This blog contains regular postings relating to the Traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes regular commentary on the saints days and the liturgical cycle, with brief background and extracts from the liturgy both in Latin and English. Much of the material has been extracted from the 'St Andrew's Daily Missal', Dom Gueranger's 'Liturgical Year', or similar sources.

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Sunday, 25 December 2016

25th December, 2nd Mass of Christmas

Christmas Day - Second Mass at Dawn

The Mass at dawn was celebrated in Rome in the very old church of St. Anastasia, this parish being the only one situated in the centre of Rome in the patrician quarters. Its position at the foot of the Palatine where the Caesars resided made St. Anastasia's the church of the great court functionaries. For this reason it was chosen as the station for the Second Mass on Christmas Day.

In the liturgy at this mass we are made to greet with joy the "Holy King who comes" (Communion), "the Lord who is born to us " (Introit), "the Infant lying in the manger " (Gospel). We are told that "He who was born Man" on this day shines forth also," in our eyes "as God" (Secret). For He is the "Word made Flesh" (Collect), "He is called God" (Introit), and He exists "from everlasting" (Offertory).

If, truly, He is come it is to save us (Epistle and Communion) and to make us "heirs of life everlasting" (Epistle), which we shall possess in heaven when this "Prince of Peace" shall return at the end of the world "clothed with strength" (Introit, Alleluia). Thus it is, that "the King of heaven who has condescended to be born for us of a virgin in order to recall man to the heavenly Kingdom from which he had fallen" (1st resp.) "will reign without end " (Introit) over men of good-will (Gloria) whom, in His first coming they welcomed with faith and love. The purpose of the Christmas celebrations is to prepare us for the second coming, justifying us by the grace of Christ Jesus (Epistle), overcoming the old man in us (Postcommunion), making us partakers of the divine nature (Secret) and helping us to show forth in our actions that which by faith shineth in our minds" (Collect).

Let us make haste to go with the shepherds to whom almighty God showed forth the Incarnation of His Son (Gospel), to adore at the altar, our manger, the Word born from all eternity of His heavenly Father, born of Mary upon earth, and who should be born more and more by grace in our hearts, while we await the time when He will cause us to be born into His glorious life in heaven.

Lux fulgebit hodie super nos: quia natus est nobis Dominus: et vocabitur Admirabilis, Deus, Princeps pacis, Pater futuri saeculi: cujus regni non erit finis. * Dominus regnavit, decorem indutus est: indutus est Dominus fortitudinem, et praecinxit se.
A light shall shine upon us this day: for the Lord is born to us: and He shall be called Wonderful, God, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the world to come: of whose reign there shall be no end. * The Lord hath reigned, He is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded Himself.
(Isaias 9:2 and Ps. 92:1 from the Introit of Mass)

Da nobis, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut qui nova incarnati Verbi tui luce perfundimur, hoc in nostro resplendeat opere, quod per fidem fulget in mente.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that as we are enlightened by the new light of thy Word become flesh, we may show, in our actions the effects of that faith which shineth in our minds.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.
At that time: The Shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that has come to pass, which the Lord hath showed to us. And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph and the Infant lying in a manger. And seeing, they understood of the word, that had been spoken to them concerning this Child. And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the Shepherds. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. And the Shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
(St Luke, ch 2)

St. Anastasia was burnt alive at Sirmium (Mitrowitz, in Serbia), on this very day, the 25th of December, during the Diocletian Persecution in the beginning of the 4th century. This Saint's name occurs in the Canon of the Mass (second list).

Da, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut qui beatae Anastasiae, Martyris tuae, solemnia colimus, ejus apud te patrocinia sentiamus.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that as we celebrate the solemnity of blessed Anastasia thy Martyr, we may be sensible of the effects of her prayers to thee in our behalf. 
(Commemoration of St Anastasia)

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