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the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father. Therefore, now he is not a servant, but a son. And if a son, an heir, also, through God.

filiorum reciperemus. Quoniam autem estis filii, misit Deus Spiritum Filii sui in corda vestra, clamantem: Abba, Pater. Itaque, jam non est servus, sed filius. Quod si filius: et hæres per Deum.

The Child that is born of Mary and is couched in the Crib at Bethlehem, raises his feeble voice to the Eternal Father, and calls him, My Father! He turns towards us, and calls us, My Brethren! We, consequently, when we speak to his Father, may call him, Our Father! This is the mystery of Adoption, revealed to us by the great event we are solemnising. All things are changed, both in heaven and on earth: God has not only one Son, he has many Sons; henceforth, we stand before this our God, not merely creatures drawn out of nothing by his power, but Children that he fondly loves. Heaven is now, not only the throne of his sovereign Majesty, it is become our inheritance, in which we are joint-heirs with our Brother Jesus, the Son of Mary, Son of Eve, Son of Adam, according to his Human Nature, and (in the unity of Person) Son of God according to his Divine Nature. Let us turn our wondering and loving thoughts, first to this sweet Babe, that has brought us all these blessings, and then to the blessings themselves, to the dear inheritance made ours by Him. Let our mind be seized with astonishment at creatures having such a destiny! and then, let our heart pour out its thanks for the incomprehensible gift!


Thou art beautiful above the sons of men grace is poured abroad in thy lips.

V. My heart hath uttered a good word; I speak my works

Speciosus forma præ filiis hominum: diffusa est gratia in labiis tuis.

V. Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum; dico ego

opera mea Regi: lingua mea calamus scribæ velociter scribentis.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. Dominus regnavit, decorem induit: induit Dominus fortitudinem, et præcinxit se virtute. Alleluia.

to the King: my tongue is the pen of a scrivener, that writeth swiftly.

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam. Cap. II.

In illo tempore: Erat Joseph, et Maria, mater Jesu, mirantes super his quæ dicebantur de illo. Et benedixit illis Simeon, et dixit ad Mariam matrem ejus Ecce positus est hic in ruinam et in resurrectionem multorum in Israel: et in signum cui contradicetur et tuam ipsius aniham pertransibit gladius, ut revelentur ex multis cordibus cogitationes. Et erat Anna Prophetissa, filia Phanuel, de tribu Aser. Hæc processerat in diebus multis, et vixerat cum viro suo annis septem a virginitate sua. Et hæc vidua usque ad annos octoginta quatuor: quæ non discedebat de templo, jejuniis et obsecrationibus serviens nocte ac die. Et hæc, ipsa hora superveniens, confitebatur Domino, et loquebatur de illo omnibus, qui exspectabant redemptionem Israel. Et ut perfecerunt omnia secundum legem Domini, reversi

Alleluia, alleluia.

V. The Lord hath reigned: he hath clothed himself with beauty he hath clothed himself with strength, and armed himself with might. Alleluia.


Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke. Ch. II.

At that time: Joseph, and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, were wondering at those things, which were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his Mother: Behold, the Child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel : and for a sign, which shall be contradicted: and thine own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a Prophetess, the Daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asar: she was far advanced in years, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years: who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving day and night. Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord, and spoke of him, to all that looked for the redemption of Israel. And after they had performed all things according to the law of

the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city, Nazareth. And the Child grew, and waxed strong, full of wisdom and the grace of God was in him.

sunt in Galilæam, in civitatem suam Nazareth. Puer autem crescebat, et confortabatur, plenus sapientia: et gratia Dei erat in illo.

The passage of the Gospel selected for this Mass, though bearing on the Divine Infancy, yet gives us, and we may almost say prematurely, the terrible prophecy of Simeon regarding the dear Babe of Bethlehem. The heart of Mary, that was overflowing with joy at the miraculous Birth of her Child, is here made to feel the sword spoken of by the venerable Priest of the temple. Her Son, then, is to be but a sign that shall be contradicted! The mystery of man's being adopted by God is to cost this Child of hers his life!We that are the Redeemed in his Blood, we may not yet dwell on the fatigues and the Passion and the Death of our Emmanuel; the time will come for that; at present, we are forbidden to think of Him other than the sweet Child that is born to us, and the source of all our happiness, by his having come among us. Let us catch up the words of Anna, who calls him the Redemption of Israel. Let our eye delight in the sight of the earth regenerated by the birth of its Saviour. Let us admire and study well this Jesus newly born among us, and adore, in humble love, the wisdom and grace that are in him.

During the Offertory, the Church celebrates the wonderful renovation wrought in the world, a renovation which saved it from destruction. She sings the praises of the great God who came down into the poor Stable of Bethlehem, yet left not his eternal throne.


God hath established the world, which shall not be

Deus firmavit orbem terræ, qui non commovebitur;

parata sedes tua, Deus, ex moved; thy throne, O God, is

tunc a seculo tu es.

prepared from of old; thou art from everlasting.


Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus; ut oculis tuæ majestatis munus oblatum, et gratiam nobis piæ devotionis obtineat, et effectum beatæ perennitatis acquirat. Per Dominum.

Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that this sacrifice, offered to thy divine majesty, may obtain for us the grace of true devotion, and a happy eternity. Through, &c.

The Commemorations of the four Octaves are given above, page 319; that of St. Thomas, page 357.

The words chanted by the Church at the Communion are those spoken by the Angel to St. Joseph. She has given this Divine Infant to her Faithful children in holy Communion, in order that they may carry him in their hearts, and bids them guard him against the snares laid for him by his and their enemies. Let the Christian, therefore, take heed lest Jesus should be taken from him. Let him, by strict watchfulness and by good works, crush the tyrant sin that seeks the life of the Divine Guest of his soul. It is for this reason, that, in the Postcommunion, the Church prays, that our vices may be destroyed, and our desires for a virtuous life be blessed.

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The Commemorations of the four Octaves are given above, page 320; that of St. Thomas, page 358.


The Antiphons and Psalms are those of Christmas Day, pages 234-241; after which the Office is of St. Sylvester, Pope and Confessor.


(Ecclus. XLIV.)

Behold a great Prelate, who in his days pleased God, and was found just and in the time of wrath he was made a reconciliation.


This Confessor of the Lord, whom the christian people,

Festa plebs cujus celebrat per

Hodie lætus meruit secreta
Scandere cœli.

Qui pius, prudens, humilis,

Ecce sacerdos magnus, qui in diebus suis placuit Deo, et inventus est justus: et in tempore iracundiæ factus est reconciliatio.

* In the Monastic Breviary it is as follows:


B. Breve. Elegit eum Dominus, Sacerdotem sibi. Elegit. V. Ad sacrificandum ei hostiam laudis.* Sacerdotem sibi. Gloria Patri. Elegit.

Iste Confessor Domini sacratus

Sobrius, castus fuit, et quietus,
Vita dum præsens vegetavit


Corporis artus. Ad sacrum cujus tumulum frequenter

Iste Confessor Domini, colentes

Membra languentum modo sanitati,

Quolibet morbo fuerint gravata,

Unde nunc noster chorus in

Ipsius, hymnum canit hunc libenter :

Ut piis ejus meritis juvemur
Omne per ævum.

Sit salus illi, decus, atque

Qui supra cœli residens cacu


Totius mundi machinam guber


Trinus et unus.


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