Martyrology - 22nd December
Upon the 22nd day of December, were born into the better life:
At Rome, between the two Laurels upon the Lavican Way, thirty holy martyrs, who were all crowned in one day in the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian.
There likewise the holy Flavian, the ex-Prefect (of Rome), who for Christ's sake was first branded and then banished under the Emperor Julian the Apostate. He was sent to Bagni di Ferrata, (near Civita Vecchia,) where he gave up his soul to God in prayer, (in the year 362.)
At Ostia, the holy martyrs Demetrius, Honoratus, and Florus.
At Alexandria, the holy martyr Ischyrion. Many injuries and reproaches were cast upon him to make him sacrifice to idols, but he despised them, and was handed over to be slain by the driving of a sharp stake through the midst of his bowels, (in the year 250.)
In Egypt, (in the third century,) holy Chaeremon, Bishop of Nilopolis, and many other martyrs, of whom some, scattered in flight to escape the persecution under the Emperor Decius, were killed by wild beasts as they wandered in the desert some were destroyed by hunger, cold, and sickness and some were murdered by savages and robbers.
At Nicomedia, the holy soldier Zeno, who made a jest upon the Emperor Diocletian as he was offering sacrifice to Ceres, and for this cause had his jaws broken, his teeth beaten out, and his head cut off.
And elsewhere many other Holy Martyrs, Confessors and Holy virgins.
R. Thanks be to God
O Antiphon - 22nd December
O King of the Gentiles, and the Desired of all, You are the Cornerstone that binds two into one. Come, and save man whom You fashioned out of clay.
Meditations - Thursday in the Week of Advent: His Life of Merits in Mary
Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation
We will conclude our meditations upon the life of the Word Incarnate in the bosom of Mary by considering, first, the merits which He acquired during nine months; second, the share that He will give us in these merits. We will then make the resolution: first, to put our confid- ence in the merits of Jesus Christ, and to combat, through this consideration, every thought of discouragement and mistrust; second, to render all our actions meritorious, by offering them to God, and uniting them with the like actions in Jesus Christ. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words of the Psalm: “In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded” (psa xxx:1).
Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore the Word Incarnate in the womb of Mary accumulating merits upon merits, in His quality of priest and of victim, and making of all these spiritual riches an immense treasure, by which all generations will benefit down to the end of time. He imitates the good father of a family, who amasses a large fortune for his beloved children. Let us glorify Him for such riches, let us bless Him for allowing us to share in them, and let us invite the saints and angels to thank Him with us (2co ix:5).
The Immense Merits which the Incarnate Word amasses dur- ing Nine Months in the Womb of Mary.
Everything concurred together to increase the merits of the Child-God in the bosom of His mother: on the one hand, His soul was enlightened with the purest light, and His will with the utmost energy tended towards good; on the other hand, His humanity, raised by grace to the highest degree of holiness, was hypostatically united to increased holiness, and His soul, although in a glorious state, was capable of suffering in a passible and mortal body. With so much aptitude for meriting, and in such favourable conditions, the Incarnate Word did not lose a moment, He began to merit at the very moment that He began to live; He continued with incessant ardour to merit always more and more, and of all His actions there was not one which was not infinitely holy, there was also not a single one which was not infinitely meritorious. He merits in His prayer, He merits in His repose, and even in His sleep; He merits by every good thought, every pious sentiment or good desire: and this life of merit was only the prelude of the merits which He will continue to accumulate from His birth down to His death, and at every moment of His existence, meriting thereby the salvation of the world, heaven for the elect, grace for all. In presence of so many merits, let us regret the many opportunities of meriting which we have allowed to slip by, so many actions which we have performed mechanically without reflection, or from purely natural motives, so much time lost, so many graces rendered fruitless; and let us propose to ourselves to repair all these losses: first, by henceforth seizing every opportunity of meriting, and never refusing God any sacrifices, whether they be little or great, which His grace may demand from us; second, by performing all our actions from love; third, by suffering cheerfully all crosses; fourth, by never losing our time.
The Share which Jesus Christ gives us of His Merits.
All the merits amassed by Jesus Christ are ours: He transmits them to us as an inheritance or a patrimony, for all the possessions of the father of a family are the patrimony of his children; and He says to us what He said to His Father: “All My things are Thine, and Thine are Mine”(joh xvii:10). “Amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in My name: that is to say, in the name of My merits, “He will give it you” (joh vi:23). It was by virtue of these foreseen merits that the Blessed Virgin was preserved from original sin, and conceived wholly pure; that the saints of the Old Testament received all their graces; it was by virtue of these acquired merits that the saints of the New Testament were and still are every day sanctified; that the Church triumphs over so many trials, and that the whole of society receives so many graces. We are free to benefit at our pleasure by this inexhaustible treasure; prayer is the key which opens it to all; the sacraments are the channel by which this immense ocean pours its spiritual riches upon our souls. If we confide in ourselves we are worth nothing, and can do nothing; we remain in our poverty and misery; but if we confide in Jesus Christ, if we but say to Him with humility and confidence: “Lord, I only ask Thee for one drop of Thy blood, one tear from Thine eyes, one sigh of Thy heart; I shall be rich if Thou dost deign to apply to me the merit of it,” our confidence will not be deceived, either during life or at death, and we shall be saved.
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.