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"God. Let us make our promises with confidence "and love; He will enable us to keep them
And when I speak of promises, I would not have any one think that I mean the promise of fleeting "and earthly goods. No-I mean, that each of us "should offer what our Saviour redeemed, namely, << our soul. 'But how,' some one will say, 'how shall "we offer our souls to Him, to whom they already 'belong?' I answer-by leading holy lives, by chaste thoughts, by fruitful works, by turning away from "evil, by following that which is good, by loving God, "by loving our neighbour, by showing mercy, (for we ourselves were in need of it, before we were redeemed,) by forgiving them that sin against us, (for we ourselves were once in sin,) by trampling on pride, since it was by pride that our first Parent was deceived and fell."2
It is thus our affectionate Mother the Church invites sinners to the Feast of the Divine Lamb; nor is she satisfied until her House be filled.3 The grace of a New Birth, given her by the Sun of Justice, fills this Spouse of Jesus with joy. A new year has begun for her, and, like all that have preceded it, it is to be rich in flower and fruit. She renews her youth as that of an eagle. She is about to unfold another Cycle, or Year, of her mysteries, and to pour forth upon her faithful children the graces, of which God has made the Cycle to be the instrument. In this season of Christmas, we have the first-fruits of these graces offered to us; they are the knowledge and the love of our Infant-God: let us accept them with attentive hearts, that so we may merit to advance, with our Jesus, in wisdom, and age, and grace, before God and men. The Christmas Mystery is the gate of all the others of the rest of the year; but it is
1 Ps. lxxv. 12.
2 Fourth Homily On the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. 3 St. Luke, xiv. 23. 4 Ibid. ii. 52.
a gate which we may all enter, for, though most heavenly, yet it touches earth ; since, as St. Augustine beautifully remarks, in one of his sermons for Christmas:1 “We cannot as yet contemplate the splendour of Him, who was begotten of the Father, before the
Day Star ;2 let us, then, visit Him, who was born of "the Virgin, in the night-hour. We cannot under“stand how his Name continueth before the sun; “let us, then, confess that he hath set his tabernacle “in Her that is purer than the sun. We cannot as “yet see the Only Begotten Son dwelling in the Father's Bosom; let us, then, think on the Bridegroom that cometh out of his bride chamber. We
are not yet ready for the banquet of our heavenly "Father; let us, then, keep to the Crib of Jesus our “Master."
1 Eleventh Sermon On the Nativity of our Lord. 2 Ps. cix. 3.
4 Ps. xviii. 6. 3 Ibid. lxxi, 17.
6 Is. i. 3.
MORNING AND NIGHT PRAYERS
DURING Christmas, the Christian, on waking in the morning, should unite himself with the Church, who, in her Office of Matins for Christmas Day, thus invites the faithful to come and adore the Messias :
Christus natus est nobis ; venite, adoremus!
He should profoundly adore this dear King, who has rendered himself so accessible to his creatures; and in this disposition of loving reverence, he should perform the first acts of religion, both interior and exterior, wherewith he begins the day. The time for Morning Prayer being come, he may use the following method, which is formed upon the very prayers of the Church:
First, praise and adoration of the Most Holy Trinity :
V. Benedicamus Patrem et Filium, cum Sancto Spiritu :
Christ is born unto us; come, let us adore him!
R. Laudamus et superexaltemus eum in sæcula.
V. Gloria Patri et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto;
R. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Then, praise to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ : Ť. We adore thee, O Christ, Ť. Adoramus te, Christe, and we bless thee.
et benedicimus tibi. R. Because by thy Cross R. Quia per Crucem tuam thou hast redeemed the world. redemisti mundum.
Thirdly, invocation of the Holy Ghost :Come, O Holy Spirit, fill Veni, Sancte Spiritus, rethe hearts of thy faithful, and ple tuorum corda fidelium, enkindle within them the fire et tui amoris in eis ignem of thy love.
accende. After these fundamental acts of Religion, you will recite the Lord's Prayer, asking of God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to grant that his holy Name may be glorified on earth, now that he has blessed it by sending it his Son, over whose Crib the Angels sang : Glory be to God in the highest! This divine, Messias is come to establish the Kingdom of God on earth: he is come to do the will of his Father, and to teach us to do it here on earth, as it is done in heaven. Let us reverently share in these divine intentions. Let us, also, ask, with all instance, that we may be granted to partake of that heavenly Bread, which is now born to us in Bethlehem :
THE LORD'S PRAYER. Our Father, who art in Pater noster, qui es in heaven, hallowed be thy name: coelis, sanctificetur nomen thy kingdom come : thy will be tuum : adveniat regnum tudone on earth as it is in heaven. um : fiat voluntas tua sicut Give us this day our daily in coelo, et in terra. Panem bread; and forgive us our nostrum quotidianum da notrespasses, as we forgive them bis hodie : et dimitte nobis that trespass against us: and debita nostra, sicut et nos lead us not into temptation : dimittimus debitoribus nosbut deliver us from evil. tris : et ne nos inducas in Amen.
tentationem : sed libera nos
a malo. Amen. Then address our Blessed Lady, using the words of the Angelical Salutation. It is now that she is Blessed among all women : her virginal womb has
yielded the divine Fruit, of which the world was in expectation : every creature should proclaim her to be the Mother of God.
THE ANGELICAL SALUTATION. Ave Maria, gratia plena : Hail Mary, full of grace ; Dominus tecum : benedicta the Lord is with thee; blessed tu in mulieribus, et bene- art thou among women, and dictus fructus ventris tui, blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Jesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Holy Mary, Mother of God, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, pray for us sinners, now and nunc et in hora mortis nos- at the hour of our death. træ, Amen.
After this, recite the Symbol of Faith ; and as you pronounce the words, Born of the Virgin Mary, dwell on them with a special attention, adoring the Saviour, who has deigned to come down from heaven, and be born in a stable.
THE APOSTLES' CREED. Credo in Deum Patrem I believe in God the Father omnipotentem, creatorem Almighty, Creator of heaven coeli et terræ. Et in Jesum and earth. And in Jesus Christum Filium ejus uni- Christ, his only Son our Lo cum, Dominum nostrum : who was conceived by the qui conceptus est de Spiritu Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Sancto, natus ex Maria Vir- Mary; suffered under Pongine, passus sub Pontio Pi- tius Pilate, was crucified, dead, lato, crucifixus, mortuus, et and buried; he descended into sepultus : descendit ad in- hell, the third day he arose feros, tertia die resurrexit a again from the dead; he asmortuis : ascendit ad cælos, cended into heaven, sitteth at sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris the right hand of God the omnipotentis : inde venturus Father Almighty; from thence est judicare vivoset mortuos. he shall come to judge the
Credo in Spiritum Sanc- living and the dead. tum, sanctam Ecclesiam Ca- I believe in the Holy Ghost : tholicam, Sanctorum com- the Holy Catholic Church ; munionem, remissionem the communion of Saints, the peccatorum, carnis resurrec- forgiveness of sins, the resurtionem, vitam æternam. rection of the body, and life Amen.