I have such a deep joy today. I don't have any thing to rejoice in - I have no merits, no accomplishments, no virtues, no nothing to boast of or really celebrate, but I began the Christmas novena today, simply using the prayer of the Church - the Collect.
What joy is contained in the Church! The Church, the communion of believers, the People of God and the Pope and the bishops and priests and religious and laity. At the heart of the Church is love, peace and joy - open to all. There are a lot of people who never go to church except on Christmas ... because of that joy, open to all - no matter who. It's all good. Even if you are down and out, confused, drunk or high - if you want to go to Mass on Christmas - go. Go up to the Nativity and see the Infant who loves us, each of us.
Go. The Infant Jesus receives each of us, just as we are.
I will sleep and rest in peace because You, O Lord, and only You, have secured my hope.
My God, I’m so persuaded that You watch over all who hope in You and nothing can be lacking to those who await from You all things, that I have determined to live from now on without any concern, letting go and giving You all of my anxieties. I will sleep and rest in peace because You, O Lord, and only You, have secured my hope.
Men can deprive me of possessions and reputation; illnesses can take away my strength and means to serve You; I myself can lose Your grace because of sin; but I will not lose my hope; I will conserve it until the last instant of my life and all the efforts from demons trying to take it away from me will be useless. I will sleep and rest in peace.
Others may expect happiness in their riches and talents; some may lean on the innocence of their lives, or the rigor of their penitence, or above all on the amount of their good works, or the fervor of their prayers. As for myself Lord, all my confidence is my confidence itself. Because You Lord, only You have secured my hope.
No one has been deceived by this confidence. No one who has waited in the Lord has been frustrated in their confidence.
Therefore, I am sure that I will be eternally happy because I firmly hope to be; and because You, Oh, My God, are in Whom I expect all. In You I hope Lord, and never will I be confused.
I know very well . . . too well that I am fragile and inconstant, I know well the power of temptations against the most firm virtue; I have seen thestars fall from heaven and columns from the firmament; but none of this can frighten me. As long as I maintain firm my hope, I will be conserved from all calamities; and I am sure to hope always, because I hope the same in this unchanging hope.
In conclusion, I am sure that I cannot hope in excess in You and that I will receive all that I would have hoped for in You. Therefore, I know You will sustain me on the most rapid and slippery slopes, that You will strengthen me against the assaults and make my weakness triumph over the most tremendous enemies.
I hope You will always love me and I will love you without interruption; to take once and for all my hope as far as it can reach. I hope in You and only in You! Oh, My Creator! In time and for all eternity. Amen. - St. Claude