In Vigilia Nativitatis Domini

Octavo Kalendas Ianuarii Luna quinta decima Anno 2015 Domini.

Anno a creatione mundi, quando in principio Deus creavit caelum et terram, quinquies millesimo centesimo nonagesimo nono;

a diluvio autem, anno bis millesimo nongentesimo quinquagesimo septimo;

a nativitate Abrahae, anno bis millesimo quintodecimo;

a Moyse et egressu populi Israel de Aegypto, anno millesimo quingentesimo decimo;

ab unctione David in Regem, anno millesimo trigesimo secundo;

Hebdomada sexagesima quinta, juxta Danielis prophetiam;

Olympiade centesima nonagesima quarta;

ab urbe Roma condita, anno septingentesimo quinquagesimo secundo;

anno Imperii Octaviani Augusti quadragesimo secundo,

toto Orbe in pace composito, sexta mundi aetate,

Jesus Christus, aeternus Deus aeternique Patris Filius, mundum volens adventu suo piissimo consecrare, de Spiritu Sancto conceptus, novemque post conceptionem decursis mensibus

(Hic vox elevatur, et omnes genua flectunt)

in Bethlehem Judae nascitur ex Maria Virgine factus Homo.

Hic autem in priori voce dicitur, et in tono passionis:

Nativitas Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum carnem.

Caput Apri Defero

Arms of Queen's College, Oxford: Argent, three eagles displayed gules, beaked and legged or, on the breast of the first, a mullet of six points of the last.
Arms of The Queen’s College, Oxford: Argent, three eagles displayed gules, beaked and legged or, on the breast of the first, a mullet of six points of the last.

The Boar’s Head at Oxford.

The ancient ceremony of serving up a boar’s head in the hall of Queen’s College, Oxford, at Christmas, is still observed with much pomp and ceremony. The boar’s head is borne on the shoulders of two of the college servants, preceded by the Provost and Fellows of the society, and followed by a procession of choristers and singing men, who sing the following ballad, the Precentor of Queen’s taking the solo part:–

The boar’s head in hand bring I,
Bedeck’d with bays and rosemary,
And I pray you my masters be merry.
Quot estis in convivio,
Caput estis in convivio
Reddens laudes Domino.

The boar’s head, as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all the land:
Which thus bedeck’d with a gay garland,
Let us servire cantico
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino.

Our stewards hath provided this
In honour of the King of Bliss,
Which on this day to be served is
In Reginensi Atrio,
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino.

After the ceremony, the decorations of bays, rosemary, holly, artificial flowers, &c. are distributed among the visitors, the monster head is then placed upon the high table, and the members of the society proceed to dine. The origin of serving up the boar’s head at Queen’s College is somewhat obscure, but we glean from Pointer’s Oxon[i]ensis Academia that “it is in memory of a noble exploit, as tradition goes, by a scholar (a tabarder) of this College in killing a wild boar in Shotover Wood.” Having wandered into the wood, which is not far from Oxford, with a copy of Aristotle in his hand, and being attacked by a wild boar, who came at him with extended jaws, intending to make but a mouthful of him, he was enabled to conquer him by thrusting the Aristotle down the boar’s throat crying, “Græcum Est!” The animal, of course, fell prostrate at his feet, was carried in triumph to the College, and no doubt served up with an “old song,” as Mr Pointer says, in memory of this “noble exploit.”

— John Timbs, Notabilia, or Curious and Amusing Facts about Many Things, London: Griffith and Farran, 1872.

Glastonbury Thorn

17th century engraving of Glastonbury by Wenceslas Hollar; Wenceslas Hollar Digital Collection, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.
17th century engraving of Glastonbury by Wenceslas Hollar; Wenceslas Hollar Digital Collection, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.

THE CHRISTMAS THORN.– A friend of mine met a girl on Old Christmas Day, in a village of North Somerset who told him that she was going to see the Christmas Thorn in blossom. He accompanied her to an orchard; where he found a tree, propagated from the celebrated Glastonbury Thorn, and gathered from it several sprigs in blossom. Afterwards the girl’s mother informed him, that it had been formerly the custom for the youth of both sexes to assemble under the tree at midnight, on Christmas Eve, in order to hear the bursting of the buds into flower; and she added: “As they comed out, you could hear ‘um haffer.”

Jennings, and after him Halliwell, give this word haffer for to “crackle, to patter, to make repeated loud noises.” C.W. BINGHAM.

— Notes and Queries, 3rd S. IX. Jan. 6, ’66.

Glastonbury.– A vast concourse of people attended the noted thorn on Christmas-day, new style; but, to their great disappointment, there was no appearance of its blowing, which made them watch it narrowly the 5th of January, the Christmas-day, old style, when it blowed as usual.

— Gentleman’s Magazine, January 1753.

In Cold Virginia Earth

Is there indeed a door,
Where the old pastimes, with their lawful noise,
And all the merry round of Christmas joys,
Could enter as of yore?

Would not some pallid face
Look in upon the banquet, calling up
Dread shapes of battle in the wassail cup,
And trouble all the place?

How could we bear the mirth,
While some loved reveller of a year ago
Keeps his mute Christmas now beneath the snow,
In cold Virginia earth?

— From the poem, Christmas, by Henry Timrod,
Charleston Mercury, 25 December 1862, p. 2, c. 2.

Firmly, Resolutely, from the Depth of Our Being

Elevation of the Host, Midnight Mass of Christmas, 2012, Shrine of Christ the King, Chicago, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
Elevation of the Host, Midnight Mass of Christmas, 2012, Shrine of Christ the King, Chicago, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

The Eucharist is the central dogma of our religion. It is called the generating dogma of Catholic piety. It is not the papacy, as you seem to think.

The Papacy is nothing other than the word-bearer of Christ.  Thanks to the Papacy, the faithful keep the dogma and morality taught by Jesus Christ intact. It is this protection that keeps us on the right road, precisely marked out by our Divine Founder. But it is only Christ that remains, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Now, Christ is not a Being who disappeared someplace we do not know of, nor even the far away Being that we think of.  He is alive. He lives among us. He is present in the Eucharist. And this is why the Eucharist is the base, the centre, the heart of religion. From whence comes every life. Not from anywhere else.

You do not believe it. But we believe it. We believe firmly, resolutely, from the depth of our being, that in the tabernacle of each of our churches, God truly resides under the appearance of the Host.

Dom Jean Baptiste Chautard, Abbot of Sept-Fons to Georges Benjamin Clemenceau, Prime Minister of France, in a dialogue related in the former’s Les cisterciens Trappistes, l’âme cistercienne.

(h/t to Rorate Cæli.)

The Five Articles of Perth

King James I of England and VI of Scotland, by Daniel Mytens, 1621. National Portrait Gallery, London: NPG 109.
King James I of England and VI of Scotland, by Daniel Mytens, 1621. National Portrait Gallery, London: NPG 109.
  1. That the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper should be received kneeling, and not in a sitting posture, as hitherto.
  2. That the communion might, in extreme cases, or to sick persons desiring it, be administered in private.
  3. That baptism also might, when deemed necessary, be privately administered.
  4. That children, or young persons, should be confirmed by a bishop — that is, make a personal avowal of the engagements entered into by god-fathers and god-mothers at the time of baptism.
  5. That the anniversary of the Nativity, of Christmas, the day on which our Saviour was born; Good Friday, or the Passion, when he suffered death for us; Easter, or the resurrection; Pentecost, or the descent of the Holy Spirit — should all be observed as solemn days.

The Five Articles of Perth.

…in modern times, when the mere ceremonial of divine worship (and Presbyterians must allow this) is supposed to be of little consequence compared to the temper and spirit in which we approach the Deity, the Five Articles of Perth seem to involve matters which might be dispensed or complied with, without being considered as essential to salvation;

— Sir Walter Scott.

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

THE TWENTY-FIFTH DAY OF DECEMBER

In the 5199th year of the creation of the world,

from the time when God in the beginning created the heaven and the earth;

the 2957th year after the flood;

the 2015th year from the birth of Abraham;

the 1510th year from Moses, and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;

the 1032nd year from the anointing of David King;

in the 65th week according to the prophecy of Daniel;

in the 194th Olympiad;

the 752nd year from the foundation of the City of Rome;

the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian Augustus, all the earth being at peace, Jesus Christ, the Eternal God, and the Son of the Eternal Father, desirous to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, nine months after his conception was born in Bethlehem of Juda, made Man of the Virgin Mary.

THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO THE FLESH.