|Circumcision of Our Lord|
he Epistle of St. Paul to Titus, ii. 11-15. Dearly Beloved: The grace of God our Savior hath appeared to all men, instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly, and justly, and godly in this world, looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to Himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works. These things speak, and exhort, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
How did the grace of God appear to all men?
Through the incarnation of His Son, Whom, in His infinite love, He made like unto us, to be our brother and teacher, that we might become children and heirs of God, and co-heirs with Jesus Christ.
What does Christ teach us by His incarnation?
That we should abandon impiety, infidelity, injustice, and worldly desires, and love God, and our neighbor, though he be our enemy, for God's sake. The incarnation also shows the dignity and greatness of man, for as God gave His only Son for our redemption, we thereby perceive the worth of man in the sight of God.
What does the Apostle mean by worldly desires?
He means by them carnal and sensual desires and lusts, such as impurity, drunkenness, avarice, and such like. Christ teaches us to renounce these by the poverty, patience, fasting, and innumerable privations of His life.
How do we live soberly, justly, and piously?
We live soberly when we use temporal goods according to the intention and will of God, and to supply our necessary wants; we live justly when we desire for, and render to, our neighbor what, by the example of Christ, we are bound to; we live piously when we give God His due honor, love Him above all things, and love all men, in Christ, for His sake.
he Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to St. Luke, ii. 21. At that time: After eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised: His name was called Jesus, which was called by the angel, before He was conceived in the womb.
Why was Christ circumcised the eighth day of His birth?
1. So that by fulfilling the Jewish law, He might teach us patience and obedience to the law of God, and to His holy Church. 2. To show His infinite love to us in the very first days of His life.
Who gave Him the name of Jesus?
God Himself gave it to Him, Wh came to save the world and sanctify us, for Jesus means Saviour. It is, therefore, that holy and powerful name, whereby alone we can be saved (Acts iv. 12).
What power has this name?
A divine power; for in this name the apostles cast out devils and cured the sick (Mark xvi. 17, 18), as, for instance, the lame manwho lay at the gate of the temple (Acts iii. 2-6). Through this name we receive from God whatever is helpful towards our salvation (John xiv. 13). It is well, therefore, to call on this holy name in adversities, in doubts, and in great temptations, particularly such as are hostile to purity. Even when we are so unhappy as to fall into sin, the pemembrance of this holy name may bring us back to virtue, for it is as oil which enlightens, nourishes, and heals (Canticles i. 2, 3).
How must we speak this holy name, that its virtue may be felt?
With the greatest devotion and veneration, and with unbounded confidence; for, as St. Paul says, "in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth" (Phil. ii. 10). How sinful, therefore, is it in some to speak this name almost at every word, frivolously and disrespectfully; a habit which, in this country particularly, is so widely and fatally prevalent.
O Almighty God, now that we have lived to see another year, we thank Thy goodness and Thy incomprehensible mercy, that, from the moment of our birth, we have escaped so many dangers which have threatened our health and life. Would that we had never abused the precious time of our life to sin! but, alas! it is done, and we therefore pray Thee, through Thy Son, and through the precious blood He this day shed in His circumcision, to look, not upon the multitude of our sins, but upon Thy infinite mercy; we promise to be henceforth pious, just, and virtuous; strengthen us in our weakness; increase in us faith, hope, and charity; keep us, by Thy powerful grace, from all sin, dangers, temptations, and adversities of soul and body; enable us, we beseech Thee, to offer up to Thee, from this day henceforth till the hour of our death, all our senses, thoughts, words, and deeds; to subject them all to Thy holy will; to oppose successfully every evil habit, and to practise every virtue. Grant, O Father, that we, living and dying in Thy only true faith, may enjoy in Thy kingdom, where one day is better than a thousand upon earth, an everlasting New Year of eternal happiness, and that we may praise Thee with all Thy angels and saints, forever and ever. Amen.