Carissimi: Today’s Mass; St Nicholas of Myra

St Nicholas of Myra, Bishop and Confessor: Missa “Statuit ei Dominus”

Saint Nicholas (Greek: Ἅγιος Νικόλαος, Hágios Nikólaos, Latin: Sanctus Nicolaus); (15 March 270 – 6 December 343), also called Nikolaos of Myra, was Bishop of Myra, in Asia Minor (modern-day Demre, Turkey), and is a historic Christian saint.

Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker (Νικόλαος ὁ Θαυματουργός, Nikólaos ho Thaumaturgós). Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers and students in various cities and countries around Europe. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus (“Saint Nick”) through Sinterklaas.

The historical Saint Nicholas was born at Patara, Lycia in Asia Minor (now Turkey). In his youth he made a pilgrimage to Egypt and the Palestine area. Shortly after his return he became Bishop of Myra and was later cast into prison during the persecution of Diocletian. He was released after the accession of Constantine and was present at the Council of Nicaea. According to Western Christian tradition, Italian merchants took his body to Italy in 1087.

From the childlike innocence of his own life and his devout care for the young, is looked upon as the patron of children. He died in the middle of the Fourth Century. Though he is one of the most popular saints in the Greek as well as the Latin Church.

Some seven hundred years after his death in 1087 his holy relics were translated to Bari in Italy being rescued after robbers had stolen his remains. Because of the power he exercised over flames, it has been passed down through tradition that we pray that through his intercession we may be preserved from the flames of hell. He is remembered for the money which he threw in a window that three young girls might have a dowry for their marriage. Because of this gift his name has become associated with giving and children thank Santa Claus (or St. Nicholas) for their presents at Christmastime.

The numerous miracles St. Nicholas is said to have wrought, both before and after his death, are outgrowths of a long tradition. There is reason to doubt his presence at Nicaea, since his name is not mentioned in any of the old lists of bishops that attended this council, though historians claim he was present. His cult in the Greek Church is old and especially popular in Russia. As early as the sixth century Emperor Justinian I built a church in his honor at Constantinople, and his name occurs in the liturgy ascribed to St. John Chrysostom.

In Italy his cult seems to have begun with the translation of his relics to Bari, but in Germany it began already under Otto II, probably because his wife Theophano was a Grecian. Bishop Reginald of Eichstaedt, who died in 991, is known to have written a metric, “Vita S. Nicholai.”

The course of centuries has not lessened his popularity. The following places honor him as patron: Greece, Russia, the Kingdom of Naples, Sicily, Lorraine, the Diocese of Liège; many cities in Italy, Germany, Austria, and Belgium; Campen in the Netherlands; Corfu in Greece; Freiburg in Switzerland; and Moscow in Russia. He is patron of mariners, merchants, bakers, travellers, children, etc. His representations in art are as various as his alleged miracles. In Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, they have the custom of making him the secret purveyor of gifts to children on December 6th, the day on which the Church celebrates his feast.

In the United States and some other countries where materialism has eclipsed the true meaning of Christmas and Advent, St. Nicholas has become identified with Santa Claus and his holiness overlooked in favor of hs humanistic tendencies to giving children gifts to satiate their appetites that have grown out of control as society has turned toward the darkness. It is something a saint would never countenance. St. Nicholas’ relics are still preserved in the church of San Nicola in Bari; up to the present day an oily substance, known as Manna di Sante Nicola, which is highly valued for its medicinal powers, is said to flow from them.

INTROIT Ecclesiasticus 45: 30

The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, and made him a prince: that the dignity of priesthood should be to him for ever. (Ps. 131: 1) O Lord, remember David: and all his meekness. 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 Lord made to him a covenant of peace…

COLLECT

O God, Who didst adorn blessed Nicholas, the bishop, with miracles unnumbered, grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and prayers we may be delivered from the fires of hell. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R. Amen.

Commemoratio Feria VI infra Hebdomadam I Adventus
Put forth Your power, O Lord, we beseech You, and come, that with You as our protector we may be rescued from the impending danger of our sins; and with You as our deliverer, may we obtain our salvation.

of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord God, unto all thy servants, that they may remain continually in the enjoyment of soundness both of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, always a Virgin, may be delivered from present sadness, and enter into the joy of thine eternal gladness. 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.

EPISTLE Hebrews 13:7-17

Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews. Brethren, remember your prelates who have spoken the word of God to you: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ yesterday, and today, and the same forever. Be not led away with various and strange doctrines: for it is best that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited those that walk in them We have an altar, whereof they have no power to eat who serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the Holies by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people by His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach: for we have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come. By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise always, to God, that is to say, the fruit of lips confessing to His name. And do not forget to do good and to impart: for by such sacrifices God’s favor is obtained. Obey your prelates, and be subject to them; for they watch, as being to render an account for your souls.

GRADUAL/ALLELUIA  Psalm 88:21-23

I have found David, My servant; with My holy oil I have anointed him: for My hand shall help him, and My arm shall strengthen him. V. The enemy shall have no advantage over him, nor the son of iniquity have power to hurt him. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 109: 4) Thou art a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedech.

GOSPEL Luke 14:26-33

At that time, Jesus said to the multitudes: “If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whosoever doth not carry his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. For which of you having a mind to build a tower, doth not first sit down and reckon the charges that are necessary, whether he have wherewithal to finish it; lest after he hath laid the foundation and is not able to finish it, all that see it begin to mock him, saying: This man began to build, and was not able to finish? Or what king about to go and make war against another king, doth not first sit down and think whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that with twenty thousand cometh against him? Or else, whilst the other is yet afar off, sending an embassy, he desireth conditions of peace. So likewise every one of you that doth not renounce all that he possesseth, cannot be My disciple.

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 88:25

My faithfulness and mercy shall go with him: as my champion he shall rise to greatness.

SECRET

Sanctify, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, these gifts, which we offer on the solemnity of Thy holy bishop, Nicholas, that through them our lives, whether in adversity or in prosperity, may everywhere be guided aright. 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.

Commemoratio Feria VI infra Hebdomadam I Adventus
May these offerings, O Lord, cleanse us by their mighty power and thus make us come purer before You Who are their author.

of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Through thy mercy, O Lord, and the intercession of blessed Mary ever Virgin, may this oblation obtain for us prosperity and peace both now and forever. 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 88:36-38

Once have I sworn by My holiness, his seed shall endure forever: and his throne as the sun before Me, and as the moon perfect forever; and a faithful witness in Heaven.

POSTCOMMUNION

May the sacrifices of which we have partaken, O Lord, to honor the feast of Thy holy bishop, Nicholas, preserve us with their protection forevermore. 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.

Commemoratio Feria VI infra Hebdomadam I Adventus
May we receive Your mercy, O Lord, in the midst of Your temple, and thus prepare with due observance for the coming festal season of our redemption.

of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Grant, O Lord, that we, who had partaken of the aids of salvation, may be everywhere protected by the patronage of blessed Mary ever Virgin, in whose honor we have offered these gifts of thy majesty. 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.

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