January 8th: Dom Gueranger on the third day of the Epiphany Octave

" The great Mystery of the Alliance of the Son of God with the universal Church, and which is represented in the Epiphany by the Magi, was looked forward to by the world in every age previous to the coming of our Emmanuel. The Patiarchs and Prophets had propagated the tradition; and the Gentile world gave frequent proofs that the tradition prevailed even with them."

After the above introduction, Dom Gueranger traces that 'looking forward', from Adam through to Solomon and David, and from them, through the Prophets, to Ezekiel and Isaiah. He then returns to his statement that their expectation is found among the Gentiles.

"The Sibyls kept up the hope in the heart of the people and in Rome itself, we find the Poet Virgil repeating,....the oracles they had pronounced:

'The last age, foretold by the Cumean Sibyl, is at hand: a new and glorious era is coming; a new race is being sent down to earth from heaven. At the birth of this Child, the iron age will cease, and one of gold will rise upon the whole world. No remnants of our crimes will be left, and their removal will free the earth from its never-ending fear.' (Eclog. IV)

Dom Guéranger continues:

"If we are unwilling to accept, as dis St. Augustine and so many other holy Fathers, these Sibylline oracles as the expression of the ancient traditions - we have pagan philosophers and historians, such as Cicero, Tacitus, and Suetonius, testifying, that, in their times, the world was in expectation of a Deliverer; that this Deliverer would come, not only from the East, but from Judea; and that a Kingdom was on the point of being established, which would include the entire world."

There follows another prayer to Jesus, and then a further selection from the several Churches. This includes another Hymn by Prudentius, "the Prince of our Latin Liturgical Poets"; a Sequence taken from the ancient Roman-French Missals, and a Prayer from the Sacramentary of the ancient Gallican Church. Sadly on this post, there is only time and space to reproduce the latter.

"O God, who, in all thy works art rich in mercy! Father of glory! who didst set thy Son as a light to the Gentiles, that he might preach redemption to captives, and give sight to the blind; O thou that art through Christ plenteous in thy mercy! grant us the remission of our sins, and fellowship, through faith, with the Saints. Through the same Christ our Lord &c. Amen."

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