Following the Halloween post, I wanted to help people deepen their appreciation for Jesus and the Christmas season. A search through Venerable Bruno Lanteri’s writings produced his letter to Sister Leopolda Mortigliengo in December 1811 on a novena (9 days of prayer) to prepare for Christmas. I simplified his language to create this Instagram and Facebook post.
This blog post unlocks Lanteri’s genius in the novena. Although the social media post focuses more on the reflecting, these steps should prompt us to act in Jesus. For each day of this novena, do the following:
- Recall the humility of the Child Jesus. Fr. Lanteri recommends we beg Jesus for this virtue. We also should practice this humility in our thoughts and actions. That might even mean being nice to someone whom we find unpleasant.
- Consider the love of the Child Jesus. Fr. Lanteri envisions that this love will prompt us to make three acts of random kindness.
- Thank Jesus for the annoyances. But bitterness should have no room in our hearts. We should be glad that we can give to Jesus something that costs us (i.e. we sacrifice for the one we love).
- Pray 9 Hail Mary’s. For Christmas, we should pause on the words “and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.” They can reenforce our insights into the Child Jesus’ humility and love.
- Ponder the words “The Word became flesh.” We should step deeply into the mystery of the Incarnation. The Almighty God humbles Himself to take on our human nature so he can be with us and save us from our sins and wounds. This God is not alien to our sufferings, but He desired to take them upon Himself.
Traditionally, this novena would cover the nine days up to and including Christmas (Dec. 17-25). You also can use it during the Octave of Christmas (Dec. 25 to Jan. 1) or until the Epiphany (traditionally Jan. 6 or, in the U.S., the first Sunday after Jan. 1).
May you grow closer to Jesus and may His closeness mold your heart to be more kind and humble in the new year.