The Holy Innocents

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The Holy Innocents

“But Herod sending, killed all the male children, from two years old and under.”–Matt. 2.

Whenever we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents, our hearts are filled with compassion, but, at the same time, also with joy and consolation. We have compassion for these innocent children, who shed their blood to satisfy the cruelty, vanity, and pride of a tyrant;–but taking into consideration that they had not the remotest idea of the death they were to suffer, that, without any struggle, or troubles of conscience, they were torn from the arms of their mothers, to hasten to the arms of God, where a particular degree of glory awaited them,–in consideration of this, we feel comforted and happy, and can not but congratulate these little innocents, the first of the martyrs for Christ’s sake.

The remembrance of the Holy Innocents, has a most practical influence on the lives of parents especially, admonishing them to strive earnestly, that, even if their children have not the happiness of sealing the truth of their faith with the effusion of their blood, they may, nevertheless, give testimony of it by the innocence of their lives. Parents, I will point out to you, today, what you, on your part, are obliged to do, in order that your children may preserve their innocence. O Mary, thou model for all dutiful mothers, obtain for those parents here present the grace, to know and fulfill their duties in this respect! I speak in the holy name of Jesus, to the greater honor of God! Continue reading

A solis ortus cardine

Written by Coelius Sedulius (d c 450) in iambic dimeter. This hymn, which is used for Lauds during the Christmas season, is the first seven verses of a much longer alphabetic hymn. Four other verses form a second hymn, Hostis Herodes impie which is used for Epiphany.
A SOLIS ortus cardine
adusque terrae limitem
Christum canamus Principem,
natum Maria Virgine.
FROM lands that see the sun arise,
to earth’s remotest boundaries,
the Virgin-born today we sing,
the Son of Mary, Christ the King.
Beatus auctor saeculi
servile corpus induit,
ut carne carnem liberans
non perderet quod condidit.
Blest Author of this earthly frame,
to take a servant’s form he came,
that liberating flesh by flesh,
whom he had made might live afresh.
Clausae1 parentis viscera
caelestis intrat gratia;
venter puellae baiulat
secreta quae non noverat.
In that chaste parent’s holy womb,
celestial grace hath found its home:
and she, as earthly bride unknown,
yet call that Offspring blest her own.
Domus pudici pectoris
templum repente fit Dei;
intacta nesciens virum
verbo concepit Filium2.
The mansion of the modest breast
becomes a shrine where God shall rest:
the pure and undefiled one
conceived in her womb the Son.
Enixa3 est puerpera
quem Gabriel praedixerat,
quem matris alvo gestiens
clausus Ioannes senserat.4
That Son, that royal Son she bore,
whom Gabriel’s voice had told afore:
whom, in his Mother yet concealed,
the Infant Baptist had revealed.
Feno iacere pertulit,
praesepe non abhorruit,
parvoque lacte pastus est5
per quem nec ales esurit.
The manger and the straw he bore,
the cradle did he not abhor:
a little milk his infant fare
who feedeth even each fowl of air.
Gaudet chorus caelestium
et Angeli canunt Deum,
palamque fit pastoribus
Pastor, Creator omnium.
The heavenly chorus filled the sky,
the Angels sang to God on high,
what time to shepherds watching lone
they made creation’s Shepherd known.
Iesu, tibi sit gloria,
qui natus es de Virgine,
cum Patre et almo Spiritu,
in sempiterna saecula. Amen.
All honor, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee;
all glory, as is ever meet,
to the Father and to Paraclete. Amen.