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Mother of Christ, and Reparatrix of mankind! Great indeed are the blessings thou hast conferred on us by giving him birth; for the Fruit of thy womb, Christ the Son of God, hath delivered us from the tyranny of our cruel enemy, and hath made us his companions in the eternal kingdom. Be thou, therefore, we beseech thee, our advocate; that, through thy merits, thy Son may set us free from our sins, and, after this life, give us to reign for ever in his kingdom. Grant, that He who out of love for thee, called thee to be his Mother, may grant unto us the rich sweetness of his love. Amen.

genitrix, et humani generis reparatrix gloriosa Maria, quæ tanta nobis gaudia pariendo contulisti, ut fructus ventris tui, qui est Christus Filius Dei, a dominio in nos sævientis eriperet inimici, et in regno æterno consortes faceret sibimetipsi. Proinde, quæsumus, te rogamus, ut adsis patrona nobis, ut et merito tuo nos filius tuus a delicto exsules reddat, et post in regno suo perenniter habitaturos introducat. Præsta nobis, ut qui te concupiscens sibi advocavit in Matrem, nobis concupiscentiæ suæ opulentam largiatur dulcedinem. Amen.

The Greek Liturgy, with its wonted abundance, celebrates the glory of Mary in the Incarnation of the Word. We give the following Hymn, which comes in the Office of the Vigil of the Annunciation. In our opinion, it is finer than the one of the Feast itself.

HYMN.

(Die XXIV. Martii.)

O Earth! that heretofore hast, with much sorrow, brought forth thorns, now dance and leap with joy; for lo! the immortal Husbandman, who will cleanse thee from the thorns of the curse, is at hand.

And thou, too, O spotless Virgin as a divine Fleece, prepare thyself to receive thy

Terra, quæ magno hactenus dolore spinas germinasti, jam nunc age choreas et salta: ecce enim immortalis agricola, qui te a spinis maledictionis expurget, nunc appropinquat.

Sed et tu intaminata, o Virgo, tanquam vellus plane divinum, te præpara excipi

endo Numini, quod in te velut imber descendat, ut torrentes transgressionis præceptorum exsiccet.

Esto paratus, o divinæ munditiæ liber; quippe tibi Sancti Spiritus digito inscribetur Sapientia divina sed incarnata, quæ insipientiæ meæ prevaricationem medio tollat.

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O aureum item candelabrum, ignem recipe divinitatis; ut per te illuceat mundo, unaque nequitiarum nostrarum tenebras dissipet.

O magni Regis palatium, Virgo, aurium tuarum divina vestibula pande : jamjam enim ingredietur ad te ipsa Veritas Christus, ut habitet in medio tui.

O Agna incontaminata, Agnus Dei nostri, qui tollit peccata nostra, uterum tuum festinat intrare. Mystica etiam virga brevi germinabit florem divinum, de radice Jesse palam exortum, ut loquitur Scriptura.

O vitis quoque Maria, compara te, ut per angelicam vocem fœcundata botrum quoque maturum, neque corruptioni obnoxium procrees.

O denique mons salve, quem Daniel prævidit in Spiritu, ex quo lapis ille spiritalis abscindetur, qui inanimata dæmonum sculptilia conteret.

O ratione prædita Arca, quam verus legislator amore singulari prosecutus inhabitare nunc ceu incola

God, who is about to come down upon thee as the Dew, that he may dry up the torrent of iniquity.

Hold thyself in readiness, O Book of heavenly purity! for, by the finger of the Holy Ghost, there shall be written in thee the Divine Wisdom made Incarnate, who is to take away the foolishness of my sin.

Receive, O golden Candlestick! the flame of the Godhead; that by thee he may enlighten the world, and scatter the darkness of our sins.

O Virgin! Palace of the great King, throw open the holy portals of thine ears: for Christ, the very Truth, is about to enter into thee, that he may dwell in thy midst.

O spotless Sheep, the Lamb of our God, who taketh away the sins of the world, longs to enter thy womb. The mystic Branch, as the Scripture saith, shall soon bud forth the Flower divine, which is to spring from Jesse's root.

O Mary, thou Vine, prepare thyself to receive, by the Angel's words, the ripe GrapeBunch, that knoweth not corruption.

Hail, O Mountain ! that wast foreseen in the Spirit by Daniel, and from whence shall be hewn that living Stone, which is to destroy the dead idols of the demons.

O intellectual Ark! dear above all to the true Lawgiver, and which he has chosen for the place of his abode ! Re

joice exceedingly, for, by thee, he will restore what hath been destroyed.

The choir of the Prophets, skilled in the announcing divine mysteries, foresaw the peaceful entrance of the Redeemer within thee, and they exclaimed: Hail, Redemption of the world! Hail, thou the only salvation of mankind!

O Cloud of the divine Light, prepare thyself for the Sun that is about to rise. For lo! the inaccessible Sun shall shine on thee from his heavenly throne, that, after he has been for a while hid in thee, he may shed his light upon the world, and scatter the darkness of iniquity.

He that hath never left the right hand of the Father, and is above all, has chosen thee as his dwelling-place, and is coming unto thee: he will set thee on his right hand, as a Queen whose throne is near his own, and whose beauty surpasses that of all creatures: he will use thee, as his own right hand, to help the fallen to rise.

He that is the chief among the Angels to minister unto God, addresses his joyous words to thee, telling thee, that the Angel of the great Council is to take flesh from thee.

O Divine Word, bow down the heavens, and now descend unto us; for the Virgin's womb is prepared for thee as a throne, whereon thou the all-glorious King mayst sit,

LENT.

statuit, impleat te jucunditas mentis: per te enim innovabit destructos.

Quin et Vatum chorus divina dare præsagia doctus, tanquam pacatum in te Redemptoris ingressum præsentiret exclamat: Cunctorum salve Redemptio, salve unica hominum salus.

O aerea divini luminis nubes orituro mox soli te para.

Nam ecce sol inaccessus de sedibus tibi cœlestibus explendescet, ut in te aliquantum absconditus, illuceat mundo, et improbitatis tenebras dissipet.

Ille qui a dextera Patris nunquam digressus, substantiam omnem transcendit, in te sibi diversorium delecturus adventat: ut te a dextris constituat suis, tamquam reginam dignitate sibi propinquam, et excellenti pulchritudine præditam, utque te velut dexteram suam omnibus lapsis ad surgendum extendat."

Inter Angelos autem primarius Dei minister, vocem ad te lætabundam emittit, ut ex te corporandum significet magni consilii Angelum.

O Verbum divinum, cœlos inclina, et nunc jam ad nos descende. Modo enim uterus Virginis præparatus est tibi ceu thronus, in quo tamquam rex splendidissi

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mus sedeas, opus dexteræ tuæ a ruina sustollens.

Tu quoque, o Virgo, ceu terra numquam seminata, accingere nunc ad recipiendum sub Angeli verbo Verbum cœleste, frumento per quam frugifero simile, quod ex te germinans semina enutriet in panem intelligentiæ.

and raise up from ruin the work of thy right hand.

Do thou, also, O Maiden, as a virgin soil, prepare thyself to receive, at the Angel's word, the heavenly Word, which, like unto most fruitful wheat, shall bud forth its seed from thee, and produce the bread of the spirit.

O Emmanuel, God with us! who, as thy Church says in her Hymn, "being to take upon thee to "deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin's womb," -the whole human race gives thanks to thee, on this day, for thy merciful coming. O Eternal Word of the Father! it was not enough for thee to have drawn man out of nothing, by thy power; thine exhaustless love would follow him even to the abyss of misery, into which he had fallen. By sin, man had forfeited the dignity thou hadst given him; that he might regain it, thou didst come in person and assume his nature, so to raise him up again to thyself. In thee, from this day forward unto all eternity, God is made man, and man is made God. Thy Incarnation is the fulfilment of the promises made in the Canticle; thou unitest thyself to human nature, and it is in the virginal womb of a daughter of David that thou celebratest these ineffable espousals. O incomprehensible humiliation! O ineffable glory! The humiliation is for the Son of God, the glory is for the son of man. Thus hast thou loved us, O Divine Word! thus hast thou removed from us the degradation of our fall! The rebel angels fell, and thou didst leave them in the abyss; we fell, and thou hadst mercy on us. A single look of thy pity would have sufficed to save us; but it would not satisfy thy love: therefore didst thou descend into this world of sin, take upon thyself the form of

a slave,1 and lead a life of humiliation and suffering. O Word made Flesh! who comest not to judge, but to save!2 we adore thee, we praise thee, we love thee. Make us worthy of all that thy love has led thee to do for us.

We salute thee, O Mary, full of grace, on this the day whereon thou didst receive thy sublime dignity of Mother of God. Thy incomparable purity drew down upon thee the love of the great Creator, and thy humility drew him into thy womb; his presence within thee increased the holiness of thy spirit and the purity of thy body. What must have been thy happiness in knowing that this Son of God was living by thy life, and was taking from thine own substance the new being, which his love for us induced him to assume! Between thee and him is formed that ineffable union which is granted to none else but to thee: he is thy Creator, and thou art his Mother; he is thy Son, and thou art his Creature. Every knee bows down before him, O Mary! for he is the great God of heaven and earth; but every creature reveres thee, also, for thou hast carried him in thy womb, thou hast fed him at thy breast; thou alone canst say to him, as does his heavenly Father: Thou art my Son! O Mother of Jesus! thou art the greatest of God's works: receive the humble homage of mankind, for thou art most dear to us, seeing that thou art of the same flesh and blood as ourselves. Thou art a Daughter of Eve, but without her sin. By thy obedience to the divine decrees, thou savest thy mother and her race; thou restorest Adam and his children to the innocence they had lost. Jesus, whom thou bearest in thy womb, is our pledge that all these blessings are to be ours; and it is by thee that he comes to us. Without Jesus, we should abide in death; without thee, we should not have

1 Philipp. ii. 7.

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2 St. John, xii. 47.

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