Like the Nativity scene it evokes, the above triplet is both elementary and profound. In three simple words, the nexus between Bethlehem and the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary - the Joyful Virgin and the innocent Babe; the Sorrowful Mother and the spotless Lamb - is captured and distilled.
Together, Mary-Christ-Mass encapsulates the flood of grace that pours forth from the Passion and Death of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ - as Victim and Priest at each and every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - all channelled through our Immaculate Mother, Mediatrix of all Graces, who first brought forth and laid that same Victim Priest in a bed of straw on Christmas day.
The phrase transforms the fluffy "Merry Christmas" into a sobering prayer and meditation: placing this holy season at the very heart of the salvific mystery of the Mass and helping to ensure that we never take it for granted.
It is in this light that we offer Catherine Doherty’s moving account which immediately follows. Certainly, we have long endured our own bloodless suffering at the hands of ecclesiastical blackshirts in this bleak and endless Winter revolution they parade as the ‘Springtime of Vatican II.’ But unlike Doherty, most of us, thus far, have not faced a Christmas without Christ - without Confession, without Holy Mass and Communion - let alone lived that permanent nightmare in a Marxist state.
While underscoring the fragility of access to the sacraments, Doherty’s brief reflection should, in turn, increase not only our love for the Mass and our determination to attend it more often, but our resolve to pray and sacrifice for priests who offer the Holy Sacrifice in persona Christi. As a recent mailing urged:
This Christmas remember to pray and sacrifice for priests: faithful priests, unfaithful priests, zealous priests, tepid priests, holy priests, abusive priests, priests who are bishops and cardinals, and our papa priest Pope John Paul II. Never take your priests for granted and never stop praying for them, especially those who are in danger of damnation for being false shepherds. Our priests are under constant assault by the devil. Some may fall because we fail to pray and do penance for them. Don’t be a member of the ungrateful laity.
Sadly, one leading role model in this regard - a layman who took neither the priesthood of Jesus Christ nor the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for granted, whose eternal gratitude for both was manifest in his life and writings - is no longer with us.
Michael Davies was an enthusiastic and generous supporter of this magazine. He proudly claimed to be one of the few people who owned a complete set of Christian Orders from its inception in 1960. His moral and practical support and encouragement both to Father Crane and then myself was always deeply appreciated. It is entirely providential and fitting that his final interview should appear in CO. It would please him, as it does me, enormously.
Predictably, Michael’s death rated only a cursory mention in the ‘Catholic’ papers in this country. Only a prominent and influential traditionalist would be summarily snubbed in this manner. Apart from anything else, it further highlights the astonishing insularity and pig ingorance that defines England’s Modernist Establishment and the church within the Church they now inhabit, utterly cut off from Catholic reality. Recently asked if he had heard of Michael Davies, the press secretary of an English Archbishop just shook his clueless head.
None of that would concern Michael in the least, of course. He would wear the fact as a badge of honour. He was battle-hardened and rightly laughed these things off. This year, during some blunt email exchanges in which we gave each other both barrels while vigorously disagreeing, among much else, about Cardinal Ratzinger’s orthodoxy or lack thereof, he wrote to me: "Thank you for taking my criticisms in such a good spirit. I think we have in common the fact that neither of us gives a damn about what anyone says about us. I was recently informed that unless I admit that Ratzinger is a heretic I am doomed to hell!"
Well, I think he’s pretty safe on that score. But please remember Michael, and his wife and family, in your prayers this Christmas. May God look with mercy upon this zealous soul who fought the good fight under fire, and kept the Faith. Requiescat in pace.