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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday In the Lenten Embertide



Station Church:
St. Peter in the Vatican

This is the last Ember Day until sometime in May! Though, as this is still only the start of Lent, there are many solemn days of penance still ahead. But for those weary of winter, keep in mind that there are no more Ember Days until the late Spring (almost Summer).

From The Passion and Death Of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

O my dearest Jesus, my love, my life, my all, if I behold from without Thy sacred Body, I see nothing else but Wounds. But if I enter into Thy desolate Heart, I find nothing but bitterness and sorrows, which made Thee suffer the agonies of death. O my Lord, and Who but Thee , Who art infinite Goodness, would ever suffer so much, and die for one of Thy creatures? But because Thou art God, Thou dost love as God alone can love, with a love that cannot be equalled by any other love.

Devotions for a Lenten Saturday Holy Hour:

Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Stabat Mater Dolorosa
Litany of Our Lady of Sorrows
Sorrowful Mysteries

Wednesday Of the Second Week Of Lent


Station Church:
S. Cecilia in Trastevere



From The Passion And Death Of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

O sovereign God! Thou hast given Thyself entirely to me; and how than shall I not love Thee with my whole self? I believe, yes, I believe that Thou hast died for me, and how can I then love Thee so little as constantly to forget Thee and all that Thou hast suffered for me? And why Lord, when I think on Thy Passion am I not quite enflamed with Thy love, and I do not entrely become Thine, like so many holy souls who, after meditating on Thy sufferings, have remained the happy prey of Thy love, and have given themselves entirely to Thee?

Devotions for a Lenten Wednesday Holy Hour:
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms & the prayers against the Seven Deadly Sins
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer
Seven Prayers of St. Gregory

Who is this Saint Gregory and what are these prayers of his all about?

here they are:

O Lord Jesus, I adore Thee hanging on the Cross, wearing a crown of thorns upon Thy head. I beg Thee that Thy Cross may free me from the deceiving Angel. Amen.
Our Father. Hail Mary.
II
O Lord Jesus, I adore Thee hanging wounded on the Cross, given vinegar and gall to drink. I beg Thee that Thy wounds may be the remedy of my soul.
Amen.
Our Father. Hail Mary.
III
O Lord Jesus, I ask by the bitterness of Thy Passion, which Thou didst undergo in the hour of Thy death, so much so when Thy most holy soul left Thy blessed body. Have mercy upon my soul when it leaves my body, and lead it to eternal life.
Amen.
Our Father. Hail Mary.
IV
O Lord Jesus, I adore Thee placed in Thy tomb, anointed with myrrh and aromatic spices. I beg Thee that Thy death may be my life.
Amen.
Our Father. Hail Mary.
V
O Lord Jesus, I adore Thee descending into hell and freeing the captives from there. I beg Thee, that Thou mayest never permit me to enter there.
Amen.
Our Father. Hail Mary.
VI
O Lord Jesus, I adore Thee rising from the dead, ascending into heaven, and sitting at the right hand of the Father. I beg Thee that I may be worthy to follow Thee and be with Thee.
Amen.
Our Father. Hail Mary.
VII
O Lord Jesus, O good Shepherd, preserver of the just, justifier of sinners, have mercy upon all the faithful and be gracious to me, a wretched and unworthy sinner.
Amen.
Our Father. Hail Mary.

Prayer:
I beseech Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, that Thy Passion may be a strength to me by which I may be strengthened, protected and defended. May Thy wounds be to me food and drink by which I may be nourished, inebriated, and delighted. May the sprinkling of Thy Blood be to me an ablution for all my sins. May Thy death be eternal glory to me. In these may my refreshment, joy, health, zeal, delight, and desire of my body and soul, now and forever.
Amen.

Another Prayer:
Deign to grant me grace and mercy, pardon to the living, eternal rest to the dead, peace to Thy Church, and life and eternal glory to all sinners. Thou who livest and reignest forever and ever.
Amen.

O Domine Iesu, adoro te in Cruce pendentem, coronam spineam in capite portantem. Deprecor te, ut tua Crux liberet me ab Angelo percutiente.
Amen.
Pater. Ave.

O Domine Iesu, adoro te in Cruce vulneratum, felle et aceto potatum. Deprecor te, ut vulnera tua sint remedium animae meae.
Amen.
Pater. Ave.

O Domine Iesu, rogo per illam amaritudinem Passionis tuae, quam in hora mortis sustinuisti, maxime tunc, quando anima sanctissima de benedicto corpore est egressa. Miserere animae meae in egressu suo de corpore meo, et perduc eam in vitam aeternam.
Amen.
Pater. Ave.

O Domine Iesu, adoro te in sepulcro positum, myrrha et aromatibus conditum. Deprecor te, ut tua mors sit vita mea.
Amen.
Pater. Ave.

O Domine Iesu, adoro te descendentem ad inferos et tuos inde liberantem captivos. Deprecor te, ut illuc nunquam me patiaris introire.
Amen.
Pater. Ave.

O Domine Iesu, adoro te a morte resurgentem et in caelum ascendentem, sedentemque ad dexteram Patris. Deprecor te, ut illuc te sequi et tibi praesentari merear.
Amen.
Pater. Ave.

O Domine Jesu, Pastor bone, iustos conserva, peccatores iustifica, omnibus fidelibus miserere, et propitius esto mihi misero et indigno peccatori.
Amen.
Pater. Ave.

Precatio
Obsecro te Domine Iesu Christe, ut passio tua sit virtus mea, qua muniar, protegar, et defendar. Vulnera tua sint mihi cibus et potus, quibus pascar, inebrier atque delecter. Aspersio Sanguinis tui sit omnium peccatorum meorum ablutio. Mors tua sit mihi gloria sempiterna. In his sit mihi refectio, exsultatio, sanitas, studium, gaudium, desiderium corporis et animae, nunc et in perpetuum.
Amen.

Alia Precatio
Domine Iesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, pone Passionem, Crucem, et Mortem tuam inter iudicium tuum et animam meam, nunc et in hora mortis meae. O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, place Thy Passion, Cross, and Death between Thy judgment and my soul, now and in the hour of my death.
Largire mihi digneris gratiam et misericordiam, vivis veniam, defunctis requiem, Ecclesiae tuae pacem, cunctisque peccatoribus vitam et gloriam sempiternam. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.
Amen.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday In the Lenten Embertide



Station Church:
Ss. XII Apostoli al Foro Traiano



From The Passion And Death Of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

O my most loving Redeemer, what have I hitherto done or suffered for Thee? If I could for a thousand years endure for Thy sake all the torments that all the martyrs have suffered, they would yet be nothing compared with that one first moment in which Thou didst offer Thyself and begin to suffer for me.

Devotions for a Lenten Friday Holy Hour:
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotions To the Holy Cross
Stations of the Cross

Again, it occurs to me that my simple notation, "Devotions To the Holy Cross" might be drawing a blank with Catholics my age and younger. These are the prayers I mean:

Ave Crux Sancta
HAIL, O holy Cross, our strength.
Hail, O adorable Cross, our praise and glory.
Hail, O Cross, our help and refuge.
Hail, O Cross, consolation of all the mournful.
Hail, O Cross, our victory and hope.
Hail, O Cross, our defense and our life.
Hail, O Cross, our liberation and redemption.
Hail, O Cross, our sign of salvation and bulwark against the enemy.
May the Cross be for me always hope of my faith.
May the Cross be for me resurrection in my death.
May the Cross be for me triumph against demons.
May the Cross be for me mother of my consolation.
May the Cross be for me rest in my tribulations.
May the Cross be for me support in my old age.
May the Cross be for me healing in my illness.
May the Cross be for me protection in my nudity.
May the Cross be for me consolation in my life.
May the Cross be for me solace in all my difficulties.
May the Cross be for me balm in my tribulations.
May the Cross be for me medicine to my infirmities and protection against all my enemies.
Amen.

Save Me, O Holy Cross
Save me, o holy Cross, who art consecrated with the body of Christ and ornamented as if by pearls from this union with his limbs; thou hast been made worthy to carry the price of our salvation and hast held up eternal life to us. O good Jesus, grant to me that through the reparation and mark of Thy holy Cross, Thou willst free me from the incursions of all my enemies, preserve me in Thy goodness, dismiss my sins, and grant me forgiveness: Thou who livest and reignest, God forever and ever.
Amen.

The Hours Of the Holy Cross
V. By the sign of the cross from our enemies.
R. Our God deliver us.
V. Thou O Lord wilt open my lips.
R. And my mouth shall declare Thy praise.
V. Incline unto my 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 in the world of worlds.
Amen.
The wisdom of the Father, and truth divine beside,
God and man surprised was even at the morning tide:
His known disciples left Him for to follow more:
Sold and betrayed to the Jews they did afflict Him sore.
Ant: O venerable Cross, which hast brought salvation to wretches, by what praise shall I extol thee: for thou hast prepared unto us the heavenly life.
They our Lord to Pilate led at the hour of prime,
And by witnesses full false accused much of crime,
His hands tied they beat Him with fists in great dispite,
They upon God's face do spit the heaven's grateful light.
Ant: O victory of the Cross, and admirable sign, cause us to hold our triumph in the heavenly court.
At the third hour of the day they crucify Him cry,
In a purple robe clad Him more to mock thereby,
Piteously His head was pricked with the crown of thorn,
To the place of pain His cross was on His shoulders born.
Ant: The punishment of bloody death is condemned, whilst Christ upon the cross hath destroyed the bonds of our offenses.
To the Cross Christ nailed was the sixth hour of the day,
And there hanging with two thieves reputed was as they:
Thirsting by torments made with gall they seek to slake:
Mocked was the Lamb while He our guilt on Him did take.
Ant: By a tree we were made bondsmen, and by the Holy Cross we are set free: the fruit of the tree seduced us, the Son of God redeemed us.
Jesus Lord at the ninth hour His spirit forth did send:
Crying Eli and His soul to Father did commend:
With a lance a soldier did pierce through His tender side:
The earth then trembled and the sun His shining light did hide.
Ant: O great work of piety: Death then died when life was dead upon the cross.
At the hour of eventide Christ from His cross was ta'en,
In whose soul His fortitude did covertly remain.
Such a death vouchsafed to take of life the medicine sound:
Glory's crown alas the while lay groveling on the ground.
Ant: O Blessed Cross, which only wast worthy to bear the value of the world: sweet wood, sweet nails bearing sweet weights: thou only excedest in highness all the wood of Cedar: upon which the salvation of the world did hang: on which Christ did triumph, and death overcame death forever.
When as Compline was come was laid in His tomb,
Christ His body precious the hope of life to come.
Embalmed it was: scriptures thus accomplished we see:
Still this death to have in mind my care O let it be
Ant: Save us O Savior of the world, which by Thy cross and blood hast redeemed us, help us we beseech Thee O our God.
V. We adore Thee O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Let us pray:
O Lord Jesus Christ the Son of the living God, set Thy passion, cross, and death between Thy judgment and my soul, now, and in the hour of my death and vouchsafe to grant unto me grace and mercy: to the living and the dead rest and pardon: to Thy Church peace and concord, and to us sinners life and glory everlasting, who livest and reignest, God, with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.
Amen.

O Bona Crux
O good Cross, made beautiful by the body of the Lord, long have I desired thee, ardently have I loved thee, unceasingly have I sought thee, and now thou art ready for my eager soul. Receive me from among men and restore me to my Master, so that He, who redeemed me through thee, shalt receive me through thee.
Amen.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Thursday Of the First Week Of Lent




Station Church:
S. Lorenzo in Panisperna

Today is not an Ember Day (but yesterday, tomorrow, and Saturday are).



From The Passion And Death Of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

My dearest Jesus, it does indeed afflict me to see Thee dying with such dreadful sufferings upon an ignominious tree. But at the same time, I am greatly consoled and inflamed with love for Thee, when I see, by means of these Wounds, the love that Thou bearest me. O heavenly seraphs, what do you think of the love of my God, who loved me and delivered himself for me?

Devotions For A Lenten Thursday Holy Hour:

Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotion To the Holy Face

Today is not an Ember Day, even though we are in the midst of the Lenten Embertide. Thursday is never counted as an Ember Day because of the Institution of the Most Blessed Sacrament on Maundy Thursday.

In listing devotions you might choose to make use of for every day of the week during Lent, I often use the shorthand for one, calling it simply "Threnus Prayer." It occurs to me that many people might not know what prayer I am referring to is. The Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine I make a part of daily Lenten devotions. It is one of the most penitential, and one of the truest to human nature that I have encountered. Saint Augustine knew what he was talking about when he discussed human sinfulness. Michael W. Martin did the groundbreaking work of translating this from Saint Augustine's works. I have taken the liberty of re-writing it to put it in the 1st person singular, rather than the 1st person plural, and to break it up, as far as possible, into matched lines. I think this makes it a much more personal prayer. Here it is as I have re-written it:

If I place before Thine eyes, O Lord,
My sins and the wounds I have received,
The less I suffer
And the greater I merit.

I feel the punishment for sin,
Yet I do not shun my obstinacy in sinning.

My fragile nature is shattered by Thy scourges,
Yet my evil ways remain unchanged.

My sick mind is wrenched,
Yet my stiff neck is not bent.

My life sighs in pain, and
Yet it does not amend itself.

If Thou waiteth, I do not reform,
If Thou punisheth, I do not last.

When accused, I admit what I have done,
Yet, when punished, I forget.

If Thou punisheth me, I make promises.
If Thou holdeth back the sword, I do not carry out my promises.

If Thou striketh me, I cry out that Thou might spare me;
If Thou sparest me, I again provoke Thee to strike me.

If difficulties come, I ask for a time for repentance.
If mercy comes to my aid, I abuse the patience which has spared me.

Even when my wounds are scarcely healed,
My ungrateful mind forgets.

If Thou hearest me quickly, I become haughty from Thy mercy.
If Thou art slow, I complain out of impatience.

I am willing to serve Thee because of what Thou hast done,
Yet I do not fear to neglect what Thou wouldst have me do.

Thou hast in Thy power, O Lord, this guilty wretch who has confessed;
Be merciful, for Thou art kind and loving.

I know that, unless Thou forgiveth me, Thou shalt justly punish me.
But with Thee is much pity and abundant forgiveness.

Grant, without any merit on my part, what I ask,
O Thou, who hast made from nothing him who asks Thee.

Have mercy on me crying out to Thee, O Lord.
May my faithful and tearful voice stir up Thy mercy.

May that forgiveness not consider that I have sinned,
But may it reflect on the fact I am asking.

Since it is a great misery that I am accused,
May the fact that I am miserable make Thy mercy the greater.

I beg Thine help,
And before Thee I place the evils and sorrows of my crimes.

By my prayers I seek Thy mercy,
The very mercy which I have spurned by my sins.

Raise me up in Thy mercy, o Lord my God,
so that in the fellowship of salvation and the joy of charity,
While I long to be saved,
I may rejoice in the faith and peace of all the world to come.

Through Christ our Lord,
Amen.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Wednesday In the Lenten Embertide

It is the Lenten embertide, probably the most solemn period of penitence until Holy Week itself. In embertide, which occurs four times per year (the week of Gaudete Sunday in Advent, the week after Ash Wednesday in Lent, the week of Pentecost, and the week after the Exaltation of the True Cross in September) the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are set aside as special days of prayer, fasting, abstinence, and almsgiving.

Station Church:
Saint Mary Major



From The Passion And Death Of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

O my Jesus, Immaculate Lamb sacrificed on the Cross for me! Let not all that Thou hast suffered for me be lost, but accomplish in me the object of Thy great sufferings! O bind me entirely with the sweet chains of Thy love in order that I may not leave Thee, and that I may nevermore be separated from Thee: "Most sweet Jesus, suffer me not to be searated from Thee, suffer me not to be separated from Thee!
Amen.

Devotions For a Lenten Wednesday Holy Hour:
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms & the prayers against the Seven Deadly Sins
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer
Seven Prayers of St. Gregory

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Ember Alert!

Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week constitute the Lenten Embertide, days set aside near the transition from one season to another, and marked by fast, abstinence, extra prayer and almsgiving. In this case, we have these days to help us prepare for Easter. Remember, it's Ember!

Tuesday Of the First Week Of Lent



Station Church:
S. Anastasia (S. Teodoro) al Palatino


From The Passion And Death Of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

Thou wouldst then die for me, Thine enemy, o my Jesus!  And yet, can I resist so much love?  Behold, here I am.  Since Thou dost anxiously desire that I should love Thee, I will drive away every other love from my breast, and will love Thee alone.
Amen.

Devotions for a Lenten Tuesday Holy Hour:
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotion of the Seven Last Words

Note: This is the Lenten Ember Week. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are Ember Days.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Monday Of the First Week Of Lent

S. Pietro in Vincoli al Colle Oppio



From The Passion And Death of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

O my most loving Saviour! I feel indeed that all Thy speak to me of the love that Thou bearest me. And who that had so many pfoofs of Thy love couldst resist loving Thee in return? St. Teresa was indded right, O most amyiable Jesus, when she said that he who loves Thee not gives a proof that he does not know Thee.


Devotions for a Lenten Monday Holy Hour
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotion of the Five Sacred Wounds

Note: This is the Lenten Ember Week. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are Ember Days.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Quadragesima Sunday, the First Sunday Of Lent




Station Church:
St. John Lateran

Devotions For a Lenten Sunday Holy Hour
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Psalter of St. Jerome
Threnus Prayer of St. Augustine

Prayer from The Passion And Death Of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori:

Therefore, O my Jesus, I cannot any longer, without injustice, dispose of myself, or of my own concerns, since Thou hast made me Thine by purchasing me through Thy death. My body, my soul, my life, are no longer mine; they are Thine and entirely Thine. In Thee alone, therefore, will I hope. O my God, crucified and dead for me, I have nothing else to offer Thee but this soul, which Thou hast bought with Thy Blood: to Thee I do offer it. Accept of my love, for I desire nothing but Thee, my Saviour, my God, my love, my all. Hitherto I have shown much gratitude towards men; to Thee alone have I, Alas! been most ungrateful. But now I love Thee, and I have no greater cause of sorrow than my having offended Thee. O Jesus, give me confidence by Thy Passion; root out of my heart every affection that belongs not to Thee. I will love Thee alone, Who dost deserve all of my love, and Who hast given me so much reason to love Thee. And who, indeed, could refuse to love Thee, when they see Thee, Who art the beloved of the Eternal Father, dying so cruel and bitter a death for our sake? O Mary, Mother of fair love, I pray thee through the merits of thy burning heart, obtain for me the grace to live only in order to love thy Son, Who, being in Himself worthy of an infinite love, has chosen at so great a cost to acquire to Himself the love of a miserable sinner like me. O love of souls! O my Jesus! I love Thee too little. O give me more love. Give me flames that may make me live always burning with Thy love! I do not deserve it, but Thou dost well deserve it, O Infinite Goodness.
Amen.
This I hope.
So may it be.


From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB:

Lent solemnly opens today. We have already noticed that the four preceding days were added since the time of St. Gregory the Great, in order to make up forty days of fasting. Neither can we look upon Ash Wednesday as the solemn opening of the season; for the faithful are not bound to hear Mass on that day. The holy Church, seeing her children now assembled together, speaks to them, in her Office of Matins, these eloquent and noble words of St. Leo the Great: "Having to announce to you, dearly beloved, the most sacred and chief fast, how can I more appropriately begin, than with the words of the Apostle, in whom Christ Himself spoke, and by saying to you what has just been read: Behold! now is the acceptable time; behold! now is the day of salvation. For although there be no time which is not replete with divine gifts, and we may always, by God's grace, have access to His mercy, yet ought we all to redouble our efforts to make spiritual progress and be animated with unusual confidence, now that the anniversary of the day of our redemption is approaching, inviting us to devote ourselves to every good work, that so we may celebrate, with purity of body and mind, the incomparable mystery of our Lord's Passion.

"It is true that our devotion and reverence towards so great a mystery should be kept up during the whole year, and we ourselves should be at all times, in the eyes of God, the same as we are bound to be as we are bound to be at the Easter solemnity. But this is an effort which only few among us have the courage to sustain. The weakness of the flesh induces us to relax our austerities; the various occupations of everyday life take up our thoughts; and thus even the virtuous find their hearts clogged by this world's dust. Hence it is that our Lord has most providentially given us these forty days, whose holy exercises should be to us a remedy, whereby to regain our purity of soul. The good works and the holy fastings of this season were instituted as an atonement for, and an obliteration of, the sins we commit during the rest of the year.

"Now, therefore, that we are about to enter upon these days, which are so full of mystery, and which were instituted for the holy purpose of purifying both soul and body, let us, dearly beloved, be careful to do as the Apostle bids us, and cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit: that thus the combat between the two substances being made less fierce, the soul, which, when she herself is subject to God, ought to be the ruler of the body, will recover her own dignity and position. Let us avoid giving offense to any man, so that there be none to blame or speak evil things of us. For we deserve the harsh remarks of infidels, and we provoke the tongues of the wicked to blaspheme religion, when we who fast lead unholy lives. For our fast does not consist in the mere abstinence from food; nor is it of much use to deny food to our body, unless we restrain the soul from sin."

Each Sunday of Lent offers to our consideration a passage from the Gospel, which is in keeping with the sentiments wherewith the Church would have us be filled. Today she brings before us the temptation of our Lord in the desert. What light and encouragement there is in this instruction!

We acknowledge ourselves to be sinners; we are engaged, at this very time, in doing penance for the sins we have committed-but how was it that we fell into sin? The devil tempted us; we did not reject the temptation; then we yielded to the suggestion, and the sin was committed. This is the history of our past; and such it would, also, be for the future, were we not to profit by the lesson given us today by our Redeemer.

When the Apostle speaks of the wonderful mercy shown us by our divine Saviour, who vouchsafed to make Himself like us in all things save sin, He justly lays stress on His temptations (cf. Heb. 4:15). He, who is very God, humbled Himself even so low as this, to prove how tenderly He compassionated us. Here, then, we have the Saint of saints allowing the wicked spirit to approach Him, in order that we might learn from His example, how we are to gain victory under temptation.

Satan has had his eye upon Jesus; he is troubled at beholding such matchless virtue. The wonderful circumstances of His birth; the shepherds called by angels to His crib, and the Magi guided by the star; the Infant's escape from Herod's plot; the testimony rendered to this new Prophet by John the Baptist: are all these things, which seem so out of keeping with the thirty years spent in obscurity at Nazareth, are a mystery to the infernal serpent, and fill him with apprehension. The ineffable mystery of the Incarnation has been accomplished unknown to him; he never once suspects that the humble Virgin, Mary, is she who was foretold by the prophet Isaisas, as having to bring forth the Emmanuel (Is. 7:14). But he is aware that the time has come, that the last week spoken of to Daniel has begun its course, and that the very pagans are looking towards Judea for a deliverer. He is afraid of this Jesus; he resolves to speak with Him, and elicit from Him some expression which will show Him whether He be or not the Son of God; he will tempt Him to some imperfection or sin, which, should He commit it, will prove that the object of so much fear is, after all, but a mortal man.

The enemy of God and men is, of course, disappointed. He approaches Jesus; but all his efforts turn only to his own confusion. Our Redeemer, with all the self-possession and easy majesty of a God-Man, repels the attacks of Satan; but He reveals not His heavenly origin. The wicked spirit retires without having made any discovery beyond this-that Jesus is a prophet, faithful to God. Later on, when he sees the Son of God treated with contempt, calumniated and persecuted; when he finds that his own attempts to have Him put to death are so successful; his pride and his blindness will be at their height; and not till Jesus expires on the cross, will he learn that his victim was not merely Man, but Man and God. Then he will discover how all his plots against Jesus have but served to manifest, in all their beauty, the mercy and justice of God: His mercy, because He saved mankind; and His justice, because He broke the power of hell forever.

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