12/29 Fifth Day of the Octave of Christmas
Letter #16 from the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta
In Voluntate Dei!
My good and Reverend Mother General,
Thank you for your wishes; I return them to you from the heart. Forgive me if I delayed in answering you, as it was convenient for me to play with my Little Baby Jesus, and then to think of my duty of answering Your Maternity. And you know that many times one loses the game and remains upset, and tries to repeat the game in order to win; therefore it takes time and patience (I am joking).
Now, my most dear Mother, I send you my best wishes: Christmas has gone, Jesus is born, and as my wishes, I send you little Jesus shivering with cold, His face wet with graceful tears, carrying His present in His little hands. But do you know what that is? His Divine Fiat. What a beautiful present He wants to give you! The gift is great, but He doesn’t want to be with nothing in His little hands. My Mother, He is little, and wants to hold something to play with; He wants your will as gift, so He will find something to amuse Himself with. Aren’t you happy? Therefore, my wish is great: I send you a most delicate task – to make the little Infant not be born, but grow with your love, to calm His crying and make Him smile by telling Him that you gladly accept the present of His Will, giving Him yours. In sum, you will make Him grow so much that you yourself will become the veil that covers Jesus.
My Mother, it is true that my wishes come from a little ignorant one, but you must know that it is the delirium, the fever, that devours me, as I yearn that the Divine Will reign in the hearts, and that we be the repeaters of the life of the Little Baby.
Now I pass on to send my wishes to the whole community and to the little orphans, by sending the greetings, the kiss, the present which Baby Jesus wants to give to all of them. And I beg all of them not to send Him back, otherwise they will make Him cry; and then how much will it take to soothe His tears.
In a special way I send my most heartfelt wishes to my good Mother Nazarena; tell her that I always remember her, I will never forget her, and I wish that dear little Jesus will keep her company, and make her a saint – a great saint; and to pray for me.
I finish here, because dear Little Baby is in a hurry to come to you, to give you His present and receive yours. So I leave you in the place of honor of the Divine Will, in which Jesus wants you. I kiss your right hand with sincere respect, and I ask you to bless me.
The little daughter of the Divine Will
Corato, December 27, 1934
12/29 Origin of the “Twelve Days of Christmas”
You’re all familiar with the Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” I think. To most it’s a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But it had a quite serious purpose when it was written.
It is a good deal more than just a repetitious melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts.
Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from ANY practice of their faith by law – private OR public. It was a crime to BE a Catholic.
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written in England as one of the “catechism songs” to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith – a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head – or hanged, drawn and quartered, a rather peculiar and ghastly punishment I’m not aware was ever practiced anywhere else.
Hanging, drawing and quartering involved hanging a person by the neck until they had almost, but not quite, suffocated to death; then the party was taken down from the gallows, and disembowelled while still alive; and while the entrails were still lying on the street, where the executioners stomped all over them, the victim was tied to four large farm horses, and literally torn into five parts – one to each limb and the remaining torso.
The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith.
The “true love” mentioned in the song doesn’t refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents refers to every baptized person.
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so…”
The other symbols mean the following:
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”, which gives the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed