Te Deum

Te Deum, also sometimes called the Ambrosian Hymn because if its association with St. Ambrose, is a traditional hymn of joy and thanksgiving. First attributed to Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, or Hilary, it is now accredited to Nicetas, Bishop of Remesiana (4th century). It is used at the conclusion of the Office of the Readings for the Liturgy of the Hours on Sundays outside Lent, daily during the Octaves of Christmas and Easter, and on Solemnities and Feast Days. The petitions at the end were added at a later time and are optional. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite it in thanksgiving and a plenary indulgence is granted if the hymn is recited publicly on the last day of the year.
TE DEUM laudamus: te Dominum confitemur. O GOD, we praise Thee: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur. Everlasting Father, all the earth doth worship Thee.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi Caeli et universae Potestates; To Thee all the Angels, the Heavens and all the Powers,
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant: all the Cherubim and Seraphim, unceasingly proclaim:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae. Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus, The glorious choir of the Apostles,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus, the wonderful company of Prophets,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus. the white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia, Holy Church throughout the world doth acknowledge Thee:
Patrem immensae maiestatis: the Father of infinite Majesty;
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium; Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum. and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe. O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius. Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum. Thou, having taken it upon Thyself to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum. Thou overcame the sting of death and hast opened to believers the Kingdom of Heaven.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris. Thou sitest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Iudex crederis esse venturus. We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti. We beseech Thee, therefore, to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari. Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.
V. Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae. V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thine inheritance!
R. Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum. R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.
V. Per singulos dies benedicimus te. V. Every day we thank Thee.
R. Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi. R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yea, forever and ever.
V. Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire. V. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
R. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri. R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te. V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
R. In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum. R. O Lord, in Thee I have hoped; let me never be put to shame.

The Eternal Father

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The Eternal Father

The entire life of the Father in the Holy Trinity is to speak His Son, His Word; it is to engender, by a unique, simple and eternal act, a Son resembling Himself, to whom He communicates the plenitude of His Being and His perfections. In this Word, infinite like Himself, in this unique and eternal Word, the Father never ceases to recognize His Son, His own image, the splendour of His glory. This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased. These words, pronounced on Mount Tabor at the time of the Transfiguration, are the greatest revelation God has made to the earth; they are an echo of the very life of the Father. The Father, in His character of Father, lives by engendering His Son; this generation has neither beginning nor end. In eternity we will behold with astonishment, admiration and love, that procession of the Son engendered in the bosom of the Father, procession which is eternal: Thou art My Son; this day I have engendered Thee. The today is the perpetual present of eternity.

It is an excellent thing in the spiritual life to keep before the eyes of the heart, this testimony of the Father; nothing is more powerful to sustain our faith. And let us then say, Yes, Father, I believe it, and I want to repeat it: this Jesus who is in me through faith, through grace, through Holy Communion, is Your Son. Because You have said it, I believe it. And because I believe it, I adore Your Son, to render Him my homage and through Him, in Him, to render to You also, O Heavenly Father, in union with Your Spirit, all honour and all glory. Such a prayer is very agreeable to our Father in heaven; when it is true, pure and frequent, it makes us the object of the Father’s love. God envelops us in the complacency which He finds in His own Son Jesus. It is Our Lord Himself who tells us so: The Father loves you because you have believed that I have come from Him — that I am His Son. What happiness for a soul to be the object of the Father’s love, this Father from whom every perfect gift comes down to rejoice hearts!

Le Christ dans Ses mystères, by Dom Columba Marmion (Granger Frères Ltée: Montreal, 1946)

Feast of the Circumcision

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Feast of the Circumcision

His name was called Jesus, which was called by the angel, before He was conceived in the womb–LUKE ii. 21.

In the Old Law (Gen. xvii. 12), it was required that every male child should on the eighth day after his birth be circumcised, and thus admitted among God’s chosen people. The rite of circumcision in the Old Law corresponded to the Sacrament of Baptism in the New Law and was the means of remitting original sin. Our Lord, although free from every sin, submitted to this rite in order to show that He was a true Son of Abraham, to manifest respect and obedience to the established law, and to prove that He had a real human body. At the time of circumcision, a name was given to the child. Our Lord was called Jesus, which signified His office as Saviour. On this feast of the Circumcision, therefore, it is most appropriate that we should meditate on the first petition of the Lord’s prayer, “hallowed be thy name.”

I. The first petition of the Lord’s Prayer. 1. In the opening words of the Lord’s Prayer we ask that God’s name may be honored, which shows that God’s glory should be our chief desire. 2. This petition does not mean that God’s essential glory or perfection should be increased, nor that the honor given Him on earth should be equal to that shown Him in heaven.

II. The objects of this petition. We ask: 1. That we may praise God with our hearts and lips; 2. That those in error may be brought to recognize and revere His Church; 3. That sinners may be converted to His service; 4. That men may learn to refer all blessings to Him as to their author and source.

CONCLUSION. Our conduct should be in conformity with this petition, I. Catholics must not cause the name of God or of His Church to be profaned by their own evil words and actions. 2. On the contrary, by clean speech and good example, Catholics ought to excite others to exalt the name of God, to respect the faith of Christ, and to honor His Church. 3. Good resolutions for the New Year. Continue reading


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The Church’s Year
By Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine

Why is this day so called?

Because the secular year begins with this day, as the Church year begins with the First Sunday in Advent.

What should we do on this day?

An offering of the new year should be made to God, asking His grace that we may spend the year in a holy manner, for the welfare of the soul.

Why do we wish each other a “happy new year”?

Because to do so is an act of Christian love; but this wish should come from the heart, and not merely from worldly politeness, otherwise we would be like the heathens (Mt. 5:47), and receive no other reward than they.

What feast of the Church is celebrated today?

The Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord, Who, for love of us, voluntarily subjected Himself to the painful law of the Old Covenant, that we might be freed from the same.

What was the Circumcision?

It was an external sign of the Old Law, by which the people of that day were numbered among the chosen people of God, as now they become, by baptism, members of the Church of Christ. Continue reading

St. Sylvester

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St. Sylvester, Pope and Confessor

A.D. 335.

ST. SYLVESTER, whom God appointed to govern his holy church in the first years of her temporal prosperity and triumph over her persecuting enemies, was a native of Rome, and son to Rufinus and Justa. According to the general rule with those who are saints from their cradle, he received early and in his infancy the strongest sentiments of Christian piety from the example, instructions, and care of a virtuous mother, who, for his education in the sound maxims and practice of religion, and in sacred literature, put him young into the hands of Charitius or Carinius, a priest of an unexceptionable character and great abilities. Being formed under an excellent master, he entered among the clergy of Rome, and was ordained priest by Pope Marcellinus, before the peace of the church was disturbed by Dioclesian, and his associate in the empire. His behaviour in those turbulent and dangerous times recommended him to the public esteem, and he saw the triumph of the cross by the victory which Constantine gained over Maxentius within sight of the city of Rome on the 28th of October, 312. Pope Melchiades dying in January, 314, St. Sylvester was exalted to the pontificate, and the same year commissioned four legates, two priests, and two deacons, to represent him at the great council of the Western Church, held at Arles in August, in which the schism of the Donatists, which had then subsisted seven years, and the heresy of the Quarto-decimans were condemned, and many important points of discipline regulated in twenty-two canons. These decisions were sent by the council before it broke up with an honourable letter to Pope Sylvester, and were confirmed by him and published to the whole church. 1 The general council of Nice was assembled against Arianism in 325. Socrates, 2 Sozomen, 3 and Theodoret, 4 say that Pope Sylvester was not able to come to it in person on account of his great age, but that he sent his legates. Gelasius of Cyzicus 5 mentions that in it “Osius held the place of the bishop of Rome, together with the Roman priests Vito and Vincentius.” These three are named the first in subscriptions of the bishops in the editions of the acts of that council, 6 and in Socrates, who expressly places them before Alexander, patriarch of Alexandria, and Eustathius, patriarch of Antioch. 7 St. Sylvester greatly advanced religion by a punctual discharge of all the duties of his exalted station during the space of twenty-one years and eleven months; and died on the 31st of December, 335. He was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla. St. Gregory the Great pronounced his ninth homily on the gospels on his festival, and in a church which was dedicated to God in his memory by Pope Symmachus. 8 Pope Sergius II. translated his body into this church, and deposited it under the high altar. Mention is made of an altar consecrated to God in his honour at Verona about the year 500; and his name occurs in the ancient Martyrology, called St. Jerom’s, published by Florentinius, and in those of Bede, Ado, Usuard, &c. Pope Gregory IX., in 1227, made his festival general in the Latin church; the Greeks keep it on the 10th of January. 1
After a prodigious effusion of Christian blood almost all the world over daring the space of three hundred years, the persecuting kingdoms at length laid down their arms, and submitted to the faith and worship of a God crucified for us. This ought to be to us a subject of thanksgiving. But do our lives express this faith? Does it triumph in our hearts? It is one of its first precepts that in all our actions we make God our beginning and end, and have only his divine honour and his holy law in view. All our various employments, all our thoughts and designs must be referred to, and terminate in this, as all the lines drawn from the circumference of a circle meet in the centre. We ought therefore so to live that the days, hours, and moments of the year may form a crown made up of good works, which we may offer to God. Our forgetfulness of him who is our last end, in almost all that we do, calls for a sacrifice of compunction in the close of the year: but this cannot be perfect or acceptable to God, unless we sincerely devote our whole hearts and lives to his holy love for the time to come. Let us therefore examine into the sources of former omissions, failures, and transgressions, and take effectual measures for our amendment, and for the perfect regulation of all our affections and actions for the future, or that part of our life which may remain. 2

Note 1. See epist. Synodi Arel. ad Sylvest. Pap. Conc. t. 1, p. 1425.
Note 2. Socr, l. 1, c. 5.
Note 3. Sozom. l. 1, c. 6.
Note 4. Theodoret, l. 1, c. 7.
Note 5. Gelas. Cyz. Hist. Conc. Nicæn. l. 2, c. 5, t. 2, Conc. [
Note 6. Conc. t. 2, p. 50.
Note 7. The history of Constantine’s donation of Rome is refuted by Pagi, Critic. in Annal. Baron. Papebroke, Act. Sanct. Nat. Alexander, Hist. Eccl. Noris, t. 4. Oper. Mamaclii, Orig. Christ. t. 2, p. 232, &c.
Note 8. Conc. t. 1, p. 1368.

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume XII: December.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.