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it, let him repair the loss by repentance, and having done so, let him say with the Spouse in the Canticle: I have washed my feet ; how shall I defile them ?1
In the Gradual, we have the Innocents blessing their God for having broken the snare, wherewith the world would have made them captive. They have fled as a bird set free; there was nothing to clog their flight.
The Tract expresses the lamentation of Rachel over the cruelty of Herod and his minions. It invokes the divine vengeance, which swept away the whole family of this vile Tyrant.
Our soul hath been de- Anima nostra, sicut paslivered, as a sparrow, out of ser, erepta est de laqueo vethe snare of the fowlers. nantium.
. The snare is broken, and W. Laqueus contritus est, we are delivered : our help is et nos liberati sumus: adjuin the name of the Lord, who torium nostrum in nomine made heaven and earth. Domini, qui fecit cælum et
They have spilt the blood of Effuderunt sanguinem the Saints, like water, about Sanctorum, velut aquam,
circuitu Jerusalem. Ñ. And there was none to Ñ. Et non erat qui sepelibury them.
ret. N. Revenge, O Lord, the V. Vindica, Domine, sanblood of thy Saints, which guinem Sanctorum tuorum, hath been spilt on earth. qui effusus est super terram.
If the Feast of Holy Innocents fall on a Sunday, the Tract is not sung, but, in its place, the usual Alleluia verse, as follows: Alleluia, Alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia. . Praise the Lord, ye chil- . Laudate pueri Domidren, praise ye the name of num, laudate nomen Domithe Lord. Alleluia.
i Cant. v. 3.
Sequentia sancti Evangelii Sequel to the holy Gospel secundum Matthæum. according to Matthew. Cap. II.
In illo tempore : Angelus At that time : An Angel of Domini apparuit in somnis the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, dicens: surge, et Joseph, saying: Arise, and accipe puerum et matrem take the Child, and his Mother, ejus, et fuge in Ægyptum, and fly into Egypt, and be et esto ibi usque dum di- there until I shall tell thee. cam tibi. Futurum est enim, For it shall come to pass, that ut Herodes quærat puerum Herod will seek the Child, to ad perdendum eum. Qui destroy him. Who arose, and consurgens, accepit puerum took the Child, and his Mother, et matrem ejus nocte, et by night, and retired into secessit in Ægyptum, et Egypt, and he was there until erat ibi usque ad obitum the death of Herod ; that it Herodis ; ut adimpleretur might be fulfilled which the quod dictum est a Domino Lord spoke by the Prophet, per Prophetam dicentem : saying: Out of Egypt have I Ex Ægypto vocavi Filium called my son. Then Herod,
Tunc Herodes vi- perceiving that he was deluded dens quoniam illusus esset by the Wise Men, was exa Magis, iratus est valde: ceedingly angry: and sending, et mittens, occidit omnes killed all the men children, pueros qụi erant in Bethle- that were in Bethlehem, and hem, et in omnibus finibus in all the borders thereof, from ejus, a bimatu et infra, se- two years old and under, accundum tempus quod' ex- cording to the time, which quisierat a Magis. Tunc ad- he had diligently inquired impletum est quod dictum of the Wise Men. Then est per Jeremiam Prophe- was fulfilled that which was tam dicentem : Vox in Ra- spoken by Jeremias, the Proma audita est, ploratus et phet, saying: A voice in Raululatus multus: Rachel ma was heard, lamentation plorans filios suos; et noluit and great mourning: Rachel consolari, quia non sunt. bewailing her children, and
would not be comforted, because they are not.
Thus does the Gospel, in its sublime simplicity, relate the Martyrdom of the Innocents. Herod, sending, killed all the Children! The earth paid no attention to the fell tyranny, which made so rich a harvest for heaven: there was heard a voice in Rama, Rachel wailing her little ones—it went up to heaven, and Bethlehem was still again, as though nothing had happened. But, these favoured Victims had been accepted by God, and they were to be the companions of his Son. Jesus looked at them from his crib, and blessed them ; Mary compassionated with them and their mothers; the Church, which Jesus had come to form, would, for all future ages, glorify these youthful Martyrs, and place the greatest confidence in the patronage of these Children, for she knows how powerful their intercession is with her heavenly Spouse.
During the Offertory, it is the choir of our Holy Innocents again singing their beautiful Canticle: as birds set free, they give praise to Him who broke the snare which held them.
Our soul hath been de- Anima nostra, sicut paslivered, as a sparrow, out of ser erepta est de laqueo the snare of the fowlers : the venantium : laqueus consnare is broken, and we are tritus est, et nos liberati delivered.
May the pious prayers of Sanctorum tuorum, Dothy Saints, O Lord, be never mine, nobis pia non' desit wanting to us ; both to make oratio ; quæ et munera nosour offerings acceptable, and tra conciliet, et tuam nobis to obtain for us thy mercy. indulgentiam semper obtiThrough, dec.
neat. Per Dominum.
Commemoration of Christmas Day. Sanctify, O Lord, our offer- Oblata, Domine, munera, ings by the new Birth of thine nova Unigeniti tui NativiOnly Begotten Son, and tate sanctifica, nosque a peccleanse us from the stains of catorum nostrorum maculis Commemoration of St. Stephen. Suscipe, Domine, munera, Receive, O Lord, these offerpro tuorum commemora- ings in memory of thy Saints: tione Sanctorum : ut sicut and as their sufferings have illos passio gloriosos effecit, made them glorious, so may ita nos devotio reddat inno- our devotion render us free
Commemoration of St. John. Suscipe, Domine, munera, Receive, O Lord, the offerquæ in ejus nos tibi solem- ings we make to thee on his nitate deferimus, cujus nos feast, by whose intercession, confidimus patrocinio libe- we hope to be delivered. rari. Per Dominum. Through, dc.
In the Communion-Anthem, we again hear the voice of Rachel's lamentation. Now that the Church has been nourished by the mystery of divine charity, she could not forget the affliction of the mothers of her dear Innocents. She compassionates them all through her Office, and turns to Him who alone can comfort them that are in sorrow.
COMMUNION. Vox in Rama audita est, A voice in Rama was heard, ploratus et ululatus : Ra- lamentation and great mournchel plorans filios suos ; et ing: Rachel bewailing her noluit consolari, quia non children, and would not be sunt.
comforted, because they are not.
Votiva, Domine, dona per- Now we have partaken, O cepimus : quæ Sanctorum Lord, of the votive offerings : nobis precibus, et præsentis grant, we beseech thee, that by quæsumus vitæ, pariter et the prayers of thy Saints, they æternæ tribue
conferre sub- may procure us the helps of sidium. Per Dominum. this present life, and those
of that which is to come. Through, dc.
Commemoration of Christmas Day. Grant, we beseech thee, O Præsta, quæsumus, omniAlmighty God, that as the potens Deus: ut natus hodie Saviour of the world, who was Salvator mundi, sicut divinæ born this day, procured for us nobis generationis est auca divine birth, he may, also, tor, ita et immortalitatis bestow on us immortality. sit ipse largitor.
Commemoration of St. Stephen. May the mysteries we have Auxilientur nobis, Domireceived, O Lord, be a help to ne, sumpta mysteria, et inus, and, by the intercession of tercedente beato Stephano, the blessed Martyr Stephen, Martyre tuo, sempiterna strengthen us with thy perpe- protectione confirment. tual protection.
Commemoration of St. John. Being refreshed, O Lord, Refecti cibo potuque coewith this heavenly meat and lesti, Deus noster, te supplidrink, we humbly beseech ces deprecamur, ut in cujus thee, that we may be assisted hæc commemoratione perby his prayers, on whose feast cepimus, ejus muniamur et we have received these sacred precibus. Per Dominum. mysteries. Through, dc.
The Antiphons and Psalms of Christmas Day having been sung, as given in pages 234-241, the rest of the Office is of St. Thomas of Canterbury, and is the First Vespers of to-morrow's Feast.
(Jas. I.) Blessed is the man that en- Beatus vir qui suffert tendureth temptation : for, when tationem : quoniam, cum he hath been proved, he shall probatus fuerit, accipiet coreceive the crown of life, which ronam vitæ, quam reproGod hath promised to them mist Deus diligentibus se. that love him.