September 11 – Fourth Day within the Octave of the Nativity; Comm. of Ss. Protus & Hyacinth, Martyrs
“Dimitte me, jam enim ascendit aurora; let me go for it is break of day;” such were the words which put an end to the struggle between the Angel and the Patriarch on the banks of the torrent. Blessed dawn, which triumphed over God himself! How long had been that night, during which the human race had been struggling by its supplications and tears! Ever since the fall, the Angel of justice had been guarding the entrance to the true land of promise; at every turn he was to be found, resisting in his inexorable vengeance poor, wandering, outcast man. How is it, then, that the inflexible has now yielded? That spiritual being, so superior to our weak, halting nature, why is he the first to speak of closing the struggle, and to own himself vanquished? It is because, as with God so with the Angel, light is strength. Now our earth, hitherto buried in deepest night, has suddenly reflected back to heaven brighter splendors than ever—Cherubim shed down upon the Dominations and Virtues and Powers and Principalities, beside whom, a while ago, man was so very little. It is because at length in the glimmering dawn, which already subdues him, the Angel of justice foresees the sun himself, the Sun of Justice, who, rising from the bosom of the human race, is to make himself answerable for it. Man is no longer a pariah compared with the Angel; he is Israel, the strong against God. To come to terms with him is no longer derogatory to the angelic dignity; to yield to him is no humiliation: the day is breaking.
Blessed be thou, whose radiant innocence thus raises up to the throne of God our proscribed race. With the Angels for allies instead of adversaries, we are henceforth one great army, of which thou art the Queen.
Our Lady shares her honors today with two brothers, whose martyrdom under Valerian raised them from servile condition to the highest rank of heaven’s nobility. Their bodies were first laid in the cemetery of St. Hermes; but Protus had already been honored within the walls of the Eternal City for more than a thousand years when, in 1845, the discovery of Hyacinth’s bones in his primitive tomb opened a new era in the history of the Catacombs and of Christian archæology.
|Beatorum Martyrum tuorum Proti et Hyacinthi nos, Domine, foveat pretiosa confessio, et pia jugiter intercessio tueatur. Per Dominum.||May the precious confession of thy blessed Martyrs Protus and Hyacinth animate us, O Lord, and may their pious intercession ever defend us. Through our Lord.|
The Abbey of St. Gall in the tenth century furnishes us with the following ancient Sequence in honor of Mary’s birth.
|Ecce solemnis diei canamus festa,||Let us hail with song the festivity of this solemn day|
|Qua sæculo processit gemma potens et nobilis Maria,||Which ushered into the world, the noble, queenly pearl, Mary,|
|Regalibus exorta parentelis theotochos inclita.||The illustrious Mother of God, born of a royal stock.|
|Hæc egressura de germine Jesse tempore prisco prædicta est virgula.||In ancient times it was foretold that this little branch should spring from the rod of Jesse,|
|Et flos ex ejus radice procedens turbida mundi absolveret crimina.||And that the Flower proceeding from its root should put an end to the darksome crimes of earth.|
|Istam venturam veterum parentum linguæ prophetiis plenæ testabantur cœlitus ac præcinuerant alma oracula.||The prophetic tongues of her remote ancestors testified in heaven’s name to her future coming, and propitious oracles sang her praises of old.|
|Quæ virgo manens paritura foret unico more filium spiritualiter conceptum, qui contraderet mundo remedia.||Alone of all women she was to remain ever a virgin, whilst bringing forth a Son spiritually conceived, who was to heal the world.|
|Quæ Davidis genita stirpe clara generosi nominis fert insignia.||She is honored with a noble name, being sprung of the illustrious race of David.|
|Solomonis creditur hæc propinqua, sed majore prædita sapientia.||She is descended from Solomon, but she far surpasses him in wisdom.|
|Hæc de regibus generis clari sumpsit primordia.||Born of the glorious lineage of kings,|
|Et hæ eadem regis æterni mater castissima,||She is herself the most pure Mother of the Eternal King,|
|Ejus qui ante tempora fuerat atque sæcula.||Who was before all times and ages;|
|Qui angelos et homines junxerat pace placida.||Who had united Angels and men in tranquil peace.|
|Illius nobis adesse cuncti precemur auxilia,||Then let us all implore him to come to our assistance;|
|Per quem tam gravis destructa paci concessit discordia.||Through whom such terrible discord was destroyed and gave place to peace.|
|Illius hæc nobis acquirat Genitrix sanctam quam sonant gaudia.||May his Mother obtain this for us, whom our joyous songs proclaim holy.|
|Atque suum nobis pacatum faciat natum per cuncta sæcula.||And may she render her Son for ever propitious to us;|
|Ille nobis cuncta ut demittat pleniter delicta,||So that he may grant us full remission of our sins,|
|Et æterne clemens tribuat ornarier corona.||And give us in his mercy to be adorned with the eternal crown.|
|O nunc cœlorum domina, famulorum vocibus mota, quæ desposcunt aure suscipe benigna,||O thou who now art heaven’s Queen, touched by the prayers of thy servants, receive their petitions with a kindly ear,|
|Et nos tuo munimine tuearis sedule, donec nosmet regna dones scandere superna.||And assiduously shield us with thy protection, until thou bringest us too into the heavenly kingdom.|
This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)