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received the Gospel from thee, but have since deserved to lose the Faith. They have been suffering, now for ages, the consequences of false doctrinesslavery and degradation; intercede for them, that they may be regenerated by Jesus and his Spouse the Church. From thy heavenly home, send Peace to thine own dear Church of Ephesus, and to her Sister-Churches of Smyrna, Pergamus, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea; may they awake from their sleep; may they rise from their tomb; Mahometanism cease its brutalising tyranny over them; may schism and heresy, which now keep the East in a state of barbarism, be extinguished; and may the whole flock be once more united in the one Fold. Cover with thy protecting love the holy Church of Rome, which was witness of thy glorious Confession, and which she counts as one of those her graud glories, which began with the Martyrdom of thy fellow Apostles, Peter and Paul. May she receive a fresh infusion of light and charity, now that the harvest is whitening over so many countries. And, lastly, Beloved Disciple of the Saviour of mankind! pray that, on the last day, we may enjoy the sight of thy glorified Body; and, after having so often presented us, on this earth, to Jesus and Mary in Bethlehem, present us, on that day, to the same Jesus and Mary in the glories of the eternal Vision.

1 St. John, iv. 35.

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JANUARY 4.

THE OCTAVE OF HOLY INNOCENTS.

WE finish, to-day, the Octave consecrated to the memory of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem. Thanks be to God, who has given them to us, to be our intercessors and our models! Their name will not re-appear on the Church's Calendar, until the return of the Christmas Solemnity; let us, therefore, devoutly approach these sweet Infant Saintsvenerate them, love them, and address to them our farewell prayers.

The Holy Church, which, on the Feast, vested in the colour of mourning,-and this out of condolence with Rachel's grief,-now on the Octave-Day, clothes herself in the red of her Martyrs, in order to honour these Babes, who shed their Blood for Jesus. Notwithstanding, she is full of tender compassion for those poor Mothers, who suffered such agonies of grief at the sight of the murder of their little ones; she continually alludes to it in to-day's Liturgy, and reads, in the Office of Matins, a passage from an ancient Sermon, which vividly describes their feelings. We cannot withhold it from our readers. The Sermon, from which it is taken, was for a long time attributed to St. Augustine.

"When our Lord was born, there began lamentation, not indeed in heaven, but on earth! Lamen"tation for the Mothers, joy for the Angels, heaven "for the Babes. He that is born, is God: a victim "must be offered him, and Innocents must be that offering, for he came to condemn the malice of this

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"world. Tender lambs must be slain, for the Lamb, "who is come to take away the sins of the world, is "to be crucified. But the Mothers wail, because they lose their lambs, that scarce have voice to "make their bleatings heard. O wonderful martyr"dom! O sight most cruel! The sword is unsheathed, " and there is no enemy; jealousy alone spurs on the "band, for He, that is born, would injure no man.

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"There, then, sit the Mothers, weeping over their "lambs. A voice in Rama is heard, lamentation "and great mourning. These sweet pledges are not mere things intrusted to their care, they are the "children of their own wombs; they are pledges, "but they are not given, they are cruelly stolen from them. Nature herself is witness, it betrays the "children whom the tyrant is in search of "Mother tears her hair, for she has lost her beauty "in losing her babe. Oh! how she sought to hide "him, and the innocent one betrayed himself! He "knew not how to be silent, for he had not yet learnt to fear. The Mother struggled with the "executioner; he seized her child, resolved to murder "him; she clung to him, resolved to hold him to her "bosom. Why,' she exclaimed, 'why separate me ""from my child? I gave him birth, and I fed him "at my breast untiringly. I bore him in my arms 'with fondest care, and thy cruel hand has dashed "'him on the ground! This fresh and lovely fruit"thus trampled on!'

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A second Mother bade the executioner take away "her life together with that of her child; he would "not, and she cried out to him: Why dost thou "send me away, having slain my son? If there was any fault, I only could be guilty: if there was 'no fault, let me die with my babe, and rid me of 66 6 'my wretched life.' A third exclaimed: 'What is "it that ye seek? Ye are in search of one, and ye "slay so many! and Him, who is One, ye cannot find!'

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"And again another cried out: 'Come, O come, "thou Saviour of the world! How long shalt thou "be sought for? Thou fearest no man: let these "soldiers see thee, and so not slay our children.' "These were the lamentations of the Mothers; and the "immolation of their Babes ascended as a sacrifice to heaven."

Among these Children thus cruelly massacred, from the age of two years and under, there were some belonging to those Shepherds of Bethlehem, who had been called, on the Night of our Saviour's Birth, to go and adore him in his Crib. These, after Mary and Joseph, the first worshippers of the Incarnate Word, thus offered, to the God who had called them, the most precious treasure they possessed. They knew to what Child their children were sacrificed, and a holy pride filled their souls, as they thought of this new proof of God's singular mercy to them, in preference to so many others of their fellow-creatures.

As to Herod, he was foiled in his schemes, as must ever be the case with them that wage war against Christ and his Church. His edict for the murder of every male child that was two years old or younger, included Bethlehem and its entire neighbourhood; but the Child he alone cared for, and wished to destroy, escaped the sword and fled into Egypt. It was another proof of the world's folly in opposing the designs of God; and, in this instance, the very measure that was intended to effect evil, produced good-the tyrant enriched the Church of heaven with Saints, and the Church militant with so many fresh patrons.

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Jesus, the new-born King of the Jews, who causes Herod to tremble on his throne, is but a Little Child, without so much as one single soldier to

1 St. Matth. ii. 2.

defend him. Herod, like all the persecutors of the Church, has an instinctive knowledge, which teaches him, that this apparent weakness is real and formidable power: what neither he nor his successors knew, was, that it is worse than useless, and worse than folly, to attempt to crush a spiritual power by the sword. This apparent weakness of the Babe of Bethlehem will increase with his years; now he flees from the tyrant who seeks his life; but later on, when he has grown into Manhood, he will not escape from his enemies; they will fasten him to an infamous gibbet, between two Thieves-but, on that very day, a Roman Governor will declare this Jesus to be King; he will write, with his own hand, the inscription to be nailed on the Cross: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Pilate will give Jesus, and with all possible formality, that very Title, which now makes Herod turn pale: the enemies of Jesus will protest, they will insist on the Title being altered but Pilate will not change an iota, and will say: What I have written, I have written.1 As on the day of his Crucifixion, he will admit one of the two Thieves to share in his triumph; so now, that he is laid in the Crib, he will share his glory with the Innocents of Bethlehem.

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The Mass is given above, page 314. The Gloria in excelsis is said.

Let us once more honour these dear Innocents, by culling their praises from the various Liturgies. We will begin with three Responsories from the Roman Breviary.

RESPONSORIES.

R. Isti qui amicti sunt stolis albis, qui sunt, et unde venerunt? Et dixit mihi : Hi sunt, qui vene

Ry. These that are clad in white robes, who are they, and whence came they? And he said unto me: *These are

1 St. John, xix. 22.

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