Martyrology - December
Tomorrow is the eve of the holy Apostle Thomas.
Upon the same 20th day of December, were born into the better life:
At Rome, the holy martyrs Liberatus, Bajulus, Ammon, Zeno, Ptolemy, Ingenes, and Theophilus, all martyrs. They were on guard beside the judgment-seat when a certain Christian who was under the torture began to waver and was almost giving way, and they tried by signs to encourage him to hold out; for this cause all the people cried out against them, and they came forward and confessed themselves to be Christians and Christ, who Himself had given such steadfastness unto His own, did Himself most gloriously triumph in their victory, (in the year 249.)
At Geldube, (in Thrace,) the holy martyr Julius, (fourth century.)
In Arabia, the holy martyrs Eugenius and Macarius, two Priests who blamed the ungodliness of the Emperor Julian the Apostate, and for that cause were most cruelly flogged and sent out into the great desert, where they were slain with the sword, (in the year 362.)
At Antioch, holy Philogonius, Patriarch of the see. He was an advocate when he was called by the will of God to govern that church, and first took up the contending for the Catholic faith along with holy Bishop Alexander, and his Companions, against Arius. He fell asleep in the Lord, illustrious for good works, (in the year 322.) Holy John Chrysostom preached an eloquent sermon on his feast-day.
At Brescia, the holy Confessor Dominic, Bishop (of that see, about the year 612.)
On this day is commemorated the burial in Spain of holy Dominic, Abbot of Silos, (in the diocese of Burgos, in Castile, which abbey he founded,) of the Order of St. Benedict, very famous for his miracles wrought for the liberation of captives. (He died in his monastery at Silos, on December 14, 1073.)
And elsewhere many other Holy Martyrs, Confessors and Holy virgins.
R. Thanks be to God
O Antiphon - 20th December
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel: You open and no man closes; you close and no man opens. Come, and deliver him from the chains of prison who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death
Meditations - Tuesday in the fourth Week of Advent:His Life of Prayer in Mary
Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation
We will meditate tomorrow: first, on the life of prayer which, as our High Priest, the Word Incarnate leads in the womb of Mary; second, on the sweet obligation under which all of us are equally to lead a life of prayer. We will then make the resolution: first, better to perform our ordinary prayers; second, often to ask God for the spirit of prayer, which of all graces is the one most necessary for our salvation. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words of the Saviour, “Pray always” (luk xviii:1), or the words of the apostles, “Lord, teach us to pray” (luk xi:1).
Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore Jesus continually at prayer, as our High Priest, in the womb of Mary. This and the homage He renders to God are His constant occupation. Oh, what a beautiful, fervent prayer is His! How it glorifies God! How it brings down graces upon all future ages, which the great Pontiff of the New Law embraces in His supplications! Oh, how greatly does this divine Suppliant merit all our thanks, all our praises, and all our love!
The Life of the Word Incarnate in the Womb of Mary was a Life of Prayer.
The holy soul of Jesus was no sooner created, than raising immediately His eyes to God, He saw in Him the ocean of all good, beyond which nothing good exists (exo xxxiii:19). Ravished by this spectacle, and knowing, on the one hand, that, in the ordinary course of things, graces are given only on condition of being asked; and, on the other hand, that the mission of a priest is to address these petitions to Heaven, He enters into prayer for Himself and for the whole world from the first moment of His existence. And who can tell how perfect was this prayer? It was fervent, because the graces which He asked for, being of infinite value, deserved to be infinitely desired; it was continual and persevering, because at every moment the creature has need of the help of his Creator; it was humble, because His holy soul profoundly felt that the creature is nothing, and that God alone is all; it was full of confidence, because the Word who spoke by this prayer rendered it divine, and because a God, asking of a God, cannot be refused. Let us here examine ourselves. Do we pray, first, with joy at honouring God by our prayer; second, with the double sentiment of the need in which we stand of His aid and the necessity of asking for it; third, with a high esteem of the spiritual blessings which we ask for, and a hearty desire to obtain them; fourth, with perseverance, not allowing our selves to be discouraged if we are not heard immediately and answered; fifth, with humility, humbling ourselves exceedingly in the presence of God, through the consideration of His greatness and our lowliness; sixth, with confidence, resting upon the words of Our Lord; “Amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it you”? (joh xvi:23) Alas, we pray and we do not obtain, because we pray ill (jam iv:3).
The Life of Prayer is a Duty for every Christian and the Secret of Happiness.
Firstly, it is a duty; for all the examples set us by Jesus Christ are precepts. Now Jesus, our model, led a life of prayer; we ought therefore ourselves to lead a life of prayer. Besides, our needs are so great, so continuous, that we can no more cease to pray than the beggar can cease to ask the alms, without which he would die. Lastly, if we do not lead an habitual life of prayer, we shall perform our obligatory prayers badly; they will only be a continual distraction; we shall be incessantly preoccupied with news, with affairs, with happy or unhappy events, with imaginations and useless thoughts. Experience sufficiently proves this to us. Second, a life of prayer is the secret of happiness. Is there any thing sweeter than to live in the society of the three Divine Persons; to pour our hearts into the heart of the Father who has created us; of the Son who has redeemed us, and who prays for us without ceasing in the tabernacle as in heaven; and of the Holy Spirit who pursues us with His love and His holy inspirations? Can there be a more noble, a more delicious occupation for the soul than that of holding communion with its God? Whatever may be our troubles, let us come to Him and tell Him of them, and we shall be consoled. Whatever may be the difficulties we may meet with on our path, let us come and ask His assistance, and we shall be helped. A life of prayer will make of our exile a Paradise, it will be for us the beginning of heaven. Let us believe in the experience of it. Those who do not pray are full of sadness, whilst souls which pray bear upon the features of their face a sweet and amiable serenity which is the reflection of their internal happiness.
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.