St. Peter Chrysologus

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St. Peter Chrysologus,
Bishop of Ravenna

St. Peter, on account of his great eloquence surnamed Chrysologus, or the golden speaker, was a native of Imola, a town not far from Rome. His parents were pious and distinguished people, who led their son from his early youth in the path of rectitude. In his studies he progressed so rapidly, that he was always the first among his schoolmates. The retired life he led, and his blameless conduct, induced the bishop of Imola to receive him among those whom he instructed in theology, and, in due time, to ordain him deacon. In this office, Peter showed such wisdom and ability, that he was beloved and highly esteemed by every one. By his untiring diligence, and the careful instructions of the bishop, he obtained a thorough knowledge of the sacred sciences, and he was often entrusted with the most important affairs of the Church, which he always terminated to the great satisfaction of the clergy.  Continue reading

St. Barbara

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St. Barbara, Virgin and Martyr

The holy virgin and martyr, St. Barbara, who, from the most ancient times, has been celebrated in the whole Christian world, was born of heathen parents in Nicomedia, of Bithynia. She was much beloved by her father, Dioscorus, on account of her unusual intelligence. He appointed a tower as a special place, well fitted up, for her dwelling, and chose the best masters to instruct her in art and science, but especially in paganism, as he feared she might be induced to unite herself to one not agreeable to him, or be seduced by the Christians, of whom he was a great enemy. But just this solicitude of her father gave her cause to think, and thus to arrive at the knowledge of the true God. She contemplated the heavens, the sun, moon and stars, in their regular course; she meditated on the changing of the seasons; looked on the wonderful creation of the world and its inhabitants, and justly concluded from it that there must be a Creator–that He alone must be the true God, and that the gods she worshipped had no power. To these contemplations she united prayers, and also led a most blameless life. The Almighty, who forsakes not one who aids himself, gave her opportunity to become instructed in the Christian religion, and to receive holy baptism, without the knowledge of her father.  Continue reading

Alma Redemptoris Mater

Alma Redemptoris Mater was composed by Herman Contractus (Herman the Cripple) (1013-1054). It is mentioned in The Prioress’ Tale in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, which testifies to its popularity in England before Henry VIII. Contractus composed it from phrases taken from the writings of St. Fulgentius, St. Epiphanius, and St. Irenaeus. At one time Alma Redemptoris Mater was briefly used as an antiphon for the hour of Sext for the feast of the Assumption, but since the 13th century it has been a part of Compline. Formerly it was recited only from the first Sunday in Advent until the Feast of the Purification (Feb. 2), but with the revision of the Liturgy of the Hours, it can be recited anytime during the year. The traditional collects, which are not part of the original prayer, are also given below.
ALMA Redemptoris Mater, quae pervia caeli
Porta manes, et stella maris, succurre cadenti,
Surgere qui curat, populo: tu quae genuisti,
Natura mirante, tuum sanctum Genitorem
Virgo prius ac posterius, Gabrielis ab ore
Sumens illud Ave, peccatorum miserere.
MOTHER of Christ, hear thou thy people’s cry
Star of the deep and Portal of the sky!
Mother of Him who thee made from nothing made.
Sinking we strive and call to thee for aid:
Oh, by what joy which Gabriel brought to thee,
Thou Virgin first and last, let us thy mercy see.
Tempus Adventus During Advent
V. Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae.
R. Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.
V. The Angel of the Lord announced unto Mary.
R. And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Oremus
Gratiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde: ut qui, Angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus; per passionem eius et crucem, ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Let us pray
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts: that as we have known the incarnation of Thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an Angel, so too by His Cross and passion may we be brought to the glory of His resurrection. Amen.
Donec Purificatio From Christmas Eve until the Purification
V. Post partum, Virgo, inviolata permansisti.
R. Dei Genetrix, intercede pro nobis.
V. After childbirth thou didst remain a virgin.
R. Intercede for us, O Mother of God.
Oremus
Deus, qui salutis aeternae, beatae Mariae virginitate fecunda, humano generi praemia praestitisti: tribue, quaesumus; ut ipsam pro nobis intercedere sentiamus, per quam meruimus auctorem vitae suscipere, Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum. Amen.
Let us pray
O God, who, by the fruitful virginity of blessed Mary, hast bestowed upon mankind the reward of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may experience her intercession, through whom we have been made worthy to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son. Amen.