rdly, that this sacrifice which Christ our Lord offered up to his Father on the altar of the cross, (as a homage and adoration, which, as man, he paid to him by his death; a thank-offering of infinite value, as an atonement of sin more than sufficient to cancel the sins of ten thousand worlds, though infinite in malice; and as an oblation of infinite merit, in the way of prayer and impetration of all graces and blessings from God for all mankind, both for time and eternity,) did not expire by his death, no more than his priesthood did. The whole victim of his sacrifice was restored to him again at his resurrection, and he has carried it with him, at his ascension, to the sanctuary of heaven; where with it, he continually gives adoration and thanks to his Father, both in his own and our name, and continually pleads for mercy and grace for us. But this is not all; he has also appointed this same sacrifice to be kept up for ever in his church, in the sacred mysteries; and to be offered up daily for the like intentions, on thousands of altars, in all nations, as long as the world shall endure: himself in person, though invisibly officiating there, both as priest and victim - both as offerer and offering. See then, my soul, if anything more can be desired to make us completely happy, who have continually amongst us such a sacrifice, in which we have the source of all happiness, and the sovereign means of all good.

Conclude never to be wanting on thy part in a due correspondence in all these graces and blessings of heaven, which the Son of God has purchased for thee by his sacrifice, and which he daily seeks to enrich thee with, by the application of the fruits of his sacrifice, in the daily oblation of his own body and blood. O learn then, my soul, to unite all thy performances with those of the Son of God - incarnate for the love of thee - and daily offer thyself with him, who daily offers himself in sacrifice for the love of thee! Unite all thy adoration, praise, and thanksgiving, with that which thy Saviour, as man, continually presents to his Father in heaven, and with all that which he daily offers him on a million of altars here upon earth; and thy adoration, praise, and thanksgiving, will not fail of being accepted. In like manner unite all thy prayers and supplications for mercy with those of Jesus Christ, and with his sacrifice; and thou wilt always find through him both mercy and grace.


DECEMBER 21ST

ON ST. THOMAS, THE APOSTLE

Consider first, that in celebrating the festivals of the saints, we must principally have in view the glorifying of the God of the saints, and the giving him thanks for the wonders of his grace in them; and all that glory to which he has exalted them, and with which he has crowned them to all eternity. Now, God is wonderful indeed in all his saints, but in none more than in the meanest condition in life, as it were from the earth, and from the dunghill, to make them the princes of his people; the pillars and foundations of his church; prodigies of his grace; full of his divine Spirit; dispensers of all his treasures, and workers of all kind of wonders here upon earth; and now has exalted to sit with him on his throne in heaven, to come one day with him to be the judges both of men and angels. See, then, Christians, what subjects we have to meditate upon, on the festivals of the apostles; what motives we have to praise and glorify God for all he has done for them, and through them for us all; what encouragements we here have, however mean and poor we may be in all that is good, to rely on the power, goodness, and mercy of our God, who loves to work his greatest wonders in favour of such as are little and humble; and what lessons we have for our instruction and our imitation, in the ready correspondence of the apostles with divine grace, and their diligent co-operation with it unto the end.

Consider 2ndly, from the epistle read on this day, (Eph. iii. 19,) the great advantages we have received, through the ministry of the apostles, in our being called to the Christian religion, of which they were the first preachers and teachers. 'For now,' says St. Paul, speaking to all Christians, 'you are no more strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow-citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God; built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building framed together groweth up into a holy temple in the Lord,' &c. Yes, Christians, it was by the ministry of the apostles we were originally brought to all this good; and as the same apostle adds, Heb. xii. 21, by our admission into the church of God, 'we are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels, and to the church of the firstborn, who are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all; and to the spirits of the just made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the New Testament, and to the sprinkling of blood, which speaketh better than that of Abel:' viz., by crying to heaven for mercy, and not for justice. O happy communion of saints! A communion in all that is good, with all that are good; to which we have been introduced by the apostles of Christ. O glory for evermore be to their Lord, the author of all their good and our good!

Consider 3rdly, the particular lessons which St. Thomas teaches us by his example. When the other disciples opposed our Saviour's going back to Jerusalem where the Jews had lately sought his death, St. Thomas alone generously said: 'Let us also go, that we may die with him,' John xi. 16. Such was his love for his master, and such his courage in his cause. Are we in the like dispositions? Are we willing to die with Christ, or for Christ, when we are frightened with every little difficulty or danger, and ever ready to turn our backs upon him, rather that to risk anything for him, or part with our own humour or satisfaction for the love of him? St. Thomas was slow of belief with regard to the resurrection of our Lord, till he was favoured both with the sight of him and the handling of his wounds; but then he yielded himself up immediately, and cries out with the most lively faith and ardent love 'My Lord and my God!' This lively faith and ardent love continued with him, ever growing and increasing, and carried him through all his apostolic labours amongst so many barbarous nations (to which he is said to have preached the gospel) and through all his sufferings, till by glorious martyrdom it brought him to his Lord, and eternally united him to him. O that we had but some little share in this lively faith and ardent love! It would make all our labours and suffering easy to us, and bring us also to our Lord.

Conclude so to glorify God in this saint, as to encourage thyself also to walk in his footsteps by an imitation of his virtures, in hopes of sharing in his happiness. And for this end ever beg his prayers and intercession.


DECEMBER 22ND

ON THE EMBER WEEK IN ADVENT

Consider first, that the ember weeks, at the four seasons of the year, are the times set aside by the church, from the earliest ages, for fasting and prayer. The primitive church had that zealous regard for the glory of God, and the sanctification of the souls of her children, by training them up to these religious exercises, so much recommended by the word of God, that she would not suffer any of the four parts of the year to pass, without calling upon them all to sanctify one week at least by more than ordinary devotion and by offering up to God therein the tribute of a penitential fast. In which she had also moreover in view, that by their diligence in this practice, her children might draw down a blessing from God on all their labours, and on the fruits of the earth; that they might give thanks for the blessings already received, and implore the divine mercy for the forgiveness of the sins they were continually committing. Christians, let us, at these holy times, enter into these views of our holy mother the church; and by joining, as it were, in a body with all the people of God upon earth, in fasting, in almsdeeds, and in humble prayer, make the best return we are able to the giver of all good gifts, for all his benefits; beg a continuance of his graces and blessings, and the pardon of all our sins, through the merits of the passion and death of his only Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Consider 2ndly, that these penitential fasts of the ember weeks are also instituted in order to turn away the judgments of God, which we have too great reason to apprehend may be hanging over our heads on account of our sins. For if we duly consider the multitude an enormity of the crimes that are daily and hourly committed amongst Christians of all degrees and conditions - crimes that continually cry to heaven for vengeance - and how few there are, in comparison, that are not frequently falling into mortal sin, in one shape or another; we cannot but fear lest the very worst of God's judgments may be speedily falling upon Christendom, if not averted by prayer and penance. It is then not only a duty of obedience to our mother the Church, but a charity also that we owe both to ourselves and to our neighbours, to join, at these times, in prayer and penance, in order to prevent those dismal visitations of divine justice, and to turn now to the Lord, with our whole heart, in fasting, and weeping, and mourning, as the prophet admonishes, (Joel iii.,) that so by entering into dispositions of true penitents, and seriously turning away from the evil of our sins, we may prevail with our merciful God to turn away also his scourges from us, which we have deserved by our sins. O that Christians would remember this on all their days of fasting; and would always enter into the true spirit of these institutions, chiefly designed for the abolishing sin, and appeasing the divine justice! thus would they offer up to God such a fast as he has chosen. Thus would their fastings draw down a blessing from him.

Consider 3rdly, that the ember weeks are also set aside by the church of Christ for the times of giving Holy Orders, which by apostolical traditions, and by the example of the apostles, ought to be accompanied with prayer and fasting. Acts xiii. 2, 3; xiv. 22. Yes, Christians, as there is not any one thing on which both the general good of the whole church, and the welfare of every soul in particular, so much depends as upon having saints for our pastors, and such as may be men according to God's own heart - who both by word and work may continually promote the glory of God and the salvation of souls - so there is not any one thing which more pressingly calls for our prayers and fasting than the obtaining such pastors from God. This should indeed have a great part in our devotions at all times, but more especially at these times of their ordination. Bad priest are sometimes permitted by God, as one of his most dreadful judgments upon the sins of the people. It is the business then of all Christians, by praying well, and living well, to avert this judgment, and to obtain better guides. 

Conclude to labour by more than ordinary devotion and penance at these holy times, to answer all the ends of these ancient institutions. This ember week in particular, and all the latter parts of Advent, (that is twelve whole days before Christmas,) by an ancient custom of the primitive English church, was dedicated by our catholic ancestors to fasting, watchings, prayer, and alms; and all the faithful, at this time, betook themselves to confession and penance, in order to prepare themselves for a worthy participation of the body of the Lord on Christmas-day, as we learn from B. Egbert, who was Archbishop of York about a thousand years ago. (In Dialogo de Ecclesiastica Institutione.) O how much have we degenerated from this ancient piety!


DECEMBER 23RD

ON THE PREPARATION FOR THE BIRTH OF CHRIST

Consider first, that when the time drew near in which the world was to be blessed with the birth of our Saviour, the blessed virgin, who bore him in her womb, and her chaste spouse St. Joseph, in obedience to the edict of the Emperor Augustus, took a journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, there to be enrolled in the city of David, as they were both of them of the royal stock of David. The emperor, in giving out these orders, had no other view than the gratifying his vanity, or this avarice, by the tax imposed on that occasion. But God, who had ordained and foretold long before, by his prophet Micheas, that his son should be born in Bethlehem, was pleased to bring about his eternal decrees in this manner, and to prepare, by this occasion a place for his birth, suitable to the great designs for which he sent him into the world. For behold, after a long and wearisome winter's journey, when the blessed mother, with the Son of God in her womb, was arrived at Bethlehem, the town was full; and none of the inhabitants, not even of their own kindred and family, would receive them into their houses, or give them any entertainment; the very inns would not lodge them; there was no room for them. O ye heavens! stand astonished to see the Son of God, the Lord and maker of heaven and earth, thus debase himself, form the very beginning, as not to allow himself, even in his very birth, any of the common conveniences of life; no not so much as a house to cover his head! O let him be so much the more dear to us, by how much he has made himself more mean and contemptible for the love of us.

Consider 2ndly, what kind of a place the king of heaven prepared on this occasion for the birth of his Son. St Joseph, after seeking in vain for a lodging in the town, found out at last an open stable, or stall for beast, exposed on all sides to the inclemency of the weather; which, for want of better accommodations, their poverty and humility were contended to take up with. and this was the palace the divine wisdom made choice of for the birth of our great king; the manger here, which had served for the ox and the ass, was the royal bed of state in which he was first laid upon his coming down amongst us. Oh, how has the Word incarnate here annihilated himself for us! Oh, how loudly has he condemned, from his very birth, our corrupt self-love in all its branches; with all the maxims of worldly pride, and the favourite inclinations of flesh and blood. Man fell originally from God, by proudly affecting a superior excellence which might make him like to God, by coveting to have what God did not allow him, and by seeking to gratify his sensual appetite with the forbidden fruit: therefore the Son of God begins his mortal life by the exercise of a most profound humility, to cure our pride - by embracing a voluntary poverty, even to the want of all things, in opposition to our covetousness and love of the mammon of the world, and by choosing for himself hardships and sufferings in opposition to our love of sensual and worldly pleasures. O let us study well these lessons, which this heavenly master begins to teach us by his great example, even from his first appearance amongst us.

Consider 3rdly, Christian souls, that the Son of God, who heretofore came down from heaven to be born into this world for you, earnestly desires at present to be spiritually born in you. See then, that you correspond on your part with this his earnest desire, by preparing your souls for him and giving them up to him. O be not like those unhappy Bethlehemites who refused him a place in their houses, and would not find any room for him! But then, if you are willing to admit him, take care to discharge from your inward house all such company as is disagreeable to him. For how great soever his desire is of coming and being spiritually born in your souls, he will not come thither as long as you wilfully entertain there his and your mortal enemies, the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life - those very enemies whom he came from heaven to fight against, and against whom he has declared an eternal war by the austerity, poverty, and humility of his birth, of his education, and of his whole life and death. Moreover, if you desire to have him to abide in you by virtue of a spiritual birth, you must allow him the chiefest place in your heart and soul, by driving far away from you all irregular affections to the world or to any creature whatsoever. For though he did not disdain the stable nor the crib, the ox nor the ass, he will not endure a heart divided or occupied by unclean affections, and which will not give him the whole, without a partner in love.

Conclude to let nothing be wanting on your part to insure to yourselves the happiness of having the Son of God spiritually born in your soul. O invite him thither with all possible affection; be ready to give up all things else that he may abide with you; and beg of him, who knows your poverty and misery, that he would prepare himself a place in you, and furnish your souls with all those ornaments of virtue and grace which are suitable to this his spiritual birth.


DECEMBER 24TH

ON THE BIRTH OF CHRIST

Consider first, that the time being now come in which the Son of God was to be born into this world, in the silence of the night and in the obscurity of a stable, the eternal Word of God, by whom all things were made, issued out from his nine months' close confinement in his mother's womb, without any detriment of her virginal integrity: and so came to dwell amongst us. See, my soul, and contemplate with thy inward eyes this lovely babe - O how lovely indeed and loving to us! - already beginning to suffer for thee, and to weep bitterly for thy sins. See how this blessed mother takes him up from the ground shivering with cold; see with what profound reverence on the one hand, and with what ardent love and affection on the other, she embraces him, and carefully wraps him up in swaddling clothes, and lays him in the manger. But see also, in the midst of all this poverty and humility of this newborn king, all the heavenly choirs of angels and archangels, and al the cherubim and seraphim, descending from heaven to adore their Lord, and to sing their hymns of praise and glory to him, according to that of the apostle, Heb. i. 6, that when God brought his firstborn into the world he said: 'Let all the angels of God adore him.' Christians, let us join with all these heavenly spirits; let us join with the blessed virgin, the mother of God, in our homage and adoration, praise and thanksgiving, to the Son of God, born into this world to be our Emmanuel, (God with us,) and to save us: let us welcome him at his birth, and embrace him with all the affection of our souls.

Consider 2ndly, what we read, Luke ii., that at the time of the birth of our Lord, 'There were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them, and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them, Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people; for this day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying, Glory be to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill!' See, Christians, you study well the lessons designed for you in this whole passage. Behold, a heavenly messenger is here sent to carry the first news, the happy tidings of the birth of the Son of God - born into this world to be the Saviour of the world. But to whom do you think does God send this joyful message, this heavenly embassy? Not to any of the great ones of this world, not to any of the worldly wise, nor to the learned, nor to the rich, nor to any of them that lived at their ease and wallowed in sensual pleasures. No; their pride and self-conceit, their love of the world, and of the things of this world, their love of sensual and carnal pleasures, fastened them down to the earth and disqualified them for the visits of heaven. What manner of men, then, were they who were favoured with his glorious vision and this heavenly message, and in consequence of it were the first, after the blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, that had the happiness to see and to worship the Saviour of the world - to believe in him themselves, and to preach and publish his coming to their neighbours? O, they were poor, humble, harmless shepherds, keeping the night watches over their flocks, attentive to the business of their humble calling, and likely employing that silent time of the night in joining the praises of God and prayer with the care of their sheep. Now, such as these are commonly the favourites of the most high, who resists the proud and gives his grace to the humble.. See, my soul, these be also thy dispositions if thou wouldst be favoured by our Lord with his divine graces.

Consider 3rdly, the words of the angel to the shepherds: 'I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people, for this day is born to you a Saviour.' See, Christians, what ought to be the subject of your joy at this holy time. A Saviour is born this day to you, who comes to save his people from their sins; who comes to deliver you from the power and slavery of the devil, and from hell and damnation; and to bring to you mercy, grace, and salvation. O here is a just subject of true joy indeed! Not like the joys of worldlings, which are either vain and foolish, or base and filthy; but a joy in the Lord and in his goodness, which opens to us by this mystery the gate of joys that shall never end. O let us then join with all the heavenly choirs in the sacred hymn they sung on this occasion: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill!' Let us ever glorify him who has wrought these wonders for us, and who has sent us, by the birth of his Son, justice and abundance of peace till the moon be taken away. O how lovely and desirable is this peace! But it is only bestowed on men of goodwill: 'For there is no peace to the wicked, saith the Lord,' Isaia xlvii. 22.

Conclude to imitate the shepherds, by going over with them in spirit to Bethlehem this night, and thee paying your homage, and making your offerings to your new-born king. The offering he calls for is that of your heart. O give it him without reserve! But let it be a loving heart, to answer that love which has brought him down from heaven to you: let it be a contrite and humble heart, in consideration of your ingratitude and manifold sins against him.


Contents of Challoner's Meditations

Liturgia Latina Index