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As Christmas day quickly approaches, the Church celebrates the memory of St. Peter Canisius, a Jesuit saint from the Netherlands. He was a powerful orator, who defended the Church during a volatile time in her history.
Yet, he approached his ministry with great compassion and charity, seeking to convert rather than attack.
Of note are his words on Christmas, particularly relevant as his feast day occurs during the final days of Advent. Below are three quotes from St. Peter Canisius that feature his unique reflections on Christmas.
In the light of all this approval from Sacred Scripture, let me ask my listeners once more: “Has anybody the right to criticize us even if we seem to be beside ourselves with joy to-day over the birthday of our King?” If the princes and rulers of this world are privileged to make merry over the sons of their flesh, what a mountain of reasons we have for exulting over the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior!Never was a whimpering bit of humanity so powerful that, while lying on His bed of straw, He could command the very stars to direct whom He wished to visit Him. Never a child so wise or so rich as this little Infant who was full of grace and incarnate truth. Never anyone so marvelous as to be at once so small and so great, true God and true Man, the Uncreated Word and weak human flesh, mighty King and a lowly slave. Never had any child so emptied himself of all that he really was in order to become a tiny, speechless, naked, unknown babe.Christmas Day is nothing if not a day of universal joy. Children should rejoice because on this day God Himself became as one of them; virgins, because a Virgin brought forth and remained unstained even after giving birth; wives, because one of their number became the Mother of God; sinners, because their Mediator and Savior and Healer has come to redeem them; the just, because their Reward exceeding great has been born into the world. In fine, all faithful Christians should rejoice that their Creator and Lord has taken on human flesh and begun His reign over the hearts of men, not only as God, but also as the Son of Man among the children of men.
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