CHRIST THE SAVIOUR MONASTERY - Christminster
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR)
New York, USA
October--December

October 2014

OCTOBER 2014

DAYNCOCF/AOBSERVANCE
WED118F/AEmber Day
THU219St. Theodore of Canterbury, BC, III
FRI320F/A*Ember Day / Vigil of Apostle
SAT421St. Matthew, Evangelist and Apostle, II (Ember Day)
SUN522PENTECOST XVIII: Theban Martyrs, IV
MON623St. Linus, BM, IV; St. Thecla, VM, IV
TUE724St. Raphael, Archangel, II; St. Silouan of Mount Athos, M, IV
WED825F/ASt. Sergius of Radonezh, AB, III
THU926
FRI1027F/ASts Cosmas and Damian, MM, III
SAT1128St. Wenceslas, KM, IV
SUN1229St. Michael and all Angels, I; PENTECOST XIX
MON1330St. Jerome, Abbot and Doctor, III; St. Gregory of Armenia, BC, IV
TUE141St. Remigius, BC, IV
WED152Holy Guardian Angels II
THU163St. Dionysius the Areopagite, M, IV
FRI174F/A
SAT185
SUN196PENTECOST XX; St. Faith, VM, IV
MON207
TUE218St. Simeon the God-Bearer, III; St. Pelagia, V, IV
WED229F/ASt. Denys and Companions, MM, III
THU2310Holy Optina Elders, IV
FRI2411Motherhood of BVM, II
SAT2512St. Wilfrid, BC, IV
SUN2613PENTECOST XXI
MON2714St. Callistus, BM, IV; St. Venantius, BC, IV
TUE2815Our Lady of Walsingham, III
WED2916F/ASt. Gall, AB, III
THU3017F/A*Vigil
FRI3118St. Luke, EV, II


RANKS of Feasts:
I.Solemnity
II.Greater Feast
III.Lesser Feast
IV.Commemoration

Ranks I & II always have first and second Vespers; take precedence over Sundays ranked II; suspend fasting & abstinence from First Vespers through Second Vespers.

Rank III has First Vespers only and uses the psalms of the occurring feria, with proper antiphons (or antiphons from the Common).

Rank IV are commemorated only at First Vespers and Lauds, though the Mass may be of the commemorated saint(s).

See Customary for ranking of Sundays.

Abbreviations:
Ab = Abbot, AbbessK = King
AP = ApostleM = Martyr
APS = ApostlesMk = Monastic
B = BishopMM = Martyrs
C = ConfessorP = Priest, Prophet
Dc = DeaconV = Virgin
D = DoctorVV = Virgins
EV = EvangelistW = Widow


Daily Posting: September 18/October 1

From the Fathers ...

The greater miracle is to root out the tinder of luxury from one's flesh, rather than to drive unclean spirits from the bodies of others. A more resplendent wonder is the restraint exercised over the wild stirrings of anger by the virtue of patience, rather than the catastrophe to hold sway over the creatures of the air.

No one fights against me than my own heart. [St. John Cassian]


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Point to ponder....

It really does seem, that the fate of Western societies is bound up with the fate of Christianity. Europe and America are in trouble because they have rejected their Christian heritage and embraced moral and cultural relativism instead. And in the end, cultural relativism is a suicidal policy. As the climate of opinion changes in a relativist society, so will the consensus about what's right and what's wrong. [Christianity, Islam, and Atheism; The Struggle for the Soul of the West / by William Kilpatrick]

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This kind of evil spirit can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting. [Benedictus antiphon, Ember Wednesday]

We beseech thee, O Lord, let the assistance of thy loving mercy sustain our frailty: that what is wearing away by its own nature may be renewed by thy goodness. [Collect, Ember Wednesday]

Daily Posting: September 19/October 2

From the Fathers ...

This unity of the Person in Christ was formed and completed, not after the birth from the virgin but in the very womb of the virgin. ... God forbid that anyone should attempt to defraud holy Mary of her privileges of divine grace and her special glory. For by a unique favor of our Lord and God she is to be confessed to be the most true and most blessed Mother of God. [St. Vincent of Lerins]


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As the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus put it, libido dominandi is “the lust for power, advantage, and glory, this lust for domination doesn’t just characterize politics in the CITY OF MAN, it characterizes each of us in this fallen world. The libido dominandi is in each of us. It urges us to plot and fight to have our own way and force others to do as we say. It is the controlling passion of our fallen nature and, thus, of our fallen world. (From: THE LIBERTY THREAT: THE ATTACK ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN AMERICA TODAY / by James Tonkowich]

Daily Posting: September 20/October 3

A woman in the city, which was a sinner, stood at the Lord's feet behind him, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head. and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. [Benedictus antiphon, Ember Friday]

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that we who year by year devoutly keep these sacred observances, may please thee both in body and soul. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Ember Friday]

Daily Posting: September 21/October 4

May we helped, O Lord, by the prayers of the blessed Apostle and Evangelist Matthew: that those things which we are not able to obtain by our own power, may be given us at his intercession. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, September 21/October 4]

O Almighty God, who by thy blessed Son didst call Matthew from the receipt of custom to be an Apostle and Evangelist; Grant us grace to forsake all covetous desires, and inordinate love of riches, and to follow the same thy Son Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, (Book of Common Prayer usage), St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, September 21/October 4]

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Give light, O Lord, to them that sit in darkness: and guide our feet into the way of peace, thou God of Israel. [Benedictus antiphon of Saturday Lauds, used on Ember Saturday in September]

Almighty, everlasting God, who by wholesome self-restraint dost heal both mind and body: we humbly entreat thy Majesty that thou, being well-pleased by the devout prayers of thy fasting people, mayest grant us thy help both now and in the time to come. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Ember Saturday]

Daily Posting: September 22/October 5

O God, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee; Mercifully grant that Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, 18th Sunday after Pentecost]

The Lord said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee. [Benedictus antiphon, 18th Sunday after Pentecost]

The sick of the palsy therefore took up his bed whereon he lay, glorifying God: and all the people, whey they saw it, gave praise unto God. [Magnificat antiphon, 18th Sunday after Pentecost]

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Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that the solemn festival of thy holy Martyrs Maurice and his Companions may bring us joy; that we may glory in the birthday of those upon whose prayers we rely. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Maurice and companions, September 22/October 5]

Daily Posting: September 23/October 6

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that we who honour the birthday of blessed Thecla, thy Virgin and Martyr, may both rejoice in her yearly festival, and profit by the example of so great a faith. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Thecla, September 23/October 6]

From the Fathers ...

I cannot help wondering about such madness in certain people, the dreadful impiety of their blinded minds, their insatiable lust for error that they are not content with the traditional faith as once and for all received from antiquity, but are driven to seek novelties. ...

"Keep that which is committed to you." [1 Tim 6:20] -- What is "committed"? It is that which has been entrusted to you, not that which you have invented; what you have received, not what you have devised; not a matter of ingenuity, but of doctrine; not of private acquisition, but of public tradition; a matter brought to you, not created by you; a matter you are not the author of, but the keeper of; not the teacher, but the learner; not the leader, but the follower. This deposit, he says, guard. [St. Vincent of Lerins]

Daily Posting: September 24/October 7

From the Fathers ...

At this point, the question maybe asked, "If this is right, then is no progress of religion possible within the Church of Christ?" To be sure, there has to be progress, even exceedingly great progress. … But it must be progress in the proper sense of the word, and not a change in faith. Progress means that each thing grows within itself, whereas change implies that one thing is transformed into another.

They [Christian doctrines] may take on more evidence, clarity, and distinctness, but it is absolutely necessary that they retain their plenitude, integrity, and basic character. [St. Vincent of Lerins]

Daily Posting: September 25/October 8

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina:

Wherever you may be, God will come to you, if the chambers of your soul be found of such a sort that He can dwell in you. [St. Gregory of Nyssa]

Let us reflect how near He is, and that none of the thoughts or reasonings in which we engage are hid from Him. [Pope St. Clement I of Rome]

Daily Posting: September 26/October 9

From the Fathers ...

The Church of Christ, cautious and zealous guardian of the dogmas deposited with it, never changes any element of them. It does not diminish or add to them; it neither trims what seems necessary not grafts things superfluous; it neither gives up its own nor usurps what does not belong to it. But it devotes all its diligence to one aim: to treat tradition faithful and wisely; to nurse and polish what from old times may have remained unshaped and unfinished; to consolidate and to strengthen what already was clear and plain; and to guard what already was confirmed and defined. What the councils have brought forth in their decrees assured that what before was believed plainly and simply might from now be believed more diligently. …

Aroused by the novelties of the heretics, again and again the Catholic Church has, by the authoritative decrees of its councils, handed down to posterity what it earlier received from our forefathers by tradition alone, condensing weighty matters in a few words and, particularly for the enlightenment of the mind, presenting in new words the old interpretation of the faith. [St. Vincent of Lerin]

Daily Posting: September 27/October 10

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that we who keep the heavenly birthday of thy heavenly Martyrs Cosmas and Damian may, through their intercession, be delivered from all the evils that threaten us. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Sts Cosmas and Damian, September 27/October 10]

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina:

The flesh feeds on the Body and Blood of Christ, that the soul may grow fat on God. [Tertullian]

Christ, indeed, gave even His flesh, by which those who believe are nourished, like little children. [Hippolytus of Rome]

Daily Posting: September 28/October 11

Imagine no religion? We don’t have to imagine. We have already seen what “no religion” looks like. It looks like the Soviet Gulag and the mass murders carried out by Mao and Pol Pot. It looks like the Reign of Terror in France. It looks the steady erosion of freedoms that is now taking place in secularized Western societies. [From the book: CHRISTIANITY, ISLAM AND ATHEISM: THE STRUGGLE FOR THE SOUL OF THE WEST / by William Kilpatrick]

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It is not true, as is sometimes said, that man cannot organize the world without God. What is true is that, without God he can only organize it against man. [From the book: THE DRAMA OF ATHEIST HUMANISM / Henri de Lubac]

Daily Posting: September 29/October 12

While John beheld the sacred mystery, the Archangel Michael sounded the trumpet: Forgive us, O Lord our God, that openest the book, and loosest the seals thereof, alleluia. [Magnificat antiphon, first Vespers, St. Michael and All Angels, September 29/October 12]

There was silence in heaven while the dragon waged war: and Michael fought against him, and had the victory, alleluia. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, St. Michael and All Angels, September 29/October 12]

O Prince most glorious, Michael the Archangel, keep us in remembrance: here and everywhere, always, entreat the Son of God for us, alleluia, alleluia. [Magnificat antiphon, second Vespers, St. Michael and All Angels, September 29/October 12]

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THEE, O Christ, the Father's splendour,
Life and virtue of the heart,
In the presence of the Angels
Sing we now with tuneful art,
Meetly in alternate chorus
Bearing our responsive part.

THUS we praise with veneration
All the armies of the sky;
Chiefly him, the warrior Primate
Of celestial chivalry,
Michael, who in princely virtue
Cast Abaddon from on high.

BY whose watchful care repelling—
King of everlasting grace—
Every ghostly adversary,
All things evil, all things base,
Grant us of thine only goodness
In thy Paradise a place

LAUD and honour to the Father,
Laud and honour to the Son,
Laud and honour to the Spirit,
Ever Three, and ever One,
Consubstantial, co-eternal,
While unending ages run. Amen.

Matins Hymn, [Tibi Christe], St. Michael and All Angels, September 29/October 12]
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O EVERLASTING God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; mercifully grant that, as thy holy Angels always do thee service in heaven, so, by thy appointment, they may succour and defend us on earth. Through thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Michael and All Angels, September 29/October 12]

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O almighty and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou commandest. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, 19th Sunday after Pentecost]

Tell them which are bidden, behold I have prepared my dinner; come unto the marriage, alleluia. [Benedictus antiphon, 19th Sunday after Pentecost]

And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he said unto him, friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? [Magnificat antiphon, 19th Sunday after Pentecost]

Daily Posting: September 30/October 13

O God, who in blessed Jerome, thy Confessor, didst vouchsafe to provide for thy church a most eminent teacher for the setting forth of the Holy Scriptures: grant, we beseech thee, that through his prayers we may be able by thy help to practise what he taught, both in word and deed. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Jerome, September 30/October 13]

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From the Letters of St. Jerome . . .

For my part I am like a sick sheep astray from the flock. Unless the Good Shepherd shall place me on his shoulders and carry me back to the fold, my steps will totter, and in the very effort of rising I shall find my feet give way.

You are mistaken if you suppose that there is ever a time when the Christian does not suffer persecution. You are most dangerously under attack when you are not aware that you are under attack.

The best advice I can give you is this: church traditions, when they do not run counter to the faith, should be observed in the form in which previous generations have handed them down; and the usage of one church is not to be annulled because it is contrary to that of another.

Daily Posting: October 1/14

Every angel and demon is winged. Thus they are everywhere in a moment. To them the whole world is one place. [Origen]

Beauty is not necessary to God's angels. [Tertullian]

We should pray to the angels, for they are given to us as guardians. [St. Ambrose of Milan]

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They are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation. [Magnificat antiphon at first Vespers, Holy Guardian Angels, October 15/2]

Daily Posting: October 2/15

THE Guardians of our race, our Angel Guides we hail;
Our Father sendeth forth to aid our nature frail
These heavenly friends, lest we should suffer overthrow
Through cunning of our subtle foe.

FOR he, who justly lost the honour once his own,
The traitor angel, rues his lost and vacant throne,
With burning envy strives to make them fall away
Whom God doth call to heavenly day.

THEN, watchful Guardian, spread thy wings and cleave the air,
Haste hither to our home committed to thy care;
Drive thence each noxious ill that might the soul infest,
Nor suffer danger here to rest.

NOW to the holy Three your praise devoutly pour;
His glorious Godhead guides and governs evermore
This triple frame: to him ascribe we all our praise
Who reigns through everlasting days. Amen.

Matins Hymn, [Custodes hominum], Holy Guardian Angels, October 15/2]
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O GOD, who in thine unspeakable providence deignest to send thy holy Angels for our safekeeping: grant unto us thy suppliants, that we may ever be defended by their protection, and may rejoice in their eternal fellowship. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Holy Guardian Angels, October 15/2]

And the Angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. [Benedictus antiphon, Holy Guardian Angels, October 15/2]

Ye holy Angels, our Guardians, defend us in time of battle, lest we perish in the dreadful day of judgment. [Magnificat antiphon at second Vespers, Holy Guardian Angels, October 15/2]

Daily Posting: October 3/16

From the Fathers ...

It is possible to attain to the knowledge of God from the things which are seen, since creation, as though in written characters, declares its Lord and Creator in a loud voice by its order and harmony.

God did not remain in his invisible nature … and leave himself utterly unknown to humankind. He structured creation so that, although he is invisible by nature, he may nonetheless be known by his works. [St. Athanasius]

Daily Posting: October 4/17

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina:

We all need, with one accord, to follow the guidelines of our holy Fathers, doing nothing in contention, but, unanimous in every aim of good devotion, to obey, the Lord helping us, the divine and apostolic constitutions. [Pope St. Gregory the Great]

You and I share the same teachers of God’s mysteries and spiritual fathers, who from the beginning were the founders of your church. [St. Basil the Great]

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From the Fathers ...

It was our sin that was the cause of His descent; our transgression called forth the loving-kindness of the Logos, that He might come to us and manifest Himself as Lord among humankind. We then were the occasion for His incarnation; it was for our salvation that He so showed His love humanity to be born a man and to be revealed in a body. [St. Athanasius]

Daily Posting: October 5/18

From the Fathers ...

What was God in his goodness to do? Allow corruption to prevail against them and death to hold them fast? If so, what would be the profit of their having been made in the first place? For it would have been better for them not to have been made than, once made, to be left to neglect and ruin. … It was, then, out of the question to leave humankind to the current of corruption, because this would be unfitting, and unworthy of God’s goodness.

Since He was the Word of the Father and exalted above all, He alone had the ability to recreate all things, and He alone was worthy to suffer for all and be ambassador for all with the Father.

He took pity on our race and had mercy on our infirmity and condescended to our corruption. Unwilling to allow that death should have the final mastery, lest the creature perish and His Father’s handiwork in humankind come to nothing, He took unto Himself a body like unto ours. [St. Athanasius]

Daily Posting: October 6/19

Grant, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace; that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, 20th Sunday after Pentecost]

There was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum: when he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea into Galilee, he besought him that he would heal his son. [Benedictus antiphon, 20th Sunday after Pentecost]

So the father knew that it was at the same hour in the which Jesus said thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. [Magnificat antiphon, 20th Sunday after Pentecost]

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Almighty everlasting God, by whose gift blessed Faith obtained the palm of virginity and martyrdom: grant us, by her prayers, so to keep a perfect purity of mind and body that we may never be overcome either by the allurements of the flesh, or by the bitterness of affliction and trouble. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Faith, October 6/19]

Daily Posting: October 7/20

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina:

Love Holy Scripture and wisdom will love you. Love her, and she will keep you. Honor her, and she will embrace you. [St. Jerome]

Reading Scripture is like reading letters from the other world. [St. Augustine]

To be ignorant of the Scripture is not to know Christ. [St. Jerome]

Daily Posting: October 8/21

From the Fathers ...

In order rightly to search the Scriptures and come to a genuine understanding of them, an honorable life, a pure soul, and that virtue which follows Christ are necessary: the mind of the one who guides his path thus will be able to attain what it desires and understand, as far as it is accessible to human nature, the Word of God. Without a pure mind and a life modeled after the saints, though, no one can comprehend the words of the saints.

The one who wants to understand the mind of those who speak of God must begin by washing and cleansing his soul by the way he lives. He must approach the saints by imitating their lives, so that, sharing in a common life with them, he may understand what God has revealed to them. [St. Athanasius]

Daily Posting: October 9/22

O God, who on this day didst strengthen blessed Denys, thy Martyr and Bishop, with virtue of constancy in suffering; and didst deign to associate Rusticus and Eleutherius with him in preaching thy glory to the heathen: grant us, we beseech thee, after their example, to despise the good fortune of the world for love of thee, and to fear none of its adversities. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Sts. Denys, Rusticus and Eleutherius, October 9/22]

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Abbot James was invited this past summer to be one of the speakers at the annual Antiochian western-rite conference in August. Though unable to attend, Dom James sent in a paper to be read on his behalf. The topic for the conference, which included speakers Father Patrick Reardon and Father Chad Hatfield, was The Discipline of the Liturgy. Dom James' paper is available HERE.

Daily Posting: October 10/23

In anticpation of the feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary we post the following:

THAT the Blessed Virgin is Theotokos (that is, God-bearer or Mother of God) was proclaimed by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431. This Council was held in opposition to the Nestorian heresy which denied that the Son of Mary was at his birth the Son of God. In answer to which the Council declared that Mary is rightfully to be called the Mother of God. By this title is shewn that he who took humanity of her is and always was God eternal. Fifteen hundred years later, (that is, in 1931) the anniversary of the Council was celebrated with great solemnity, to the end that in these later days the mystery of the incarnation might be set forth and applied afresh. Wherein we learn, amongst many other things, that Mary as Mother of God is blessed amongst women, and hence that womanhood is sacred in God's sight ; that the Family of Nazareth is the most noble example of the human home ; that chaste wedlock is of such high dignity and holiness that God himself could enter the world as man under its protection ; and that the rearing of children in a godly household is in itself so holy and excellent a thing that the eternal Word could come as a babe to such a home. ... [Lesson iv of II Nocturn, The Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, October 11/24]

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In heaven's court the choice was weighed,
And fixed upon the Blessed Maid,
Whence there was born, by God's decree,
Christ's ransoming humanity.

And so this Virgin-Mother bore
Him who to save us suffered sore,
Whose life-blood there the earth bedewed
Where he redeemed us on the Rood.

Let anxious fears from man depart,
And hope give joy to every heart,
For with her Son she e'er will plead
That he our tears and prayers may heed.

He welcometh his Mother's plea,
And listeneth right graciously;
Let his, like him, love her indeed,
And seek her help or human need.

All glory to the Trinity
Who made the Virgin's womb to be
A shrine for Christ's humanity,
To whom be praise eternally. Amen.

[Matins hymn (Caelo Redemptor praetulit),
The Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, October 11/24]

Daily Posting: October 11/24

Thee, who gave God a mother's care,
Thy liegemen seek in trustful prayer,
That thou wouldst now from sins allure,
Under that care, keep us secure.

We ruined heirs of Mother-Eve
Hail thee who brought our King's reprieve,
Which came to us when came to thee
The Sinless-Mother's dignity.

Look kindly on our fallen race,
And ask thy Son for this sweet grace --
Grace to repent so heartily
That his just wrath may cease to be.

All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesus, Virgin-born, to thee,
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Holy Ghost, for evermore. Amen.

[Lauds hymn (Te, Mater alma Numinis).
The Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, October 11/24]

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O God, who didst vouchsafe that thy Word should be made flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the message of an Angel: grant to us thy humble servants; the we, believing her to be indeed the Mother of God, may by her intercession find favour in thy sight. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest for ever. Amen. [Collect, The Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, October 11/24]

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From a Sermon by St. Leo the Pope
Sermo 1 & 2 - - - - de Nativitate
Lessons v & vi


THE Virgin royal of the lineage of David was chosen to become fruitful with the divine Offspring. For she who was thus chosen to bear the God-Man had already conceived Christ in her soul before she conceived him in her body. And first she learned the counsel of God from the Angel, lest the unwonted events should alarm her. So the future Mother of God knew what was to be wrought in her by the Holy Ghost, and that her honour would in no way be lost. For why should she, unto whom was promised all-sufficient strength through the power of the Highest, feel hopeless merely because of the unexampied character of such a conception? Nay, she believeth, and her belief is confirmed by the attestation of a miracle which hath already been wrought, namely, that Eiisabeth receiveth fruitfulness, before unhoped for. Hence she might not doubt that God, who had given conception unto one that was barren, would give the same unto her that was virgin. And so the Word of God, (the Son of God, who was in the beginning with God, by whom all things were made, and without whom was not anything made that was made) was made man to deliver man from eternal death.

OUR Lord Jesus Christ, descending from his throne in heaven, but leaving not that glory which he hath with the Father, cometh into this lower world by being born after a new order and in a new kind of birth. He cometh after a new order, in that he who is unseen of us in his own nature was seen amongst us. Thus the Incomprehensible was fain to be comprehended. And he that is from everlasting to everlasting began to be in time. And by a new kind of birth was he begotten : conceived of a Virgin and born of a Virgin ; without the intervention of any fleshly father ; without any breach of his mother's virginity. For such a birth beseemed the coming Saviour of mankind who was to have in him the nature of man's being, and to be free of any defilement of man's flesh. Though he sprung not as we spring, yet is his nature as our nature. We believe that he is free from the use and wont of men, in that it was the power of God which wrought this ; namely, that as a Virgin she conceived, as a Virgin she brought forth, and yet abode she a Virgin still.

The Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, October 11/24]

Daily Posting: October 12/25

O God, by whose grace blessed Wilfrid thy Bishop did shine with such evident signs of holiness: grant, we beseech thee, that we may ever be defended by his protection, as by his teaching we have been taught to desire heavenly things. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Wilfrid, October 12/25]

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From the Fathers ...

All those who invent heresies refer to the Scriptures, to be sure, but they do accept their teachings handed down by the saints, dismissing them as merely human tradition. In this they err, understanding neither those teachings not their power. This is why Paul justly praises the Corinthians, because their opinions were in accordance with the tradition.

Let us not forget what Paul delivered, declaring it to the Corinthians – Christ’s Resurrection, by which He destroyed the one that had the power of death, that is, the Devil. He raised us up together with Him, having loosed the bands of death, and granted a blessing instead of a curse, joy instead of grief, a feast instead of mourning, in this holy joy of Easter, which continually fills our hearts, so that we always rejoice. [St. Athanasius]

Daily Posting: October 13/26

Lord, we beseech thee to keep thy household the Church in continual godliness; that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities, and devoutly given to serve thee in good works, to the glory of thy Name. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, 21st Sunday after Pentecost]

Then said the lord unto the servant, pay me that thou owest. The servant therefore fell down and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. [Benedictus antiphon, 21st Sunday after Pentecost]

Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee, alleluia. [Benedictus antiphon, 21st Sunday after Pentecost]

Daily Posting: October 14/27

O God, who seest that we fall by reason of our infirmity, mercifully restore us to thy love by the example of thy saints. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Callistus, October 14/27]

From the Fathers ...

Sin is a terrible thing, and the most grievous disease of the soul is iniquity. ... But it is not incurable, being grievous only to the one who cherishes it, but easy to cure for the one who puts it away by repentance. The sum of your sins does not surpass the magnitude of God’s mercies. Our wounds are not beyond the healing skill of the great physician. Only surrender to Him with faith, and the physician of your malady.

God is merciful and to quick to forgiveness, but slow to vengeance. Therefore let no one despair of salvation. [St. Cyril of Jerusalem]

Daily Posting: October 15/28

O God, who in the blessed Virgin Mary didst make a fit dwelling place for thy Son: grant, we beseech thee, that we who honour her shrine at Walsingham may also become temples of thy Holy Spirit. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Our Lady of Walsingham, October 15/28]

From the Fathers ...

He was crucified not for His sins, but that we might be freed from ours. He was despised an buffeted by men at that time as man, but was acknowledged as God by creation – for the sun, seeing its master dishonored, was darkened and trembled, not enduring the sight.

Let us not be ashamed of the Cross of Christ. But even if someone else hides it, may you feel it openly on your brow, so that the demons, seeing the royal sign, may tremble and flee far away. Make this sign when eating and drinking, when sitting, lying down, rising, speaking, or walking – in a word, on every occasion. For He who was crucified is in heaven above. [St. Cyril of Jerusalem]

Daily Posting: October 16/29

From the Fathers ...

Treat this body with care and understand that with this body you will rise from the dead to be judged. But, if any doubt should steal into your mind, as though the thing [i.e., resurrection] were impossible, judge the things unseen from your own experience. Just think where you yourself were a hundred or more years ago. From what an extremely small and insignificant substance you have come to such magnitude of stature and to such dignity of form! Cannot He, who brought what was not into being, raise up again what has already existed but has decayed? Will He, who raises up the corn for us when it dies year by year, have difficulty in raising us up, for whose sake the corn was raised? [St. Cyril of Jerusalem]

Daily Posting: October 17/30

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina:

When the mind is filled with divine knowledge and understanding through no agency of man or of angel, then may the mind believe that it receives the very kisses of the Word of God. [Origen]

There are divine gifts which God gives also to those who do not pray, such as the beginning of faith, and divine gifts which He gives only to those who pray, such as final perseverance. [St. Augustine]

Daily Posting: October 18/31

Almighty God, who calledst Luke the Physician, whose praise is in the Gospel, to be an Evangelist and Physician of the soul; may it please thee that, by the wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered by him, all the diseases of our souls may be healed. Through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Luke, Evangelist, October 18/31]

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From the Fathers ...

Someone may ask, “If the divine nature is incomprehensible, then why do you discourse about it?” In answer: because I cannot drink up the whole stream, may I not drink as much as I need? Or because I cannot take in all the sunlight, owing to the constitution of my eyes, may I not gaze upon what is sufficient for my needs? On entering a vast orchard, because I cannot eat all the fruit in it, should I go away completely hungry? I praise and glorify God who made us; for it is a divine command which says, “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!” I am endeavoring now to glorify the Lord, not to describe Him, although I realize that I will fall short of glorifying Him worthily. Nevertheless, it is a godly work to try! [St. Cyril of Jerusalem]

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November 2014

Daily Posting: October 19/November 1

Almighty everlasting God, author of all virtue and lover of virginity: grant, we beseech thee, that we may be commended by the intercessions of holy Frideswide, thy virgin, which were well-pleasing unto thee; and whose life of chastity deserved to win thy favour. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Frideswide, October 19/November 1]

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From the Fathers ...

Let us not be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Let us boldly make the cross as our seal upon our brow on all occasions: over the bread we eat, over the cups we drink; in our comings and in our goings; before sleep; on lying down and rising up; when we are on the way and when we are still. It is a powerful safeguard; it is without price, for the sake of the poor; without toil, because of the sick; for it is a grace from God, a badge of the faithful, and a terror to demons; for “He made a public display of them, triumphing over them in the cross” [Col. 2:15] . For when they see the cross, they are reminded of the Crucified. [St. Cyril of Jerusalem]

NOVEMBER 2014

DAYNCOCF/AOBSERVANCE
SAT119F/ASt. John of Kronstadt, PC, III; St. Frideswide, AB, IV
SUN220PENTECOST XXII
MON321St. Hilarion, AB, III; St. Ursula and companions, MM, IV
TUE422
WED523F/A
THU624
FRI725F/ASts. Crispin and Crispinian, MM, IV
SAT826
SUN927PENTECOST XXIII
MON1028Sts. Simon and Jude, AP, II
TUE1129
WED1230F/A
THU1331F/A*Vigil
FRI141All Saints, I
SAT152All Souls, II
SUN163PENTECOST XXIV; St. Winifred, VM, IV
MON174
TUE185Sts. Zacharias and Elizabeth, III
WED196F/ASt. Iltyd, AB, IV
THU207St. Willibrord, BC, IV
FRI218Patriarchs and Prophets of the Old Testament, II
SAT229St. Theodore, M, IV; St. Beon, AB, IV
SUN2310PENTECOST XXV
MON2411St. Martin of Tours, BC, III
TUE2512
WED2613All Monastic Saints, II
THU2714All Monastic Souls, II (Thanksgiving Day, USA)
FRI2815F/A
SAT2916
SUN3017PENTECOST XXVI; St. Gregory of Tours, BC, III; St. Gregory the Wonderworker, IV; St. Hilda of Whitby, AB, IV


RANKS of Feasts:
I.Solemnity
II.Greater Feast
III.Lesser Feast
IV.Commemoration

Ranks I & II always have first and second Vespers; take precedence over Sundays ranked II; suspend fasting & abstinence from First Vespers through Second Vespers.

Rank III has First Vespers only and uses the psalms of the occurring feria, with proper antiphons (or antiphons from the Common).

Rank IV are commemorated only at First Vespers and Lauds, though the Mass may be of the commemorated saint(s).

See Customary for ranking of Sundays.

Abbreviations:
Ab = Abbot, AbbessK = King
AP = ApostleM = Martyr
APS = ApostlesMk = Monastic
B = BishopMM = Martyrs
C = ConfessorP = Priest, Prophet
Dc = DeaconV = Virgin
D = DoctorVV = Virgins
EV = EvangelistW = Widow


Daily Posting: October 20/November 2

O God, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all godliness; be ready, we beseech thee, to hear the devout prayers of thy Church; and grant that those things which we ask in faith we may obtain in deed. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, 22nd Sunday after Pentecost]

Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, alleluia. [Benedictus antiphon, 22nd Sunday after Pentecost]

Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's: and unto God the things that are God's, alleluia. [Magnificat antiphon, 22nd Sunday after Pentecost]

Daily Posting: October 21/November 3

From the Fathers ...

May the God of all Himself, the Father of Christ, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who descended and ascended, and sits with the Father, guard your souls; may He preserve unshaken and unchangeable your hope in Him who rose again; and may He raise you up together with Him from your dead sins to His heavenly gift, and deem you worthy to be “caught up in the clouds … to meet the Lord in air” [1 Thess. 4:17] in His good time; and until that time of His glorious second coming arrives, may He write all your names in the book of the living and, after writing them, never blot them out. [St. Cyril of Jerusalem]

Daily Posting: October 22/November 4

From the Fathers ...

We preach not one coming of Christ, but a second as well, far more glorious than the first. The first gave us a spectacle of His patience; the second will bring with it the crown of the Kingdom of God. In general all things are twofold in our Lord Jesus Christ. His birth is twofold, one of God before the ages, and one of a virgin in the consummation of the ages. His decent is twofold, one lowly, “like rain that falls on the mown grass” [Ps. 72:6], and a second, His manifest coming, which is yet to be. In His first coming He was wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger; in His second He will be “wrapped in light as with a garment” [Ps. 104:2]. In His first coming He “endured the cross, disregarding its shame” [Heb. 12:2]; in His second He will come in glory, attended by a host of angels. We do not rest, therefore, in His first coming, but we look also for His second. [St. Cyril of Jerusalem]

Daily Posting: October 23/November 5

From the Fathers ...

[Regarding the Eucharist] Once at Cana in Galilee He changed water into wine by His sovereign will; is it not credible, then, that He changed wine into blood? If as a guest at a physical marriage He performed this stupendous miracle, shall He not far more readily be confessed to have bestowed on the friends of the Bridegroom the fruition of His own body and blood?

With perfect confidence, then, we partake as of the body and blood of Christ. For in the figure of bread His body is given to you, and in the figure of wine His blood, that by partaking of the body and blood of Christ you may become of one body and blood with Him. For when His body and blood become the tissue of our members, we become Christ-bearers and, as the blessed Peter said, “partakers of the divine nature” [2 Pet. 1:4].

Do not then think of the elements as bare bread and wine; they are, according to the Lord’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Though sense suggests the contrary, let faith be your stay. Instead of judging the matter by taste, let faith give you an unwavering confidence that you have been privileged to receive the body and blood of Christ. [St. Cyril of Jerusalem]

Daily Posting: October 24/November 6

Abbot James announces with great sorrow the repose today of Fr. Joseph Del Giorno, monk of Christminster. Fr. Joseph reposed peacefully at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, surrounded by Abbot James, Fr. Daniel, his sister-in-law Kathy Del Giorno, and his niece Gina Baker. Please remember Fr. Joseph, his monastic brothers and his family in your prayers. Funeral arrangements will be posted shortly. Requiescat in pace.

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Christ, of the Angels praise and adoration,
Maker of all men, Lord of every nation,
Grant of thy bounty that we gain a station
Blest in the heavens.

Raphael Angel, of our ills physician,
Send from thy glory, Lord, at our petition;
Healing and guiding be his blessed mission
Unto us mortals.

Mary the Mother of our God be o'er us;
Spirits angelic in their praiseful chorus,
Saints in their glory ever go before us,
Strong to assist us.

God ever-blessed, humbly we implore thee;
Father eternal, Son alike in glory,
Spirit Co-equal, all thy works adore thee,
World without ceasing.

[Vespers hymn (Christe, sanctorum decus), St. Raphael the Archangel, October 24/6]

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I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels which present the prayers of the Saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One. [Magnificat antiphon at first Vespers and Benedictus antiphon at Lauds, St. Raphael the Archangel, October 24/6]

O God, who gavest blessed Raphael the Archangel unto thy servant Tobias to be the companion of his wayfaring; grant unto us thy servants; that we may ever be protected by the guardianship of this same thine Archangel, and defended by his help. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Raphael the Archangel, October 24/6]

Glorious Prince and Archangel Raphael, remember us; here and everywhere entreat the Son of God for us. [Magnificat antiphon at second Vespers, St. Raphael the Archangel, October 24/6]

Daily Posting: October 25/November 7

A Requiem Mass will be offered for the repose of Father Joseph, priest and monk of Christminster, on Saturday, 8 November 2014, at 11am in Saint George Cathedral, 1910 Falls Street, Niagara Falls, New York. Dom James, abbot of Christminster, will be the celebrant. Please keep Father Joseph, his family, and monastic brethren in your prayers. Burial will be in Syracuse next week.

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O God, the invisible strength of those who fight for righteousness: assist us, we beseech thee, in our humble supplications, that we who on this day honour the glorious triumph of thy holy martyrs Crispin and Crispinian, may for their sakes and at their prayers be defended against all spiritual wickedness. [Collect, Sts. Crispin and Crispinian, October 25/November 7]

Daily Posting: October 26/November 8

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina:

Every day we are changing, every day we are dying, and yet we fancy ourselves eternal. [St. Jerome]

Apart from the knowledge of God, what solid happiness can there be, since death must come? Like a dream, happiness slips away before it is grasped. [Minucius Felix]

What is death at most? It is a journey for a season; a sleep longer than usual. If you fear death, you should also fear sleep. [St. John Chrysostom]

Daily Posting: October 27/November 9

O Lord, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from their offenses; that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those skins, which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, 23rd Sunday after Pentecost]

For she said within herself, if I may but touch the hem of his garment, I shall be whole. [Benedictus antiphon, 23rd Sunday after Pentecost]

But Jesus turned him about and when her saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith has made thee whole, alleluia. [Magnificat antiphon, 23rd Sunday after Pentecost]

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Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God; that like as we approach the glorious birthday of thine Apostles Simon and Jude, so they may approach thy Majesty for us, that we may be made worthy of all thy benefits. [Collect, Vigil of Sts. Simon and Jude, October 27/November 9]

Daily Posting: October 28/November 10

On Saturday, 8 November, in the cathedral of Saint George -- which serves as the monastic church for Christminster -- a Requiem Mass was celebrated by Abbot James for the funeral of Dom Joseph DelGiorno, priest and monk of Christminster. The men's Schola of the Gregorian Institute of Canada sang the ancient Latin chants. Archbishop Peter Goodrich, primate of the Independent Anglican Church of Canada, gave a brief testimony to the life and work of Dom Joseph. Also in attendance among the congregation were clergy from the Russian, Antiochian, and Serbian Orthodox churches, and from the local Anglican and Lutheran churches. Present too were several young children whose frequent visits to Christminster were always a joy for Dom Joseph. We are grateful for the prayers and support of so many friends and ask all to keep Father Joseph and his monastic family in your prayers.

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O Almighty God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of sprit by the doctrine of Saints Simon and Jude, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Sts. Simon and Jude, October 28/November 10]

Daily Posting: October 29/November 11

From the Fathers ...

”And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”: Bearing in mind the disproportion of this quid pro quo, let us not delay or put off forgiving one another. The offenses committed against us are small, paltry and easily settled; but the offenses we have committed against God are great – too great for any mercy except His. Beware then, lest, on account of slight and trifling transgressions against you you debar yourself from God’s forgiveness of your grievous sins. [St. Cyril of Jerusalem]

Daily Posting: October 30/November 12

From the Fathers ...

Let us glorify the supreme Artificer for all that was wisely and skillfully made; by the beauty of visible things let us raise ourselves to Him who is above all beauty; by the grandeur of bodies, sensible and limited in their nature, let us conceive of the infinite Being whose immensity and omnipotence surpass all the efforts of the imagination.

That evil exists, no one living in the world will deny. What shall we say then? Evil is not a living animated essence; it is the condition of the soul opposed to virtue. ... So, do not go beyond yourself to seek for evil, nor imagine that there is an original nature of wickedness. Let us all acknowledge that each of us is the first author of our own vice. ... Do not look for the guiding cause beyond yourself, but recognize that evil, rightly so called, has no other origin than our voluntary falls. [St. Cyril of Jerusalem]

Daily Posting: October 31/November 13

Multiply upon us thy heavenly grace, O Lord our God: and grant that by a holy profession we may follow after the joy of thy saints, to whose glorious festival we now look forward. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Vigil of All Saints, October 31/November 13]

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From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page 21:

All nature is good. [St. Augustine]

The very harmony of creation, its preservation and governing, teach us that there is a God Who has put all this together and keeps it together. [St. John of Damascus]

The orderly arrangement of the whole universe is a kind of musical harmony whose make and artist is God. [St. Gregory of Nyssa]

Daily Posting: November 1/14

O how glorious is the kingdom wherein all the Saints rejoice with Christ; arrayed in white robes, they follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. [Magnificat antiphon, second Vespers, Feast of All Saints, November 1/14]

O almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Feast of All Saints, November 1/14]

Daily Posting: November 2/15

On this day is made commemoration of all the faithful departed, in which our common loving Mother the Church, having endeavored to extol with due praise her children all ready rejoicing in heaven, now strives to assist by earnest supplications to Christ her Lord and Spouse, those faithful departed, that they may speedily attain unto the fellowship of the heavenly citizens. [Martyrology, Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed]

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O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful: grant unto the souls of thy servants and handmaids the remission of all their sins: that through devout supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed]

Daily Posting: November 3/16

Almighty everlasting God, who hast bestowed upon blessed Winifred the reward of here virginity: grant, we beseech thee, at her intercession, that we may put away the allurements of the world, and obtain with her a throne of everlasting glory. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Winifred, November 3/16]

Daily Posting: November 4/17

From the Fathers ...

He who is able to grasp all things within His knowledge, and sees the future equally with the past, was not ignorant that humanity would deviate from the good. But just as He saw humankind’s perversion, so He perceived its restoration once more to the good. Which then was better? Not to have brought our nature into being at all, since He knew in advance that the one to be created would stray from the good? Or, having brought it into being, to restore it by repentance, sick as it was, to its original grace? [St. Gregory of Nyssa]

Daily Posting: November 5/18

Elisabeth, the wife of Zacharias, brought forth a mighty son, John the Baptist, the Lord’s Forerunner.

They made signs to his father, how he would have him called: and he wrote, saying, his name is John.

His name shall be called John: and many shall rejoice at his birth.

Among them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.

Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest; for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, to prepare his ways.

[Antiphons, Feast of Sts. Zacharias and Elizabeth, November 5/18]

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Hear us, O God our Saviour: that as we rejoice in the festival of Saints Zacharias and Elizabeth, so may we be taught by the influence of their loving devotion. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Feast of Sts. Zacharias and Elizabeth, November 5/18]

Daily Posting: November 6/19

From the Fathers ...

God’s transcendent power is not so much displayed in the vastness of the heavens, or the luster of the stars, or the orderly arrangement of the universe or His perpetual oversight of it, as it is in His condescension to our weak nature. We marvel at the way the sublime entered a state of lowliness and, while actually seen in it, did not leave the heights. We marvel at the way the Godhead was entwined in human nature and, while becoming man, did not cease to be God. [St. Gregory of Nyssa]

Daily Posting: November 7/20

From the Fathers ...

If, in arguing, we contended that the divine will allots faith to people in such a way that some are called, while others fail to share in the calling, one might prefer such a charge against our religion. But all are equally called without respect to rank, age, or nationality. … Out of His high regard for humanity, the Sovereign of the universe left something under our own control and of which each of us is the sole master. I mean the will, a faculty which is free from bondage and independent, and is grounded in the freedom of the mind. [St. Gregory of Nyssa]

O God, who didst vouchsafe to send thy blessed Saint Willibrord to preach thy glory to the Gentiles: we humbly pray thee, that, by his intercession, we may both see and know the things which we ought to do, and by thy mercy be enabled to perform the same. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Willibrord, November 7/20]

Daily Posting: November 8/21

From the Fathers ...

When the evil one perceives that we are oppressed by the consciousness of evil we have done, he steps in and lays upon us the additional burden, heavier than lead, of anxiety arising from despair. If we allow that, then we are immediately dragged down by the weight … and descend into the depths of misery.

We should have good courage and trust in the power of repentance.

In God’s loving-kindness, He never turns His face away from a sincere repentance. Even if someone has pushed on to extremes of wickedness but then chooses to return to the path of virtue, God accepts and welcomes and does everything to restore him to his former position. Beyond that, He does what is even more merciful, for even if that person does not manifest complete, but just a small and insignificant, repentance, He does not dismiss it, but assigns a great reward even to that. [St. John Chrysostom]

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The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Their sound is gone out into all lands and their words into the ends of the world. [Magnificat antiphon, first and second Vespers, Patriarchs and Prophets of the Old Testament, November 8/21]

O God, who didst show forth thy divine Wisdom in ancient times through thy Patriarchs and Prophets: and didst reveal unto us the coming of the Word made flesh, even Jesus Christ thy Son; grant that we may imitate their example on earth, and enjoy their intercession in heaven. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Patriarchs and Prophets of the Old Testament, November 8/21]

Come, ye children and hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. [Benedictus antiphon, Patriarchs and Prophets of the Old Testament, November 8/21]

Daily Posting: November 9/22

O God, who dost encompass and shield us by the glorious confession of blessed Theodore, thy martyr: grant that we may profit by his example and be strengthened by his prayer. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Theodore, November 9/22]

Daily Posting: November 10/23

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page 21:

The sun and moon, with the companies of the stars, roll on in harmony according to His command, within their prescribed limits, and without any deviation. The fruitful earth, according to His will, brings forth food in abundance, at the proper seasons. ... The ocean, impassable to man, and the worlds beyond it, are regulated by the same enactments of the Lord. ... All these the great Creator and Lord of all has appointed to exist in peace and harmony. He does good to all, but most abundantly to us who have fled for refuge to His compassion through Jesus Christ. [Pope St. Clement I of Rome]

Heaven and earth and all that is in the universe cry out to me from all directions that I, O God, must love You, and they do not cease to cry out to all so that they have no excuse. [St. Augustine]

Daily Posting: November 11/24
Lesson v

MARTIN was born at Sabaria in Pannonia (the modern Hungary). When he was ten years old he fled to a church, against his parents' wishes, and had himself enrolled as a catechumen. When he was fifteen years old he became a soldier, and served first in the army of Constantius, and then of Julian. At one time, at Amiens, a poor, ill clad beggar asked an alms in the name of Christ, and since Martin had nothing at hand to give him save his weapons and clothing, he divided his military cloak, and gave the poor man half, The following night Christ appeared to him clad in that half cloak, saying these words: Martin, still a catechumen, has clothed me in this garment.

Lesson vi

AT the age of eighteen Martin was baptized, whereupon he gave up his military career. and betook himself to Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, who made him an acolyte. He was later made Bishop of Tours, and built a monastery, where, in great sanctity, he lived for some time together with eighty monks.

Lesson vii

SOME years later, Martin fell sick of a grievous fever, at the town of Cande, in his diocese, and he fervently prayed God that he would set him free from the prison house of the flesh. When his disciples heard this, they asked: Why would you forsake us, Father? Under whose care would you leave us in our misery? Martin, moved by their plea, prayed thus to God: O Lord, if I am still needed by thy people, I do not refuse to toil on.

Lesson viii

WHEN Martin's disciples saw him, in the height of his fever, lying on his back and praying, they entreated him to turn over and rest for a while, until the violence of the fever should abate. Martin replied: Let me look towards heaven rather than earth, that my spirit may be directed on the path that it is shortly to follow to God. At the moment of death he saw the enemy of mankind, and asked him: What have you come for, you blood-thirsty beast? You will find no evil in me. With these words, at the age of eighty-one, he gave back his soul to God. A choir of Angels received him; many people, and foremost among them, holy Severinus, Bishop of Cologne, heard them singing and praising God.

[Lessons v - viii from second nocturn, St. Martin, November 11/24]

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O blessed Martin whose righteous soul possesseth Paradise whereat the Angels triumph, the Archangels are jubilant: thee the choir of Saints proclaimeth, the throng of Virgins inviteth, saying, abide with us forever, [Magnificat antiphon, first Vespers and Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, St. Martin, November 11/24]

O God, who seest that of our own strength we cannot stand upright: mercifully grant at the prayer of blessed Martin, thy Confessor and Bishop, that we may be defended against all adversities. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect St. Martin, November 11/24]

O blessed Bishop, who with all his heart loved Christ the King, and feared not the dominion of princes! O holy soul, which, although withheld from the persecutor’s sword, lacked not the palm of martyrdom! [Magnificat antiphon, second Vespers, St. Martin, November 11/24]

Daily Posting: November 12/25

From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page ??:

There is no one so uncivilized, and of such a crude disposition, that, raising his eyes to heaven, he does not understand from the very magnitude of the objects, from their motion, arrangement, constancy, usefulness, beauty, and temperament, that there is some providence -- though he does not know by what god's providence all the visible universe is governed. [Lactantius

It is possible to see Him who has made all things in wisdom by way of inference through the wisdom that appears in the universe. [St. Gregory of Nyssa]

When we look at the order of creation, we form in our mind an image, not of the essence, but of the wisdom of Him who has made all things wisely. [St. Gregory of Nyssa]

Daily Posting: November 13/26

Jesus, who camest the world to save,
By thee redeemed, thine aid we crave:
Mother of God, in time of need,
For contrite hearts salvation plead.

Your suffrages, ye Monks, unite
With all the citizens of light
To speed our vows, combine your powers
That life’s eternal prize be ours.

To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, Three in one,
Laud, honour, might, and glory be,
From age to age eternally. Amen.

[Matins hymn (Jesu, Salvator sæculi), All Saints of the Order of St. Benedict, November 13/26]

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Let all the multitude of the faithful exult in the glory of the gracious Father Benedict, and of all those his followers who trod faithfully in his footsteps: and chiefly let the company of monks be joyful, celebrating their festival on earth, in whose goodly fellowship the Saints rejoice in heaven. [Magnificat antiphon, first Vespers, All Saints of the Order of St. Benedict, November 13/26]

Ye which have forsaken all, and followed me, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, All Saints of the Order of St. Benedict, November 13/26]

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that the example of the holy monks stir us up to amendment of life; that we may imitate the holy actions of those whose solemn festival we celebrate. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, All Saints of the Order of St. Benedict, November 13/26]

In the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [Magnificat antiphon, second Vespers, All Saints of the Order of St. Benedict, November 13/26]

Daily Posting: November 14/27

At the very heart of the Church’s life is EUCHARIST - - from the Greek word for thanksgiving. Today, by a happy providence, this country turns its mind and heart to thanksgiving - - to thanking God, the Father and great Provider of all gifts.

As you gather with family and loved ones to praise our loving Father and Lord, may He continue to shower you and our country with every blessing. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Most merciful Father, who hast blessed the labours of the husbandman in the returns of the fruits of the earth: we give thee humble and hearty thanks for this thy bounty; beseeching thee to continue thy loving-kindness toward us, that our land may still yield her increase, to thy glory and our comfort. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen.

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O God, the Giver of pardon and the Author of man’s salvation: we humbly beseech thy mercy to grant that all faithful monastics, who have departed out of this world, blessed Mary ever Virgin and all thy Saints praying for them, may attain to the fellowship of everlasting blessedness. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Commemoration of all Departed Monastics, November 14/27]

Daily Posting: November 15/28

From the Fathers ...

Let the preservation of the integrity of the catholic faith be the first consideration. And since the way in which leads to life is everywhere narrow and arduous, let there be no deviation from this path, either from the left nor to the right.

The insidious tempter inflicts no wounds on human hearts with more joy than when he infects on weary minds with those errors that are in conflict with evangelical truth. [St. John Chrysostom]

Daily Posting: November 16/29

From the Fathers ...

Consider the transfiguration which is to take place in the whole creation. It will not continue to be like it is now, but will be far more brilliant and beautiful; and as gold glistens more brightly than lead, so the future state of the universe will be greater than the present.

To prove that these words are no empty claim, let us journey in thought to the mountain where Christ was transfigured. … That the vision there was accommodated to human eyes and not an exact manifestation of the reality is plain from the words of the evangelist. … At that time on the mountain He disclosed to the disciples as much as it was possible for them to see without injuring their sight; even so, they could not endure it but fell on their faces. [St. John Chrysostom]

Daily Posting: November 17/30

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may be by thee plenteously rewarded. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, 26th Sunday after Pentecost]

When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. [Benedictus antiphon, 26th Sunday after Pentecost]

Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said among themselves, this is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. [Magnificat antiphon, 26th Sunday after Pentecost]

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Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that the devout observance of this festival of blessed Gregory the Wonderworker, thy Confessor and Bishop, may be profitable unto us for our advancement in all godliness, and for the attainment of everlasting salvation. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St Gregory the Wonderworker, November 17/30]

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December 2014

DECEMBER 2014

DAYNCOCF/AOBSERVANCE
MON118
TUE219
WED320F/A*St. Edmund, KM, IV
THU421Presentation of BVM, I; St. Columban, AB, IV
FRI522F//ASt. Cecelia, VM, III
SAT623St. Clement, BM, IV
SUN724CHRIST THE KING, I; St. Chrysogonus, M, IV
MON825St. Catherine of Alexandria, VM, III
TUE926St. Linus, BM, IV
WED1027F/A
THU1128
FRI1229F/A*Vigil
SAT1330St. Andrew, AP, II
SUN141ADVENT I
MON152F/ASt. Peter Chrysologus, BC, IV
TUE163F
WED174F/ASt. Clement of Alexandria, BCD, III; St. Barbara, VM, IV
THU185FSt. Sava, AB, IV
FRI196F/A*St. Nicholas, BC, III
SAT207St. Ambrose, BCD, III; Conception of the Mother of God, I (from 21/8)
SUN218ADVENT II
MON229F/A
TUE2310F
WED2411F/ASt. Damasus, BC, IV
THU2512FSt Herman of Alaska, MK, III: St Peter the Aleut, M, IV [Western Christmas]
FRI2613F/ASt. Lucy, VM, III
SAT2714A
SUN2815ADVENT III; St. Nina, III
MON2916F/A(THE GREAT “O” ANTIPHONS BEGIN) “O Wisdom”
TUE3017FSt. Lazarus, BC, IV (O Adonai)
WED3118F/A(O Root of Jesse)


RANKS of Feasts:
I.Solemnity
II.Greater Feast
III.Lesser Feast
IV.Commemoration

Ranks I & II always have first and second Vespers; take precedence over Sundays ranked II; suspend fasting & abstinence from First Vespers through Second Vespers.

Rank III has First Vespers only and uses the psalms of the occurring feria, with proper antiphons (or antiphons from the Common).

Rank IV are commemorated only at First Vespers and Lauds, though the Mass may be of the commemorated saint(s).

See Customary for ranking of Sundays.

Abbreviations:
Ab = Abbot, AbbessK = King
AP = ApostleM = Martyr
APS = ApostlesMk = Monastic
B = BishopMM = Martyrs
C = ConfessorP = Priest, Prophet
Dc = DeaconV = Virgin
D = DoctorVV = Virgins
EV = EvangelistW = Widow


Daily Posting: November 18/December 1

From the Fathers ...

If God had made us in order to punish us, you might well despair and question the possibility of your salvation. But if He created for no other reason than His own good will, and so that we might enjoy everlasting blessings, and if He does and works out everything for this purpose, from the first day to the present what can ever cause you to doubt. … The evils we have committed do not provoke Him so much as our unwillingness to change in the future. To sin may be a human failing, but to continue in the same sin ceases to be human and becomes altogether devilish.

The only person who is free is the one who lives for Christ. [St. John Chrysostom]

Daily Posting: November 19/December 2

From the Fathers ...

For us, humility is the foundation of the love of wisdom.

Do not tell me that this or that person is a runaway slave or robber or thief, that he is weighed down with innumerable faults, or that he is a beggar and hopeless. Instead, consider that Christ died for his sake – that suffices you as reason to care for him. Consider what sort of person he must be, whom Christ valued at so high a price that He did not spare even His own blood.

Love casts out all inequality and knows no superiority or dignity. [St. John Chrysostom]

Daily Posting: November 20/December 3

O God of ineffable pity, who didst grant that the blessed King Edmund should conquer his enemy by dying for thy Name: graciously bestow upon this thy family that through his intervention they may worthily extinguish and overcome the enticements of their ancient foe. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Edmund, November 20/December 3]

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From the Fathers ...

The doctrine of the incarnation is very hard to receive …, that this God who surpasses all understanding and baffles all calculation, having passed by angels, archangels, and all the spiritual powers above, deigned to become human, and to take flesh formed of earth and clay, and enter the womb of a virgin and be borne there for nine months, be nourished with milk and suffer all those things to which human beings are liable.

Just as He hungered, as He slept, as he felt fatigued, as He ate and drank, so also did He pray for deliverance from death – in this he manifested His humanity and the weakness of that human nature which does not submit without pain to be torn from this present life. [St. John Chrysostom]

Daily Posting: November 21/December 4

O ever blessed Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, temple of the Godhead, hallowed shrine of the Holy Spirit: thou only, above all others, wast acceptable to our Lord Jesus Christ, alleluia. [Magnificat antiphon, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, November 21/December 4]

O God, who didst will that blessed Mary, ever Virgin, the tabernacle of the Holy Ghost, should as on this day be presented in the temple: grant, we beseech thee, at her intercession, that we may be counted worthy to be presented in the dwelling-place of thy glory. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, November 21/December 4]

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From the Fathers ...

This love [eros] is deeply implanted within our inmost being. Unnoticed by us, it attracts the bodies of men and women to each other, because in the beginning woman came forth from man, and from man and woman other men and women proceed. Can you see now how close this union is, and how God providentially created it from a single nature? … He mad e the one man Adam to be the origin of all mankind, both male and female, and made it impossible for men and women to be self-sufficient.

No teacher is so effective as a persuasive wife.

The love of husband and wife is the force that welds society together. [St. John Chrysostom]

Daily Posting: November 22/December 5

It is secret, O Valerian, what now I wish to tell thee: I have an Angel of God who loves me, and guards my body with exceeding zeal. [Magnificat antiphon, first Vespers, St. Cecilia, November 22/December 5]

When the dawn of day was breaking, Cecilia the Martyr cried, saying, forward, soldiers of Christ! Cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. [Benedictus antiphon, St. Cecilia, November 22/December 5]

O God, who makest us glad with the yearly festival of blessed Cecilia thy virgin and martyr, grant that we, who honour her with duteous service, may also follow the example of her good and holy life. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Cecilia, November 22/December 5]

This noble maiden always bare the glorious Gospel of Christ in her bosom: without ceasing she continued in prayer and supplication, and celestial converse, night and day. [Magnificat antiphon, second Vespers, St. Cecilia, November 22/December 5]

Daily Posting: November 23/December 6

From the Fathers ...

Remind one another that nothing in life is to be feared except offending God. If your marriage is like this, your perfection will rival the holiest of monks.

It is necessary for everyone to know scriptural teachings, and this is especially true for children. Even at their age they exposed to all sorts of folly and bad examples from popular entertainments. Our children need remedies for all these things. We are so concerned with our children’s schooling; if only we were equally zealous in bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord!

Let everything take second place to our care for our children, our bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord! [St. John Chrysostom]

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Let us all pray to our Lord Jesus Christ that he would open a fountain for his confessors. [Magnificat antiphon, first and second Vespers, St. Clement, November 23/December 6]

When he had started going to the sea, the people cried out with loud voices, O Lord Jesus Christ, save him: and Clement responded, weeping, Heavenly Father, receive my spirit. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, St. Clement, November 23/December 6]

O God, who makest us glad by the yearly festival of blessed Clement, thy martyr and Bishop, mercifully grant that we, who honour his birthday may imitate his fortitude in suffering. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Clement, November 23/December 6]

Daily Posting: November 24/December 7 - - THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING

Homily by St. Augustine the Bishop

HERE was a notable thing, the King of eternity had become the King of mortal men! In what way is it notable? In that Christ did not become the King of Israel to exact tribute, or to arm a body of men, or to conquer visible foes ; but rather that he might rule souls, and counsel them regarding eternity ; and that he might lead to the kingdom of heaven all such as believe in him, hope in him, and love him. In one such as he, it was condescension that he should desire to become the King of Israel. For he was the Son of God, co-equal with the Father, the Word by whom all things were made. To become such a King did not increase his power, but only betokened his mercy. For he who on earth was called the King of the Jews, in heaven was adored as Lord of the Angels. But is Christ King of the Jews only, or of the Gentiles also? Yea, of the Gentiles also. For when it was said of him in the prophetic Psalm : I have set my King upon my holy hill of Sion : lest anyone should say, on account of this word Sion, that he was appointed King of the Jews only, there is straightway added : Desire of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.

Lesson viii

JESUS answered : My kingdom is not of this world ; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews ; but now is my kingdom not from hence. This is what the good Master would have us know. But first he had to shew how vain were the notions, current among men, regarding his kingship. It matters not whence Pilate heard them, whether from Jews or Gentiles. There was the notion that Christ ought to be punished on the grounds that he was a conspirator seeking unlawfully to set himself up as a king. Or the notion that reigning monarchs are wise to be jealous of any who aspire to the throne. Such notions assumed that Christ's kingdom would be set up against the Jews or the Romans. The first question of the Governour was : Art thou the King of the Jews? To which the Lord could have answered : My Kingdom is not of this world. But instead he answered with another question : Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? For he wished to shew from Pilate's answer that the Jews had laid a criminal charge against him on these grounds. In this wise did he lay open to us the thoughts of men, that they are but vain. And after Pilate's reply, he made answer, both to the Jews and the Gentiles, and that fittingly and opportunely : My Kingdom is not of this world.


Almighty and everlasting God, who hast willed to restore all things in thy well-beloved Son, the King and Lord of all: Mercifully grant that all peoples and nations, sin-wounded and divided, may be brought under the gentle yoke of his most loving rule. Who with thee and Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Feast of Christ the King]

It is truly meet and right, our joy and salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: who didst anoint thine only-begotten Son with the oil of gladness, to be a Priest for ever and the King of all the world: that, offering himself an unspotted sacrifice of peace upon the altar of the Cross, he might accomplish the mystery of the redemption of mankind: and making all creatures subject to his governance, might deliver up to thine infinite majesty a kingdom universal and everlasting: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of righteousness, love and peace. Wherefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious Name, evermore praising thee and saying: Holy, Holy, Holy ... [Preface, Mass of Feast of Christ the King]

Of this St. Chrysogonus, who hath the distinction of mention in the Gregorian Canon, nothing is certainly known except that he was martyred at Aquileia. There is a popular tradition concerning him which goeth on this wise. He was imprisoned at Rome in the forth century, during the reign of Diocletian. There he lived for the space of two years upon the alms of that holy Anastasia who likewise is mentioned in the Gregorian Canon, and is also commemorated in the second Mass of Christmas. She was at that time suffering much persecution from her husband Publius for Christ's Name's sake, and was used to write to Chrysogonus to ask for the help of his prayers, and he in return comforted her by his epistles. Presently the Emperor wrote to Rome, commanding the rest of the Christians who were in prison there to be put to death, and Chrysogonus to be sent to himself at Aquileia. When he was brought thither, he said unto him : I have sent for thee, O Chrysogonus, that I might increase thine honours, if only thou wilt bring thy mind to worship the gods. Thereto Chrysogonus answered : With my mind and with my prayers I worship him who is very God, but such gods as are nothing but images of devils, them I hate and curse. Then was the Emperor kindled to fury at this answer, and commanded Chrysogonus to be beheaded. Which done, on the 24th day of November, his body was cast into the sea. A little afterwards the same washed up on the shore, and the Priest Zoilus took it and buried it in his own house. But the Holy Matron Anastasia was burned to death for Christ on December 25th. [Legend, St. Chrysogonus, November 24/December 7]


Daily Posting: November 25/December 8

O GOD, who on Mount Sinai didst give the law to Moses, and afterwards, through the ministry of holy Angels, didst mystically give rest thereon to the body of blessed Catherine thy Virgin and Martyr : grant, we beseech thee; that, by her intercession, we may be brought unto that mountain which is Christ. Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Catherine, November 25/December 8]

CATHERINE of Alexandria, since the tenth century, hath been held in great veneration, and that more in the West than in the East. She is regarded as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, and is esteemed as the Patroness of learned folk and of wheel-rights and millers, and the Dominicans have adopted her as one of their Patrons. However, no historical records of her life are extant, and we have only the stories which those who love her are wont to tell of her. According to these, she was a noble maiden of Alexandria who became, through her studies, a very learned woman, and prevailed over the chief wits of the day. * And she went boldly to Maxentius, and rebuked him for his savage cruelty toward Christians, bringing forward likewise most sage reasons why the Faith of Christ should be needful for salvation. Maxentius marvelled at her wisdom, and detained her, whilst he gathered together the most learned men from all quarters, and offered them great rewards if they could confute Catherine, and bring her to worship idols. But the event fell contrariwise, for many of the philosophers who had come to dispute with her were overcome by the force and skill of her reasoning so that the love of Christ Jesus was kindled in them, and they were content even to die for his sake. Then did Maxentius strive to beguile Catherine with fair words and promises, and when he found it was lost pains, he caused her to be cast into prison and starved. * Afterwards Catherine was brought out of the ward, and a wheel was set, wherein were fastened many and sharp blades, so that her virgin body might be most direfully cut and torn in pieces. But when it was set in motion, it flew to pieces, which so enraged Maxentius that he forthwith commanded to behead Catherine. So, on November 25th, about the year 310, she attained the twin crowns of martyrdom and virginity. It is said that her body was carried by Angels to Mount Sinai, and there enshrined, in the famous monastery called by her name. And this by some writers is interpreted to mean that it was carried thither by the monks of Sinai, to be their great treasure, for of old times the monastic habit was known as the angelical habit, and those that wore the same were sometimes given the honorific title of Angel, to signify that state of heavenly worship wherein they should live. [Legend, St. Catherine, November 25/December 8]


Daily Posting: November 26/December 9

To those who become discouraged by the attacks on Christian faith in today’s world, whether by the sword, or by political correctness it is good to remember a writer who, in the early twentieth century, not only predicted the rise of persecution and the rise of Islam, but also saw a new dawn for the Christian faith. The writer is Hilaire Belloc: “… If I be asked what sign we may look for to show that the advance of the Faith is at hand, I would answer by a word the modern world has forgotten: Persecution. When that shall once more be at work it will be morning.”

Daily Posting: November 27/December 10

From the Fathers ...

Tell me, where do you think all the disorders in the churches originate? I think their only origin is in the careless and random way in which the clergy are chosen and appointed. [St. John Chrysostom]

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For as long the priest’s life is well regulated in every particular point, their intrigues cannot hurt him. But if he should overlook small detail, as is likely for a human being on his journey across the devious ocean of this life, all the rest of his good deeds are of no avail to enable him to escape the words of his accusers. That small offended casts a shadow over all the rest of his life. Everyone wants to judge the priest, not as one clothed in flesh, not as one possessing a human nature, but as angel, exempt from the frailties of others. [St. John Chrysostom]

Daily Posting: November 28/December 11

From the Fathers ...

Surely, prayer is harbor for those caught in a storm; it is an anchor for those tossed by the waves; it is a staff for those who stumble. Prayer is a treasure for the poor, security for the rich, a cure for the sick, a safeguard for those in good health. It keeps our blessings inviolable and quickly changes our ills to good. If temptation comes, it is easily repelled. If loss of possessions or any of the other things which cause grief to our souls befall us, prayer is quick to drive them all away. Prayer is a refuge from every sorrow, a basis for cheerfulness, a means for continual pleasure, a mother for our philosophy and way of life. [St. John Chrysostom]

Daily Posting: November 29/December 12

We beseech thee, Almighty God: that the blessed Apostle Andrew, whose feast we are about to keep, may implore for us thine aid: that our guilt being done away, we may also be rescued from all perils. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, vigil of St. Andrew, November 29/December 12]

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From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page 22 - 23:

It is the same with all things that raise the mind to transcendent goodness, all these we can call apprehensions of God, since each one of these sublime meditations places God within our sight. For power, purity, constancy, freedom from contrariety -- all these engrave on the soul the impress of a divine and transcendent mind. [St. Gregory of Nyssa]

Even in small things, the same spirit is revealed. We admire the Creator, not only as the framer of heaven and earth, of sun and ocean, of elephants, camels, horses, oxen, leopards, bears, and lions, but also as the maker of tiny creatures, ants, gnats, flies, worms, and the like. [St. Jerome]

The mind determined to ignore bodily things will find itself weakened and frustrated. Since the creation of the world, the invisible things of God are clearly seen by way of images. We see images in the creation which, although they are only dim lights, still remind us of God. For instance, when we speak of the holy and eternal Trinity, we use the images of the sun, light, and burning rays; or a running fountain; or an overflowing river; or the mind, speech, and spirit within us; or a rose tree, a flower, and a sweet fragrance. [St. John of Damascus]

Daily Posting: November 30/December 13

One of the two which followed the Lord was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, alleluia. [Magnificat antiphon, first Vespers, St. Andrew, November 30/December 13]

When blessed Andrew came to the place where the Cross had been prepared, he cried out and said: O goodly Cross, so long desired, and now made ready for my eager spirit; fearless and joyful do I come to thee; therefore do thou also receive me gladly, as his disciple, who did hang upon thee. [Magnificat antiphon, second Vespers, St. Andrew, November 30/December 13]

Almighty God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay, grant unto us all that we, being called by thy holy Word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfil thy holy commandments. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Andrew, November 30/December 13]

Daily Posting: December 1/14

Behold, the Name of the Lord cometh from afar: and his glory filleth all the earth. [Magnificat antiphon, first Vespers, First Sunday in Advent]

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, Mary; fear not, thou shalt bear in thy womb the Son of God, alleluia. [Benedictus antiphon, First Sunday in Advent]

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal. Through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen. [Collect, First Sunday in Advent]

Fear not, Mary, for thou has found favour with the Lord: behold, thou shalt conceive and bring forth a Son, alleluia. [Magnificat antiphon, second Vespers, First Sunday in Advent]

Daily Posting: December 2/15

O God, who didst point out blessed Peter Chrysologus the illustrious doctor, and divinely choose him to rule and instruct thy church: grant we beseech thee, that we may be worthy to have him as our intercessor in heaven, whom we had as our teacher here upon earth. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Peter Chrysologus, December 2/15]

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The Angel of the Lord announced unto Mary, and she conceived of the Holy Ghost, alleluia. [Benedictus antiphon, Monday, first week of Advent]

Lift us thine eyes, O Jerusalem, and see the power of the King: behold, the Saviour cometh to loose thee from thy chain. [Magnificat antiphon, Monday, first week of Advent]

Daily Posting: December 3/16

Before they came together Mary was found with child of the Holy Ghost. [Benedictus antiphon, Tuesday, first week of Advent]

Seek ye the Lord whole he may be found: call ye upon him while he is near, alleluia. [Magnificat antiphon, Tuesday, first week of Advent]

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From the Fathers ...

Christ taught by example, spending whole long nights in the desert praying. He did this to teach and admonish us that, whenever we are going to converse with God, we must flee from the noise, the confusion and the crowds. Instead, we should go off to a place which is deserted and go at a time when our solitude will not be interrupted. A mountain does not offer the only solitude; a room where there is no clamor or uproar is just as much a place of solitude. [St. John Chrysostom]

Daily Posting: December 4/17

Out of Sion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. [Benedictus antiphon, Wednesday, first week of Advent]

After me cometh one mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose. [Magnificat antiphon, Wednesday, first week of Advent]

From the Fathers ...

The holy body of Christ endows those who receive it with life and keeps us incorrupt when it is mingled with our bodies. For it is not the body of anyone else, but it is the body of him who is life by nature, since it has within itself the entire power of the Word that is united with it, and is endowed with his qualities, or rather is filled with his energy, through which all things are given life and maintained in being. [St. Cyril of Alexandria]

Daily Posting: December 5/18

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. [Benedictus antiphon, Thursday, first week of Advent]

I will wait upon the Lord my Saviour: and I will look for him while he is near, alleluia. [Magnificat antiphon, Thursday, first week of Advent]

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GRANT, we beseech thee, O Lord, that the prayers of thy holy Abbot, blessed Sabas, may commend us unto thee : that we, who have no power of ourselves to help ourselves, may by his advocacy find favour in thy sight. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Sabas, December 5/18]

Take notice, brethren, of the Commemoration of Saint Sabas, which same is made today throughout the entire Church, East and West, being the memorial of one of the greatest of the early monks ; for this man founded the famous monastery, beyond Jerusalem toward the Dead Sea,which hath his name, and is still inhabited by monks ; wherein Saint John of Damascus was trained for God, and many other great and holy men ; and from whence Sabas himself went to heaven in 532, and after being Abbot-General of all the monks of Palestine, and a great power in the Church against heresy and other evils ; for which he is known in the Eastern Church as The Star of the Desert. [Legend, St. Sabas, December 5/18]
Daily Posting: December 6/19

O GOD, who didst adorn thy blessed Bishop, Saint Nicholas, with power to work many and great miracles : grant, we beseech thee that by his prayers ; we may be delivered from the fires of everlasting torment. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Nicholas, December 6/19]

OF Nicholas, little is now certainly known except that he was a most holy bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, who died about the year 352, and was there buried, and thence onwards held in highest veneration. However, the Greek histories of his life all agree that he suffered imprisonment for the Faith, and made a glorious confession thereof in the latter part of Diocletian's persecution, and that he was one of the conciliar fathers at Nicaea. But the extraordinary devotion to him from the earliest days, which hath but increased with time, in the West as well as in the East, and the extraordinary stories which have grown out of affection for him, as a result of this devotion, would seem to be a witness to his extraordinary holiness, and his consequent glory with God. * In the West he is reverenced as the patron of children, because of his concern, as shewn by his reputed miracles, to protect their innocence, and because of the reputed prodigies of his own precocious devotion; whereof it is related that as an infant he kept the fasts prescribed for adults, and hence never suckled more than once on Wednesdays and Fridays, and that always after sunset, according to the Canon Law of that day. In exemplification of his great charity, it is also related that he secretly helped a certain poor man with three marriageable daughters. who for want of a dowry were in danger of being forced into harlotry; for it is said that he went to their house by night, and threw in a window money sufficient for a dowry ; and this he did a second and a third time, so that by his charity all three were honourably given in marriage. * In the East he is reverenced as the patron of sailors because he is said, at their behest, to have stilled a great tempest by his prayers whilst journeying by ship on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land ; so that the eastern greeting to seafarers is : May Saint Nicholas hold the tiller. It is also related that, on his return from this pilgrimage, he came to Myra when the bishops of the province were deliberating as to the choice of a bishop for that See ; and that they were warned from heaven to choose the first man that crossed the threshold of the church, which same was Nicholas, who entered therein to make his devotions. By the Russians he is accounted with Saint Andrew the joint Patron of their nation. In addition to this, he is reckoned as the Patron also of Greece, Apulia, Sicily, and Lorraine. In 1034 his great shrine at Myra passed into the hands of the Saracens, whereat the merchants of Venice and Bari tried to outbid each other for the ransom of his relics, and in 1087 the latter were permitted to carry them to Bari in Apulia, where they are still venerated by pilgrims from all over the world. [Legend, St. Nicholas, December 6/19]


Lo, there cometh one that is both God and Man, of the house of David, to sit upon the throne, alleluia. [Benedictus antiphon, Friday, first week of Advent]

Out of Egypt have I called my Son: he shall come to save his people. [Magnificat antiphon, Friday, first week of Advent]

Daily Posting: December 7/20

O GOD, by whose providence Saint Ambrose was sent to guide thy people in the way of everlasting salvation : grant, we beseech thee ; that as we have learned of him the doctrine of life on earth, so we may be found worthy to have him for our advocate in heaven. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Ambrose, December 7/20]

Lesson iv

AMBROSE was born when his father was Prefect of Gaul about the year 340. He received a liberal education at Rome, and was afterwards made governour of the province of which Milan was the capital. Now when Auxentius died, (who was the Arian who had been intruded into the Bishoprick of Milan,) the most violent disputes arose about the choice of a successor, and Ambrose urged upon the contending factions the necessity of keeping the public peace ; whereupon a child suddenly cried out : Ambrose, Bishop : and the whole assembly took it up, and unanimously called for his election.

Lesson v

AMBROSE refused the office, but when the will of the Emperor was added to the desire of the people, he yielded, and received Baptism, (for hitherto he was only a Catechumen,) Confirmation, and Communion, and then the several Orders on successive days, till on the eighth day, which was the seventh of December, in the year 374, the weight of the Episcopate was laid upon his shoulders. Therein he ever shewed himself a stout upholder of Catholic faith and discipline, and turned to the truth great numbers of Arians and other hereticks. Among them, he begat in Christ Jesus that burning and shining light of the Church, the holy Doctor Augustine.

Lesson vi

AFTER the massacre which Emperor Theodosius had commanded at Thessalonica, in 390, he refused to permit that prince to enter a church. The Emperor pleaded that he was no worse than David, who had been guilty of adultery and murder, to which Ambrose answered : As thou hast followed him in sin, follow him also in repentance : whereupon Theodosius humbly did public penance. At length, worn out with his continual labours, this holy bishop knew that death was near. After he had received the Body and Blood of Christ, and with his hands stretched out in the form of a cross, he gave his spirit to God, namely, on April 4th, in the year of Christ, 397, but feast is kept in most places on December 7th, which is the anniversary of his consecration. He was the author of many hymns for the liturgy, and many homilies and treatises. He is regarded as one of the greatest and best beloved bishops of all time, and is honoured as one of the first four western Doctors of the Church.

[Lessons from Nocturn II, Matins, St. Ambrose, December 7/20]


Fear not, O Sion, behold thy God cometh, alleluia. [Benedictus antiphon, Saturday, first week of Advent]

Come, O Lord, in peace; visit us with thy salvation, that we may rejoice before thee with a perfect heart. [Magnificat antiphon, Saturday, first week of Advent]

Daily Posting: December 8/21

Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him: art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? [Benedictus antiphon, second Sunday in Advent]

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the ways of thine Only-begotten;that by his coming we may be worthy to serve thee with purified minds. Through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, second Sunday in Advent]

Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Go and shew John those things which ye do see; the blind receive their sight, the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them, alleluia. [Magnificat antiphon, second Sunday in Advent]

Daily Posting: December 9/22

All generations shall call me blessed: for the that is mighty hath magnified me, alleluia. [Magnificat antiphon, first Vespers, Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary]

O merciful God, hear the supplication of thy servants: that we who are gathered together to honour the conception of the Virgin Mother of God, may through her intercession be delivered by thee from the perils which beset us. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary]

The Lord God said unto the serpent, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, alleluia. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary]

Let us celebrate the worshipful Conception of the blessed and glorious Virgin Mary, whose lowliness the Lord regarded when at the word of an Angel she conceived world's Redeemer, alleluia. [Magnificat antiphon, second Vespers, Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary]

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From heaven there cometh the Lord, the Ruler, and in his hand are honour and dominion. [Benedictus antiphon, Monday, second week of Advent]

Behold the King shall come, The Lord of the earth, and he shall take away the yoke of our captivity. [Magnificat antiphon, Monday, second week of Advent]

Daily Posting: December 10/23

High Word of God, who once didst come,
Leaving thy Father and thy home,
To succour by thy birth our kind,
When, towards thine advent, time declined,

Pour light upon us from above,
And fire our hearts with thy strong love,
That, as we hear thy Gospel read,
All fond desires may flee in dread;

That, when thou comest from the skies,
Great Judge, to open thine assize,
To give each hidden sin its smart,
And crown as kings the pure in heart,

We be not set at thy left hand,
Where sentence due would bid us stand.
But with the Saints thy face may see,
For ever wholly loving thee.

Praise to the Father and the Son,
Through all the ages as they run;
And to the Holy Paraclete
Be praise with them and worship meet. Amen.

[Advent Matins hymn [Verbum supernum]


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The Lord shall rise upon thee, O Jerusalem, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. [Benedictus antiphon, Tuesday, second week of Advent]

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. [Magnificat antiphon, Tuesday, second week of Advent]

Daily Posting: December 11/24

GREETINGS

To all our friends who celebrate Christmas this week, we wish you every joy and blessing of this holy season. We invite all to attend our own Christmas Eve Mass on Tuesday, 6 January 2015, at 7:00 pm, in the Cathedral of Saint George, 1910 Falls Street, Niagara Falls, New York. Once again the schola of the Gregorian Institute of Canada will join us for the chants and carols of this great feast. We hope to see you there to join with us in praising our incarnate Lord.


Dom James
Abbot of Christminster
24 December 2014
From the Fathers ...

The Word of God the Father was born according to the flesh in the same way as ourselves, so that we too might be enriched with a birth which is from God through the spirit, no longer being called children of flesh but rather, having been transformed in something that transcends nature, being called children of God by grace. [St. Cyril of Alexandria]

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BE merciful to the people of thy flock, O Lord, eternal Shepherd and Bishop of the souls of men : keep us in thy continual protection ; at the intercession of the Holy Father Damasus, whom thou didst raise up in thy Church to be thine under-shepherd. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Damasus, December 11/24]

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Lesson iv

DAMASUS is believed to have been born at Rome, of Spanish parents, early in the fourth century. According to ancient burial inscriptions, he had a sister who died as a consecrated virgin, and his mother, when she went to God at the age of ninety-two, had lived in holy widowhood for sixty years. Anthony, his father, was a priest of the Church of Saint Lawrence in Rome, Damasus himself served therein as a deacon until he was made Pope when he was about sixty years of age. But a faction chose another deacon to be their bishop, and thereby provoked a riot in which an hundred and thirty and seven people were killed.

Lesson v

TO heal this schism he laboured for many years, as a true father-in-God, and finally enforced a severe edict against those who sought to make the Church wealthy, whereby worldly men were tempted to seek for preferment therein. He was learned in the Scriptures, and caused Saint Jerome to make that revision of the Bible which is known as the Vulgate, and encouraged him in those holy studies whereby he came to be reckoned as one of the first four holy Doctors of the West. The Church was greatly troubled with heresy at this time, and Damasus bravely and successfully opposed Apollinarianism from Laodicea, Macedonianism from Constantinople, Arianism in Milan, and Priscillianism in Spain.

Lesson vi

DURING his pontificate the Emperor laid aside the title of Pontifex Maximus, which same came afterwards to be given to the Popes. He beautified the tombs of many holy Martyrs and decorated them with elegant inscriptions in poetry, composed by himself, which same are now of great value as authentic and historical records of the early Saints. He wrote on the subject of virginity both in prose and verse, and composed many other poems. He is said have established in Rome the usage, already current in some other churches, of singing the Psalter by alternate choirs, and of adding to the Psalms : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. Of him the Council of Chalcedon said : He is the honour and glory of Rome. He died on December 11th, 384, being about eighty years old. He was buried beside his mother and sister in the church which he had himself founded on the Ardeatine Way. His relicks were afterwards taken to the Basilica of Saint Lawrence, which he also built, probably on the site of his father's house, which same is thence sometimes called Saint Laurence-in-Damaso.

[Legend, St. Damasus, December 11/24]


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Behold I send my messenger, and shall prepare my way before thy face. [Benedictus antiphon, Wednesday, second week of Advent]

Sion, thou shalt be renewed, and shalt see thy righteous One, he that cometh unto thee. [Magnificat antiphon, Wednesday, second week of Advent]

Daily Posting: December 12/25

From the Fathers ...

The body of the Word himself is life-giving, since he has made it his own by a real union transcending our understanding and power of expression. In a similar way, if we too come to participate in his holy flesh and blood, we are endowed with life completely and absolutely, because the Word dwells within us, both in a divine way through the Holy Spirit and in a human way through the holy flesh and the precious blood. The Word of God has become human and this faith is in harmony with the sacred and divine Scriptures, and the aim of the apostolic and evangelical tradition is entirely concentrated on this same goal.

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Thou, O Lord, art he that is to come, for whom we look, to save thy people. [Benedictus antiphon, Thursday, second week of Advent]

He that cometh after me is preferred before me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose. [Magnificat antiphon, Thursday, second week of Advent]

Creator of the stars of night,
Thy people's everlasting light,
Jesus, Redeemer, save us all,
And hear thy servants when they call.

Thou, grieving that the ancient curse
should doom to death an universe,
Hast found the medicine, full of grace,
To save and heal a ruined race.

Thou camest, the Bridegroom of the Bride,
As grew the world to evening tide,
Proceeding from a virgin shrine,
The spotless Victim all divine.

At whose dread Name, majestic now,
All knees must bend, all hearts must bow;
And things celestial thee shall own,
And things terrestrial Lord alone.

O thou whose coming is with dread,
To judge and doom the quick and dead,
Preserve us, while we dwell below,
From every insult of the foe.

To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, Three in One,
Laud, honour, might, and glory be,
From age to age eternally. Amen.

[Advent Vespers hymn [Conditor alme siderum]

Daily Posting: December 13/26

Say to them: Ye that are of a fearful heart, be strong: for behold the Lord our God shall come. [Benedictus antiphon, Friday, second week of Advent]

Sing unto the Lord a new song; and his praise from the end of the earth. [Magnificat antiphon, Friday, second week of Advent]

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In thy patience, thou O Lucy, didst possess thy soul ; thou hast hated the things of this world, O Bride of Christ, and so hast glory amongst the Angels; thou didst vanquish the adversary, O Martyr, with thine own blood. [Magnificat antiphon, first Vespers, St. Lucy, December 13/26]

Lesson iv

Lucy was early recognized as one of the most illustrious of virgin martyrs. Therefore, along with Agatha, Agnes, and Cecilia, her name is mentioned in the Gregorian Canon. But nothing can now be surely established concerning her life save that she bare such witness to Christ about the year 304, at Syracuse, as soon to fill Christendom with her praises. The written Acts of St. Lucy (on which the Propers of her Office are based) were compiled long after her death, like the Acts of the other three aforementioned virgin Martyrs, and doubtless contain such memories of her passion as then survived, along with the wonders that had come into belief to explain how Christ's strength was made perfect in the weakness of his handmaiden. According to these Acts, Lucy took her mother, who was afflicted with an issue of blood, to pray at Catania before the body of Saint Agatha, through whose intercession her mother was healed. Whereupon Lucy begged that the dowry set aside for her marriage be given to the poor, and this same was done.

Lesson v

WHEN this came to the ears of him to whom she had been betrothed against her will, he delivered her to the prefect to be punished as a Christian. The latter tried entreaties, and then threats, to seduce her from Christ, and finally ordered her to be prostituted in a brothel. To which Lucy replied : Thou canst not prostitute my soul ; if this poor body be violated against my will, I shall thereby obtain unto the double crown of chastity and suffering. Whereupon, when unspeakable cruelties had failed to move her, she was finally martyred by a sword thrust through her neck.

Lesson vi

HER body was buried at Syracuse : but afterwards taken to Constantinople, and lastly to Venice. And she is invoked by those who suffer illness of the eyes, from a story told of her, that she desired her eyes to be plucked out, to avoid the lustful admiration which they stirred in pagan young men. Her name indicateth light ; and she was a shining light of purity to those who had no eyes to see the beauty of Christ in that night of pagan darkness ; which mystic reference is made in an old saying concerning her feast-day (which was by the old reckoning the shortest day in the year) : Lucy-light, shortest day and longest night.

[Legend, St. Lucy, December 13/26]


A pillar art thou that may not be shaken, O Lucy, spouse of Christ, and all thy people await thy crowning with life eternal. [Benedictus antiphon, St. Lucy, December 13/26]

GRACIOUSLY hear us, O God of our salvation : that, like as we do rejoice in the festival of blessed Lucy thy holy Virgin ; so we may learn to follow her in all godly and devout affections. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, St. Lucy, December 13/26]

The Holy Ghost came upon the bride of Christ in great power, so that could in no wise be moved. [Magnificat antiphon, second Vespers, St. Lucy, December 13/26]

Daily Posting: December 14/27

A THRILLING voice by Jordan rings,
Rebuking guilt and darksome things:
Vain dreams of sin and visions fly;
Christ in his might shines forth on high.

Now let each torpid soul arise,
That sunk in guilt and wounded lies;
See! the new Star's refulgent ray
Shall chase disease and sin away.

The Lamb descends from heaven above
To pardon sin with freest love:
For such indulgent mercy shewn
With tearful joy our thanks we own.

That when again he shines revealed,
And trembling worlds to terror yield,
He give not sin its just reward,
But in his love protect and guard.

To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, Three in One,
Laud, honour, might, and glory be,
From age to age eternally. Amen.

[Advent Lauds hymn [Vox clara ecce intonat]]

The Lord shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel. [Benedictus antiphon, Saturday, second week of Advent]

Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me: unto me every knee shall bow, and me shall every tongue confess. [Magnificat antiphon, Saturday, second week of Advent]

Daily Posting: December 15/28

He shall sit upon the throne of David, and of his Kingdom there shall be no end. [Benedictus antiphon, Lauds, third Sunday in Advent]

Incline thine ear to our prayers, O Lord, we beseech thee; and lighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of thy visitation. Who with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen. [Collect, third Sunday in Advent]

Blessed art thou, O Mary, for thou hast believed the Lord : and there shall be a performance in thee of those things which were told thee from the Lord, alleluia. [Magnificat antiphon, second Vespers, third Sunday in Advent]

Daily Posting: December 16/29

There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and all the earth shall be filled with the glory the Lord: and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. [Benedictus antiphon, Monday Lauds, third week of Advent]

O Wisdom, which camest out of the mouth of the Most High, and reachest from one end to another, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence. [Magnificat antiphon, {O Sapienta}]

Daily Posting: December 17/30

Thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, shall not be the least: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. [Benedictus antiphon, Tuesday Lauds, third week of Advent]

O Adonai, and Leader of the house of Israel, who appearedst in the bush to Moses, in a flame of fire, and gavest him the law in Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm. [Magnificat antiphon, {O Adonai}]

Daily Posting: December 18/31

The Angel Gabriel was sent to Mary, a Virgin espoused to Joseph. [Benedictus antiphon, Ember Wednesday Lauds, third week of Advent]

O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at whom kings shall shut their mouths, unto whom the Gentiles shall seek: Come and deliver us, and tarry not. [Magnificat antiphon, {O Radix Jesse}]

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From the book: The Way of the Fathers: Praying with the Early Christians / by Mike Aquilina, page 24:

Know, O beautiful soul, that you are the image of God. Know that You are the glory of God. Know, then, O man, your greatness, and be vigilant. [St. Ambrose of Milan]

God imprinted on your nature the likeness of the glories of His own nature, as if molding the form of a carving into wax. [St. Gregory of Nyssa]

In the nature that is to enjoy God, there must be something kindred to Him who is to be partaken of. [St. Gregory of Nyssa]

Knowing, then, the nobility we share, and how we are seedlings from heaven, let us do nothing that would put our nature to shame. [Nemesius of Emesa]