The Church's Year
NEW YEAR'S DAY
Why is this day so called?
secular year begins with this day, as the Church year begins with
the First Sunday in Advent.
What should we do on this day?
An offering of
the new year should be made to God, asking His grace that we may
spend the year in a holy manner, for the welfare of the
Why do we wish each other a "happy new
Because to do
so is an act of Christian love; but this wish should come from the
heart, and not merely from worldly politeness, otherwise we would be
like the heathens (Mt. 5:47), and receive no other reward than
What feast of the Church is celebrated
The Feast of
the Circumcision of our Lord, Who, for love of us, voluntarily
subjected Himself to the painful law of the Old Covenant, that we
might be freed from the same.
What was the Circumcision?
It was an
external sign of the Old Law, by which the people of that day were
numbered among the chosen people of God, as now they become, by
baptism, members of the Church of Christ.
What is the signification of Circumcision in the moral or
the mortification of the senses, of evil desires, and inclinations.
This must be practiced by Christians now, since they have promised
it in baptism which would be useless to them without the practice of
mortification; just as little as the Jew by exterior Circumcision is
a true Jew, just so little is the baptized a true Christian without
a virtuous life. Beg of Christ, therefore, today, to give you the
grace of the true Circumcision of heart.
PRAYER I thank Thee, O Lord Jesus,
because Thou hast shed Thy blood for me in Circumcision, and beg
Thee that by Thy precious blood I may receive the grace to
circumcise my heart and all my senses, so that I may lead a life of
mortification in this world, and attain eternal joys in the next.
INTROIT of the Mass is the
same as is said in the Third
Mass on Christmas.]
COLLECT O God, Who, by the fruitful
virginity of blessed Mary, hast bestowed upon mankind the rewards of
eternal salvation; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may feel the
benefit of her intercession for us, through whom we have deserved to
receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who
livest and reignest, etc.
EPSTLE is the same as is
said in the First
Mass on Christmas.]
GOSPEL (Lk. 2:21). 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 did Jesus submit to Circumcision?
That He might
show His great love for us, which caused Him even at the very
beginning of His life, to shed His blood to cleanse us thereby from
all our sins. Furthermore to teach us obedience to the commandments
of God and His Church, since He voluntarily subjected Himself to the
Jewish law, although He was not in the least bound by it, which
ordered that every male child should be circumcised on the eighth
day after its birth (Lev. 12:3).
Why was He named Jesus?
means Redeemer and Savior, and He had come to redeem and save the
world (Mt. 1:21). This is the holiest, most venerable, and
most powerful name by which we can be saved.
What power has this name?
power, for it repels all attacks of the evil Spirit, as Jesus
Himself says (Mk. 16:17). And so great is the efficacy of
this most holy name that even those who are not righteous, can by it
expel devils (Mt. 7:22). It has power to cure physical pains
and evils, as when used by the apostles (Acts. 3:3-7), and
Christ promised that the faithful by using it could do the same (Mk.
16:17). St. Bernard calls the name of Jesus a "Medicine"; and
St. Chrysostom says, "This name cures all ills; it gives succor in
all the ailments of the soul, in temptations, in faintheartedness,
in sorrow, and in all evil desires, etc." "Let him who cannot excite
contrition in his heart for the sins he has committed, think of the
loving, meek, and suffering Jesus, invoke His holy name with fervor
and confidence, and he will feel his heart touched and made better,"
says St. Lawrence Justinian. It overcomes and dispels the
temptations of the enemy: "When we fight against Satan in the name
of Jesus," says the martyr St. Justin, "Jesus fights for us, in us,
and with us, and the enemies must flee as soon as they hear the name
of Jesus." It secures us help and blessings in all corporal and
spiritual necessities, because nothing is impossible to him who asks
in the name of Jesus, whatever tends to his salvation will be given
him (Jn. 14:13). Therefore it is useful above all things, to
invoke this holy name in all dangers of body and soul, in doubts, in
temptations, especially in temptations against holy chastity, and
still more so when one has fallen into sin, from which he desires to
be delivered; for this name is like oil (Cant. 1:2) which cures,
nourishes, and illumines.
How must this name be pronounced to experience its
faith, with steadfast, unshaken confidence, with deepest
reverence and devotion, for in the name of Jesus every knee should
bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth
(Phil. 2:10). What wickedness, then, is theirs who habitually
pronounce this name carelessly and irreverently, upon every
occasion! Such a habit is certainly diabolical; for the damned and
the devils constantly abuse God and His holy name.
Why does this name so seldom manifest its power in our
Christian faith is daily becoming weaker, and confidence less, while
perfect submission to the will of God is wanting. When faith grows
stronger among people, and confidence greater, then will the power
of this most sacred name manifest itself in more wonderful and
PRAYER TO JESUS IN DIFFICULTIES
Consolation of the afflicted! Thy name is indeed poured out like
oil; for Thou dost illumine those who sit in darkness and in the
shadow of death; Thou dost disperse the blindness of the soul and
dost cure its ills; Thou givest food and drink to those who hunger
and thirst after justice. Be also, O Jesus! my Savior, the
physician of my soul, the healer of its wounds. O Jesus! Succor
of those who are in need, be my protector in temptations! O Jesus!
Father of the poor, do Thou nourish me! O Jesus! joy of the angels,
do Thou comfort me! O Jesus! my only hope and refuge, be my helper
in the hour of death, for there is given us no other name beneath
the sun by which we may be saved, but Thy most blessed name
EXHORTATION St. Paul says: All
whatsoever you do in word or in work, all things do ye in the name
of the Lord Jesus Christ (Col. 3:17). We should, therefore, follow
the example of the saints, and continually say, at least in our
hearts: "For love of Thee, O Jesus, I rise; for love of Thee I lie
down; for love of Thee I eat, drink, and enjoy myself; for love of
Thee I work, speak, or am silent." Thus we will accustom ourselves
to do all in the name of Jesus, by which everything is easily or at
least meritoriously accomplished.
PRAYER TO BE SAID ON NEW YEAR'S DAY
O God, Heavenly
Father of Mercy, God of all Consolation! we thank Thee that from our
birth to this day, Thou hast so well preserved us, and hast
protected us in so many dangers; we beseech Thee, through the merits
of Thy beloved Son, and by His sacred blood which He shed for us on
this day in His circumcision, to forgive all the sins which,
during the past year, we have committed against Thy commandments, by
which we have aroused Thy indignation and wrath against
ourselves. Preserve us in the coming year from all sins, and
misfortunes of body and soul. Grant that from this day to the end of
our lives, all our senses, thoughts, words, and works, which we here
dedicate to Thee for all time, may be directed in accordance with
Thy will, and that we may finally die in the true Catholic faith,
and enjoy with Thee in Thy kingdom a joyful new year, that shall
know no end. Amen.