The angels announced news of great joy to the rugged shepherds who were tending their sheep near Bethlehem on the night Our Divine Redeemer was born for us of His Most Blessed Mother. They announced these words from the Gospel of Luke 2: 14, which have been so misconstrued in modern times: "Glory to God in the highest, and peace to men of good will."
The peace of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is not the peace of this passing world. Our Lord specifically told us that He does not give peace as the world gives peace. Fidelity to Him as He has revealed Himself to us through His true Church will result in divisions within families and communities and within nations and among nations. These divisions will frequently be very painful, humanly speaking, that is. However, we must understand that Our Lord became Incarnate in Our Lady's Virginal and Immaculate womb by the power of the Holy Ghost and was born in poverty in Bethlehem so that men of good will would cooperate with the graces He would win for them on the wood of the Holy Cross to know His peace, which is nothing other than the fruit of being in a state of sanctifying grace.
It is important to remember at this Christmas and at every Christmas we are privileged to commemorate as members of the Church Militant on earth that the peace of the Child born for us in Bethlehem is the only path to personal sanctity and hence all social order. No peace treaty brokered by the high and the mighty and no military triumph will ever produce world peace. The peace the angels announced to men of good will is only the fruit of the Redemptive Act of the God-Man on the wood of the Holy Cross, a Sacrifice that is extended to us in time in an unbloody manner by an alter Christus acting in persona Christi in Holy Mass. There is no secular, interdenominational or nondenominational way to replace the peace of Christ. And it is, of course, the Immemorial Mass of Tradition that best expresses and protects the fullness of the Faith.
The best gift we can give on Christmas Day is the gift of a soul in a state of sanctifying grace, a soul that is attempting to be as unspotted as possible from the stain of sin and from any and all disordered attachment to the things, people, and places of this passing world. Our Lord, Who is born for us under the appearance of bread and wine every time that Holy is offered, wants us to give birth to Him in the lives of others, something we can only do if we are attempting to be pure in heart and to scale the heights of personal sanctity.
Our Lord has entrusted the cause of authentic world peace to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother. His peace flows through her Immaculate Heart, which is why it is so imperative for some pope to actually consecrate Russia properly with all of the world's bishops. The days of the Christmas season, which begin with first vespers on December 24 and lasts until the Feast of Candlemas on February 2, remind us to be totally consecrated to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart, ever faithful to the First Saturday requests, meditatively reflective during our daily praying of her Most Holy Rosary, and conscious of the fact that she is the path to the peace of Christ now just as she was His path to be enfleshed with a human nature at the Incarnation to be born of her on Christmas Day.
Interceding with Our Lady and Saint Joseph, who is the Patron of the Universal Church, may we welcome Our Lord each day in Holy Communion with the same fervor that He was welcomed by the shepherds when the angels had announced to them great joy to men of good will.
My wife Sharon and our twenty-one month old daughter, Lucy Mary Norma, extend with me to all of the readers of The Daily Catholic our heartfelt wishes for a Blessed Christmas Day and season, as well as for a Holy New Year of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in 2004.
Viva Cristo Rey!
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.