Thursday, January 31, 2013
Blessing of Candles for Candlemas (February 2)

The Feast of Candlemas, exactly 40 days after Christmas, commemorates Mary's obedience to the Mosaic law by submitting herself to the Temple for the ritual purification, as commanded in Leviticus.

The Feast of the Purification is called Candlemas for the traditional blessing and distribution of candles on that day.  It is customary to bring candles from home to be blessed -- at least 51% beeswax candles that one uses for devotional purposes (candles for the family altar, Advent candles, etc.) -- so they can be lit after dusk on All Saints' Day (1 November), during the Sacrament of Unction, and during storms and times of trouble.  Nowadays, though, for those few parishes continuing this ancient observance, the parish will provide the candles.

Dom Gueranger writes, "After Terce, follows the Blessing of the Candles, which is one of the three principal Blessings observed by the Church during the year; the other two are those of the Ashes and of the Palms. The signification of this ceremony bears so essential a connection with the mystery of our Lady’s Purification, that if Septuagesima, Sexagesima, or Quinquagesima Sunday fall on the 2nd of February, the Feast is deferred to tomorrow; but the Blessing of the Candles, and the Procession which follows it, always take place on this precise day."

Image Source:

The principal Mass on Candlemas is typically preceded by a procession with the lighted candles and the singing of anthems. The lighted candles are held during the reading of the Gospel and from the beginning of the Canon of the Mass to Communion.

1. the blessing 
The Priest, vested in a violet cope, blesses the candles, which are placed near the altar

V. Dominus Vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy Spirit.
First Prayer
Oremus. -- Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus, qui omnia ex nihilo creasti, ut jussu tuo per opera apum, hunc liquorem ad perfectionem cereri venire fecisti: et qui hodierna die petitionem justi Simeonis implesti: te humiliter deprecamur; ut has candelas as usushominum, et sanitatem coporum et animarum, sive, in acquis, per invocationem tui sanctisimi nominis, et per intercessionem beatae Mariae semper Virgnis, cujus hodie festa devote celebrantur, et per preces omnium Sanctorum tuorum, bene†dicere, et sanci†ficare digneris: et hujus plebis tuae, quae illas honorifice in manibus desiderat portare, teque cantando laudare, exaudias voces de coelo sancto tuo, et de sede majestatis tuae: et propitius sis omnibus clamantibus ad te, quos redemisti pretioso sanguine Filii tui: Qui tecum vivit et regnat. Let us Pray -- O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, who hast created all things out of nothing, and by Thy command hast caused this liquid to become perfect wax by the labor of bees: and who, on this day didst fulfill the petition of the righteous man Simeon: we humbly entreat Thee, that by the invocation of Thy most holy Name and through the intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin whose feast is today devoutly observed, and by the prayers of all Thy Saints, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bless † and sanctify † these candles for the service of men and for the health of their bodies and souls, whether on land or on sea: and that Thou wouldst hear from Thy holy heaven, and from the throne of Thy Majesty the voices of this Thy people, who desire to carry them in their hands with honor, and to praise Thee with hymns; and wouldst be propitious to all that call upon Thee, Whom Thou hast redeemed with the precious Blood of Thy Son.
Second prayer 
Oremus. -- Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui hodierna die Unigenitum tuum ulnis sancti Simeonis in templo sancto tuo suscipiendum praesentasti: tuam supplices deprecamur clementiam; ut has candelas, quas nos famuli tui, in tui nominis magnificentiam sucipientes, gestare cupimus luce accensas, bene†dicere et sancti†ficare, atque lumine supernae benedictionis accendere digneris: quatenus eas tibi Domino Deo nostro offerendo digni, et sancto igne dulcissimae caritatis tuae succensi, in templo sancto gloriae tuae repraesentari mereamur Per eumdem Dominum nostrum. O almighty and everlasting God, who on this day didst present Thine only-begotten Son in Thy holy temple to be received in the arms of holy Simeon: we humbly entreat Thy clemency, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bless † and sanctify † and to kindle with the light of Thy heavenly benediction these candles, which we, Thy servants, desire to receive and to bear lighted in the honor of Thy Name: that, by offering them to Thee our Lord God, being worthily inflamed with the holy fire of Thy most sweet charity, we may deserve to be presented in the holy temple of Thy glory. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
Third prayer
Oremus. -- Domine Jesu Christe, lux vera, quae illuminas omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum: effunde bene†dictionem tuam super hos cereos, et sancti†fica eos lumine gratiae tuae, et concede propitiusl ut, sicut haec luminaria igne visibili accensa nocturnas depellunt tenebras; ita corda nostra invisibili igne, id est Sancti Spiritus splendore illustrata, omnium vitorum caecitate careant: ut, purgato mentis oculo, ea cernere possimus quae tibi sunt placita, et nostrae saluti utilia; quatenus post hujus saeculi caliginosa discrimina, ad lucem indeficientem pervenire mereamur. Per te, Christe Jesu Salvator mundi, qui in Trinitate perfecta vivis et regnas Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. O Lord Jesus Christ, the true Light who enlightenest every man that cometh into this world: pour forth Thy blessing † upon these candles, and sanctify † them with the light of Thy grace, and mercifully grant, that as these lights enkindled with visible fire dispel the darkness of night, so our hearts illumined by invisible fire, that is, by the splendor of the Holy Spirit, may be free from the blindness of all vice, that the eye of our mind being cleansed, we may be able to discern what is pleasing to Thee and profitable to our salvation; so that after the perilous darkness of this life we may deserve to attain to neverfailing light: through Thee, O Christ Jesus, Savior of the world, who in the perfect Trinity, livest and reignest, God, world without end.
Fourth prayer
Oremus. -- Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui per Moysen famulum tuum purissimum oleo liquorem ad luminaria ante conspectum tuum jugiter concinnanda praeparari jussisti bene†dictionis tuae gratiam super hos cereos benignus infunde; quatenus sic administrent lumen exterius, ut te donante, lumen Spiritus tui nostris non desit mentibus interius. Per unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti. O almighty and everlasting God, who by Thy servant Moses didst command the purest oil to be prepared for lamps to burn continuously before Thee: vouchsafe to pour forth the grace of Thy blessing † upon these candles: that they may so afford us light outwardly that by Thy gift, the gift of Thy Spirit may never be wanting inwardly to our minds. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
Fifth prayer
Oremus. -- Domine Jesu Christe, qui hodierna die in nostrae carnis substantia inter homines apparents, a parentibus in templo es praesentatus: quem Simeon venerabilis senex, lumine Spirtus tui irradiatus, agnovit, suscepit, et benedixit: praesta propitius; ut ejusdem Spiritus Sancti gratia illiminati, atque edocti, te veraciter agnoscamus et fideliter diligamus: Qui cum Deo Patre in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti vivis et regnas Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. O Lord Jesus Christ, who appearing on this day among men in the substance of our flesh, wast presented by Thy parents in the temple: whom the venerable and aged Simeon, illuminated by the light of Thy Spirit, recognized, received into his arms, and blessed: mercifully grant that, enlightened and taught by the grace of the same Holy Ghost, we may truly acknowledge Thee and faithfully love Thee; Who with God the Father in the unity of the same Holy Ghost livest and reignest, God, world without end.

Image Source:
The Priest sprinkles the candles three times with holy water, saying the Antiphon Asperges me, and also incenses them thrice. 

Source: 1962 Missal
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Ordination of Fr. Bertrand Lundi

Some photos of the recent ordination of Fr. Bertrand Lundi.  Fr. Lundi's ordination given by Bishop Bernard Fellay was held at the Parisian church of St. Nicholas du Chardonnet in his home country of France on January 27th.  Images are via La Porte Latine.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Requiem for His Royal Highness, King Louis XVI

A few years ago I posted a video with scenes from the Requiem Mass at St.Eugene-St.Cecile (Paris, France) on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of the former King. This year again on January 21st, the anniversary of the death of His Royal Highness, a Solemn Requiem Mass was said at Saint-Eugene-Sainte-Cecile (Paris IX).

 This year the choir sang the Requiem written by Cherubini in memory of Louis XVI which was commissioned by Louis XVIII in 1816. Also worthy of mention, the black set of vestments were offered to the parish by princes of Bourbon-Parme.

Let us pray for the repose of his soul and all of those Catholics murdered in by the vile intentions of the rebels in the French Revolultion.

Monday, January 28, 2013
Blessed Piux IX on Aristocracy

From the allocution of Pius IX to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility on December 29, 1872:
Jesus Christ Himself loved aristocracy; and if I am not mistaken, I expounded upon this idea on another occasion. He too chose to be of noble birth, of the House of David; and His Gospel shows us His family tree down to Joseph and Mary, “de qua natus est Jesus.”

Aristocracy, nobility, therefore, is a gift from God. Preserve it diligently, and use it worthily. You do so already with Christian and charitable works, to which you devote yourselves to the great edification of your fellows and to the great advantage of your souls.
Let us never hate monarchy or nobility for such things are things from God.  Those who are too attached to democracy forget that we profess Christ as our King.  Indeed, the rule of one is always superior to the rule of many - such a position has always been held by the Church and goes back to the time of Aristotle. 
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St. Peter Nolasco

Double (1954 Calendar): January 28

Note: The Feast of St. Peter Nolasco was kept on January 31st until it was moved for St. John Bosco who was canonized in 1934 by Pope Pius XI.

Today the Church celebrates the sainthood of St. Peter Nolasco, the saintly founder of the Royal and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy of the Redemption of the Captives. St. Peter (1182-1258) was born in southern France. After the death of his wealthy parents, he spent his inheritance in Barcelona to rescue Christians enslaved by the Moors. He formed a lay confraternity, which later developed into the religious order of the Mercedarians, and led his fellow workers into Moorish territory to purchase the freedom of Christian captives, and to make numerous conversions among the non-Christians. Later Peter's Mercedarians labored among the Indians of the far-flung Spanish American Empire.

The Royal, Celestial and Military Order of Our Lady of Mercy and the Redemption of the Captives also known as Our Lady of Ransom (Latin: Ordo Beatae Mariae de Mercede redemptionis captivorum) was established in 1218 by St. Peter Nolasco in the city of Barcelona, at that time in the Kingdom of Aragon, for the redemption of Christian captives.

All members of the order are required to take a fourth vow to promise to lay down their lives for another, should it be necessary, in order to save those Christians who find themselves in extreme danger of losing their faith.  In the First Constitutions of the Order, the Amerian Constitutions (1272): "... all the brothers of the Order must always be gladly disposed to give up their lives, if it is necessary, as Jesus Christ gave up his for us..."

The purpose of the order is those summed up as an order of consecrated men and women committed "to visit and to free Christians who are in captivity and in power of the Saracens or of other enemies of our Law… By this work of mercy… all the brothers of this Order, as sons of true obedience, must always be gladly disposed to give up their lives, if it is necessary, as Jesus Christ gave up his for us."

St. Peter Nolasco was canonized by Pope Urban VIII. His festival was appointed by Pope Clement VIII to be kept on January 31, which was later moved to 28 January, when the former date was assigned to the liturgical celebration of Saint John Bosco (see General Roman Calendar as in 1954). He is inscribed in the Roman Martyrology, the official list of saints, on 25 December, the day of his death according to tradition. On the connection of St. Peter Nolasco and our Lord's Nativity, Dom Gueranger wonderfully writes:

Our Lord rewarded him by calling him to heaven at that very hour wherein twelve hundred years before he himself had been born at Bethlehem. It was during the joyful celebrations of Christmas night that the liberator of so many from bodily captivity was united for ever to the Divine Liberator of souls. Peter’s last hymn on earth was the 110th Psalm: and as his faltering voice uttered the words: He hath sent redemption to his people; he hath commanded his covenant for ever, his soul took its flight to heaven. The Church, in fixing a day for the feast of our Saint, could not of course take the anniversary of his death, which belongs so exclusively to Jesus: but it was just that he, who had been honoured with being born to heaven at the very hour which God had chosen for the Birth of his Son upon the earth, should receive the tribute of our festive commemoration on one of the forty days of Christmas; this last day of January was selected.

Those devoted to the apostolic zeal of the order should seek out the Scapular of Our Lady of Ransom (i.e. Mercedarian Scapular).  The scapular is white and the front has an image of Our Lady of Ransom. The back usually has an image of the order's coat of arms.  The indulgences for the confraternity were approved by the Congregation of Indulgences in 1868 (Rescr. auth. S. C. Indulg., pp. 483 sqq., n. 36). 

January 28th is also the Commemoration of the Apparition of St. Agnes to her parents, 8 days after her death.


O God, St. Peter was divinely guided by the example of Your won love to enrich Your Church with a new community dedicated to the ransoming of imprisoned Christians. Release us from the slavery of sin through his intercession so that we may enjoy the eternal freedom of our home in heaven; who lives and rules with God the Father . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Mass Propers: Septuagesima Sunday

Traditional Propers:

Ps. 17:5, 6, 7
The moaning of death surrounded me, the sorrows of hell enveloped me. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and from His holy temple He heard my voice. Ps. 17:2, 3. I love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my support, my refuge, and my deliverer. V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT -  O Lord, we beg You to kindly hear the prayers of Your people. We are being justly punished for our sins, but be merciful and free us for the glory of Your name. Through Our Lord . . .

1 Cor. 9:24-27; 10:1-5
Brethren: Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize. So run that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery refraineth himself from all things. And they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown: but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air. But I chastise my body and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway. For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud: and all passed through the sea. And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud and in the sea: And did all eat the same spiritual food: And all drank the same spiritual drink: (And they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them: and the rock was Christ.) But with most of them God was not well pleased.

Ps. 9:10-11, 19-20
You are a helper to those in need, in time of distress. Let those who know You trust in You, O Lord, for You do not forsake those who seek You. For the needy shall not always be forgotten, nor shall the patience of the poor forever perish. Arise, O Lord, let not man prevail.

Ps. 129:1-4
Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the prayer of Your servant.  V. If You, O Lord, shall mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand? V. But with You there is merciful forgiveness, and because of Your law I have waited for You, O Lord.

Matt. 20:1-16

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable:"The kingdom of heaven is like to an householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour, he saw others standing in the marketplace idle. And he said to them: 'Go you also into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just.' And they went their way. And again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did in like manner. But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing, and he saith to them: 'Why stand you here all the day idle?' They say to him: 'Because no man hath hired us.' He saith to them: 'Go ye also into my vineyard.' And when evening was come, the lord of the vineyard saith to his steward: 'Call the labourers and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first.' When therefore they were come that came about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more: And they also received every man a penny. And receiving it they murmured against the master of the house, Saying: 'These last have worked but one hour. and thou hast made them equal to us, that have borne the burden of the day and the heats.' But he answering said to one of them: 'friend, I do thee no wrong: didst thou not agree with me for a penny? Take what is thine, and go thy way: I will also give to this last even as to thee. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? Is thy eye evil, because I am good?' So shall the last be first and the first last. For many are called but few chosen."

Ps. 91:2
It is good to praise the Lord, and to sing to Your name, O Most High.

SECRET - Accept our offerings and prayers, O Lord. Cleanse us by this heavenly rite, and in Your mercy hear our petitions. Through Our Lord . . .

PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:

Ps. 30:17-18
Let Your face shine upon Your servant, and save me in Your kindness. Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I call upon You.

POST COMMUNION - O Lord, may the faithful be strengthened by the reception of Your Sacramental Gifts. And having received them, may they hunger after them still; and through hungering may they come constantly to be nourished by them. Through Our Lord . . .
March for Life 2013: Traditional Latin Mass

Image Source: Fr. Peter Carota

As reported by LifeSiteNews, this year a record number of over half a million individuals marched on Washington DC against the horror of abortion and taking a stand for life and justice.
This year's March marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, since which an estimated 55 million babies have been killed by abortion in America.

While accurate estimates of the number of attendees at the march are hard to come by, organizers had said in the days leading up to the event that all signs pointed to a record-breaking crowd. Hotels in the D.C area sold out far in advance of when they normally do, and organizers installed two jumbotrons just to ensure that all marchers could get a glimpse of what was happening on the stage.
Last year's march was estimated at around 400,000 participants, likely putting this year's at the half million mark, or even beyond. The popularity of the event could be seen on social media, with the March for Life trending on Twitter for a time in the early afternoon, and Facebook exploding with photos and status updates from attendees.
What few organizations report is that after the March for life, Juventutem organized a Pontifical Requiem Latin Mass at St. Mary Mother of God Catholic Church for all the mothers and babies who have died from abortions.  The Pontifical Requiem Mass was said by His Excellency Auxiliary Bishop Perry of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Septuagesima Sunday

Image Source: Traditio Guam

Starting with First Vespers of Septuagesima Sunday on Saturday evening, the Alleluia now ceases to be said until we proclaim our Lord's resurrection! At first Vespers of Septuagesima Sunday, two alleluias are added to the closing verse of Benedicamus Domino and its response, Deo gratias, as during the Easter Octave. Starting with Compline, the word Alleluia is no longer said until the Easter Vigil and the proclamation of the Lord's Resurrection!

Likewise, violet vestments are worn, except on feasts, from Septuagesima Sunday until Holy Thursday. As during Advent and Lent, the Gloria and Te Deum are no longer said on Sundays. The readings at Matins for this week are the first few chapters of Genesis, telling of the creation of the world, of Adam and Eve, the fall of man and resulting expulsion from the Garden of Eden, and the story of Cain and Abel.

In the following weeks before and during Lent, the readings continue to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. The Gospel reading for Septuagesima week is the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16)
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Prayer for the Conversion of American Protestants

Prayer for the Conversion of America

Priest: Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, grant unto all Thy servants, but especially to the people of our own nation, the grace of being fully united to Thee in Thy Church. O Divine Redeemer, of Whom the prophet sang "all the kings of the earth shall adore Him and all the nations shall serve Him," extend Thy Kingdom over the entire human race, but especially over our own beloved country. Grant in Thy mercy that the people of our land may be converted to Thee, and humbly and lovingly serve Thee. This we ask, O Savior, through the intercession of Thy Immaculate Mother, the benevolent patroness and protectress of our country. People: Amen.

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Priest and People: Most Holy Virgin, who wast pleasing to the Lord and became His Mother, Immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look down kindly upon us poor sinners. We now implore thy powerful patronage for all the people of our beloved land. The wicked serpent, against whom the first curse was hurled, continues fiercely to attack and ensnare the unhappy children of Eve. O Blessed Mother, our Queen and our advocate, who crushed the head of the enemy from the very first moment of thine existence, receive from us the prayers which we implore thee to present at the throne of God. Pray that we may never fall into the snares laid out for us, and that we may all arrive at the port of salvation. May the Church and Christian society, now in so many dangers, sing once again the hymn of deliverance, of victory, and of peace. Amen.

Priest: Our Lady of the Atonement intercede for us.
People:That there may be fulfilled the prayer of thy Divine Son, "That all may be one."

Prayer to Saint John the Baptist

Priest: O most zealous messenger of God, Saint John the Baptist, while thou didst work no miracles on others, thou didst draw after thee crowds, to prepare them to receive Our Savior worthily and to listen to His heavenly teaching. This thou didst do sole!y by the example of thy holy life and the practice of every good work. Pray that we also may receive the grace to lead many souls to God, but, above all, the souls of those who are still outside the One Fold in our own beloved country. People: Amen.
Feast of St. Polycarp

Double (1954 Calendar): January 26
III Class (1962 Calendar): January 26
Memorial (1969 Calendar): February 23

Today the Church celebrates the sainthood of St. Polycarp, a 2nd-century bishop of Smyrna.  Saint Jerome wrote that Polycarp was a disciple of John the Apostle and that John had ordained him bishop of Smyrna.  The churches of Asia Minor recognized Polycarp’s leadership and chose him representative to Pope St. Anicetus on the question of the date of the Easter celebration.

Pope St. Anicetus was the 11th pope, who reigned from c. 154 - c. 167 AD. St. Anicetus's papacy was marked by a conflict with the Christians under St. Polycarp, who wanted to celebrate Easter three days after Passover. The Church since the time of St. Peter had instead always ensured the celebration of Easter would be on a Sunday. To alleviate the situation, Pope St. Anicetus allowed the Christians under St. Polycarp to celebrate Easter their way. They continued to do so until the Council of Nicea, which suppressed such practices.

According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him.  The Acts of Polycarp’s martyrdom are the earliest preserved reliable account of a Christian martyr‘s death.  With St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers. The sole surviving work attributed to his authorship is his Letter to the Philippians.

An excerpt from the account of his martyrdom:
Now, as Polycarp was entering into the stadium, there came to him a voice from heaven, saying, "Be strong, and show yourself a man, O Polycarp!" No one saw who it was that spoke to him; but those of our brethren who were present heard the voice. And as he was brought forward, the tumult became great when they heard that Polycarp was taken. And when he came near, the proconsul asked him whether he was Polycarp. On his confessing that he was, [the proconsul] sought to persuade him to deny [Christ], saying, "Have respect to your old age," and other similar things, according to their custom, [such as], "Swear by the fortune of Cæsar; repent, and say, Away with the Atheists." But Polycarp, gazing with a stern countenance on all the multitude of the wicked heathen then in the stadium, and waving his hand towards them, while with groans he looked up to heaven, said, "Away with the Atheists." Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, "Swear, and I will set you at liberty, reproach Christ;" Polycarp declared, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?"
Butler's Lives of the Saints (Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition) provides us a profound meditation:
St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, was a disciple of St. John. He wrote to the Philippians, exhorting them to mutual love and to hatred of heresy. When the apostate Marcion met St. Polycarp at Rome, he asked the aged Saint if he knew him. “Yes,” St. Polycarp answered, “I know you for the first-born of Satan.” These were the words of a Saint most loving and most charitable, and specially noted for his compassion to sinners. He hated heresy, because he loved God and man so much. In 167, persecution broke out in Smyrna. When Polycarp heard that his pursuers were at the door, he said, “The will of God be done; ” and meeting them, he begged to be left alone for a little time, which he spent in prayer for “the Catholic Church throughout the world.” He was brought to Smyrna early on Holy Saturday; and, as he entered, a voice was heard from heaven, “Polycarp, be strong.” When the proconsul besought him to curse Christ and go free, Polycarp answered, “Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He never did me wrong; how can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?” When he threatened him with fire, Polycarp told him this fire of his lasted but a little, while the fire prepared for the wicked lasted forever. At the stake he thanked God aloud for letting him drink of Christ’s chalice. The fire was lighted, but it did him no hurt; so he was stabbed to the heart, and his dead body was burnt. “Then,” say the writers of his acts, “we took up the bones, more precious than the richest jewels or gold, and deposited them in a fitting place, at which may God grant us to assemble with joy to celebrate the birthday of the martyr to his life in heaven!”

O God, who gladdens us each year by the feast of Your blessed Martyr bishop Polycarp, mercifully grant that we who celebrate his birthday may also enjoy his protection. through Our Lord . . .

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews

Priest: Let us pray. O God, Who dost manifest Thy mercy and compassion towards all peoples, have mercy upon the Jewish race, once Thy Chosen People. Thou didst select them alone out of all the nations of the world to be the custodians of Thy sacred teachings. From them Thou didst raise up Prophets and Patriarchs to announce the coming of the Redeemer. Thou didst will that Thine only Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior, should be a Jew according to the flesh, born of a Jewish maiden in the Land of Promise. Listen to the prayers we offer Thee today for the conversion of the Jewish people. Grant that they may come safely to a knowledge and love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah foretold by their Prophets, and that they may walk with us in the way of salvation. People: Amen.

Prayer of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion 

Priest and People: God of all goodness and Father of mercies, we beseech Thee, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and by the intercession of the Patriarchs and holy Apostles, to cast a look of compassion upon the children of Israel, that they may be brought to the knowledge of our only Savior, Jesus Christ, and may partake of the precious fruits of the Redemption. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Amen.

Prayer to Saint Paul Priest: 

O holy Apostle Paul of Tarsus, from thy glorious place in heaven, look down upon the race thou didst love so well. True it is that many of them remained deaf to thy ringing words of truth, and that some of them even stirred up persecution against thee and thy fellow believers, but thou wert so devoted to thy people that thou didst will to become a castaway for the sake of their conversion. Now that thou art glorious in heaven, obtain for thy brethren the grace of repentance and conversion, so that they may finally take their rightful place in the great family of the Catholic Church. People: Amen.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Society of St. Pius X to be Consecrated to St. Joseph

The Society of St. Pius X will be consecrated to St. Joseph, protector of the Church. The theme of this year’s Pentecost Pilgrimage from Chartres to Paris will be: “Go to Joseph”.

In Paris on January 6, during the conference he gave for Courrier de Rome’s 11th congress, Bishop Bernard Fellay officially announced that he would consecrate the Society of St. Pius X to St. Joseph, protector of the Church, on March 19, 2013, in Econe. In the Pentecost Pilgrimage’s preparatory Doctrinal and Spiritual Booklet, this quote taken from the Mystery of St. Joseph’s Paternity by Fr. Daniel-Joseph Lallement shows how appropriate this consecration is:
We are living in a time when man wishes to seek satisfaction by feverishly filling himself with earthly things. St. Joseph, a man of God, the man of the Virgin Mary, is the antithesis of materialism. He will be given as a sure remedy for humanism and materialism. But let us understand things from yet another point of view: in the secret designs of Providence, humanism and materialism will be an opportunity to manifest the glory of St. Joseph. (…)

Dare I add that among the forgotten goods that God prepares beyond the disasters of humanism and materialism, is the glorification of St. Joseph: disgusted with themselves and tired of earthly food, men will turn to the poor man of God. 

As the prayer of the Litany of St. Joseph says: May we deserve to have as our intercessor in heaven him whom we venerate as our protector on earth!

Source: SSPX
Monday, January 21, 2013
Prayer for the Conversion of the Anglicans

Prayer for the Conversion of England

Priest: Let us pray. O Jesus, Good Shepherd, look down benignly upon the great and noble English nation. Converted to Thee through the labors of St. Augustine and his companions, it was for many centuries rich in fruits of faith and sanctity. So devoted was this nation to Thy holy and Immaculate Mother that it was known throughout Christendom as the "Dowry of Mary." When it was separated from Thee in cruel fashion, many hundreds of its people willingly shed their blood in testimony of their loyalty to Thee and Thy Church. O Loving Shepherd of souls, recall this great nation once more to the unity of Thy Church, and grant peace of soul to all those now separated from Thy flock. 

People: Amen.

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Priest and People: O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and our own most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England, thy Dowry, and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee. Through thee it was that Jesus our Savior and our Hope was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our separated English brethren, that they may be united with us in the One True Fold. Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God together with Thee in our heavenly home. Amen.

Priest: Our Lady of the Atonement intercede for us.

People: That there may be fulfilled the prayer of thy Divine Son, "That all may be one."

Pilgrimage of Grace

Prayer to the English Martyrs

Priest: O Glorious Martyrs of England, Saint Thomas More, Saint John Fisher and thy companions, who, to sustain the voice of the Supreme Head of the True Church against the decrees of your rulers, didst willingly and courageously suffer death, pray now that the great nation to which thou didst belong may once more return to the bosom of the Church from which it was so cruelly wrested. 

People: Amen.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Liberal Catholicism Condemned

"Atheism in legislation, indifference in matters of religion, and the pernicious maxims which go under the name of Liberal Catholicism are the true causes of the destruction of states; they have been the ruin of France. Believe me, the evil I denounce is more terrible than the Revolution, more terrible even than The Commune. I have always condemned Liberal Catholicism, and I will condemn it again forty times over if it be necessary" (Pope Pius IX)
2nd Sunday after the Epiphany

Mass in this video is of the 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany at the Institute St. Philipp Neri in Berlin.

Note: Today is an ideal day to refresh our knowledge on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, specifically on how divorce is never allowable for a Catholic. Divorce, simply put, does not exist as no legal divorce can ever break the seal of marriage which God has put together.

Vestments: Green

Psalm 65:4
Let all the earth adore Thee, O God, and sing to Thee: let it sing a psalm to Thy Name, O Most High. -- (Ps.65. 1, 2). Shout with joy to God, all the earth, sing ye a psalm to His Name: give glory to His praise. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . -- Let all the earth adore Thee . . .

COLLECT - O almighty and everlasting God, who dost govern all things both in heaven and on earth: mercifully hear the prayers of Thy people, and grant us Thy peace in our time. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, They Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .

Romans 12: 6-16
Brethren, Having different gifts, according to the grace that is given us: either prophecy, to be used according to the rule of faith; or ministry, in ministering; or he that teacheth, in doctrine; he that exhorteth, in exhorting; he that giveth, with simplicity; he that ruleth, with carefulness; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Hating that which is evil, cleaving to that which is good: loving one another with the charity of brotherhood: with honor preventing one another: in carefulness not slothful; in spirit fervent: serving the Lord: rejoicing in hope: patient in tribulation: instant in prayer: communicating to the necessities of the Saints: pursuing hospitality. Bless them that persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that rejoice, weep with them that weep: being of one mind one towards another: not minding high things, but consenting to the humble.

Psalm 106: 20, 21
The Lord sent His Word, and healed them: and delivered them from their destruction. V.: Let the mercies of the Lord give glory to Him: and His wonderful works to the children of men.

LESSER ALLELUIA - Alleluia, alleluia. V.:(Ps 148:2) Praise ye the Lord, all His Angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts. Alleluia

John 2: 1-11

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 apiece. 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, and 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 hast 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.

Psalm 65: 1, 2, 16
Shout with joy to God, all the earth: sing ye a psalm to His Name: come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what great things the Lord hath done for my soul, alleluia.

SECRET - Hallow, O Lord, these our oblations: and cleanse us from the stains of our sins. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:

John 2: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
The Lord saith: Fill the water-pots with water, and carry to the chief steward. When the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, he saith to the bridegroom: Thou hast kept the good wine until now. This first miracle did Jesus in the presence of His disciples.

POST COMMUNION - May the working of Thy power, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be increased in us: that quickened by the divine Sacraments, we may be prepared by Thy grace to obtain that which they promise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Archbishop Lefebvre: A Documentary

After much anticipation, the long-awaited trailer for Archbishop Lefebvre: A Documentary has been released.  For those unfamiliar with the true story behind the saintly Archbishop, please read Marcel Lefebvre. As the project website mentions:
To begin with, the life of Archbishop Lefebvre paints a fascinating story of a contemporary churchman born to a French Catholic family who abandoned all to become an African missionary. From a simple missionary he was appointed a bishop by Pope Pius XII, named Apostolic Delegate to French speaking Africa, and was elected the Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers, at the time the world’s largest missionary congregation.  He was also named to the Preparatory Commission for the Second Vatican Council by Pope John XXIII, and played an active role in that same Council, to say nothing of the post-conciliar period. The full story of this man’s life has never before been told through the medium of film.

Because it is scarcely possible to describe the history of the Church in Africa without mentioning him, or to describe accurately the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath without discussing his role, we decided it was time to create a documentary that captured the life of this defining churchman.

We are convinced that the objective and timely approach to this subject is one which will interest Catholics across the theological, political, and social spectrums, especially as it includes archival photographs and video footage rarely seen before. On top of this, the creators of the documentary traveled the globe to interview many of the bishops, priests, and lay faithful who knew or crossed paths with Archbishop Lefebvre, including interviews with his remaining siblings about his childhood. The story has never before been told in this way, or with this wealth of first-hand information.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Homily of Saint John Chrysostom for Epiphany

When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying: Where is that is born king of the Jews. For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him.

Isaias had foretold that this would come to pass, saying: The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Madian and Apha: all they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense: and showing forth praise to the Lord.[Isa. 60: 6] This is He, Christ the Lord, Whom the Magi, having seen the sign of the star, announce as the King of the Jews.

Things unheard of, and exceeding the measure of human astonishment, all took place together at the Birth of Our Lord. An angel appears and speaks to Zachary, promising that to Elizabeth, his wife, a son will be born, and he, not believing the angel, is stricken dumb: she that was sterile conceives: in the womb of a Virgin a Child takes life. John, inspired in his mother’s womb, leaps for joy: Christ the Lord New-Born is announced by an angel. He is proclaimed by the shepherds as the salvation of the world. Angels exult, the shepherds rejoice. Upon this glorious nativity joy and gladness rise up both in heaven and on earth.

The new sign of a star in the heavens is pointed out to the Magi; through this sign it is made known to them that the Lord of the heavens is born King of the Jews; He of Whom it was written: A star shall rise out of Jacob and a sceptre shall spring up from Israel[Numbers 24: 17], so that from the symbol of a star the union of man with the Son of God, of human nature with the divine, might become known.

Thus it was the Lord spoke of Himself in the Apocalypse: I am the root and stock of David, the bright and morning star[Apoc. 22: 16] for in the rising of His own Nativity, the night of ignorance being scattered, He shines forth, the bright and morning star, unto the salvation of the world; the splendour of Whose light reaching also to the hearts of the Magi, filled them with spiritual light, so that by the sign of the new-risen star they know the Creator of heaven as the King of the Jews.

The Magi, teachers of a false faith, could never have come to know Christ Our Lord, had they not been illumined by the grace of this divine condescension. Indeed the grace of God overflowed at the Birth of Christ, so that each single soul might be enlightened by His Truth. The Magi are enlightened so that the goodness of God may be made manifest: so that no one need despair, doubting that salvation through faith will be given to him, seeing He bestowed it on the Magi. The Magi therefore were the first from the Gentiles chosen for salvation, so that through them a door might be opened to all the Gentiles.

But perhaps someone will wonder how it was that the Magi knew of the Lord’s Nativity from the sign of a star? In the first place we say that this was a gift of the divine goodness. Then we read in the books of Moses that there was a certain prophet of the Gentiles, Balaam, who foretold in definite words the coming of Christ and His incarnation from a virgin. For among other things he said: A star shall rise out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall spring up from Israel. The Wise men, who saw the new star in the East, are said to be descendants of this Balaam, a prophet from the Gentiles. And seeing the sign of the new star they accordingly believed, knowing that the prophecy of their ancestor was fulfilled: in this showing themselves to be not alone his descendants in the flesh, but the heirs also to his faith. Balaam their prophet beheld the Star in spirit; with their eyes they saw It, and believed. He by prophecy foretold that Christ would come, they with the vision of faith knew that He had come.

Relics of the Magi are to this day in Cologne, Germany's Cathedral. Image (c) A Catholic Life Blog, 2016.

Then they came straightaway to Herod, saying: Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to adore Him. They sought the Lord Christ, born King of the Jews, among those from whose race they knew that Balaam had prophesied He would come. But the faith of the Magi is the condemnation of the Jews. They believed on the authority of their one prophet, these others refused to believe many prophets. The former knew that through the Coming of Christ their magic arts were ended, the latter refused to accept the mysteries of the divine dispensation. They confessed a Stranger; the Jews rejected their own. He came unto His own, and his own received Him not. And this same star was seen by all, but not by all understood. As Our Lord and Saviour was truly born for all, as Man He was born for all men, not by all was He received, nor understood by all. He was understood by the Gentiles, He was not understood by the Jews; acknowledged by the Church, He was denied by the Synagogue.

When therefore the Magi, after the splendid toil of their long journey, had come to Jerusalem seeking the King of the Jews, immediately, says the Evangelist, King Herod, and with him all Jerusalem, was disturbed by the fervent faith of the Magi. The Chiefs of the Priests and the Scribes of the people are gathered together. They are asked: where Christ should be born. They answer: in Bethlehem of Juda, for so it is written by the prophet: And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda are not the least among the princes of Juda. For out of thee shall come forth etc. Herod therefore, and the men of Jerusalem, knowingly, they were not ignorant, reject Christ the Lord. For they sought the testimony of the prophets, when they searched out where Christ would be born.

This place, Bethlehem, where the Lord was born, had received a name of prophecy. For Bethlehem is interpreted: House of Bread; because the Son of God Who was to be born here is the Bread of Life, as He himself said in His Gospel: I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven. This too is the place that is spoken of elsewhere by the prophet: God will come from the south, and the Holy One from Mount Pharan.[Habacuc 3: 3] These words describe the site and aspect of the place. The words of this prophet agree with the previous prophecy for, after the words of Micheas saying: Out of thee He shall go forth the ruler in Israel, there is added: And his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity;[Micheas 5: 2] so that, contrary to Photinus, it is not to be supposed that the Lord had a beginning only from the moment in which He was born of the Virgin. For it is clearly shown that He is from the beginning of days, and that He is the Lord, Who was born in Bethlehem.
Then the Evangelist continues: Herod calling etc.

Herod the evil king, while he feared for the kingdom which he unjustly held, became the betrayer of the eternal King. For this Herod was neither of the Tribe of Juda, nor the House of David, and occupied the kingdom of the Jews by guile; and, by favour of the Romans, ruled it as tyrant. Accordingly he began to lie in wait for the Lord, Whom he now learns from the Jews is born King of the Jews. He inquires of them the time of the star’s appearance, then sends them on their way to Bethlehem, as if he too desired to come and adore. He pretends solicitude to conceal his treachery. For he had in mind, not to adore, but to slay the Lord.

The Magi meanwhile, guided by the star, arrive at the place where the Child was, and there they knew the Creator of heaven. They sought not the guidance of a man because they had received from heaven the guidance of a star. Neither could they go astray, who were inquiring for the True Way, which is Christ the Lord Who has said: I am the way, the truth, the life. With ever new wonder the star travels in the sky above them, and for the whole journey does not leave them, and at an equal pace they come together to Bethlehem, and there the star, standing still points out the Lord Our Saviour, the Only Son of God.

The Evangelist relates: And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering in to the house ….

Let us now see, after the star had come to rest, after the journey of the Magi, what wondrous dignity accompanies the Newborn King. For immediately the Magi, falling down before the Lord, adore Him Newlyborn, and lying in a Manger, and offering gifts they venerate the Infancy of a weeping Babe. With the eyes of their body they saw one thing, another with the eyes of the mind. The lowliness of the assumed Body is before their eyes, yet the glory of the Divinity is not concealed. It is a Child that is adored. And together with it the unspeakable mystery of the divine condescension! That invisible and eternal nature has not disdained, for our sakes, to take to Itself the infirmities of our flesh.

The Son of God, Who is the God of all things, is born a Man in body. He permits Himself to be placed in a crib, Who holds the heavens in His Hand. He is confined in a Manger whom the world cannot contain; He is heard in the voice of a wailing Infant, at Whose voice in the hour of His passion the whole earth trembled. The Magi, beholding a Child, profess that this is the Lord of Glory, the Lord of Majesty, Whom Isaias has shown was both Child and God, and King Eternal, saying: for a CHILD is born to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the World to come, the Prince of Peace.[Isa. 9: 6]

To Him the Magi offer gifts, that is: gold, frankincense and myrrh; as the Holy Spirit had in time past testified concerning them: All they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense: and showing forth praise to the Lord. This prophecy is manifestly fulfilled by the Magi, who both announce the salvation of the Lord, born Christ the Son of God, and by their gifts proclaim Him Christ and God, and King of Man. For by gold the power of a king is signified, by frankincense the honour of God, by myrrh the burial of the body; and accordingly they offer Him gold as King, frankincense as God, myrrh as Man.

David also has testified concerning these things, in this way: The Kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts. And all kings of the earth shall adore Him: all nations shall serve Him.[Ps. 71: 10] And that he might show especially to whom these gifts would be offered, he adds: And to him shall be given of the gold of Arabia. The same David in another psalm is not silent regarding myrrh, as when speaking of the passion of the Lord, he says: Myrrh and stacte and cassia perfume thy garments.[Ps. 44: 9] Of myrrh Solomon, in the person of Christ, also speaks: I yielded a sweet odour like the best myrrh,[Ecclus. 24: 20] in which he evidently testifies concerning the sepulture of His Body, which by its most sweet and divine odour has made the whole earth fragrant. Lastly David also is seen to have foretold the Magi in figure, when he said: Ambassador’s shall come out of Egypt, Ethiopa shall soon stretch out her hand to God.[Ps. 67: 32] For since holy Scripture often speaks of this world as Egypt, rightly may we regard the Magi as the ambassadors from Egypt, who being chosen as legates for the whole world, dedicate, in the gifts they offer, the will to believe of all mankind, and the beginnings of the faith.

And after they had offered their gifts the Magi were warned that they should not return to Herod, and they went back another way into their country. In this they give us an example of virtue and faith, so that we too, having once known and adored Christ our King, and having forsaken the road that we formerly traveled, that is the way of our past errors, and travelling now another road with Christ as Guide, may return to our true country, which is Paradise, from which Adam was driven forth. Of this country the psalmist says: I will please the Lord in the land of the living.[Ps. 114: 9]

The Magi being warned return home another way, frustrating the cruelty of the tyrant; and thus the Child born King is, by the Magi, made known to men, and the treachery of the tyrant Herod is brought to nothing. That Our Lord and Saviour as a Child would thus triumph, and in the very beginning of His Infancy, Isaias had of old made prophecy: For before the Child know to call his father and mother, the strength of Damascus, and the spoils of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of the Assyrians.[Isa. 8: 4] The gold that was offered by the Magi, and which the Son of God Born a Child has received, is interpreted as the strength of Damascus; the spoils of Samaria are the Magi themselves, whom He has drawn out of the error of the superstitions of Samaria, that is, the worship of idols; and who formerly because of their false religion were the spoil of the devil, now through the knowledge of Christ have become the spoil of God. The kings of the Assyrians means Herod, or at all events the devil, against whom the Magi stood forth as adversaries, namely, by adoring the Son of God, Our Lord and Saviour, Who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen.
Octave Day of the Epiphany

Greater Double (1954 Calendar): January 13

According to the 1962 Roman Catholic Calendar, January 13th is the Commemoration of the Baptism of Christ.  However, according to the more traditional pre-1955 Calendar, today is the Octave Day of the Epiphany. In fact, in the 1962 Calendar if January 13th falls on a Sunday the Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated in place of the Octave Day which is extremely strange and rupture with the conclusion of this traditional Octave. In such a case, the commemoration of Christ's Baptism is completely omitted for that year. Thankfully for those who prefer to pray the pre-1955 Breviary, today is kept as the Octave Day even when it falls on a Sunday (in such years the Holy Family is moved to the day before).

Of all the seasons that the Modern Novus Ordo Catholic Calendar has neglected to properly retain and celebrate, Epiphanytide has, like Ascensiontide, unfortunately, fallen by the wayside.  But, for those Catholics committed to the Sacred Traditions of the past, Epiphanytide holds a special length of time.

The Epiphany is a Privileged Octave of the 2nd Class, as is the Octave of Corpus Christi.   Make a special effort to commemorate this Octave today.  For example, pray the Sarum Rite's Compline prayers this evening for the Octave of the Epiphany.  Please click here for a PDF version.

The great Dom Gueranger explains:
A Solemnity of such importance as the Epiphany could not be without an Octave. The only Octaves, during the year, that are superior to this of the Epiphany, are those of Easter and Pentecost. It has a privilege which the Octave of Christmas has not; for no Feast can be kept during the Octave of the Epiphany, unless it be that of a Patron of first class; whereas, Feasts of a double and semi-double rite are admitted during the Christmas Octave. It would even seem, judging from the ancient Sacramentaries, that, anciently, the two days immediately following the Epiphany were Days of Obligation, as were the Monday and Tuesday of Easter and Whitsuntide. The names of the Stational Churches are given, where the Clergy and Faithful of Rome assembled on these two days.
 I conclude with Dom Gueranger's worthy reflection for the Octave Day of the Epiphany:
The thoughts of the Church, today, are fixed on the Baptism of our Lord in the Jordan, which is the second of the three Mysteries of the Epiphany. The Emmanuel manifested Himself to the Magi, after having shown Himself to the Shepherds; but this manifestation was made within the narrow space of a stable at Bethlehem, and the world knew nothing of it. In the Mystery of the Jordan, Christ manifested himself with greater publicity. His coming is proclaimed by the Precursor; the crowd, that is flocking to the river for Baptism, is witness of what happens; Jesus makes this the beginning of His public life. But who could worthily explain the glorious circumstances of this second Epiphany?

It resembles the first in this, that it is for the benefit and salvation of the human race. The Star has led the Magi to Christ; they had long waited for His coming, they had hoped for it; now, they believe. Faith in the Messias' having come into the world is beginning to take root among the Gentiles. But faith is not sufficient for salvation; the stain of sin must be washed away by water. He that believeth and is baptised, shall be saved (St. Mark, xvi. 16). The time is come, then, for a new manifestation of the Son of God, whereby there shall be inaugurated the great remedy, which is to give to Faith the power of producing life eternal.

Now, the decrees of divine Wisdom had chosen Water as the instrument of this sublime regeneration of the human race. Hence, in the beginning of the world, we find the Spirit of God moving over the Waters (Gen. i. 2), in order that they might "even then conceive a principle of sanctifying power," as the Church expresses it in her Office for Holy Saturday (The Blessing of the Font). But, before being called to fulfil the designs of God's mercy, this element of Water had to be used by the divine justice for the chastisement of a sinful world. With the exception of one family, the whole human race perished, by the terrible judgment of God, in the Waters of the Deluge.

A fresh indication of the future supernatural power of this chosen element was given by the Dove, which Noe sent forth from the Ark; it returned to him, bearing in its beak an Olive-branch, the symbol that peace was given to the earth by its having been buried in Water. But, this was only the announcement of the mystery; its accomplishment was not to be for long ages to come.

Meanwhile, God spoke to His people by many events, which were figurative of the future Mystery of Baptism. Thus, for example, it was by passing through the waters of the Red Sea, that they entered into the Promised Land, and during the miraculous passage, a pillar of a cloud was seen covering both the Israelites, and the Waters, to which they owed their deliverance.

But, in order that Water should have the power to purify man from his sins, it was necessary that it should be brought in contact with the Sacred Body of the Incarnate God. The Eternal Father had sent His Son into the world, not only that He might be its Lawgiver, and Redeemer, and the Victim of its salvation--but that He might also be the Sanctifier of Water; and it was in this sacred element that He would divinely bear testimony to His being His Son, and manifest Him to the world a second time.

Jesus, therefore, being now thirty years of age, comes to the Jordan, a river already celebrated for the prophetic miracles which had been wrought in its waters. The Jewish people, roused by the preaching of John the Baptist, were flocking thither in order to receive a Baptism, which could, indeed, excite a sorrow for sin, but could not effect its forgiveness. Our divine King approaches the river, not, of course, to receive sanctification, for He Himself is the author of all Justice--but to impart to Water the power of bringing forth, as the Church expresses the mystery, a new and heavenly progeny (The Blessing of the Font). He goes down into the stream, not, like Josue, to walk dry-shod through its bed, but to let its waters encompass Him, and receive from Him, both for itself and for the Waters of the whole earth, the sanctifying power which they would retain forever. The saintly Baptist places his trembling hand upon the sacred head of the Redeemer, and bends it beneath the water; the Sun of Justice vivifies this His creature; He imparts to it the glow of life-giving fruitfulness; and Water thus becomes the prolific source of supernaturnal life.

But, in this the commencement of a new creation, we look for the intervention of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. All Three are there. The heavens open; the Dove descends, not as a mere symbol, prophetic of some future grace, but as the sign of the actual presence of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of love, who gives peace to men and changes their hearts. The Dove hovers above the head of Jesus, overshadowing, at one and the same time, the Humanity of the Incarnate Word and the water which bathed His sacred Body.

The manifestation is not complete; the Father's voice is still to be heard speaking over the Water, and moving by its power the entire element throughout the earth. Then was fulfilled the prophecy of David: The Voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of majesty hath thundered. The Voice of the Lord breaketh cedars, (that is, the pride of the devils). The Voice of the Lord divideth the flame of fire, (that is, the anger of God). The Voice of the Lord shaketh the desert, and maketh the flood to dwell, (that is, announces a new Deluge, the Deluge of divine Mercy) (Ps. cssviii. 3, 5, 7, 8, 10). And what says this Voice of the Father? This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (St. Matth. iii. 17).

Thus was the Holiness of the Emmanuel manifested by the presence of the Dove and by the voice of the Father, as His kingly character had been previously manifested by the mute testimony of the Star. The mystery is accomplished, the Waters are invested with a spiritual purifying power, and Jesus comes from the Jordan and ascends the bank, raising up with Himself the world, regenerated and sanctified, with all its crimes and defilements drowned in the stream. Such is the interpretation and language of the Holy Fathers of the Church regarding this great event of our Lord's Life.

Let us honour our Lord in this second Manifestation of His divinity, and thank Him, with the Church for His having given us both the Star of Faith which enlightens us, and the Water of Baptism which cleanses us from our iniquities. Let us lovingly appreciate the humility of our Jesus, who permits Himself to be weighed down by the hand of a mortal man, in order, as He says Himself, that He might fulfil all justice (St. Matth. iii. 15); for having taken on Himself the likeness of sin, it was requisite that He should bear its humiliation, that so He might raise us from our debasement. Let us thank Him for this grace of Baptism, which has opened to us the gates of the Church both of heaven and earth; and let us renew the engagements we made at the holy Font, for they were the terms on which we were regenerated to our new life in God.


O God, Whose only-begotten Son appeared in the substance of our flesh, grant, we beseech thee, that we who acknowledge His outward likeness to us may deserve to be inwardly refashioned in His image. Who with thee liveth and reigneth, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.


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