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“who is born unto us, will not refuse to enter it, and “ take his rest within it.”l

To this Eternal Word, made Flesh for our salvation, let us offer up this Hymn of our great ecclesiastical Poet, Prudentius.


Born from the bosom of the Corde natus ex parentis Father before the world began, Ante mundi exordium his name is Alpha and Omega. A et O cognominatus : He is the beginning and end Ipse fons et clausula of all things present, past, and Omnium quæ sunt, fuerunt, future.

Quæque post futura sunt. He commanded and they Ipse jussit, et creata, were created, he spoke and Dixit ipse, et facta sunt; they were made: earth, heaven, Terra, coelum, fossa ponti, and sea

-the triple kingdom- Trina rerum machina, and all things that are in them, Quæque in his vigent sub under the sun and moon.


Solis et lunæ globo. He clothes himself with a Corporis formam caduci, frail Body, and with members Membra morti obnoxia subject to death ; lest the Induit, ne gens periret human race, the offspring of Primoplasti ex germine, Adam, should perish together Merserat quem lex profundo with their first Parent, whom Noxialis Tartaro. a terrible sentence had condemned to the depth of hell.

O that happy Birth, when a O beatus ortus ille, Virgin-Mother, having con- Virgo cum puerpera ceived of the Holy Ghost, Edidit nostram salutem, brought forth the Child that Fæta Sancto Spiritu, was our salvation ; and the Et puer Redemptor orbis Babe, the Redeemer of the Os sacratum protulit. world, showed unto us his divine Face !

Let high heaven sing, and Psallat altitudo coeli, sing all ye Angels! Let every Psallite, omnes Angeli, living creature sing to the Quidquid est virtutis uspraise of God!

quam, tongue proclaim it, and every Psallat in laudem Dei :

Let every

1 Fourth Sermon On our Lord's Nativity.

Nulla linguarum silescat, voice join in the hymn of
Vox et omnis consonet. praise.

quem vates vetustis Behold the Promised MesConcinebant sæculis, sias, of whom sang the Seers Quem Prophetarum fideles in the ancient times, and whom Paginæ spoponderant, the Prophets foretold in their Emicat promissus olim : truthful oracles! Praise be to Cuncta collaudent eum. him from every creature.

Te senes et te juventus, May the aged, and the Parvulorum te chorus, young, and children, mothers, Turba matrum, virginum- and virgins, and innocent que,

maidens, sing to thee, O Jesus! Simplices puellulæ,

and with concordant voice Voce concordes pudicis chastely hymn thy praise ! Perstrepant concentibus.

Fluminum lapsus, et undæ May the flowing river and Littorum crepidines, the sea-shore wave, rain and Imber, æstus, nix, pruinæ, heat, snow and frost, forest Silva, et aura, nox, dies, and zephyr, day and night, Omnibus te concelebrent for ever and for ever give thee Sæculorum sæculis.

praise. Amen.


Let us now honour and invoke the ever Blessed and most Merciful Mother of our God, and use the words of this beautiful Hymn of the ancient RomanFrench Missals :

Lætare, puerpera, Läto puerperio, Cujus casta viscera Fecundantur Filio.

Lacte fluunt ubera Cum pudoris lilio; Membra foves tenera, Virgo, lacte proprio.

Patris Unigenitus, Per quem fecit sæcula, Hic degit humanitus, Sub Matre paupercula.


Rejoice, O Virgin-Mother! in thy joy-giving delivery, for thy chaste womb was made fruitful of the very Son of God.

O wondrous sight-Jesus feeding from the Lily of Purity! Yea, most pure Virgin, thou feedest at thy breasts his infant life.

The Only Begotten of the Father, by whom he made this world, is dwelling here the Babe of a poor Mother.

There, he is feeding the Ibi sanctos reficit holy Angels with joy :-here, Angelos lætitia : he is in hunger and thirst, Hic sitit et esurit from his cradle.

Degens ab infantia. There, he holds all things in Ibi regit omnia, subjection :-here, he is in sub- Hic a Matre regitur : jection to a Mother. There, Ibi dat imperia, he commands :-here, he obeys Hic ancillæ subditur. his Handmaid.

There, he is seated on the Ibi summi culminis throne of highest majesty :

Residet in solio; here, he is lying swathed and Hic ligatus fasciis weeping in a manger.

Vagit in præsepio. Think on this, O man! and O homo ! considera, to thy memory recall these Revocans memoriæ, stupendous works of God's Quanta sint hæc opera mercy.

Divinæ clementiæ. And though thy sins be Non desperes veniam, great, yet canst thou not de- Si multum deliqueris, spair, for the proofs thou Ubi tot insignia seest here of Jesus' love speak Charitatis videris. but of pardon.

Thou wouldst have pardon ? Sub Matris refugio fly to the Mother for protec- Fuge, causa veniæ : tion, for she holds on her Nam tenet in gremio lap the Infinite Fountain of Fontem indulgentiæ. Mercy.

Often bend thy knee before Hanc salutes sæpius her, and, with hopeful love, sa- Cum spei fiducia, lute her thus : Hail ! full of Dicens, flexis genibus : grace !

Ave plena gratia. As thou, of old, didst feed Quondam flentis lacrymas thy Jesus, and stay his infant Sedabas uberibus : tears; so now, dear Mother, Nunc iratum mitigas appease him angered by our Pro nostris excessibus.

Hear, O Jesus ! thy sweet Jesu, lapsos respice, Mother's prayers, and, with an

Piæ Matris precibus ; eye of pity, look upon us sin- Emendatos effice ners ! Correct and change us, Dignos cæli civibus. and make us worthy to be citizens of heaven. Amen.





THE feast of the beloved Disciple is followed by that of the Holy Innocents. The Crib of Jesus—where we have already met and venerated the Prince of Martyrs and the Eagle of Patmos—has to-day standing round it a lovely choir of little Children, clad in snow-white robes, and holding green branches in their hands. The Divine Babe smiles upon themhe is their King; and these Innocents are smiling upon the Church of God. Courage and Fidelity first led us to the Crib; Innocence now comes, and bids us tarry there.

Herod intended to include the Son of God amongst the murdered Babes of Bethlehem. The Daughters of Rachel wept over their little ones, and th land streamed with blood; but, the Tyrant's policy can do no more :-it cannot reach Jesus, and its whole plot ends in recruiting an immense army of Martyrs for heaven. These Children were not capable of knowing what an honour it was for them, to be made victims for the sake of the Saviour of the world; but, the very first instant after their immolation, and all was revealed to them : they had gone through this world without knowing it, and now that they know it, they possess an infinitely better. God showed here the riches of his mercy—he asks of them but a momentary suffering, and that over, they wake


in Abraham's Bosom: no further trial awaits them, they are in spotless innocence, and the

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glory due to a soldier who died to save the life of his Prince, belongs eternally to them.

They died for Jesus' sake—therefore, their death was a rea] Martyrdom, and the Church calls them by the beautiful name of The Flowers of the Martyrs, because of their tender age and their innocence. Justly, then, does the ecclesiastical Cycle bring them before us to-day, immediately after the two valiant Champions of Christ, Stephen and John. The connection of these three Feasts is thus admirably explained by St. Bernard : “In St. Stephen, we have a both the act and the desire of Martyrdom; in St. “John, we have but the desire ; in the Holy Innocents, we have but the act.

Will any one “doubt whether a crown was given to these Innocents ?

If you ask me what merit could they have, that God should crown them ? let me ask

you, what was the fault, for which Herod slew them? What! is the mercy of Jesus less than the “ cruelty of Herod ? and whilst Herod could put “these Babes to death, who had done bim no injury, “Jesus may not crown them for dying for Him ?

“Stephen, therefore, is a Martyr, by a Martyrdom “ of which men can judge, for he gave this evident “proof of his sufferings being felt and accepted, that, “at the very moment of his death, his solicitude 'both for his own soul and for those of his persecutors "increased; the pangs of his bodily passion were less ." intense than the affection of his soul's compassion, “which made him weep more for their sins than for

his own wounds. John was a Martyr, by a Mar" tyrdom which only Angels could see, for the 'proofs of his sacrifice being spiritual, only spiritual creatures could ken them. But, the Innocents were Martyrs to none other eye save thine, O “God! Man could find no merit; Angel could find “no merit: the extraordinary prerogative of thy 'grace is the more boldly brought out. From the

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