Thursday, January 01, 2015

Collects for the Circumcision of Christ

Prayer book
ALMIGHTY God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true Circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Breviary (From the Roman Breviary)
O God, who by the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary, hast bestowed upon mankind the reward of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may know the help of her intercession, through whom we have been accounted worthy to receive the Author of our life, Jesus Christ Thy Son, Our Lord Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost throughout all ages, world without end. Amen

What has the Breviary collect to do with the Circumcision of Our Lord? It is the same collect that we say after the Alma Redemptoris Mater after Christmass and seems to focus more on the person and intercession of Our Lady than the person of Our Lord.

One must remember that Our Lord is circumcised because He is Jewish of noble Jewish lineage. He is born into the people who worship God and whom God has chosen to be His people. For this reason Christians should seek to call our Jewish brethren brothers and hold them dear. Our record on this is shamefully poor and indeed scandalous.

Our Lord gains His membership of the Jewish race from His Mother and it is by Her faith that He is presented to St Simeon for circumcision so that He might benefit from full membership of that community and find comfort in the Jewish Law. In this little baby, the Law will be fulfilled and given a meaning beyond the confines of the smallness of human thinking but rather establish the New Covenant between Humanity and God. As the ikons show, Our Lady can never  be far from her son.

This circumcision with its first blood is our first encounter with this new covenant. What a fitting way to begin a year!

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