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From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

ALTHOUGH amongst the saints there is none who is undeserving of earth's humble homage, or whose intercession is powerless on our behalf, yet the cultus rendered to them, and the confidence evinced, necessarily vary in proportion to what we know of their glory. It is therefore only just, as St Leo remarks in to-day’s Office, that we should honour in a most special manner those whom divine grace has exalted so far above all others, that they are considered, as it were, the two brilliant eyes of Christ’s mystical body, the Church, giving light to all of us, who are the members thereof.[1] For this reason, the festival of these two princes of the apostles is held superior to that of any other servant of God occurring in the entire cycle.

When the Church’s own practice gave tone to the particular customs of the various countries, national confidence and even private devotion knew no other preferences than those of the holy liturgy; and long were it to tell of all that can be produced by history, public charts, simple contracts and monuments of every sort, in endless proof of our forefathers' love for the glorious doorkeeper of heaven and his illustrious companion armed with the sword. Faith was lively in those days. It was then well understood that of all God's gifts to earth, none is comparable to the graces of sanctification, doctrine and unity, of which Peter and Paul are for all the predestined instruments. The heart became dilated as the mind expanded. Men were eager, therefore, to know as much as they could touching the lives of these fathers of the Christian people; and they made great account of the devotedness wherewith the two apostles had so unsparingly poured out their sweat and blood for them.

Alas! can it be said that such is the case nowadays? How many baptized persons are there, Catholics not merely in name, but even considered practical Catholics, who scarcely possess such elementary notions of true Christianity as to appreciate the importance of the role performed amongst men by these founders of the Church, or even to give it a passing thought! Yet some there are, and thanks be to God their number is now on the increase, who glory in studying the principles on which rests the divine constitution of society purchased by the Blood of our Lord. Such men as these understand and revere the august position which has been, and always must be, held by Peter and Paul in the economy of Christian dogma. Nevertheless, do even these persons honour really as they ought these two princes of the apostles? What they know on this subject shows them plainly enough that it cannot be the case with these two apostles as it is with many other saints, whose cultus increases or diminishes according to circumstances of time, place and the like: the cultus of SS Peter and Paul has its roots in the very foundations of Catholicism; whether in nations or in individual souls it cannot wane, save to the great detriment of Catholicity itself. But then, no cultus is real, except that which implies devotion and love; can it be really said of the class of persons to whom we refer that their knowledge of the holy apostles has penetrated deeply enough from their mind into their heart?

In the case of too many people, this knowledge, being confined to the region of theory, is not sufficiently personal with regard to the two apostles themselves; and, therefore, principles the most nicely drawn do by no means impart the spirit of faith, the seat of which is in the heart, and which animates the life. Let them put the finishing stroke to their science. Without losing sight of dog matic science, let them seek in prayer and in humble study of the Gospel of the Acts of the Apostles, of the Epistles and of ecclesiastical tradition, that intimate revelation of the very soul of Peter and of Paul which cannot fail to make them admire, and above all love them personally as much as and even more than their sublime prerogatives. Then perhaps will they be astonished to have come so late to a knowledge of many precious details and thousands of instructive features about them, which little children in bygone ages (now reputed barbarous) would have blushed not to know. As a necessary consequence, they will thus begin to feel more Catholic in soul; they will consider themselves happy to have learnt, at last, how to share the devotion of the humble peasant woman and her ingenuous confidence, not unmixed with fear, in the doorkeeper of paradise.

The following beautiful Preface is taken from the Mozarabic Missal. Its theme is that assemblage of divine contrasts, amidst which eternal Wisdom loves, as it were, to play, and which are found wonderfully multiplied in the lives of these two apostles.

Illatio

Dignum et justum est, omnipotens Pater, nos tibi ingentes agere gratias pro multiplici apostolomm Petri et Pauli gloria: quam eis per diversas munerum distributiones larga satis pietate donasti. Quos et Unigeniti tui discipulos: et gentium fecisti esse magistros. Qui ob Evangelii prædicationem quum cœlorum præficiantur in regnis: carcerum clauduntur angustiis. Potestatem accipiunt peccata solvendi: et ferri vinculis alligantur. Sanitatem donant: et ægritudines portant. Dæmonibus imperant: et ab hominibus flagellantur. Mortes fugant: et fugiunt persequentes. Super mare ambulant: et in labore desudant. Montes verbo transferunt: et propriis victum manibus quærunt. Judicaturi angelos: in quæstionem mittuntur. Cum Deo vivunt: in mundo periclitantur. Postremo Christus eis serviens pedes lavat: et facies eorum blasphemantium manus alapis colaphizat. Nihil sustinentibus pene defuit ad tolerantiam: nihil superantibus victoriæ non adfuit ad coronam. Si recurramus quot ad testificandam fidei veritatem ærumnarum pertulerint in tormentis frequenter suis i superfuere martyribus. Si in mirabilibus, hoc per Christum fecere quod Christus: si in passionibus, hoc sustinuerunt illi necessitate mortali quod ille voluntate moriendi. Isti ejus viribus: ille suis. Probantes doctrinæ auctoritatem similitudine: non asqualitate doctoris.

Implevit Petrus suo tempore: quod promiserat ante tempus. Posuit animam suam pro illo: quem se non crediderat negaturum. Quia ad arduæ sponsionis celeritatem nimia charitate præventus, non intellexit servum pro Domino dare non posse quod pro servo ante Dominus non dedisset: similiter non renuit crucifigi, sed æqualiter non præsumpsit appendi. Obiit ille rectus: iste subjectus. Ille ut majestatem ascendentis sublimitate proferret: iste ut fragilitatem descendentis humilitate monstraret.

Nec Paulus affectu minor, meminit quem sibi arrogaverat dicens: Mihi vivere Christus est, et mori lucrum. Gaudet, insanientis ictibus percussoris, domitas jugo Christo offerre cervices; et pro corporis sui capite, dare corporis sui caput. Diviserunt sibi passionis dominicæ vestimentum duo milities Dei: unus in patibulo, alter in gladio; Petrus in transfixione, Paulus in sanguine.
His igitur dispari mortis genere, non dispari moriendi amore perfunctis: exsultet in eorum doctrinis Ecclesia catholica; in exsequiis religiositas universa; in memoriis urbs Romana; in patrociniis omnis anima christiana. Hæc autem omnia tu, Domine, operaris: qui a prophetis demonstraris; ab angelis adoraris; et in omni sæculo apostolorum lumine declararis. Cui merito omnes Angeli et Archangeli non cessant clamare quotidie, ita dicentes: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus.
It is truly meet and just, O almighty Father, that we render our deepest thanks unto thee for the multiplied glory of thine apostles Peter and Paul, which thou hast by divers distribution of gifts largely bestowed upon them, of thine immense goodness. Thou hast made them to be disciples of thine only-begotten Son and teachers of the Gentiles. On account of their preaching of the Gospel, though they are first in the heavenly kingdom, yet are they shut up in strait prisons. They receive power to absolve sins: yet are they enthralled in chains of iron. They give health; and they endure bitter anguish. They command demons; and they are scourged by men. They drive away death; and they themselves flee from the face of persecutors. They walk upon the waters; and sweat with toil. By their word are mountains removed; and by the labour of their own hands they earn their bread. They are appointed judges of angels; and they are put to the torture. With God they live; in the world they are in peril. Finally, Christ ministering unto them washes their feet; and by the hands of blasphemers are their faces buffeted with blows. Scarce anything was wanting of sufferings unto their endurance; nor is anything now wanting to the crown of victory in their triumph. If we go over all that they suffered in their torments, they outstrip the martyrs. If we look into their miracles, we see that they did the same by Christ as Christ himself did: if we consider their passion, we behold that they endured by mortal necessity that which he did by voluntary death; but they by his strength, he by his own. Proving the authority of their doctrine by their likeness to their teacher, not by their equality with him.

Peter accomplished in due time that which he promised before his time. He laid down his life for him whom he believed that he would never deny. Since in the burning impetuosity of his great love, he had not understood that the servant cannot give to his Lord that which his Lord hath not as yet given for the servant; so in like manner he refused not, when the time came, to be crucified; but he presumed not to hang in the same position as his Lord. The One died upraised, the other placed downwards: the One thus declared his majesty ascending on high; the other thus showed his fragility that tends unto earth.

Nor in less affection doth Paul remember that which he said of himself: Christ is my life, and to die is my gain. Glad is he, beneath the stroke of the raging murderer, to offer unto Christ a neck tamed to the yoke; and for the true Head of the body, to give the mortal head of his own body. Lo! these two soldiers of God, how they divide betwixt them the garment of the Lord’s Passion; the one on the gibbet, the other beneath the sword; Peter in transfixion, Paul in bloodshedding.
These two, therefore, differ in the manner of their death, but not in the love shown forth in dying: the Catholic Church exults in their teaching; all religion, in the celebration of their death; the Roman city, in their memory; each Christian soul, in their patronage. Now, all these things thou, O Lord, hast operated, thou who wast pointed out by the prophets, art adored by the angels, art manifested throughout the world, by the light of the apostles. To whom meetly, all Angels and Archangels unceasingly cry out daily, saying: Holy, Holy, Holy.

The same liturgy makes use of the following hymn on this festival. It is attributed, not without some foundation, to St Ambrose, and seems to have preceded the hymn of Elpis in liturgical use.

Hymn

Apostolorum passio
Diem sacravit sæculis,
Petri triumphum nobilem,
Pauli coronam proferens.

Conjunxit æquales viros
Cruor triumphalis necis;
Deum secutos præsules
Christi coronavit fides.

Primus Petrus apostolus;
Nec Paulus impar gratia:
Electionis vas sacræ
Petri adæquavit fidem.

Verso crucis vestigio,
Simon honorem dans Deo,
Suspensus ascendit, dati
Non immemor oraculi.

Præcinctus, ut dictum est, senex,
Elevatus ab altero,
Quo nollet ivit, sed volens
Mortem subegit asperam.

Hinc Roma celsum verticem
Devotionis extulit,
Fundata tali sanguine
Et vate tanto nobilis.

Tantas per Urbis ambitum
Stipata tendunt agmina:
Trinis celebratur viis
Festum sacrorum martyrum.

Prodire quis mundum putet,
Concurrere plebem poli:
Electa genitum caput,
Sedes magiatri gentium.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Ejusque soli Filio,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito
In sempiterna sæcula.

Amen.
The apostles’ passion
hath consecrated this immortal day,
presenting Peter's noble triumph
and Paul's crown.

The gore of their victorious death
hath conjoined these men, peers in fame;
the faith of Christ hath crowned
these jubilant followers of God.

The first, Peter the apostle;
next, Paul his peer in grace.
The vessel of sacred election
hath equalled the faith of Peter.

Not unmindful of the oracle,
Simon, suspended, ascends
along the heaven-turned footprints
of the cross, giving glory to God.

Even as was foretold, the old man,
girded by another’s hand, is upraised.
Whither he would not, he has had to go;
but willing now, dire death hath he subdued.

Hence Rome hath become
the exalted head of religious worship,
founded, as she is, in such blood as this,
and by so illustrious a prophet.

Through all the vast extent
of so great a city, close packed,
crowds are pressing along, by three ways,
for the celebration of the holy martyrs' festival.

It might be supposed that the whole world had come forth,
that the people of all nations had assembled here;
lo! verily, the chosen head of the Gentiles,
the seat of the teacher of the Gentiles!

Glory be to God the Father,
and to his only Son,
together with the Paraclete Spirit,
for ever and ever.

Amen.

[1] Sermo I in Nat. A post. Lect. II Nocturni.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

PETER and Paul still hear the prayer of their devout clients throughout the world. Time has wrought no change in their power; and in heaven no more than formerly on earth can the gravity of the general interests of holy Church so absorb them, as that they should neglect the petition of the humblest inhabitant of the glorious city of God, of which they were constituted, and still are, the princes. Putting to sleep the faith of even just men is one of the triumphs of hell at present; hence we must be allowed to insist somewhat on our point, in order to disturb this dangerous slumber, which would end in nothing less than the utter oblivion of the most touching consideration of our Lord's intention, when he confided to mere men the continuance of his work and the representation of his Person visibly here below.

The error whereby the world has been turned away from Peter will be decidedly overcome only when it is brought to see in him, not merely the firmness of the rock in resisting the attacks of hell’s gates, but likewise that tenderness of heart and that paternal solicitude which make him to be indeed the Vicar of Jesus in his love.[1] For, in fact, the Church is not merely an edifice, the duration of which is eternal: she is moreover a family, a sheepfold; and therefore our Lord, wishing to leave to his work a triple guarantee when quitting this world, exacted of the chosen one, to whom he would confide all, a triple affirmation of love before investing him with this sublime office, saying: 'Feed my sheep.'[2]

Hence, exclaims St Leo, far from us all doubt as to whether Peter still exercises this function of shepherd, or whether he remains faithful to the engagement he once plighted of an eternal love, or whether he still observes with exquisite tenderness that command of our Lord, to confirm us in good by his exhortations, to pray ceaselessly, lest any temptation prevail against us.[3] His tenderness embraces the whole people of God;[4] it is far more vast and potent now than when he was in this mortal state; because now all the duties and multiplied solicitudes of his immense paternity do him honour, through him with whom and by whom he hath been glorified.[5]

If in every place, again says St Leo, the martyrs have received, in recompense for their death and in manifestation of their merits, the power to aid those in peril, to drive away diseases and unclean sprits, and to cure countless evils; who could be so ignorant or so envious of the glory of blessed Peter as to suppose that any portion of the Church can escape his care, or must not be indebted to him for its progress? Ever burning, ever living, in the prince of the apostles, is that love of God and of men which nothing could daunt; neither chains, nor the straitness of dungeons; neither the fury of mobs, nor the wrath of kings; victory has not cooled that which battle could not conquer. Wherefore in these days, seeing that sorrow has given place to joy, labour to repose, discord to peace, we recognize in these helpful effects the merits and prayers of our Head. Oftentimes do we experience how he influences salutary counsels and just judgements; the right of binding and loosing is exercised by us, but to blessed Peter is due the inclining of the condemned to penitence, of the pardoned to grace.[6] Yea, this which we have personally experienced, our forefathers knew also; in such sort, that we believe and hold for certain, that in all the troubles of this life, the apostolic prayer must be our special aid and safeguard before the throne of God’s mercy.[7]

St Ambrose, bishop of Milan, in his turn also extols the apostolic action ever efficacious and living in the Church. His exposition, so full of sweetness and always so sound, rises to the sublime, wherein his great soul soars at ease, when he comes to express with ineffable delicacy and depth the special role of Peter and Paul in the sanctification of the elect.

The Church, he says, is the ship in which Peter must fish; and in this toil he is sometimes to us the net and sometimes the hook. O great mystery! for this fishing is wholly spiritual. The net encloses, the hook wounds; but into the net go the crowd; unto the hook go the solitary fish.[8] Do not, therefore, O good fish, dread Peter's hook; it killeth not, but consecrateth; his is a precious wound, midst the blood of which may be found the coin of good metal, needed to pay tribute both for the apostle and for the Master.[9] Hence, undervalue not thyself, for though thy body be feeble, in thy mouth thou hast wherewith to pay both for Christ and for Peter.[10] Lo! within us is a treasure, the Word of God; by being confessed, Jesus is placed upon our lips. Wherefore is it said to Simon: “ Launch out into the deep,"[11]—that is to say, into the heart of man; for the heart of man in his counsels is as deep water.[12] Launch out into the deep—that is, into Christ—for Christ is the fountain of living waters,[13] in whom are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.[14] Daily still doth Peter preach; daily the Lord crieth unto him: “Launch out into the deep." But methinks I hear Peter answer him: “Lord, we have laboured all the night, and have taken nothing."[15] Peter toils in us when our devotedness is laborious. Paul, too, is in labour; even this very day have ye not heard him saying: “ Who is weak, and I am not weak?"[16] So behave, that the apostles may not have to toil thus hard for you.[17]

The Ambrosian Missal offers us the following Preface and Prayer for this feast:

Preface

Æquum et salutare: nos tibi semper, hic et ubique, in honore apostolorum Petri et Pauli gratias agere.. Quos ita electione tua consecrare dignatus es: ut beati Petri sæcularem piscandi artem in divinum dogma converteres, quatenus humanum genus de profundo inferni præceptorum tuorum retibus liberares; et coapostoli ejus Pauli mentem cum nomine mutares, ut quem prius persecutorem metuebat Ecclesia, nunc cœlestium mandatorum lætetur se habere doctorem. Paulus cæcatus est, ut videret: Petrus negavit, ut crederet. Huic claves cœlestis imperii: illi ad evocandas gentes, divinæ legis scientiam contulisti. Ille introducit; hic aperit: et ambo virtutis æternæ præmia sunt adepti. Hunc dextera tua gradientem in elemento liquido, dum mergeretur, erexit; illum autem, tertio naufragantem, profunda pelagi fecit vitare discrimina. Hic portas inferi, ille mortis vicit aculeum: et Paulus capite plectitur, quia gentium caput fidei probatur; Petrus autem, sursum versis vestigiis, caput omnium nostrum secutus est Christum.
It is truly meet and just for us here and everywhere to give thanks in honour of the apostles Peter and Paul. Whom thou hast vouchsafed to consecrate by such an election: so that the earthly fishing-craft of blessed Peter should be converted by thee into divine dogma, inasmuch as thou hast been pleased to deliver the human race from the depths of hell, by means of the nets of thy commandments; and that the mind of his co-apostle Paul, as well as his name, should be changed by thee, so that he who at first was dreaded by the Church, should now make her gladsome by the teaching of the heavenly precepts which he hath received. Paul was struck blind, in order that he might see; Peter denied, in order that he might believe. To the one belong the keys of the heavenly kingdom: to the other thou hast entrusted the knowledge of the divine Law, that he might call the Gentiles to the faith. The one introduces; the other opens; and to both is awarded the prize of eternal dominion. The one, as he walked upon the waters, was upheld by thy right hand when about to sink: the other, thrice shipwrecked, was by the same saved from the depths of the sea. The one resists the gates of hell; the other overcomes the sting of death: and Paul has his head struck off, because he is the approved head of the nations in faith; but Peter, with his feet turned heavenwards, hath followed Christ the Head of us all.

Prayer

Deus, qui confitentium tibi redemptor es animarum, quarum piscator beatus Petrus apostolus, atque ovium pastor tua præceptione cognoscitur: annue misericors precibus nostris, et populo tuo pietatis tuæ dona concede. Qui vivis.
O God, the Redeemer of souls confessing unto thee; of souls caught by thy fisherman, blessed Peter the apostle; of sheep unto whom, according to thy command, he is known to be the shepherd: be pleased, in thy mercy, to grant our petitions; and to thy people, vouchsafe the gifts of thy compassion. Who livest.

Let us hail Rome and her two princes in the words of this beautiful song, which breathes something of the inspiration found in the hymns of Elpis and of St Paulinus of Aquileia. It is supposed to date from about the seventh or eighth century.

Hymn

O Roma nobilis, orbis et domina,
Cunctarum urbium excellentissima,
Roseo martyrum sanguine rubea,
Albis et virginum liliis Candida:
Salutem dicimus tibi per omnia,
Te benedicimus, salve per sæcula.

Petre, tu præpotens cœlorum claviger,
Vota præcantium exaudi jugiter:
Cum bissex tribuum sederis arbiter,
Factus placabilis judica leniter,
Teque precantibus nunc temporaliter
Ferto suffragia misericorditer.

O Paule, suscipe nostra peccamina,
Cujus philosophos vicit industria:
Factus œconomus in domo regia,
Divini muneris appone fercula;
Ut, quæ repleverit te Sapientia,
Ipsa nos repleat tua per dogmata.

Amen.
O noble Rome, O lady of the earth,
O most excellent of all cities,
ruddy with the roseate blood of martyrs,
and white with the glistening lilies of virgins:
we salute thee throughout the earth:
we bless thee; for ever, hail!

O Peter, thou most potent key bearer of the heavens,
meetly hear the prayers of us suppliants:
when thou dost sit as judge of the twelve tribes,
being appeased, judge us mildly;
and now whilst time is still ours, mercifully lend thine intercession
unto us who are beseeching thee.

O Paul, take in hand the cause of us guilty ones,
thou whose skill did conquer philosophers:
being made dispenser in the royal household,
hand unto us the sweetmeats of divine gifts;
so that the same Wisdom that filled thee
may replenish us by thy teachings.

Amen.

[1] Ambr. in Luc. x.
[2] St John xxi.
[3] Sermo IV de Natali ipsius.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Sermo III de Natali ipsius.
[6] Sermo V de Nat. ips.
[7] Sermo I in Nat. Apost.; lect. II Noct. quintæ diei infra Oct.
[8] De Virginitate xviii.
[9] St Matt. xvii 23-26.
[10] Ambr. Hexæmeron, V.
[11] St Luke v 4.
[12] Prov. xviii 4.
[13] St John iv 11.
[14] Rom. xi 33.
[15] St Luke v. 5.
[16] 2 Cor. xi 29.
[17] Ambrosius de Virginitate xviii, xix. This portion of the Book on Virginity forms a part of a discourse which was delivered by St Ambrose on the festival of the holy apostles. In the Ambrosian liturgy, there is still read, for the Epistle of this feast, the passage containing the text cited above by St Ambrose, from the Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

LATER than Cajetan of Vicenza and earlier than Ignatius of Loyola, Anthony was called to be the father of one of those religious families which arose in such numbers during the sixteenth century to repair the ruins of the house of God. Lombardy, exhausted and demoralized by the wars for the possession of the duchy of Milan, was encouraged by the sight of the heroic virtues of Zaccaria to believe, hope and love once again. She listened to his fiery exhortations calling her to repentance, to meditation on the Passion and to more fervent devotion to, and more solemn adoration of, the Blessed Sacrament.[1] Thus he was truly the precursor of St Charles Borromeo, who in his reform of the clergy, people and monasteries of Milan had as his earnest supporters Anthony's sons and daughters, the Clerks Regular and the Angelic Sisters of St Paul.

The Congregation began its life in the Oratory of Eternal Wisdom at Milan, but these new disciples of the doctor of the Gentiles took their name of Barnabites from the Church of St Barnabas, to which they were moved shortly after the death of the saint and where his body rests. The Congregation soon spread, not only throughout Italy, but also into France, Austria, Sweden, and even as far as China and Burma. The sphere of its activities comprised mission work, instruction of youth and everything which furthers the work of God and the sanctification of souls. On the eve of the octave of the apostles SS Peter and Paul in the year 1539, the holy founder of the congregation was called to his reward at the age of thirty-six in the very house in which he had been born and from the arms of his saintly mother who had brought him up for God, and who joined him shortly afterwards.

When Urban VIII published his famous decrees in the following century, the cultus of Anthony Mary had only been established for ninety-five years. Since these decrees required that the cultus should have been established for a century before it could claim to have acquired the right of prescription, and since, on the other hand, the witnesses required for the regular canonization of the servant of God were not forthcoming, the cause was suspended. In 1890, however, Leo XIII reinstituted the cultus of Anthony Mary, and a few years later solemnly inscribed his name among the saints and extended his feast to the universal Church.

Antonius Maria Zaccaria, Cremonæ in Insubria nobili genere natus, jam a puero qua futurus esset sanctitate portendere visus est. Eximiarum enim in eo virtutum significationes mature eluxerunt, pietatis in Deum ac beatam Virginem; insignis præsertim in pauperes misericordiæ quorum inopiæ sublevandæ vel pretiosa veste sibi detracta, haud semel præsto fuit. Humanioribus litteris in patria excultus, Ticini philosophiæ, Patavii medicinæ addiscendæ operam dedit: utque omnibus vitæ integritate ita et aequalibus acumine ingenii facile antecelluit. Lauream adeptus ac domum reversus, ubi intellexit se Dei monitu ad animorum magis quam corporum morbis medendum vocari in sacris disciplinas percipiendas sedulo incubuit. Interea aegrotos visere, pueros Christiana doctrina informare, juvenum cœtus pietate excolere, ætate etiam provectos ad mores emendandos frequenter hortari non destitit. Sacris initiatus cum primo litaret, cœlesti oborto lumine, Angelorum corona circumdatus stupenti populo apparuisse traditur. Exinde animarum saluti impensius consulere, depravatis moribus summa ope obsistere curæ fuit. Ad hæc advenas, egenos, afflictos paterno complexus affectu, piis adloquiis atque subsidiis recreatos ita solari, ut ejus domus miserorum perfugium haberetur ipseque pater patriæ atque angelus meruerit a suis civibus appellari.

Mediolani, cum secum agitaret uberiores in rem christianam manare posse fructus si in vinea Domini sibi laborum socios adscisceret, re communicata cum Bartholomæo. Ferrario et Jacobo Morigia nobilissimis viris, Sodalitatis Clericorum Regularium fundamenta jecit; quam, ob suum in gentium Apostolum amorem, a Sancto Paulo nuncupavit: quæ Clemente Septimo Pontifice Maximo approbante et Paulo Tertio confirmante, brevi per complures regiones propagata est. Sanctimonialium quoque Angelicarum Societas ipsum Antonium Mariam parentem et auctorem habuit. Qui tamen adeo de se submisse sentiebat, ut nullo pacto præesse suo ordini unquam voluerit. Tanta vero fuit patientia, ut formidolosissimas tempestates in suos commotas constanti animo perferret; tanta cantate, ut piis adhortationibus religiosos viros ad Dei amorem infiammare, sacerdotes ad apostolicam vivendi normam revocare, patrumque familias sodalitia ad bonam frugem instituere numquam intermiserit; imo interdum prælata Cruce per compita plateasque cum suis progressus, fervida ac vehementi oratione aberrantes improbosque homines ad salutem reduceret.

Illud etiam memorandum quod in Jesum crucifixum amore flagrans, crucis mysterium ab omnibus, ad statum æris campani indicium, sexta quaque feria sub vesperas, recolendum curavit; sanctissimum Christi nomen in suis scriptis passim usurpabat et in ore semper habebat; ejusdemque cruciatus, vere Pauli discipulus, in corpore suo præ se ferebat. In Sacram Eucharistiam singulari cantate ferebatur; cujus et frequenter percipiendæ consuetudinem instauravi; et morem e sublimi throno publice in triduum adorandæ invexisse perhibetur. Pudicitiam adeo coluit ut etiam in exsangui corpore, reviviscere visus, ejus amorem testaretur. Accessere cœlestia dona extasis, lacrymarum, futurorum eventuum cognitionis, scrutationis cordium, virtutis in humani generis hostem. Tandem magnis laboribus ubique exantlatis Guastaliæ, quo pacis sequester accitus fuerat, gravi morbo correptus est. Cre monam adductus, inter suorum fletus, et complexus piissimæ matris, quam proxime obituram prædixit; superna apostolorum visione recreatus, sodaliratis suæ incrementa prænuntians; tertio nonas julii anno millesimo quingentesimo trigesimo nono, sanctissime obiit, annos natus sex supra triginta. Cultum tanto viro, ob eximiam ejus sanctitatem et signorum copiam a christiano populo statim exhibitum Leo Decimus tertius Pontifex maximus ratum habuit et confirmavit; eumdemque anno millesimo octingentesimo nonagesimo septimo, in festo Ascensionis dominicæ, solemni ritu sanctorum fastis adscripsit.
Anthony Mary Zaccaria was born of a noble family at Cremona in Lombardy, and even in childhood gave signs of his future sanctity. He was early distinguished for his virtues, piety towards God, devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and especially mercy towards the poor, in order to relieve whom he more than once gave his own rich clothing. He studied the humanities at home, and then went to Pavia for philosophy and Padua for medicine, and easily surpassed his contemporaries both in purity of life and in mental ability. After gaining his degree he returned home, where after understanding that God called him to the healing rather of souls than of bodies, he gave himself earnestly to sacred studies. Meanwhile he never ceased to visit the sick. instruct children in Christian doctrine, and exhort the young to piety and the elders to reformation of their lives. While saying his first Mass after his ordination, he is said to have been seen by the amazed congregation in a blaze of heavenly light and surrounded by angels. He then made it his chief care to labour for the salvation of souls and the reformation of manners. He received strangers, the poor and afflicted, with paternal charity, and consoled them with holy words and material assistance, so that his house was known as the refuge of the afflicted and he himself was called by his fellow-citizens an angel and the father of his country.

Thinking that he would be able to do more for the Christian religion if he had fellow-labourers in the Lord's vineyard, he communicated his thoughts to two noble and saintly men, Bartholomew Ferrari and James Morigia, and together with them founded at Milan a society of Clerks Regular, which from his great love for the apostle of the Gentiles, he called after St Paul. It was approved by Clement VII, confirmed by Paul III, and soon spread through many lands. He was also the founder and father of the Angelic Sisters. But he thought so humbly of himself that he would never be Superior of his own Order. So great was his patience that he endured with steadfastness the most terrible opposition to his religious. Such was his charity that he never ceased to exhoit religious men to love God and priests to live after the manner of the apostles, and he organized many confraternities of married men. He often carried the cross through the streets and public squares, together with his religious, and by his fervent prayers and exhortations brought wicked men back to the way of salvation.

It is noteworthy that out of love for Jesus crucified he would have the mystery of the cross brought to the mind of all by the ringing of a bell on Friday afternoons about vesper time. The holy name of Christ was ever on his lips, and in his writings, and as a true disciple of St Paul, he ever bore the mortification of Christ in his body. He had a singular devotion to the Holy Eucharist, restored the custom of frequent communions, and is said to have introduced that of the public adoration of Forty Hours. Such was his love of purity that it seemed to restore life even to his lifeless body. He was also enriched with the heavenly gifts of ecstasy, tears, knowledge of future things, and the secrets of hearts and power over the enemy of mankind. At length, after many labours, he fell grievously sick at Guastalla, whither he had been summoned as arbitrator in the cause of peace. He was taken to Cremona, and died there amid the tears of his religious and in the embrace of his pious mother, whose approaching death he foretold. At the hour of his death, which took place on the third of the Nones of July, 1539, when he was thirty-six years of age, he was consoled by a vision of the apostles, and prophesied the future growth of his Society. The people began immediately to show their devotion to this saint on account of his great holiness and of his numerous miracles. The cult was approved by Leo XIII, who solemnly canonized him on Ascension Day, 1897.

During this octave of the holy apostles, thou dost appear, O faithful servant of God, as a precious jewel enriching their crown. From thy place of honour whither the homage of the Church rises to thee, deign to bless those who like thee are engaged here below in apostolic labours without thought of self, without hope save in God, and without being discouraged by the havoc wrought by the ministers of Satan, who force them perpetually to make new beginnings.

In our days as in thine the enemies of the Church congratulate themselves upon the prospect of the speedy overthrow of the House of God, and now as formerly everything appears to justify their sinister hopes. However, in our days as in thine the teaching of the apostles, upheld by the example and prayers of the saints, is able to save the world. If more than ever the world can see only foolishness in the Cross and those who preach it, yet for all that it is more than ever the power of God.[2] The saying, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will reject'[3] is fulfilled once more before our eyes. At this moment where are the wise? Where are the learned and the clever[4] who promise to adapt the word of salvation to the needs of the present? Never to alter the Word of God, to announce it before God as God gives it,[5] without claiming to make it acceptable to those who insist upon being lost,[6]is to fulfil the first condition for gaining that triumph which St Paul says will never be wanting to the faithful of Jesus Christ.[7]

Disciple and faithful follower of St Paul, the knowledge of Christ learnt in his school changed thee from a doctor of the body into a pastor of souls; that love which surpasseth all knowledge[8] made thy short yet full life fruitful even beyond the grave. May God arouse in us that desire for the salvation of souls and spirit of reparation which the Church asks for by thy intercession. May thy sons and daughters drawn up under the apostolic banner do honour to the great name of the Doctor of the Gentiles.


[1] St Anthony Mary Zaccaria was the first who exposed the sacred Host unveiled for the adoration of the faithful for forty hours, in memory of the time spent by our Saviour in the tomb. This pious custom passed from Milan to become the practice of the whole Church, and allusion has been made elsewhere to its special significance during the three days immediately preceding Lent.
[2] 1 Cor. i 18.
[3] 1 Cor. i 19.
[4] Ibid. 20.
[5] 2 Cor. ii 17.
[6] Ibid. 15, 16.
[7] Ibid. 14.
[8] Eph. iii 19.

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

FIRMLY resting upon Peter, the Church turns to him whom the Spouse has given to be her Head, and testifies to him no less veneration and love than obedience and fidelity; such is the craving of her gratitude. Moreover, she is fully aware of what is thus expressed by St Peter Damian (or as others say by a disciple of St Bernard): ' None may pretend to intimacy with our Lord unless he be intimate with Peter.'[1] Such is the amirable harmony between God's approach to his creature and its advance towards him. God is not found save in Jesus; nor Jesus, save in the Church; nor the Church, save in Peter. 'If you had known me,' said Christ, ‘you would without doubt have known my Father also';[2] but the Jews sought God outside Jesus, and their efforts were vain. Since then others have come, wanting to find Jesus whilst setting aside his Church; but that which God has joined, what man shall put asunder?[3] So these men, running after a Christ, a phantom of their own conceptions, have found neither Jesus Christ nor his Church. Finally, others are sons of the Church, yet they persuade themselves that in those pastures where, by right, the soul may feed upon God, they have none to seek save the divine Shepherd who dwells in heaven; but by the very fact of his having committed to another the care of feeding both lambs and sheep, our Lord seems to have had quite a different view, for these words imply not only some, either mere beginners and the imperfect, or the strong and saints, but all, little and great, whom the heavenly Shepherd confided to Simon Bar-Jona, by him to be fed, directed, advanced and guarded.

O thou soul that hungerest after God, go to Peter, think not otherwise to appease thy cravings. Formed in the school of the holy liturgy, thou hast surely no part with such as neglect the Humanity, as they say (speaking of Mary's divine Son), in order to come all the more assuredly to the Word; but in like manner take care, thou also, not to turn God's Vicar into an obstacle in thy path. Jesus longs for the blissful meeting, even as thou dost; be certain, therefore, that what he places between thee and himself, on the way, is no obstacle but a help. Just as in the adorable Eucharist, the sacred species are but to point out to thee where he is whom, of thyself, thou couldst never find here below; so, too, the mystery of Peter has no other end but this, to show thee with absolute certainty where he, who resides for thee in the divine Sacrament in his proper substance, resides also for thee in his authority and infallible guidance. These two mysteries complete one another; they go together, and will both cease at the moment when our eyes gaze at last directly upon Jesus; but, from now till then, the Church sees herein not so much an intermediary or a veil, as the most precious sign of the invisible Spouse. Therefore, wonder not if the homage she pays to Peter seems to rival that which she bestows on the sacred Host; in her multiplied genuflections which she makes before both, she is indeed adoring; adoring not that man, it is true, whom we see seated on the apostolic throne, nor yet the mere species perceived by our senses on the altar; but adoring, in both instances, Jesus, who is silent in the Eucharistic Sacrament, and who speaks and commands in his Vicar.

Further still, she knows that Peter alone can give her the sacred Host. Baptism which makes us to be sons of God, and all the sacraments which multiply the divine energies within us, are a treasure which he alone has licence to dispose of legitimately, either by himself or by others. It is his word, throughout the world, that in every grade of authorized teaching gives birth within souls to faith which is the beginning of salvation, and develops it from these humble commencements right up to the luminous summits of sanctity. And because, on the mountain heights, the life of the evangelical counsels is the chosen garden reserved to himself by the Spouse, Peter likewise claims as his own the guidance and protection, in a more special manner, of religious communities; for he wishes to be always able himself to offer directly to Jesus the fairest flowers of that holiness of which his exalted ministry is the very principle and support. Thus sanctified, to Peter again does the Church address herself, when she would learn in what way to approach her Spouse in her worship; she says to him, as heretofore the disciples said to our Lord,[4] Teach us to pray and Peter, animated with what he knows so well of the gorgeous pomp of worship in the heavenly country, regulates for us here below the sacred ceremonial, and dictates to the bride herself the theme of her songs. Lastly, who but Peter can add to her holiness those other marks of unity, catholicity, and apostolicity, which are, in the face of the whole world, her unquestionable right and title to govern and to be loved by the Son of God?

If we are truly sons of the Church, if in very deed it is from the heart of our mother that we draw our sentiments, let us well understand what should be our gratitude, respectful love, tender confidence and utter devotedness of our whole being towards him from whom, by the sweet will of God, come all these good things. Peter, in his own person, and in that of his successors, especially in him who in these our own days bears the weight of the whole world and our burdens also, ought to be the constant object of our filial reverence and homage. His glories, his sufferings, his thoughts should become ours. Forget not that he, of whom the Roman Pontiff is visible representative, has willed that every one of his members should have their invisible share in the government of his Church; the responsibility of each one in a point of such major importance is clearly indicated in the great duty of prayer, which in God's sight is of more value than action, and which is rendered by love stronger than hell.[5] Then, there is that other strict duty of almsdeeds, whereby we are obliged to come to the relief of the needs of our humblest brother: if so, can we deem ourselves free with regard to the bishop and father of our souls, when unjust spoliation makes him know, in the necessities of his immense administration, cramping want and difficulty? Happy they who to the tribute of gold may be allowed to add that of blood! But all are not granted such an honour.

On this, the last day of the octave consecrated to the triumph of these two princes of the apostles, let us once again salute the city which was witness of their final combat. She is guardian of their tombs, and continues to be the See of Peter's successors; by this double title she is the vestibule of heaven, the capital of the spiritual empire. The very thought of the august trophies that adorn both banks of her noble river, and of all those other glorious memories that linger around her, made the heart of St John Chrysostom exult with enthusiasm beneath the Eastern sky. We give his words as addressed to the people in one of his homilies: 'In very deed, the heavens illuminated by the fiery rays of the meridian sun have naught comparable to Rome's resplendent rays shed over the whole earth by these two luminaries. Thence will Paul arise, thence Peter likewise. Reflect, yea, tremble, at the thought of what a spectacle Rome is to witness, when Peter and Paul, rising up from their graves, shall be borne aloft to meet the Lord. How brilliant in her roseate hue is Rome before the eyes of Christ! What garlands encircle this city! With what golden chains is she girded! What fountains are hers! Oh! this city of stupendous fame! I admire her, not because of the gold wherewith she abounds, nor because of her proud porticoes, but because she holds within her these two Pillars of the Church.'[6] Then the illustrious orator goes on to remark how he burned with longing desire to visit these sacred tombs, the treasure of the world, the secure rampart of the queen city.

In these days the bishops of God's Church are bound by law to come at fixed intervals, from their various dioceses throughout the world, to visit the basilicas raised over the precious remains of Peter and Paul; like the latter, they too must needs come and see Peter,[7] still living in the Pontiff, his successor in the Primacy. Although simple Christians are not subject to the same obligation to which bishops are bound by oath, yet ought every true Catholic frequently to visit in thought, at least, those blessed hills, whence flow the streams of salvation that divide and carry their waters over the whole world. One of the most consoling symptoms at the present time is the visible stir which is evidently taking hold of the masses, and urging them to the eternal city. This movement should be encouraged as much as possible, because it is a return to the wisest traditions of our forefathers; and in these days the facility for such a pilgrimage, once in a lifetime, is so great, that few or none would thereby undergo any serious inconvenience as regards either their family or social position.

But if some there be who really cannot apply to themselves in this literal sense these words of the psalm, 'I have rejoiced at the things that have been said to me, we shall go into the house of the Lord,' let them, at least, make these sentiments of true spiritual patriotism their own, and more so than did the Jews of yore: 'May there be abundance for them that love thee, O true Jerusalem! Let peace be in thy strength and abundance in thy towers. For the sake of my brethren who are in thee, this is my prayer: yea, this is my prayer, because thou art the house of the Lord our God.'[8]

To pay honour to the churches of the eternal city where are preserved the chief memorials of the holy apostles, Benedict XIV fixed[9] that on each of the days within the octave a pontifical Mass should be sung in one of these churches successively, the cantors and other ministers of the papal chapel attending. The festival of the twenty-ninth of June is reserved to the Sovereign Pontiff himself, who celebrates in the Vatican basilica, at the tomb of the prince of the apostles; but the following day, the bishops assistants at the pontifical throne are convoked in the basilica on the Ostian Way, built not far from the site of St Paul's martyrdom, and enclosing both the body of the doctor of the Gentiles and his chains. The apostolic protonotaries are assembled on the first of July, in the Church of St Pudentiana, formerly the house of the senator Pudens, where, as we are informed by Benedict XIV, 'Peter preached the divine word and celebrated the sacred mysteries; thus, in a way, laying the first foundations of the Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all other Churches.' On the second of July the major domo or master of the sacred palace and the auditors of the Rota pay homage, in like manner, at Sancta Maria in Via lata, to the memory of the two years' sojourn of the apostle of the Gentiles in this place. On the fifth day, July the third, the Pontifical Mass is celebrated at St Peter's ad vincula, the clerks of the camera assisting; on the sixth day, at the Mamertine prison, in the presence of the referendarii of the segnatura; on the seventh, before the abbreviators of the greater Parcus, at St Peter's in Montorio, said, by tradition, to be the spot of the apostle’s martyrdom. Lastly, on July the sixth, the sacred college of Cardinals terminates the octave with a grand solemnity at St John Lateran, where are exposed to public veneration the heads of St Peter and St Paul, in rich reliquaries.

Let us enter into the thought which inspired the great Pontiff Benedict XIV in his distribution of the days within the octave of the holy apostles, and so let us pray with him for the city and the world by taking from the sacramentary of his immortal predecessor, Saint Leo I, the following two formulas.

Preface

Vere dignum . . . Qui prævidens quantis nostra civitas laboratura esset incommodis, apostolici roboris in eadem præcipua membra posuisti. Sed O felix, si tuos præsules, Roma, cognosceres, et tantos digne studeres celebrare rectores! Nulli te hostes impeterent, nulla prorsus arma terrerent, si eorum famulata doctrinis veraciter atque fideliter eos proposito christianæ sinceritatis ambires; quum tibi sufficienter appareat, quæ benemeritis dona conferrent, qui tuentur etiam peccatores.
Truly it is right and just to give thanks to thee, who, foreseeing what great difficulties our city would have to labour under, didst place therein the leading members of apostolic strength. Yet, happy thou, O Rome, if thou do but know these thy leaders, if thou do but study how worthily to celebrate such rulers! No foe shall attack thee, no armies shall henceforth terrify thee, if so thou walk truly and faithfully in obedience to their teaching, in the profession of sincere Christianity; for it is indeed sufficiently manifest unto thee what great gifts they may confer on the well-deserving, since they give protection even unto sinners.

Prayer

Deus, qui Ecclesiæ tuæ in sanctis montibus fundamenta posuisti: da, ut nullis errorum subruatur incursibus, nulla mundi perturbatione quatiatur; sed apostolica semper et institutione sit firma, et interventione secura. Per Dominum.
O God, who hast laid the foundations of thy Church in the holy mountains; grant that she may be undermined by no attacks of error, nor shaken by any perturbation of the world; but let her be ever firm in apostolical institution, and secure in the same intervention. Through our Lord.

The following Prose, by Adam of St Victor, will serve as an appropriate termination to the collection of liturgical pieces which have assisted our devotion during this octave in acquiring the spirit of holy Church. We have chosen it in preference to another, by the same illustrious author, commencing with the words Gaude Romacaput mundi, inasmuch as this latter is exclusively dedicated to the life and miracles of St Peter.

Sequence

Roma Petro glorietur,
Roma Paulum veneretur pari reverentia;
Imo tota jocundetur,
Et jocundis occupetur Laudibus Ecclesia,

Hi sunt ejus fundamenta,
Fundatores, fulcimenta, bases, epistylia;
Iidem saga, qui cortinæ,
Pelles templi jacinthinæ, scyphi, spheræ, lilia.

Hi sunt nubes coruscantes, terram cordis irrigantes
Nunc rore, nunc pluvia;
Hi præcones novæ legis,
Et ductores novi gregis ad Christi præsepia.

Laborum socii Triturant aream,
In spe denarii Colentes vineam.
His ventilantibus Secedit palea,
Novisque frugibus Implentur horrea.

Ipsi montes appellantur:
Ipsi prius illustrantur Veri solis lumine.
Mira virtus est eorum:
Firmamenti vel cœloru m Designantur nomine.

Fugam morbis imperant,|
Leges mortis superant,
Efiugant dæmonia. Delent idolatriam,
Reis donant veniam, Miseris solatia.

Laus communis est ambonim
Quum sint tamen singulomm Dignitates propriæ:
Petrus præit principatu,
Paulus pollet magistratu Totius Ecclesiæ.

Principatus uni datur,
Unitasque commendatur Fidei cathoiicæ;
Unus cortex est granorum,
Sed et una vis multorum Sub eodem cortice.

Romam convenerant Salutis nuntii,
Ubi plus noverant Inesse vitii, nihil disciplinæ.
Insistunt vitiis Fideles medici:
Vitæ remediis Obstant phrenetici, Fatui doctrinæ.

Facta Christi mentione,
Simon Magus cum Nerone Conturbantur hoc sermone,
Nec cedunt apostolis.
Languor cedit, mors obedit.

Magus crepat, Roma credit,
Et ad vitam mundus redit, Reprobatis idolis.
Nero fremit sceleratus, Magi morti desolatus.
Cujus error ei gratus, Grave præcipitium.

Bellatores præelecti
Non a fide possunt flecti:
Sed in pugna stant erecti,
Nec formidant gladium.

Petrus, hæres veræ lucis,
Fert inversus pcenam crucis,
Paulus ictum pugionis:
Nec diversæ passionis Sunt diversa præmia.

Patres summæ dignitatis,
Summo Regi conregnatis:
Vincla nostræ pravitatis
Solvat vestræ potestatis Efficax sententia.

Amen.
Let Rome glory in Peter,
let Rome venerate Paul with equal reverence;
or rather, let the whole Church be made glad,
and be occupied with songs of joy.

Lo! here, her foundations,
her founders, her buttresses, her bases, her architraves;
yea, here, her costly hangings and canopies,
her hyacinth-dyed skins (as of the temple), her cups, her pomegranates, her lilies.

These are refulgent clouds watering the earth of our hearts,
now with dew, now with rain.
These are the heralds of the new law,
and leaders of the new flock unto Christ’s fold.

Companions in labour, they tread the threshing-floor:
in hopes of the penny, they till the vineyard.
By their winnowing is the chaff separated,
and the barns are filled with new harvestings.

They are called mountains:
they are the first to be illumined by the rays of the true sun.
Wondrous is their power;
they are entitled firmaments, or heavens.

They command sickness to flee away,
they overrule the laws of death;
demons they put to flight.
To the guilty they give pardon, to the sorrowful consolation.

Praise is common to both of them;
yet a peculiar dignity is proper unto each:
Peter holds the first rank in the primacy,
Paul is famous for his teachings throughout the whole Church.

Primacy is given but to one,
so that thus the unity of Catholic faith is proclaimed:
one rind contains many grains, and all, in their multiplicity,
have the same virtue under one single rind.

Unto Rome come the messengers of salvation,
where they know there is much of vice and naught of remedy.
The faithful physicians attack vice, yet the delirious sick reject the medicine of life,
the insane refuse doctrine.

Christ’s name being preached,
Simon Magus and Nero are troubled at this word,
nor will they yield to the apostles.
Sickness gives way, death obeys.

Magus is dashed to pieces, Rome believes,
and the world returns to life, rejecting her idols.
Wicked Nero trembles with rage, aggravated at the magician's death,
whose downfall is as annoying to him as his deception had been pleasing.

But the chosen warriors
can never be turned from the faith;
bold they stand erect for the combat,
nor dread the sword.

Peter, heir of the true light,
endures the penalty of the inverted cross;
and Paul, the stroke of the sword.
Though diverse the suffering, yet the rewards are alike.

O ye fathers of surpassing worth,
ye are reigning now with the supreme King:
may the efficacious sentence of your immense power
loose the chains of our guilt.

Amen.

 


[1] Pet. Dam. vel Nicol. Claravall. Sermo de S Petro Ap.
[2] St John xiv 7.
[3] St Matt. xix 6; Eph. v 32.
[4] St Luke xi 1.
[5] Cant. viii 6.
[6] Homil. xxxii in Ep. ad Rom.
[7] Gal. i 18.
[8] Ps . cxxi
[9] Bull Admirabilis Sapientiœ Dei sublimitas, April 1, 1743

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

TWIN stars this day arise in the heavens of holy Church, illuminating by the radiant beams of their apostolate immense tracts of country. Seeing that they start from Byzantium, one is at first led to suppose that their evolution is going to be performed independently of the laws which Rome has the right to dictate for the movement of the heavens, whereof it is said that they shall declare the glory of God and the works of his hand.[1] But the auspicious influence of St Clement I, through his sacred relics, diverts their course, as we shall see, towards the mistress of the world; and presently they can be descried gravitating with matchless splendour in Peter's orbit, manifesting once more to the whole earth that all true light, in the order of salvation, radiates solely from the Vicar of the Man-God. Then once again is realized that word of the psalmist, that there are no speeches nor languages where the voices of the messengers of light are not heard.[2]

To the sudden and splendid outburst of the good tidings that marked the first centuries of our era had succeeded the labours of the second apostolate, to which the Holy Ghost entrusted the gathering in of those new nations called by divine Wisdom to replace the ancient world. Already under that mysterious influence of the eternal city whereby she assimilated to herself even her conquerors, another Latin race had been formed out of those barbarians whose invasion seemed, like a deluge, to have submerged the whole empire. Scarcely was this marvellous transformation effected by the Baptism of the Franks, the conversion from Arianism of the Goths and of their variously named brethren in arms, than the Anglo-Saxons, the Germans, and lastly the Scandinavians, conducted respectively by the three monks, Augustine, Boniface and Anscharius, came in turn to knock for admission at the gates of holy Church. At the creative voice of these new apostles Europe appeared, issuing from the waters of the sacred font.

Meanwhile, the constant movement of the great migration of nations had, by degrees, brought as far as the banks of the Danube a people whose name began in the ninth century to attract universal attention. Between East and West the Slavs, profiting on the one side by the weakness of Charlemagne's descendants, and by the revolutions of the Byzantine court on the other, were aiming at erecting their various tribes into principalities, independent alike of both empires. This was now the hour chosen by Providence to win over to Christianity and to civilization a race hitherto without a history. The Spirit of Pentecost rested on the heads of the two holy brethren whom we are to-day celebrating. Prepared by the monastic life for every trial and suffering, they brought to this people struggling to issue from the shades of ignorance the first elements of letters, and tidings of the noble destiny to which God, our Saviour, invites men and nations. Thus was the Slavonic race fitted to complete the great European family, so evidently the object of eternal predilection, and God ceded to it a larger territory than he had bestowed upon any other in Europe.

Happy this nation had she but continued ever attached to Rome, that had lent her such valuable assistance in the midst of the early struggles disputing her existence! Nothing, indeed, so strongly seconded her aspirations for independence as the favour of having a peculiar language in the sacred rites, a favour obtained for her, from the See of Peter, by her two apostles. The outcries uttered, at that very time, by those who would fain hold her fast bound under their own laws, showed clearly enough, even then, the political bearing of a concession as unparalleled as it was decisive, in securing the existence, in those regions, of a new people distinct at once both from Germans and Greeks. The future was to prove this better still. If, nowadays, from the Balkan to the Ural Mountains, from the Greek coasts to the frozen shores of the Northern Ocean, the Slavonic race spreads ever strong, ever indomitable to the influence of invasion, maintaining, in the midst of the empires that by force of arms have at last prevailed over it, a dualism which the conquering nation must be resigned to endure through the course of centuries as a living menace within her, a very thorn in her side, such an unparalleled phenomenon is but the product of the powerful demarcation effected a thousand years ago between this race and the rest of the world, by the introduction of its national language into the liturgy. Having by this use become sacred, the primitive Slavonic tongue has undergone none of those variations incident to the idiom of every other nation; whilst giving birth to the various dialects of the different peoples issuing from the common stock, it has itself remained the same, following the most insignificant Slavonic tribes through every phase of their history, and continuing, in the case of the greater number of them, to group them apart from all other nationalities at the foot of their own altars. Beautiful indeed such unity as this, a very glory for holy Church, had but the desire and the hope of the two saints who based it on the immutable rock been able to keep it ever fixed thereon! But woful and terrible would such an arm become in the service of tyranny, if ever Satan should make it fall by schism into the hands of one of hell's accursed agents!

But such considerations as these are leading us too far. It is time for us to turn to the ample narrative of the two illustrious brothers, SS Cyril and Methodius, given us by the Church for this day.

Cyrillus et Methodius fratres germani, Thessalonicæ amplissimo loco nati, Constantinopolim mature concesserunt, ut in ipsa urbe Orientis principe humanitatis artes addiscerent. Uterque plurimum brevi profecerunt; sed maxime Cyrillus, qui tantam scientiarum laudem adeptus est, ut singularis honoris causa philosophus appellaretur. Deinde monachum agere Methodius cœpit; Cyrillus autem dignus est habitus, cui Theodora imperatrix, auctore Ignatio patriarcha, negotium daret erudiendi ad fidem christianam Chazaros trans Chersonesum incolentes; quos præceptis suis edoctos et Dei numine instinctos, multiplici superstitione deleta, ad Jesum Christum adjunxit. Recenti Christianorum communitate optime constituta, Constantinopolim rediit alacer, atque in monasterium Polychronis, quo se jam Methodius receperat, Cyrillus ipse secessit. Interim cum res trans Chersonesum prospere gestas ad Ratislaum Moraviæ principem fama detulisset, is de aliquot operariis evangelicis Constantinopoli arcessendis cum imperatore Michaele tertio egit. Igitur Cyrillus et Methodius illi expeditioni destinati, et in Moraviam celebri lætitia excepti, animos christianis institutionibus tanta vi tamque operosa industria excolendos aggrediuntur, ut non longo intervallo ea gens nomen Jesu Christo libentissime dederit. Ad eam rem non parum scientia valuit dictionis Slavonicæ, quam Cyrillus ante perceperat, multumque potuerunt sacræ utriusque Testamenti Litteræ, quas proprio populi sermone reddiderat: nam Cyrillus et Methodius, principes inveniendi fuerunt ipsas litteras, quibus est sermo ipsorum Slavorum signatus et expressus, eaque de causa ejusdem sermonis auctores non immerito habentur.


Cum rerum gestarum gloriam secundus rumor Romam nuntiasset, sanctus Nicolaus Primus Pontifex Maximus fratres optimos Romam contendere jussit. Illi Romanum iter ingressi, reliquias sancti Clementis Primi Pontificis Maximi, quas Cyrillus Chersonæ repererat, secum advehunt. Quo nuntio Hadrianus Secundus, qui Nicolao demortuo fuerat sufiectus, clero populoque comitante, obviam eis magna cum honoris significatione progreditur. Deinde Cyrillus et Methodius de munere apostolico in quo essent sancte laborioseque versati, ad Pontificem Maximum, assidente clero, referunt; cum autem eo nomine ab invidis accusarentur, quod sermonem Slavonicum in perfunctione munerum sacrorum usurpavissent, causam dixere rationibus tam certis tamque illustribus, ut Pontifex et clerus et laudarint homines et probarint. Tum ambo jurati se in fide beati Petri et Pontificum Romanorum permansuros, episcopi ab Hadriano consecrati sunt. Sed erat provisum divinitus, ut Cyrillus vitæ cursum Romæ conderet, virtute magis quam ætate maturus. Itaque defuncti corpus elatum funere publico, in ipso sepulchro quod sibi Hadrianus exstruxerat compositum fuit; tum ad sancti Clementis deductum, et hujus prope cineres conditum. Cumque veheretur per urbem inter festos psalmorum cantus, non tam funeris quam triumphi pompa, visus est populus Romanus libamenta honorum cœlestium viro sanctissimo detulisse. Methodius vero in Moraviam regressus, ibique factus forma gregis ex animo, re catholicæ inservire majore in dies studio institit. Quin etiam Pannonios, Bulgaros, Dalmatas in fide christiani nominis confirmavit; in Carinthiis autem ad unius veri Dei cultum traducendis plurimum elaboravit.

Apud Joannem Octavum, qui Hadriano successerat, iterum de suspecta fide violatoque more majorum accusatus, ac Romam venire jussus, coram Joanne, et episcopis aliquot cleroque urbano, facile vicit catholicam prorsus fidem et se retinuisse constanter et cæteros diligenter edocuisse: quod vero ad linguam Slavonicam in sacris peragendis usurpatam, se certis de causis ex venia Hadriani Pontificis, nec Sacris Litteris repugnantibus, jure fecisse. Quapropter in re præsenti complexus Methodium Pontifex, potestatem ejus archiepiscopalem, expeditionemque Slavonicam, datis etiam litteris, ratam esse jussit. Quare Methodius in Moraviam reversus, assignatum sibi munus explere vigilantius perseveravit, pro quo et exsilium libenter passus est. Bohemorum principem ejusque uxorem ad fidem perduxit, et in ea gente christianum nomen longe lateque vulgavit. Evangelii lumen in Poloniam invexit, et, ut nonnulli scriptores tradunt, sede episcopali Leopoli fundata, in Moscoviam proprii nominis digressus, thronum pontificalem Kiowensem constituit. Demum in Moraviam reversus est ad suos; jamque sese abripi ad humanum exitum sentiens, ipsemet sibi successorem designavit, clerumque et populum supremis præceptis ad virtutem cohortatus, ea vita, quæ sibi via in cœlum fuit, placidissime defunctus est. Uti Cyrillum Roma, sic Methodium Moravia decedentem summo honore prosecuta est. Illorum vero festum, quod apud Slavoniæ populos jamdiu celebrari consueverat, Leo Decimustertius Pontifex Maximus cum Officio et Missa propria in universa Ecclesia quotannis agi præcepit.


Cyril and Methodius were brothers, born of noble parents in Thessalonica, and when old enough were sent to Constantinople that they might, in the great capital of the East, learn the principles of literature and the arts. Both of them made great progress in a short time; but especially Cyril, who attained such a reputation for learning that as a token of distinction he was called the philosopher. Methodius afterwards became a monk; whilst Cyril was judged worthy by the empress Theodora, at the suggestion of Ignatius the patriarch, to be entrusted with the labour of instructing in the faith of Christ the Chazars, a people dwelling beyond the Chersonesus; which people, being taught by his precepts and incited by the grace of God, abolishing their numerous superstitions, he added unto the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Having excellently organized the new Christian community, he returned, filled with joy, to Constantinople, and betook himself to the same monastery of Polychrone, wherein Methodius had already retired. In the meanwhile, the fame of the success gained in the country beyond the Chersonesus having reached the ears of Ratislas, prince of Moravia, he was earnest with the emperor Michael the Third, in negotiating the grant of some evangelical labourers. Cyril and Methodius being therefore designated for this expedition, were received with great joy in Moravia; and with so much energy, care, and ability did they strive to infuse into the minds of the people the Christ tian doctrine, that it was nolong ere this nation most cordially subscribed its name to Jesus Christ. This success was in no small measure due to the knowledge of the Slavonic tongue which Cyril had previously acquired; and of very great avail, likewise, was the translation which he made of both Testaments of the holy Scriptures, into the language proper to this people: indeed Cyril and Methodius were the first to find alphabetical letters whereby this language of the Slavs is signified and expressed, and, on this account, they are not undeservedly held as the originators of this same language.


When favourable rumour brought as far as Rome the glorious fame of these achievements, the Pope, Saint Nicholas I, ordered these two illustrious brethren to repair to Rome. They set out on their journey to Rome, bearing with them the relics of Saint Clement I which Cyril had discovered in the Chersonesus. At which news, Adrian II, who had succeeded on the death of Nicholas, went forth with a great concourse of the clergy and people, to meet them, in token of veneration. Then Cyril and Methodius related to the Sovereign Pontiff, in the presence of his clergy, the details regarding their apostolic ministry in which they had been holily and laboriously engaged; but as they were accused by the envious of having presumed to use the Slavonic tongue in the performance of the sacred rites, such weighty and clear reasons did they allege for so doing, that the Pope and his clergy both praised and approved these holy men. Then both of them, having sworn that they would persevere in the faith of blessed Peter and of the Roman Pontiffs, were consecrated bishops by Adrian. But it was the divine decree that Cyril, ripened rather in virtue than in age, should end his mortal course at Rome. He, therefore, being dead, his corpse was borne in a public funeral to the very grave that Adrian had prepared for himself; later on, the holy body was taken to St. Clement's that it might lie near the ashes of that saint. And as he was thus borne through the city amidst the festive chanting of psalms, with pomp rather triumphal than funeral, the Roman people seemed to be paying to the holy man the firstfruits of heavenly honours. Methodius, on his part, having returned into Moravia, there applied himself with his whole soul to be an example in his works to his flock; and day by day he strove more and more to further Catholic interests. He likewise confirmed in the faith of the Christian name the Pannonians, Bulgarians, and Dalmatians; moreover he laboured much among the Carinthians to bring them over to the worship of the one true God.

Being once more accused to John VIII, who had succeeded Pope Adrian, of suspected faith and of the violation of the custom of the ancients, he was summoned to Rome, where in presence of John, several bishops, and likewise the clergy of the city, he easily proved that he had ever constantly maintained and carefully taught to others the Catholic faith; but as to his having introduced the Slavonic tongue into the sacred liturgy, he exculpated himself by reason of the permission of Pope Adrian, and of certain motives not contrary to the sacred letters. Wherefore, embracing the cause of Methodius in the matter at issue, the Pope recognized his archiepiscopal power and his Slavonian expedition, giving him likewise letters to that effect. Hence Methodius, returning into Moravia, persevered in fulfilling still more vigilantly the duties of his charge, and for this even gladly suffered exile. He brought over the prince of Bohemia and his wife to the faith, and spread the Christian name throughout the length and breadth of this land. He carried the light of the Gospel into Poland, and, as some writers assert, founded the episcopal See of Lwow; and having gone as far as Muscovy, properly so called, there raised an episcopal throne at Kiev. Afterwards, returning to his own people in Moravia, feeling now that he was drawing near his mortal term, he designated a successor, and having, by his last precepts, exhorted the clergy and people to virtue, he peacefully passed away from this life which he had made to be his path to heaven. Even as Rome had paid homage to Cyril, so did Moravia lavish honours on Methodius after his death. Their feast, which had long been kept among the Slavonic people, Pope Leo XIII ordered to be celebrated yearly throughout the universal Church with a proper Mass and Office.

Whilst inscribing the feast of SS Cyril and Methodius on the calendar of the universal Church, the Sovereign Pontiff Leo XIII was likewise pleased himself to give expression to the homage and prayers of holy Church in the two hymns proper to the day.

Hymn I

Sedibus cœli nitidis receptos
Dicite athletas geminos, fideles;
Slavicæ duplex columen, decusque
Dicite gentis.

Hos amor fratres sociavit unus,
Unaque abduxit pietas eremo,
Ferre quo multis celerent beatæ
Pignora vitæ.

Luce, quæ templis superis renidet,
Bulgaros complent, Moravos, Bohemos;
Mox feras turmas numerosa Petro
Agmina ducunt.

Debitam cincti meritis coronam,
Pergite o flecti lacrymis precantum;
Prisca vos Slavis opus est datores
Dona tueri.

Quæque vos clamat generosa tellus
Servet ætemæ fidei nitorem;
Quæ dedit princeps, dabit ipsa semper
Roma salutem.

Gentis humanæ Sator et Redemptor,
Qui bonus nobis bona cuncta præbes,
Sint tibi grates, tibi sit per omne
Gloria sæclum.

Amen.
Sing, O ye faithful, sing two athletes, brothers,
received unto their brilliant thrones celestial;
sing the twofold strength
and glory of the Slavonic race.

One love these brethren did together bind in union sweet,
and one the tender pity that did them
from their solitude urge forth;
they haste to bear to many the pledge of blessed life.

Bulgarians, Moravians, and Bohemians they fill with light,
that beams resplendent in supernal temples;
to Peter soon these savage hordes they lead,
a numerous throng.

Your brows encircled by the well-earned crown of merits, Oh!
do ye still continue to be ever moved by suppliants’ tears;
needful indeed it is that ye protect your former gifts
bestowed upon the Slavs!

May the generous soil, that crieth unto you,
preserve the pure brightness of eternal faith:
Rome, which first in the beginning gave,
will ever give salvation to that land.

O Creator and Redeemer of the human race,
who in thy goodness givest us all good things,
to thee be thanksgiving,
to thee be glory for ever and ever.

Amen.

Hymn II

Lux o decora patriæ,
Slavisque amica gentibus,
Salvete, fratres: annuo
Vos efferemus cantico;

Quos Roma plaudens excipit,
Complexa mater filios,
Auget corona præsulum,
Novoque firmat robore.

Terras ad usque barbaras
Inferre Christum pergitis:
Quot vanus error luserat,
Almo repletis lumine.

Noxis soluta pectora
Ardor supemus abripit;
Mutatur horror veprium
In sanctitatis fiosculos.

Et nunc serena cœlitum
Locati in aula supplici
Adeste voto: Slavicas
Servate gentes Numini.

Errore mersos unicum
Ovile Christi congreget:
Factis avitis aemula
Fides virescat pulchrior.

Tu nos, beata Trinitas,
Cœlesti amore concita,
Patrumque natos inclyta
Da persequi vestigia.

Amen.
O light all beauteous of the fatherland,
and of the Slavonic race,
benignant ray, brethren, all hail!
To you, our yearly canticle we bring;

Whom Rome, applauding, did receive,
as mother pressing to her heart loved sons,
she upon your brow the bishop's diadem doth place,
and girdeth you with new strength.

Ye penetrate to farthest barbarous lands,
to bring them Christ.
Whom error vain did darkly deceive,
on them ye pour the radiance of fair light.

On hearts unshackled from the grasp of ill,
doth heavenly ardour seize;
thorns’ horrid aspect now is changed
for flowers of holiness.

Then deign, O ye who reign
secure in courts celestial,
to turn unto our suppliant prayer:
preserve unto God the Slavonic people.

May the one fold of Christ
enclose those plunged in error:
emulating the deeds of their forefathers,
may faith revive more beauteous still.

O thou, most blessed Trinity,
spur us on by heavenly love,
and grant that the sons may follow
in the noble footprints of their sires!

Amen.

We presume to join our humble prayer with this august homage: we would fain, together with the supreme Pontiff, sing your praises, and recommend to you that vast portion of Christ’s inheritance wherein, watered by your toilsome sweat, flowers of holiness replaced the thorns. Prepared in solitude for every work good and serviceable to the Lord,[3] you feared not to be the first to set foot in these unknown regions, the terror of the ancient world, these lands of the north, wherein the prophets had pointed out Satan’s throne,[4] the inexhaustible source of evils ravaging the universe![5] The call of the Holy Ghost made you become apostles, and the twelve having received orders to teach all nations,[6] you in your turn went, with all the simplicity of obedience, to those that had not yet been evangelized. Rome would test this obedience—such was her duty—and she found it to be without alloy. Satan too found it so, to his utter defeat; for Scripture says: 'The obedient man shall speak of victory.'[7] Scripture likewise reveals to us another source of strength, and it was yours:' A brother helped by his brother is like a strong city; and their judgements are like the bars of cities.'[8] Driven away by one stronger than he, the strong-armed one beheld, with bitter rage, that dominion now passed on to Christ, which he thought to possess in peace,[9] and his last spoils, the people of the north, become, like those of the south, an ornament to the bride.[10]

O Methodius, O Cyril, in the holy hymns which the Sovereign Pontiff has dedicated to you, there is the ring of an alarm-cry: 'Preserve unto God the Slavonic people! Needful indeed it is, that ye protect your former gifts.' 'Lift up your eyes and see,' may we truly say with the prophet, ' you that come from the north; where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful cattle? What! have ye taught them against you and instructed them against your own head?'[11] Ah! the depths of Satan![12] but too well has he known how to repair his defeat; for your benefits and Peter's condescension have alike become a weapon of death for those people to whom you devoted your life! Be pleased, then, to console those exiled for the faith, and give them heart; sustain the martyrs, preserve the remnant of a nation of heroes. On the other hand, deter the rest from the fatal illusion that would entice them to be beforehand in running into tyranny's way!

O apostles of the Slavs, and citizens likewise of that Rome where your sacred relics lie close to those of St Clement, assist the efforts of the supreme Pontiff, who is seeking how he may replace on the foundation whereon you built it that edifice which was your glory!


[1] Ps. xviii 2.
[2] Ibid. 4.
[3] 2 Tim. ii 21.
[4] Isa. xiv 13.
[5] Jer. i 14; xlvii 2, etc.
[6] St Matt. xxviii 19.
[7] Prov. xxi 28.
[8] Ibid. xviii 19.
[9] St Luke xi 21, 22.
[10] Isa. xlix 12-18.
[11] Jer. xiii 20, 21.
[12] Apoc. ii 24.