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And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child,
His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
                                            -Luke 2:21


The Church observes the Feast of the Circumcision
of Our Lord on January 1st, eight days after His Nativity.

This feast celebrates God’s intention to perfectly fulfill
the promise of the Law through His Son,
and foretells the salvation of human flesh
through the destruction of death
by His bodily resurrection.

Circumcision was a sacrament of the Old Law,
and the first legal observance required by Almighty God
of the descendants of Abraham.
It was a sacrament of initiation in the service of God,
and a promise and engagement to believe and act
as He had revealed and directed.
The law of circumcision continued in force
until the death of Christ,
and Our Saviour being born under the law, it became Him,
Who came to teach mankind obedience to the law of God,
to fulfil all justice, and to submit to it. 

Therefore He was circumcised that He might
redeem them that were under the law,
by freeing them from the servitude of it; 

and that those who were in the condition of servants
before might be set at liberty,
and receive the adoption of sons in Baptism,
which, by Christ's institution, succeeded to circumcision. 



On the day that the divine Infant was circumcised, He received the name Jesus,
which signifies SAVIOUR,
which had been given Him by the angel
before He was conceived.
That name, so beautiful, so glorious,
the divine Child does not wish to bear for one moment
without fulfilling its meaning;
even at the moment of His circumcision
He showed Himself a SAVIOUR by shedding for us
that blood a single drop of which
is more than sufficient for the ransom and salvation
of the whole world.



As Christ wished to fulfil the law and to show His descent

according to the flesh from Abraham, He, though not bound
by the law, was circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2.21),
and received the sublime name expressive of His office,
He was, as Saint Paul says, "made under the law",

that is, He submitted to the Mosaic Dispensation,
"that he might redeem them who were under the law:
that we might receive the adoption of sons"
(Galatians 4.4-5).
"The Christ, in order to fulfil all justice, was required
to endure this humiliation, and bear in His body
the stigma of the sins
which He had taken upon Himself."



It is to be noted also that the Blessed Virgin Mary
was not forgotten in the festivities of the holy season,
and the Mass in her honour was sometimes said on this day.

Today, also, while in both Missal and Breviary
the feast bears the title
In Circumcisione Domini et Octav Nativitatis,
the prayers have special reference to the Blessed Virgin,
and in the Office, the responses and antiphons set forth
her privileges and extol her wonderful prerogatives.
The psalms for Vespers are those appointed for her feasts,
and the antiphons and hymn of Lauds keep her
constantly in view. 



Prayer to the Infant Jesus

O Jesus, born of Virgin bright,
Immortal glory be to Thee,
Praise to the Father, infinite,
And Holy Ghost eternally.

 O most merciful Infant God, I give Thee thanks;
and I beseech The, by the pain which Thou didst feel,
and by the Blood which Thou didst shed
in Thy Circumcision, grant me grace and power
to pluck out of my heart and to cast from it
all earthly affections.

O my sweetest love, I am sorry that I have offended Thee.
I desire always to be faithful in Thy service:
enkindle in me Thy love; make me chaste and holy.

O Mary, grant that I may belong entirely to thee
and to thy Son Jesus.