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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 bis sacrifice, he drank the Chalice of Jesus, 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, wberein 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
i St. Matth. xx. 22.
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 an 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 medio Ecclesiæ aperuit He opened his mouth in the os ejus ; et implevit eum midst of the Church, and the Dominus Spiritu sapientiæ Lord filled him with the spirit et intellectus; stolam gloriæ 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. ř. Gloria. In medio. 7. Glory, dc. 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.
COLLECT. Ecclesiam tuam, Domine, Mercifully, O Lord, enbenignus illustra : ut beati lighten thy Church : that Joannis, Apostoli tui et being taught by blessed John, Evangelistæ, illuminata doc- thine Apostle and Evangelist, trinis, ad dona perveniat she may come to thy eternal sempiterna. Per Dominum. rewards. Through, &c.
Commemoration of Christmas Day. Concede, quæsumus, om- Grant, we beseech thee, O 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 peccati jugo vetusta servitus by the new Birth of thine tenet.
Only Begotten Son.
Commemoration of St. Stephen. Da nobis, quæsumus, 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 $opro 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, dic.
Lesson from the Book of Lectio libri Sapientiæ.
Eccli. cap. XV. He that feareth God, will Qui timet Deum, faciet do good; and he that possess- bona ; et qui continens est eth justice, shall lay hold on justitiæ, apprehendet illam, her, and she will meet him as et obviabit illi quasi mater an honourable mother. With honorificata. Cibabit illum the bread of life and under- pane vitæ et intellectus, et standing she shall feed him, aqua sapientiæ salutaris and give him the water of potabit illum ; et firmabitur
l wholesome wisdom to drink, in illo, et non flectetur ; et and she shall be made strong continebit illum, et in him, and he shall not be confundetur; et exaltabit moved; and she shall exalt illum apud proximos suos ; him among his neighbours; et in medio Ecclesiæ aperiet and in the midst of the Church os ejus, et adimplebit illum she shall open his mouth, and Spiritu sapientiæ et intellecshall fill him with the spirit tus, et stolam gloriæ vestiet of wisdom and understanding, illum ; jucunditatem et exand shall clothe him with the sultationem thesaurizabit robe of glory; she shall heap super illum, et nomine upon him a treasure of joy æterno hæreditabit illum and gladness, and our Lord Dominus Deus noster. God shall cause him to inherit an everlasting name.
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, A report was spread among quod discipulus ille non the brethren, that that Dismoritur; et non dixit Jesus: ciple should not die; but Non moritur;
Jesus said not: He should not . Sed: Sic eum volo ma- Ñ. But : So I will have him nere, donec veniam ; tu me remain till I come; follow thou sequere. Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia. . Hic est discipulus ille, W. This is the Disciple that qui testimonium perhibet beareth testimony of these de his ; et scimus quia ve- things; and we know his testirum est testimonium ejus. mony is true. Alleluia. Alleluia.
Sequentia sancti Evangelii Sequel of the Holy Gospel secundum Joannem.
according to John. Cap. XXI.
Ch. XXI. In illo tempore, dixit Je- At that time : Jesus said to sus Petro : Sequere me. Peter: Follow me. Peter turnConversus Petrus vidit il- ing about, saw that Disciple, lum discipulum quem dili- whom Jesus loved, following, gebat Jesus, sequentem, qui who also leaned on his breast et recubuit in cæna super at supper, and said : Lord, pectus ejus, et dixit: Do- who is he that shall betray mine, quis est qui tradet te? thee? Him, therefore, when Hunc ergo cum vidisset Pe- Peter had seen, he saith to trus, dixit Jesu : Domine, Jesus : Lord, and what shall hic autem quid ? Dicit ei this man do é Jesus saith to Jesus : Sic eum volo manere him : So I will have him to donec veniam, quid ad te ? remain till I come, what is it Tu me sequere. Exiit ergo to thee? Follow thou me. sermo iste inter fratres, quia This saying, therefore, went