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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,1 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.
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.
In medioEcclesiae aperuit He opened his mouth in the
os ejus; et implevit eum midst of the Church, and the
Dominus Spiritu sapientiae Lord filled him with the spirit
et intellectus; stolam gloriae of wisdom: he clad him with
induit eum. a robe of glory.
Ps. Bonum est confiteri Ps. It is good to give praise
Domino, et psallere nomini to the Lord, and to sing to thy
tuo, Altissime. name, O Most High.
ft. Gloria. In medio. 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.
Ecclesiam tuam, Domine, Mercifully, 0 Lord, en
benignus illustra: ut beati lighten thy Church: that
Joannis, Apostoli tui et being taught by blessed John,
Evangelistae,illuminatadoc- thine Apostle and Evangelist,
trinis, ad dona perveniat she may come to thy eternal
sempiterna. Per Dominum. rewards. Through, F.
Commemoration of Christmas Day.
Concede, quaesumus, om- Grant, we beseech thee, 0
nipotens Deus, ut nos Uni- Almighty God, that we who
geniti tui nova per carnem groan under the old captivity
nativitas liberet, quos sub of sin, may be freed therefrom
peccatijugovetustaservitus by the new Birth of thine
tenet. Only Begotten Son.
Commemoration of St. Stephen.
Da nobis, quaesumus, Do- Grant, O Lord, we beseech
mine, imitari quod colimus: thee, that we may imitate him
ut discamus et inimicos dili- whose memory we celebrate,
gere, quia ejus natalitia ce- so as to learn to love even our
lebramus, qui novit etiam enemies, because we now so
pro persecutoribus exorare lemnise his martyrdom who knew how to pray, even for Dominum nostrum Jesum
his persecutors, to our Lord Christum Filium tuum. Qui
Jesus Christ thy Son. Who tecum. liveth, &c.
Lesson from the Book of
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.
Lectio libri Sapientiae.
Eccli. cap. XV.
Qui timet Deum," faciet bona; et qui continens est justitiae, apprehendet illam, et obviabit illi quasi mater honorificata. Cibabit ilium pane vitae et intellectus, et aqua sapientiae salutaris potabit ilium ; et firmabitur in illo, et non flectetur; et continebit ilium, et non confundetur; et exaltabit ilium apud proximos suos; et in medio Ecclesiae aperiet os ejus, et adimplebit ilium Spiritu sapientiae et intellectus, et stolam gloriae vestiet ilium; jucunditatem et exsultationem thesaurizabit super ilium, et nomine aeterno haereditabit ilium Dominus Deus noster.
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, and 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.
Exiit sermo inter fratres, quod discipulus ille non moritur; et non dixit Jesus: Non moritur;
ft. Sed: Sic eum volo manere, donee veniam ; tu me sequere.
ft. 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;
ft. But: So I will have him remain till I come; follow thou me.
ft. This is the Disciple that beareth testimony of these things ; and we know his testimony is true. Alleluia.
Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.
In illo tempore, dixit Jesus Petro: Sequere me. Conversus Petrus vidit ilium discipulum quem diligebat Jesus, sequentem, qui et recubuit in ccena super pectus ejus, et dixit: Domine, quis est qui tradet te 1 Hunc ergo cum vidisset Petrus, dixit Jesu: Domine; hic autem quid? Dicit ei Jesus : Sic eum volo manere donee veniam, quid ad te 1 Tu me sequere. Exiit ergo sermo iste inter fratres, quia
Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to John.
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 1 Jesus saith to him: So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? Follow thou me. This saying, therefore, went