Sunday, January 1, 2012
On the Feast of the Presentation
in the Liturgical Year
Our new-born King and Saviour is eight days old today; the Star that guides the Magi is advancing towards Bethlehem, and five days hence will be standing over the Stable where our Jesus is being nursed by His Mother. Today the Son of Man is to be circumcised; this first sacrifice of His innocent Flesh must honour the eighth day of His mortal life. Today also a Name is to be given him; the Name will be Jesus, and it means Saviour. So that mysteries abound on this day; let us not pass one of them over, but honour them with all possible devotion and love.
The holy Church of Rome used formerly to say two Masses on the first of January; one was for the Octave of Christmas Day, the other was in honour of Mary. She now unites the two intentions in one Sacrifice, in the same manner as, in the rest of this Day's Office, she unites together the acts of her adoration of the Son, and the expressions of her admiration for and confidence in the Mother.
The Greek Church does not wait for this eighth day, in order order to pays her tribute of homage to her who has given us our Emmanuel. She consecrates to Mary, the first day after Christmas, that is December 26th, and calls it the Synaxis of the Mother of God, making the two days one continued Feast. She is thus obliged to defer the Feast of St. Stephen to December 27th.
Collect for the day's Mass:
O God, who by the fruitful Virginity of Blessed Mary hast given to mankind the rewards of eternal salvation; grant, we beseech thee, that we may experience her intercession, by whom we received the Author of Life, our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son. Who liveth, etc.