12 January 2008

Octave Meditation

What follows is a brief meditation, by Dom Prosper Guéranger, on Our Lord's baptism, which is commemorated tomorrow at the Octave of the Epiphany.

O Lamb of God! Thou didst enter into the stream to purify it, the Dove came down from heaven, for thy sweet meekness attracted the Spirit of love; and having sanctified the waters, the mystery of thy Baptism was over. But what tongue can express the prodigy of mercy effected by it! Men have gone down after thee into the stream made sacred by contact with thee; they return regenerated; they were wolves, and Baptism has transformed them into lambs. We were defiled by sin, and were unworthy to stand near thee, the spotless Lamb; but the waters of the holy Font have been poured upon us and we are made as the sheep of the Canticle, which come up from the washing fruitful, and none is barren among them (Cant 4.2); or as doves upon the brooks of water, white and spotless as though they had been washed with milk, sitting near the plentiful streams! (Cant 5.12)

Preserve us, O Jesus, in this white robe which thou hast put upon us. If, alas, we have tarnished its purity, cleanse us by that second Baptism, the Baptism of Penance. Permit us, too, dear Lord, to intercede for those countries to whom thy Gospel has not yet been preached; let this river of peace (Is 66.12), the waters of Baptism, flow out upon them, and inundate the whole earth.

We beseech thee, by the glory of thy manifestation at thy Baptism, forget the crimes of men, which have hitherto caused the Gospel to be kept from those unhappy countries. Thy heavenly Father bids every creature hear thee. Speak, dear Jesus, to every creature!

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