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Bernard: The Lord is a Little Babe, and exceedingly to be loved.

We will honour the Birth of our Jesus, to-day, by this venerable Sequence of St. Gall's Monastery, written by the Blessed Notker. It recounts the combat of our Emmanuel against Satan, and his victory. This victory is the source of those won by Stephen and all the Martyrs.

SEQUENCE.

Come let us resume our holy songs of praise in strains worthy of this Day,

Whereon the much-loved Light rises to the world.

It is in the gloomy hour of Night, that the dark shadows of our sins are made to disappear.

This day, did the Star of the sea bring forth to the world the joy of its new salvation.

Her Child makes hell tremble; nay, cruel Death is filled with fear at the sight of Him who is to be its death.

Long-triumphant pestilence, now captive, mourns out her sighs; and the crushed serpent lets go his prey.

Fallen man, the strayed sheep, is carried back to the eternal joys.

The heavenly host of Angels are full of joy to day;

For, the tenth groat was lost and is found.

O Child! blessed above all ! by whom mankind was redeemed.

Eia, recolamus Laudibus piis digna.

Hujus diei carmina, In quo nobis lux oritur Gratissima.

Noctis inter nebulosa, Pereunt nostri criminis Umbracula.

Hodie sæculo
Maris stella
Est enixa

Novæ salutis gaudia.
Quem tremunt barathra,
Mors cruenta pavet ipsa,
A quo peribit mortua.

Gemet capta Pestis antiqua,

Coluber lividus perdit spolia.

Homo lapsus,
Ovis obducta,

Revocatur ad æterna
Gaudia.

Gaudent in hoc die Agmina Angelorum cœlestia, Quia erat drachma decima Perdita,

Et est inventa. O proles Nimium beata, Qua redempta

Est natura.

Deus, qui creavit omnia, Nascitur ex femina.

quod non

Mirabilis natura,
Mirifice induta,
Assumens
erat,
Manens quod erat.
Induitur natura
Divinitas humana:
Quis audivit talia,
Dic, rogo, facta?
Quærere venerat
Pastor pius quod perierat.
Induit galeam,
Certat ut miles armatura.
Prostratus
In sua propria

Ruit hostis spicula.
Auferuntur tela
In quibus fidebat,
Divisa sunt illius spolia,
Capta præda sua.
Christi pugna
Fortissima

Salus nostra est vera,

Qui nos suam

Duxit post victoriam.

Ad patriam

In

qua sibi laus est

Eterna. Amen.

The God, who created all things, is born of a Woman.

He, whose nature is admirable, clothes himself by an admirable mystery, assuming what he was not, and remaining what he had ever been.

A divine Person puts on human nature: I beseech thee, tell me, was aught like this ever heard of?

The Good Shepherd came to seek that which was lost.

He puts on the helmet, and, as a soldier, fights in armour. The enemy is defeated and falls upon his own arrows.

The weapons he trusted in are taken from him, his booty is divided, his prey is taken from him.

Our true salvation comes of this most glorious battle of Christ;

Who, after the victory, led us to his own kingdom,

Where everlasting praise is given to him. Amen.

And now, turning towards his Blessed Mother, we will offer her the tribute of this beautiful Sequence, taken from the Cluny Missal, of 1523.

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Thou art, as a fountain, full of love and clemency; and as a land flowing with honey.

Thou mercifully aidest the sorrowing Theophilus to obtain the forgiveness of his sin.

By thy prayers, the guilty one of Egypt rises from her abominations.

O Mother of Mercy! O singular hope of the fallen!

Bear up, this day, to heaven, the prayers and sighs of thy clients.

Thou art the honour of Israel, thou art the glory of the world.

Restore us to the favour of our Emmanuel,

Whom thou didst feed at thy sacred breast,

And whose sweet Infant limbs thou didst warm.

Do thou, our Mediatrix, appease him in our regard,

On the dread Day, we beseech thee.

We are here to offer up to God our Father the merits of our Jesus;

By their virtue, do thou, we beseech thee, obtain forgiveness for the guilty, and bring courage to them that fear.

Thou art our good, our merciful, Mother; thou art our hope, O Mary!

Let every devout soul respond: Amen!

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278

DEC. 27. ST. JOHN.

DECEMBER 27.

SAINT JOHN, APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST.

NEAREST to Jesus' Crib, after Stephen, stands John, the Apostle and Evangelist. It was only right, that the first place should be assigned to him, who so loved his God, that he shed his blood in his service ; for, as this God himself declares, greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends, and Martyrdom has ever been counted, by the Church, as the greatest act of love, and as having, consequently, the power of remitting sins, like a second Baptism. But, next to the sacrifice of Blood, the noblest, the bravest, and which most wins the heart of Him who is the Spouse of souls, is the sacrifice of Virginity. Now, just as St. Stephen is looked upon as the type of Martyrs, St. John is honoured as the Prince of Virgins. Martyrdom won for Stephen the Crown and palm; Virginity merited for John most singular prerogatives, which, while they show how dear to God is holy Chastity, put this Disciple among those, who, by their dignity and influence, are above the rest of men.

St. John was of the family of David, as was our Blessed Lady. He was, consequently, a relation of Jesus. This same honour belonged to St. James the Greater, his Brother; as also to St. James the Less, and St. Jude, both Sons of Alpheus. When our Saint was in the prime of his youth, he left, not only his boat and nets, not only his Father Zebedee, but even his betrothed, when everything was pre

1 St. John, xv. 13.

pared for the marriage. He followed Jesus, and never once looked back. Hence, the special love which our Lord bore him. Others were Disciples or Apostles, John was the Friend, of Jesus. The cause of this our Lord's partiality, was, as the Church tells us in the Liturgy, that John had offered his Virginity to the Man-God. Let us, on this his Feast, enumerate the graces and privileges that came to St. John from his being The Disciple whom Jesus loved.

This very expression of the Gospel, which the Evangelist repeats several times-The Disciple whom Jesus loved1-says more than any commentary could do. St. Peter, it is true, was chosen by our Divine Lord, to be the Head of the Apostolic College, and the Rock whereon the Church was to be built: he, then, was honoured most; but St. John was loved most. Peter was bid to love more than the rest loved, and he was able to say, in answer to Jesus' thrice repeated question, that he did love him in this highest way and yet, notwithstanding, John was more loved by Jesus than was Peter himself, because his Virginity deserved this special mark of honour.

Chastity of soul and body brings him who possesses it into a sacred nearness and intimacy with God. Hence it was, that at the Last Supper-that / Supper, which was to be renewed on our Altars, to the end of the world, in order to cure our spiritual infirmities, and give life to our souls-John was placed near to Jesus, nay, was permitted, as the tenderly loved Disciple, to lean his head upon the Breast of the Man-God. Then it was, that he was filled, and from their very Fountain, with Light and Love: it was both a recompense and a favour, and became the source of two signal graces, which make

1 St. John, xiii. 23 ; xix. 26; xxi. 7; xxi. 20.

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