Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

The Night Before the First Christmas

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

“The Night Before the First Christmas”

It is said that Clement Moore wrote the “Night Before Christmas” for the enjoyment of his children.  The same motive was the inspiration behind this poem by Sister Mary St. Thomas many years ago:

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the town

St. Joseph was searching, walking up roads and down.

Our Lady was waiting, so meek and so mild.

While Joseph was seeking a place for the Child.

The children were nestled, each snug in his bed,

And the grownups wouldn’t bother. There’s no room, they said.

When even the innkeeper sent them away

and Joseph was wondering where they would stay.

He thought of the cave in the side of the hill

Let’s go there,” said Mary. It’s silent and still.”

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow

Made a pathway of light for their tired feet to go.

And there in the cave in a cradle of hay

The Saviour was born on that first Christmas Day.

The Father was watching in heaven above

And sent for His angels, His courtiers of love.

More rapid than eagles God’s bright angels came,

Rejoicing and eager as each heard his name.

“Come Powers, come Cherubs, come Virtues and Raphael,

Come Thrones and Dominions, come Michael and Gabriel.

“Now fly to the earth where my poor people live,

Announce the glad tidings My Son Comes to give.”

The Shepherds were watching their flocks on the night

And saw in the heavens an unearthly light.

The angels assured them they’d nothing to fear.

“It’s Christmas,” they said. “The Saviour is here!”

They hastened to find Him, and stood at the door,

Till Mary invited them in to adore.

He was swaddled in bands from His head to His feet,

And never did shepherds see a Baby so sweet!

He spoke not a word but the shepherds all knew.

He was telling them secrets and blessing them too.

Then softly they left Him, the Babe in the hay,

And rejoiced with great joy on that first Christmas Day.

Mary heard them exclaim as they walked up the hill,

“Glory to God in the highest; Peace to men of good will.”

A Redder Wine than Cana’s…

Thursday, January 14th, 2010


 — by the Rev. Thomas H. Cosgrove, C.Ss.R. (1919-2008)

If you would fill your flagons

To toast the New Year’s birth,

We know the sweetest vintage

That bubbles on the earth.


A redder wine than Cana’s,

Where water, flaming, flushed.

As if a million rubies

Were thrown within, and crushed.


A dregless draught, and dearer

Than pearls without a taint,

Or relic softly stolen

From the body of a saint.


It wins us timeless treasures,

To live and linger yet

When all the stars are cinders

And when the sun is jet.


And when this toast is taken,

Unlike the ruder wine,

It lifts a man from lusting

And makes him half divine.


But where to find the wonder–

The drink beyond surpass?

Behold!  a priest is lifting

A Cup at Holy Mass.

— January, 1943

Reprinted from the January, 2010 edition of Seelos Center News (Volume XLIX, Number 1), the monthly newsletter of the National Shrine of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos.  For more information on Blessed Seelos and his Shrine in New Orleans, go to:
Biographical information on the author of FOR A NEW YEAR’S TOAST:  Fr. Thomas H. Cosgrove was born July 2, 1919 in Kansas City, MO. He made his first profession of vows in 1940 at Mount St. Clements College in DeSoto, MO. Fr. Cosgrove made his final professed on September 2, 1943. He was ordained in 1945 in Oconomowoc, WI. Father Cosgrove served from 1948 to 1951 as a missionary in Cooperstown, ND; Carlisle, KY; and Oconomowoc.  He taught at the Redemptorists’ St. Joseph’s College Seminary in Kirkwood, MO from 1951 to 1954.
Fr. Tom was an Air Force military chaplain for five years from 1954 to 1959; he was stationed in Okinawa and at the Vance Air Force Base in Enid, OK. He also served as chaplain at Cochran Hospital in St. Louis.
Fr. Cosgrove was the pastor at St. Gerard Majella parish in Kirkwood from 1987 to 1989; he also served as pastor in parishes in Grand Rapids, MI; Detroit, MI; Wichita, KS; Kansas City, MO; and Omaha, NE. He also conducted retreats at the Redemptorists’ retreat house in Glenview, IL.
Fr. Tom was an author, editor and contributing editor for many years for the Liguorian magazine and preached about the magazine throughout the United States to help increase its subscription base.
Fr. Thomas H. Cosgrove died on Sunday, September 28, 2008 at the age of 89 at St. Clement’s Healthcare Center in Liguori, MO.
FOR A NEW YEAR’S TOAST was written while Fr. Cosgrove was in major seminary, two years before his priestly ordination.  May he rest in peace.