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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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

27th December, St John, Apostle and Evangelist

St. John, Apostle and Evangelist

The Stational Mass was held at St. Mary Major in honour of her to whom Jesus on the Cross entrusted St. John: "Woman, behold thy son."

It is God whom we adore at Bethlehem during Christmas time. Thus it was natural that St. John, the chief evangelist of the divinity of Christ, should be found beside the crib, to disclose the greatness of the Infant who reposes therein.

It is to him that Jesus wished to entrust His mother when Joseph will have passed away. The liturgy, therefore, loves to show together, beside the Child and His Mother, him whom the Gospel calls the apostle the Just Man, and whom the Church to-day honours with the same title (Offertory).

The Infant God in the crib gathers around Him pure souls : Mary is the Blessed .Virgin, Joseph the chaste spouse, St. Stephen the first martyr who washes his robe in the blood of the Lamb. Now behold St. John, the virgin apostle. Crowned with the halo of those who knew how to conquer their flesh, for this reason he became "the disciple whom Jesus loved, and who also leaned on His breast at supper" (Gospel). Thanks to his angelic purity, he imbibed that wholesome wisdom of which the Epistle speaks and which won for him the halo of Doctor. The Introit of his Mass is the one the Church uses in the Common of Doctors. It is to St. John who wrote a Gospel, three Espitles and the Apocalypse, that we owe the most beautiful pages on the Divinity of the Word made flesh; and it is for this reason that he is symbolised by the eagle which soars in the heights. Finally he received the halo of martyr, since he only escaped a violent death by that special protection of which the Gospel speaks and which made many believe that the beloved disciple would not die. Actually he did not depart this life until all the other Apostles had passed away. His name is mentioned with theirs in the Canon of the Mass (first list).

The desire to connect the great saints with the Feast of the Nativity was the cause of celebrating on this day, except at Rome, the feast of St James (the brother of St John), and on the 28th that of St Peter and St Paul.

"On this day, wine offered by the faithful is blessed in remembrance and in honour of St John, who without any ill effects drank a cup of poisoned wine." (Roman Ritual)

In medio Ecclesiae aperuit os ejus; et implevit eum Dominus Spiritu sapientiae et intellectus; stolam gloriae induit eum. * Bonum est confiteri Domino, et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.
He opened his mouth in the midst of the Church, and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom: he clad him with a robe of glory. * It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to thy name, O Most High.
(Ecclus. 15:5 and Psalm 91:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Ecclesiam tuam, Domine, benignus illustra: ut beati Joannis, Apostoli tui et Evangelistae illuminata doctrinis, ad dona perveniat sempiterna.
Mercifully, O Lord, enlighten thy Church: that being taught by blessed John,  thine Apostle and Evangelist,  she may come to thy eternal rewards.

Concede, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut nos Unigeniti tui nova per carnem nativitas liberet, quos sub peccati jugo vetusta servitus tenet.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who groan under the old captivity of sin, maybe freed therefrom by the new Birth of thine Only Begotten Son.
(Commemoration of Christmas)

The Catholic Encyclopaedia on St John:

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