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The following Antiphons and Prayers are taken from the Officium Sancti Patricii, Paris, 1622 :—
ANT. Veneranda imminentis diei solemnia, læta mente, concelebrat fidelium turma; quo beatus præsul Patricius, deposita corporali gleba, felix migravit ad regna cœlestia.
ANT. Ave Præsul egregie, Pastor gregis Hiberniæ! O Patrici, Præsul pie, nostræ custos familiæ, funde preces quotidie, pro nobis, Regi gloriæ.
ANT. Benedictus sit Dominus universorum, qui suam visitavit plebem per beatum Patricium, cujus prece absolvamur a vinculis criminum, et requie perfruamur cum illo Beatorum.
ANT. The Faithful people, with glad souls, celebrate the venerable solemnity of this day's Feast wheron the blessed Pontiff Patrick laid aside the burden of mortality, and joyfully took his flight to the heavenly kingdom.
ANT. Hail illustrious Pon
Pastor of Hibernia's flock! O Patrick! holy Bishop! the guardian of our people! pray for us daily to the King of glory.
ANT. Blessed be the Lord of all, who hath visited his people by blessed Patrick; by whose prayers may we be loosened from the bonds of our sins, and come to the enjoyment of rest of the Blessed, together with him.
Another favourite Antiphon, used in the ancient Proper Office of St. Patrick, was composed of the words spoken to him by the Angel:
ANT. Hibernenses omnes clamant ad te pueri: Veni, sancte Patrici, salvos nos facere.
ANT. All the children of Ireland cry out to thee: Come, O holy Patrick, and save us !
We conclude these Liturgical extracts with a Prayer from an ancient manuscript Breviary of Armagh.
Deus, qui beatum Patricium Scotorum Apostolum tua providentia elegisti, ut
O God, by whose providence the blessed Patrick was chosen to be the Apostle of the Irish ;
that thus the people of Hibernia, who had gone astray in darkness and in the errors of the Gentiles, might be made children of the Most High by the laver of regeneration: grant, we beseech thee, that by his intercession, we may hasten without delay to the paths of justice. Through, &c.
Hibernenses gentes, in tenebris et in errore gentilitatis errantes, per lavacra regenerationis filios Dei excelsi efficeres: tribue nobis quæsumus, ut ejus intercessionibus ad ea quæ recta sunt quantocyus festinemus. Per Dominum.
Thy life, great Saint! was spent in the arduous toils of an Apostle; but how rich was the harvest thou didst reap! Every fatigue seemed to thee light, if only thou couldst give to men the precious gift of Faith; and the people to whom thou didst leave it, have kept it with a constancy, which is one of thy greatest glories. Pray for us, that this Faith, without which it is impossible to please God,1 may take possession of our hearts and minds. It is by Faith that the just man liveth,' says the Prophet, and it is Faith that, during this holy Season of Lent, is showing us the justice and mercy of God, in order that we may be converted, and offer to our offended Lord the tribute of our penance. We are afraid of what the Church imposes on us, simply because our Faith is weak. If our principles were those of Faith, we should soon be mortified men. Thy life, though so innocent, and so rich in good works, was one of extraordinary penance: get us thy spirit, and help us to follow thee, at least at an humble distance.~ Pray for Erin, that dear country of thine, which loves and honours thee so fervently. She is threatened with danger even now, and many of her children have left the Faith thou didst teach. An odious system of proselytism has disturbed thy flock; protect it, and suffer not the children of Martyrs to be Apostates. Let thy fatherly care follow them that have been
driven by suffering to emigrate from their native land: may they keep true to the Faith, be witnesses of the True Religion in the countries they have fled to, and ever show themselves to be the obedient children of the Church. May their misfortunes thus serve to advance the Kingdom of God. Holy Pontiff! intercede for England; pardon her the injustice she has shown to thy children; and, by thy powerful prayers, hasten the happy Day of her return to Catholic Unity. Pray, too, for the whole Church; thy prayer, being that of an Apostle, easily finds access to Him that sent thee.
SAINT GABRIEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
So far in the Church's Calendar, we have not met with any Feast in honour of the Holy Angels. Amidst the ineffable joys of Christmas Night, we mingled our timid but glad voices with the Hymns of these heavenly Spirits, who sang around the Crib of our Emmanuel. The very recollection brings joy to our hearts, saddened as they now are by penitential feelings and by the near approach of the mournful anniversary of our Jesus' Death. Let us, for a moment, interrupt our sadness, and keep the Feast of the Archangel Gabriel. Later on, we shall have Michael, Raphael, and the countless host of the Angel Guardians; but to-day, the seventh from the Annunciation, it is just that we should honour Gabriel. Yes, a week hence, and we shall see this heavenly Ambassador of the Blessed Trinity coming down to the Virgin of Nazareth; let us, therefore, recommend ourselves to him, and beseech him to teach us how to celebrate, in a becoming manner, the grand Mystery of which he was the Messenger.
Gabriel is one of the first of the Angelic Kingdom. He tells Zachary, that he stands before the face of God.1 He is the Angel of the Incarnation, because it is in this Mystery, which apparently is so humble, that the power of God is principally manifested: and
1 St Luke, i. 19.
Gabriel signifies the strength of God. We find the Archangel preparing for his sublime office, even in the Old Testament. First of all, he appears to Daniel, after this Prophet had had the vision of the Persian and Grecian Empires; and such was the majesty of his person that Daniel fell on his face trembling. Shortly afterwards, he appears again to the same Prophet, telling him the exact time of the coming of the Messias: Know thou and take notice: that from the going forth of the word to build up Jerusalem again, unto Christ the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, that is, sixtynine weeks of years.
When the fulness of time had come, and Heaven was about to send the last of the Prophets,-he, who after preaching to men the approach of the Messias, is to show him to the people, saying: Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, -Gabriel descends from heaven to the temple of Jerusalem, and prophesies to Zachary the birth of John the Baptist, which was to be followed by that of Jesus himself.
Six months later on, the holy Archangel again appears on the earth; and this time it is Nazareth that he visits. He brings the great message from heaven. Angel as he is, he reveres the humble Maid, whose name is Mary; he has been sent to her by the Most High God, to offer her the immense honour of becoming the Mother of the Eternal Word. It is Gabriel that receives the great Fiat, the consent of Mary; and when he quits this earth, he leaves it in possession of Him, for whom it had so long prayed in those words of Isaias: Drop down DEw, Ō ye Heavens ! 4
The hour at length came, when the Mother of the
1 Dan. viii. 17.
2 Ibid. ix. 25.
3 St. Luke, i. 13.
4 Is. xlv. 8.