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The Circumcision of Our Lord

Feast of Our Lord.

Dearly beloved brethren, whosoever will keep this day's festival with true reverence and due honor, must neither think falsely of the Lord's incarnation, nor meanly of the Godhead. For as there is danger of not realizing the truth of Christ's humanity, so is there no less danger of failing to recognize his equality in glory with his Father. Wherefore, when we try to contemplate the mystery of Christ's birth, wherein he was born of a Virgin Mother, we must soar above the clouds of earthly imagination, and with the eye of enlightened faith pierce through the fog of earthly wisdom.

The authority on which we believe is the authority of God himself; and the teaching which we follow is the very teaching of God himself. Therefore it is true, whether we lend an ear to the testimony of the Law, or to the sayings of the Prophets, or to the trumpet of the Gospel. This latter did John the Son of Thunder sound when, filled with the Holy Ghost, he proclaimed: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the Same was in the beginning with God; all things were made by him, and without him was not anything made. True also is the witness of John when he saith: The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father.

The Person of the Son of God therefore remaineth unchanged and one, though he hath two natures, keeping his own, and taking ours. He cometh on earth as man to be the restorer of man, but abideth all the while in his unchangeable Godhead. That Godhead which he sharers with the Father was not a whit the less almighty, nor did the form of a servant touch the form of God to derogate from it. The Most High and Everlasting Being, bending down for man's salvation, took the Manhood into his glory. Yet he ceased not to be that which he is from everlasting. Hence we see the only-begotten Son of God in one place confessing that the Father is greater than he, and in another declaring that he and the Father are One. This is an evident proof of the distinction of his two natures, and the unity of his Person. For he is inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood, and yet equal to the Father as touching his Godhead. Albeit, though he be God and Man, he is not two, but One Christ.

From a sermon by Saint Leo the Pope


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 our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 317-318; 321

Additional Information:

For additional readings, or to learn more about the Anglican Breviary, visit The Anglican Breviary Website.

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