Christmas and the Birth of Our Order

Our Holy Father Norbert and the early saints of the Order adore the Christ Child (from a painting in the chapter house of the abbey of Averbode)

“Indeed many religious men, both bishops and abbots, had advised him in various ways, one suggesting the eremitic life, another that of an anchorite, still another to take up the lifestyle of the Cistercians. But Norbert, whose work and plans depended on heaven, entrusted his foundation neither to himself nor to others but rather to Him who is the beginning of all things. He pondered these many things in his heart but he and those who wished to live with him had been dedicated since their youth, Norbert ordered that the rule be accepted which the Blessed Augustine had established for his followers. The apostolic life which he had undertaken by his preaching he now hoped to live. He had heard that this way of life was ordained and renewed by this same blessed man after the apostles. By the profession of this rule then, on Christmas Day at Prémontré, one by one they voluntarily enrolled themselves into that city of blessed eternity.” Life of St. Norbert (Vita A)

The canons of St. Philip’s Priory, Chelmsford wish all our friends, relatives and benefactors a very happy and holy Christmas

Our Order came into being on this feast day, December 25, 1121.  Therefore there are still ten years until the great 900th anniversary of our existence.  . . From this feast of the Incarnation we receive anew each year the task to do as God did, simply become man, to live humanly and fraternally, to work as brothers and sisters.  What does it actually mean concretely to become man for us men, for us as Premonstratensians?  With St. Norbert, who signed his profession formula, so to speak, at the crèche, it is simply to look at this divine child, so that this divine birth may take place in us, in our heart, that we grown more and more into his love, that we incorporate ourselves into him, as we fulfill it really-symbolically in daily communion.  As we receive and accept him we are changed into him.  This becoming like him, this comparing ourselves to him, the only true man, is the mystery of the Incarnation.  And so I beseech for all our communities a growth and ripening in being and becoming human, an increase in fraternity and passion for people, a sacrificing for our holy service in the community and outside of it. – from the Christmas letter of our Abbot General

This entry was posted in Chelmsford, Community Events, Norbertine History, O.Praem Pictures, Premonstratensian Communities, St. Norbert. Bookmark the permalink.