Goffine’s Devout Instructions – New Year’s Day, the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord

statue of the Circumcision of Christ; date unknown, artist unknown; photographed in 2012 by FA2010; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsWhy do we call this New Year’s Day?

Because the civil year begins on this day, as the ecclesiastical does on the first Sunday in Advent.

What ought we to do on this day?

We must dedicate the New Year to the service of God, in order that, assisted by His grace, we may both begin and end it to His honor, and our own sanctification.

Why do we wish each other a happy New Year?

To renew love and harmony, and to fulfill an obligation of charity by wishes for each other’s happiness and prosperity.

What feast does the Church celebrate on this day?

The circumcision of Christ, at which He received the name of Jesus. But when the fullness of time was come, God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem them that were under the law.” (Galatians 4:4,6)

Aspiration

O my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I thank You for having today shed Your blood for the first time for me. Grant me, I beseech Thee, the grace of mortifying, circumcising for Thy love, my eyes, ears, lips, hands, feet, and all my sensual appetites, that I may not see, hear, speak, touch, wish, or do any evil. Amen.

Prayer

O God, Who by the fruitful virginity of the blessed Mary hast given to mankind the rewards of eternal salvation, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may experience her intercession for us, through whom we have received the Author of life. Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns, etc.

Gospel – Luke 2:21

At that time: After eight days were accomplished that the child should be circumcised: His name was called Jesus, which was called by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Why was Christ circumcised the eighth day of His birth?

1. So that by fulfilling the Jewish law. He might teach us patience and obedience to the law of God, and to His holy Church.

2. To show His infinite love to us in the very first days of His life.

Who gave Him the name of Jesus?

God Himself gave it to Him, Who came to save the world and sanctify us, for Jesus means Saviour. It is, therefore, that holy and powerful name, whereby alone we can be saved. (Acts 4:12)

What power has this name?

A divine power; for in this name the apostles cast out devils and cured the sick (Mark 16:17,18), as, for instance, the lame man who lay at the gate of the temple. (Acts 3:2-6) Through this name we receive from God whatever is helpful towards our salvation (John 14:13). It is well, therefore, to call on this holy name in adversities, in doubts, and in great temptations, particularly such as are hostile to purity. Even when we are so unhappy as to fall into sin, the remembrance of this holy name may bring us back to virtue, for it is as oil which enlightens, nourishes, and heals. (Canticles 1:2,3)

How must we speak this holy name, that its virtue may be felt?

With the greatest devotion and veneration, and with unbounded confidence; for, as Saint Paul says, “in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.” (Phil. 2:10) How sinful, therefore, is it in some to speak this name almost at every word, frivolously and disrespectfully; a habit which, in this country particularly, is so widely and fatally prevalent.

Prayer for New Year’s Day

O Almighty God, now that we have lived to see another year, we thank Your goodness and Your incomprehensible mercy, that, from the moment of our birth, we have escaped so many dangers which have threatened our health and life. Would that we had never abused the precious time of our life to sin I but, alas! it is done, and we therefore pray Thee, through Your Son, and through the precious blood He this day shed in His circumcision, to look, not upon the multitude of our sins, but upon Thy infinite mercy; we promise to be henceforth pious, just, and virtuous; strengthen us in our weakness; increase in us faith, hope, and charity; keep us, by Your powerful grace, from all sin, dangers, temptations, and adversities of soul and body; enable us, we beseech Thee, to offer up to Thee, from this day henceforth till the hour of our death, all our senses, thoughts, words, and deeds; to subject them all to Your holy will; to oppose successfully every evil habit, and to practice every virtue. Grant, O Father, that we, living and dying in Your only true faith, may enjoy in Your kingdom, where one day is better than a thousand upon earth, an everlasting New Tear of eternal happiness, and that we may praise You with all Your angels and saints, forever and ever. Amen.

– Goffine’s Devout Instructions