Eugene was ordained to the priesthood on 21 December 1811 and celebrated his “First Mass” on Christmas Eve. He invited his mother to be united with him in a special way.

Dear mother, be one with me on Christmas Eve, join in the holy mysteries in Aix while I celebrate them for you in Amiens, in the most fervent of; let each of us for our own part speak our minds to our good Master who assuredly will be quite unable to say no on such a wonderful day…

Letter to his mother, 8 December 1811, EO XIV n. 96

After his ordination, the custom was to spend more days in retreat in preparation for celebrating Mass for the first time. On the day of his ordination had written in anticipation:

I leave you now, dear, darling mother. I have three days still to get used to the idea that I am a priest and prepare to celebrate the divine mysteries on the delightful night our lovable Saviour is born in a stable….

Letter to his mother after his priestly ordination, 21 December 1811, EO XIV n.97

How am I preparing to celebrate the delightful night our lovable Savior was born in a stable?

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    How am I preparing? How is the Spirit helping me to prepare for Christmas Eve? I think sometimes that it is easy to relegate Christmas to a time 2000 years ago – to a time which we remember with songs and prayers, with special liturgies, we dress up our houses with lights and decorations that are special and look beautiful, all ways of preparing for Christmas. I have done some of that and done much to help others to prepare to celebrate. But what about my heart? Frank’s question has brought forth my own: “How do I prepare for and to enter into this time of celebrating the birth of Jesus”?

    This Advent has been a time of longing, of sitting in that longing rather than trying to escape it. I am quite unable to give it words, to describe it. My song, my prayer, my breath has been “O come Lord Jesus, come.”

    I have done little to prepare, it has been God, the Spirit of God – directly and through/with others. Last night I took part in a Reconciliation Service at my church. The church was barely lit for it is still Advent and decorations are beginning to appear. It was a beautiful evening and I kept thinking of what a very large crèche will look like in the light. Christmas Eve will be very busy there at Church with many things needing to be done. It will be beautiful and special. But I thought of Christmas morning which will be more subdued, quieter. I thought of how I would like to approach that crèche on Christmas morning, just to walk up to it, perhaps with a low bow and just spend time there in awe and gratitude. As if it was the first time for me to experience Christmas. Perhaps for my heart it will be just that – a first time in celebrating the birth of our Saviour in this way with a heart that continues to open. As the thought came to me last night, and then again here this morning I told myself that it was fanciful and something that only a child would do. But this desire to approach the manger is every bit as strong as my longing, perhaps it is a part of it. Perhaps the longing and the desire to approach the crèche in wonder is a part of my own preparation, the idea has been planted and I now want to think and move towards that. God prepares me.

  2. Peg Hanafin says:

    These words highlight the meaning of Christmas. Less of the consumerism and more reflecting on what Christ mas should be. Thank you

  3. Anda says:

    These past two years have had their tests and trials, and I had been looking forward to the period of preparation of Advent, but time flew off on me, and to be honest I feel little prepared personally, though for the most part I have done “work stuff” to ensure that ministry representatives are duly assigned for Masses. I don’t want to say I don’t care about Christmas, but unfortunately that is how I feel…. Obviously NOT in the proper frame of mind – and not prepared.

    • Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

      Hi Anda – I like you have been busy working to ensure we have enough Eucharistic Ministers for each of the 6 Masses and will there be enough clean altar linens, and what about greeters, etc etc. And there is a piece of me that agrees with you and says that I will be glad when it is over and I can rest.

      And – I can’t help but believe that God continues to hold your heart, form it, bless it and filled the deepest places in it, even if you don’t ‘feel’ it. Much love to you dear Anda, a big hug and many thoughts and prayers in the coming days. Lets pray you and I with and for each other – just one.

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