Today is the feast of Saint Paul the Hermit, father of hermits, who had St. Jerome for his historian. Having become an orphan at the age of fifteen, he gave up his possessions and retired into a desert where a flourishing palm-tree, a symbol of is virtues (Introit) provided him with food and clothing.
He meditated in solitude on the science of sciences which is to know Jesus Christ (Epistle) and the Father Whom Christ reveals to the humble (Gospel). He lived thus to the age of 112, enjoying in the heroic exercise of prayer and penance the sweetness of the Lord’s yoke (ibid).
The great St. Anthony of the Desert visited him a little before his death and St. Paul asked him, as a last favor, to allow him to sleep his last sleep in the cloak of St. Athanasius, the invincible defender of the divinity of Christ. He thereby affirmed that he died in the communion of this saint and that his own long life of penance had encouraged those who fought against the Arian heresy. He died toward 342.
During this season after Epiphany, consecrated to the manifestation of the divinity of Jesus, let us with St. Paul, the heritic, endeavor to convince ourselves that a Christian life consists in recognizing Christ as the Son of God and in sanctifying ourselves by making His divine holiness our own.
Saint Maurus, O.S.B. (or Maur), was the first disciple of St. Benedict of Nursia (512-584). He is mentioned in St. Gregory the Great‘s biography of the latter as the first oblate; offered to the monastery by his noble Roman parents as a young boy to be brought up in the monastic life. Four stories involving Maurus recounted by Gregory formed a pattern for the ideal formation of a Benedictine monk. The most famous of these involved St. Maurus‘s rescue of Saint Placidus a younger boy offered to St. Benedict at the same time as St. Maurus. At Saint Benedict’s order, St Maurus ran across the surface of the lake below the monastery and drew St Placidus safely to shore.
INTROIT Psalm 91: 13, 14
The just shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Lebanon: planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. (Ps. 91: 2) It is good to give praise to the Lod: and to sing to Thy name, O most High. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat The just shall flourish like the palm tree…
O God, who doest gladden us by the annual solemnity of blessed Paul Thy confessor, mercifully grant that we who celebrate his heavenly birthday, may also imitate his example. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
For ST. MAURUS
May the blessed Abbot Maurus plead for us, O Lord, so that through his intercession we may obtain what we cannot get by our own merits. 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.
EPISTLE Philippians 3: 7-12
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Philippians. Brethren, the things that were gain to me, the same I have counted loss for Christ. Furthermore, I count all things to be but loss, for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but as dung, that I may win Christ; and may be found in Him, not having my justice, which is of the law, but that which is of the faith of Christ Jesus, which is God, justice in faith; that I may attain to the resurrection which is from the dead; not as though I already attained, or were already perfect; but I follow after, if I may be any means apprehend wherein I am also apprehended by Christ Jesus.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 91: 13, 14
The just man shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow in the house of the Lord. V. To proclaim Your kindness at dawn and Your faithfulness throughout the night. Alleluia, alleluia. Osee 14:6 V. The just man shall blossom like the lily, and flourish forever before the Lord. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 11: 25-30
At that time, Jesus answered, and said: ‘I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from th wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. yea, Father: for so it hath seemed good in Thy sight. all things are delivered to Me by my Father; and no one knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither doth anyone know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please he Son to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you that labour, and ae burdened; and I will refresh you. Take up My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, because I am meek, and humble of heart, and you shall find rest to your souls: for My yoke is sweet and My burden light.’
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalms 20: 2, 3
In Thy Strength, O Lord, the just shall joy, and in Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly: Thou hast given him his heart’s desire.
We offer unto Thee, O Lord, the sacrifice of praise, in remembrance of Thy saints; through whose intercession we trust to be delivered both from present and future ills. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
For ST. MAURUS
O Lord, we beseech You, may the offerings placed upon Your holy altar be beneficial for our salvation, through the prayers of Your holy abbot Maurus. 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.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 63: 11
The just shall rejoice in the Lod, and shall hope in Him; and all the upright in heart shall be praised.
Strengthened with heavenly meat and drink, we humbly pray Thee, O Lord our God, that the prayers of the Saint in memory of whom we have received Thy sacrament, may be to us a sure defense. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.
For ST. MAURUS
O Lord, may the reception of Your holy sacrament, and the pleas of blessed Maurus, the Abbot, protect us; so that, aware of the greatness of his life, we may obtain the help of his intercession. 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.