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Simeon, who is permitted to take thee into his arms; but oh! how happier I! who have received into myself, and now hold within me, Thee, my Jesus, the Bread of Life! Blessed be thou for ever, O my God! for that thou hast treated, with such incomprehensible familiarity, this the poorest of all thy servants! I thank thee, and glorify thee, as did the Shepherds, who went so eagerly to Bethlehem, and returned glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; and with such glowing words did they praise thee, that all that heard, wondered at those things that were told them by the Shepherds. So, too, will I open my lips, and, borrowing the words of a Son of Bethlehem, David, thy ancestor, I will say: All ye that fear God, come and hear, and I will tell you what great things he hath done to my soul.

1

ACT OF LOVE.

3

Yea, in very truth, thou hast loved me, O my divine Guest! for thou hast laden me with the gifts of thy love. How shall I not return thee love for love, and love thee with all this heart of mine, wherein thou dwellest? Be thou loved, then, my infinitely amiable Jesus of Bethlehem ! It was to win our love, that thou didst lay aside all thy greatness, and, as thy Apostle expresses it, empty thyself of all thy majesty, assuming the form of a servant, nay, of a weak Babe. Verily, to approach thee now with fear and trembling seems out of season, and such loveliness as this should not be approached, but with confident tenderest love. O thou that art to be my dread Judge! thou art now here, resting on my heart; thou art, thou wishest to be, in my power; and, according to thine own saying, thou art mine, and I am thine. Jesus! most amiable Jesus! remain with me for ever. Here take up thy abode; here grow before God and men; here reign as my Lord, and King, and God. To supply for the deficiency of my own love, I offer thee the love wherewith Mary, thy most holy Mother, pressed thee to her sacred Heart, during these the first days of thy life on earth; the love wherewith Joseph, the chaste Spouse of Mary, and thy foster-father, so diligently procured thee all thou didst need; the love wherewith the Shepherds of Bethlehem gazed on thee, the Saviour, that was born for them, and knew thee by this sign, that thou wast an Infant-lying-swathed-in a manger; the love

1 St. Luke, ii. 16, 20, 18.
2 Ps. lxv. 16.

3 Phil. ii. 7.

St. Luke, ii. 11, 12.

wherewith the adoring Magi opened their treasures before thee, and forgot all the fatigues of a long journey, entranced with the sight of thee; the love wherewith the venerable Simeon took thee up in his arms, and felt that he must needs die, now that he had seen Jesus; the love, in fine, of the Holy Angels, who, as thy Apostle tells us,' adored thee when born in Bethlehem, and found their heaven in looking on that immortal beauty, made visible, in thy Infant Face, even to the eyes of sinful men. Accept, O my divine Treasure! my sweetest Jesus, accept my love, as thou didst all these, and abide in me for ever.

ACT OF OBLATION.

But, it is not enough that I love thee, O Divine Infant —thou_commandest me to give myself to thee. I was far off, and yet thou camest to me, that thou mightest make me thine own possession; and that I might never more leave thee, thou hast taken up thy dwelling within my heart, making it thy Bethlehem, O Bread of Life! Thou wishest that I should become a little child, after thine example; that I should leave, here at thy Crib, all my pride and disobedience; that my worldly wisdom should yield, at the sight of thy Crib, to the spirit of Faith; that the false light, which has hitherto been my guide, should be dispelled by the brightness which comes from the mystery of thy Divine Body swathed in the bands of infancy. O Jesus! thou King of Infants, as one of the Fathers has called thee, I give myself to thee, that thou mayest teach me to become a little child. Accept the promise I make thee, of perfect docility to all thy teachings; grant that it may be constant and always prompted by love. I detest everything, in my past life, which has been, either in thought or affection, contrary to thy spirit. Henceforth, I will be all thine, for thou hast drawn me, by these sacred Mysteries, into holy nearness to thyself. I will imitate the Magi, who, having adored thee, went back another way into their country. May this holy infancy, which I have begun after thine example, be to me the beginning of a new life, with nothing of my old one in it. Simeon having received thee into his arms, wished to live no more for this earth; and shall I be satisfied with it, I who possess thee here within me? No-henceforth, my life is to be the serving thee;

1 Heb. i. 6.

that so I may deserve to be united with thee, for ever, in heaven.

Mary, Mother of my Jesus! pray for me, that this gracious visit of thy divine Son may produce in me abundant fruits of virtue.-Ye Holy Angels of God! who adore him now dwelling within me, be solicitous for the holiness and purity of my soul and body.-All ye saints of God! pray for me, that I may ever be faithful to Him, whom ye loved on earth, and now love eternally in heaven. Amen.

CHAPTER VII.

OF THE OFFICE OF VESPERS FOR SUNDAYS AND

FEASTS;

DURING CHRISTMAS.

THE Office of Vespers, or Even-Song, during the whole year, consists, firstly, of five Psalms and Antiphons, which vary, more or less, every day. As the main object of our Book is the convenience of the Faithful, we only give the Vespers of the Sundays and the principal Feasts. With regard to the Sundays, therefore, during Christmas, which are neither Feasts, nor within the Octave of a Feast, we give them here in full, reserving only that, which is peculiar to each, for the Proper. If it be a Feast, the Office must be sought for on its own day.

After the Pater and Ave have been said in secret, the Church commences this Hour with her favourite supplication:

. Deus in adjutorium meum intende.

R. Domine, ad adjuvan-
dum me festina.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et
Spiritui Sancto:

Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen. Alleluia.

ANT. Dixit Dominus.

God.

. Incline unto my aid, O

R. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen Alleluia.

ANT. The Lord said.

The first Psalm is a prophecy of the glory of the Messias. This Child, who is now born to us in humility and poverty, is to be seated on the right hand of

the eternal Father. Now, that we Now, that we are celebrating his temporal Birth, it is most just that we should often sing the Psalm which speaks of his eternal Generation, as God, and of the future glory which awaits him, as Man.

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