BAPTISM OF OUR LORD

          Greater-Double    White Vestments
                    Privileged Octave Day

                       Commentary from
                      The Liturgical Year
      Very Rev. Abbot Dom Guéranger

The thoughts of the Church, today, are fixed on the Baptism of our Lord in the Jordan, which is the second of the three Mysteries of the Epiphany. The Emmanuel manifested himself to the Magi, after having shown himself to the Shepherds; but this manifestation was made within the narrow space of a stable at Bethlehem, and the world knew nothing of it. In the Mystery of the Jordan, Christ manifested himself with greater publicity. His coming is proclaimed by the Precursor; the crowd, that is flocking to the river for Baptism, is witness of what happens; Jesus makes this the beginning of his public life.

INTROIT – Malachias 3: 1; Psalm 71: 2
Ecce advénit Dominátor Dóminus: et regnum in manu ejus et potéstas et impérium.
Ps. 71. 2. Deus, judícium tuum Regi da: et justítiam tuam Fílio Regis. V. Glória Patri.

Behold the Lord the Ruler is come: and the Kingdom is in His Hand, and power, and dominion. Ps. Give to the king Thy judgment, O God: and to the king’s Son Thy justice. V. Glory be to the Father.

Baptism of Christ, Bacchiacca (c. 1520) - WGA

In the Collect, the Church prays that her children may have the grace of becoming like to Jesus, who appeared in the Jordan, filled, indeed, with the Holy Ghost, and the object of the Heavenly Father’s love, but, at the same time, truly Man like us, and faithful in the fulfillment of all justice.

O God, Whose only-begotten Son appeared in the substance of our flesh, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may be inwardly reformed by Him, Whom we recognize to have been outwardly like unto ourselves. Who liveth and reigneth.

EPISTLE – Isaias 60: 1-6
Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon Thee. For behold darkness shall cover the earth, and a mist the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light, and kings in the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thy eyes round about and see: all these are gathered together: they are come to thee: thy sons shall come from afar, and thy daughters shall rise up at thy side. Then shalt thou see and abound, and thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged, when the multitude of the sea shall be converted to thee, the strength of the Gentiles shall come to thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Madian and Epha: all they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense and showing forth praise to the Lord.

GRADUAL – Isaias 60: 6, 1
All they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense and showing forth praise to the Lord. V. Arise and be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

ALLELUIA – Matthew 2: 2
Alleluia, alleluia. V. We have seen His star in the East, and are come with gifts to adore the Lord. Alleluia.

GOSPEL – John 1: 29-34
At that time John saw Jesus coming to him, and he saith: Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who taketh away the sin of the world. This is He of Whom I said: After me there cometh a man, Who is preferred before me: because He was before me. And I knew Him not, but that He may be made manifest in Isræl, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John gave testimony, saying: I saw the Spirit coming down as a dove from Heaven, and He remained upon Him. He it is that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw: and I gave testimony that this is the Son of God.


O Lamb of God! thou didst enter into the stream to purify it, the Dove came down from heaven, for thy sweet meekness attracted the Spirit of love; and having sanctified the Waters, the mystery of thy Baptism was over. But, what tongue can express the prodigy of mercy effected by it! Men have gone down, after thee, into the stream made sacred by contact with thee; they return regenerated; they were wolves, and Baptism has transformed them into lambs. We were defiled by sin, and were unworthy to stand near thee, the spotless Lamb; but the waters of the holy Font have been poured upon us, waters of the holy Font have been poured upon us, and we are made as the sheep of the Canticle, which come up from the washing fruitful, and none is barren among them; or, as doves upon the brooks of water, white and spotless as though they had been washed with milk, sitting near the plentiful streams! Preserve us, O Jesus, in this white robe which thou hast put upon us. If, alas I we have tarnished its purity, cleanse us by that second Baptism, the Baptism of Penance. Permit us, too, dear Lord, to intercede for those countries to whom thy Gospel has not yet been preached; let this river of peace, the waters of Baptism, flow out upon them, and inundate the whole earth. We beseech thee, by the glory of thy manifestation at thy Baptism, forget the crimes of men, which have hitherto caused the Gospel to be kept from those unhappy countries. Thy heavenly Father bids every creature hear thee; speak, dear Jesus! to every creature.

OFFERTORY- Psalm 71: 10-11
The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts: and all kings of the earth shall adore Him: all nations shall serve Him.

In the Secret, the Church once more proclaims the divine Manifestation, and begs that the Lamb, who, by his Sacrifice, has enabled us to offer God an acceptable oblation, may graciously receive it at our hands.

We bring offerings into Thee, O Lord, because of the manifestation of Thy new born Son, humbly beseeching thee that as He is the author of our gifts, so too He mercifully accept them, Jesus Christ our Lord. Who liveth and reigneth.

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 and everlasting God. For when Thine only-begotten Son showed Himself in the substance of our mortal nature, He restored us by the new light of His own immortality. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly hosts, we sing a hymn to Thy glory, saying without ceasing:

Holy Trinity

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

COMMUNION – Matthew 2: 2
We have seen His Star in the East, and are come with gifts to adore the Lord.

While giving thanks for the heavenly nourishment just received, the holy Church prays for the unceasing help of that divine Light, which has appeared to her, and which will enable her to contemplate the purity of the Lamb, and to love him as he deserves.

Guide, we beseech Thee O Lord at all times and in all places with Thy heavenly light that we may discern with a clear mind the mystery of which Thou hast willed we should partakers, and receive it with becoming devotion. Through our Lord.



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