Friday, 27 December 2013

S. Joannis Apostoli et Evangelistae ~ II. classis


From arsorandi.

St. John
Apostle and Evangelist

From
The Liturgical Year
by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.

Nearest to Jesus' Crib, after Stephen, stands John, the Apostle and Evangelist. It was only right that the first place should be assigned to him, who so loved his God that he shed his blood in his service; for, as this God himself declares, greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends, and Martyrdom has ever been counted by the Church as the greatest act of love, and as having, consequently, the power of remitting sins, like a second Baptism. But next to the sacrifice of Blood, the noblest, the bravest sacrifice, and that which most wins the heart of him who is the Spouse of souls, is the sacrifice of Virginity. Now just as St. Stephen is looked upon as the type of Martyrs, St. John is honoured as the Prince of Virgins. Martyrdom won for Stephen the Crown and palm; Virginity merited for John most singular prerogatives, which, while they show how dear to God is holy Chastity, put this Disciple among those who by their dignity and influence are above the rest of men.

St. John was of the family of David, as was our Blessed Lady. He was consequently a relation of Jesus. this same hour belonged to St. James the Greater, his brother; as also to St. James the Less and St. Jude, both sons of Alpheus. When our Saint was in the prime of his youth, he left not only his boat and nets, not only his Father Zebedee, but even his betrothed, when everything was prepared for the marriage. He followed Jesus, and never once looked back. Hence the special love which our Lord bore him. Others were Disciples or Apostles, John was the Friend of Jesus. The cause of this our Lord's partiality was, as the Church tells us in the Liturgy, that John had offered his Virginity to the Man-God. Let us, on this his Feast, enumerate the graces and privileges that came to St. John from his being the Disciple whom Jesus loved.

This very expression of the Gospel, which the Evengelist repeats several times--The Disciple whom Jesus loved--says more than any commentary could do. St. Peter, it is true, was chosen by our Divine Lord to be the Head of the Apostolic College, and the Rock whereon the Church was to be built; he, then, was honoured most; but St. John was loved most. Peter was bid to love more than the rest loved, and he was able to say, in answer to Jesus' thrice repeated question, that he did love him in this highest way: and yet, notwithstanding, John was more loved by Jesus than was Peter himself because his Virginity deserved this special mark of honour.

Chastity of soul and body brings him who possesses it into a sacred nearness and intimacy with God. Hence it was that at the Last Supper--that Supper which was to be renewed on our Altars to the end of the world, in order to cure our spiritual infirmities and give life to our souls--John was placed near to Jesus, nay, was permitted, as the tenderly loved Disciple, to lean his head upon the Breast of the Man-God. Then it was that he was filled, from their very Fountain, with Light and Love: it was both a recompense and a favour, and became the source of two signal graces, which make St. John an object of special reverence to the whole Church.

Divine wisdom wishing to make known to the world the Mystery of the Word, and commit to Scripture the profound secrets which, so far, no pen of mortal had been permitted to write, the task was put upon John. Peter had been crucified, Paul and been beheaded, and the rest of the Apostles had laid down their lives in testimony of the Truths they had been sent to preach to the world; John was the only left in the Church. Heresy had already begun its blasphemies against the Apostolic Teachings; it refused to admit the Incarnate Word as the Son of God, Consubstantial to the Father. John was asked by the Church to speak, and he did so in language heavenly above measure. His Divine Master had reserved to this Virgin-Disciple the hnour of writing those sublime Mysteries which the other Apostles had been commissioned only to teach--THE WORD WAS GOD, and this WORD WAS MADE FLESH for the salvation of mankind.


From divinumofficium.

Oratio
V. Dóminus vobíscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Orémus.
Ecclésiam tuam, Dómine, benígnus illústra: ut, beáti Ioánnis Apóstoli tui et Evangelístæ illumináta doctrínis, ad dona pervéniat sempitérna.
Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.
R. Amen.

Orémus.
Pro Octava Nativitatis:
Concéde, quaesumus, omnípotens Deus: ut nos Unigéniti tui nova per carnem Natívitas líberet; quos sub peccáti iugo vetústa sérvitus tenet.
Per eundem Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.
R. Amen.

Collect
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
O Lord, graciously shed light upon Your Church, so that, enlightened by the teachings of blessed John, Your Apostle and Evangelist, she may gain Your everlasting rewards.
Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
R. Amen.

Let us pray.
For Octave of the Nativity
Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that the new birth, in the flesh, of Your only-begotten Son may deliver us whom the bondage of old keeps under the yoke of sin.
Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
R. Amen.

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