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Have mercy on us.
JESUS, Meek and humble of heart;
By the mystery of Thy Holy Incarnation;
© Deliver us,
By Thy Nativity;
LAMB of God, who takest away the sin of the world;
Have mercy on us, O JESUS.
O God, Who hast made the most sweet Name of JESUS a source of joy to Thy faithful people, and a cause of terror to evil spirits; grant that we who venerate this Holy Name, may in this life obtain comfort, and in the life to come everlasting happiness; through the Same Thy Son our LORD JESUS CHRIST, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
" And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His Name was called Jesus.” -S. Luke ii. 21.
The year begins with CHRIST, and CHRIST begins with suffering. Our new year is consecrated with the memory of His entrance upon His sufferings : as though to check the thoughtless exultation of earthly festivities, and to remind us of that Great Example which is set before each one of us. Wherein is the example set to-day? First, by CHRIST's Obedience to the Law: for as He was God, and Almighty, He might have dispensed Himself in this thing, not being bound by the rigour of the Law, nor sullied with original Sin : yet for all this, He would observe all the Old Law; bearing it, as saith the Prophet David, “in the midst of His heart," in order to give us a perfect pattern of obedience. Gaze upon this thy SAVIOUR, O my soul, and offer thyself gladly to bear the light burden and sweet yoke of the New Law, when He thus offers Himself to bear for thee the heavy burden and sharp yoke of the Old Law. If He, for' thy example, obeys in these hard things to which He is not obliged, why dost thou refuse to obey Him in those easy things, which He has commanded thee ? Pardon, O LORD, my disobedience, and assist me to follow the example Thou gavest me; observing Thy law, even as Thou didst, in singleness of heart and purity. Amen.
Moreover, He set us the example of humility: for though He was free from all spot or stain of sin, He bore the penalty of sin; of patience, in thus bearing the knife of the law; of charity, in that He bore it, not for His own sake, but for ours only. O boundless charity! O invincible patience! O profound humility and perfect obedience of my Redeemer! O sovereign virtues, from which is woven the holy garment of our High Priest, JESUS, more precious far than purple and scarlet! O High Priest, Who on this day didst clothe Thyself with this garment of blood, to offer this Thy morning sacrifice, and didst again put it on upon the Cross, to offer the evening sacrifice; robe me, even me, with the like vesture, that I may offer up my body and soul, a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing, and acceptable to Thy sovereign majesty.
Again, I must give heed to the spiritual circumcision which our LORD JESUS CHRIST requires of me by this His example; how He would have me mortify and kill all sinful and earthly affections in seeking to accomplish God's holy will, and, if need be, die sooner than knowingly offend against that will. It hath been said by a holy man, “Give blood, and thou shalt receive Śpirit," for the perfection of the SPIRIT is not attained but by the price of blood, mortifying and circumcising all the affections of flesh and blood. And yet we must not look upon the dark side of suffering only: in itself, it were a punishment for sin,-oppressive-hopeless : through God's mercy in CHRIST, it is His healing medicine, to burn out our wounds and purify us for His Presence. All, from the Circumcision to the Cross—from the most passing bodily pain, to the deepest-seated anguish of the soul, are messengers from Him, and must be treated reverently, and entertained as loving, though stern guests, come to purify our hearts, and make them ready for the Coming of their LORD and Master.
O Blessed SAVIOUR! Who hast so lovingly borne with me and suffered for me! Forgive my many sins and frailties; draw me in penitence and self-renunciation to Thyself. T'hou canst not forsake a soul that seeks Thee; teach me henceforth to seek and love Thee above all things. Help me to give Thee an undivided heart; accept me in Thy mercy, and bind me with Thy Love: so that, loving Thee in life, I may die loving Thee; and having loved Thee in suffering here, I may love Thee in blessedness for ever and ever; Who, with the FATHER and the HOLY GHOST, livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.
O most humble LORD and Master, JESU CHRIST, Very God and Very Man; Everlasting praise and thanksgiving be to Thee, for that in Thy tenderest age, on the eighth day of Thy mortal life, Thou vouchsafedst to shed Thy precious and innocent Blood for us, and to be made, by painful circumcision, a true son of Abraham. By this most holy shedding of Thy Blood, I beg of Thee