Manual of Devotions: The Flight into Egypt

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The Flight into Egypt

Manual of Devotions in Honour of the Seven Dolours, 1868

First Point

No sooner was Jesus born than He began to be persecuted by Herod, who then ruled over the Jews. This ambitious prince, hearing that the long-expected Messias was come into the world “to deliver His people, Israel,” was seized with envy and alarm. He feared lest this Saviour should supplant him in his authority and usurp his throne; therefore he sought to destroy him whilst he was yet a helpless babe. When the wise men came to Jerusalem from the east, enquiring “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?” Herod, thinking the time had arrived to rid himself of his supposed rival, called them privately, and learned diligently of them at what time the star which guided them from the East had first appeared: then, sending them into Bethlehem, he said: “Go, and diligently enquire after the child; and when you have found Him, bring me word again, that I also may come and adore Him.” He hoped, by this deceitful stratagem, to obtain possession of our Lord. But, like all God’s enemies, in the long run he deceived himself; for our Lord’s “time was not yet come ” to be betrayed and put to death. Continue reading

The Flight into Egypt by Francis Cuthbert Doyle

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The Flight into Egypt
by Francis Cuthbert Doyle, 1879

The prophetic words of Simeon gave the first blow to the loving heart of Mary. It was not long before a second fell upon her, and made her realise still more feelingly the prediction of the aged Seer, in all its stern and bitter truth. She was sleeping peacefully by the side of the slumbering Jesus, when her holy spouse awoke her gently, and bade her arise and follow him into the land of Egypt. During his sleep an Angel of the Lord had stood by him, and given him the order of heaven. It was short and peremptory: ‘Arise,’ said the Angelic visitant, ‘and take the Child and His Mother, and flee into Egypt, and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the Child to destroy Him.’ Without a word of remonstrance, he did as he was told, and with blind obedience, and a child-like trust in Providence, turned his back upon his peaceful home, his friends, his kindred, and set out with speed for the land of the stranger. Our Lady, filled with the same spirit, acted in the same heroic manner. There was no hesitation on her part. There was no unwillingness, no delay. To her, Joseph was the representative of the Eternal Father, and his word was to her like the sacred law of God. Her faith was unbounded. She did not ask if this could really be God, Whom she was bearing in her arms, and holding so closely to her bosom, that she could feel the beatings of His tiny heart. She did not waver when she beheld Him thus weak, helpless, and fleeing from the face of the persecutor. With her there was no petulant questioning about the propriety of this proceeding, no demanding why the Angel, who gave the message, could not lend his helping arm, to protect them from injury in the obscurity of their own home. No; there was nothing of this. She had penetrated into the folly of the Cross, and seen in it the deep wisdom of God. She understood that God is then truly great, when He makes Himself little, truly powerful, when He appears in the eyes of men weakness itself, truly wise, when His actions seem foolish to them, and truly royal, when he annihilates Himself, and acts as the servant of all. In all these things she said to herself: ‘The finger of God is here.’ It would be no wonder, no miracle, that God should act magnificently, or gloriously, or in a way to dazzle the eyes of men. But that He should humble Himself, that He should be an infant, poor, weak, a fugitive,–this pointed Him out to her as God. She bowed to His decree, and went into Egypt.’  Continue reading

Today”s Introit: Circumdedérunt me

Ps 17:5; 17:6; 17:7
Circumdedérunt me gémitus mortis, dolóres inférni circumdedérunt me: et in tribulatióne mea invocávi Dóminum, et exaudívit de templo sancto suo vocem meam.
Ps 17:2-3
Díligam te, Dómine, fortitúdo mea: Dóminus firmaméntum meum, et refúgium meum, et liberátor meus.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculórum. Amen
Circumdedérunt me gémitus mortis, dolóres inférni circumdedérunt me: et in tribulatióne mea invocávi Dóminum, et exaudívit de templo sancto suo vocem meam.

Ps 17:5-7
The terrors of death surged round me, the cords of the nether world enmeshed me. In my distress I called upon the Lord; from His holy temple He heard my voice.
Ps 17:2-3
I love You, O Lord, my strength, O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
The terrors of death surged round me, the cords of the nether world enmeshed me. In my distress I called upon the Lord; from His holy temple He heard my voice.


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

Why is this Sunday called “Septuagesima”?

Because in accordance with the words of the First Council of Orleans, some pious Christian congregations in the earliest ages of the Church, especially the clergy, began to fast seventy days before Easter, on this Sunday, which was therefore called Septuagesima” – the seventieth day. The same is the case with the Sundays following, which are called Sexagesima, Quinquagesima , Quadragesima, because some Christians commenced to fast sixty days, others fifty, others forty days before Easter, until finally, to make it properly uniform, Popes Gregory and Gelasius arranged that all Christians should fast forty days before Easter, commencing with Ash Wednesday.

Why, from this day until Easter, does the Church omit in her service all joyful canticles, alleluias, and the Gloria in excelsis etc?

Gradually to prepare the minds of the faithful for the serious time of penance and sorrow; to remind the sinner of the grievousness of his errors, and to exhort him to penance. So the priest appears at the altar in violet, the color of penance, and the front of the altar is covered with a violet curtain. To arouse our sorrow for our sins, and show the need of repentance, the Church in the name of all mankind at the Introit cries with David: The groans of death surrounded me, the sorrows of hell encompassed me: and in my affliction I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice from his holy temple. (Ps. XVII, 5-7.) I will love thee, O Lord, my strength; the Lord is my firmament, and my refuge, and my deliverer. (Fs. XVII. 2-3.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT O Lord, we beseech Thee graciously hear the prayers of Thy people; that we who are justly afflicted for our sins may, for the glory of Thy name, mercifully be delivered. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ etc. Continue reading