Introduction

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.

Related website: http://www.liturgialatina.org/





Tuesday, 31 January 2017

31st January, St John Bosco, Confessor

St John Bosco, Confessor

John Bosco was born on August 16th 1815 at Becchi in Piedmont. Even in early youth he had a great influence on children; and while still a young shepherd, his future mission was revealed to him in a vision of thousands of lambs and sheep gathered round him.

He was brought up by a saintly mother, Margaret Bosco, and later under the care of the parish priest of Castelnuovo near Asti. He afterwards entered the seminary of Chieri. After his ordination he settled down in Turin, where he was "all to all" (Breviary) and "through his confidence in God" (Breviary) achieved great works in spite of the most fierce opposition.

His wish to help young boys and girls, especially of the poorer classes, led him to found in 1852 the Congregation of the Salesian Fathers and in 1872 that of the Daughters of our Lady Help of Christians (Collect). Full of zeal for souls and for the propagation of the Faith (Martyrology), he established the Union of the Salesian Co-operators in 1875, and founded houses in the foreign missions. Comparing him to Abraham the Church sings: "Against hope he believed in hope, that he may be made father of many nations, according to that which was said to him" (Communion).

Dom Bosco guided young people as their "father and master" (Collect) with such wisdom and prudence that the church compares him to Solomon: "His heart was as large as the sand that is on the sea shore" (Introit), "a golden heart like that of a mother, for the poorest among the poor" (Pius XI).

Like Saint Francis of Sales, whose name he gave to his Order, he did everything in a spirit of divine charity, forgetting himself and working for the glory of God and the salvation of souls (Introit, Collect, Alleluia, Offertory, Secret). In the same way as this great doctor, St John Bosco was inspired by the doctrine of St Paul (Epistle) and by the example of Christ who was meek and humble of heart; he practised and preached holy joy, kindness, thanksgiving (Epistle, Postcommunion) goodness, meekness and humility (Gospel).

In difficult circumstances he defended the interests of the Church and often "helped the Roman Pontiff" (Breviary) by his influence on sectarian statesmen. Thanks to him the effects of anti-religious laws in Italy were often mitigated.

This holy man died in 1888 when 73 years of age. He was canonized by Pius XI on Easter Sunday 1934, and his feast extended to the universal Church in 1936.

His religious family is carrying on his work so that on Dec. 3rd 1933 Pius XI could describe it as numbering: 19000 religious, 1430 houses of education, 80 religious provinces, thousands of churches, chapels boarding schools and boys' clubs, 17 territories in the mission field, hundreds of thousands of pupils and about a million old pupils, about as many co- operators, who after his own expression "lengthen his arm". In heaven, St John Bosco prays for them and for those who have recourse to his intercession (Postcommunion).

Dedit illi Deus sapientiam et prudentiam multam nimis, et latitudinem cordis quasi arenam quae est in littore maris. * Laudate, pueri, Dominum, laudate nomen Domini.
God gave him wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart as the sand that is on the sea shore. * Praise the Lord, ye children: praise ye the name of the Lord,
(3 Kings 4:29 and Psalm 112:1 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui sanctum Joannem Confessorem tuum adolescentium patrem et magistrum excitasti, ac per eum, auxiliatrice Virgine Maria, novas in Ecclesia tua familias florescere voluisti: concede, quaesumus, ut eodem caritatis igne succensi, animas quaerere, tibique soli servire valeamus.
O God, who didst raise up saint John, Thy confessor, to be a father and teacher of youth, and didst will that through him, with the help of the Virgin Mary, new families should flourish in Thy Church, grant, we beseech Thee, that enkindled with the same fire of charity, we may be able to seek after souls and to serve Thee alone.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02689d.htm

Monday, 30 January 2017

30th January, St Martina, Virgin and Martyr

St Martina, Virgin and Martyr

The cycle makes us honour to-day a virgin who, by her constancy in the midst of the most atrocious torments, bore witness before all (Introit) to the divinity of Christ her spouse (Gospel). "I am a Christian," she declares to her executioners, and I confess Jesus Christ."

The Epistle puts on her lips the words of Wisdom : "Lord, my Saviour, Thou hast become my help and protector." And she herself said, in the midst of her sufferings: "I love my Lord Jesus Christ who strengthens me."

St. Martina was beheaded in 228 and joined in heaven the train of Virgins who surround the divine King (Alleluia). Her remains rest in a former temple of Mars, transformed into a church which bears the name of this virgin, whose name recalls that of the god of war. Let us arm ourselves, to defend the divinity of Jesus, with love of purity.

Loquebar de testimoniis tuis in conspectu regum, et non confundebar: et meditabar in mandatis tuis, quae dilexi nimis. * Beati immaculati in via, qui ambulant in lege Domini.
I spoke of Thy testimonies before kings, and I was not ashamed: I meditated also on Thy commandments, which I loved. * Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord.
(Psalm 118:46-47,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui inter cétera poténtiae tuae mirácula étiam in sexu frágili victóriam martýrii contulísti: concéde propítius; ut, qui beátae Martinae Vírginis et Mártyris tuae natalítia cólimus, per ejus ad te exémpla gradiámur.
O God, who among the wonders of Thy power hast granted even to the weaker sex the triumph of martyrdom: mercifully grant that we who celebrate the heavenly birthday of blessed Martina Thy virgin and martyr may, through her example, advance nearer to Thee.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09730a.htm

Sunday, 29 January 2017

29th January, St Francis de Sales, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church

St Francis de Sales, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church

The Word made flesh makes known to us by His teaching the mysteries of His divine wisdom, and by His miracles His eternal love. St. Francis of Sales, a doctor of the Church, had a share in the knowledge of the Incarnate Word (Gradual), and like Him, by his gentle charity (Collect) worked wonders of conversion.

Sent to "preach the word of God to the Calvinists of Chablais, he brought back sixty thousand to the Catholic Faith" (Breviary). Having become the father of the Church at Geneva and founder of the Order of the Visitation, he shed over this double family (Communion) the rays of his apostolic zeal and of his gentle holiness.

"May your light shine before men, so that seeing your works they may glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Gospel). It is especially God's goodness which this saint revealed. "If we must fall into some excess," St. Francis of Sales would say, "let it be on the side of gentleness".

"I wish to love him so much, this dear neighbour, I wish to love him so much! It has pleased God so to make my heart! Oh! when shall we be impregnated with gentleness and in charity towards our neighbour?"

St. Francis of Sales died at Lyons in 1622.

Let us remember this saint's two sayings: "You can catch more flies with a spoonful of honey than with a hundred barrels of vinegar." "What is good makes no noise, noise does no good."

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.
In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and He filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory. * It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy name, O most High.
(Ecclesiasticus 15:5 and Psalm 91:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui ad animárum salútem beátum Francíscum Confessórem tuum atque Pontíficem ómnibus ómnium factum esse voluísti: concéde propítius; ut, caritátis tuae dulcédine perfúsi, ejus dirigéntibus mónitis ac suffragántibus méritis, aetérna gáudia consequámur.
O God, by whose gracious will blessed Francis, Thy confessor and bishop, became all things to all men, for the salvation of their souls; grant, we beseech Thee that being filled with the sweetness of Thy love, we may, by the guidance of his counsels and by the aid of his merits, attain unto the joys of everlasting life. 
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06220a.htm

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Prayer for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta

Ne absorbeat eas Tartarus, ne cadant in infernum.

28th January, St Peter Nolasco, Confessor

St Peter Nolasco, Confessor

Jesus has manifested His divinity by healing both souls and bodies, St. Peter Nolasco, impelled by this example of divine charity and by a heavenly inspiration (Collect) of which St. Raymund of Pennafort was the instrument, spent all the money he possessed (Gospel) in delivering Christians from the captivity in which their bodies languished among the infidels and their souls were exposed to great dangers.

The Order of our Lady of Ransom, founded with this object, shows how the Kingship of Jesus extends to both the natural and supernatural worlds. By a special vow the religious bound themselves to become prisoners of the pagans, if necessary for the deliverance of their brethren in Christ (Epistle). He died in 1256, and was buried with his cuirass and sword.

Justus ut palma florebit: sicut cedrus Libani multiplicabitur: plantatus in domo Domini: in atriis domus Dei nostri. * Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.
The just shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus: planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.
(Psalm 91:13-14,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui in tuae caritátis exémplum ad fidélium redemptiónem sanctum Petrum Ecclésiam tuam nova prole foecundáre divínitus docuísti: ipsíus nobis intercessióne concéde; a peccáti servitúte solútis, in coelésti pátria perpétua libertáte gaudére.
O God, who, for an example of Thy charity, didst divinely teach holy Peter to render Thy Church fruitful in a new order for the ransom of the faithful; grant us, through his intercession, that being loosed from the bonds of our sins, we may enjoy perpetual liberty in our heavenly home.
(Collect)
 
From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11770b.htm

28th January, the second Feast of St Agnes

The second Feast of St Agnes

As it coincided with her "octave-day" a legend grew, saying that she appeared on this day to her parents praying at her tomb, surrounded by a "bevy of virgins" (Introit), resplendent with light. "On her right hand was a lamb whiter than snow: it was Christ consecrating His union with His spouse."

Vultum tuum deprecabuntur omnes divites plebis: adducentur regi virgines post eam: proximae ejus adducentur tibi in laetitia et exsultatione. * Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea regi.
All the rich among the people shall entreat thy countenance: after her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbours shall be brought to thee in gladness and rejoicing. * My heart hath spoken a good word: I speak my works to the King.
(Psalm 44:13-16,2 from the Introit of Mass)
 
Deus, qui nos ánnua beátae Agnetis Vírginis et Martyris tuae sollemnitáte laetíficas: da, quaesumus; ut, quam venerámur officio, étiam piae conversatiónis sequámur exémplo.
O God, who each year dost gladden us by the feast of blessed Agnes, Thy virgin and martyr, grant, we beseech Thee, that while venerating her memory, we may ever strive to model our lives after her holy example.
(Collect)

Stans a dextris ejus Agnus nive candidior, Christus sibi sponsam et Martyrem consecravit.
Christ stood at hand, even he that is as a Lamb whiter than snow, and consecrated her to himself, to be his bride and Martyr.
(Commemoration from Vespers)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01214a.htm

Friday, 27 January 2017

Daily Prayer of Members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta

Domine Jesu, qui me Militiae Equitum Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani participem fieri dignatus es, Te humiliter deprecor, ut, Beata Maria Virgine a Filermo, Sancto Ioanne Baptista, Beato Gerardo cunctisque Sanctis intercedentibus, ad sacra Ordinis nostri instituta servanda benigne me adiuves: Religionem Catholicam, Apostolicam, Romanam firmiter colam ac adversus impietatem strenue defendam. Caritatem erga proximum, praesertim erga pauperes atque infirmos, diligenter exerceam. Concede mihi virtutes, quibus indigeo, ut, ad Evangelii normam, haec pia vota ad maiorem Dei gloriam, totius mundi pacem nostrique Ordinis profectum, mei immemor animoque penitus Christiano, valeam implere. Amen.
 
 Jesus, Thou has seen fit to enlist me for Thy service amongst the Knights and Dames of St John of Jerusalem. I humbly entreat Thee through the intercession of the most holy Virgin of Philerme, of St John the Baptist, Blessed Gerard and all the Saints, to keep me faithful to the traditions of our Order. Be it mine to practise and defend the Catholic, the Apostolic, the Roman faith against the enemies of religion; be it mine to practice charity towards my neighbours, especially the poor and sick. Give me the strength I need to carry out this my resolve, forgetful of myself, learning ever from Thy holy Gospel a spirit of deep and generous Christian devotion, striving ever to promote God’s glory, the world’s peace, and all that may benefit the Order of St John of Jerusalem. Amen.

Catholic Encyclopaedia entry on the Knights of Malta:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07477a.htm

27th January, St John Chrysostom, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church

St John Chrysostom, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church

St. John Chrysostom, born at Antioch towards 347, was a great genius and his powerful eloquence earned for him the surname of Chrysostom, or golden mouthed. The people of Constantinople, eager to hear him, crowded his cathedral.

He ardently loved St. Paul, of whom he would say: "The heart of Paul is the heart of Christ." He also passionately loved Christ, and like the great Apostle he suffered everything rather than allow His divine rights to be impaired.

With St. Athanasius, St. Gregory of Nazianzen and St. Basil, he forms the group of the four great doctors of the Eastern Church (Introit). Anointed archbishop of the imperial city, he always distributed to those whose father he had become the bread of the word and of grace (Communion).
His courage in branding vice, "in correcting in season and out of season " (Epistle), in order always to be the salt of wisdom which preserves souls from corruption (Gospel) caused him to be exiled and ill-treated in all manner of ways (Alleluia). He died a victim of those sufferings, at Comana in Pontus on September 14, 407. January 27 is the anniversary of the translation of his relics under Theodore II in 438.

Let us love to hear the divine word, and let us keep it in our hearts so that our lives reflect the life of God.

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.
In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and He filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory. * It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy name, O most High.
(Ecclesiasticus 15:5 and Psalm 91:2 from the Introit of Mass)
 
Ecclesiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, gratia caelestis amplificet: quam beati Joannis Chrysostomi Confessoris tui atque Pontificis illustrare voluisti gloriosis meritis et doctrinis. 
We beseech Thee, O Lord, that heavenly grace may give increase to Thy Church, which Thou wert pleased to make illustrious by the glorious merits and teaching of blessed John Chrysostom Thy confessor and bishop.

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08452b.htm

Thursday, 26 January 2017

26th January, St Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr

St Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr

St. Polycarp, a disciple of St. John, was by him invested with full sacerdotal powers (Introit) and made bishop of Smyrna. In a letter he writes to the Philippians, he quotes the first Epistle of his master, of which a passage is read in to-day's liturgy. "Whoever," he declares after St. John, "does not confess that Christ has come in the flesh is an antichrist." He claims for Jesus the reality of His quality of Son of God against the heretics of his day who affirmed that the Incarnation of the word was only a semblance. One day when the heretic Marcion asked him if he was known to him, the holy bishop replied "that he knew him as the eldest son of Satan". And to-day's Epistle enables us to distinguish "the sons of God from those who are the sons of Satan". Those who, like Christ, love their brethren, and, like Him, give their lives for them, are of God. That is what St. Polycarp will do. Martyred in the persecution under Commodus, he bore testimony to Christ (Gospel). He was burned in the middle of the amphitheatre and then struck with the sword, in the year 166. He was 86 years old.

Like Polycarp (which name signifies much fruit) let us produce much fruit by loving our neighbour for Jesus's sake.

Sacerdotes tui, Domine, induant justitiam, et sancti tui exsultent: propter David servum tuum, non avertas faciem Christi tui. * Memento, Domine, David et omnis mansuetudinis ejus.
Let Thy priests, O Lord, be clothed with justice, and let Thy saints rejoice: for thy servant David's sake, turn not away the face of Thy anointed. * O Lord, remember David and all his meekness.
(Psalm 131:9-10,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui nos beáti Polycarpi Martyris tui atque Pontíficis ánnua sollemnitáte laetíficas: concéde propítius; ut, cujus natalítia cólimus, de ejúsdem étiam protectióne gaudeámus.
O God, who givest us joy by the annual solemnity of blessed Polycarp thy martyr and bishop, mercifully grant that we may rejoice in his protection whose birthday we celebrate.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12219b.htm

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

25th January, The Conversion of St Paul

 The Conversion of St. Paul

Paul of Tarsus was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin. A most zealous Pharisee, he appears in the Epistle as full of hatred "for the disciples of the Lord." He becomes a "vessel of election" so filled with the Holy Ghost (Epistle), "that all nations shall drink of its fulness," says St. Ambrose, and shall learn through him that "Jesus is the Son of God" (Epistle).

St. Paul is, like the twelve, an apostle of Christ (Alleluia), "he shall sit in one of the twelve seats and shall judge the world when the Son of Man shall Himself be seated on the throne which belongs to Him as Son of God" (Gradual and Gospel).

We owe it to to-day's feast, which follows by a few days that of the Chair of St. Peter at Rome, and which had for its origin a translation of the body of St. Paul, that we are enabled to see the whole Season after Epiphany represented in a picture giving us an admirable vision of the Kingship of Jesus. In the foreground are the two witnesses of the Divinity of Christ, St. Peter more especially sent to the sons of Israel and St. Paul to the Gentiles (Collect, Gradual). In the background is Galilee with its verdant hills where we perceive Cana, the Synagogue of Nazareth and the lake of Genesareth, where Jesus by His miracles proved that He was the Son of God.

Following the example of St. Paul, let us show by our faith and by a new life that Jesus is God and that He is our King.

Scio cui credidi et certus sum, quia potens est depositum meum servare in il­lum diem, justus judex.  Domine, probasti me, et cognovisti me: tu cognovisti sessionem meam, et resurrectionem meam.
I know whom I have be­lieved, and I am certain that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day, being a just Judge. * Lord, Thou hast proved me and known me: Thou hast known my sitting down, and my rising up.
(2 Timothy 1:12 and Psalm 138:1-2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui univérsum mundum beáti Pauli Apóstoli praedicatióne docuísti: da nobis, quaesumus; ut, qui ejus hódie Conversiónem cólimus, per ejus ad te exémpla gradiámur.
O God, who hast taught the whole world by the preaching of blessed Paul the apostle, grant that we, who this day celebrate his conversion, may by following his example, be drawn unto Thee.
(Collect)

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles
And Saul, as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, And asked of him letters to Damascus, to the synagogues: that if he found any men and women of this way, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. And as he went on his journey, it came to pass that he drew nigh to Damascus; and suddenly a light from heaven shined round about him. And falling on the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Who said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad. And he trembling and astonished, said: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said to him: Arise, and go into the city, and there it shall be told thee what thou must do. Now the men who went in company with him, stood amazed, hearing indeed a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. But they leading him by the hands, brought him to Damascus. And he was there three days, without sight, and he did neither eat nor drink. Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias. And the Lord said to him in a vision: Ananias. And he said: Behold I am here, Lord. And the Lord said to him: Arise, and go into the street that is called Stait, and seek in the house of Judas, one named Saul of Tarsus. For behold he prayeth. (And he saw a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hands upon him, that he might receive his sight.) But Ananias answered: Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints in Jerusalem. And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that invoke thy name. And the Lord said to him: Go thy way; for this man is to me a vessel of election, to carry my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house. And laying his hands upon him, he said: Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus hath sent me, he that appeared to thee in the way as thou camest; that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it were scales, and he received his sight; and rising up, he was baptized. And when he had taken meat, he was strengthened. And he was with the disciples that were at Damascus, for some days. And immediately he preached Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. And all that heard him, were astonished, and said: Is not this he who persecuted in Jerusalem those that called upon this name: and came hither for that intent, that he might carry them bound to the chief priests? But Saul increased much more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt at Damascus, affirming that this is the Christ.
(Acts 9:1-22)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11567b.htm

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

24th January, St Timothy, Bishop and Martyr

St. Timothy, Bishop and Martyr

St. Timothy, born at Lystra (Asia Minor) of a pagan father and a Jewish mother, was already a Christian when St. Paul came to that town. St. Paul, whose conversion we celebrate to-morrow, was struck by his holiness and took him as a companion in his travels. St. Timothy thereupon gave up everything and became his disciple (Gospel).

St. Paul conferred on him full sacerdotal powers (Introit) and com­mitted to his care the government of the Church of Ephesus. We read in the Epistle a passage of one of the two admirable letters which his master wrote to him. St. Timothy was stoned to death in his episcopal city ( 97).

Let us with Timothy confess the divinity of Christ in this Season after Epiphany, which is its liturgical manifestation.

Statuit ei Dominus testamentum pacis, et principem fecit eum: ut sit illi sacerdotii dignitas in aeternum. * Memento, Domine, David, et omnis mansuetudinis ejus.
The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, and made him a prince: that the dignity of the priesthood should be to him for ever. * O Lord, remember David: and all his meekness.
(Ecclesiasticus 45:30 and Psalm 131:1 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui univérsum mundum beáti Pauli Apóstoli praedicatióne docuísti: da nobis, quaesumus; ut, qui ejus hódie Conversiónem cólimus, per ejus ad te exémpla gradiámur.
Be mindful of our weakness, O almighty God, and since the burden of our deeds is grievous to us, grant that the glorious intercession of blessed Timothy Thy martyr and bishop may protect us.
(Collect)

Monday, 23 January 2017

23rd January, St Emerentiana, Virgin and Martyr

St Emerentiana, Virgin and Martyr

A foster sister of St Agnes, the virgin Emerentiana, while still a catechumen, shed tears on the tomb of her friend who had just been martyred. Some Pagans mocked at her grief. She, full of the divine virtue of which Jesus is the source (Collect), reproached the idolaters with their cruelty towards Agnes, and they in their fury stoned her on that very tomb. Baptized in her own blood, she went to join for evermore her Spouse and her sister (304).

Me exspectaverunt peccatores, ut perderent me: testimonia tua, Domine, intellexi: omnis consummationis vidi finem: latum mandatum tuum nimis. * Beati immaculati in via: qui ambulant in lege Domini.
The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I have understood Thy testimonies, O Lord: I have seen an end of all perfection: The commandment is exceeding broad. * Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord.
(Psalm 118:95-96,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Indulgéntiam nobis, quaesumus, Dómine, beáta Emerentiána Virgo et Martyr implóret: quae tibi grata semper éxstitit, et merito castitatis, et tuae professione virtútis.
May blessed Emerentiana Thy virgin and martyr, we beseech Thee, O Lord, implore for us Thy forgiveness; for she was ever pleasing unto Thee, both by the merit of her chastity, and by her confession of Thy power.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05401b.htm

23rd January, Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(Pro aliquibus locis)

The first definite knowledge of a feast in honour of the espousals of Mary dates from 1517, when  it was granted by Leo X to the Nuns of the Annunciation, founded by Sainte Jeanne de Valois. This feast was celebrated on 22 October. Its Mass honoured the Blessed Virgin exclusively; it hardly mentioned St. Joseph.

The first proper Office was composed by Pierre Doré, O.P. (died 1569), confessor of Duke Claude of Lorraine. This Office commemorated both Joseph and Mary. Pierre Doré in 1546 unsuccessfully petitioned Paul III to extend the feast of the Desponsatio B.M.V. to the Universal Church. But even without the recommendation of the Apostolic See, the feast was adopted by many Churches.

In our days it is kept in nearly the entire Latin Church on 23 January, in the Spanish-speaking countries on 26 Nov, but it has never been extended to the Universal Church. Since St. Pius V abolished the Office of Pierre Doré and introduced the modern Office, it is again a feast of Mary. The commemoration of St. Joseph in Mass, Vespers, and Lauds  can only be made by a special privilege.

Salve, sancta Parens, eníxa puérpera Regem: qui coelum terrámque regit in saecula saeculórum. * Eructávit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego ópera mea Regi.
Hail, holy Mother, thou who didst bring forth the King Who rules Heaven and earth for ever and ever. * My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King.
(Psalm 44:2, from the Introit of Mass)

Fámulis tuis, quaesumus, Dómine, coeléstis grátiae munus impertíre: ut, quibus beátae Vírginis partus éxstitit salútis exórdium; Desponsatiónis ejus votiva sollémnitas pacis tríbuat increméntum.
Impart unto Thy servants, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the gift of Thy heavenly grace, that to us, for whom the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin was the beginning of our salvation, the votive solemnity of her nativity may give increase of peace.
(Collect)

Sanctíssimae Genetrícis tuae Sponsi, quaesumus, Dómine, méritis adjuvémur: ut, quod possibílitas nostra non óbtinet, ejus nobis intercessióne donétur.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be helped by the merits of the Spouse of Thy most holy Mother, so that we cannot obtain of ourselves, may be given to us through his intercession.
(Commemoration of St. Joseph)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05543a.htm

23rd January, St Raymond of Pennafort, Confessor

St Raymond of Pennafort, Confessor

St. Raymund was born in 1175 of the noble Spanish family of Pennafort. Christ by His teaching and miracles showed Himself to be the Son of God. The Church shows us to-day how, by the knowledge and miracles of St. Raymond and thanks to her saints, she also has a part in the divinity of the Word.

Having given up everything to enter the Order of St. Dominic, of which he is one of the glories, St. Raymund. "meditated on the law of God" (Introit) and wrote the "Summa of cases of conscience", a summary of Christian morals which is much esteemed. Wherefore the Church awarded him the title of "eminent minister of the sacrament of penance" (Collect).

The Collect alludes to the miracle by which, having spread out his cloak on the waters, St. Raymund in six hours crossed the 53 leagues of sea which separate tbe island of Majorca from Barcelona.

He persuaded St. Peter Nolasco to sacrifice his fortune for the ransoming of Christians detained as captives in the Barbary States and with that end in view obtained the institution of the Order of Our Lady of Ransom.

St. Raymund, unwilling to be surprised by the sudden arrival of the Lord (Gospel), employed the last 35 years of his life in a very special manner in preparing himself for death. The saint gave up his soul to God in 1275 at the age of 99.

Through the intercession of St. Raymund, who was the eminent minister of the Sacrament of penance and who miraculously crossed the sea, may we obtain to produce worthy fruits of penance and to reach the haven of eternal salvation (Collect).

Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium; lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius. * Noli aemulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem.
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart. * Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity.
(Psalm 36:30-31,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui beátum Raymúndum poeniténtiae sacraménti insígnem minístrum elegísti, et per maris undas mirabíliter traduxísti: concéde; ut ejus intercessióne dignos poeniténtiæ fructus fácere, et ad ætérnæ salútis portum perveníre valeámus.
O God, who didst elect blessed Raymund to be an eminent minister of the sacrament of penance, and didst miraculously guide him through the waves of the sea, grant that by his intercession, we may bring forth worthy fruits of penance, and reach the haven of eternal life.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12671c.htm

Sunday, 22 January 2017

22nd January, SS. Vincent and Anastasius, Martyrs

SS. Vincent and Anastasius, Martyrs

 Vincent, the deacon of Saragossa, and Anastasius, a monk of Persia, died the same day with an interval of 324 years (304-628), The head of St. Anastasius was brought to Rome and deposited in a church dedicated to him and St. Vincent: therefore their names are associated in one.

Under the emperors Diocletian and Maximian, the deacon Vincent, as formerly the deacon Laurence, was placed on a gridiron over burning coals. "God has tried them like gold in the furnace" (Epistle); wherefore the names of Laurence and Vincent follow one another in the litany of the Saints for their "victorious brows are wreathed with the same laurels".

St. Anastasius was beheaded after suffering atrocious torment "but he was uphold by Christ for whose cause he was persecuted: Thy right hand, O Lord, hath broken the enemies" (Gradual).

On the burning coals Vincent exclaims: "I thought your cruelty would go still further. Anastasius also says:- I expected a more cruel kind of death."

Let us ask God, by the intercession of these holy martyrs, to help us to overcome our temptations and vices and work out our salvation (Collect, Secret, Postcommunion).

Intret in conspectu tuo, Domine, gemitus compeditorum: redde vicinis nostris septuplum in sinu eorum: vindica sanguinem sanctorum tuorum, qui effusus est. * Deus, venerunt gentes in haereditatem tuam: polluerunt templum sanctum tuum: posuerunt Jerusalem in pomorum custodiam.
Let the sighing of the prisoners come in before Thee, O Lord; render to our neighbours sevenfold in their bosom; revenge the blood of Thy saints, which hath been shed. * O God, the heathens are come into Thy inheritance: they have defiled Thy holy temple: they have made Jerusalem as a place to keep fruit.
(Psalm 78:11-12,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Adésto, Dómine, supplicatiónibus nostris: ut, qui ex iniquitáte nostra reos nos esse cognóscimus, beatórum Mártyrum tuórum Vincéntii et Anastásii intercessióne liberémur.
Graciously hear, O Lord, the humble prayers of those who acknowledge the guilt of their sins; that by the intercession of Thy blessed martyrs, Vincent and Anastasius, they may be delivered.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia -
St Vincent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15434b.htm
St Anastasius: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01455c.htm

Saturday, 21 January 2017

21st January, St Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

St Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Today's mass commemorates one of the most touching and glorious triumphs of Jesus over the world. Agnes, the daughter of one of the noblest families of Rome, goes to meet the Spouse (Gospel) and consecrates herself to Him at the age of ten. Jesus in return works through her wonderful prodigies" (Gradual). The son of the prefect of Rome asks for her hand in marriage and she replies: "The one to whom I am betrothed is Christ whom the angels serve."

Then they attempted to dishonour her by violence, but "God delivered her body from perdition" (Epistle). She was thrown on a burning pile, but "the flames did her no harm" (ibid.).

When condemned to be beheaded, she thus encouraged the hesitating executioner: "Strike without fear, for the bride does her spouse an injury if she makes him wait." At the age of thirteen (about 304) this weak girl confounds the powerful of the earth (Introit).

Over her tomb, in the Via Nomentana, was built the magnificent basilica which still exists, and her name, towards the end of the fifth century, was inscribed in the Canon of the Mass with those of five other female martyrs (second list.)

A Benedictine convent is attached to the bssilica of St. Agnes. On this altar, every year on January 21st, the Abbot General of the Canons Regular of Lateran blesses two lambs. Then they are brought to the Vatican, where the Pope blesses them again and entrust them to the nuns of St. Agnes's, who rear them till Good Friday, and weave from their wool the palliums, the insignia of the archbishops, and also, by privilege, of a few bishops. The pallium consists in a narrow band of white woollen cloth and is worn over the chasuble.

Me exspectaverunt peccatores, ut perderent me: testimonia tua, Domine, intellexi: omnis consummationis vidi finem: latum mandatum tuum nimis. * Beati immaculati in via: qui ambulant in lege Domini.
The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I have understood Thy testimonies, O Lord: I have seen an end of all perfection: The commandment is exceeding broad. * Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord.
(Psalm 118:95-96,1 from the Introit of Mass)

O Almighty and everlasting God, who dost choose the weak things of the world, to confound the strong, mercifully grant, that we who celebrate the solemnity of blessed Agnes, Thy virgin and martyr, may experience her intercession with Thee.
(Collect)

Beáta Agnes in médio flammárum expánsis mánibus orábat: Te déprecor, omnípotens, adoránde, colénde, Pater metuénde, quia per sanctum Fílium tuum evási minas sacrílegi tyránni, et carnis spurcítias immaculáto calle transívi: et ecce vénio ad te, quem amávi, quem quaesívi, quem semper optávi.
Blessed Agnes, in the midst of the fire, stretched forth her hands unto the Lord and said: I call on thee, O Father Almighty, august and dread, for by thy holy Son's protection, I did escape the threats of a godless tyrant, and was made to walk with clean feet  through the filthy slough of fleshly sin; and now behold, I come unto thee, whom I have loved, whom I have sought, whom I have alway desired.
(Antiphon from Vespers)

Ecce, quod concupívi, jam vídeo: quod sperávi jam téneo: ipsi sum juncta in caelis, quem in terris pósita, tota devotióne diléxi.
Lo, what I desired, I now do see; what I did hope for I now possess; now am I united in heaven to him whom I loved with my whole heart upon earth.
(Antiphon from Lauds)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01214a.htm

Friday, 20 January 2017

Prayer for the United States of America.

Prayer for the Government

Abridged from a Prayer composed by Archbishop Carroll A. D. 1800 for the United States of America

We pray Thee, O Almighty and Eternal God, who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy; that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue, with unchanging faith, in the confession of Thy name.

We pray Thee, O God of might, wisdom, and justice, through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist, with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude, the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people, over whom he presides, by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality.

Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of the Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government; so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge, and may perpetuate to us the blessings of equal liberty.

We pray for his Excellency the Governor of this State, for the members of the Assembly, for all Judges, Magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare; that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise to Thy unbounded mercy all our brethren and fellow-citizens, throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge, and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union and in that peace which the world cannot give; and, after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

20th January, St Fabian, Pope, and St Sebastian, Martyr

St Fabian, Pope, and St Sebastian, Martyr

The two great Roman martyrs, Fabian and Sebastian, made manifest the first in 250 in the persecution of Decius, the second in 284 in that of Diocletian, the divine power of Christ "who operated wonders in them" (Gradual). The ancient martyrologies unite their names.

The appearance of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove, had attested the divinity of Jesus on the day ot His Baptism. It was also a dove hovering above Fabian that pointed him out to the Church as vicar of Jesus Christ.

St. Sebastian, an officer of the imperial household and commander of a cohort, encouraged his brothers in arms subjected to torments on account of their faith. Diocletian ordered him to be pierced with arrows. Sebastian, having escaped death, reappeared before the emperor and reproached him with his crimes. He was condemned to be flogged to death.

Like the martyrs mentioned in the Epistle, these two saints "were found perfect in the testimony they bore of their faith in Jesus Christ," for "it is for the cause of the Son of Man that they suffered persecution" (Gospel). Numerous cures were wrought by St. Sebastian or rather by the virtue of Christ which was in him (Gospel and Communion).

Let us in our weakness have recourse (Collect) to the powerful protection of these glorious martyrs.

Intret in conspectu tuo, Domine, gemitus compeditorum: redde vicinis nostris septuplum in sinu eorum: vindica sanguinem sanctorum tuorum, qui effusus est. * Deus, venerunt gentes in haereditatem tuam: polluerunt templum sanctum tuum: posuerunt Jerusalem in pomorum custodiam.
Let the sighing of the prisoners come in before Thee, O Lord; render to our neighbours sevenfold in their bosom; revenge the blood of Thy saints, which hath been shed. * O God, the heathens are come into Thy inheritance: they have defiled Thy holy temple: they have made Jerusalem as a place to keep fruit.
(Psalm 78:11-12,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Infirmitatem nostram respice, omnipotens Deus: et, quia pondus propriae actionis gravat, beatorum Martyrum tuorum Fabiani et Sebastiani intercessio gloriosa nos protegat.
Mercifully look on our weakness, O almighty God; since the weight of our own evil deeds bears us down, may the glorious intercession of Thy blessed martyrs, Fabian and Sebastian, be our protection.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia -
St Sebastian: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13668a.htm
St Fabian: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05742d.htm

Thursday, 19 January 2017

19th January, SS. Marius, Martha, Audifax and Abachum, Martyrs

SS. Marius, Martha, Audifax and Abachum, Martyrs


Marius and Martha his wife were Persian nobles, who with their two sons Audifax and Abachum came to Rome to worship God in the reign of Claudius II. There they visited Christians cast into prison for their faith: "You had compassion on prisoners," says the Epistle. They devoted themselves in many ways to the service of religion; but soon they had themselves to suffer for the faith: for "they were tortured and put to death" (Gospel). "Without fearing the persecutors" (Communion), they underwent all these torments with prayers of thanksgiving on their lips, for in them they saw like "the sparrow liberated from the bird-catcher's net and who escapes towards heaven" (Offertory), the means of going to enjoy God for evermore (Introit). They were martyred in 270.


Let us ask Jesus Christ "who showed Himself so admirably in these martyrs" (Alleluia) also to make manifest in our souls the effects of His divine power so that, "enjoying peace in this life, we may in the other receive the eternal reward" (Collect).

Justi epulentur, et exultent in conspectu Dei, et delectentur in laetitia. * Exsurgat Deus, et dissipentur inimici ejus: et fugiant qui oderunt eum, facie ejus.
Let the just feast, and rejoice before God: and be delighted with gladness. * Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered: and let them that hate Him flee from before His face.
(Psalm 67:4,2  from the Introit of Mass)

Exaudi, Domine, populum tuum cum Sanctorum tuorum patrio cinio supplicantem: ut et temporalis vitae nos tribuas pace gaudere; et aeternae reperire subsidium.
Hear Thy people, O Lord, supplicating Thee through the intercession of Thy saints: that Thou wouldst grant us to enjoy peace in this life, and obtain help unto life eternal.
(Collect)
From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09671b.htm

19th January, St Canute IV, King and Martyr

St Canute IV, King and Martyr

St. Canute having ascended the throne of Denmark (1080-1086), ardently endeavoured to spread the faith in his kingdom. His charity and his zeal for religion soon made him enemies who put him to death while he was praying at the foot of the altar in the church of St. Alban. God made manifest the holiness of His servant by numerous miracles wrought at his tomb.

In virtute tua, Domine laetabitur justus: et super salutare tuum exsultabit vehementer: desiderium animae ejus tribuisti ei. * Quoniam praevenisti eum in bendictionibus dulcedinis: posuisti in capite ejus coronam de lapide pretioso.
In Thy strength, O Lord, the just man shall joy and in Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly: Thou hast given him his heart's desire. For Thou hast prevented him with blessing of sweetness: Thous hast set on his head a crown of precious stones.
(Psalm 20:2-3,4 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, quid ad illustrandam Ecclesiam tuam, beatum Canutum regem martyrii palma et gloriosis miraculis decorare dignatur es: concede propitus; ut, sicut ipse Dominicae passionis imitator fuit, ita nos per ejus vestigia gradientes, ad gaudia sempiterna pervenire mereamur.
O God, Who, for the greater glory of Thy Church, wast pleased to adorn blessed Canute the king with the palm of martyrdom and with glorious miracles: mercifully grant that walking in the footsteps of him who followed our Lord in His sufferings, we may deserve to attain eternal joys.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03307a.htm

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

18th January, St Prisca, Virgin and Martyr

St Prisca, Virgin and Martyr

St Prisca suffered cruel torments at the age of thirteen under the Emperor Claudius in the first century. In spite of the efforts made to force her to adore idols, her great faith filled her with the divine strength of Jesus and she went to heaven wearing the double crown of virginity and martyrdom.

Me exspectaverunt peccatores, ut perderent me: testimonia tua, Domine, intellexi: omnis consummationis vidi finem: latum mandatum tuum nimis. * Beati immaculati in via: qui ambulant in lege Domini.
The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I have understood Thy testimonies, O Lord: I have seen an end of all perfection: The commandment is exceeding broad. * Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord.
(Psalm 118:95-96,1 from the Introit of Mass)

Da, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, qui beatae Prisca, Vírginis et Martyris tuae natalitia colimus; et annua solemnitate laetémur, et tantae fídei proficiamus exémplo.
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God that we, who venerate the birthday of blessed Prisca, Thy virgin and martyr, may both rejoice for her annual solemnity and profit by the example of so great faith.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Prisca: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12428c.htm

18th January, St Peter's Chair at Rome

St Peter's Chair at Rome


The manifestation of the divinity of Jesus, which characterizes the Season after Epiphany, demands of us the recognition of His Kingship over our souls.

Christ is the Head of the Church. But as He is to reascend some day to heaven, He communicates His divine power to a man, for after the Incarnation, it is by human intermediaries that God wills normally to establish His dealings with us. The man whom Jesus constitutes "Prince" of souls (Introit), and "on whom He builds His Church" (Gospel), is St. Peter. As Vicar of Christ he will sit in the chair once occupied by Jesus and will hold in his hands the keys as symbol of supreme authority (Collect, Gospel).

We read in the Epistle, the beginning of the first letter of St. Peter. All the letters of the apostle bear the mark of his primacy. Rome is to be the capital of the kingdom of heaven upon earth. It is to Rome that Peter will come, it is on Rome's blessed soil that he will shed his blood, he will be Bishop of Rome. Wherefore we must see in this feast a liturgical testimony to the primacy of honour and jurisdiction attached to the chair of Rome. This material chair is still preserved in the apse of the basilica of St. Peter.

St. Paul, during his sojourn at Corinth, in the year 58, wrote an Epistle to tbe Romans. Towards the year 62, he was led to Rome a captive and remained there two years. Imprisoned again in the year 67 he was put to death, like St. Peter, in the henceforth eternal city. Wherefore the liturgy associates, in a second Collect, the glorious name of the Apostle with that of the first Bishop of Rome.

Let us to-day pray for the Pope, successor of St. Peter, that he may freely exercise the divine powers communicated to him by Jesus, Son of God.

Statuit ei Dominus testamentum pacis, et principem fecit eum: ut sit illi sacerdotii dignitas in aeternum. * Memento Domine David et omnis mansuetudinis ejus.
The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, and made him a prince; that the dignity of the priesthood should be to him for ever. * O Lord, remember David: and all his meekness.
(Ecclus. 45:30 and Psalm 131:1. From the Introit at Mass).

Deus, qui beato Petro Apóstolo tuo, collátis clavibus regni coeléstis, ligandi atque solvéndi pontifícium tradidísti: concéde; ut, intercessiónis ejus auxilio, a peccatorum nostrórum néxibus liberémur.
O God, Who, committing to blessed Peter, Thine apostle, the keys of the heavenly kingdom, didst bestow on him the pontifical function of binding and loosing, grant that, by the help of his intercession, we may be delivered from the bonds of our sins.
(Collect)

Deus, qui multitúdinem géntium beati Pauli Apóstoli praedicatióne docuisti: da nobis, quaesumus: ut cujus commemoratiónem colimus, ejus apud te patrocínia sentiámus.
O God, Who by the preaching of the blessed apostle Paul didst teach the multitude of the gentiles, grant us, we pray Thee, that, honoring his commemoration, we may experience the benefit of his patronal influence with Thee.
(Commemoration of St Paul)

The continuation of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.
At that time, Jesus came into the quarters of Caesarea Philippi, and He asked His disciples, Saying, "Whom do men say that the Son of man is?" But they said, Some, John the Baptist, and other some, Elias, and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. Jesus saith to them,"But whom do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answering, said to him,"Blessed art thou, Simon Bar Jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father Who is in Heaven: and I say to thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and to thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven."
(St Matthew 16:13-19)

Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclésiam Meam: et portae ínferi non praevalébunt advérsus eam: et tibi dabo claves regni coelórum.
Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.
(St Matthew 16:18-19)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia on the Chair of St Peter: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03551e.htm

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

17th January, St Anthony, Abbot

St Anthony, Abbot

After St Paul, father of the anchorites or hermits, the Christmas Cycle honours St Anthony, father of the cenobites, who live in common.

When he was eighteen he retired into the Egyptian desert and led the life of a hermit. The devil, in order to frighten him and drive him from the solitude would appear to him in the most hideous shapes; "but the Lord made him formidable to his foes: one word from his mouth reduced these prodigies to nothingness." (Epistle)

His holiness soon attracted souls desirous to see the divine Kingship of Christ more perfectly confirmed in themselves. As a new lawgiver, he gave them "the doctrine and rule of faith that he had received from God in prayer" (Epistle).

St Anthony, the first of Abbots, instituted monastic life in common, by which are formed noble souls always ready, like their father in God, to receive the Lord when he shall come to take them from this world (Gospel). Wherefore today's mass is that of the common of Abbots.

He also strenuously fought against Arianism and with St Athanasius who honoured him with his friendship, he successfully defended the dogma of the divinity of Christ. He died in 356 at the age of 105 years.

Let us show forth by the perfection of our lives that we share in the divinity of Jesus.

Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium: lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius. * Noli aemulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem.
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart. * Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity.
(Psalm 36:30-31 and 1 from the Introit of Mass)

May the intercession of the blessed Abbot Anthony, we beseech Thee, O Lord, commend us unto Thee, that what we cannot have through our own merits, we may obtain through his patronage.


From the Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Anthony: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01553d.htm

Monday, 16 January 2017

16th January, St Marcellus, Pope and Martyr

St Marcellus, Pope and Martyr

As supreme head of the Church (Introit, Gradual) at the time of the last persecutions of the Roman emperors, St. Marcellus bore witness to the divinity of Christ "by losing his life for His sake" (Gospel).

The holy widow Lucina having offered him her house, he transformed it into a church now called St. Marcellus's. Maxentius transferred there certain deer from the public stables and condemned the holy Pope to keep them. His sufferings tempered by divine consolation made him feel all the more for the troubles of his flock (Epistle). Exhausted by ill-treatment, conquered by pain, he died in 309.

His heroic resistance against which the Caesar's violence was broken proves that Jesus is God, for "it is His powerful hand that succours His servant, and His arm which strengthens him so that the enemy shall not get the better of him" (Gradual). The divine reign of the Saviour will indeed soon be acknowledged and with the Emperor Constantine, the Church of Rome, "Queen of Churches," as St. Marcellus called her, will be queen of the world, not only in the spiritual order but also in the temporal.

Let us imitate the courage of the holy Pontiff Marcellus in defending the divine rights of Christ in order that they may be manifested again by the triumph of the Church.

Statuit ei Dominus testamentum pacis, et principem fecit eum: ut sit illi sacerdotii dignitas in aeternum. * Memento Domine David et omnis mansuetudinis ejus.
The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, and made him a prince; that the dignity of the priesthood should be to him for ever. * O Lord, remember David: and all his meekness.
(Ecclus. 45:30 and Psalm 131:1. From the Introit at Mass).

Mercifully hear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the prayers of Thy people; that we who rejoice in the martyrdom of blessed Marcellus, Thy martyr and bishop, may be helped by his merits.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09640b.htm

16th January, St Joseph Vaz, Confessor

Saint Joseph Vaz, Confessor


Blessed Joseph VazJoseph Vaz was born in1651 at Goa in west India. He was ordained in 1676, and became well-known for his zeal. He and a number of other priests formed an Oratory of St Philip Neri in Goa, living a community life without vows.

Joseph became increasingly concerned with the plight of the Church in Ceylon, where no priest had been able to minister for fifty years because of the anti-Catholic restrictions imposed by the Dutch rulers of the island. He set off with two companions, and in 1686 landed in Ceylon.

Eventually Joseph was able to identity a few Catholics in Ceylon, and he began a ministry of reconciling those who had abandoned the faith, and receiving converts. He travelled the island dressed as a beggar, often having to flee from the Dutch persecutors.


Eventually Joseph made his way to the independent kingdom of Kandy, situationed in the moutainous interior of Ceylon. After having worked miracles that convinced the king of his divine protection, he was allowed to set up a mission in Kandy. Eventually the faith spread through Ceylon, including the Dutch territories.



Joseph died on 16th January 1711, having devoted his life to the service of Christ and the propagation of the faith. He was beatified in 1995, and canonized in 2015.



Justus ut palma florebit: sicut cedrus Libani multiplicabitur: plantatus in domo Domini: in atriis domus Dei nostri. * Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.
The just shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus: planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.
(Psalm 91:13-14,2 from the Introit of Mass)



Lord God, by whose surpassing mercy Blessed Joseph made known the unfathomable riches of Christ, grant, at his intercession, that we may grow in knowledge of you, yield fruit in every good work, and by the truth of the Gospel live faithfully in your presence. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Proper Collect)

Further details about Blessed Joseph Vaz: http://www.oxfordoratory.org.uk/bl-joseph-vaz.php

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Third Sunday after Epiphany

Third Sunday after Epiphany

The third, fourth, fifth and sixth Sundays after Epiphany have the same Introit, Gradual, Offertory and Communion which testify to our Lord's divinity, to the fact that He worked miracles, and to the worship that we owe Him. In fact, throughout this time after Epiphany, the Church does not cease to manifest our Lord's divinity and therefore His Kingship over men. He is King over Jew and Gentile alike; and thus, following St. Matthew, the Church chooses a Gospel which records two miracles worked by our Lord to prove His divine Sonship to both. The first of them was on behalf of a leper, the second of a centurion. The one, as a member of the chosen race was bound by the law of Moses; the other, our Lord Himself implies, was not of the house of Israel. By one word of our Lord the leper is cleansed, and his cure is to be made known in the priest as "a testimony unto them" of the divinity of Christ (Gospel). The centurion, himself bears witness that our Lord is God, by his words of humility and trust, which the Church puts on our own lips daily in the Holy Mass. Moreover, he gives the same testimony by the argument which he builds up; taking his own office as an illustration, he affirms that our Lord has only to speak the word and illness will obey Him; thus he obtains the great miracle which he asked.

All nations will share in the heavenly feast in which the divinity of  our Lord will be the food of their souls. And just as in a banqueting hall all is warmth and light, so the pains of hell, the punishment of those who reject that divinity, are well described by the cold and the night which reign outside, the "exterior darkness" which contrasts with the dazzling brilliance ot the marriage chamber.

The two miracles mentioned in to-day's Gospel are put by St. Matthew at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, at which "the people were in admiration," and so they confirm the fact, that truly it was "from the mouth of God" that that doctrine proceeded, which caused so much wonder in the synagogue at Nazareth (Communion). Let us make acts of faith in our Lord's divinity, and that we may enter into His kingdom, let us by deeds of charity "heap upon the head" of those who hate us "coals of fire" (Epistle), that is, feelings of confusion inspired in them by our magnanimity, giving them no rest until they have righted the wrongs which they have done. In this way we shall make the mystery of the Epiphany a reality in our own lives; that of Christ's kingship over all men who unite themselves to Him by their common faith, and who must henceforth love each other as brethren. As St. Augustine says, "Charity is the effect of the grace of faith in Jesus Christ."



Adorate Deum omnes Angeli ejus: audivit et laetata est Sion, et exsultaverunt filiae Judas. * Dominus regnavit, exsultet terra, laetentur insulae multae.
Adore God, all ye his Angels: Sion heard and was glad, and the Daughters of Juda rejoiced. * The Lord hath reigned, let the earth rejoice, let many islands be glad.
(Psalm 96:7-8,1 from the Introit of Mass)
 
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, infirmitatem nostram propitius respice: atque ad protegendum nos, dexteram tuae majestatis extende.
O Almighty and Eternal God, mercifully behold our weakness, and stretch forth the right hand of thy majesty to protect us.
(Collect)
 
O God, who, by the fruitful Virginity of the Blessed Mary, hast given to mankind the rewards of eternal salvation, grant, we beseech thee, that we may experience Her intercession, by whom we received the Author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son.
(Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
 
 Mercifully hear, we beseech thee, O Lord, the prayers of thy Church, that all oppositions and errors being removed, she may serve thee with a secure and undisturbed devotion.
(Against the persecutors of the church)

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.
At that time, when Jesus was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him; and behold a leper came and adored him, saying: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus stretching forth his hand, touched him, saying: I will, be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith to him: See thou tell no man, but go show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them. And when he had entered unto Capharnaum, there came to him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying: Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and sorely tormented. And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him. And the centurion making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. And when Jesus heard this, he marvelled, and said to them that followed him: Amen, I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jesus said to the centurion: Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. And his servant was healed at that hour.
(St Matthew 8:1-13)

Second Sunday after Epiphany

Second Sunday after Epiphany

Almighty God, faithful to His promise to Abraham and his children, sent His Son to save His people; while in His mercy He willed to redeem the heathen as well. Therefore Christ is the King whom, as its Redeemer, the whole world must hail and adore (Introit and Gradual). It was through His death on the Cross that He became our King and it is through the Eucharist, the memorial of Calvary, that by applying the merits of His Redemption to our souls, He exercises His kingship over us. In this miracle at Cana, a type of the Holy Eucharist, did our Lord formally manifest His divinity, i.e. His character as divine and therefore royal, and "His disciples believed in Him". The turning of water into wine is a type of transubstantiation, called by St. Thomas the greatest of all miracles, by which the wine of the Eucharist becomes the blood of the covenant of peace which God has made with His Church. Since also the divine King wishes to espouse our souls and since, as Bossuet says, it is through the Eucharist that this mystical marriage is consummated, the marriage feast at Cana also signifies the union of the Word with His spouse the Church. "Having been invited to the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee," says St. Auguatine, "our Lord attended, that being alone the author of the sacrament of Matrimony, He might confirm conjugal chastity." He also meant to make known to us the mystery of which these nuptials were the sign, that is the union of Christ with His Church. For even those who, by a vow, have bound themselves to almighty God in the virginal state are not without nuptials since, with the whole Church, they have a part in the nuptials in which Christ Himself is the Spouse, and in this case, our Lord is typified by the bridegroom who kept to the end the good wine, that is, the Gospel.


Omnis terra adoret Te, Deus, et psallat Tibi: psalmum dicat nomini tuo, Altissime. * Jubilate Deo, omnis terra, psalmum dicite nomini ejus: date gloriam laudi ejus.
Let all the earth adore Thee, O God, and sing to Thee: let it sing a psalm to Thy name, O most High. * Shout with joy to God, all the earth, sing ye a psalm to His name: give glory to His praise.
(Psalm 65:4,1,2 from the Introit of Mass.)

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui caelestia simul et terrene moderaris: supplications populi tui clementer exaudi; et pacem tuam nostris concede temporibus.
Almighty and everlasting God, Who dost govern all things in Heaven and earth, mercifully hear the prayers of Thy people, and grant us Thy peace all the days of our life.
(Collect)

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John.
At that time there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and His disciples, to the marriage. And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to Him: 'They have no wine.' And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to Me and to thee? My hour is not yet come.' His mother saith to the waiters: 'Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye.' Now there were set there six water-pots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures a piece Jesus saith to them: Fill the water-pots with water.' And they filled them up to the brim. And Jesus said to them:' Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast.' And they carried it. And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, he knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water: the chief steward calleth the bridegroom, and saith to him: 'Every man at first setteth forth good wine: and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou has kept the good wine until now.' This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee: and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
(St John 2:1-11)

15th January, St Paul the Hermit

St Paul the Hermit

St Paul, father of hermits, had St Jerome for his historian. Having become an orphan at the age of fifteen, he gave up his possessions and retired into a desen where a flourishing palm-tree, a symbol of his vinues (Introit) provided him with food and clothing.

He meditated in solitude on the science of sciences which is to know Jesus Christ (Epistle) and the Father whom Christ reveals to the humble (Gospel). He lived thus to the age of 112, enjoying in the heroic exercise of prayer and penance the sweetness of the Lord's yoke (ibid.).

The great St. Anthony of the desert visited him a little before his death and St. Paul asked him, as a last favour, to allow him to sleep his last sleep in the cloak of St. Athanasius, the invincible defender of the divinity of Christ. He thereby affirmed that he died in the communion of this saint and that his own long life of penance had encouraged those who fought against the Arian heresy. He died towards 342. During this season after Epiphany, consecrated to the manifestation of the Divinity of Jesus, let us with St Paul the Hermit, endeavour to convince ourselves that a Christian life consists in recognizing Christ as the Son of God and in sanctifying ourselves by making His divine holiness our own (Epistle).

Justus ut palma florebit: sicut cedrus Libani multiplicabitur: plantatus in domo Domini: in atriis domus Dei nostri. * Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.
The just shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus: planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.
(Psalm 91:13-14,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui nos beáti Pauli Confessóris tui ánnua sollemnitáte laetíficas: concéde propítius; ut, cujus natalítia cólimus, étiam actiónes imitémur.
O God who dost gladden us by the annual solemnity of blessed Paul Thy confessor, mercifully grant that we who celebrate his heavenly birthday may also imitate his example.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11590b.htm

15th January, St Maurus, Abbot

St Maurus, Abbot

Haying been committed in his earliest childhood by the Senator Eutychius, his father, to the care of St. Benedict, the great Patriarch of the monks of the West, St. Maurus faithfully reproduced all the virtues of his Master. The latter having commanded him to save young Placid who was drowning, he walked with simple confidence on the waters of a torrent and brought him back safe and sound. Haying been sent to Gaul according to a tradition, he promulgated "the Holy Rule of St. Benedict", founded the monastry at Glanfeuil and wrought many miracles.

By his doctrine, permeated by evangelical perfection, and by his works, that is to say by thousands of abbeys which during twelve centuries covered France, and which all sprang from the one he had founded, he bore striking testimony to the divinity of Jesus. He died in 584.

Os justi meditabitur sapientiam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium: lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius. * Noli aemulari in malignantibus: neque zelaveris facientes iniquitatem.
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart. * Be not emulous of evildoers: nor envy them that work iniquity.
(Psalm 36:30-31 and 1 from the Introit of Mass)

Intercéssio nos, quaesumus, Dómine, beáti Mauri Abbátís comméndet: ut, quod nostris méritis non valémus, ejus patrocínio assequámur.
May the intercession of the blessed Abbot Maurus, we beseech Thee, O Lord, commend us unto Thee, that what we cannot have through our own merits, we may obtain through his patronage.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10072a.htm

Saturday, 14 January 2017

14th January, St Felix, Priest and Martyr

St Felix of Nola, Priest and Martyr

This holy priest was born at Nola, a little town in the south of Italy, and died towards 312. Violently persecuted for the faith, he earned the title of martyr although he survived the cruel torments which he underwent. Innumerable miracles have made his tomb famous. According to St Paulinus, who owed to him conversion, Nola became, after Rome, the second place for pilgrimages, so numerous in the fourth century. Thus the divine power of the Master is proclaimed by this glorious servant.

Laetábitur justus in Dómino, et sperábit in eo: et laudabúntur omnes recti corde. * Exáudi, Deus, oratiónem meam, cum déprecor: a timóre inimíci éripe ánimam meam.
The just shall rejoice in the Lord, and shall hope in Him: and all the upright of heart shall be praised. * Hear, O God, my prayer when I make supplications to Thee: deliver my sould from the fear of the enemy.
(Psalm 63:11,2 from the Introit of Mass)

Concéde, quaesumus, omnípotens Deus: ut ad meliórem vitam Sanctórum tuórum exémpla nos próvocent; quaténus, quorum sollémnia ágimus, étiam actus imitémur.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that the examples of Thy saints may move us to lead a better life; so that while keeping their feast days, we may also strive to imitate their good deeds.
(Collect)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Felix of Nola: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06033b.htm

14th January, St Hilary, Bishop and Doctor

St Hilary, Bishop and Doctor

After having persecuted the Church during the first centuries, the Christian, but at the same time heretical emperors, continued their attacks by supporting Arianism which denied the divinity of Christ. In the season after Epiphany, when Jesus affirms His divinity by His teaching and miracles, the first saint whom the Church presents to us is one of the most intrepid defenders of this fundamental dogma of Christianity. St Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers in 352, endowed with great natural and supernatural talent, for "the Lord has filled him with the spirit of wisdom and intelligence" (Introit), fought with his pen and his eloquence against those "who closed their ears to truth and opened them to fables" (Epistle).

The salt of the earth, this light on God's house, would not suffer, under the false excuse of favouring peace and unity, the salt of true doctrine to be corrupted or the light of truth to be hidden under a bushel. "Having thus taught the practice of the commandments even to the last tittle, he is great in the kingdom of heaven" (Gospel), and the Church which is the earthly portion of this kingdom has, by the voice of Pope Pius IX, awarded him the title of Doctor of the Church. He died in 368.

Let us have recourse to the intercession of St Hilary in order always to be the intrepid defenders of the divinity of Christ.

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.
In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and He filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory. * It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy name, O most High.
(Ecclesiasticus 15:5 and Psalm 91:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, qui pópulo tuo aetérnae salútis beátum Hilarium minístrum tribuísti: praesta quaesumus; ut, quem Doctórem vitae habúimus in terris, intercessórem habére mereámur in coelis.
O God, who didst give unto Thy people blessed Hilary to be a minister of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may be worthy to have as an intercessor in heaven him, whom we have had as teacher of life on earth.
(Collect)

Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Hilary of Poitiers: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07349b.htm