This Sunday has been chosen by the Church for the celebration of the Feast of the Holy Family; the liturgy of the day, as expressed in the Gospel, harmonizes well with the mystery of the new Feast, for it already carries us forward to the childhood of our Emmanuel and gives us those wonderful words which, after the example of his Blessed Mother, we must ever ponder within our hearts: And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject to them.
The Feast of the Holy Family is of recent origin. In 1663 Barbara d’Hillehoust founded at Montreal the Association of the Holy Family; this devotion soon spread and in 1863 Leo XIII expressed his approval of a feast under this title and himself composed part of the Office. The Feast was welcomed by succeeding Pontiffs as an efficacious means for bringing home to the Christian people the example of the Holy Family at Nazareth, and by the restoration of the true spirit of family life, stemming, in some measure, the evils of present-day society. These motives led Benedict XV to insert the Feast in the universal Calendar, and from 1921 it has been fixed for this present Sunday.
Mass.—The Introit recalls the joy that must have filled the cave of Bethlehem on that Christmas night; let us again rejoice with Mary and Joseph and sing the praises of the resting-place of the Lord of Hosts.
|Exsultat gaudio pater Justi, gaudeat Pater tuus et Mater tua, et exsultet quæ genuit te.||The father of the Just rejoiceth greatly, let thy father and thy mother be joyful, and let her rejoice that bore thee.|
|Ps. Quam dilecta tabernacula tua, Domine virtutum: concupiscit et deficit anima mea in atria Domini.||Ps. How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord.|
|℣. Glorida Patri. Exsultat gaudio.||℣. Glory be to the Father. The father of the just.|
The Church prays in the Collect that the home life of every Christian family may be sanctified and perfected by the example of that of the Holy Family; this is her unceasing wish for her children.
|Domine Jesu Christe, qui, Mariæ et Joseph subditus, domesticam vitam ineffabilibus virtutibus consecrasti: fac nos, utriusque auxilio, Familiæ sanctæ tuæ exemplis instrui; et consortium consequi sempiternum. Qui vivis.||O Lord Jesus Christ, who, becoming subject to Mary and Joseph, didst hallow home life by singular virtues: by the help of both do thou grant that we may be taught by the example of thy Holy Family, and have fellowship with it for evermore. Who livest.|
|Commemoration of the Sunday Within the Octave|
|Vota, quæsumus, Domine, supplicantis populi cœlesti pietate prosequere: ut et quæ agenda sunt, videant; et ad implenda quæ viderint, convalescant. Per Dominum.||According to thy divine mercy, O Lord, receive the vows of thy people, who pour forth their prayers to thee; that they may know what their duty requireth of them, and be able to comply with what they know. Through, &c.|
|Commemoration of the Epiphany|
|Deus, qui hodierna die Unigenitum tuum Gentibus, stella duce, revelasti: concede propitius, ut qui jam te ex fide cognovimus, usque ad contemplandam speciem tuæ celsitudinis perducamur. Per eumdem.||O God, who by the direction of a star, didst this day manifest thy only Son to the Gentiles: mercifully grant, that we, who now know thee by faith, may come at length to see the glory of thy majesty. Through the same, &c.|
|Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Colossenses.||Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle, to the Colossians.|
|Cap. iii.||Ch. iii.|
|Fratres, induite vos ergo, sicut electi Dei, sancti, et dilecti, viscera misericordiae, benignitatem, humilitatem, modestiam, patientiam: supportantes invicem, et donantes vobismetipsis si quis adversus aliquem habet querelam: sicut et Dominus donavit vobis, ita et vos. Super omnia autem hæc, caritatem habete, quod est vinculum perfectionis: et pax Christi exsultet in cordibus vestris, in qua et vocati estis in uno corpore: et grati estote. Verbum Christi habitet in vobis abundanter, in omni sapientia, docentes, et commonentes vosmetipsos, psalmis, hymnis, et canticis spiritualibus, in gratia cantantes in cordibus vestris Deo. Omne, quodcumque facitis in verbo aut in opere, omnia in nomine Domini Jesu Christi, gratias agentes Deo et Patri per ipsum.||Brethren: Put ye on, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection: And let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God. All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.|
If we would attain to charity, the bond of perfection which unites all Christians together in the one great family of God, we must pay heed to those virtues which the Epistle puts before us. We must be full of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, and patience; we must bear with one another and forgive one another, after the example of the Incarnate Word. Then the peace of Christ will dwell not only in our hearts, but in those around us, and our homes will truly become like that of Nazareth, where Mary and Joseph were ever singing in grace to the Lord God.
In the Gradual, Holy Church again celebrates the praises of the House of the Lord; she proclaims the blessedness of those that obtain lasting fellowship in the heavenly home above; yet in the Alleluia-verse she recalls the lowliness of the earthly home of our Emmanuel which made him truly a hidden King.
|Unam petii a Domino, hanc requiram: ut inhabitem in domo Domini omnibus diebus vitæ meæ.||One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.|
|Ps. Beati qui habitant in domo tua, Domine, in sæcula sæculorum laudabunt te.||Ps. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord, they shall praise thee for ever and ever.|
|Alleluia, alleluia.||Alleluia, alleluia.|
|℣. Vere tu es Rex absonditus, Deus Israel Salvator. Alleluia.||℣. Verily Thou art a hidden King, the God of Israel, the Savior. Alleluia.|
|Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.||Sequel of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.|
|Cum factus esset Jesus annorum duodecim, ascendentibus illis Jerosolymam secundum consuetudinem diei festi, consummatisque diebus, cum redirent, remansit puer Jesus in Jerusalem, et non cognoverunt parentes ejus. Existimantes autem illum esse in comitatu, venerunt iter diei, et requirebant eum inter cognatos et notos. Et non invenientes, regressi sunt in Jerusalem, requirentes eum. Et factum est, post triduum invenerunt illum in templo sedentem in medio doctorum, audientem illos, et interrogantem eos. Stupebant autem omnes qui eum audiebant, super prudentia et responsis ejus. Et videntes admirati sunt. Et dixit mater ejus ad illum: Fili, quid fecisti nobis sic? ecce pater tuus et ego dolentes quaerebamus te. Et ait ad illos: Quid est quod me quærebatis? nesciebatis quia in his quae Patris mei sunt, oportet me esse? Et ipsi non intellexerunt verbum quod locutus est ad eos. Et descendit cum eis, et venit Nazareth: et erat subditus illis. Et mater ejus conservabat omnia verba haec in corde suo. Et Jesus proficiebat sapientia, et aetate, et gratia apud Deum et homines.||When Jesus was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day’ s journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance. And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father’s business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. And his mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.|
The Offertory takes us in thought to the Feast of the Purification; let us again offer ourselves to the Lord.
|Tulerunt Jesum parentes ejus in Jerusalem, ut sisterent eum Domino.||The parents of Jesus carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.|
In the Secret the Church again prays that she may be strengthened in peace and grace; these gifts have been purchased for us by our Lord himself; it is through the Holy Mass that we can be more strongly established in them.
|Placationis hostiam offerimus tibi, Domine, suppliciter deprecantes: ut, per intercessionem Deipare Virginis cum beato Joseoph, familias nostras in pace et gratia tua firmiter constituas. Per eundem Dominum.||We offer to thee, O Lord, an atoning victim, humbly entreating that through the intercession of the Virgin Mother of God and blessed Joseph, thou wouldst strongly establish our families in thy peace and grace. Through the same Lord.|
|Commemoration of the Sunday|
|Oblatum tibi Domini Sacrificium vivificet nos semper et muniat. Per Dominum.||May the sacrifice we have offered to thee, O Lord, always enlighten and defend us. Through, &c.|
|Commemoration of the Epiphany|
|Ecclesiæ tuæ, quæsumus Domine, dona propitius intuere; quibus non jam aurum, thus et myrrha profertur; sed quod eisdem muneribus declaratur, immolatur et sumitur, Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster. Qui tecum.||Mercifully look down, O Lord, we beseech thee, on the offerings of thy Church; among which, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, are no longer offered; but what was signified by those offerings is sacrificed, and received, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Who liveth, &c.|
|Descendit Jesus cum eis, et venit Nazareth, et erat subditus illis.||Jesus went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.|
If we have kept before our eyes the example of the holy Family, we may humbly trust that at the hour of our death we shall be helped and consoled and be found worthy to have fellowship with Christ in the eternal dwellings. Such is the last prayer of the Church, and may it be the one we love to repeat and dwell on.
|Quos cœlestibus reficis sacramentis, fac, Domine Jesu, sanctæ familiæ tuæ exempla jugiter imitari: ut in hora mortis nostræ, occurreate gloriosa Virgine Matre tua cum beato Joseph: per te in æterna tabernacula recipimereamur. Qui vivis et regnas.||Make us, O Lord Jesus, whom Thou dost refresh with heavenly sacraments, ever to follow the example of thy Holy Family: that in the hour of our death, thy glorious Virgin thy Mother and blessed Joseph may come to our aid, and we may be found worthy to be received by thee into everlasting tabernacles. Who livest, &c.|
This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)