13 January 2015

The Octave of Epiphany: The Baptism of the Lord

Today marks the end of the Octave of Epiphany, and the Church celebrates the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  

The Feast of Epiphany itself commemorates the three great manifestations of the Messias: the Adoration of the Magi, the Baptism of Our Lord, and the transformation of water into wine at the wedding in Cana.  

The day of Epiphany, particularly in the West, tends to focus on the Adoration of the Magi.  Today the Church commemorates Our Lord's Baptism in the Jordan, with the great testimony of the Trinity that Jesus is the Messias, the Son of God.  This coming Sunday, the Second Sunday after Epiphany, we will hear the Gospel of Our Lord's first public miracle-- at the prayer of His Blessed Mother-- at the Wedding in Cana.

To honor all three, I post here a prayer by St. Hilary of Poitiers, whose feast day happens to be tomorrow.

Jesus, the merciful Redeemer of all nations, shone forth on this day; let the faithful of every race celebrate him in their songs of praise.

A Star, shining in the heavens, announces his Birth; it leads the way, and guides them to His Crib.

Prostrating, they adore the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes; they confess Him to be the true God, offering Him their mystic gifts.

Thirty years of His life had passed, and He, the infinitely pure God, seeks the laver of Baptism.

John, the favoured Baptist, trembles as he bends the head of Jesus beneath the waters-- that Jesus whose Blood was to purify the whole earth from its sins.

The divine voice of the Father is heard from heaven, bearing testimony to His Son; and the Holy Spirit, too, is present, the giver of holy grace.

We beseech Thee in humble supplication, O Jesus! protect Thy people; we ask it of Thee by the power Thou didst show when Thou didst command the water to be changed into wine.

May praise, honour, and all power be to the Trinity for ever and for ever.  Amen.

I wish all of you a Blessed Feast Day of Our Lord.

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