Featured Image
Martyrdom of the brothers Sts. Protus and Hyacinth under the Roman emperor ValerianPublic domain

(LifeSiteNews) — “Dimitte me, jam enim ascendit aurora; let me go for it is break of day;” (Genesis 32:26) such were the words which put an end to the struggle between the Angel and the Patriarch on the banks of the torrent. Blessed dawn, which triumphed over God himself! How long had been that night, (Hosea 12:4) during which the human race had been struggling by its supplications and tears! Ever since the fall, the Angel of justice had been guarding the entrance to the true land of promise; at every turn he was to be found, resisting in his inexorable vengeance poor, wandering, outcast man. How is it, then, that the inflexible has now yielded? That spiritual being, so superior to our weak, halting nature, why is he the first to speak of closing the struggle, and to own himself vanquished? It is because, as with God so with the Angel, light is strength.

Now our earth, hitherto buried in deepest night, has suddenly reflected back to heaven brighter splendors than ever – Cherubim shed down upon the Dominations and Virtues and Powers and Principalities, beside whom, a while ago, man was so very little. It is because at length in the glimmering dawn, which already subdues him, the Angel of justice foresees the sun himself, the Sun of Justice, who, rising from the bosom of the human race, is to make himself answerable for it. Man is no longer a pariah compared with the Angel; he is Israel, the strong against God. To come to terms with him is no longer derogatory to the angelic dignity; to yield to him is no humiliation: the day is breaking.

Blessed be thou, whose radiant innocence thus raises up to the throne of God our proscribed race. With the Angels for allies instead of adversaries, we are henceforth one great army, of which thou art the Queen.

Our Lady shares her honors today with two brothers, whose martyrdom under Valerian raised them from servile condition to the highest rank of heaven’s nobility. Their bodies were first laid in the cemetery of St. Hermes; but Protus had already been honored within the walls of the Eternal City for more than a thousand years when, in 1845, the discovery of Hyacinth’s bones in his primitive tomb opened a new era in the history of the Catacombs and of Christian archæology.


May the precious confession of thy blessed Martyrs Protus and Hyacinth animate us, O Lord, and may their pious intercession ever defend us. Through our Lord.

The Abbey of St. Gall in the tenth century furnishes us with the following ancient Sequence in honor of Mary’s birth.

Let us hail with song the festivity of this solemn day

Which ushered into the world, the noble, queenly pearl, Mary,

The illustrious Mother of God, born of a royal stock.

In ancient times it was foretold that this little branch should spring from the rod of Jesse,

And that the Flower proceeding from its root should put an end to the darksome crimes of earth.

The prophetic tongues of her remote ancestors testified in heaven’s name to her future coming, and propitious oracles sang her praises of old.

Alone of all women she was to remain ever a virgin, whilst bringing forth a Son spiritually conceived, who was to heal the world.

She is honored with a noble name, being sprung of the illustrious race of David.

She is descended from Solomon, but she far surpasses him in wisdom.

Born of the glorious lineage of kings,

She is herself the most pure Mother of the Eternal King,

Who was before all times and ages;

Who had united Angels and men in tranquil peace.

Then let us all implore him to come to our assistance;

Through whom such terrible discord was destroyed and gave place to peace.

May his Mother obtain this for us, whom our joyous songs proclaim holy.

And may she render her Son forever propitious to us;

So that he may grant us full remission of our sins,

And give us in his mercy to be adorned with the eternal crown.

O thou who now art heaven’s Queen, touched by the prayers of thy servants, receive their petitions with a kindly ear,

And assiduously shield us with thy protection, until thou bringest us too into the heavenly kingdom.

This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875). LifeSiteNews is grateful to The Ecu-Men website for making this classic work easily available online.