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From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

NEAREST to Jesus' Crib, after Stephen, stands John, the Apostle and Evangelist. It was only right that the first place should be assigned to him, who so loved his God that he shed his blood in his service; for, as this God himself declares, greater love than this hath no manthat he lay down his life for his friends,[1] and Martyrdom has ever been counted by the Church as the greatest act of love, and as having, consequently, the power of remitting sins, like a second Baptism. But next to the sacrifice of Blood, the noblest, the bravest sacrifice, and that which most wins the heart of him who is the Spouse of souls, is the sacrifice of Virginity. Now just as St Stephen is looked upon as the type of Martyrs, St John is honoured as the Prince of Virgins. Martyrdom won for Stephen the Crown and palm; Virginity merited for John most singular prerogatives, which, while they show how dear to God is holy Chastity, put this Disciple among those who by their dignity and influence are above the rest of men.

St John was of the family of David, as was our Blessed Lady. He was consequently a relation of Jesus. This same honour belonged to St James the Greater, his brother; as also to St James the Less and St Jude, both sons of Alpheus. When our Saint was in the prime of his youth, he left not only his boat and nets, not only his Father Zebedee, but even his betrothed, when everything was prepared for the marriage. He followed Jesus, and never once looked back. Hence the special love which our Lord bore him. Others were Disciples or Apostles, John was the Friend of Jesus. The cause of this our Lord's partiality was, as the Church tells us in the Liturgy, that John had offered his Virginity to the Man-God. Let us, on this his Feast, enumerate the graces and privileges that came to St John from his being the Disciple whom Jesus loved.

This very expression of the Gospel, which the Evangelist repeats several times—The Disciple whom Jesus loved[2]—says more than any commentary could do. St Peter, it is true, was chosen by our Divine Lord to be the Head of the Apostolic College, and the Rock whereon the Church was to be built: he, then, was honoured most; but St John was loved most. Peter was bid to love more than the rest loved, and he was able to say, in answer to Jesus' thrice repeated question, that he did love him in this highest way: and yet, notwithstanding, John was more loved by Jesus than was Peter himself, because his Virginity deserved this special mark of honour.

Chastity of soul and body brings him who possesses it into a sacred nearness and intimacy with God. Hence it was that at the Last Supper—that Supper which was to be renewed on our Altars to the end of the world, in order to cure our spiritual infirmities and give life to our souls—John was placed near to Jesus, nay, was permitted, as the tenderly loved Disciple, to lean his head upon the Breast of the Man-God. Then it was that he was filled, from their very Fountain, with Light and Love: it was both a recompense and a favour, and became the source of two signal graces, which make St John an object of special reverence to the whole Church.

Divine wisdom wishing to make known to the world the Mystery of the Word, and commit to Scripture those profound secrets which, so far, no pen of mortal had been permitted to write, the task was put upon John. Peter had been crucified, Paul had been beheaded, and the rest of the Apostles had laid down their lives in testimony of the Truths they had been sent to preach to the world; John was the only one left in the Church. Heresy had already begun its blasphemies against the Apostolic Teachings; it refused to admit the Incarnate Word as the Son of God, Consubstantial to the Father. John was asked by the Churches to speak, and he did so in language heavenly above measure. His Divine Master had reserved to this his Virgin-Disciple the honour of writing those sublime Mysteries which the other Apostles had been commissioned only to teach—the Word was God, and this Word was made Flesh for the salvation of mankind. Thus did our Evangelist soar, like the Eagle, up to the Divine Sun, and gaze upon him with undazzled eye, because his heart and senses were pure, and therefore fitted for such vision of the uncreated Light. If Moses, after having conversed with God in the cloud, came from the divine interview with rays of miraculous light encircling his head: how radiant must have been the face of St John, which had rested on the very Heart of Jesus, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge![3] how sublime his writings! how divine his teaching! Hence the symbol of the Eagle, shown to the Prophet Ezechiel,[4] and to St John himself in his Revelations,[5] has been assigned to him by the Church: and to this title of The Eagle has been added, by universal tradition, the other beautiful name of Theologian.

This was the first recompense given by Jesus to his Beloved John—a profound penetration into divine Mysteries. The second was the imparting to him of a most ardent charity, which was equally a grace consequent upon his angelic purity, for purity unburdens the soul from grovelling egotistic affections, and raises it to a chaste and generous love. John had treasured up in his heart the Discourses of his Master: he made them known to the Church, and especially that divine one of the Last Supper, wherein Jesus had poured forth his whole Soul to his own, whom he had always tenderly loved, but most so at the end.[6] He wrote his Epistlesand Charity is his subject: God is Charity—he that loveth not, knoweth not God—perfect Charity casteth out fear—and so on throughout, always on Love. During the rest of his life, even when so enfeebled by old age as not to be able to walk, he was for ever insisting upon all men loving each other, after the example of God, who had loved them and so loved them! Thus, he that had announced more clearly than the rest of the Apostles the divinity of the Incarnate Word, was par excellence the Apostle of that divine Charity which Jesus came to enkindle upon the earth.

But our Lord had a further gift to bestow, and it was sweetly appropriate to the Virgin-Disciple. When dying on his cross, Jesus left Mary upon this earth. Joseph had been dead now some years. Who then shall watch over his Mother? who is there worthy of the charge? Will Jesus send his Angels to protect and console her? for, surely, what man could ever merit to be to her as a second Joseph? Looking down, he sees the Virgin-Disciple standing at the foot of the Cross: we know the rest, John is to be Mary’s Son: Mary is to be John’s Mother. Oh! wonderful Chastity, that wins from Jesus such an inheritance as this! Peter, says St Peter Damian, shall have left to him the Church, the Mother of men; but John shall receive Mary, the Mother of God, whom he will love as his own dearest Treasure, and to whom he will stand in Jesus’ stead; whilst Mary will tenderly love John, her Jesus’ Friend, as her Son.

Can we be surprised after this, that St John is looked upon by the Church as one of her greatest glories? He is a Relative of Jesus in the flesh; he is an Apostle, a Virgin, the Friend of the Divine Spouse, the Eagle, the Theologian, the Son of Mary; he is an Evangelist, by the history he has given of the Life of his Divine Master and Friend; he is a Sacred Writer, by the three Epistles he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; he is a Prophet, by his mysterious Apocalypse, wherein are treasured the secrets of time and eternity. But is he a Martyr? Yes, for if he did not complete his sacrifice, he drank the Chalice of Jesus,[7] when, after being cruelly scourged, he was thrown into a caldron of boiling oil before the Latin Gate at Rome. He was therefore a Martyr in desire and intention, though not in fact. If our Lord, wishing to prolong a life so dear to the Church, as well as to show how he loves and honours Virginity, miraculously stayed the effects of the frightful punishment, St John had, on his part, unreservedly accepted Martyrdom.

Such is the companion of Stephen at the Crib, wherein lies our Infant Jesus. If the Protomartyr dazzles us with the robes he wears of the bright scarlet of his own blood; is not the virginal whiteness of John’s vestment fairer than the untrod snow? The spotless beauty of the Lilies of Mary’s adopted Son, and the bright vermilion of Stephen’s Roses—what is there more lovely than their union? Glory, then, be to our New-Born King, whose court is tapestried with such heaven-made colours as these! Yes, Bethlehem’s Stable is a very heaven on earth, and we have seen its transformation. First we saw Mary and Joseph alone there: they were adoring Jesus in his Crib; then, immediately, there descended a heavenly host of Angels singing the wonderful Hymn; the Shepherds soon followed, the humble, simple-hearted Shepherds; after these entered Stephen the Crowned, and John the Beloved Disciple; and even before there enters the pageant of the devout Magi, we shall have others coming in, and there will be each day grander glory in the Cave, and gladder joy in our hearts. Oh! this birth of our Jesus! Humble as it seems, yet how divine! What King or Emperor ever received in his gilded cradle, honours like these shown to the Babe of Bethlehem? Let us unite our homage with that given him by these the favoured inmates of his court. Yesterday the sight of the Palm in Stephen’s hand animated us, and we offered to our Jesus the promise of a stronger Faith: to-day the Wreath that decks the brow of the Beloved Disciple breathes upon the Church the heavenly fragrance of Virginity: an intenser love of Purity must be our resolution, and our tribute to the Lamb.

MASS

The Church commences her chants of the holy Sacrifice with words taken from the Book of Ecclesiasticus, which she applies to St John. Our Lord has proclaimed his mysteries to the Church by the teaching of his Beloved Disciple. He favoured him with his divine intimacy, which filled him with the spirit of wisdom. He clad him with a robe of glory, in reward for his virginal purity.

Introit

In medio Ecclesiæ aperuit os ejus; et implevit eum Dominus Spiritu sapientiæ et intellectus; stolam gloriæ induit eum.

Ps. Bonum est confiteri Domino, et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.

℣. Gloria. In medio.

He opened his mouth in the midst of the Church, and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom; he clad him with a robe of glory.

Ps. It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to thy name, O Most High.

℣. Glory, etc. He opened.

In the Collect the Church asks for the Light, that is for the Word of God, of whom St John was the propagator by his sublime writings. She aspires to the eternal possession of this Emmanuel who is come to enlighten the world, and who has revealed to his Beloved Disciple the secrets of heaven.

Collect

Ecclesiam tuam, Domine, benignus illustra: ut beati Joannis Apostoli tui et Evangelistæ illuminata doctrinis, ad dona perveniat sempiterna. Per Dominum.
Mercifully, O Lord, enlighten thy Church: that being taught by blessed John, thine Apostle and Evangelist, she may come to thy eternal rewards. Through, etc.

Commemoration of Christmas Day

Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut nos Unigeniti tui nova per cameni nativitas liberet, quos sub peccati jugo vetusta servitus tenet. Per eundem.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who groan under the old captivity of sin, may be freed therefrom by the new Birth of thine OnlyBegotten Son. Through, etc.

Epistle

Lectio libri Sapientiæ.


Eccli. cap. 
XV.

Qui timet Deum, faciet bona; et qui continens est justitiæ, apprehendet illam, et obviabit illi quasi mater honorificata. Cibabit illum pane vitæ et intellectus, et aqua sapientiæ salutaris potabit illum; et firmabitur in illo, et non flectetur; et continebit illum, et non confundetur; et exaltabit illum apud proximos suos; et in medio Ecclesiæ aperiet os ejus, et adimplebit illum Spiritu sapientiæ et intellectus, et stolam gloriæ vestiet illum; jucunditatem et exsultationem thesaurizabit super illum, et nomine aeterno haereditabit illum Dominus Deus noster.

Lesson from the Book of Wisdom.

Ecclus. ch. XV.

He that feareth God, will do good; and he that possesseth justice, shall lay hold on her, and she will meet him as an honourable mother. With the bread of life and understanding she shall feed him, and give him the water of wholesome wisdom to drink, and she shall be made strong in him, and he shall not be moved; and she shall exalt him among his neighbours; and in the midst of the Church she shall open his mouth, and shall fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and shall clothe him with the robe of glory; she shall heap upon him a treasure of joy and gladness, and our Lord God shall cause him to inherit an everlasting name.

The Wisdom here spoken of is Jesus the Eternal Word, who came to St John and called him to the Apostolate. The Bread of life wherewith she fed him is the divine Bread of the Last Supper, the Body and Blood of Jesus; the wholesome Water is that promised by our Saviour to the Samaritan Woman, of which St John drank so abundantly from its very source when he rested his head on the Heart of Jesus. The immovable Strength is the Saint’s close and resolute custody of the treasure of his Virginity, and the courageous profession of the religion of Christ before the Proconsuls of Domitian. The Treasure which Wisdom heaped upon him is the magnificence of the prerogatives granted to him. Lastly, the everlasting Name is that glorious title given him of John the Beloved Disciple.

Gradual

Exiit sermo inter fratres, quod discipulus ille non moritur; et non dixit Jesus: Non moritur;

. Sed: Sic eum volo manere, donee veniam; tu me sequere.


Alleluia, alleluia.

. Hic est discipulus ille, qui testimonium perhibet de his; et scimus quia verum est testimonium ejus. Alleluia.

A report was spread among the brethren, that that Disciple should not die; but Jesus said not: He should not die; 

. But: So I will have him remain till I come; follow thou me.

Alleluia, alleluia.

. This is the Disciple that beareth testimony of these things; and we know his testimony is true. Alleluia.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. XXI.

In illo tempore, dixit Jesus Petro: Sequere me. Conversus Petrus vidit illum discipulum quem diligebat Jesus sequentem, qui et recubuit in cœna super pectus ejus, et dixit: Domine, quis est qui tradet te? Hunc ergo cum vidisset Petrus, dixit Jesu: Domine, hic autem quid? Dicit ei Jesus: Sic eum volo manere donec veniam, quid ad te? Tu me sequere. Exiit ergo senno iste inter fratres, quia discipulus ille non moritur. Et non dixit ei Jesus: Non moritur; sed: Sic eum volo manere donec veniam, quid ad te? Hic est discipulus ille, qui testimonium perhibet de his, et scripsit hæc; et scimus quia verum est testimonium ejus.
Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. XXI.

At that time: Jesus said to Peter: Follow me. Peter turning about, saw that Disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also leaned on his breast at supper, and said: Lord, who is he that shall betray thee? Him therefore, when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith to himSo I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee?Follow thou me. This saying, therefore, went abroad among the brethren, that that Disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say to him: He should not die; but: So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? This is that Disciple who giveth testimony of these things, and hath written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

This passage of the holy Gospel has been much commented upon. Some of the Fathers and Commentators interpret it as signifying that St John was to be exempt from death, and that he is still living in the flesh, awaiting the coming of the Judge of the living and the dead. It is certain that this opinion regarding our Apostle has been entertained; and one of the arguments in its favour was this very passage. But the general opinion of the Holy Fathers is that nothing further is implied by it than the difference between the two vocations of St Peter and St John. The former shall follow his divine Master, by dying, like him, on a cross; the latter shall remain—he shall live to a venerable old age—and at length Jesus shall come and take him out of this world by sending him a sweet and peaceful death.

During the Offertory, the Church makes a remembrance of the flourishing Palms which grew up around the Beloved Disciple; she tells us of the spiritual children he had trained, and of the Churches he had founded; all which, like young cedars round the venerable parent-tree on Libanus, multiplied under the fostering care of their Father.

Offertory

Justus ut palma florebit; sicut cedrus quæ in Libano est multiplicabitur.
The just shall flourish like the palm-tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus.

Secret

Suscipe, Domine, munera quæ in ejus tibi solemnitate deferimus, cujus nos confxdimus patrocinio liberari. Per Dominum.
Receive, O Lord, the offerings we make to thee, on his feast, by whose intercession we hope to be delivered. Through, etc.

Commemoration of Christmas Day

Oblata, Domine, munera nova Unigeniti tui nativitate sanctifica: nosque a peccatorum nostrorum maculis emunda. Per eundem.
Sanctify, O Lord, our offerings by the new Birth of thine Only-Begotten Son, and cleanse us from the stains of our sins. Through, etc.

The Preface as on page 64: but on the Octave-Day it is as below.[8]

The mysterious words of the Gospel are repeated in the Communion, that is, at the moment when Priest and people have partaken of the Victim of salvation; they convey this teaching—that he who eats of this Bread, though he must die the death of the body, will yet live for the coming of the supreme Judge and Rewarder.

Communion

Exiit senno inter fratres quod discipulus ille non moritur. Et non dixit Jesus: Non moritur; sed: Sic eum volo manere donec veniam.
A report was spread among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. But Jesus said not: He should not die; but: So I will that he remain till I come.

Postcommunion

Refecti cibo potuque cœ lesti, Deus noster, te supplices deprecamur; ut in cujus hæc commemoratione percepimus, ejus muniamur et precibus. Per Dominum.
Being refreshed, O Lord, with this heavenly meat and drink, we humbly beseech thee that we may be assisted by his prayers, on whose feast we have received these sacred mysteries. Through, etc.

Commemoration of Christmas Day

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut natus hodie Salvator mundi, sicut divinae nobis generationis est auctor, ita et immortalitatis sit ipse largitor. Qui tecum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that as the Saviour of the world, who was born this day, procured for us a divine birth, he may also bestow on us immortality. Who liveth, etc.

VESPERS

The Antiphons and Psalms are sung as yesterday, the Feast of St Stephen: they are given on page 210. After the last Psalm, the Office of St John is resumed, commencing as follows:

Capitulum
(Ecclus. xv)

Qui timet Deum, faciet bona: et qui continens est justitiæ apprehendet illam, et obviabit illi quasi mater honorificata.
He that feareth God, will do good; and he that possesseth justice shall lay hold on her, and she shall meet him as an honourable mother.

Hymn[9]

Exsultet orbis gaudiis:
Cœlum resultet laudibus;
Apostolorum gloriam
Tellus et astra concinunt. 


Vos sæculorum judices,
Et vera mundi lumina:
Votis precamur cordium,
Audite voces supplicum.

Qui tempia cœli clauditis,
Serasque verbo solvitis,
Nos a reatu noxios
Solvi jubete, quæsumus.

Præcepta quorum protinus
Languor salusque sentiunt;
Sanate mentes languidas,
Augete nos virtutibus.

Ut cum redibit Arbiter
In fine Christus sæculi,
Nos sempiterni gaudii
Concedat esse compotes.

Jesu, tibi sit gloria,
Qui natus es de Virgine:
Cum Patre et almo Spiritu
In sempiterna sæcula.

Amen.

℣. Valde honorandus est beatus Joannes.
. Qui supra pectus Domini in cœna recubuit.

Let the earth exult with joy:
let the heavens re-echo with praise:
the glory of the Apostles
is sung by both earth and heaven.


O ye, the Judges of the world,
and the true Lights of the earth!
we pray to you with all earnestness of heart:
hear the prayers of your clients.

’Tis ye that have power,
by your word, to shut and open
the gates of heaven: we beseech you,
loosen us from the bonds of sin.

Sickness and health promptly
do your bidding;
oh! heal our languid souls,
bring us growth in virtue;

That so, when Jesus our judge
shall come again at the end of the world,
he may grant us to be
partakers of neverending bliss.

Glory be to thee, O Jesus,
that wast born of the Virgin!
and to the Father, and to the Spirit of love,
for everlasting ages.

Amen.

℣. Most worthy of honour is the blessed John.
. Who leaned upon the Lord’s breast at the supper.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Ant. Exiit sermo inter fratres, quod discipulus ille non moritur: et non dixit Jesus: Non moritur; sed: Sic eum volo manere donec veniam.
Ant. There went abroad among the brethren this saying, that that disciple should not die: and Jesus did not say to him: He should not die; but: So I will have him to remain till I come.

Oremus
Ecclesiam tuam, Domine, benignus illustra, ut beati Joannis Apostoli tui et Evangelistæ illuminata doctrinis, ad dona perveniat sempiterna. Per Dominum. 
Let Us Pray
Mercifully, O Lord, enlighten thy Church; that being taught by blessed John, thine Apostle and Evangelist, she may come to thy eternal rewards. Through, etc.

Commemoration of the Holy Innocents

Ant. Hi sunt, qui cum mulieribus non sunt coinquinati: virgines enim sunt, et sequuntur Agnum quocumque ierit.

℣. Herodes iratus occidit multos pueros.

. In Bethlehem Judæ, civitate David.

Oremus

Deus cujus hodierna die præconium Innocentes martyres non loquendo, sed moriendo confessi sunt, omnia in nobis vitiorum mala mortifica: ut fidem tuam, quam lingua nostra loquitur, etiam moribus vita fateatur.

Ant. These are they who were not defiled with women: for they are virgins, and follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.

. Herod, being angry, killed many children.

. In Bethlehem of Juda, the city of David.

Let Us Pray

O God, whose praise the holy Martyrs, the Innocents, published this day, not by speaking, but by dying; mortify in us all our vicious inclinations: that we may show forth in our actions thy faith, which we profess with our lips.


Commemoration of Christmas Day

Ant. Hodie Christus natus est: hodie Salvator apparuit: hodie in terra canunt Angeli, lætantur Archangeli: hodie„ exsultant justi, dicentes: Gloria in excelsis Deo. Alleluia. 

. Notum fecit Dominus, alleluia.

. Salutare suum, alleluia.

Oremus

Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut nos Unigeniti tui nova per carnem Nativitas liberet, quos sub peccati jugo vetusta servitus tenet. Per eundem.
Ant. This day Christ is born; this day the Saviour hath appeared; this day the Angels sing on earth; the Archangels rejoice; this day the just exult, saying: Glory be to God in the highest, alleluia.

. The Lord hath made known, alleluia.

℟. His salvation, alleluia.

Let Us Pray

Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who groan under the old captivity of sin, may be freed therefrom by the new Birth of thine Only-Begotten Son. Through, etc.


Now let us listen to the several Churches, proclaiming in their liturgical praises the glory of St John. We begin with the Church of Rome, from which we take this beautiful Preface of the Leonine Sacramentary.

Preface

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi gratias agere, Pater omnipotens, beati Apostoli tui Joannis Evangelistæ natalitia venerantes. Qui Domini nostri Jesu Christi Filii tui vocatione suscepta, terrenum respuit patrem, ut posset invenire coelestem: retia sæculi, quibus implicabatur, abjecit, ut æternitatis dona mente libera sectaretur: nutantem fluctibus navem reliquit, ut in ecclesiasticæ gubernationis tranquilitate consisteret: a piscium captione cessavit, ut animas mundanis gurgitibus immersas, calamo doctrinæsalutaris abstraheret: destitit pelagi profundari mari, secretorum scrutatorredditus divinorum. Eo usque procedens, ut et in cœna mystica sacrosanto convivio in ipsius recumberet pectore Salvatoris; et eum in cruce Dominus constitutus, vicarium sui, Matri Virgini Filium subrogaret, et in principio Verbum, quod Deus erat apud Deum, pra cateris ostenderet prædicandum.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should give thanks to thee, O Almighty Father! now that we are celebrating the Feast of thy blessed Apostle, John the Evangelist. Having received the vocation of our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, he left his earthly father, that he might find one in heaven. He threw down the nets of this world, wherein he was entangled, that he might, with a free soul, pursue the goods that are eternal. He abandoned his boat which was ever tossing on the waves, that he might calmly steer a spiritual bark in the Church. He gave up his trade of fishing, that by the hook of saving doctrine he might draw out souls ingulfed in the surges of the world. He ceased his searchings in the deep waters of the sea, that he might be made worthy to penetrate into secrets divine. Even thus was he favoured—he leaned his head on the Saviour’s breast, in the most holy banquet of the mystic supper; our Lord, when hanging on the cross, gave him to the Virgin-Mother to be her Son in his own stead; and it was he, above all others, that showed how this was to be preached: In the beginning was the Word, who was God with God.

 

The Church of Milan, in her Ambrosian Missal, thus sings forth the praises of the Beloved Disciple:

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi gratias agere, æterne Deus: beati Joannis Evangelistæ merita recolentes, quem Dominus Jesus Christus non solum peculiari semper decore ornavit; sed et in cruce positus, tamquam hæreditario munere prosecutus, vicarium pro se Matri Filium dementer attribuit. Quem ad eum usque dignitatis gradum divina benignitas evexit, ut et factus ex piscatore Discipulus, et humanædispensationis modum excedens, ipsam Verbi tui sine initio Deitatem præcæteris et mente conspiceret, et voce perferret.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should give thanks to thee, O Eternal God! whilst celebrating the merits of blessed John the Evangelist, whom our Lord Jesus Christ not only adorned with every peculiar grace, but to whom also he, when fastened to the cross, lovingly granted, as though it were the gift of inheritance, to take his own place and be the Son of Mary. Even unto this grade of honour did thy divine goodness raise him, that being changed from a fisherman into a Disciple, and, in dispensing thy Truth, going beyond the measure of other men, he, above all others, both saw and preached the very Divinity of thy Eternal Word.

The Mozarabic Missal has the following prayer to our holy Apostle and Evangelist:

Prayer

Genite ingeniti Filius Dei summi; qui sacrum illud arcanum pectoris tui dilecto tuo Joanni Apostolo reserasti; cum in sinu tuo recubans Evangelii sui fluenta ex ipso pectoris tui fonte haurire promeruit. Tu nos intuere propitius, ut per te abdita cognoscamus, per te bona quæ manifesta sunt impleamus. Reserans nobis pectoris tui occulta, quibus possimus cognoscere et conditionis nostræ infirmitatem, et ad tuæ divinitatis pervenire cognitionem. Manifestans de te quid amemus, indicans de nobis quid corrigamus. Quo hujus dilecti tui suffragiis, moribus nostris in melius commutatis, aufugiat pestis, dispereat languor, pellatur mucro. Quidquid adversum est fidei christianæ intereat; quidquid prosperum, convalescat. Arceantur fames, sedentur lites, hæresum obtrudantur fautores. Fœcundetur frugibus terra, vestiatur virtutibus anima; atque cuncta nobis in commune proveniant bona. Quo tibi Deo nostro fideliter servientes, et his sine peccato utamur concessis, et post deliciis fruamur æternæ possessionis. Amen.
O Son of God, Begotten of the Unbegotten infinite God! who didst open the sacred treasury of thy Breast to thine Apostle, when he, reclining on thy Bosom, merited to drink in from the very fountain of thy Heart the streams of his own Gospel: look upon us with an eye of pity, that so by thee we may know thy mysteries, and do the good thou hast manifested unto us. Reveal unto us the hidden things of thy Heart, whereby we may be taught both the weakness of our own nature, and the Divinity which is thine. Show us thyself, that we may love thee; show us in ourselves what we must correct. That thus, by the prayers of thy beloved Disciple, our evil ways being converted, pestilence may flee from us, sickness disappear, and the sword be sheathed. May all that is adverse to Christian faith perish; may all that prospers it be strengthened. May famines cease, may dissensions be appeased, may the upholders of heresy be confounded. May the earth be pregnant with fruits, our souls be clad with virtues, and all good things come unto us all. That thus, faithfully serving thee our God, we may both use these gifts without sin, and, hereafter enjoy the bliss of possessing thee for eternity. Amen.

The following Hymn, which we have taken from the Milan Liturgy, is attributed to St Ambrose; it certainly bears a resemblance to his style—sublime thoughts, majestically told.

Hymn

Amore Christi nobilis
Et filius Tonitrui,
Arcana Joannes Dei
Fatu revelavit sacro. 


Captis solebat piscibus
Patris senectam pascere;
Turbante dum natat salo
Immobilis fide stetit.

Hamum profundo merserat,
Piscatus est Verbum Dei;
Jactavit undis retia,
Vitam levavit hominum.

Piscis bonus pia est Fides,
Mundi supernatans salum,
Subnixa Christi pectore,
Sancto locuta Spiritu:

'In principio erat Verbum,
Et Verbum erat apud Deum,
Et Deus erat Verbum. Hoc erat
In principio apud Deum.

‘Omnia per ipsum facta sunt.’
Sed ipse laude resonet;
Et laureatus Spiritu,
Scriptis coronetur suis.

Commune multis passio,
Cruorque delictum lavans;
Hoc morte præstat Martyrum
Quod fecit esse Martyres.

Vinctus tamen ab impiis,
Calente olivo dicitur
Tersisse mundi pulverem,
Stetisse victor æmuli.

Gloria tibi, Domine,
Qui natus es de Virgine;
Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu
In sempiterna sæcula.

Amen.

John, the honoured loved one of Jesus,
named by him the Son of Thunder,
revealed in sacred words
the hidden things of God.


He was a fisherman,
and supported his aged parent by his toil:
whilst sailing on the troubled waves, he received the faith,
and firmly did he hold to it.

He throws his hook into the deep,
and takes the Word of God;
he lets down his nets into the waters,
he draws in him who is the Light of the world.

His fervent Faith is the good Fish
which swam through the briny flood of this world;
it rested on the Breast of Christ,
and thus spoke in the Holy Spirit:

‘In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.

‘All things were made by Him.'
Then let us sing the praises of this Disciple,
and since he bears the laurels of the Spirit,
let his writings be his crown.

Martyrdom has been granted to many,
and this shedding of their own blood purifies them from every sin;
but John did what was better than Martyrdom:
he taught to the world that which made the Martyrs.

Yet we are told that he was bound by wicked men,
and plunged into boiling oil;
it did but cleanse him from this world's dust,
and give him victory over the enemy.

Glory be to thee, O Lord,
that wast born of the Virgin!
and to the Father, and to the Holy Ghost,
for everlasting ages.

Amen.


We will now give a few stanzas from the Hymns which the Greek Church, in her accustomed pomp of language, sings in honour of St John. She keeps his Feast on September 26.
XXVI Septembris, in magno Vespertino, et passim

Venite, sapientiæ abyssum et orthodoxorum scriptorem dogmatum, Fideles, hymnis coronemus divinis hodie, Joannem, gloriosum et dilectum: is enim intonuit: Verbum crat in principio. Ideo voce tonitru similidemonstratus est, quasi Evangelio mundum illuminans, multisapiens et celeberrimus.


Vere aperteque tu manifestatus es amicus ex corde magnus Christi magistri; pectori enim illius incubuisti, unde hausisti sapientiæ dogmata, Quitos tamquam Bei præco divinum, ditas omnem terræ circuitum, quam Poseidons Jukunda Christi Ecclesia nunc gaudens exornat.

Garde, Vene theologe, Garde, Matrix Domini fili amabilissime: tu enim stans juxta crucem Christi, divinam audisti vocem Magistri: Ecce nunc mater tua, ad te clamantis. Ideo digne te omnes ut Christi Apostolum magnum et dilectum beatificamus.

Contemplator ineffabilium revelationum, et interpres supernorum Dei mysteriorum, Zebedæi hlius, scribens nobis Christi Evangelium divine loqui Patrem et Filium et Spiritum nos docuit.
Lyra a Deo mota cœlestium odarum, mysticus ille scriptor, os divina loquens, Canticum canticorum dulciter decantat, et precatur salvari nos.

Tonitru filium, divinorum sermonum fundamentum, theologiæ ducein et primum præconem veræ sapientiæ dogmatum, Joannem dilectum et virginem, o mortalium genus, multis laudemus acclamationibus.

Flumina theologæ ex venerando ore tuo salierunt, Apostole, quibus Ecclesia Dei potata adorat orthodoxe Trinitatem consubstantialem; et nunc deprecare, Johannes theologe, stabiliri et saivari animas nostras.

Virgultum puritatis, boni odoris unguentum apparuit nobis in hodierna festivitate; ad ipsum igitur clamemus: Tu qui supra pectus recubuisti Dominicum, tu qui mundo stillare fecisti Verbum, Joannes Apostole; qui Virginem custodivisti ut pupillam oculi, postula pro nobis apud Christum magnani misericordiam.

Apostolorum celsitudinem, theologiæ tubam, spiritalem ducem, qui orbem terrarum Deo subegit, venite, fideles, beatificemus Joannem illustrissimum, e terra sublatum et non ablatum, sed viventem et exspectantem terribilem Domini secundum adventum; cui ut inculpabiliter assistamus deprecare, amice mystice Christi pectori ejus innixe cum amore, tuam memoriam celebrantes.

Come, ye Faithful, let us this day crown with sacred hymns the glorious and Beloved John, an abyss of wisdom, and the writer of orthodox dogmas: for it was he that uttered, In the beginning was the Word. Therefore did he appear as with the voice of thunder, enlightening the world with his Gospel—he the exceeding wise and world-wide famed Disciple.


Thou wast truly and manifestly the great bosom-friend of Jesus thy Master; for thou didst recline upon his Breast, imbibing thence the dogmas of wisdom, wherewith, as God's sublime herald, thou enriches the earth’s circuit, and which the glad Church of Christ, now possessing it, exultingly honours.

Rejoice, thou true Theologian! rejoice, thou most lovable Son of our Lord’s Mother! for when standing nigh the Cross of Jesus, thou didst hear his divine voice saying unto thee: Behold now thy Mother. Therefore do we all bless thee, as the great and Beloved Apostle of Christ.

The contemplator of ineffable revelations, the interpreter of God’s most high mysteries, the son of Zebedee, wrote us the Gospel of Christ, and thereby taught us how to speak theologically of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
This heaven-hymned Harp attuned by God, this mystic writer, this mouth that speaks divine things, is now sweetly singing the Canticle of Canticles, and prays for our salvation.

Let us, O ye mortals! proclaim his many praises: John, the Son of Thunder, the source of divine language, the Prince of Theology, the first preacher of true wisdom's dogmas, the Beloved and Virgin Disciple.

The streams of Theology gushed from thy venerable lips, O Apostle! the Church of God has drunk them in, O teacher of truth! and adores the consubstantial Trinity. O holy Theologian John! now pray that our souls may be unwavering and saved.

The flower of purity, the fragrant perfume, breathes upon this day’s least; let us therefore pray to him: Blessed Apostle John! who didst recline upon Jesus’ Breast! who didst pour out The Word upon the earth! who didst guard the Virgin as the apple of thine eye! Oh! ask Jesus to show his great mercy unto us.

Come, ye faithful! let us bless the most renowned John, the exalted one among the Apostles, the trumpet of theology, the spiritual guide—he that brought the world into subjection to God—he that was raised above the earth, not taken away from it, and is living and awaiting the dread second coming of our Lord. O thou the mystic Friend of Christ, that didst lovingly lean upon his Breast, help us who celebrate thy memory, help us by thy prayers to present ourselves guiltless before our judge.


As usual, we will close these liturgical praises of our dear Saint by a Prose of the Western Churches in the Middle Ages, which we have taken from the collection of the Monastery of St Gall. It was composed by Blessed Notker, and was for centuries in the Roman-French Missals.

Sequence

Joannes, Jesu Christo
Multum dilecte virgo.

Tu ejus amore Carnalem in navi
Parentem liquisti.

Tu leve conjugis
Pectus respuisti,

Messiam secutu
Ut ejus pectoris Sacra meruisses Fluenta potare.


Tuque in terris positus,
Gloriam conspexisti Filii Dei,

Quæ solum sanctis In vita creditur
Contuenda esse perenni.

Te Christus In cruce triumphans,
Matri suæ dedit custodem;

Ut Virgo
Virginem servares, Atque curam suppeditares.

Tute carcere Flagrisque fractus,
Testimonio pro Christo Es gavisus.

Idem mortuos suscitas, Inque Jesu nomine
Venenum forte vincis.

Tibi summus tacitum
Præ cæteris Verbum suum Pater revelat.

Tu nos omnes Sedulis precibus
Apud Deum Semper commenda, Joannes, Christi care.

Amen.

O John! the dearly
Beloved Virgin Disciple of Jesus!


For love of him thou didst
leave thy father Zebedee and his boat.

Thou didst disdain
the caresses of thy young betrothed,

and didst follow the Messias,
That thou mightest merit to drink at the sacred fount of his heart.

Thou too, when on this earth,
didst behold the transfiguration of the Son of God,

Which vision, as we are taught,
is not granted save to the Saints in life eternal.

Jesus, when conquering on his cross,
entrusted his Mother to thy keeping;

That thou, a Virgin,
mightest protect and care for the Virgin in his stead.

Imprisoned and torn by scourges,
thou didst rejoice, for it was thy bearing testimony to Christ.

Thou raisest, too, the dead to life, and in the name of Jesus
breakest the poison's power.

To thee, above the rest,
the Almighty Father reveals his own embosomed Word.

Do thou ever commend us all to God by unwearied intercession.
O John, Disciple dear to Christ!

Amen.


Beloved Disciple of the Babe of Bethlehem! how great is thy happiness! how wonderful is the reward given to thy love and thy purity! In thee was fulfilled that word of thy Master: Blessed are the clean of heart; for they shall see God. Not only didst thou see this GodMan: thou wast his Friend, and on his Bosom didst rest thy head. John the Baptist trembles at having to bend the head of Jesus under the water of Jordan; Magdalen, though assured by his own lips that her pardon was perfect as her love, yet dares not raise her head, but keeps clinging to his feet; Thomas scarce presumes to obey him when he bids him put his finger into his wounded Side; and thou, in the presence of all the Apostles, sittest close to him, leaning thy head upon his Breast! Nor is it only Jesus in his Humanity that thou seest and possessest; but, because thy heart is pure, thou soarest like an eagle up to the Sun of Justice, and fixest thine eye upon him in the light inaccessible wherein he dwelleth eternally with the Father and the Holy Ghost.

Thus was rewarded the fidelity wherewith thou didst keep intact for Jesus the precious treasure of thy Purity. And now, O worthy favourite of the great King! forget not us poor sinners. We believe and confess the Divinity of the Incarnate Word whom thou hast evangelized unto us; but we desire to draw nigh to him during this holy season, now that he shows himself so desirous of our company, so humble, so full of love, so dear a Child, and so poor! Alas! our sins keep us back; our heart is not pure like thine; we have need of a Patron to introduce us to our Master's crib.[10] Thou, O Beloved Disciple of Emmanuel! thou must procure us this happiness. Thou hast shown us the Divinity of the Word in the bosom of the Eternal Father; lead us now to this same Word made flesh. Under thy patronage Jesus will permit us to enter into the Stable, to stand near his Crib, to see with our eyes and touch with our hands[11] this sweet Fruit of eternal Life. May it be granted us to contemplate the sweet Face of him that is our Saviour and thy Friend; to feel the throbs of that Heart which loves both thee and us, which thou didst see wounded by the Spear, on Calvary. It is good for us to fix ourselves here near the Crib of our Jesus, and share in the graces he there lavishes, and learn, as thou didst, the grand lesson of this Child’s simplicity: thy prayers must procure all this for us.

Then too, as Son and Guardian of Mary, thou hast to present us to thine own and our Mother. Ask her to give us somewhat of the tender love wherewith she watches over the Crib of her Divine Son; to see in us the Brothers of that Child she bore; and to admit us to a share of the maternal affection she had for thee, the favoured confidant of the secrets of her Jesus.

We also pray to thee, O holy Apostle! for the Church of God. She was planted and watered by thy labours, embalmed with the celestial fragrance of thy virtues, and illumined by thy sublime teachings; pray now that these graces may bring forth their fruit, and that to the end of her pilgrimage faith may be firm, the love of Jesus fervent, and Christian morals pure and holy. Thou tellest us in thy Gospel of a saying of thy Divine Master: I will not now call you my Servants, hut my Friends:[12] pray, dear Saint, that there may come to this, from our hearts and lips, a response of love and courage, telling our Emmanuel that, like thyself, we will follow him whithersoever he leads us.

Let us, on this second day after our Divine Infant’s Birth, meditate upon the Sleep he deigns to take. Let us consider how this God of all goodness, who has come down from heaven to invite his creature man to come to him and seek rest for his soul, seeks rest himself in our earthly home, and sanctifies by his own divine sleep that rest which to us is a necessity. We have just been dwelling with delighted devotion on the thought of his offering his Breast as a resting-place for the Beloved Disciple, and for all souls that imitate John in his love and devotedness: now let us look at this our God, sweetly sleeping in his humble Crib, or on his Mother's lap.

St Alphonsus Liguori, in one of his delicious Canticles, thus describes the sleep of Jesus, and the enraptured love of the Mother:

Mary sings—the ravished heavens
Hush the music of their spheres;
Soft her voice, her beauty fairer
Than the glancing stars appears:
While to Jesus slumbering nigh,
Thus she sings her lullaby.
Sleep, my Babe! my God! my Treasure!
Gently sleep: but ah! the sight
With its beauty so transports me,
I am dying of delight:
Thou canst not thy Mother see,
Yet thou breathest flames to me.
If within your lids unfolded,
Slumbering eyes! you seem so fair;
When upon my gaze you open,
How shall I your beauty bear?
Ah! I tremble when you wake,
Lest my heart with love should break.
Cheeks than sweetest roses sweeter,
Mouth where lurks a smile divine—
Though the kiss my Babe should waken,
I must press those lips to mine.
Pardon, Dearest, if I say,
Mother's love will take no nay.
As she ceased, the gentle Virgin
Clasped the Infant to her breast,
And upon his radiant forehead
Many a loving kiss impressed:
Jesus woke, and on her face
Fixed a look of heavenly grace.
Ah! that look, those eyes, that beauty,
How they pierce the Mother's heart;
Shafts of love from every feature
Through her gentle bosom dart.
Heart of stone! can I behold
Mary's love, and still be cold?
Where, my soul! thy sense, thy reason?
When will these delays be o'er?
All things else, how fair soever,
Are but smoke—resist no more!
Yes! 'tis done! I yield my arms
Captive to those double charms.
If, alas, O heavenly beauty!
Now so late those charms I learn,
Now at least, and ever, ever,
With thy love my heart will burn
For the Mother and the Child,
Rose and Lily undefiled.
Plant and fruit, and fruit and blossom,
I am theirs, and they are mine:
For no other prize I labour,
For no other bliss I pine;
Love can every pain requite,
Love alone is full delight.[13] 

 

Let us, then, adore the Divine Babe in this state of Sleep to which he voluntarily subjects himself, and contrast it with the cruel fatigues which are one day to be his. When he is grown up, and come to the age of manhood, he will go through every toil and suffering in search of us his Lost Sheep. But these first slumbers shall not be troubled by anything of ours which could pain this loving wakeful Heart; and the Blessed Mother shall not be disturbed in the blissful contemplation of her Sleeping Child, over whom she is at a future time to shed such bitter tears. The day is not far distant when he will say: The foxes have holesand the birds of the air nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.[14]

‘Christ has had three resting-places,’ says Peter of Celles. ‘The first was in the Bosom of his Eternal Father. He says, I am in the Fatherand the Father is in me.[15] What repose could be compared to this, of the Father's complacency in the Son, and the Son's complacency in the Father? It is a mutual and ineffable love, and they are happy in the union. But whilst maintaining this place of his eternal rest, the Son of God has sought a second in the womb of the Virgin Mary. He overshadowed her with the Holy Ghost, and slept a long sleep in her chaste womb, whilst his Body was there being formed. The holy Virgin troubled not the sleep of her Child: she kept all the powers of her soul in a silence like that of heaven; and rapt in self-contemplation, she heard mysteries which it is not permitted to man to utter. The third restingplace of Christ is in man. Jesus dwells in a heart that is purified by faith, enlarged by charity, raised above earth by contemplation, and is renewed by the Holy Ghost. Such a heart as this offers to Jesus not an earthly but a heavenly dwelling; and the Child who is born unto us will not refuse to enter it, and take his rest within it.’[16]

To this Eternal Word made flesh for our salvation let us offer up this Hymn of our great ecclesiastical Poet, Prudentius:

Hymn

Corde natus ex parentis
Ante mundi exordium;
A et O cognominatus:
Ipse fons et clausula
Omnium quæ sunt, fuerunt,
Quæque post futura sunt.

Ipse jussit, et creata,
Dixit ipse, et facta sunt;
Terra, cœlum, fossa ponti,
Trina rerum machina,
Quæque in his vigent sub alto
Solis et lunæ globo.

Corporis formam caduci,
Membra morti obnoxia
Induit, ne gens periret
Primoplasti ex germine,
Merserat quem lex profundo
Noxialis Tartaro.

O beatus ortus ille,
Virgo cum puerpera
Edidit nostram salutem,
Fœta Sancto Spiritu,
Et puer Redemptor orbis
Os sacratum protulit.

Psallat altitudo cœli,
Psallite, omnes Angeli,
Quidquid est virtutis usquam,
Psallat in laudem Dei:
Nulla linguarum silescat,
Vox et omnis consonet.

Ecce quem vates vetustis
Concinebant sæculis,
Quem Prophetarum fideles
Paginæ spoponderant,
Emicat promissus olim;
Cuncta collaudent eum.

Te senes et te juventus.
Parvulorum te chorus,
Turba matrum, virginumque,
Simplices puellulæ,
Voce concordes pudicis
Perstrepant concentibus.

Fluminum lapsus, et undæ
Littorum crepidines,
Imber, æstus, nix, pruinæ,
Silva et aura, nox, dies,
Omnibus te concelebrent
Sæculorum sæculis.

Amen.
Born from the bosom of the Father
before the world began,
his name is Alpha and Omega.
He is the beginning and end
of all things
present, past, and future.

He commanded and they were created,
he spoke and they were made;
earth, heaven, and sea,
the triple kingdom,
and all things that are in them,
under the sun and moon.

He clothes himself with a frail Body,
and with members subject to death;
lest the human race, the offspring of Adam,
should perish together with their first Parent,
whom a terrible sentence had condemned
to the depth of hell.

O that happy Birth,
when a Virgin-Mother,
having conceived of the Holy Ghost,
brought forth the Child that was our salvation;
and the Babe, the Redeemer of the world,
showed unto us his divine Face!

Let high heaven sing,
and sing all ye Angels!
Let every living creature
sing to the praise of God!
Let every tongue proclaim it,
and every voice join in the hymn of praise.

Behold the Promised Messias,
of whom sang the Seers in the ancient times,
and whom the Prophets foretold
in their truthful oracles!
Praise be to him
from every creature.

May the aged and the young,
and children,
mothers and virgins
and innocent maidens, sing to thee,
O Jesus! and with concordant voice
chastely hymn thy praise!

May the flowing river
and the sea-shore wave,
rain and heat, snow and frost,
forest and zephyr, day and night,
for ever and for ever
give thee praise.

Amen.

Let us now honour and invoke the ever Blessed and most Merciful Mother of our God, and use the words of this beautiful Hymn of the ancient Roman-French Missals:

Hymn

Lætare, puerpera,
Læto puerperio,
Cujus casta viscera
Fœcundantur Filio.

Lacte fluunt ubera
Cum pudoris lilio;
Membra foves tenera,
Virgo, lacte proprio.

Patris Unigenitus,
Per quem fecit sæcula,
Hic degit humanitus,
Sub Matre paupercula.

Ibi sanctos reficit
Angelos lætitia:
Hic sitit et esurit
Degens ab infantia.

Ibi regit omnia,
Hic a Matre regitur:
Ibi dat imperia,
Hie ancillæ subditur.

Ibi summi culminis
Residet in solio;
Hie ligatus fasciis
Vagit in præsepio.

O homo! considera,
Revocans memoriae,
Quanta sint hæc opera
Divinae clementiæ.

Non desperes veniam,
Si multum deliqueris,
Ubi tot insignia
Charitatis videris.

Sub Matris refugio
Fuge, causa veniæ:
Nam tenet in gremio
Fontem indulgentiæ.

Hanc salutes sæpius
Cum spei fiducia,
Dicens, flexis genibus:
Ave plena gratia.

Quondam flentis lacrymas
Sedabas uberibus:
Nunc iratum mitigas
Pro nostris excessibus.

Jesu, lapsos respice,
Piæ Matris precibus;
Emendatos effice
Dignos cœli civibus.

Amen.
Rejoice, O Virgin-Mother!
in thy joy-giving delivery,
for thy chaste womb was made
fruitful of the very Son of God.

O wondrous sight
—Jesus feeding from the Lily of Purity!
Yea, most pure Virgin,
thou feedest at thy breasts his infant life.

The Only-Begotten of the Father,
by whom he made this world,
is dwelling here
the Babe of a poor Mother.

There he is feeding
the holy Angels with joy:
here he is in hunger
and thirst from his cradle.

There he holds all things in subjection:
here he is in subjection to a Mother.
There he commands:
here he obeys his Handmaid.

There he is seated
on the throne of highest majesty:
here he is lying
swathed and weeping in a manger.

Think on this, O man!
and to thy memory recall
these stupendous works
of God's mercy.

And though thy sins be great,
yet canst thou not despair,
for the proofs thou seest here
of Jesus' love speak but of pardon.

Thou wouldst have pardon?
fly to the Mother for protection,
for she holds on her lap
the Infinite Fountain of Mercy.

Often bend thy knee before her,
and with hopeful love
salute her thus:
Hail!full of grace!

As thou of old didst feed
thy Jesus and stay his infant tears;
so now, dear Mother,
appease him angered by our sins.

Hear, O Jesus! thy sweet Mother's prayers,
and with an eye of pity look upon us sinners!
Correct and change us,
and make us worthy to be citizens of heaven.

Amen.

 

 

 

[1] St John xv 13.
[2] St John xiii 23; xix 26; xxi 7; xxi 20.
[3] Col. ii 3.
[4] Ezech. i 10; x 14.
[5] Apoc. iv 7.
[6] St John xiii 1.
[7] St Matt, xx 22.
[8] Preface. For the Octave-Day.

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, te Domine suppliciter exorare, ut gregem tuum, Pastor æterne, non deseras, sed per beatos Apostolos tuos continua proteotione custodias. Ut iisdem rectoribus guberuetur, quos operis tui vicarios eidem contulisti præesse Pastores. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militia coelestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tua canimus, sine fine dicentes: Sanctus, etc.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, humbly to beseech thee that thou, O Lord, our eternal Shepherd, wouldst not forsake thy flock, but keep it under thy continual protection, by thy blessed Apostles. That it may be governed by those whom thou hast appointed its vicars and pastors. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly host, we sing an everlasting hymn to thy glory, saying: Holy, etc.

[9] According to the Monastic Rite, it is as follows: ℟.Breve. Constitues eos principes, Super oranem terram. Constitues. ℣. Meraores erunt Pnominis tui, Domine. * Super. Gloria atri. Constitues. Exsultet coelum laudibus, Resultet terra gaudiis; Apostolorum gloriam Sacra canunt solemnia. Vos sæcli justi judices Et vera mundi lumina, Votis precamur cordium, Audite preces supplicum. Qui cœlum verbo clauditis, Serasque ejus solvitis, Nos a peccatis omnibus Solvite jussu, quæsumus. Quorum præcepto subditur Salus et languor omnium, Sanate ægros moribus, Nos redden tes virtutibus. Ut cum judex advenerit Christus in fine sæculi, Nos sempiterni gaudii Faciat esse compotes. Gloria tibi, Domine, Qui natus es de Virgine, Cum Patre, et Sancto Spiritu, In. sempiterna sæcula. Amen.
[10] Isa. i 3.
[11] St John i 1.
[12] St John xv 15.
[13] Translation by the Very Rev. R. A. Coffin. We subjoin the original:
Fermarono i cieli
La loro armonia,
Cantando Maria
La nanna a Gesù.

Con voce divina
La Virgine bella,
Più vaga che stella,
Diceva cosi:

Mio figlio, mio Dio,
Mio caro tesoro,
Tu dormi, ed io moro
Per tanta beltà.

Dormendo, mio bene,
Tua Madre non miri,
Ma l' aura che spiri,
E foco per me.

Cogli occhi serrati
Voi pur mi ferite;
Or quando li aprite,
Per me che sara?

Le guance di rose
Mi rubano il core:
O Dio! che si more
Quest’ alma per te.

Mi sforza a baciarti
Un labbro si raro:
Perdonami, caro,
Non posso più, no.

Si tacque, ed al petto
Stringendo il Bambino,
Al volto divino
Un baci donò.

E tu non languisci,
O dur’ alma mia,
Vedendo Maria
Languir per Gesù.

Si desta il diletto;
E tutto amoroso,
Con occhio vezzoso
La Madre guardò.

Se tardi v' amai,
Bellezze divine,
Ormai senza fine
Per voi arderò.

Ah Dio! ch’ alla Madre
Quegli occhi, quel guardo
Fu strale, fu dardo,
Che l’alma feri.

Il Figlio e la Madre,
La Madre col Figlio,
La rosa col giglio
Quest’ alma vorrà.
[14] St Matt, viii 20.
[15] St John xiv 11.
[16] Fourth Sermon On our Lord’s Nativity.

 

 

 

 

 

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