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September

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

While honouring the first successor of St. Peter, Rome commemorates the protomartyr of the female sex. Together with holy Church, then, let us unite in the concert of praise unanimously lavished upon Thecla by the fathers of east and west. When the martyr pontiff Methodius gave his ‘Banquet of virgins’ to the Church, about the end of the third century, it is on the brow of the virgin of Iconium that he placed the fairest of the crowns distributed at the banquet of the Spouse. And justly so; for had not Thecla been trained by Paul, who had made her more learned in the Gospel than she was before in philosophy and every science? Heroism in her kept pace with knowledge; her magnanimity of purpose was equalled by her courage; while, strong in the virginal purity of her soul and body, she triumphed over fire, wild beasts, and sea monsters, and won the glory of a triple martyrdom.

A fresh triumph is hers at the mysterious banquet. Wisdom has taken possession of her, and, like a divine harp, makes music in her soul, which is echoed on her lips in words of wondrous eloquence and sublime poetry. When the feast is over, and the virgins rise to give thanks to the Lord, Thecla leads the chorus, singing:

For thee, O Bridegroom,
I keep myself pure;
and with burning lamp I come to meet thee.

I have fled from the bitter pleasures of mortals,
and the luxurious delights of life and its love;
under Thy life-giving arms I desire to be protected,
and to gaze for ever on Thy beauty, O blessed One.

For Thee, O Bridegroom,
I keep myself pure;
and with burning lamp I come to meet Thee.

I have contemned union with mortal man;
I have left my golden home for Thee, O King;
I have come in undefiled robes,
that I may enter with Thee into Thy happy bridal chamber.

For Thee, O Bridegroom,
I keep myself pure;
and with burning lamp I come to meet Thee.

Having escaped the enchanting wiles of the serpent,
and triumphed over the flaming fire
and the attacks of wild beasts,
I await Thee from heaven.

For Thee, O Bridegroom,
I keep myself pure;
and with burning lamp I come to meet Thee.

Through love of Thee, O Word, I have forgotten the land of my birth;
I have forgotten the virgins my companions,
and even the desire of mother and of kindred;
for Thou, O Christ, art all things to me.

For Thee, O Bridegroom,
I keep myself pure;
and with burning lamp I come to meet Thee.[1]

Prayer

Da, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut qui beatæ Theclæ virginis et martyris tuæ natalitia colimus, et annua soleranitate lætemur, et tantæ fidei proficiamus exemplo. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, almighty God, that we, who celebrate the festival of blessed Theda, thy virgin and martyr, may rejoice in her annual solemnity, and make progress by the example of such great faith. Through our Lord.

[1] Method. Conviv. dec. virg. vii, viii, xi.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

 

At Sion in Valais, at a place called Agaunum, the birthday of the holy martyrs Maurice, Exuperius, Candidus, Victor, Innocent, and Vitalis, with their companions of the Theban legion, who were massacred under Maximian for the name of Christ, and filled the whole world with the renown of their martyrdom.[1] Let us unite with Rome in paying honour to these valiant soldiers, the glorious patrons of Christian armies as well as of numerous churches. ‘Emperor,’ said they, ‘we are thy soldiers, but we are also the servants of God. To Him we took our first oaths; if we break them, how canst thou trust us to keep our oaths to thee?’[2] No command, no discipline can overrule our baptismal engagements. Every soldier is bound, in honour and in conscience, to obey the Lord of hosts rather than all human commanders, who are but His subalterns.

Prayer

Annue, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut sanctorum martyrum tuorum Mauritii et sociorum ejus nos lætificet festiva solemnitas; ut quorum suffragiis nitimur, eorum natalitiis gloriemur. Por Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, almighty God, that the festive solemnity of thy holy martyrs, Maurice and his companions, may give us joy, that we may glory in their festival on whose help we rely. Through our Lord.

[1] Martyrology for this day.
[2] Eucher. ad Sylvium.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

 

At Bingen, in the diocese of Mayence, Saint Hildegarde, virgin.[1] Let us salute the ‘great prophetess of the new Testament.’[2] What St. Bernard’s influence over his contemporaries was in the first half of the twelfth century, that in the second half was Hildegarde’s, when the humble virgin became the oracle of popes and emperors, of princes and prelates. Multitudes from far and near flocked to Mount St. Rupert, where the doubts of ordinary life were solved, and the questions of doctors answered. At length, by God’s command, Hildegarde went forth from her monastery to administer to all alike, monks, clerics, and laymen, the word of correction and salvation.

The Spirit indeed breatheth where He will.[3] To the massy pillars that support His royal palace, God preferred the poor little feather floating in the air, and blown about, at His pleasure, hither and thither in the light.[4] In spite of labours, sicknesses, and trials, the holy abbess lived to the advanced age of eighty-two, ‘in the shadow of the living light.’[5] Her precious relics are now at Eibingen. The writings handed down to us from the pen of this illiterate virgin,[6] are a series of sublime visions, embracing the whole range of contemporary science, physical and theological, from the creation of the world to its final consummation. May Hildegarde deign to send us an interpreter of her works and an historian of her life such as they merit!

Prayer

Deus, qui beatam Hildegardem virginem tuam, donis cœlestibus decorasti: tribue, quæsumus: ut ejus vestigiis et documentis insistentes, a prsesentis hujus sæculi caligine ad lucem tuam delectabilem transire mereamur. Per Dominum.
O God, who didst adorn thy blessed virgin Hildegarde with heavenly gifts: grant, we beseech thee, that walking in her footsteps and according to her teachings, we may deserve to pass from the darkness of this world into thy lovely light. Through our Lord.

[1] Martyrology on this day.
[2] Vita S.Gerlaci coæva.
[3] St. John iii. 8.
[4] Hildegard. Epist. ad Engenium Pontificem.
[5] Guibert. Vita Hildegardis, iv.
[6] Scivias; Lib. Vitæ mer itorum; Lib. Divinorum operum; etc.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

 

The fourth Æcumenical Council was held at Chalcedon in the church of St. Euphemia; beside the tomb of this holy virgin, the impious Eutyches was condemned, and the twofold nature of the God-Man was vindicated. The‘great martyr’ seems to have shown a predilection for the study of sacred doctrine: the faculty of theology in Paris chose her for its special patroness, and the ancient Sorbonne treasured with singular veneration a notable portion of her blessed relics. Let us recommend ourselves to her prayers, and to those of the holy widow Lucy and the noble Geminian, whom the Church associates with her.

Prayer

Præsta, Domine, precibus nostris cum exsultatione proventum: ut sanctorum martyrum Euphemiæ, Luciæ et Geminiani, quorum diem passionis annua devotione recolimus, etiam fidei constantiam subsequamur. Per Dominum.
Grant, O Lord, a joyful issue to our prayers, that we may imitate the constancy in faith of the holy martyrs Euphemia, Lucy, and Geminian, the day of whose sufferings we commemorate with annual devotion. Through.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

 

A holy priest named Nicomedes is honoured today. The virgin martyr St. Felicula, whose body he had buried, obtained for him in return the palm of martyrdom. Let us, together with the Church, implore his protection.

Prayer

Adesto, Domine, populo tuo: ut beati Nicomedis martyris tui merita præclara suscipiens, ad impetrandam misericordiam tuam semper ejus patrociniis adjuvetur. Per Dominum.
Attend to thy people, O Lord, that having recourse to the splendid merits of blessed Nicomedes, thy martyr, they may ever be assisted by his patronage for obtaining thy mercy. Through &c.