VIGIL OF THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD

in-vigilia-nativitatis-domini-adoration-of-the-christ-child

                      December 24

                 CHRISTMAS EVE

 (Today is a day of Fast and Abstinence.)

              The Liturgical Year

          Dom Gueranger, O.S.B.

At length, says St. Peter Damian, in his Sermon for this holy Eve, at length we have got from the stormy sea into the tranquil port; hitherto it was the promise, now it is the prize; hitherto labour, now rest; hitherto despair, now hope; hitherto the way, now our home. The heralds of the divine promise came to us; but they gave us nothing but rich promises. Hence, our Psalmist himself grew wearied, and slept, and, with a seeming reproachful tone, thus sings his lamentation to God: But thou hast, rejected and despised us; thou hast deferred the coming of thy Christ. At another time he assumes a tone of demand, and thus prays: O thou that sittest upon the Cherubim, show thyself! Seated on thy high throne, with myriads of adoring Angels around thee, look down upon the children of men, who are victims of that sin, which was committed indeed by Adam, but permitted by thy justice. Remember what my substance is; thou didst make it to the likeness of thine own; for though every living man is vanity, yet inasmuch as he is made to thy Image, he is not a passing vanity. Bend thy heavens and come down, and turn the eyes of thy mercy upon us thy miserable suppliants, and forget us not unto the end!

Isaias, also, in the vehemence of his desire, thus spoke: For Sion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not rest, till her Just One come forth as brightness. Oh! that thou wouldst rend the heavens, and wouldst come down! So, too, all the Prophets, tired of the long delay of the Coming, have prayed to thee, now with supplication, now with lamentation, and now with cries of impatience. We have listened to these their prayers; we have made use of them as our own, and now, nothing can give us joy or gladness, till our Saviour come to us, and, kissing us with the kiss of his lips, say to us, I have heard and granted your prayers.

But, what is this that has been said to us: Sanctify yourselves, O ye children of Israel, and be ready; for on the morrow, the Lord will come down? We are, then, but one half day and night from the grand visit, the admirable Birth of the Infant-God! Hurry on your course, ye fleeting hours, that we may the sooner see the Son of God in his crib, and pay our homage to this world-saving Birth. You, Brethren, are the Children of Israel, that are sanctified, and cleansed from every defilement of soul and body, ready, by your earnest devotion, for tomorrow’s mysteries. Such, indeed, you are, if I may judge from the manner in which you have spent these sacred days of preparation for the Coming of your Saviour.

But if, notwithstanding all your care, some drops of the stream of this life’s frailties are still on your hearts, wipe them away and cover them with the snow-white robe of Confession. This I can promise you from the mercy of the divine Infant: he that shall confess his sins and be sorry for them, shall have born within him the Light of the World; the darkness that deceived him, shall be dispelled; and he shall enjoy the brightness of the true Light. For how can mercy be denied to the miserable this night, in which the merciful and compassionate Lord is so mercifully born? Therefore, drive away from you all haughty looks, and idle words, and unjust works; let your loins be girt, and your feet walk in the right paths; and then come, and accuse the Lord, if this night he rend not the heavens, and come down to you, and throw all your sins into the depths of the sea.

holy sacrifice of the mass after pentecost

          CHRISTMAS VIGIL

           MASS PROPERS

  Simple     Violet Vestments

            Vigil 1st Class

INTROITUS – Exodus 16: 6, 7

Hodie sciétis, quia véniet Dóminus, et salvábit nos: et mane vidébitis glóriam ejus. Ps. 23.1 Dómini est terra et plenitúdo ejus: orbis terrárum, et univérsi qui hábitant in eo. V. Glória Patri.

INTROIT

This day you shall know that the Lord will come, and save us: and in the morning you shall see His glory. Ps. 23:1 The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof: the world and all they that dwell therein. V. Glory be to the Father.

COLLECT

Deus, qui nos redemptiónis nostræ ánnua exspectatióne lætíficas: præsta; ut Unigénitum tuum, quem Redemptórem læti suscípimus, veniéntem quoque júdicem secúri videámus, Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum: Qui tecum.

O God, who makest us glad with the yearly expectation of our redemption, grant that we who now joyfully receive Thine only-begotten Son as our Redeemer, may also without fear behold  Him coming as our Judge, the same our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son: Who with Thee.

EPISTLE – Romans 1:1- 6

Paulus, servus Jesu Christi, vocátus Apóstolus, segregátus in Evangélium Dei, quod ante promíserat per Prophétas suos in Scriptúris sanctis de Fílio suo, qui factus est ei ex sémine David secúndum carnem: qui prædestinátus est Fílius Dei in virtúte secúndum spíritum sanctificatiónis ex resurrectióne mortuórum Jesu Christi Dómini nostri: per quem accépimus grátiam, et apostolátum ad obediéndum fídei in ómnibus géntibus pro nómine ejus, in quibus estis et vos vocáti Jesu Christi Dómini nostri.

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God, which He had promised before by His prophets in the holy Scriptures concerning His Son, who was made to Him of the seed of David according to the flesh: who was predestinated the Son of God in power according to the spirit of sanctification by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead: by whom we have received grace, and apostleship for obedience to the faith in all nations for His name, among whom are you also called of Jesus Christ our Lord.

GRADUAL – Exodus 16: 6, 7

Hodie sciétis, quia véniet Dóminus, et salvábit nos: et mane vidébitis glóriam ejus. V. Qui regis Israël, inténde: qui dedúcis, velut ovem, Joseph: qui sedes super Chérubim, appáre coram Ephraim, Bénjamin, et Manásse.

This day you shall know that the Lord will come and save us: and in the morning you shall see His glory. V. Give ear, O Thou that rulest Israel: Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep, Thou that sittest upon the Cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasses.

Alleluia is omitted.

[The Alleluia is only said when the Vigil falls on a Sunday.]

DREAM OF ST JOSEPH

GOSPEL – Matthew 1:18-21

Cum esset desponsáta mater Jesu María Joseph, ántequam convenírent, invénta est in útero habens de Spíritu Sancto. Joseph autem vir ejus, cum esset justus et nollet eam tradúcere, vóluit occúlte dimíttere eam. Hæc autem eo cogitánte, ecce Angelus Dómini appáruit in somnis ei, dicens: Joseph, fili David, noli timére accípere Maríam cónjugem tuam: quod enim in ea natum est, de Spíritu Sancto est. Páriet autem fílium, et vocábis nomen ejus Jesum: ipse enim salvum fáciet pópulum suum a peccátis eórum.

Then Mary the Mother of Jesus was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.

OFFERTORY Psalm 23: 7

Tollite portas, príncipes, vestras: ET elevámini, portæ æternáles, et introíbit Rex Glóriæ.

Lift up your gates, O ye princes: and: be ye lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of glory shall enter in.

SECRET

Da nobis, quǽsumus, omnípotens Deus: ut, sicut adoránda Fílii tui natalítia prævenímus, sic ejus múnera capiámus sempitérna gaudéntes: Qui tecum vivit.

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that even as we anticipate the adorable birthday of Thy Son, so too may we joyfully receive His eternal gifts: Who with Thee.

COMMON PREFACE

Vere dignum et justum est, ǽquum et salutáre, nos tibi semper, et ubíque grátias ágere: Dómine sancte, Pater omnípotens, ætérne Deus: per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Per quem majestátem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominatiónes, tremunt Potestátes. Cæli, cælorúmque Virtútes, ac beáta Séraphim socía exsultatióne concélebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admítti jubéas, deprécamur, súpplici confessióne dicéntes:

It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the dominations worship it, the powers stand in awe. The heavens, and the heavenly hosts, and the blessed Seraphim join together in celebrating their joy. With whom we pray Thee join our voices also, while we say in lowly praise:

adoration-of-the-holy-trinity

SANCTUS

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dóminus Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.

COMMUNION – Isaiah 40: 5

Revelabitur gloria Dómini: et vidébit omnis caro salutáre Dei nostri.

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed: and all flesh shall see the salvation of our God.

POSTCOMMUNION

Da nobis, quǽsumus, Dómine, unigéniti Fílii tui recensíta nativitáte respiráre; cujus cælésti mystério páscimur et potámur. Per eúmdem Dóminum.

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the celebration of the birth of Thine only- begotten Son may give us fresh life; whose heavenly mystery is our food and drink. Through the same our Lord.

 

 

CHRISTMAS NOVENA – EIGHTH DAY

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Novena in preparation for Our Lord’s Nativity                                    EIGHTH DAY

For the grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men; Instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly, and justly, and godly in this world. Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. – Titus 2:11,12,13

Consider that by the grace that is said here to have appeared is meant the tender love of Jesus Christ towards men, a love that we have not merited, which therefore is called “grace.” This love was, however, always the same in God, but did not always appear. It was at first promised in many prophecies, and foreshadowed by many figures; but at the birth of the Redeemer this Divine love indeed appeared, and manifested itself by the Eternal Word showing Himself to man as an infant, lying on straw, crying and shivering with cold; beginning thus to make satisfaction for us for the penalties we have deserved, and so making known to us the affection which He bore us, by giving up. His life for us: “In this we have known the charity of God, because He hath laid down His life for us.” Therefore the love of our God appeared to all, “omnibus hominibus. But why is it, then, that all men have not known it, and that even at this day so many are ignorant of it? This is the reason: “The light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light.” They have not known Him, and they do not know Him, because they do not wish to know him, loving rather the darkness of sin than the light of grace.

But let us endeavour not to be of the number of these unhappy souls. If in past times we have shut our eyes to the light, thinking little of the love of Jesus Christ, let us try, during the days that may remain to us in this life, to have ever before our eyes the sufferings and death of our Redeemer, in order to love Him who hath loved us so much: “Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Thus may we justly expect, according to the divine promises, that paradise which Jesus Christ has acquired for us by His blood. At His first coming Jesus appeared as an infant, poor and humble, and showed Himself on earth born in a stable, covered with miserable rags, and lying on straw; but at His second coming He will come on a throne of majesty: “We shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and majesty.” Blessed then will he be who shall have loved Him, and miserable those who have not loved Him.

             AFFECTIONS AND PRAYERS

O my holy Infant now I see Thee lying on straw, poor, afflicted, and forsaken; but I know that one day Thou wilt come to judge me, seated on a throne of splendor, and attended by the angels. Forgive me, I implore Thee, before Thou dost judge me. Then Thou wilt have to conduct Thyself as a just judge; but now Thou art my Redeemer, and the Father of mercy. I have been one of those ungrateful ones who have not known Thee, because I did not choose to know Thee; and therefore, instead of being inclined to love Thee by the consideration of the love Thou hast borne me, I have only thought of satisfying my own desires, despising Thy grace and Thy love. But into Thy sacred hands I commend my soul, which I have lost; do Thou save it: “Into Thy hands I commend my spirit; Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth.” In Thee do I place all my hopes, knowing that, to ransom me from hell, Thou hast given Thy blood and Thy life: “Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth.” Thou didst not condemn me to death when I was living in sin, but hast waited for me with infinite patience, in order that, having come to myself, I might repent of having offended Thee, and might begin to love Thee, and that thus Thou mightest be able to forgive and save me. Yes, my Jesus, I will please Thee. I repent, above every other evil, of all the offenses I have committed against Thee; I repent, and love Thee above all things. Do Thou save me in Thy mercy, and let it be my salvation to love Thee always in this life and in eternity. My dearest Mother Mary, recommend me to thy Son. Do thou represent to Him that I am thy servant, and that I have placed all my hope in thee. He hears thee, and refuses thee nothing.

FRIDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT

Madonna and Child, CIMA da Conegliano

                           FRIDAY

  OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT

                 The Liturgical Year

            Abbot Dom Guéranger

             The Lord is now nigh;

               Come, let us adore.

         From the Prophet Isaias.

                     Chapter 66

Hear the word of the Lord, you that tremble at his word. Your brethren that hate you, and cast you out for my name’s sake, have said: Let the Lord be glorified, and we shall see in your joy: but they shall be confounded. A voice of the people from the city, a voice from the temple, the voice of the Lord that rendereth recompense to his enemies. Before she was in labour, she brought forth: before her time came to be delivered, she brought forth a man-child. Who hath ever heard such a thing? And who hath seen the like of this? Shall the earth bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be brought forth at once, because Sion hath been in labour, and hath brought forth her children? Shall not I that make others to bring forth children, myself bring forth, saith the Lord? Shall I, that give generation to others, be barren, saith the Lord thy God? Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all you that mourn for her. That you may suck, and be filled with the breasts of her consolations: that you may milk out, and flow with delights, from the abundance of her glory. For thus saith the Lord: Behold I will bring upon her as it were a river of peace, and as an overflowing torrent the glory of the Gentiles, which you shall suck; you shall be carried at the breasts, and upon the knees they shall caress you. As one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you, and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb, and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants, and he shall be angry with his enemies. For behold the Lord will come with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind, to render his wrath in indignation, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For the Lord shall judge by fire, and by his sword unto all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many. They that were sanctified, thought themselves clean in the gardens behind the gate within, they that did eat swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse: they shall be consumed together, saith the Lord. But I know their works, and their thoughts: I come that I may gather them together with all nations and tongues: and they shall come and shall see my glory. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send of them that shall be saved, to the Gentiles into the sea, into Africa, and Lydia them that draw the bow: into Italy, and Greece, to the islands afar off, to them that have not heard of me, and have not seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory to the Gentiles: And they shall bring all your brethren out of all nations for a gift to the Lord, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and on mules, and in coaches, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as if the children of Israel should bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.  And I will take of them to be priests, and Levites, saith the Lord. For as the new heavens, and the new earth, which I will make to stand before me, saith the Lord: so shall your seed stand, and your name. And there shall be month after month, and sabbath after sabbath: and all flesh shall come to adore before my face, saith the Lord. And they shall go out, and see the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched: and they shall be a loathsome sight to all flesh.

Thy presence, O Jesus, will give fruitfulness to her that was barren, and the despised Sion shall suddenly bring forth a people which the world is too small to hold. But all the glory of this fruitfulness belongs to thee, O divine Word! The Psalmist had foretold it, when speaking to Jerusalem, as to a Queen, he said to her: Instead of thy fathers, sons are born to thee; thou shalt make them princes over all the earth: they shall remember thy name throughout all generations; therefore shall people praise thee for ever and ever, yea for ever and ever. But, for this end it was necessary that God himself should come down in person. He alone could make a Virgin Mother; he alone could raise up children to Abraham out of the very stones. Yet one little while, as he says by one of his Prophets, and I will move heaven and earth, and I will move all nations. And by another: From the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles; and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation. There will soon be, then, but one Sacrifice; for the Lamb, who is to be offered in that Sacrifice, will be born in a few hours hence; and since Sacrifice is the bond of union among men, when there shall be but one Sacrifice, there will be but one People.

     Come then quickly, O Church of God, that art to unite us all into one; come and be born into our world. And since for us thy children thou art already born, may the Lamb, thy Spouse, pour out upon thee the river of peace announced by the Prophet; may he open out upon thee the glory of the Gentiles, as an overflowing torrent; may the nations cluster round thee as their common Mother, and be filled with the abundance of thy glory, with the breasts of thy consolations; and thou carry them on thy heart and caress them in thy tender love. O Jesus! it is thou that hast inspired our Mother with this wonderful love; it is thou that consolest us, and enlightenest us, by her. Come to her and visit her; come, and, by the New Birth thou art about to take among us, renew her life within her. Give her, during this year also, firmness of Faith, the Grace of the Sacraments, the efficacy of Prayer, the Gift of Miracles, the Succession of her Hierarchy, power of

Government, Fortitude against the Princes of the world, love of the Cross, victory over Satan, and the crown of Martyrdom. During this new year, make her, as ever, thy beautiful Spouse; make her faithful to thy love, and more than ever successful in the great work thou hast put upon her; for each year brings us nearer to the day when thou wilt come for the last time, not in the swathing bands of infancy, but on a cloud, with great majesty, to render thy rebuke with flames of fire, and destroy those that have despised or have not loved thy Church, which thou wilt then raise up and admit into thy eternal Kingdom.

       HYMN OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST

(Taken from the Poet Prudentius. VIII. kal. Januarias.)

Come forth, sweet Babe! Child of Chastity, Child of a Virgin Mother! Come, O thou our Mediator, Man and God.

Though thou didst come, in time, from the mouth of the Most High Father, and becamest incarnate at the Angel’s word; yet hadst thou, O eternal Wisdom, dwelt for ever in the bosom of thy Father.

This eternal Wisdom manifested itself when it made heaven, light, and the other creatures; by the power of the Word were all these made, for the Word is God. But having thus created the world, and fixed the laws of the universe, this creator and maker still left not his Father’s bosom.

Until at length thousands of years rolled on, and then he deigned to visit the world grown old in sin.

For man, blinded with passion, paid adoration to empty vanities, and believed that brass, or stiff blocks of stone and wood, were God. Abandoned to idolatry, they became the slaves of the treacherous enemy, and plunged their enslaved souls into dark abyss.

But the Son of God compassionated this destruction of his fallen creatures; for it was the ruin of his Father’s image.

He took to himself a mortal body, that by the resurrection of that body he might break the chain of death, and raise up man to his Father.

Thou forebodest his sufferings, O noble Virgin! and yet to give birth to this thy Son is an honour which adds fresh lustre to thy spotless purity.

O that Virgin Mother, what joy for the world does she not contain within her! a new age, a golden light, will come by her!

Madonna St John the Baptist - PERUGINO, Pietro

PRAYER FROM THE GALLICAN SACRAMENTARY

             (In Adventu Domini, Contestatio.)

It is truly meet and just that we should here and in all  places ever give thee thanks, O almighty God, through Christ our Lord, of whom John, the faithful friend, was the precursor in birth, the precursor in preaching in the wilderness, the precursor in baptism, preparing thus the way to the Judge and Redeemer. He called sinners to repentance; and purchasing a people for the Saviour, he baptized in the Jordan them that confessed their sins. He conferred not the full grace which regenerates man, but taught him to look for the Coming of the most merciful Saviour. He remitted not the sins of them that came unto him, but he promised the future remission of sins to believers; that thus they, who went down into the waters of penance, might hope for a merciful cure and forgiveness from Him, who, they were told, was to come full of the gift of Truth and Grace, our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

SEVENTH ANTIPHON

ark-of-the-new-covenant

                   SEVENTH ANTIPHON

The Church sings this Antiphon in today’s Lauds:

Ant. Ecce completa sunt omnia quae dicta sunt per Angelum, de Virgine Maria.

Ant. Lo! all things are accomplished that were said by the Angel, of the Virgin Mary.

              SEVENTH ANTIPHON

O Emmanuel, Rex et Legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et salvator earum; veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Expectation and Saviour of the nations! come and save us. O Lord our God!

O Emmanuel! King of Peace! thou enterest today the city of thy predilection, the city in which thou hast placed thy Temple, Jerusalem. A few years hence, and the same city will give thee thy Cross and thy Sepulchre: nay, the day will come, on which thou wilt set up thy Judgment-Seat within sight of her walls. But, today, thou enterest the city of David and Solomon unnoticed and unknown. It lies on thy road to Bethlehem. Thy Blessed Mother and Joseph, her Spouse, would not lose the opportunity of visiting the Temple, there to offer to the Lord their prayers and adoration. They enter; and then, for the first time, is accomplished the prophecy of Aggeus, that great shall be the glory of this last House more than of the first; for this second Temple has now standing within it an Ark of the Covenant more precious than was that which Moses built; and within this Ark, which is Mary, there is contained the God, whose presence makes her the holiest of sanctuaries. The Lawgiver himself is in this blessed Ark, and not merely, as in that of old, the tablet of stone on which the Law was graven. The visit paid, our living Ark descends the steps of the Temple, and sets out once more for Bethlehem, where other prophecies are to be fulfilled. We adore thee, O Emmanuel! in this thy journey, and we reverence the fidelity wherewith thou fulfillest all that the prophets have written of thee, for thou wouldst give to, thy people the certainty of thy being the Messias, by showing them, that all the marks, whereby he was to be known, are to be found in thee.

And now, the hour is near; all is ready for thy Birth; come, then, and save us; come, that thou mayest not only be called our Emmanuel, but our Jesus, that is, He that saves us.

  THE GREAT ANTIPHON TO JERUSALEM

O Jerusalem! city of the great God! lift up thine eyes round about, and see thy Lord for he is coming to loose thee from thy chains.

CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST NOVENA

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NOVENA IN PREPARATION FOR THE FEAST OF   THE CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST

            December 23 – December 31

                                  Prayer

Oh! most sweet Infant Jesus, who at the expiration of eight days didst submit to be circumcised, receiving the holy name of Jesus, and becoming, in virtue of that name and by the shedding of Thy Blood, the Savior of the world, I prostrate myself humbly before Thee, and thank Thee with all my heart for this Thy great mercy and love to me and to all poor sinners. The sight of this Thy blood reminds me hopefully of the source whence flows every grace, every grace which will be imparted to me during the year; and also of the asylum where I will seek shelter and aid in every tribulation. It is Thy heart, dear Lord, which was opened to me in this first shedding of Thy blood. Therefore I devote to thee, Oh! sweetest, dearest Heart, every word and deed, every throb of my heart, all, all that I do or suffer during this year. Accept my offering, and strengthen me with Thy grace; enlighten and shield me, and grant me in virtue of Thy name, that most holy, most efficacious name of Jesus, this my request Hear me, oh! Jesus, for the sake of this Thy name and of Thy loving heart! Amen.

 

 

CHRISTMAS NOVENA – SEVENTH DAY

 adoration-of-the-shepherds-lotto-lorenzo

Novena in preparation for Our Lord’s Nativity

              SEVENTH DAY

“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.”– St. John 1:11

In these days of the holy Nativity St. Francis of Assisi went about the highways and woods with sighs and tears and inconsolable lamentations. When asked the reason, he answered: How should I not weep when I see that love is not loved? I see a God become as it were foolish for the love of man, and man so ungrateful to this God! Now, if this ingratitude of man caused such great sorrow to the heart of St. Francis, let us consider how much more it must have afflicted the Heart of Jesus Christ. He was hardly conceived in the womb of Mary when He saw the cruel return He was to receive from man. He had descended from heaven to enkindle the fire of Divine love, and this desire alone had brought Him down to this earth, to suffer there an abyss of sorrows and ignominies: “I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I but that it be kindled?” (St. Luke xii. 49.) And then He beheld an abyss of sins which men would commit after having seen so many proofs of His love. It was this, says St. Bernardine of Sienna, which made Him feel an infinite sorrow: “And therefore He sorrowed infinitely. Even among us it is an insufferable sorrow for one man to see himself treated with ingratitude by another; for the blessed Simon of Cassia observes, that ingratitude often afflicts the soul more than any pain afflicts the body: “Ingratitude often causes more bitter sorrow in the soul than pain causes in the body.” What sorrow, then, must our ingratitude have caused to Jesus, who was our God, when He saw that His benefits and His love would be repaid Him by offences and injuries: “And they repaid Me evil for good, and hatred for My love” (Ps. cviii. 5). But even at the present day it seems as if Jesus Christ was going about complaining: “I am become a stranger to My brethren” (Ps. lxviii. 9); For He sees that many neither love nor know Him, as if He had not done them any good, neither had suffered any thing for love of them. O God, what value do the majority of Christians even now set upon the love of Jesus Christ? Our Blessed Redeemer once appeared to the blessed Henry Suso in the form of a pilgrim who went begging from door to door for a lodging, but every one drove Him away with insults and injuries. How many, alas! are like those of whom Job speaks: “Who said to God, Depart from us. Whereas He had filled their houses with good things” (Job xxii. 17). We have hitherto united ourselves to these ungrateful wretches; but shall we always be like them? No; for that loving Infant does not deserve it, who came from Heaven to suffer and die for us, in order that we might love Him.

              AFFECTIONS AND PRAYERS

Is it, then, true, O my Jesus, that Thou didst descend from heaven to make me love Thee; didst come down to embrace a life of suffering and the death of the cross for my sake, in order that I might welcome Thee into my heart, and yet I have so often driven Thee from me, and said, ‘Depart from me, Lord; go away from me, Lord; for I do not want Thee? O God, if Thou wert not infinite goodness, and hadst not given Thy life to obtain my pardon, I should not have courage to ask it of Thee; but I feel that Thou Thyself dost offer me peace: “Turn ye to me, saith the Lord, and I will turn to you” (Zach. i. 3). Thou Thyself, whom I have offended, O my Jesus, hast made Thyself my intercessor: “He is the propitiation for our sins” (1 St. John ii. 2). I will therefore not do Thee this fresh injury of distrusting Thy mercy. I repent with all my soul of having despised Thee, O sovereign Good; receive me into Thy favour for the sake of the blood which Thou hast shed for me: “Father, I am not worthy to be called Thy son.” No, my Redeemer and my Father, I am no longer worthy to be Thy son, having so often renounced Thy love; but Thou dost make me worthy of Thy merits. I thank Thee, oh, my Father; I thank Thee, and I love Thee. Ah, the thought alone of the patience with which Thou hast borne with me for so many years, and of the favors Thou hast conferred upon me after so many injuries that I have done Thee, ought to make me live constantly on fire with Thy love. Come, then, my Jesus, for I will not drive Thee away any more, come and dwell in my poor heart. I love Thee, and will always love Thee; but do Thou inflame my heart every day more and more by the remembrance of the love Thou hast borne me. O Mary, my Queen and Mother, help me, pray to Jesus for me; make me during the days that are left me in this world live grateful to that God who has loved me so much, even after I have so greatly offended Him.

THE GREATER ANTIPHONS – SIXTH ANTIPHON

Consecration To Christ the King - October Devotions

                        SIXTH ANTIPHON

                         O REX GENTIUM

                       The Liturgical Year

                          Dom Guéranger

                           O Rex Gentium

O Rex gentium, et desideratus earum, Lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum; veni, et salva hominem quem de limo formasti.

O King of nations, and their Desired One, and the Corner-Stone that makest both one; come and save man whom thou formedst out of slime.

O King of Nations! thou art approaching still nigher to Bethlehem, where thou art to be born. The journey is almost over, and thy august Mother, consoled and strengthened by the dear weight she bears, holds an unceasing converse with thee on the way. She adores thy divine Majesty; she gives thanks to thy mercy; she rejoices that she has been chosen for the sublime ministry of being Mother to God. She longs for that happy moment when her eyes shall look upon thee, and yet she fears it. For, how will she be able to render thee those services which are due to thy infinite greatness, she that thinks herself the last of creatures? How will she dare to raise thee up in her arms, and press thee to her heart, and feed thee at her breasts? When she reflects that the hour is now near at hand, in which, being born of her, thou wilt require all her care and tenderness, her heart sinks within her; for, what human heart could bear the intense vehemence of these two affections, the love of such a Mother for her Babe, and the love of such a Creature for her God? But thou supportest her, O thou the Desired of Nations! for thou, too, longest for that happy Birth, which is to give the earth its Saviour, and to men that Corner-Stone, which will unite them all into one family. Dearest King! be thou blessed for all these wonders of thy power and goodness! Come speedily, we beseech thee, come and save us, for we are dear to thee, as creatures that have been formed by thy divine hands. Yea, Come, for thy creation has grown degenerate; it is lost; death has taken possession of it: take it thou again into thy almighty hands, and give it a new creation; save it; for thou hast not ceased to take pleasure in and love thine own work.

christ-the-king-at-the-sanctus

THE GREAT ANTIPHON IN HONOR OF CHRIST

O Rex Pacifice, tu ante saecula nate, per auream egredere portam, redemptos tuos visita, et eos illuc revoca, unde ruerunt per culpam.

O King of Peace! that wast born before all ages, come by the golden gate; visit them whom thou hast redeemed, and lead them back to the place whence they fell by sin.