After the Pater, Ave, and Credo, have been said, secretly, the Church commences the Office by her usual prayer:
|V. Domine, labia mea aperies.
R. Et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.
V. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.
R. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.
V. Gloria Patri et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto;
R. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Alleluia.
|V. O Lord! thou wilt open my lips.
R. And my mouth shall declare thy praise.
V. Incline unto mine aid, O God.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
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. Alleluia.
Then comes, with its glad burden - Christ is born unto us - the Invitatory, whereby the Church invites her children, every morning, to come and adore the Lord. Tonight, the invitation is made by the Angels, who call us to the Crib of our Redeemer: they speak to us in the words of the Church and the Royal Prophet.
|Christus natus est nobis,* venite, adoremus.||Christ is born unto us, * come let us adore.|
|Venite, exsultemus Domino, jubilemus Deo Salutari nostro: praeoccupemus faciem ejus in confessione, et
in psalmis jubilemus ei.
Christus natus est nobis,* venite, adoremus.
Quoniam Deus magnus Dominus, et Rex magnus super omnes deos: quoniam non repellet Dominus plebem suam, quia in manu ejus sunt omnes fines terrae, et altitudines montium ipse conspicit.
Quoniam ipsius est mare, et ipse fecit illud, et aridam fundaverunt manus ejus: Venite, adoremus, et procidamus ante Deum: ploremus coram Domino qui fecit nos; quia ipse est Dominus Deus noster: nos autem populus ejus, et oves pascuae ejus.
Christus natus est nobis, * venite, adoremus.
Hodie si vocem ejus audieritis, nolito obdurare corda vestra, sicut in exacerbatione secundum diem tentationis indeserto: ubi tentaverut me patres vestri, probaverunt, et viderunt opera mea.
Quadraginta annis proximus fui generationi huic, et dixi; Semper hi errant corde: ipsi vero non cognoverunt vias meas, quibus juravi in ira mea, si introibunt in requiem meam.
Christus natus est nobis, * venite, adoremus.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Christus natus est nobis,* venite, adoremus.
|Come, let us praise the Lord with joy, let us joyfully sing
to God our Saviour; let us
come before his presence with
thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.
Christ is born unto us, * come, let us adore.
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods; for in his hand are all the ends of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are his.
Come, let us adore.
For the sea is his, and he made it, and his hands formed the dry land: come, let us adore and fall down, and weep before the Lord that made us; for he is the Lord our God; and we are the people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Christ is born unto us, * come, let us adore.
Today, if ye shall hear his voice, from the Crib, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, me the Lord, the Father of the Emmanuel; they proved me, and saw my works.
Come, let us adore.
Forty years was I nigh unto this generation, and I said: These always err in heart: and these men have not known my ways: so, I swore in my wrath, that they shall not enter into my rest.
Christ is born unto us, * come, let us adore.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy
Come, let us adore.
Christ is born unto us, * come, let us adore.
After the Invitatory, the Church intones the sweet Hymn on the Birth of Jesus, composed by St. Ambrose, and which was sung in our First Vespers. Let us again sing it to our Redeemer, and feed our spirit on its delicious unction.
|Jesu, redemptor omnium,
Quem, lucis ante originem,
Parem paternae gloria
Pater supremus edidit;
Tu lumen et splendor Patris,
Memento, rerum conditor,
Testatur hoc praesens dies,
Hunc astra, tellus, aequora,
Et nos, beata quos sacri
Jesu, tibi sit gloria,
|O Jesu! Redeemer of man kind! born before the
light was made, and born of the Eternal Father, equal to him in infinite
O thou the Light and brightness of the Father! O thou the everlasting hope of all men! hear the prayers offered thee by thy servants through out the world.
Be mindful, O Creator of all things! that heretofore thou didst assume a Body like unto ours, and wast born from the sacred womb of a Virgin.
This present day, which the year has brought round to us, tells us of this mystery - that thou, the one Saviour of the world, didst come to us from the Fathers Bosom.
The stars, and earth, and sea, and all that is under heaven greet this the Author of their new salvation with a new canticle.
And we, who have been re deemed by the stream of thy precious Blood, we too pay thee the tribute of this Hymn, in honour of thy Birthday.
Glory be to thee, O Jesus! who wast born of the Virgin and to the Father, and to the Spirit of love, for everlasting ages. Amen.
Thus far, are the preludes to our solemn Night Office, which now commences. It is divided into three vigils, or Nocturns, each of which is composed of three Psalms, three Lessons, and three Responsories. The Responsories are a sort of interlude after each Lesson: but the third Lesson of the Third Nocturn is followed by the Te Deum, which takes the place of a Responsory. The Interpreters of the Liturgy thus explain the Three Nocturns of tonight's Matins. The first signifies the time, which preceded the Written Law, given by God to Moses. In the Middle-Ages, it was the custom to veil the Altar in black, during this Nocturn, to express the sentence of condemnation pronounced by God against our first Parents, and the long ages which would then have to pass before the Redeemer came. The second Nocturn signifies the time under the Written Law; and during this Nocturn, the Altar was covered with a white veil, to denote, that, under the Law, men received a greater degree of light, by the figures and prophecies of the Old Testament. And lastly, the third Nocturn signifies the time under the Law of Grace. During this Nocturn, the Altar was covered with a red veil, to symbolise the love of God for his Spouse the Church, whereby the Son of God and our souls are mystically united.
The first Psalm celebrates the Kingly dignity of the Babe that is to be born. All nations are to be given to him as his inheritance, and the day will come, when he will judge the Kings who plot his death in Bethlehem. He is the Son of the Eternal Father, begotten in the day of eternity, and now made manifest on this night, to the eyes of men.
|Ant. Dominus dixit ad me: Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te.||Ant. The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.|
|Quare fremuerunt Gentes: * et populi meditati sunt inania?
Astiterunt reges terrae, et príncipes convenerunt in unum * adversus Dominum, et adversus Christum ejus.
Dirumpamus víncula eorum: * et projiciamus a nobis jugum ipsorum.
Qui habitat in coelis, irridebit eos: * et Dominus subsannabit eos.
Tunc loquetur ad eos in ira sua, * et in furore suo conturbabit eos.
Ego autem constitutus sum Rex ab eo super Sion montem sanctum ejus, * praedicans praeceptum ejus.
Dominus dixit ad me: * Fílius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te.
Postula a me, et dabo tibi Gentes hereditatem tuam, * et possessionem tuam terminos terrae.
Reges eos in virga ferrea, * et tamquam vas fíguli confrínges eos.
Et nunc, reges, intellígite: * erudímini, qui judicatis terram.
Servíte Domino in timore: * et exsultate ei cum tremore.
Apprehendite disciplínam, nequando irascatur Dominus, * et pereatis de via justa.
Cum exarserit in brevi ira ejus: * beati omnes qui confídunt in eo.
|Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain
The Kings of the earth stood up, and the Princes met together, against the Lord, and against his Christ.
They said: Let us break their bonds asunder; and let us cast away their yoke from us.
He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them: and the Lord shall deride them.
Then shall he speak to them in his anger, and trouble them in his rage.
But I, the Son of Mary, am appointed King by him over Sion, his holy mountain, preaching his commandment.
The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron, and shalt break them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
And now, O ye Kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth
Serve ye the Lord with fear; and rejoice unto him with trembling.
Embrace discipline, lest at any time the Lord be angry, and you perish from the just way.
When his wrath shall be kindled in a short time, blessed are all they that trust in him.
|Ant. Dominus dixit ad me: Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te.||Ant. The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.|
The second Psalm praises the loveliness of the heavens during the night, and
the magnificent testimony which the countless stars render to the greatness of
their Creator. It then passes on to speak of the Sun, whose brilliant rising is
like the Bridegroom coming forth from the nuptialchamber. The Sun is our
Emmanuel; his Tabernacle, the Womb of Mary. It is today that he begins his
course; starting from the deepest stage of humiliation, he will mount to the
meridian of glory. Let us adore him in his humble commencement, and humble
ourselves together with
him. He is the Lawgiver, and the Law; he is our joy and our light; he is our helper, and our Redeemer: let us love and obey him.
|Ant. Tamquam sponsus Dominus procedens de thalamo suo.||Ant. The Lord is as a Bridegroom coming out of his bride-chamber.|
|Coeli enarrant gloriam Dei: * et opera manuum ejus annuntiat firmamentum.
Dies diei eructat verbum, * et nox nocti índicat scientiam.
Non sunt loquelae, neque sermones, * quorum non audiantur voces eorum.
In omnem terram exívit sonus eorum: * et in fines orbis terrae verba eorum.
In sole posuit tabernaculum suum: * et ipse tamquam sponsus procedens de thalamo suo.
Exsultavit ut gigas ad currendam viam, * a summo coelo egressio ejus.
Et occursus ejus usque ad summum ejus: * nec est qui se abscondat a calore ejus.
Lex Domini immaculata, convertens animas: * testimonium Domini fidele, sapientiam praestans parvulis.
Justítiae Domini rectae, laetificantes corda: * praeceptum Domini lucidum illuminans oculos.
Timor Domini sanctus, permanens in saeculum saeculi: * judícia Domini vera, justificata in semetípsa.
Desiderabília super aurum et lapidem pretiosum multum: * et dulciora super mel et favum.
Etenim servus tuus custodit ea, * in custodiendis illis retributio multa.
Delícta quis intelligit? ab occultis meis munda me: * et ab alienis parce servo tuo.
Si mei non fuerint dominati, tunc immaculatus ero: * et emundabor a delícto maximo.
Et erunt ut complaceant eloquia oris mei: * et meditatio cordis mei in conspectu tuo semper.
Domine, adjutor meus, * et redemptor meus.
|The heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament
declareth the work of his hands.
Day to-day uttereth speech and night to night showeth knowledge.
There are no speeches nor languages, where their voices are not heard.
Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth: and their words unto the ends of the world.
He hath set his tabernacle in the sun, the image of his Son: and he as a Bridegroom coming out of his bride-chamber,
Hath rejoiced as a giant to ran the way: his going out is from the end of heaven,
And his circuit even to the end thereof: and there is no one that can hide himself from his heat
The law of the Lord, which Jesus is coming to declare to us, is unspotted, converting souls: the testimony of the Lord is faithful, giving wisdom to little ones, little as the Divine Infant in his Crib.
The justices of the Lord are right, rejoicing hearts: the commandment of the Lord is lightsome, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is holy, enduring for ever and ever: the judgments of the Lord are true, justified in themselves.
More to be desired than gold and many precious stones: and sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.
For thy servant keepeth them; and in keeping them there is a great reward.
Who can understand sins? From my secret ones cleanse me, O Lord; and from those of others snare thy servant.
If they shall have no dominion over me, then shall I be without spot; and I shall be cleansed from the greatest sin.
And the words of my mouth shall be such as may please: and the meditation of my heart, always in thy sight.
O Lord, that art born for our sake, thou art my helper and my Redeemer.
|Ant. Tamquam sponsus Dominus procedens de thalamo suo.||Ant. The Lord is as a Bridegroom coming out of his bride-chamber.|
The third Psalm shows us Christ advancing in the conquest of the world, as the mighty Conqueror. His beauty and meekness are, like his truth and his justice, perfect; and the power of his love is irresistible. On his right, we have the Queen of this world, the august Mary; the Lord has been pleased with her beauty, and her fruitful Virginity has been the model, after which have been formed all those pure souls consecrated to God, who are the companions of the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. In this most sublime Psalm, let us sing our canticle of praise to the ineffable dignity of our Divine King, and to the sweetness of our incomparable Mother and Queen.
|Ant. Diffusa est gratia in labiis tuis; propterea benedixit te Deus in aeternum.||Ant. Grace is poured out upon thy lips; therefore hath God blessed thee for ever.|
|Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: * dico ego opera mea
Lingua mea calamus scribae: * velociter scribentis.
Speciosus forma prae fíliis hominum, diffusa est gratia in labiis tuis: * propterea benedíxit te Deus in aeternum.
Accíngere gladio tuo super femur tuum, * potentíssime.
Specie tua et pulchritudine tua: * intende, prospere procede, et regna.
Propter veritatem, et mansuetudinem, et justítiam: * et deducet te mirabíliter dextera tua.
Sagíttae tuae acutae, populi sub te cadent: * in corda inimicorum Regis.
Sedes tua, Deus, in saeculum saeculi: * virga directionis virga regni tui.
Dilexísti justítiam, et odísti iniquitatem: * propterea unxit te, Deus, Deus tuus, oleo laetítiae prae consortibus tuis.
Myrrha, et gutta, et casia a vestimentis tuis, a domibus eburneis: * ex quibus delectaverunt te fíliae regum in honore tuo.
Astitit regína a dextris tuis in vestítu deaurato: * circumdata varietate.
Audi, fília, et vide, et inclína aurem tuam: * et oblivíscere populum tuum, et domum patris tui.
Et concupíscet Rex decorem tuum: * quoniam ipse est Dominus Deus tuus, et adorabunt eum.
Et fíliae Tyri in muneribus * vultum tuum deprecabuntur: omnes dívites plebis.
Omnis gloria ejus fíliae Regis ab intus, * in fímbriis aureis circumamícta varietatibus.
Adducentur Regi vírgines post eam: * proximae ejus afferentur tibi.
Afferentur in laetítia et exsultatione: * adducentur in templum Regis.
Pro patribus tuis nati sunt tibi fílii: * constítues eos príncipes super omnem terram.
Memores erunt nominis tui: * in omni generatione et generationem.
Propterea populi confitebuntur tibi in aeternum: * et in saeculum saeculi.
|My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works, my
songs, to Jesus, the King.
My tongue is the pen of a scrivener, that writeth swiftly.
Thou, O Emmanuel, art beautiful above the sons of men, grace is poured abroad in thy lips: therefore, hath God blessed thee for ever.
Thou comest that thou mayest conquer the world; gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O thou most Mighty!
With thy comeliness and thy beauty, set out, proceed prosperously, and reign,
Because of truth, and meekness, and justice: and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.
Thy arrows are sharp: under thee shall people fall, into the hearts of the enemies of the King, who sends thee.
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a sceptre of uprightness.
Thou hast loved justice, and hatedst iniquity: therefore God, thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
Myrrh, and stacte, and cassia perfume thy garments, from the ivory houses; out of which the daughters of kings have delighted thee in thy glory.
The Queen, thy Mother, who shares in thy triumph, stood on thy right hand in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety.
Thy Holy Spirit spoke to her, and said: "Hearken, O Daughter, and see, and incline thine ear: and forget thy people, and thy father's house.
And the King shall greatly " desire thy beauty: for he is the Lord thy God, and him they shall adore.
And the daughters of Tyre with gifts, yea, all the rich among the people, shall entreat thy countenance."
All the glory of the King's Daughter is within, in golden borders, clothed round about with varieties.
After her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbours, they that have spiritually conceived Christ, shall be brought to thee, O King!
They shall be brought with gladness and rejoicing: they snail be brought into the temple of the King.
Instead of thy fathers of the Jewish people, of whose race thou didst deign to be born, but who have not known thee, O Emmanuel! sons are born to thee of a new race: thou shalt make them princes over all the earth.
They shall remember thy name throughout all generations.
Therefore shall people praise thee for ever, yea for ever and ever.
|Ant. Diffusa est gratia in labiis tuis, propterea benedixit te Deus in aeternum.||Ant. Grace is poured out upon thy lips: therefore hath God blessed thee for ever.|
|V. Tamquam sponsus.
R. Dominus procedens de thalamo suo.
|V. As a Bridegroom,
R. The Lord is coming from his bride-chamber.
The Priest begins the two first words of the Lord's Prayer:
|Pater noster.||Our Father.|
The rest is said in silence, as far as the last two petitions, when the Priest says aloud:
|V. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.||V. And lead us not into temptation.|
The Choir answers:
|R. Sed libera nos a malo.||R. But deliver us from evil.|
Then the Priest:
|Exaudi, Domine Jesu Christe, preces servorum tuorum, et miserere nobis, qui cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.||Graciously hear, O Lord Jesus Christ, the prayers of thy servants, and have mercy upon us: who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest for ever and ever.|
The Choir answers: Amen.
Then one of the Choir turns towards the Priest, and bowing down, says:
|Jube, Domne, benedicere.||Pray, Father, give thy blessing.|
Then the Priest:
|Benedictione perpetua benedicat nos Pater aeternus. R. Amen.||May the Eternal Father bless us with an everlasting blessing. R. Amen.|
The Lessons of the First Nocturn are taken from the Prophet Isaias, whom the Church has followed through the whole of Advent. The Responsories, which follow each Lesson, assist the Faithful in those sentiments of joy, which should fill their hearts on hearing the sacred prophecies read to them, and that, too, at the very hour when they are to be accomplished.
(Isaias Ch. IX.)
|Primo tempore alleviata est terra Zabulon, et terra Nephtali: et novíssimo aggravata est via maris trans Jordanem Galilaeae gentium. Populus qui ambulabat in tenebris, vidit lucem magnam: habitantibus in regione umbrae mortis, lux orta est eis. Multiplicasti gentem, et non magnificasti laetítiam. Laetabuntur coram te, sicut qui laetantur in messe, sicut exsultant victores, capta praeda, quando dívidunt spolia. Jugum enim oneris ejus, et virgam humeri ejus, et sceptrum exactoris ejus superasti sicut in die Madian. Quia omnis violenta praedatio cum tumultu, et vestimentum mistum sanguine, erit in combustionem, et cibus ignis. Parvulus enim natus est nobis, et fílius datus est nobis, et factus est principatus super humerum ejus: et vocabitur nomen ejus, Admirabilis, Consiliarius, Deus, Fortis, Pater futuri saeculi, Princeps pacis.||At the first time, the land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephtali, was lightly touched by the Lord: and at the last, the way of the sea beyond the Jordan of the Gentiles was heavily loaded. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: to them, that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and hast not increased the joy. The inhabitants of Jerusalem, whom thou hast succoured, shall rejoice before thee, as they that rejoice in the harvest; as conquerors rejoice after taking a prey, when they divide the spoils. For the yoke of their burden, and the rod of their shoulder, and the sceptre of their oppressor, thou hast overcome, as in the day of Madian. For every violent taking of spoils, with tumult, and garment mingled with blood, shall be burnt, and be fuel for the fire. For a Child is born unto us, and a Son is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of peace.|
|R. Hodie nobis coelorum Rex de Virgine nasci dignatus est,
ut hominem perditum, ad coelestia regna revocaret. * Gaudet exercitus
Angelorum: quia salus aeterna humano generi apparuit.
V. Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. * Gaudet exercitus Angelorum: quia salus aeterna humano generi apparuit.
Gloria Patri ...
R. Hodie nobis coelorum Rex de Virgin e nasci dignatus est, ut hominem perditum, ad coelestia regna revocaret. * Gaudet exercitus Angelorum: quia salus aeterna humano generi apparuit.
R. Today, the King of heaven deigned to be born to us of a Virgin, that he
might restore lost man to the heavenly kingdom. * The host of Angels
rejoices: for that eternal salvation hath appeared to the human race.
V. Glory be to God in the highest; and on earth, peace to men of good will. * The host of Angels rejoices: for that eternal salvation hath appeared to the human race.
Glory be ...
R. Today, the King of heaven deigned to be born to us of a Virgin, that he might restore lost man to the heavenly kingdom. * The host of Angels rejoices: for that eternal salvation hath appeared to the human race.
|Unigenitus Dei Filius nos benedicere et adjuvare dignatur. R. Amen.||May the Only Begotten Son of God vouchsafe to bless and help us. R. Amen.|
(Isaias, Ch. XL)
|Consolamini, consolamini, populus meus, dicit Deus vester. Loquímini ad cor Jerusalem, et advocate eam: quoniam completa est malítia ejus, dimíssa est iníquitas illíus: suscepit de manu Domini duplícia pro omnibus peccatis suis. Vox clamantis in deserto: Parate viam Domini, rectas facite in solitudine semitas Dei nostri. Omnis vallis exaltabitur, et omnis mons et collis humiliabitur: et erunt prava in directa, et aspera in vias planas. Et revelabitur gloria Domini: et videbit omnis caro pariter quod os Domini locutum est. Vox dicentis: Clama. Et dixi: Quid clamabo? Omnis caro fnum, et omnis gloria ejus quasi flos agri. Exsiccatum est fnum, et cecidit flos: quia spíritus Domini sufflavit in eo. Vere fnum est populus: exsiccatum est fnum, et cecidit flos: Verbum autem Domini nostri manet in aeternum.||Be comforted, be comforted, my people, saith your God. Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her, for her evil is come to an end, her iniquity is forgiven: she hath received of the hand of the Lord double blessings for all her sins. The voice of one crying in the desert: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight and the rough ways plain." And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see, that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken. The voice of one, saying: Cry. And I said: What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the field. The grass is withered, and the flower is fallen, because the spirit of the Lord hath blown upon it Indeed the people is grass: the grass is withered, and the flower is fallen: but the Word of our Lord endureth for ever.|
|Hodie nobis de coelo pax vera descendit: * Hodie
mundum melliflui facti sunt coeli.
V. Hodie illuxit nobis dies redemptionis novae, reparationis antiquae, felicitatis aeternae. * Hodie per totum mundum melliflui facti sunt coeli.
|Today, true peace has come down to us from heaven: * To-day,
throughout the whole world, the heavens have dropped honey.
V. Today, there has shone upon us the day of the new redemption, of the ancient reparation, of the eternal happiness. * To-day, throughout the whole world, the heavens have dropped honey.
|Spiritus sancti gratia illuminet sensus et corda nostra. R. Amen.||May the grace of the Holy Ghost enlighten our senses and our hearts. Amen.|
|Consurge, consurge, induere fortitudine tua, Sion, induere vestimentis gloriae tuae, Jerusalem, cívitas sancti: quia non adjíciet ultra ut pertranseat per te incircumcísus, et immundus. Excutere de pulvere, consurge, sede, Jerusalem: solve víncula colli tui, captíva fília Sion. Quia haec dicit Dominus: Gratis venumdati estis, et sine argento redimemini. Quia haec dicit Dominus Deus: In Aegyptum descendit populus meus in princípio, ut colonus esset ibi: et Assur absque ulla causa calumniatus est eum. Et nunc quid mihi est hic, dicit Dominus, quoniam ablatus est populus meus gratis? Dominatores ejus iníque agunt, dicit Dominus: et jugiter tota die nomen meum blasphematur. Propter hoc sciet populus meus nomen meum, in die illa: quia ego ipse qui loquebar, ecce adsum.||Arise, arise, put on thy strength, O Sion: put on the
garments of thy glory, O Jerusalem, the city of the Holy One; for
henceforth, the uncircumcised and unclean shall no more pass through thee.
Shake thyself from the dust, arise, sit up, O Jerusalem: loose the bonds
from off thy neck,
O captive daughter of Sion. For thus saith the Lord: You were sold gratis, and you shall be redeemed without money. For thus saith the Lord God: My people went down into Egypt, at the beginning, to sojourn there: and the Assyrian hath oppressed them without any cause at all. And now, what have I here, saith the Lord: for my people is taken away gratis? They that rule over them, treat them unjustly, saith the Lord, and my name is continually blasphemed all the day long. Therefore my people shall know my name in that day: for, I myself that spoke, behold I am here.
|Quem vidistis pastores? dicite, annuntiate nobis, in terris
quis apparuit? * Natum vidimus, et choros Angelorum collaudantes Dominum.
V. Dicite, quidnam vidistis? et annuntiate Christi nativitatem. * Natum vidimus, et choros Angelorum collaudantes Dominum.
Gloria. * Natum vidimus, et choros Angelorum collaudantes Dominum.
|Whom have ye seen, O Shepherds? say, tell us, who is it has
appeared on the earth? * We have seen the Child that is born, and choirs
of Angels praising the Lord.
V. Say, what have ye seen? and tell us of the birth of Christ. * We have seen the Child that is born, and choirs of Angels praising the Lord.
Glory be ... * We have seen the Child that is born, and choirs of Angels praising the Lord.
The fourth Psalm is a hymn in praise of the Christian Church, which begins today, and receives, in the stable of Bethlehem, the first believers the Shepherds. This new Sion, which is to contain the City of our God, is founded on the sides of the North, to show that it shall be open to the Gentiles. In vain will the Princes of the earth seek, in their conceited calculations, to destroy the Church: God, who has founded her, will make her triumph. Empires shall pass away, and their persecutions: the Church will survive them all, knowing neither wrinkle nor decay.
|Ant. Suscepimus, Deus, misericordiam tuam in medio templi tui||Ant. We have received thy mercy, O God, in the midst of thy temple.|
|Magnus Dominus, et laudabilis nimis * in civitate Dei nostri, in monte sancto
Fundatur exsultatione universae terrae mons Sion, * latera Aquilonis, cívitas Regis magni.
Deus in domibus ejus cognoscetur: * cum suscípiet eam.
Quoniam ecce reges terrae congregati sunt: * convenerunt in unum.
Ipsi videntes sic admirati sunt, conturbati sunt, commoti sunt: * tremor apprehendit eos.
Ibi dolores ut parturientis: * in spíritu vehementi conteres naves Tharsis.
Sicut audívimus, sic vídimus in civitate Domini virtutum, in civitate Dei nostri: * Deus fundavit eam in aeternum.
Suscepimus, Deus, misericordiam tuam, * in medio templi tui.
Secundum nomen tuum, Deus, sic et laus tua in fines terrae: * justítia plena est dextera tua.
Laetetur mons Sion, et exsultent fíliae Judae: * propter judícia tua, Domine.
Circumdate Sion, et complectímini eam: * narrate in turribus ejus.
Ponite corda vestra in virtute ejus: * et distribuite domus ejus, ut enarretis in progenie altera.
Quoniam hic est Deus, Deus noster in aeternum et in saeculum saeculi: * ipse reget nos in saecula.
|Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised, in the
City of our God, in his holy mountain.
On this day, with the joy of the whole earth is Mount Sion founded, on the sides of the North, the City of the great King.
In her houses shall God be known, when he shall protect her.
For behold the kings of the earth assembled themselves: they gathered together.
They saw, so they wondered, they were troubled, they were moved: trembling took hold of them.
There, were pains as of a woman in labour. With a vehement wind thou shalt break in pieces the ships of Tharsis.
As we have heard, so have we seen, in the City of the Lord of hosts, in the City of our God: God hath founded it for ever.
We have received thy mercy, O God, which appeared to us in Bethlehem; we have received it in the midst of thy temple.
According to thy name, O God, so also is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of justice.
Let Mount Sion rejoice, and the daughters of Juda be glad: because of thy judgments, O Lord!
Surround Sion, and encompass her: tell ye in her towers.
Set your hearts on her strength; and distribute her houses, that ye may relate it in another generation:
For this is our God, our God unto eternity, and for ever and ever: he, our Pastor, shall rule us for evermore.
|Ant. Suscepimus, Deus, misericordiam tuam in medio templi tui.||Ant. We have received thy mercy, O God, in the midst of thy temple.|
The fifth Psalm prophesies the peaceful reign of the Son of David, who comes to save the poor, and humble the oppressor. His coming is in sweetness and silence, like the dew of night. It is this very night that he comes to us from Mary's virginal womb. He is the rain announced by the Prophets, which is to fall upon the parched earth. His kingdom shall be glorious and eternal. In a few days hence, the Kings shall prostrate themselves at his feet, offering him the gold of Arabia and the incense of Saba. He, on his part, will give to his people, for their nourishment, the Bread of his own Body; and thus his Church will be, for ever, a Bethlehem, that is, a House of Bread.
|Ant. Orietur in diebus Domini abundantia pads, et dominabitur.||Ant. There shall spring up an abundance of peace, in the days of the Lord; and he shall rule.|
|Deus, judícium tuum regi da: * et justítiam tuam fílio
Judicare populum tuum in justítia, * et pauperes tuos in judício.
Suscípiant montes pacem populo: * et colles justítiam.
Judicabit pauperes populi, et salvos faciet fílios pauperum: * et humiliabit calumniatorem.
Et permanebit cum sole, et ante lunam, * in generatione et generationem.
Descendet sicut pluvia in vellus: * et sicut stillicídia stillantia super terram.
Orietur in diebus ejus justítia, et abundantia pacis: * donec auferatur luna.
Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare: * et a flumine usque ad terminos orbis terrarum.
Coram illo procident Aethíopes: * et inimíci ejus terram lingent.
Reges Tharsis, et ínsulae munera offerent: * reges Arabum et Saba dona adducent.
Et adorabunt eum omnes reges terrae: * omnes Gentes servient ei:
Quia liberabit pauperem a potente: * et pauperem, cui non erat adjutor.
Parcet pauperi et ínopi: * et animas pauperum salvas faciet.
Ex usuris et iniquitate redimet animas eorum: * et honorabile nomen eorum coram illo.
Et vivet, et dabitur ei de auro Arabiae, et adorabunt de ipso semper: * tota die benedícent ei.
Et erit firmamentum in terra in summis montium, superextolletur super Líbanum fructus ejus: * et florebunt de civitate sicut fnum terrae.
Sit nomen ejus benedíctum in saecula: * ante solem permanet nomen ejus.
Et benedicentur in ipso omnes tribus terrae: * omnes Gentes magnificabunt eum.
Benedíctus Dominus, Deus Israël, * qui facit mirabília solus.
Et benedíctum nomen majestatis ejus in aeternum: * et replebitur majestate ejus omnis terra: fiat, fiat.
|Give to the King thy judgment, O God! and to the King's Son,
who is born to-day, thy justice,
To judge thy people with justice, and thy poor with judgment.
Let the mountains receive peace for the people; and the hills justice.
He, the Messias, shall judge the poor of the people, and he shall save the children of the poor; and he shall humble the oppressor.
And his kingdom on earth shall continue with the sun, and before the moon; throughout all generations.
He shall come down mysteriously in the midnight like rain upon the fleece, and as showers falling gently upon the earth.
In his days, shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken away.
And he shall rule from sea to sea; and from the river Jordan, unto the ends of the earth.
Before him the Ethiopians shall fall down; and his enemies shall lick the ground.
The Kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents; the Kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts.
And all kings of the earth shall adore him; all nations shall serve him.
For he shall deliver the poor from the mighty, and the needy that had no helper.
He shall spare the poor and needy; and he shall be called Jesus, because he shall save the souls of the poor, his creatures.
He shall redeem their souls from usuries and iniquity: and their name shall be honourable in his sight.
And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Arabia, for him they shall always adore: they shall bless him all the day.
He is the bread of life; therefore, under his reign there shall be firmament on the earth on the tops of the mountains; above Libanus shall the fruit thereof be exalted: and they of the City, his Church, shall flourish like the grass or the earth.
Let his name be blessed for evermore: his name continueth before the sun.
And in him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed: all nations shall magnify him.
Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel, who alone doth wonderful things.
And blessed be the name of his majesty for ever: and the whole earth shall be filled with his majesty. So be it. So be it.
|Ant. Orietur in diebus Domini abundantia pacis, et dominabitur.||Ant. There shall spring up an abundance of peace, in the days of the Lord; and he shall rule.|
The sixth Psalm is a hymn of gratitude for the blessing brought us by the Divine Infant. The anger of the Almighty Lord is appeased at the sight of a Crib containing the Son of God and the Son of Mary! Let us listen with delight to the words of the New-Born Babe. Justice and Peace have kissed: Incarnate Truth now dwells on our earth, and the Justice of the Eternal Father looks down from heaven upon our Emmanuel.
|Ant. Veritas de terra orta est; et justitia de coelo prospexit.||Ant. Truth is sprung out of the earth; and justice hath looked down from heaven.|
|Benedixísti, Domine, terram tuam: * avertísti captivitatem Jacob.
Remisísti iniquitatem plebis tuae: * operuísti omnia peccata eorum.
Mitigasti omnem iram tuam: * avertísti ab ira indignationis tuae.
Converte nos, Deus, salutaris noster: * et averte iram tuam a nobis.
Numquid in aeternum irasceris nobis? * aut extendes iram tuam a generatione in generationem?
Deus, tu conversus vivificabis nos: * et plebs tua laetabitur in te.
Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam: * et salutare tuum da nobis.
Audiam quid loquatur in me Dominus Deus: * quoniam loquetur pacem in plebem suam.
Et super sanctos suos: * et in eos, qui convertuntur ad cor.
Verumtamen prope timentes eum salutare ipsíus: * ut inhabitet gloria in terra nostra.
Misericordia, et veritas obviaverunt sibi: * justítia, et pax osculatae sunt.
Veritas de terra orta est: * et justítia de coelo prospexit.
Etenim Dominus dabit benignitatem: * et terra nostra dabit fructum suum.
Justítia ante eum ambulabit: * et ponet in via gressus suos.
|Lord, thou hast blessed thy land: thou hast, this night,
turned away the captivity of Jacob.
Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people: thou hast covered all their sins.
Thou hast mitigated all thy anger: thou hast turned away from the wrath of thy indignation.
Convert us, O God our Saviour! and turn off thy anger from us.
Heavenly Father! wilt thou be angry with us for ever ? or wilt thou extend thy wrath from generation to generation?
Thou wilt turn, O God, and bring us to life; and thy people shall rejoice in thee.
Show us, O Lord, Him who is thy mercy: and grant us thy Salvation.
I will hear, near my Saviour's Crib, what the Lord God will speak in me, for he will speak peace unto his people:
And unto his Saints: and unto them that are converted to the heart.
Surely, his Salvation is near to them that fear him: that glory may dwell in our land.
This day, in Bethlehem, Mercy and Truth have met each other: Justice and Peace have kissed.
Truth is sprung out of the earth: and Justice hath looked down from heaven.
For, the Lord will give goodness: and our earth shall yield her fruit.
Justice shall walk before him, the Man-God: and shall set his steps in the way.
|Ant. Veritas de terra orta est, et justitia de coelo prospexit.||Ant. Truth is sprung out of the earth, and Justice hath looked down from heaven.|
|V. Speciosus forma prae filiis hominum.
R. Diffusa est gratia in labiis tuis.
|V. Thou art beautiful, O Jesus, above the sons of men.
R. Grace is poured forth on thy lips.
After the Pater Noster has been recited, as in the First Nocturn, the Priest says:
|Ipsius pietas et misericordia nos adjuvet, qui cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto vivit et regnat in saecula saeculorum. R. Amen.||May his goodness and mercy help us, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth for ever and ever. R. Amen.|
The Book of the Sermons of the Holy Fathers is now opened, and a passage is read from one of those magnificent discourses of St. Leo the Great, which enraptured the people of Brome in the fifth century.
|Deus Pater omnipotens sit nobis propitius et clemens. R. Amen.||May God the Father Almighty be propitious and merciful unto us. Amen.|
|Sermo Sancti Leonis Papae.
Salvator noster, dilectíssimi, hodie natus est: gaudeamus. Neque enim fas est locum esse tristítiae, ubi natalis est vitae: quae, consumpto mortalitatis timore, nobis íngerit de promíssa aeternitate laetítiam. Nemo ab hujus alacritatis participatione secernitur. Una cunctis laetítiae communis est ratio: quia Dominus noster, peccati mortísque destructor, sicut nullum a reatu líberum reperit, ita liberandis omnibus venit. Exsultet sanctus, quia appropínquat ad palmam: gaudeat peccator, quia invitatur ad veniam: animetur Gentílis, quia vocatur ad vitam. Dei namque Fílius secundum plenitudinem temporis, quam divíni consílii inscrutabilis altitudo disposuit, reconciliandam auctori suo naturam generis assumpsit humani, ut inventor mortis diabolus, per ipsam, quam vícerat, vinceretur.
|Sermon of Saint Leo, Pope.
On this day, dearly Beloved, is born our Saviour: let us be glad: for, surely, it is a sin to be sad on the Birthday of that Life, which, ridding us of the fear of death, gladdened us with the promise of immortality. From a share in this gladness, not one of us is excluded. To all, there is the one same cause of joy: for, our Lord, the destroyer of sin and death, came to deliver all, seeing that all were slaves to guilt. Let the Saint exult, because he is now brought near to his crown; let the Sinner rejoice, because he is invited to his pardon; let the Gentile be of good heart, because he is called to life. For, when there had come the fulness of time, fixed by the inscrutable depths of the divine counsel, the Son of God assumed to himself the nature of man, in order to restore it to the favour of its Maker; that thus, the Devil, the author of Death, might be conquered by that very nature, whereby himself had conquered.
|R. O magnum mysterium, et admirabile sacramentum! ut
animalia viderent Dominum natum jacentem in praesepio: * Beata Virgo, cujus
viscera meruerunt portare Dominum Christum.
V. Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. * Beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt portare Dominum Christum.
|O great Mystery, and wonderful secret! brute beasts to see
their newborn Lord laid in a manger! * Blessed is the Virgin, that
deserved to carry in her womb, Christ our Lord!
V. Hail Mary! full of grace, the Lord is with thee. * Blessed is the Virgin, that deserved to carry in her womb, Christ our Lord!
At Rome, if there be in the Holy City the Knight, who has received the Helmet and Sword, - blessed, as we have described, by the Sovereign Pontiff - the fifth Lesson is given to him to sing, because it speaks of the great Battle, between Christ and Satan, in the glorious mystery of the Incarnation. Whilst the Choir is singing the Responsory O magnum mysterium, the Knight is taken, by the Master of Ceremonies, to the Pope. Standing before the Holy Father, he draws his Sword, thrice sets its point on the ground, thrice brandishes it in the air, and then wipes the blade upon his left arm. He is then taken to the Ambo, or reading-desk, takes off his Helmet, and, having vested the Cope over his armour, he sings the Lesson. These ceremonies of our holy Mother, the Church of Rome, were drawn up in days, when might was not right, and brute force was made subservient to moral power and principle. The Christian Warrior, cased in his steel armour, was resolved, as indeed he was bound, never to draw his Sword save in the cause of Christ, the conqueror of Satan - was there anything strange in his expressing this by a sacred ceremony?
|Christus perpetuae det nobis gaudia vitae. R. Amen.||May Christ grant unto us the joys of eternal life. R. Amen.|
|In quo conflíctu pro nobis ínito, magno et mirabili aequitatis jure certatum est, dum omnípotens Dominus cum saevíssimo hoste non in sua majestate, sed in nostra congreditur humilitate: objíciens ei eamdem formam, eamdemque naturam, mortalitatis quidem nostrae partícipem, sed peccati totíus expertem. Alienum quippe ab hac nativitate est, quod de omnibus legitur: Nemo mundus a sorde, nec infans, cujus est uníus diei vita super terram. Nihil ergo in istam singularem nativitatem de carnis concupiscentia transívit, nihil de peccati lege manavit. Virgo regia Davídicae stirpis elígitur, quae sacro gravidanda ftu, divínam humanamque prolem prius concíperet mente, quam corpore. Et ne superni ignara consílii ad inusitatos paveret affatus, quod in ea operandum erat a Spíritu Sancto, colloquio discit angelico: nec damnum credit pudoris, Dei Genitrix mox futura.||In the conflict thus entered into for our sakes, the combat was fought by our Omnipotent God with great and admirable equity: inasmuch as it is not in his own Majesty, but in our lowliness, that he attacks our bitter foe; opposing him with the self-same form, and self-same nature as ours, Man like us in everything save sin: for, that which is written of all men, had no place in this Nativity: "Not one is free from defilement, no, not the child whose life on earth is but one day." Into this admirable Birth, then, there passed nothing pertaining to the concupiscence of the flesh, there entered not aught of the law of sin. A Virgin of the royal family of David is chosen, who, having to be made Mother of the Divine Child, the God-Man, conceived him in her soul, before she conceived him in her womb. And lest the ineffable mystery should make her fear, were she left ignorant of the Divine plan, she is told by the Angel of that which was to be done in her by the Holy Ghost, and was given to see how she could be Mother of God, yet remain a pure Virgin.|
|R. Beata Dei genitrix Maria, cujus viscera intacta permanent: *
Hodie genuit Salvatorem saeculi.
V. Beata quae credidit, quoniam perfecta sunt omnia quae dicta sunt ei a Domino. * Hodie genuit Salvatorem saeculi.
|R The Blessed Mother of God. Mary, remaining ever the
spotless Virgin, * Hath this day given birth to the Saviour of the world.
V. Blessed in that she believed, for all those things have been done in her, that were said unto her by the Lord. * Hath this day given birth to the Saviour of the world.
|Ignem sui amoris accendat Deus in cordibus nostris. R. Amen.||May God enkindle within our hearts the fire of his love. R. Amen.|
|Agamus ergo, dilectíssimi, gratias Deo Patri, per Fílium ejus in Spíritu Sancto: qui propter multam caritatem suam, qua dilexit nos, misertus est nostri: et cum essemus mortui peccatis, convivificavit nos Christo, ut essemus in ipso nova creatura, novumque figmentum. Deponamus ergo veterem hominem cum actibus suis: et adepti participationem generationis Christi, carnis renuntiemus operibus. Agnosce, o Christiane, dignitatem tuam: et divínae consors factus naturae, noli in veterem vilitatem degeneri conversatione redíre. Memento, cujus capitis et cujus corporis sis membrum. Reminíscere, quia erutus de potestate tenebrarum, translatus es in Dei lumen et regnum.||Let us, therefore, dearly Beloved, give thanks to God the Father: through his Son, in the Holy Ghost: because, through his exceeding charity, wherewith he hath loved us, he has had compassion upon us; and when we were dead in our sins, quickened us unto life together with Christ, that we might be a new creature in him, and a new substance. Therefore, let us put off the old man with his acts, and, having been made partakers of the generation of Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh. Learn thy own worth, O Christian! and, having been made a partaker of the divine nature, scorn to become again the vile thing of old. Remember of what Head and of what Body thou art a member. Remember how thou, having been snatched from the power of darkness, hast been translated into the Light and Kingdom of God.|
|R. Sancta et immaculata Virginitas, quibus te laudibus
efferam, nescio: * Quia quem coeli capere non poterant, tuo gremio
V. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui. * Quia quem coeli capere non poterant, tuo gremio contulisti.
Gloria. * Quia quem coeli capere non poterant, tuo gremio contulisti.
|R. O holy and immaculate Virginity, I know not with what
praises I shall extol thee: * For thou didst bear in thy womb Him whom the
heavens cannot contain.
V. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. * For thou didst bear in thy womb Him whom the heavens cannot contain.
Glory. * For thou didst bear in thy womb Him whom the heavens cannot contain.
The seventh Psalm of Christmas-Day's Matins, is the prayer of the Jewish people for their Deliverer, the Messias. Juda has fallen under the Roman power; she has lost the sceptre; Jerusalem is polluted by the presence of the Gentiles; and yet, the Christ appears not. This Psalm reminds the God of Jacob of the promises made to David and his seed, of that everlasting Kingdom, which is so long in coming, and of those other Prophecies, whose accomplishment can alone put a stop to the haughty blasphemies of the Gentiles. But, the hour has come; Juda and the Gentiles are to be kept no longer in suspense; Jehovah is about to fulfil his word.
|Ant. Ipse invocabit me, alleluia: Pater meus es tu, alleluia.||Ant. He shall cry out to me, alleluia: thou art my Father, alleluia.|
|Misericordias Domini * in aeternum cantabo.
In generationem et generationem * annuntiabo veritatem tuam in ore meo.
Quoniam dixísti: In aeternum misericordia aedificabitur in coelis: * praeparabitur veritas tua in eis.
Disposui testamentum electis meis, juravi David, servo meo: * Usque in aeternum praeparabo semen tuum.
Et aedificabo in generationem et generationem * sedem tuam.
Confitebuntur coeli mirabília tua, Domine, * etenim veritatem tuam in ecclesia sanctorum.
Quoniam quis in nubibus aequabitur Domino: * símilis erit Domino in fíliis Dei?
Deus, qui glorificatur in consílio sanctorum: * magnus et terríbilis super omnes qui in circuitu ejus sunt.
Domine, Deus virtutum, quis símilis tibi? * potens es, Domine, et veritas tua in circuitu tuo.
Tu dominaris potestati maris: * motum autem fluctuum ejus tu mítigas.
Tu humiliasti sicut vulneratum, superbum: * in brachio virtutis tuae dispersísti inimícos tuos.
Tui sunt coeli, et tua est terra, orbem terrae et plenitudinem ejus tu fundasti: * aquilonem, et mare tu creasti.
Thabor et Hermon in nomine tuo exsultabunt: * tuum brachium cum potentia.
Firmetur manus tua, et exaltetur dextera tua: * justítia et judícium praeparatio sedis tuae.
Misericordia et veritas praecedent faciem tuam: * beatus populus, qui scit jubilationem.
Domine, in lumine vultus tui ambulabunt, et in nomine tuo exsultabunt tota die: * et in justítia tua exaltabuntur.
Quoniam gloria virtutis eorum tu es: * et in beneplacito tuo exaltabitur cornu nostrum.
Quia Domini est assumptio nostra, * et Sancti Israël, regis nostri.
Tunc locutus es in visione sanctis tuis, et dixísti: * Posui adjutorium in potente: et exaltavi electum de plebe mea.
Inveni David, servum meum: * oleo sancto meo unxi eum.
Manus enim mea auxiliabitur ei: * et brachium meum confortabit eum.
Nihil profíciet inimícus in eo: * et fílius iniquitatis non apponet nocere ei.
Et concídam a facie ipsíus inimícos ejus: * et odientes eum in fugam convertam.
Et veritas mea, et misericordia mea cum ipso: * et in nomine meo exaltabitur cornu ejus.
Et ponam in mari manum ejus: * et in flumínibus dexteram ejus.
Ipse invocabit me: Pater meus es tu: * Deus meus, et susceptor salutis meae.
Et ego primogenitum ponam illum: * excelsum prae regibus terrae.
In aeternum servabo illi misericordiam meam: * et testamentum meum fidele ipsi.
Et ponam in saeculum saeculi semen ejus: * et thronum ejus sicut dies coeli.
Si autem derelíquerint fílii ejus legem meam: * et in judíciis meis non ambulaverint.
Si justítias meas profanaverint: * et mandata mea non custodíerint:
Visitabo in virga iniquitates eorum: * et in verberibus peccata eorum.
Misericordiam autem meam non dispergam ab eo: * neque nocebo in veritate mea:
Neque profanabo testamentum meum: * et quae procedunt de labiis meis, non faciam írrita.
Semel juravi in sancto meo: Si David mentiar: * semen ejus in aeternum manebit.
Et thronus ejus sicut sol in conspectu meo, * et sicut luna perfecta in aeternum: et testis in coelo fidelis.
Tu vero repulísti et despexísti: * distulísti Christum tuum.
Evertísti testamentum servi tui: * profanasti in terra Sanctuarium ejus.
Destruxísti omnes sepes ejus: * posuísti firmamentum ejus formídinem.
Diripuerunt eum omnes transeuntes viam: * factus est opprobrium vicínis suis.
Exaltasti dexteram deprimentium eum: * laetificasti omnes inimícos ejus.
Avertísti adjutorium gladii ejus: * et non es auxiliatus ei in bello.
Destruxísti eum ab emundatione: * et sedem ejus in terram collisísti.
Minorasti dies temporis ejus: * perfudísti eum confusione.
Usquequo, Domine, avertis in finem: * exardescet sicut ignis ira tua?
Memorare quae mea substantia: * numquid enim vane constituísti omnes fílios hominum?
Quis est homo, qui vivet, et non videbit mortem: * eruet animam suam de manu ínferi?
Ubi sunt misericordiae tuae antíquae, Domine: * sicut jurasti David in veritate tua?
Memor esto, Domine, opprobrii servorum tuorum: * (quod contínui in sinu meo) multarum Gentium.
Quod exprobraverunt inimíci tui, Domine, * quod exprobraverunt commutationem Christi tui.
Benedíctus Dominus in aeternum: * fiat, fiat.
|The mercies of the Lord I will sing for ever.
Unto generation and generation, I will show forth thy truth with my mouth.
For thou hast said: Mercy shall be built up for ever in the heavens; thy truth shall be prepared in them.
Thou hast said: "I have made a covenant with my elect; I have sworn to David, my servant; thy seed will I settle for ever.
And I will build up thy Throne unto generation and generation."
The heavens shall confess thy wonders, O Lord: and thy truth in the Church of the Saints.
For who in the clouds can be compared to the Lord: or who among the sons of God shall be like to God?
God, who is glorified in the assembly of the Saints: great and terrible above all them that are about him.
O Lord God of hosts, who is like unto thee? thou art mighty, O Lord, and thy truth is round about thee.
Thou rulest the power of the sea: and appeasest the motion of the waves thereof.
Thou hast humbled the proud one, as one that is slain: with the arm of thy strength, thou hast scattered thy enemies.
Thine are the heavens, and thine is the earth: the world and the fulness thereof thou hast founded: the north and the sea thou hast created.
Thabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name: thy arm is with might
Let thy hand be strengthened, and thy right hand exalted: justice and judgment are the preparation of thy Throne.
Mercy and truth shall go before thy face: blessed is the people that knoweth jubilation.
They shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance, and in thy name they shall rejoice all the day: and in thy justice, they shall be exalted.
For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy food pleasure shall our horn be exalted.
For our protection is of the Lord: and of our King, the Holy One of Israel.
Then thou spokest in a vision to thy Saints, and saidst: "I have laid help upon one that is mighty, and have exalted one chosen out of my people.
I have found David my servant: with my holy oil I have anointed him.
For my hand shall help him: and my arm shall strengthen him.
The enemy shall have no advantage over him: nor the son of iniquity have power to hurt him.
And I will cut down his enemies before his face: and them that hate him I will put to flight.
And my truth, and my mercy, shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
And I will set his hand in the sea: and his right hand in the rivers.
He shall cry out to me: Thou art my Father, my God, and support of my salvation.
And I will make him my First-Born, high above the Kings of the earth.
I will keep my mercy for him for ever: and my covenant faithful to him.
And I will make his seed to endure for evermore: and his Throne as the days of heaven.
And if his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments:
If they profane my justices, and keep not my commandments:
I will visit their iniquities with a rod: and their sins with stripes.
But my mercy I will not take away from him: nor will I suffer my truth to fail.
Neither will I profane my covenant: and the words, that proceed from my mouth, I will not make void.
Once I have sworn by my Holiness, I will not lie unto David: his seed shall endure for ever.
And his Throne as the sun before me: and as the moon perfect for ever, and a faithful witness in heaven."
These are thy words, O Lord! but thou hast rejected and despised: thou hast put off thy Christ.
Thou hast overthrown the covenant of thy servant: thou hast profaned his sanctuary on the earth.
Thou hast broken down all his hedges: thou hast made his strength fear.
All that pass by the way have robbed him: he is become a reproach to his neighbours.
Thou hast set up the right hand of them that oppress him: thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice.
Thou hast turned away the help of his sword: and hast not assisted him in battle.
Thou hast made his purification to cease: thou hast cast his Throne down to the ground.
Thou hast shortened the days of his time: thou hast covered him with confusion.
How long, O Lord, turnest thou away unto the end shall thy anger burn like fire?
Remember what my substance is: for hast thou made all the children of men in vain?
Who is the man that shall live, and not see death? that shall deliver his soul from the hand of hell?
Where, O Lord, are thy ancient mercies, according to what thou didst swear to David, in thy truth?
Be mindful, O Lord, of the reproach of thy servants, (which I have held in my bosom) of many nations:
Wherewith thy enemies have reproached, O Lord: wherewith they have reproached the change of thy Christ.
But, blessed be the Lord for evermore! this Christ is coming to us, and this very night! so be it! so be it!
|Ant. Ipse invocabit me, alleluia: Pater meus es tu, alleluia.||Ant. He shall cry out to me, alleluia: thou art my Father, alleluia.|
The eighth Psalm is one of delighted joy at the coming of our Infant Jesus, our Saviour. It calls on all nations to adore him, and on all nature to do him homage. This Messias is come to reign over us: he is come to correct, that is, to uphold the whole of creation, which was fallen a New Canticle, then, dear Christians!
|Ant. Laetentur coeli, et exsultet terra ante faciem Domini, quoniam venit.||Ant. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, before the face of the Lord; for lo ! he cometh !|
|Cantate Domino canticum novum: * cantate Domino, omnis terra.
Cantate Domino, et benedícite nomini ejus: * annuntiate de die in diem salutare ejus.
Annuntiate inter gentes gloriam ejus, * in omnibus populis mirabília ejus.
Quoniam magnus Dominus, et laudabilis nimis: * terríbilis est super omnes deos.
Quoniam omnes dii Gentium daemonia: * Dominus autem coelos fecit.
Confessio, et pulchritudo in conspectu ejus: * sanctimonia et magnificentia in sanctificatione ejus.
Afferte Domino, patriae Gentium, afferte Domino gloriam et honorem: * afferte Domino gloriam nomini ejus.
Tollite hostias, et introíte in atria ejus: * adorate Dominum in atrio sancto ejus.
Commoveatur a facie ejus universa terra: * dícite in Gentibus quia Dominus regnavit.
Etenim correxit orbem terrae qui non commovebitur: * judicabit populos in aequitate.
Laetentur coeli, et exsultet terra: commoveatur mare et plenitudo ejus: * gaudebunt campi, et omnia quae in eis sunt.
Tunc exsultabunt omnia ligna silvarum a facie Domini, quia venit: * quoniam venit judicare terram.
Judicabit orbem terrae in aequitate, * et populos in veritate sua.
|Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: sing to the Lord all the
Sing ye to the Lord and bless his name: show forth his Saviour from day to-day.
Declare his glory among the Gentiles: his wonders among all people.
For the Lord is great, and exceedingly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens.
Praise and beauty are before him: holiness and majesty in his sanctuary.
Bring ye to the Lord, all ye kindreds of the Gentiles, bring ye to the Lord glory and honour: bring to the Lord glory unto his name..
Bring up sacrifices, and come into his courts: adore ye the Lord in his holy court.
Let all the earth be moved at his presence: Say ye among the Gentiles: the Lord hath reigned, he hath reigned in his Crib.
For, by his much loved Birth, he hath corrected the world, which shall not be moved; he will judge the people with justice.
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea be moved, and the fulness thereof; the fields and all things, that are in them shall be joyful
Then shall all the trees of the woods rejoice, before the face of the Lord, because he cometh: because he cometh to judge and save the earth.
He shall judge the world with justice: and the people with his truth.
|Ant. Laetentur coeli et exsultet terra, ante faciem Domini, quoniam venit.||Ant. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad before the face of the Lord; for lo! he cometh!|
The ninth Psalm, too, is a New Canticle, in praise of the Saviour that is coming, and of the Father that sends him to us. Jehovah has remembered his mercies, and the whole earth will soon be permitted to see its Emmanuel. Let our holy songs, this beautiful Night, be full of enthusiasm, and lend a voice of praise to all Nature, for, all Nature was regenerated by its Creator being born on this earth.
|Ant. Notum fecit Dominus, alleluia, Salutare suum, alleluia.||Ant. The Lord hath made known, alleluia! his Saviour, alleluia!|
|Cantate Domino canticum novum: * quia mirabília
Salvavit sibi dextera ejus: * et brachium sanctum ejus.
Notum fecit Dominus salutare suum: * in conspectu Gentium revelavit justítiam suam.
Recordatus est misericordiae suae, * et veritatis suae domui Israël.
Viderunt omnes termini terrae * salutare Dei nostri.
Jubilate Deo, omnis terra: * cantate, et exsultate, et psallite.
Psallite Domino in cíthara, in cíthara et voce psalmi: * in tubis ductílibus, et voce tubae corneae.
Jubilate in conspectu regis Domini: * moveatur mare, et plenitudo ejus: orbis terrarum, et qui habitant in eo.
Flumina plaudent manu, simul montes exsultabunt a conspectu Domini: * quoniam venit judicare terram.
Judicabit orbem terrarum in justítia, * et populos in aequitate.
|Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: because he hath done
On this day, his right hand hath wrought for him salvation; and his arm is holy.
The Lord hath made known his Saviour: he hath revealed his justice in the sight of the Gentiles.
He hath remembered his mercy, and his truth toward the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth, that were expecting it, have seen the salvation of our God.
Sing joyfully to God, all the earth; make melody, rejoice, and sing.
Sing praise to the Lord on the harp, on the harp and with the voice of a psalm: with long trumpets, and sound of cornet
Make a joyful noise before the Lord, our King: let the sea be moved, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
The rivers shall clap their hands, the mountains shall rejoice together at the presence of the Lord; because he cometh to judge and save the earth.
He shall judge the world with justice, and the people with equity.
|Ant. Notum fecit Dominus. alleluia, Salutare suum, alleluia.||Ant. The Lord hath made known, alleluia! his Saviour, alleluia!|
|V. Ipse invocabit me, alleluia.
R. Pater meus es tu, alleluia.
|V. He shall cry out to me, alleluia!
R. Thou art my Father, alleluia!
The Pater noster having been recited, as in the two first Nocturns, the Priest says:
|A vinculis peccatorum nostrorum absolvat nos omnipotens et misericors Dominus. R. Amen.||May the Almighty and merciful Lord, deliver us from the chains of our sins. R. Amen.|
Then are read the beginnings of the three Gospels, which are said in the three Masses of Christmas Day. To each portion of these Gospels is appended a passage from a Homily by one of the Holy Fathers.
The first of the three is that of St. Luke, and the Homily given is that of St. Gregory the Great. It relates the publishing of the Emperor Augustus' edict, commanding a census of the whole world. This seventh Lesson, according to the Ceremonial of the Roman Church, is to be sung by the Emperor, if he happen to be in Rome at the time; and this is done, in order to honour the Imperial power, whose decrees were the occasion of Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem, and so fulfilling the designs of God, which he had revealed to the ancient Prophets. The Emperor is led to the Pope, in the same manner as the Knight who had to sing the fifth Lesson; he puts on the Cope; two Cardinal-Deacons gird him with the sword, and go with him to the Ambo. The Lesson being concluded, the Emperor again goes before the Pope, and kisses his foot, as being the Vicar of the Christ whom he has just announced. This ceremony was observed in 1468, by the Emperor Frederic III., before the then Pope, Paul II.
|Evangelica lectio sit nobis salus, et protectio! R. Amen.||May the reading of the Gospel bring us salvation and protection. R. Amen.|
|Lectio sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.
In illo tempore: Exiit edíctum a Caesare Augusto, ut describeretur universus orbis. Et reliqua.
Homilía sancti Gregorii Papae.
Quia, largiente Domino, Missarum solemnia ter hodie celebraturi sumus, loqui diu de evangelica lectione non possumus: sed nos aliquid vel breviter dícere, Redemptoris nostri Natívitas ipsa compellit. Quid est enim, quod nascituro Domino mundus descríbitur, nisi hoc, quod aperte monstratur, quia ille apparebat in carne, qui electos suos adscríberet in aeternitate? Quo contra de reprobis per prophetam dícitur: Deleantur de libro viventium, et cum justis non scribantur. Qui bene etiam in Bethlehem nascitur: Bethlehem quippe domus panis interpretatur. Ipse namque est, qui ait: Ego sum panis vivus, qui de coelo descendi. Locus ergo, in quo Dominus nascitur, domus panis antea vocatus est; quia futurum profecto erat, ut ille ibi per materiam carnis appareret, qui electorum mentes interna satietate refíceret. Qui non in parentum domo, sed in via nascitur: ut profecto ostenderet, quia per humanitatem suam, quam assumpserat, quasi in alieno nascebatur.
|Lesson from the holy Gospel according to Luke.
At that time, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. And the rest.
Homily of Saint Gregory, Pope.
|R. Beata viscera Mariae Virginia, quae portaverunt aeterni
et beata ubera, quae lactaverunt Christum Dominum, * Qui hodie pro salute
mundi de Virgine nasci dignatus est.
V. Dies sanctificatus illuxit nobis: venite Gentes, et adorate Dominum. * Qui hodie pro salute mundi de Virgine nasci dignatus est.
|Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, that bore the Son of
the Eternal Father; and blessed are the breasts, that fed Christ the Lord,
* Who deigned to be born, this day, of the Virgin, for the world's
V. A holy day hath shone upon us; come, ye Gentiles, and adore the Lord. * Who deigned to be born, this day, of the Virgin, for the world's salvation.
The second of the three Gospels, which forms the subject of the eighth Lesson, is also taken from St. Luke, and the Homily is by St. Ambrose. It gives the description of the Shepherds going to the holy Stable.
|Per Evangelica dicta deleantur nostra delicta. R. Amen.||May our sins be wiped away by the words of the Gospel. R. Amen.|
|Lectio sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.
In illo tempore: Pastores loquebantur ad ínvicem: Transeamus usque Bethlehem, et videamus hoc verbum, quod factum est, quod Dominus ostendit nobis. Et reliqua.
Homilía sancti Ambrosii Epíscopi.
|Lesson of the holy Gospel according to Luke.
At that time the Shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word, that is come to pass, which the Lord hath showed unto us. And the rest.
Homily of Saint Ambrose, Bishop.
|R. Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis: * Et
vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi Unigeniti a Patre, plenum gratiae et
V. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt: et sine ipso factum est nihil. * Et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi Unigeniti a Patre, plenum gratiae et veritatis.
Gloria Patri ... * Et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi Unigeniti a Patre, plenum gratiae et veritatis.
|R. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us: * And we
saw his glory, the glory as it were of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
ft. All things were made by him; and without him was made nothing. * And we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Glory be to the Father, ... * And we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The third Gospel, which forms the subject of the ninth Lesson, is the
beginning of that according to St. John, and is commented by St. Augustine: it
speaks of the Eternal Generation of the Word.
|Verba Sancti Evangelii doceat nos Christus Filius Dei Amen.||May Christ, the Son of God, teach us the words of the Holy Gospel. R. Amen.|
|Lectio sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.
In princípio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. Et reliqua.
Homilía sancti Augustíni Epíscopi.
Ne vile aliquid putares quale consuevísti cogitare, cum verba humana soleres audíre, audi quid cogites: Deus erat Verbum. Exeat nunc nescio quis infidelis Arianus, et dicat quia Verbum Dei factum est. Quomodo potest fíeri, ut Verbum Dei factum sit, quando Deus per Verbum fecit omnia? Si et Verbum Dei ipsum factum est: per quod aliud verbum factum est? Si hoc dicis, quia hoc est verbum Verbi, per quod factum est illud; ipsum dico ego unicum Fílium Dei. Si autem non dicis verbum Verbi, concede non factum, per quod facta sunt omnia. Non enim per seípsum fíeri potuit, per quod facta sunt omnia. Crede ergo Evangelístae.
|Lesson of the holy Gospel according to John.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the rest.
Homily of St. Augustine, Bishop.
Our three Night Vigils are over: we have sung our songs of praise; we have listened to our Mother the Church telling us of the Prophecies of the beautiful Coming: and meanwhile, the Night has advanced, and now the long-expected, the ever-sacred hour of Midnight has come, and we are to see the Divine Infant Jesus, lying in his Crib and smiling upon his Mother. Jubilee is the duty of this sweetest moment: let our hearts beat with delight! Jesus, our Salvation, is coming down from heaven, and for our
What a joy it is, that our dear Church gives us a Canticle, which is a worthy reception of this our God! Come, then, Christians, let us make the holy place echo with our grand Te Deum!
|Te Deum laudamus:* te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem; * omnia terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; * tibi coeli, ut universal potestates.
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim: * incessabili voce proclamant
Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth!
Pleni sunt coeli et terra * majestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus * Apostolorum chorus.
Te Prophetarum * laudabilis numerus.
Te Martyrum candidatus * laudat exereitus.
Te per orbem terrarum * sancta confitetur Ecclesia.
Patrem * immensae majestatis.
Venerandum tuum verum, * et unicum Filium.
Sanctum quoque * Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, * Christe.
Tu Patris, * sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, * non horruisti Virginia uterum.
Tu devicto mortis aculeo:* aperuisti credentibus regna coelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes: * in gloria Patris.
Judex crederis * esse venturus.
|We praise thee, O God! we acknowledge thee to be our Lord.
Thee, the Father everlasting, all the earth doth worship.
To thee the Angels, to thee the heavens, and all the Powers:
To thee the Cherubim and Seraphim, cry out without ceasing:
Holy! Lord God of Sabaoth!
Full are the heavens and the earth of the majesty of thy glory.
Thee the glorious choir of the Apostles.
Thee the laudable company of the Prophets.
Thee the white-robed army of Martyrs doth praise.
Thee the holy Church throughout the world doth acknowledge.
The Father of incomprehensible majesty.
Thy adorable, true, and only Son.
And the Holy Ghost the Paraclete.
Thou, O Christ, art the King of glory.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Thou being to take upon thee to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Thou having overcome the sting of death, hast opened to believers the kingdom of heaven.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Thee we believe to be the Judge to come.
All kneel at the following Verse:
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni, * quos pretioso sanguine
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis * in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum Domine: *et benedic haereditati tuae.
Et rege eos: * et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
Per singulos dies * benedicimus te.
Et laudamus Nomen tuum in saeculum: * et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto,* sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri, Domine: * miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua Domine super nos, * quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te Domine speravi: * non confundar in aeternum.
We beseech thee, therefore, to help thy servants, whom thou hast redeemed
with thy precious Blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy saints in eternal glory.
O Lord, save thy people, and bless thine inheritance.
And govern them, and exalt them for ever.
Every day, we magnify thee.
And we praise thy Name for ever and ever.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have put our trust in thee.
In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust: let me not be confounded for ever.
Our Hymn of Thanksgiving sung, the Church concludes the Office of Matins by the following Prayer, in which she embodies all her desires on this Feast of the New Birth of the Only Begotten Son of God.
Concede, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut nos Unigeniti tui nova per carnem nativitas liberet, quos sub peccati jugo vetusta servitus tenet Per eumdem.
|Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who groan under the old captivity of sin, may be freed therefrom by the new Birth of thine Only Begotten Son. Through the same Jesus Christ, etc.