O God, who desirest not the death, but the repentance of sinners, look down most graciously upon the frailty of human nature; and in Thy goodness vouchsafe to bless † these ashes which we purpose to put opon our heads in token of our lowliness and to obtain forgiveness: so that we who know that we are but ashes, and for the demerits of our wickedness are to return to dust, may deserve to obtain of Thy mercy, the pardon of all our sins, and the rewards promised to the penitent. Through Christ our Lord
At that time John saw Jesus coming to him, and he saith: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who taketh away the sin of the world. This is he, of whom I said: After me there cometh a man, who is preferred before me: because he was before me. And I knew him not, but that he may be made manifest in Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John gave testimony, saying: I saw the Spirit coming down, as a dove from heaven, and he remained upon him. And I knew him not; but he who sent me to baptize with water, said to me: He upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining upon him, He it is that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and I gave testimony, that this is the Son of God.
One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. V. (Ps. 88. 5). Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, O Lord, they shall praise Thee for ever and ever.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Isaias 45. 15) Verily Thou art a hidden King, the God of Israel, the Savior. Alleluia.
Behold the Lord the Ruler is come: and the Kingdom is in His Hand, and power, and dominion. — (Ps. 71. 2) Give to the king Thy judgment, O God: and to the king’s Son Thy justice. V.: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. — Behold the Lord the Ruler is come: and the Kingdom is in His Hand, and power, and dominion.
While all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, Thine almighty Word, O Lord, leaped down from heaven from Thy royal throne. — (Ps.92. 1). The Lord hath reigned, He is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded Himself. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . — While all things were in quiet silence . . .
Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, so to imitate what we revere, that we may learn to love even our enemies: for we celebrate the heavenly birthday of him who knew how to pray for his very persecutors to our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost
At that time there went out a decree from Causar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son and wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger: because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an Angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them, and they feared with a great fear. And the Angel said to them: Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: for this day is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.