Obrazy na stronie

per philanthropiam. Uli but that which he was not, he clamemus: Qui natus es de now becomes, being made Man Virgine, miserere nobis. for love of man, Let us cry

out to him: O thou, that art born of the Virgin! have mercy on us.

The holy Roman Church, by the mouth of St. Leo, in his Sacramentary, thus celebrates the mystery of the divine Light:

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should give thanks to thee, O Eternal God: because, this day, has risen the true light of our Saviour, whereby all things are made clear to our intellect and sight: that thus, by his own brightness, he might not only direct us in this our present life, but bring us to the very vision of thy divine Majesty.

The same Church of Rome, in the Sacramentary of St. Gelasius, makes the following prayer to the heavenly Father, who sent his Son to redeem us:

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare: nos tibi gratias agere, aeterne Deus, quia nostri Salvatoris hodie lux vera processit, quae clara nobis omnia et intellectu manifestavit et visu. Quibus non solum praesentem vitam suo splendore dirigeret, sed ad ipsam nos majestatis immense gloriam perduceret intuendam.

O Almighty and everlasting God, who hast consecrated this day by the Incarnation of thy Word, and the Delivery of the Blessed Virgin; grant to thy people, upon this joyous solemnity, that they who have been redeemed by thy grace, may also be made thy children by adoption.

And, again, the same Church thus invokes upon her children the Light of Christ: she uses the words of the Sacramentary of St. Gregory the Great:

Omnipotens, sempiterne Deus, qui hunc diem per incarnationem Verbi tui, et per partum beatae Virginis cousecrasti; da populis tuis in hac celebritate laetitiae, ut et qui tua gratia sunt redempti, tua adoptione sint filiL

Concede nobis, omnipotens Deus, ut salutare tuum,

Grant unto us, O Almighty God! that the Saviour—whom thou sendest for the world's nova ccelorum luce mirasalvation on this day's solem- bile, quod ad salutem mundi nity, whereon the heavens hodierna festivitate procesare renewed in light—may sit, nostris semper innovanever rise in our hearts and re- dis. cordibus onatur. new them.

The Church of Milan, in its Ambrosian Liturgy, also celebrates the new Light and the joys of the Virgin-Mother:

When our Lord came, he dispelled all the darkness of night; and where had been no light, there was made brightness, and the day appeared.

Rejoice and be glad, O Mary, thou joy of Angels! Rejoice, O thou Virgin of the Lord, and joy of the prophets! Rejoice, thou Blessed one, the Lord is with thee. Rejoice, thou that didst receive, at the Angel's announcing, Him who is the joy of the world. Rejoice, thou that didst give birth to thy Creator and Lord. Rejoice, in that thou wast worthy to be made the Mother of Christ.

The ancient Church of Gaul expresses its gladness by these joyous Antiphons, and which were adopted, for several ages, by the Church of Rome:

Adveniens Dominus, abstulit omnem caliginem noctis; et, ubi non erat lumen, facta est claritas, et apparuit dies.

Gaude, et laetare, exsultatio Angelorum. Gaude, Domini Virgo, prophetarum gaudium. Gaudeas, benedicta, Dominus tecum est. Gaude, quae per Angelum gaudium mundi suscepisti. Gaude, quae genuisti factorem et Dominum. Gaudeas, quia digna es esse Mater Christi.

The purest of Virgins gave us our God, who was this day born of her, clothed in the flesh of a Babe, and she was found worthy to feed him at her Breast: let us all adore Christ, who came to save us.

Ye faithful people, let us all rejoice, for our Saviour is born in our world : this Day, there has been born the Son of the

Hodie intacta Virgo Deum nobis genuit, teneris indutum membris, quem laetare meruit; omnes Christum adoremus qui venit salvare nos.

Gaudeamus omnes fideles, Salvator noster natus est in mundo: hodie processit Proles magnifici germinis,

et perseverat pudor virginitatis.

O mundi Domina, regio ex semine orta, ex tuo jam Christus processit alvo, tanquam sponsus de thalamo: hic jacet in praesepio qui et sidera regit.

great Mother, and she yet a pure Virgin.

O Queen of the world, and Daughter of a kingly race! Christ has risen from thy womb, as a Bridegroom coming from the bride-chamber: He that rules the stars, lies in a Crib.

The Gothic Church of Spain unites her voice with that of all these others, and, in her Mozarabic Breviary, thus hails the rising of the Divine Sun:

Hodie lumen mundi prodiit: hodie salus aevi emicuit: hodie Salvator Israel de climate cceli descendit, ut eruat omnes captivos, quos antiquus hostis praedo per primi hominis delictum captivaverat: et ut caecis mentibus lumen, surdis auditum, gratia praaveniente; restitueret: ob istius tanti mysterii beneficia montes et colles tripudiantj ipsaque mundi elementa lneffabili gaudio ista in die melos decantant: ob hoc gemebunda prece pii Redemptoris clementiam suppliciter exoramus ; ut nos, qui in tenebris peccatorum nostrorum involvimur, per cordis acclamationem protinus expiemur, ut illo in nobis apparente, et splendor gloriae jucundius, ac multiplicius nostris in praecordiis vigeat, et salutis gaudia sine fine dulcescant.

To-day, has risen the Light of the world: to-day, has shone forth the earth's salvation : to-day, the Saviour of Israel has come down from the heavenly country, that he may set free all the slaves, whom the old enemy and robber had enslaved by the sin of our first Parent; that he might, also, restore, by his preventing grace, light to the blind of heart, and hearing to the deaf. For the benefits of this so great a mystery, let the mountains and hills leap with joy, and the very elements of the world be exceeding glad, on this day, and sing sweet melody. Therefore, let us, in humblest prayer, suppliantly beseech our most merciful Redeemer; that we, who are beset by the darkness of our sins, may, by this our hearts' acclamation, be speedily delivered; that, he appearing among us, the brightness of his glory may more joyously and abundantly gleam in our souls, and the happiness of salvation gladden them with never-ending sweetness.

Let us end this our stroll among the ancient Liturgies, by culling a flower from Erin. The Church of Ireland, in the seventh century, used to sing this Antiphon on Christmas Day, which we have taken from the Banchor Antiphonary, published by Muratori. Here, again, we find the idea so often alluded to:—the triumph of the Sun's light, which begins today, considered as the image of Jesus' Birth.

From this Day, night de- Ab hodierno die nox micreases, day increases, dark- nuitur, dies crescit, concuness is shaken, light grows tiuntur tenebrae, lumen longer, and the loss of night augetur, et in lucro lucis shall make the gain of day. nocturna dispendia trans


And now, Christians, let us to the House of our God, and prepare for our third Sacrifice.


The Mystery, which the Church honours in this Third Mass, is the eternal generation or Birth of the Son of God, in the Bosom of his Father. At midnight, she celebrated the God-Man, born, in the Stable, from the Womb of the glorious Virgin Mary; at the Aurora, this same Divine Infant, born in the souls of the Shepherds; there still remains for her adoration and praise, a Birth more wonderful than these other two—a Birth, which dazzles the eye of Angels, by its splendour, and bears its eternal witness to the inward fruitfulness of God. The Son of Mary is also the Son of God; and a grand duty of to•day, is that we hymn aloud the glory of this his ineffable Generation, which makes him consubstantial to his Father, God of God, and Light of Light, Let us, then, raise up our thoughts even to that eternal Word, who was in the beginning with God,


and was himself God ;1 for, he is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the figure of his substance.2 The Church's first Chant in this her Third Mass is an acclamation to the new-born King. She celebrates the kingly power and majesty which he will derive, as Man, from the Cross that is, one day, to be upon his shoulders; as God, he has been the Almighty King from all eternity, and this, too, she celebrates. He is, also, the Angel of the great Counsel; that is, he is the One Sent from heaven to fulfil the sublime Counsel, or design, of the Most Holy Trinity—to save mankind by the Incarnation and the Redemption. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word, made this Counsel, together with the other Two: his devotedness to his Father's glory, and his love for man, made him take upon himself the execution of the divine Plan.


Puer natus est nobis, et A Child is bor n unto us, Filius datus est nobis; cujus and a Son is given to us; and imperium super humerum the government is upon his ejus: et vocabitur nomen Shoulder: and his name shall ej us magni Consilii Angelus. be called the Angel of the great

Counsel .

Ps. Cantate Domino can- Ps. Sing to the Lord a new ticum novum, quia mira- Canticle, for he hath done wonbilia fecit. Gloria Patri. derful things. if. Glory, &c. Puer. A Child, &c.

In the Collect, the Church prays that the New Birth, whereby the Eternal Son of God deigned to be born in time, may produce its effect in us, and work our deliverance.


Concede, quaesumus, om- Grant, we beseech thee, O nipotens Deus: ut nos Almighty God, that we who

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