Carissimi: Today’s Mass; S. Apollonia of Alexandria, Virgin Martyr

St Apollonia of Alexandria, Virgin Martyr: Commemoration of the Octave of St Cuthman of Steyning; Missa “Loquebar de testimonies”

At Alexandria, in 249, a mob rose in savage fury against the Christians, during a persecution which the pagans of Alexandria instigated at the urging of a magician of that city. Metras, an old man, perished first. His eyes were pierced with reeds, and he was stoned to death. A woman named Quinta was the next victim. She was led to a heathen temple and told to worship; she replied by cursing the false god many times, and she too was stoned to death. After this the houses of the Christians were sacked and plundered; and they accepted the despoiling of their possessions with joy.

Saint Apollonia, an aged virgin, was the most famous among the martyrs, honored for her virtue and modesty. Her teeth were beaten out, and she was led outside the city, where a huge fire was kindled. She was told she must deny Christ, or else be burned alive. She was silent for a moment, and then, moved by a special inspiration of the Holy Ghost, she walked into the fire and died in its flames.

The same courage showed itself the next year, when Decius became emperor, and the persecution grew until it seemed as if the very elect must fall away. The story of the witness to Christianity given by a fifteen-year-old boy named Dioscorus illustrates both the courage of the Alexandrian Christians, and the esteem they had for the grace of martyrdom. To the arguments of the judge this young man returned wise answers, and then proved invincible under torture. His older companions were executed, but Dioscorus was spared on account of his tender years. The Christians could not suppose that he had been deprived of the martyr’s crown, unless to receive it afterwards more gloriously. Dioscorus, writes Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria at this time, still is with us, reserved for some longer and greater combat.

There were indeed many Christians who came, pale and trembling, to offer the heathen sacrifices. But the judges themselves were struck with amazement at the multitudes who came spontaneously to receive the crown of martyrdom. Women triumphed over torture, until finally the judges were glad to execute them at once, and put an end to the ignominy of their own defeat.

INTROIT Psalm 118. 95, 96

I spoke of Thy testimonies before kings, and I was not ashamed : I meditated also on Thy commandments, which I loved. (Ps. 118: 1) Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord. 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.

COLLECT

O God, Who among the other miracles of Your power have bestowed the victory of martyrdom even upon the weaker sex, graciously grant that we who commemorate the anniversary of the death of blessed Apollonia, Your Virgin and Martyr, may come to You by the path of her example. 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.

Commemoration of the Octave of St Cuthman of Steyning
O Lord, saviour and keeper of those who seek Thee, who didst grant Blessed Cuthman, undefiled, to renounce this world and to flee to the protection of thy wings; grant by his intercession that thy people may have grace to flee from the contagion of the evil one, and to follow thee alone with a pure heart and mind.

Collect for the Saints
Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body: and through the intercession of the blessed and glorious Mary, ever Virgin, mother of God, of St Joseph, of Thy holy apostles, Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy loving-kindness grant us safety and peace; that, all adversities and errors being overcome, Thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God; throughout all ages, world without end. R. Amen

EPISTLE Wisdom 51: 1-12

Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. I will give glory to Thee, O Lord my king, and I will praise Thee, O God my Saviour. I will give glory to Thy name: for Thou hast been a helper and protector to me, and hast preserved my body from destruction, from the snare of an unjust tongue, and from the lips of them that forge lies; and in the sight of them that stood by, Thou hast been my helper; and Thou hast delivered me, according to the multitude of the mercy of Thy name, from them that did roar, prepared to devour. Out of the hands of them that sought my life, and from the gates of afflictions which compassed me about from the oppression of the flame which surrounded me, and in the midst of the fire I was not burnt; from the depth of the belly of hell, and from an unclean tongue, and from lying words, from an unjust king, and from a slanderous tongue; My soul shall praise the Lord even to death: because Thou, O Lord, our God, deliverest them that wait for Thee, and savest them out of the hands of the nations.

GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 44: 8

Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity. V. Therefore, God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 44: 15, 16) After her shall virgins be brought to the King, her neighbors shall be brought to thee with gladness. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Matthew 25: 1-13

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: ‘The kingdom of Heaven shall be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise; but the five foolish having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made; Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now, whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.’

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps.  44: 15, 16

After her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbors shall be brought to Thee with gladness and rejoicing: they shall be brought into the temple of the King, the Lord.

SECRET

Accept, O Lord, the gifts we bring on the festival of blessed Apollonia, Your Virgin and Martyr, through whose patronage we hope to be delivered. Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.

Commemoration of the Octave of St Cuthman of Steyning
Take from us, O Lord, all worldly desires, that we might worthily serve at thy altar; and grant us to follow the example of him, in whose honour we offer this immaculate sacrifice to thy divine majesty. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

Secret for the Saints
Graciously hear us, O God our Saviour, and, by virtue of this Sacrament, defend us from all enemies of soul and body, bestowing upon us Thy grace here and Thy glory hereafter.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God; throughout all ages, 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:

COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 118: 78, 80

Let the proud be ashamed, because they have done unjustly towards me: but I will be employed in Thy commandments and in Thy justifications, that I may not be confounded.

POSTCOMMUNION

May the sacrament we have received, aid us, O Lord, and by the intercession of blessed Martina, Your Virgin and Martyr, may it keep us forevermore under Your everlasting protection. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.

Commemoration of the Octave of St Cuthman of Steyning
We beseech thee O Lord by the virtue of this Sacrament, to grant us the grace to follow the example of Blessed Cuthman in thy service: and may that good work which thou hast begun in us, be brought to perfection in the day of Christ Jesus Our Lord…

Postcommunion for the Saints
May the gift of this Divine Sacrament which we have offered, cleanse us and defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord; and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God, of St. Joseph, of Thy holy apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, free us from all iniquity and deliver us from all adversity. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, Our Lord, who liveth & reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen

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