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there will be on our Altar, where we now see mere bread and wine, the Body and Blood of this same Jesus, our Emmanuel.
The Preface then gives expression to the thanksgiving of the people, and finishes with the triple Sanctus to the God of Sabaoth. At the Elevation, when, in the midst of the mysterious silence, your Saviour, the Incarnate Word, descends upon the Altar, you must see, with the eye of your faith, the Crib, and Jesus stretching out his hands to his Eternal Father, and looking upon you with extreme tenderness, and Mary adoring him with a Mother's love, and Joseph looking on and weeping with joy, and the holy Angels lost in amazement at the mystery. You must give your heart to the New-Born Babe, that he may fill it with what he wishes to see there; nay, beg of him to fill it with himself, and make himself its Master and its All.
After the Communion, the Church, which has just been united to the Infant God by partaking of the sacred mysteries, once more celebrates the Eternal Generation of that Divine Word, who was born from
the Bosom of the Father before any creature existed, and who has appeared to the world, this Night, before the Day-Star has risen.
In the brightness of the Saints, from the womb, before the day-star, I begot thee.
In splendoribus Sanctorum, ex utero ante luciferum genui te.
The Church terminates this her first Sacrifice, by praying for the grace of indissoluble union with the Saviour, who is born to her.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord our God, that we, who celebrate with joy the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, by partaking several times of these sacred mysteries, may, by a worthy conduct of life, come to be united with him. Who liveth, &c.
Da nobis, quæsumus, Domine Deus noster, ut qui Nativitatem Domini nostri Jesu Christi mysteriis nos frequentare gaudeamus, dignis conversationibus ad ejus mereamur pervenire consortium. Qui tecum.
The sacred Night is passing quickly on; and will soon bring us to the Second Mass, which is to sanctify the hour of day-break, or the Aurora. Every day in the year, the Church passes the hour before Sun-rise in prayer, for the rising of the Sun is a beautiful figure of the mystery of Jesus' coming to this earth, to give it light. This portion of the Divine Office is called Lauds, on account of its being wholly made up of praise and joy. On Christmas Day, however, she somewhat anticipates the usual hour, in order that she may begin, at the precise time of the Aurora, a more perfect and more divine Sacrifice of Praise-the Eucharistic Oblation, which satisfies all the obligations we owe to the Divine bounty.
The Office of Lauds is celebrated with the same
solemnity as that of Vespers; and altogether, the two Offices are much alike. Both of them tell us of the Divine Sun of Justice; Lauds celebrate his glorious rising, whilst Vespers-which are said at sun-set, when the shades of evening are beginning to fall upon the earth-remind us, how we must long for that eternal Day which shall have no night, and whose Lamp is the Lamb.' Lauds are the morning, Vespers the evening, incense. The mysteries of the liturgical day, begin with the first, and end with the second.
The first Psalm of Lauds shows us our Lord in his infinite power and majesty. His admirable Birth has renewed our earth. He is born in time; but he was before all time. The voice of the deep sea betokens marvellous power; the power of our Emmanuel is more wonderful far. Let us lead lives worthy of the holiness of his House, which he has come to throw open to us.
ANT. Quem vidistis pasANT. Whom have ye seen, tores? Dicite: annuntiate O Shepherds? Say, tell us,
1 Apoc. xxi. 23.
The second Psalm is an invitation to all nations, that they enter into Bethlehem, that House of our Lord which is now filled with his sweet presence. He is the sovereign Pastor, and we are the Sheep of his pasture. Though he be the Mighty God, yet is
he most sweet and merciful; let us celebrate his coming with joy and gratitude.
The two following Psalms, which the Church unites into one, are the prayer of the faithful soul to her God, at dawn of day. From her first waking, she thirsts after the great God, her Creator and Redeemer. To-day we have this same God lying before