Sunday within the Christmas Octave

Sunday 28 December 2008


Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity

2nd Class, White
Gloria; Credo; Preface of the Nativity
Proper Communic diem sacratissimum
(No commem of the Octave of the Nativity of Our Lord)


Omnipotens sempitérne Deus, dírige actus nostros in beneplácito tuo: ut in nómine dilécti Fílii tui mereámur bonis opéribus abundáre:
Qui tecum vivit...

Let us Pray:

O Almighty and everlasting God, direct our actions according to Thy good pleasure; that in the Name of Thy beloved Son we may deserve to abound in good works:
Who with Thee...

Commem. of the Holy Innocents MM at Low Masses:

Deus, cujus hodiérna die præcónium Innocéntes Mártyres non loquéndo, sed moriéndo conféssi sunt: ómnia in nobis vitiórum mala mortífica: ut fidem tuam, quam lingua nostra lóquitur, étiam móribus vita fateátur. Per Dóminum nostrum....

Let us Pray:
O God, whose praise the martyred Innocents on this day confessed, not by speaking, but by dying: destroy in us all the evils of sin, that our life also may proclaim by deeds Thy faith which our tongue professes. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth...


Commentary on the Collect for Sunday (Fr John Zuhlsdorf, The Wanderer 2005):
In the functionally superior Lewis & Short Dictionary we learn that beneplacitum means "good pleasure, gracious purpose"�. The preposition in using the ablative case indicates a condition, situation or relation rather than a reference to space where or time when something was occurring. In the Vulgate beneplacitum translates the original Greek eudokia in, e.g., Eph 1:9; 1 Cor 10:5. Other phrases are used for eudokia too (e.g., bona voluntas in Luke 2:14, the famous "peace on earth to men of good will"� or "peace on earth good will toward men"�). Paul wrote eudokia at the beginning of 2 Thessalonians (1:11-12), rendered as voluntas bonitatis in the Vulgate:

...oramus semper pro vobis ut dignetur vos vocatione sua Deus et impleat omnem voluntatem bonitatis et opus fidei in virtute ut clarificetur nomen Domini nostri Iesu Christi in vobis et vos in illo secundum gratiam Dei nostri et Domini Iesu Christi… we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his call, and may fulfill every good resolve (omnem voluntatem bonitatis) and work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (RSV).

We can find connections between 2 Thessalonians and our Collect at several points: mereamur in the Collect with dignetur in Paul (both having to do with meriting or being worth of), beneplacitum with voluntas bonitatis, bona opera with opus fidei (good works flowing from lived faith), nomen Filii with nomen Domini Iesu Christi. Taken in the sense of "gracious purpose"� we can make a connection to Paul's vocatio too, our "calling"� or the purpose for which God placed us on this earth with a part of His plan to fulfill.

Abundo means, "to overflow with any thing, to have an abundance or superabundance of, to abound in."� If we go back to the idea of the preposition in and the ablative indicating place or location in space, (in beneplacito tuo) we have an image of our good works originating in God and, coming from Him, overflowing out from us. Some Protestants are under the false impression that Catholics think we can "earn"� our way to heaven by our own good works, as if our good works had their own merit apart from God. Catholics believe, however, that true good works always have their origin in God, but the works are truly our works as well since we cooperate with God in performing them. Therefore, having their origin and purpose in God, they merit the reward of God's promises. Whenever we find a reference to works in these liturgical prayers, do not forget the Catholic understanding of good works.

Holy Innocents, from the Baronius Missal:

It is because Herod believed the words of the Magi and of the high Priests whom he consulted that he sees a rival in the Infant of Bethlehem and with jealousy pursues the Child, born King of the Jews. It is this God-King that the Innocents by dying confess; their passion is the exaltation of Christ.

And a Blogger notes:

Guéranger comments (Vol. 2, Bk. 1, pg. 280) that the Holy Innocents received a Baptism of Blood. This is certainly possible. However, they were all Jewish males, and the common opinion among the Fathers and Doctors of the Church was that circumcision obtained the forgiveness of original sin before the preaching of Christ. (See St. Thomas's article on the effect of circumcision.) If that is correct, then the Holy Innocents were already cleansed from original sin, and would certainly have obtained salvation no matter how they died.

While Tradition does say that the Innocents received a Baptism of Blood, the circumstance of their death did not obtain salvation for them, but added a certain splendor to their heavenly crowns because they were made like Christ (the intended victim) in their deaths.


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