THE SEVENTH DAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Let us consider how our Blessed Lady, having arrived at the house of her holy cousin Elizabeth, rendered her every possible service with the greatest love, favored her with her sweet and holy conversations, assisted at the glorious Birth of St. John the Baptist, and at length returned home to her humble dwelling at Nazareth.
But, that we may the better enter into these divine mysteries, let us again listen to the Seraphic St. Bonaventure.
When, therefore, her time was expired, Elizabeth gave birth to a son, whom our Lady took up, and with all diligence did what was required. The babe looked into Mary’s face like one that knew her; and as she gave him unto his mother, he turned his head towards Mary, for he fain would be in her arms again. Mary, on her part, delighted in nursing this holy babe, and fondled him, and kissed him with great joy. Consider the honour that is here given unto John. Never had child such arms as these to carry him. Many other privileges are related as being granted unto him; but for this present, I must needs pass them by. Now, on the eighth day, the child was circumcised, and was called John.
Then was the mouth Blessed be the Lord God of Israel! Thus were made, in that house, the two most beautiful Canticles, namely, the Magnificat and the Benedictus. Meanwhile, our Lady going aside, lest she should be seen by those that had come together for the ceremony, listened attentively to the Canticle of Zachary, which prophesied of her Son, and most prudently pondered in her heart upon all these things. At length, when the time came for her to return home, she bade Elizabeth and Zachary farewell, and giving John her blessing, she returned unto Nazareth. Recall to thy mind, in this her second journey, all that was told thee of her poverty. She returned to her house, where she would find neither bread, nor wine, nor those things which were needed. She had no property, nor money. She had been, now these three months, living with persons who were very rich; but now she returns unto her poor cottage, and has to procure her livelihood by the labour of her hands. Do thou sympathize with her, and learn to love poverty.
SEQUENCE IN HONOUR OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
(Taken from the ancient Roman-French Missals.)
Hail, O glorious Virgin! Brightness of the heavens, rose of the world, lily of purity. Hail, precious gem! More beauteous than the sun, and joy of pure souls. Thou art the sinner’s hope, O Mary! Thou art the holy Mother of our Redeemer, and the consolation of us whom he redeemed.
Thou didst stay the reign of death, thou didst commence the reign of life. To thee, O Mary, the triple Hierarchy sing their praises. Hail! Flowery stem of Jesse, bright Star of the Sea, source that broughtest to us Him that is our true light. Thou bearest the Fruit of life, and he whom thou leadest will not miss the port of salvation.
O flowery garden, so sweet to the sick! O sealed fount of purity, that gavest us Jesus the author of grace. Thou throne of the true Solomon, enriched by the King of glory with the best of heaven’s gifts. O merciful Queen!
Thou art the rich unfailing stream of all sanctity. Have pity on us who trust in thee, and refresh our thirsty souls with thy efficacious prayers. Hear our sighs, O Mary! And suffer not us, poor children of Eve, to go astray.
Look with thy eye of love on our many wants: com passionate our poverty. Vessel of every fragrance, and Mother and treasury of divine grace. Breathe thy fragrance into our souls, and obtain for us the riches of grace. Beautiful Mother of our sweet Jesus! the world received its Saviour through thee, and the heavenly citizens call thee Queen.
Obtain for us that peace which has no end, and after this our exile, that light which is divine. Amen.
PRAYER FOR THE TIME OF ADVENT
(The Mozarabic Breviary, Friday of the Second Week of Advent, Capitula.)
O King, whom our hearts desire, Lord Jesus Christ, come, we beseech thee, cleanse us as a furnace of fire from the dross of our sins, and make us like gold that is pure, and like silver that is without alloy. Inflame our hearts, by thy inspiration, that they seek thee unceasingly: so may our desires long with all ardour after thee, and pant with all eagerness to be united with thee. Amen.