THE third Mystery of the Epiphany shows us the completion of the merciful designs of God upon the world, at the same time that it manifests to us, for the third time, the glory of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The star has led the soul to faith; the sanctified Waters of the Jordan have conferred purity upon her; the Marriage-Feast unites her to her God. We have been considering, during this Octave, the Bridegroom revealing himself to the Spouse; we have heard him calling her to come to him from the heights of Libanus; and now, after having enlightened and purified her, he invites her to the heavenly feast, where she is to receive the Wine of his divine love.
A Feast is prepared; it is a Marriage-Feast; and the Mother of Jesus is present at it, for it is just that, having co-operated in the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, she should take part in all that her Son does, and in all the favours he bestows on his elect. But, in the midst of the Feast, the Wine fails. Wine is the symbol of Charity or Love, and Charity had failed on the earth; for the Gentiles had never tasted its sweetness; and as to the Synagogue, what had it produced but wild grapes? The True Vine is our Jesus, and he calls himself by that name. He alone could give that Wine which gladdeneth the heart of man; he alone could give us that Chalice which inebriateth, and of which the Royal Psalmist prophesied.
Mary said to Jesus: They have no Wine. It is the office of the Mother of God to tell him of the wants of men, for she is also their Mother. But Jesus answers her in words which are apparently harsh: Woman! what is it to me and to thee? My hour is not yet come. The meaning of these words is, that, in this great Mystery, he was about to act, not as the Son of Mary, but as the Son of God. Later on, the hour will come when, dying upon the Cross, he will do a work, in the presence of his Mother, and he will do it as Man, that is, according to that human nature which he has received from her. Mary at once understands the words of her Son, and she says to the waiters of the Feast, what she is now ever saying to her children: Do whatsoever he shall say to you.
Now, there were six large waterpots of stone there, and they were empty. The world was then in its Sixth Age, as St Augustine and other Holy Doctors tell us. During these six ages, the earth had been awaiting its Saviour, who was to instruct and redeem it. Jesus commands these waterpots to be filled with water; and yet water does not suit the Feast of the Spouse. The figures and the prophecies of the ancient world were this water, and until the opening of the Seventh Age, when Christ, who is the Vine, was to be given to the world, no man had contracted an alliance with the Divine Word.
But, when the Emmanuel came, he had but to say, Now draw out, and the waterpots were seen to be filled with the wine of the New Covenant, the Wine which had been kept to the end. When he assumed our human nature—a nature weak and unstable as water—he effected a change in it; he raised it up even to himself, by making us partakers of the divine nature; he gave us the power to love him, to be united to him, to form that one Body, of which he is the Head, that Church of which he is the Spouse, and which he loved from all eternity, and with such tender love, that he came down from heaven to celebrate his nuptials with her.
St Matthew, the Evangelist of the Humanity of our Lord, has received from the Holy Ghost the commission to announce to us the Mystery of Faith by the star; St Luke, the Evangelist of Jesus' Priesthood, has been selected, by the same Holy Spirit, to instruct us in the Mystery of the Baptism in the Jordan; but the Mystery of the Marriage-Feast was to be revealed to us by the Evangelist John, the Beloved Disciple. He suggests to the Church the object of this third Mystery, by this expression: This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and he manifested his glory. At Bethlehem, the Gold of the Magi expressed the Divinity of the Babe; at the Jordan, the descent of the Holy Ghost and the voice of the Eternal Father proclaimed Jesus (known to the people as a carpenter of Nazareth) to be the Son of God; at Cana, it is Jesus himself that acts, and he acts as God, for, says St Augustine, he who changed the water into wine in the waterpots could be no other than the same who, every year, works the same miracle in the vine. Hence it was that, from that day, as St John tells us, his disciples believed in him, and the Apostolic College began to be formed.
The Introit proclaims the joy of this day, which shows us human nature espoused to the Son of the eternal Father. Surely the earth will henceforth surrender itself wholly to the love and praise of this sacred Name which, in the Marriage Feast, has become that of the Sons of Adam.
Omnis terra adoret te, Deus, et psallat tibi: psalmum dicat nomini tuo, Altissime. Ps. Jubilate Deo omnis terra, psalmum dicite nomini ejus: date gloriam laudi ejus. Gloria Patri. Omnis terra.
Let all the earth adore thee, and sing to thee, O God: let it sing a psalm to thy name, O Most High. Ps. Shout with joy to God, all the earth, sing ye a psalm to his name; give glory to his praise. Glory be to the Father. Let all the earth.
This name of Sons of God which has become ours by right through the bond of the sacred nuptials is none other, as Jesus himself tells us in his Beatitudes, than Peace—the Peace of God, ours truly through the action of his grace ever working it out within us. In the Collect Peace again figures as the final end of God's government both in heaven and on earth, likewise as the supreme desire of the Church.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui cœlestia simul et terrena moderaris: supplicationes populi tui clementer exaudi, et pacem tuam nostris concede temporibus. Per Dominum.
Almighty and Eternal God, supreme Ruler both of heaven and earth, mercifully give ear to the prayers of thy people, and grant us peace in our time. Through, etc.
Commemoration is made, by their proper Collects, of the Saint whose feast may occur with this Sunday; the third prayer will be that of the Blessed Virgin.
Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Deus qui salutis æternæ, beatæ Mariæ virginitate fœcunda, humano generi præmia præstitisti; tribue, quæsumus, ut ipsam pro nobis intercederesentiamus, per quam meruimus auctorem vitæ suscipere, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum. Qui tecum.
O God, who, by the fruitful Virginity of the Blessed Mary, hast given to mankind the rewards of eternal salvation, grant, we beseech thee, that we may experience her intercession, by whom we received the Author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son. Who liveth, etc.
Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos.
Fratres: Habentes donationes secundum gratiam, quæ data est nobis, differentes: sive prophetiam secundum rationem fidei, sive ministeriura in ministrando, sive qui docet in doctrina, qui exhortatur in exhortando, qui tribuit in simplicitate, qui præest in sollicitudine, qui miseretur in hilaritate. Dilectio sine simulatione. Odientes malum, adhærentes bono: Caritate fraternitatis invicem diligentes: Honore invicem prævenientes: Sollicitudine non pigri: Spiritu ferventes: Domino servientes: Spe gaudentes: In tribulatione patientes: Orationi instantes: necessitatibus sanctorum communicantes: Hospitalitatem sectantes. Benedicite persequentibus vos: benedicite et nolite maledicere. Gaudere cum gaudentibus, flere cum flentibus: idipsum invicem sentientes: non alta sapientes, sed humilibus consentientes.
Lesson from the Epistle of St Paul the Apostle to the Romans.
Brethren: Having different gifts, according to the grace that is given us, either prophecy, to be used according to the rule of faith: or ministry, in ministering; or he that teacheth, in doctrine; he that exhorteth in exhorting; he that giveth with simplicity; he that ruleth with carefulness; he that sheweth mercy with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Hating that which is evil, cleaving to that which is good. Loving one another with the charity of brotherhood: with honour preventing one another. In carefulness not slothful, in spirit fervent: serving the Lord: rejoicing in hope: patient in tribulation: instant in prayer: communicating to the necessities of the saints: pursuing hospitality. Bless them that persecute you: bless and curse not. Rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with them that weep. Being of one mind one towards another, not minding high things, but consenting to the humble.
This peace which characterizes, in the abode of saints, the Sons of God, effects in like measure on earth the oneness of the Bride, that is of the Church: peace it is that makes her to be but one body wherein the many members find their multiplicity upheld and guided by the head, the one lord; their functions, so diverse in themselves, regulated and brought under the rule and love of the Bridegroom, Christ Jesus. The Epistle which has just been read sets before us the different operations of this peace which has as its ruling motive Charity, the Queen of virtues, and which is so essential to Christianity; the Apostle specifies in detail its forms and conditions and adapts its practice to every social condition and circumstance of life. Of such value does the Church judge these considerations, that, on the following Sunday, she resumes the text of the Apostle where today she has interrupted it.
Far from a divine life in the peace of God which was its precious gift, the human race incurred death with its penalty of separation. Let us then in the Gradual sing of this wonder that has been wrought in our midst, and with the angelic choirs exalt the Lord in praise and admiration.
Misit Dominus verbum suum, et sanavit eos: et eripuit eos de interitu eorum.
℣. Confiteantur Domino misericordiæ ejus, et mirabilia ejus filiis hominum. Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Laudate Deum omnes Angeli ejus: Iaudate eum omnes virtutes ejus. Alleluia.
The Lord sent his word and healed them: and delivered them out of their distresses.
℣. Let the mercies of the Lord give glory to him: and his wonderful works to the children of men. Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Praise ye the Lord, all his angels, praise him all his hosts. Alleluia.
Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.
In illo tempore: Nuptiæ factæ sunt in Cana Galilææ, et erat Mater Jesu ibi. Vocatus est autem et Jesus et discipuli ejus ad nuptias. Et deficiente vino, dicit Mater Jesu ad eum: Vinum non habent. Et dicit ei Jesus: Quid mihi et tibi est, mulier? nondum venit hora mea. Dicit Mater ejus ministris: Quodcumque dixerit vobis, facite. Erant autem ibi lapideæ hydriæ sex, positæsecundum purificationem Judæorum, capientes singulæ metretas binas vel ternas. Dicit eis Jesus: Implete hydrias aqua. Et impleverunt eas usque ad summum. Et dicit eis Jesus: Haurite nunc, et ferte architriclino. Et tulerunt. Ut autem gustavit architriclinus aquam vinum factam, et non sciebat unde esset, ministri autem sciebant qui hauserant aquam; vocat sponsum architriclinus, et dicit ei: Omnis homo primum bonum vinum ponit, et cum inebriati fuerint, tunc id quod deterius est; tu autem servasti bonum vinum usque adhuc. Hoc fecit initium signorum Jesus in Cana Galilææ, et manifestavit gloriam suam, et crediderunt in eum discipuli ejus.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.
At that time, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the Mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples to the marriage. And the wine failing, the Mother of Jesus saith to him, They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her, Woman, what is it to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. His Mother saith to the waiters, Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye. Now there were set there six waterpots of stone; according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece. Jesus saith to them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And Jesus saith to them, Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast: and they carried it. And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water; the chief steward calleth the bridegroom, and saith to him, Every man at first setteth forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
O the wonderful dignity of man! God has vouchsafed, says the Apostle, to show the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which had no claim to, nay, were unworthy of such an honour. Jesus bids the waiters fill them with water and the water of Baptism purifies us; but, not satisfied with this, he fills these vessels, even to the brim, with that heavenly and new Wine, which was not to be drunk save in the kingdom of his Father. Thus, divine Charity, which dwells in the Sacrament of Love, is communicated to us; and that we might not be unworthy of the espousals with himself, to which he called us, he raises us up even to himself. Let us, therefore, prepare our souls for this wonderful union, and, according to the advice of the Apostle, let us labour to present them to our Jesus with such purity as to resemble that chaste Virgin, who was presented to the spotless Lamb.
During the Offertory, the Church resumes her songs of joy and gives free course to her holy transports. All faithful souls are invited by her to the celebration of this adorable Mystery, the intimate union of man with God.
Jubilate Deo universa terra: psalmum dicite nomini ejus, venite et audite, et narrabo vobis omnes qui timetis Deum, quanta fecit Dominus animæ meæ.Alleluia.
Shout with joy to God, all the earth, sing ye a psalm to his name. Come and hear, all ye who fear God, and I will tell you what great things he hath done for my soul. Alleluia.
Oblata, Domine, munera sanctifica: nosque a peccatorum nostrorum maculis emunda. Per Dominum.
Sanctify, O Lord, our offerings, and cleanse us from the stains of our sins. Through, etc.
After the Secret of the Saint who is being commemorated today, that of the Blessed Virgin is said.
Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Tua, Domine, propitiatione, et beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis intercessione, ad perpetuam atque præsentem hæc oblatio nobis proficiat prosperitatem et pacem. Per Dominum.
By thy merciful forgiveness, O Lord, and by the intercession of blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, let this offering avail us for welfare and peace, both now and for evermore. Through our Lord.
The Communion Antiphon recalls once more the miracle of the changing of the water into wine. This was only a dim figure of that wondrous transformation which is accomplished on our altars, only a symbol of that divine Sacrament, the food of our souls whereby, in an unspeakable way, is realized our union with God.
Dicit Dominus: Implete hydrias aqua et ferte architriclino. Cum gustasset architriclinus aquam vinum factam. dicit sponso: Servasti vinum bonum usque adduc. Hoc signum fecit Jesus primum coram discipulis suis.
The Lord saith: Fill the waterpots with water and carry to the chief steward of the feast. When the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, he said to the bridegroom: Thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus before his disciples.
Augeatur in nobis, quæsumus Domine, tuæ virtutis operatio: ut divinis vegetati sacramentis, ad eorum promissa capienda tuo munere præparemur. Per Dominum.
May the efficacy of thy power, O Lord, be increased in us, that being fed with thy divine sacraments, we may, through thy bounty, be prepared to receive what they promise. Through, etc.
Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Hæc nos communio, Domine, purget a crimine: et intercedente beata Virgine Dei Genitrice María, cœlestis remedii faciat esse consortes.
May this communion, O Lord, cleanse us from sin, and by the intercession of blessed Mary, the Virgin-Mother of God, make us partakers of thy heavenly remedy.
The Psalms, Capitulum, Hymn and Verse are given on pages 88-97.
Antiphon of the Magnificat
Ant. Deficiente vino, jussit Jesus impleri hydrias aqua, quæ in vinum conversa est. Alleluia.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui cœlestia simul et terrena moderaris: supplicationes populi tui dementer exaudi, et pacem tuam nostris concede temporibus. Per Dominum.
Ant. The wine failing, Jesus commanded that the waterpots should be filled with water, and it was changed into wine. Alleluia.
Let us Pray
O Almighty and Eternal God, supreme Ruler both of heaven and earth, mercifully give ear to the prayers of thy people, and grant us peace in our time. Through, etc.
 St John ii.
 Isa. v 2.
 St John xv 1.
 Ps. ciii 15.
 Ibid. xxii 5.
 St Pet. i 4.
 St John ii 11.
 Rom. ix 23.
 2 Cor. xi 2.