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From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including descriptions of:

Christum regem adoremus dominantem gentibus, qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pinguedinem.
Let us adore Christ, the King, who ruleth the nations; who giveth fatness of spirit to them that eat him.

A great solemnity has this day risen upon our earth: a feast both to God and to men: for it is the feast of Christ the Mediator, who is present in the sacred Host, that God may be given to man, and man to God. Divine union—such is the dignity to which man is permitted to aspire; and to this aspiration God has responded, even here below, by an invention which is all of heaven. It is to-day that man celebrates this marvel of God’s goodness.

And yet, against both the feast and its divine object, there has been made the old-fashioned objection: ‘How can these things be done?’[1] It really does seem as though reason has a right to find fault with what looks like a senseless pretension of man’s heart.

Every living being thirsts after happiness; and yet, and because of that, it aspires only after the good of which it is capable; for it is the necessary condition of happiness that, in order to its existence, there must be the full contentment of the creature’s desire. Hence, in that great act of creation which the Scripture so sublimely calls His playing in the world,[2] when, with His almighty power He prepared the heavens, and enclosed the depths, and balanced the foundations of the earth,[3] we are told that divine Wisdom secured the harmony of the universe by giving to each creature, according to its degree in the scale of being, an end adequate to its powers. He thus measured the wants, the instinct, the appetite (that is, the desire) of each creature, according to its respective nature; so that it would never have cravings which its faculties were insufficient to satisfy. In obedience, then, to this law, was not man, too, obliged to confine, within the limits of his finite nature, his desires for the good and the beautiful, that is, his searching after God, which is a necessity with every intelligent and free being? Otherwise, would not certain beings have to place their happiness in objects which must ever be out of the reach of their natural faculties?

Great as the anomaly would appear, yet does it exist: true psychology, that is, the true science of the human mind, bears testimony to this desire for the infinite. Like every living creature around him, man thirsts for happiness; and yet, he is the only creature on earth that feels within itself longings for what is immensely beyond its capacity. Whilst docile to the lord placed over them by the Creator, the irrational creatures are quite satisfied with what they find in this world; they render to man their several services, and their own desires are all fully gratified by what is within their reach. It is not so with man; he can find nothing in this his earthly dwelling, which can satiate his irresistible longings for something which this earth cannot give, and which time cannot produce; for that something is the infinite. God Himself, when revealing Himself to man through the works He has created, that is, when showing Himself to man in a way which his natural powers can take in; when giving man to know Him as the First Cause, as the Last End of all creatures, as unlimited perfection, as infinite beauty, as sovereign goodness, as the object which can content both our understanding and our will—no, not even God Himself, thus known and thus enjoyed, could satisfy man. This being, made out of nothing, wishes to possess the Infinite in his own substance; he longs after the sight of the face, he ambitions to enjoy the life, of his Lord and God. The earth seems to him but a trackless desert, where he can find no water to quench his thirst. From early dawn of each wearisome day, his soul is at once on the watch, pining for that God who alone can quell his desires; yea, his very flesh too, has its thrilling expectations for that beautiful Infinite One.[4] Let us listen to the psalmist, who speaks for us all: ‘As the hart panteth after the fountains of water, so my soul panteth after Thee, O God! My soul hath thirsted after the strong, living God: when shall I come and appear before the face of God? My tears have been my bread, day and night, whilst it is said to me daily: Where is thy God? These things I remembered, and poured out my soul in me: for I shall go over into the place of the wonderful tabernacle, even to the house of God. With the voice of joy and praise, the noise of one that is feasting. Why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou trouble me? Hope in God, for O will still give praise unto Him: the salvation of my countenance and my God.’[5]

If reason is to be the judge of such sentiments as these, they are but wild enthusiasm and silly pretensions. Why talk of the sight of God, of the life of God, of a banquet wherein God Himself is to be the repast? Surely these are things far too sublime for man, or for any other created nature to reach. Between the wisher and the object longed for, there is an abyss—the abyss of disproportion, which exists between nothingness and being. Creation, all powerful as it is, does not, in itself, imply the filling up of that abyss. If the disproportion could ever cease to be an obstacle to the union aspired to, it would be by God Himself going that whole length, and then imparting something of His own divine energies to the creature that had once been nothing. But what is there in man, to induce the Infinite Being, whose magnificence is above the heavens, to stoop so low as that? This is the language of reason.

But on the other hand, who was it that made the heart of man so great and so ambitious that no creature can fill it? how comes it that, whilst the heavens show forth the glory of God and the firmament declareth how full of wisdom and power is every work of His hands,[6] in man alone there is no proportion, no order? Could it be that the great Creator has ordered all things, excepting man alone, with measure, and number, and weight?[7] That one creature, who is the master-piece of the whole creation; that creature, for whom all the rest was intended, as for its king; is he to be the only one that is a failure, and to live as a perpetual proclaimer that his Maker could not, or would not, be wise, when He made man? Far from us be such a blasphemy! ‘God is love,’ says St. John;[8] and love is the knot which mere human philosophy can never loose, and therefore it must ever leave unsolved the problem of man's desire for the Infinite.

God is charity; God is love. The wonder in all this question, is not our loving and longing for God, but that He should have first loved us.[9] God is love; and love must have union; and union makes the united like one another. Oh! the riches of the divine Nature, wherein are infinite Power, and Wisdom, and Love! These three constitute, by their divine relations, that blessed Trinity, which has been the light and joy of our souls ever since that bright Sunday’s feast which we kept in its honour. Oh! the depth of the divine counsels, wherein that which is willed by boundless Love, finds, in infinite Wisdom, how to fulfil in work, what will be to the glory of Omnipotence!

Glory be to Thee, O holy Spirit! Thy reign over the Church has but just begun this year of grace, and Thou art giving us light whereby to understand the divine decrees. The day of Thy Pentecost brought us a new Law, a Law where all is brightness; and it was given to us in place of that old one of shadows and types. The ‘pedagogue’, who schooled the infant world for the knowledge of truth, has been dismissed; light has shone upon us through the preaching of the apostles; and the children of light, set free, knowing God, and known by Him, are daily leaving behind them the weak and needy elements of early childhood.[10] Scarcely, O divine Spirit! was completed the triumphant octave, wherein the Church celebrated Thy coming, and her own birth which that coming brought about, when all eager for the fulfilment of Thy mission of bringing to the bride’s mind the things taught her by her Spouse,[11] Thou showedst her the divine and radiant mystery of the Trinity; that not only her faith might acknowledge, but her adoration and her praise might also worship it, and she and her children find their happiness in its contemplation and love. But that first of the great mysteries of our faith, the unsearchable dogma of the Trinity, does not represent the whole richness of Christian revelation: Thou, O blessed Spirit, bastenest to complete our instruction, and widen the horizon of our faith.

The knowledge Thou hast given us of the essence and the life of the Godhead, was to be followed and completed by that of His external works, and the relations which God has vouchsafed to establish between Himself and us. In this very week when we begin, under Thy direction, to contemplate the precious gifts left us by Jesus when He ascended on high;[12] on this first Thursday, which reminds us of that holiest of all Thursdays, our Lord’s Supper, Thou, O divine Spirit, bringest before our delighted vision the admirable Sacrament, which is the compendium of the works of God, one in Essence and three in Persons; the adorable Eucharist, which is the divine memorial[13] of the wonderful things achieved by the united operation of Omnipotence, Wisdom, and Love. The most holy Eucharist contains within itself the whole plan of God, with reference to this world; it shows how all the previous ages have been gradually developing the divine intentions, which were formed by infinite love, and, by that same love, carried out to the end,[14] yea, to the furthest extremity here below, that is, to Itself; for the Eucharist is the crowning of all the antecedent acts done by God in favour of His creatures; the Eucharist implies them all; it explains all.

Man’s aspirations for union with God—aspirations which are above his own nature, and yet so interwoven with it as to form one inseparable life—oan have but one possible cause, and it is God Himself, God who is the author of that being called man. None but God has formed the immense capaciousness of man’s heart; and none but God is willing or able to fill it. Every act of the divine will, whether outside Nimself or within, is pure love, and is referred to that Person of the blessed Trinity who is the Third; and who, by the mode of His Procession, is substantial and infinite love. Just as the almighty Father sees all things, before they exist in themselves, in His only Word, who is the term of the divine intelligence: so, likewise, that those same things may exist in themselves, the same almighty Father wishes them, in the Holy Ghost, who is to the divine will what the Word is to the infinite intelligence. The Spirit of love, who is the final term to the fecundity of Persons in the divine Essence, is, in God, the first beginning of the exterior works produced by God. In their execution, those exterior works are common to the Three Persons, but they are attributed to the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as He, being the Spirit of love, solicits the Godhead to act outside Itself. He is the Love who, with its divine weight and influence of love, sways the blessed Trinity to the external act of creation; infinite Being leans, as it were, towards the deep abyss of nothingness, and out of that abyss creates. The holy Spirit opened the divine counsel, and said: ‘Let us make man to Our image and likeness!' Then God created man to His own image; He created him to the image of God,[15] taking His own Word as the model to which He worked; for that Word is the sovereign archetype, according to which is formed the more or less perfect essence of each created being. Like Him, then, to whose image he was made, man was endowed with understanding and free-will. As such, he would govern the whole inferior creation, and make it serve the purpose of its Creator, that is, he would turn it into a homage of praise and glory to its God; and though that homage would be finite, yet would it be the best of which it was capable. This is what is called the natural order; it is an immense world of perfect harmonies; and, had it ever existed without any further perfection than its own natural one, it would have been a masterpiece of God’s goodness; and yet, it would have been far from realizing the designs of the Spirit of love.

With all the spontaneity of a will which was free not to act, and was as infinite as any other of the divine perfections, the holy Spirit wills that man should, after this present life, be a partaker of the very life of God, by the face-to-face vision of the divine Essence; nay, the present life of the children of Adam here, on this earth, is to put on by anticipation the dignity of that higher life; and this so literally, that the future one in heaven is to be but the direct sequel, the consequent outgrowth, of the one led here below. And how is man, so poor a creature in himself, to maintain so high a standing? How is he to satisfy the cravings thus created within his heart? Fear not: the Holy Ghost has a work of His own, and He does it simultaneously with the act of creation; for the three Persons infuse into their creature, man, the image of Their own divine attributes; and upon his finite and limited powers graft, so to say, the powers of the divine nature. This destiny for an end which is above created nature—these energies superadded to man’s natural powers, transforming, yet not destroying, them, and enabling the possessor to attain the end unto which God calls him—is called the supernatural order, in contradistinction to that lower one, which would have been the order of nature, had not God, in His infinite goodness, thus elevated man above his own mere state as man from the very beginning of his existence. Man will retain all those elements of the natural order which are essential to his human nature, and, with those essential elements, the functions proper to each: hut there is a principle, that, in every series, that should give the specific character to the aggregate which was the end proposed by the ruling mind. Now, the last end of man was never other in the mind of his Creator than a supernatural one; and consequently the natural order, properly so called, never existed independently of the supernatural.

There has been a proud school of philosophy, called ‘free and independent,’ which professed to admit no truths except natural ones, and to practise no other virtues than such as were merely human: but such theories cannot hold. The disciples of godless and secular education, by the errors and crimes into which their unaided nature periodically leads them, demonstrate, almost as forcibly as the eminent sanctity of souls which have been faithful to grace, that mere nature, or mere natural goodness, never was, and never can be, a permanent and normal state for man to live in. And even granting that he could so live, yet man has no right to reduce himself to a less exalted position, than the one intended for him by his Maker. ‘By assigning us a supernatural vocation, God testified the love He bore us; but, at the same time, He acted as Lord, and evinced His authority over us. The favour He bestowed upon us has created a corresponding duty. Men have a saying, and a true one: He that hath nobility, hath obligations; and the principle holds with regard to the supernatural nobility, which it has pleased God to confer upon us.’[16]

It is a nobility which surpasses every other; it makes man not only an image of God, but like unto Him![17] Between God, the Infinite, the eternal, and man, who but a while back was nothing and ever must be a creature, friendship and love are henceforth to be possible: such is the purpose of the capabilities and powers, and the life, bestowed on the human creature by the Spirit of love. So then, those longings for his God, those thrillings of his very flesh, of which we were just now reading the inspired description by the psalmist,[18] are not the outpourings of foolish enthusiasm! That thirsting after God, the strong, the living God; that hungering for the feast of divine union; these are not empty ravings.[19] Made partaker of the divine nature,[20] as St. Peter so strongly words the mystery, is it to be wondered at if man be conscious of it, and let himself be drawn, by the uncreated flame, into the very central Fire it came from to him? The holy Spirit, too, is present in His creature, and is witness of what Himself has produced there; He joins His own testimonies to that of our own conscience, and tells our spirit that we are truly what we feel ourselves to be, the sons of God.[21] It is the same holy Spirit, secreting Himself in the innermost centre of our being, that He may foster and complete His work of love, who, at one time, opens to our soul's eye, by some sudden flash of light, the future glory that awaits us, and then inspires us with a sentiment of anticipated triumph;[22] and then, at another time, breathes into us those unspeakable moanings,[23] those songs of exile, whose voice is choked with the hot tears of love, for that our union with our God seems so long deferred. There are, too certain delicious hymns, which, coming from the very depths of souls wounded with divine love, make their way up to the throne of God; and the music is so sweet to Him, that it almost looks as though it had been victorious, and had won the union! Such music of such souls does really win, if not the eternal union—for that could not be during this life of pilgrimage, and trials, and tears—still wonderful unions here below, which human language has not the power to describe.

In this mysterious song between the divine Spirit and man’s soul, we are told by the apostle that He, who searcheth hearts, knoweth what the Spirit desireth, because He asketh for the saints according to God.[24] What a desire must that be, which the holy Spirit desireth! It is as powerful as the God who desires it. It is a desire, new indeed, inasmuch as it is in the heart of man, but eternal, inasmuch as it is the desire of the holy Spirit, whose Procession is before all ages. In response to this desire of the Spirit, the great God, from the infinite depths of His eternity, resolved to manifest Himself in time, and unite Himself, to man while yet a wayfarer. He resolved thus to manifest and unite Himself, not in His own Person, but in His Son, who is the brightness of His own glory, and the true figure of His own substance.[25] God so loved the world,[26] as to give it His own Word, that divine Wisdom, who, from the bosom of His Father, had devoted Himself to our human nature. That bosom of the Father was imaged by what the Scripture calls ‘Abraham’s bosom,’ where, under the ancient covenant, were assembled all the souls of the just, as in the place where they were to rest till the way into the Holy of holies should be opened for the elect.[27] Now, it was from this bosom of His eternal Father, which the psalmist calls the bride-chamber,[28] that the Bridegroom came forth at the appointed time, leaving His heavenly abode, and coming down into this poor earth, to seek His bride; that when He had made her His own, He might lead her back with Himself into His kingdom, where He would celebrate the eternal nuptials. This is the triumphant procession of the Bridegroom in all His beauty;[29] a procession, whereof the prophet Micheas, when speaking of His passing through Bethlehem, says that His going forth is from the days of eternity.[30] Yes, truly, from the days of eternity; for as we are taught by the sublime principles of Catholic theology, the connexion between the eternal procession of the divine Persons and the temporal mission, is so intimate, that one same eternity unites the two together in God: eternally the Trinity has beheld the ineffable birth of the only-begotten Son in the bosom of the Father; eternally, with the same look, it has beheld Him coming, as Spouse, from that same Father’s bosom.

If we now come to compare the eternal decrees of God one with the other, it is not difficult to recognize which of them holds the chief place, and, as such, comes first in the divine intention of creation. God the Father has made all things with a view to this union of human nature with His Son: union so close, that, for one individual member of that nature, it was to go so far as a personal identification with the Only-Begotten of the Father. So universal, too, was the union to be, that all the members were to partake of it, in a greater or less degree; not one single individual of the race was to be excluded, except through his own fault, from the divine nuptials with eternal Wisdom, which was made visible in a Man, the most beautiful above all the children of men.[31] For, as the apostle says, God, who heretofore commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath Himself shined in our hearts, giving them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in, and by, the face of Christ Jesus.[32] So that the mystery of the marriage-feast is, in all truth, the mystery of the world; and the kingdom of heaven is well likened to a King, who made a marriage for His Son.[33]

But where is the meeting between the King’s Son and His betrothed to take place? Where is this mysterious union to be completed? Who is there to tell us what is the dowry of the bride, the pledge of the alliance? Is it known who is the Master who provides the nuptial banquet, and what sort of food will be served to the guests? The answer to these questions is given this very day, throughout the earth; it is given with loud triumphant joy. There can be no mistake; it is evident from the sublime message, which heaven and earth re-echo, that He who has come is the divine Word. He is adorable Wisdom, and has come forth from His royal abode to utter His voice in our very streets, and cry out at the head of multitudes, and speak His words in the entrance of city-gates;[34] He stands on the top of the highest places by the way, in the midst of the paths, and makes Himself heard by the sons of men.[35] He bids His servants go to the tower and the city walls, with this His message: ‘Come! eat my Bread, and drink the Wine which I have mingled for you; for Wisdom hath built herself a house, supported on seven pillars; there she hath slain her victims, mingled her wine, and set forth her table;[36] all things are ready; come to the marriage!'[37]

O Wisdom, that camest forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end, disposing all things with strength and sweetness![38] we besought Thee, in the season of Advent, to come unto Bethlehem, ‘the house of bread’; Thou wast the long-expected of our hearts. The day of the glorious Epiphany showed us the mystery of the nuptials, and manifested to us the Bridegroom; the bride was made ready in the waters of the Jordan; we commemorated the Magi, who, with their gifts, hastened to the royal nuptials, where the guests were regaled with a miraculous wine.[39] But the water, which, to make up for the deficiency of a bad tree, was changed into wine, was a prophetic figure of future mysteries. The Vine, the true Vine, of which we are the branches,[40] has yielded its sweet-smelling flowers, and its fruits of honour and riches.[41] Wheat hath abounded in our valleys, and they shall sing a hymn of praise;[42] for this strength of the earth shall cover the mountain-tops, and its fruit shall go up beyond Libanus.[43]

O Wisdom, Thou noble queen, whose divine perfections enamour, from early childhood, hearts that are taken with true beauty![44] the day of the true marriage-feast has come. Thou art a mother full of honour, and a young bride in Thy charms, and Thou comest to nourish us with the bread of life, and give us to drink of a cup of salvation.[45] Thy fruit is better than gold; and Thy blossoms than choicest silver.[46] They that eat Thee, shall still hunger after Thee; and they that drink Thee, shall again thirst for Thee;[47]for Thy conversation hath no bitterness, nor Thy company any tediousness, but joy and gladness,[48] and riches, and glory, and virtues.[49]

During the days of this great solemnity, when Thou art seated in a pillar of a cloud, and placest Thy throne in the holy assembly, we would fain take each mystery of Thy divine banquet, and ponder over its marvels, and then publish them, yea, go to choir with Thee, O beautiful Wisdom, and sing Thy praise in the presence of Thy angels, who will be there adoring the sacred Host![50] Do Thou vouchsafe to open our lips, and fill us with Thy holy Spirit, O divine Wisdom! that so our praise may be worthy of its theme; and, as Thou hast promised in Thy Scriptures, may it abound, may it be full to overflowing, in the mouths of Thy faithful worshippers![51]


MATINS

The night Office for this festival has a special interest of its own: it is the memory of that holy night when, as the Church expresses it, faith shows us our Lord presiding, for the last time, at the figurative Pasch, and following up the feast of the typical lamb with the banquet of His own Body. For the reasons specified yesterday, we give the entire Office of to-day.

In order to induce the faithful to prefer the prayers of the liturgy to all others, we would remind them that the sovereign Pontiffs have solemnly opened the treasures of the Church in favour of such as, being contrite, and having confessed their sins, shall assist at any of the Canonical Hours, either on the day of the feast, or during its octave. Pope Martin V, by his constitution Ineffabile Sacramentum, which allows this feast and octave to be celebrated with the ringing of bells and solemnity even in places which are under an interdict, confirmed and added to the indulgences granted by Urban IV, in the Bull Transiturus. Finally, Pope Eugenius IV, mentioning the acts of these two Pontiffs,[52] doubled the indulgences granted by them. These indulgences are as follows: two hundred days are granted for fasting on the eve, or for any other good work substituted for the fast, at the discretion of the confessor; on the day of the feast, four hundred days for assisting at first Vespers, Matins, Mass, or second Vespers; two hundred days for holy Communion, over and above those granted for assisting at Mass; a hundred and sixty days for each of the Hours of Prime, Tierce, Sext, None, and Compline; two hundred days for the Procession, on the day of the feast itself, or during the octave: two hundred days, likewise, for assisting at Vespers, Matins, or Mass, during the octave, and eighty days for each of the other Hours.

After the Pater, Ave, and Credo, have been said silently, the Church commences her Office by her usual Matins supplication:

℣. Domine, labia mea aperies.
℟. Et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.

℣. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.
℟. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.

℣. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui sancto.
℟. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Alleluia.
℣. O Lord! thou wilt open my lips.
℟. And my mouth shall declare thy praise.

℣. Incline unto mine aid, O God!
℟. O Lord! make haste to help me.

℣. 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.
Alleluia.

Then follows, with its glad refrain, Christum Regem, the Invitatory psalm, whereby the Church invites her children, every night, to come and adore the Lord. On this feast, she as bride, addressing herself to us as the faithful subjects and courtiers of the King of glory, invites us to pay our homage to Him, whose goodness towards us is all the more telling, because of His infinite majesty.

Invitatory

Christum regem adoremus dominantem gentibus: * Qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pinguedinem.
Let us adore Christ, the King, who ruleth the nations: who giveth fatness of spirit to them that eat him.

Psalm 94

Venite, exsultemus Domino, jubilemus Deo salutari nostro: præoccupemus faciem ejus in confessione, et in psalmis jubilemus ei.

Christum regem adoremus dominantem gentibus: * Qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pinguedinem.

Quoniam Deus magnus Dominus, et Rex magnus super omnes deos: quoniam non repellet Dominus plebem suam, quia in manu ejus sunt omnes fines terræ, et altitudines montium ipse conspicit.

Qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pinguedinem.

Quoniam ipsius est mare, et ipse fecit illud, et aridam fundaverunt manus ejus: venite adoremus, et procidamus ante Deum: ploremus coram Domino, qui fecit nos, quia ipse est Dominus Deus noster: nos autem populus ejus, et oves pascuæ ejus.

Christum regem adoremus dominantem gentibus: * Qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pinguedinem.

Hodie si vocem ejus audieritis, nolite obdurare corda vestra, sicut in exacerbatione secundum diem tentationis in deserto: ubi tentaverunt me patres vestri, probaverunt, et viderunt opera mea.

Qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pinguedinem.

Quadraginta annis proximus fui generationi huic, et dixi: Semper hi errant corde: ipsi vero non cognoverunt vias meas, quibus juravi in ira mea, si introibunt in requiem meam.

Christum regem adoremus dominantem gentibus: * Qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pinguedinem.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui sancto: Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pinguedinem.

Christum regem adoremus dominantem gentibus: * Qui se manducantibus dat spiritus pinguedinem.
Come, let us praise the Lord with joy: let us joyfully sing to God our Saviour; let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.

Let us adore Christ, the King, who ruleth the nations: who giveth fatness of spirit to them that eat him.

For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods; he will not reject his people; for in his hand are all the ends of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are his.

Who giveth fatness of spirit to them that eat him.

For the sea is his, and he made it, and his hands formed the dry land: come, let us adore, and fall down, and weep before the Lord that made us; for he is the Lord our God; and we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Let us adore Christ, the King, who ruleth the nations: who giveth fatness of spirit to them that eat him.

To-day if ye shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me; they proved me, and saw my works.

Who giveth fatness of spirit to them that eat him.

Forty years was I nigh unto this generation and I said: These always err in heart: and these men have not known my ways: so, I swore in my wrath, that they shall not enter into my rest.

Let us adore Christ, the King, who ruleth the nations: who giveth fatness of spirit to them that eat him.

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.

Who giveth fatness of spirit to them that eat him.

Let us adore Christ, the King, who ruleth the nations: who giveth fatness of spirit to them that eat him.

After the Invitatory, in which we have commemorated the transfer of Christ’s kingdom to the Gentiles, the Church intones the triumphant hymn, which, in its noble verses, recounts the last Supper, and celebrates the wonderful favours bestowed upon men on that glorious night.

Hymn

Sacris solemniis juncta sint gaudia,
Et ex præcordiis sonent præconia:
Recedant vetera, nova sint omnia,
Corda, voces, et opera.

Noctis recolitur cœna novissima,
Qua Christus creditur agnum et azyma
Dedisse fratribus, juxta legitima
Priscis indulta patribus.

Post agnum typicum, expletis epulis,
Corpus Dominicum datum discipulis,
Sic totum omnibus, quod totum singulis,
Ejus fatemur manibus.

Dedit fragilibus Corporis ferculum,
Dedit et tristibus Sanguinis poculum,
Dicens: Accipite quod trado vasculum,
Omnes ex eo bibite.

Sic sacrificium istud instituit,
Cujus officium committi voluit
Solis presbyteris, quibus sic congruit
Ut sumant, et dent ceteris.

Panis angelicus fit panis hominum;
Dat panis cœlicus figuris terminum:
O res mirabilis! manducat Dominum
Pauper, servus, et humilis.

Te, trina Deitas, unaque, poscimus,
Sic nos tu visita, sicut te colimus:
Per tuas semitas duc nos quo tendimus,
Ad lucem quam inhabitas.

Amen.
Let our joys blend with this sacred solemnity:
and let our praises resound from our inmost heart;
let old things give way;
let all be new, both hearts, and words, and works!

We are celebrating that night’s last Supper, when, as faith tells,
Christ gave to his brethren
the Lamb and unleavened bread,
as the law given to the ancient fathers prescribed.

After giving them the figurative lamb, and when the repast was over,
we confess with faith that our Lord,
with his own hands, gave his Body to his disciples:
and so gave It, that the whole was given to all, and the whole to each.

They were frail,
and he gave them his Body as food:
they were sad, and he gave them his Blood for their drink;
saying: Take the Cup I deliver unto you! Do ye all drink thereof!

Thus did he institute this Sacrifice,
whose ministry he willed should be entrusted to priests alone;
who were so to partake of it themselves,
as to give it to others.

The Bread of angels becomes the Bread of men;
the Bread of heaven puts an end to the types;
O wonderful thing! he that is poor,
and a servant, and lowly, eateth the Lord!

We beseech thee, O triune Deity,
do thou so visit us, as we worship thee;
lead us by thy ways to the term we aim at,
to the light wherein thou dwellest.

Amen.

These preludes made, we begin the solemn Office of the night, which is divided into three vigils or nocturns.


The First Nocturn

Christ is the just Man by excellence; He is the tree, which brings forth its fruit in due season, the fruit, that is, of salvation,which the Lord gave us to taste at the time of His death The first psalm offers us this beautiful symbolism, which the fathers have so often dwelt upon in their writings.

Ant. Fructum salutiferum gustandum dedit Dominus, mortis suæ tempore.
Ant. The Lord gave us to taste of the fruit of salvation, at the time of his death.

Psalm 1

Beatus vir, qui non abiit in consilio impiorum, et in via peccatorum non stetit, et in cathedra pestilentiæ non sedit:
Sed in lege Domini voluntas ejus, et in lege ejus meditabitur die ac nocte.
Et erit tanquam lignum quod plantatum est secus decursus aquarum, quod fructum suum dabit in tempore suo.
Et folium ejus non defluet: et omnia quaecumque faciet prosperabuntur.
Non sic impii, non sic: sed tanquam pulvis quem projicit ventus a facie terrae.
Ideo non resurgent impii in judicio: neque peccatores in concilio justorum.
Quoniam novit Dominus viam justorum: et iter impiorum peribit.

Ant. Fructnm salutiferum gustandum dedit Dominus, mortis suæ tempore.
Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence.
But his will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree, which is planted near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit in due season.
And his leaf shall not fall off: and all whatsoever he shall do shall prosper.
Not so the wicked, not so: but like the dust which the wind driveth from the face of the earth.
Therefore the wicked shall not rise again in judgment: nor sinners in the council of the just.
For the Lord knoweth the way of the just: and the way of the wicked shall perish.

Ant. The Lord gave us to taste of the fruit of salvation, at the time of his death.

The second psalm of this nocturn tells ns of the peace and abundance enjoyed by the man who puts his confidence in the God of justice. Corn, wine, and oil are the riches of God’s house: it is mainly by these three elements, that the Church confers a daily increase of holiness on them that have become her children by the water of Baptism. What, indeed, has she, to be compared with the beautiful corn of the elect, and wine that produceth virgins?[53]

Ant. A fructu frumenti et vini multiplicati fideles in pace Christi requiescunt.
Ant. The faithful, multiplied by the fruit of corn and wine, rest in the peace of Christ.

Psalm 4

 

Cum invocarem exaudivit me Deus justitiae meæ: in tribulatione dilatasti mihi.
Miserere mei: et exaudi orationem meam.
Filii hominum, usquequo gravi corde? ut quid diligitis vanitatem, et quaeritis mendacium?
Et scitote quoniam mirificavit Dominus sanctum suum: Dominus exaudiet me, cum clamavero ad eum.
Irascimini, et nolite peccare: quae dicitis in cordibus vestris, in cubilibus vestris compungimini.
Sacrificate sacrificium justitiæ, et sperate in Domino: multi dicunt: Quis ostendit nobis bona?
Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui, Domine: dedisti laetitiam in corde meo.
A fructu frumenti, vini et olei sui: multiplicati sunt.
In pace in idipsum: dormiam et requiescam.
Quoniam tu, Domine, singulariter in spe: constituisti me.

Ant. A fructu frumenti et vini multiplicati fideles in pace Christi requiescunt.
When I called upon him, the God of my justice heard me: when I was in distress, thou hast enlarged me.
Have mercy on me: and hear my prayer.
O ye sons of men, how long will ye be dull of heart? why do ye love vanity, and seek after lying?
Know ye also that the Lord hath made his holy one wonderful: the Lord will hear me, when I shall cry unto him.
Be ye angry, and sin not: the things ye say in your hearts, be sorry for them on your beds.
Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord: many say, Who showeth us good things?
The light of thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us: thou hast given gladness in my heart.
By the fruit of their corn, their wine, and oil, they are multiplied.
In peace, in the self-same, I will sleep and I will rest.
For thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope.

Ant. The faithful, multiplied by the fruit of corn and wine, rest in the peace of Christ.

We have already seen how the holy Eucharist was the bond of union between the faithful, and the centre of Catholic communion. What the Sacrifice of the new Testament is for us Christians, from a social point of view, that same were the mosaic sacrifices, heretofore, for the Jews, although in a manner wholly external and figurative. The following antiphon tells us the reason of the Church’s selecting Psalm xv for the third one of this noctum: it is, that she might remind us of her own superiority, in this respect, over the rejected Synagogue. The Lord Himself is the glorious portion of her inheritance and the cup of her joy.

Ant. Communione calicis quo Deus ipse sumitur, non vitulorumsanguine, congregavit nos Dominus.
Ant. The Lord hath brought us together, by the communion of the cup, wherein God himself is received; not by the blood of calves.

Psalm 15

 

Conserva me, Domine, quoniam speravi in te: dixi Domino, Deus meus es tu, quoniam bonorum meorum non eges.
Sanctis, qui sunt in terra ejus: mirificavit omnes voluntates meas in eis.
Multiplicatæ sunt infirmitates eorum: postea acceleraverunt.
Non congregabo conventicula eorum de sanguinibus: nec memor ero nominum eorum per labia mea.
Dominus pars hæreditatis meæ, et calicis mei: tu es qui restitues hæreditatem meam mihi.
Funes ceciderunt mihi in præclaris: etenim hæreditas mea præclara est mihi.
Benedicam Dominum, qui tribuit mihi intellectum: insuper et usque ad noctem increpuerunt me renes mei.
Providebam Dominum in conspectu meo semper: quoniam a dextris est mihi, ne commovear.
Propter hoc lætatum est cor meum, et exsultavit lingua mea: insuper et caro mea requiescet in spe.
Quoniam non derelinques animam meam in inferno: nec dabis Sanctum tuum videre corruptionem.
Notas mihi fecisti vias vite, adimplebis me lætitia cum vultu tuo: delectationes in dextera tua usque in finem.

Ant. Communione calicis quo Deus ipse sumitur, non vitulorum sanguine, congregavit nos Dominus.
Preserve me, O Lord, for I have put my trust in thee: I have said to the Lord, thou art my God, for thou hast no need of my goods.
To the saints, who are in his land, he hath made wonderful all my desires in them.
Their infirmities were multiplied: afterwards they made haste.
I will not gather together their meetings for blood-offerings, nor will I be mindful of their names by my lips.
The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: it is thou that wilt restore mine inheritance to me.
The lines have fallen unto me in goodly places: for mine inheritance is goodly unto me.
I will bless the Lord, who hath given me understanding: moreover, my reins also have corrected me even till night.
I set the Lord always in my sight: for he is at my right hand, that I be not moved.
Therefore my heart hath been glad, and my tongue hath rejoiced: moreover, my flesh also shall rest in hope.
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell: nor wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption.
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life, thou shalt fill me with joy with thy countenance: at thy right hand are delights even to the end.

Ant. The Lord hath brought us together, by the communion of the cup, wherein God himself is received; not by the blood of calves.

℣. Panem cœli dedit eis, alleluia.
℟. Panem angelorum manducavit homo, alleluia.
℣. He hath given them the Bread of heaven, alleluia.
℟. Man hath eaten the Bread of angels, alleluia.

The priest begins the Lord’s Prayer:

Pater noster.
Our Father.

The rest is said in silence, as far as the last two petitions. The priest says aloud:

℣. Et ne nos inducas in ten tationem.
℣. And lead us not into temptation.

The choir answers:

℟. Sed libera nos a malo.
℟. But deliver us from evil.

Then the priest:

Exaudi, Domine Jesu Christe, preces servorum tuorum, et miserere nobis, qui cum Patre et Spiritu sancto vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum.
Graciously hear, O Lord Jesus Christ, the prayers of thy servants, and have mercy upon us: who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest for ever and ever.

The choir answers: Amen.

Then one of the choir rising, turns towards the priest, and bowing down, says:

Jube, domne, benedicere.
Pray, Father, give thy blessing.

Then the priest:

Benedictione perpetua benedicat nos Pater æternus.

℟. Amen.
May the eternal Father bless us with an everlasting blessing.

℟. Amen.

The first nocturn lessons are taken from one of St. Paul’s epistles. After chiding the faithful of Corinth for having allowed abuses to creep into their religious meetings, the apostle recounts the institution of the blessed Eucharist. He tells them the dispositions they should bring with them to the holy Table, and speaks of the grievous crime committed by him who approaches unworthily.

Our readers will observe how admirably the responsories are composed of passages from both old and new Testament Books; they are thus brought side by side, the more clearly to show the harmony between the the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel, on the mystery of the Eucharist. The Office of the blessed Sacrament is thus enriched with the chief prophecies and figures which had foretold the adorable Presence and had kept the just men of the former Covenant in expectation of the promise, which is now our reality.

First Lesson

De Epistola prima Beati Pauli apostoli ad Corinthios.

Cap. xi.

Convenientibus vobis in unum, jam non est Dominicam cœnam manducare. Unusquisque enim suam cœnam presumit ad manducandum. Et alius quidem esurit, alius autem ebrius est. Numquid domos non habetis ad manducandum et bibendum? aut Ecclesiam Dei contemnitis, et confunditis eos, qui non habent? Quid dicam vobis? Laudo vos? In hoc non laudo.
From the first Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

Ch. xi.

When ye come together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord’s Supper, (your meetings are not worthy of the mystery ye celebrate). For every one taketh before his own supper to eat. And one, indeed, is hungry, and another is drunk. What! have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the Church of God, and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say unto you? Do I praise you? In this I praise you not.

℟. Immolabit hœdum multitudo filiorum Israel ad vesperam Paschae. * Et edent carnes, et azymos panes.
℣. Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus: itaque epulemur in azymis sinceritatis et veritatis. * Et edent.
℟. The multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice a kid, at the evening of the Pasch. * And they shall eat flesh, and unleavened cakes.
℣. Christ our Pasch is sacrificed: therefore let us feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. * And they shall eat.

Benedictio. Unigenitus Dei Filius nos benedicere et adjuvare dignetur.

℟. Amen.
Blessing. May the only-begotten Son of God vouch-safe to bless and help us.

℟. Amen.

Second Lesson

Ego enim accepi a Domino, quod et tradidi vobis, quoniam Dominus Jesus, in qua nocte tradebatur, accepit panem, et gratias agens fregit, et dixit: Accipite et manducate: hoc est corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradetur: hoc facite in meam commemorationem. Similiter et calicem, postquam cœnavit, dicens: Hic calix novum testamentum est in meo sanguine. Hoc facite, quotiescumque bibetis, in meam commemorationem. Quotiescumque enim manducabitis panem hunc, et calicem bibetis, mortem Domini annuntiabitis donec veniat.
For I have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks broke, and said: Take ye and eat: this is my Body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner, also, the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my Blood; this do ye, as often as ye shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For, as often as ye shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, ye shall show the death of the Lord until he come.

℟. Comedetis carnes, et saturabimini panibus: * Iste est panis, quem dedit vobis Dominus ad vescendum.
℣. Non Moyses dedit vobis panem de coelo, sed Pater meus dat vobis panem de coelo verum. * Iste est.
℟. Ye shall eat flesh, and shall have your fill of bread: *This is the Bread, which the Lord hath given you, that ye might eat it.
℣. Moses gave you not bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true Bread from heaven. * This is.

Benedictio. Spiritus sancti gratia illuminet sensus et corda nostra.

℟. Amen.
Blessing. May the grace of the Holy Ghost enlighten our senses and our hearts.

℟. Amen.

Third Lesson

Itaque quicumque manducaverit panem hunc, vel biberit calicem Domini indigne, reus erit corporis et sanguinis Domini. Probet autem seipsum homo: et sic de pane illo edat, et de calice bibat. Qui enim manducat et bibit indigne, judicium sibi manducat et bibit, non dijudicans corpus Domini. Ideo inter vos multi infirmi et imbecilles, et dormiunt multi. Quod si nosmetipsos judicaremus, non utique judicaremur. Dum judicamur autem, a Domino corripimur, ut non cum hoc mundo damnemur.
Therefore, whoever shall eat of this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord. Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep. But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world.

℟. Respexit Elias ad caput suum subcinericium panem, qui surgens comedit et bibit: * Et ambulavit in fortitudine cibi illius usque ad montem Dei.
℣. Si quis manducaverit ex hoc pane, vivet in æternum. * Et ambulavit. Gloria. * Et ambulavit.
℟. Elias beheld at his head a hearth-cake; who, rising, eat, and drank: * And he walked in the strength of that food, unto the mount of God.
℣. If any man shall eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever. * And he walked. Glory. * And he walked.

The Second Nocturn

 

The fourth psalm of our Matins speaks of the allpowerful efficacy of the Christian Sacrifice. The Lord’s protection and help in the battles of this life; joy, exaltation, abundance: all are assured to the man who will but have recourse to it. For the Victim is Christ, with which no other can compare for perfection; it is a whole-burnt offering, whose sweet odour ascends, from our earthly altar, to heaven’s sanctuary, and thence brings down the salvation of the right hand of the Most High. It is to Christ Himself that the psalmist here makes his prayer for victory.

Ant. Memor sit Dominus sacrificii nostri, et holocaustum nostrum pingue fiat.
Ant. May the Lord be mindful of our sacrifice, and our whole-burnt offering be made fat.

Psalm 19

Exaudiat te Dominus in die tribuiationis: protegat te nomen Dei Jacob.
Mittat tibi auxilium de sancto: et de Sion tueatur te.
Memor sit omnis sacrificii tui: et holocaustum tuum pingue fiat.
Tribuat tibi secundum cor tuum: et omne consilium tuum confirmet.
Laetabimur in salutari tuo: et in nomine Dei nostri magnificabimur.
Impleat Dominus omnes petitiones tuas: nunc cognovi quoniam salvum fecit Dominus Christum suum.
Exaudiet illum de coelo sancto suo: in potentatibus salus dexterae ejus.
Hi in curribus, et hi in equis: nos autem in nomine Domini Dei nostri invocabimus.
Ipsi obligati sunt, et ceciderunt: nos autem surreximus et erecti sumus.
Domine salvum fac regem, et exaudi nos in die qua invocaverimus te.

Ant. Memor sit Dominus sacrificii nostri, et holocaustum nostrum pingue fìat.
May the Lord hear thee in the day of tribulation: may the name of the God of Jacob protect thee.
May he send thee help from the sanctuary: and defend thee out of Sion.
May he be mindful of all thy sacrifices: and may thy wholeburnt offering be made fat.
May he give thee according to thine own heart: and confirm all thy counsels.
We will rejoice in thy salvation: and in the name of our God we shall be exalted.
May the Lord fulfil all thy petitions: now have I known, that the Lord hath saved his anointed.
He will hear him from his holy heaven: the salvation of his right hand is in powers.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will call upon the name of the Lord our God.
They are bound, and have fallen: but we are risen, and are set upright.
Lord! save the king: and hear us in the day that we shall call upon thee.

Ant. May the Lord be mindful of our sacrifice, and our whole-burnt offering be made fat.

The soul that follows her Lord wants for nothing. Happy sheep! its Shepherd’s crook leads it to such rich pastures, to such refreshing water springs! Let us join the saintly servant of God, and sing the praises of the Chalice which inebriateth, and of the Table prepared for him against all enemies; when he leaves that Table, he goes forth like a lion breathing fire: he has been made an object of terror to the devil.[54]

Ant. Paratur nobis mensa Domini adversus omnes qui tribulant nos.
Ant. The Lord’s Table is prepared before us, against all them that afflict us.

Psalm 22

 

Dominus regit me, et nihil mihi deerit: in loco pascuæ ibi me collocavit.
Super aquam refectionis educavit me: animam meam convertit.
Deduxit me super semitas justitiae: propter nomen suum.
Nam etsi ambulavero in medio umbrae mortis, non timebo mala: quoniam tu mecum es.
Virga tua, et baculus tuus: ipsa me consolata sunt.
Parasti in conspectu meo mensam, adversus eos qui tribulant me.
Impinguasti in oleo caput meum: et calix meus inebrians quam præclarus est!
Et misericordia tua subsequetur me, omnibus diebus vitae meæ.
Et ut inhabitem in domo Domini, in longitudinem dierum.

Ant. Paratur nobis mensa Domini adversus omnes qui tribulant nos.
The Lord ruleth me, and I shall want nothing: he hath set me in a place of pasture.
He hath brought me up on the water of refreshment: he hath converted my soul.
He hath led me on the paths of justice, for his own name’s sake.
For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils: for thou art with me.
Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me.
Thou hast prepared a table before me, against them that afflict me.
Thou hast anointed my head with oil: and my chalice, which inebriateth me, how goodly is it!
And thy mercy will follow me, all the days of my life.
And that I may dwell in the house of the Lord, unto length of days.

Ant. The Lord’s Table is prepared before us, against all them that afflict us.

The sixth psalm of these Matins was inspired into David’s soul, when he was obliged to keep far off from the tabernacle and the holy ark, because of Saul’s angry persecution, which necessitated his hiding in the mountains near the Jordan. It is the beautiful canticle already cited by us, as so strongly expressing man’s thirst, even in this mortal life, after his God. The mere recollection of the feasting, which awaits him in the wonderful tabernacle in the home of God, comforts him amidst his troubles, and rouses his hope. Let us get the spirit of this celestial poetry into us; it will kindle within us the flame of love.

Ant. In voce exsultationis resonent epulantes in mensa Domini.
Ant. Let them that feast at the Table of the Lord, make the voice of joy resound.

Psalm 41

Quemadmodum desiderat cervus ad fontes aquarum: ita desiderat anima mea ad te, Deus.
Sitivit anima mea ad Deum fortem vivum: quando veniam et apparebo ante faciem Dei?
Fuerunt mihi lacrymæ meæ panes die ac nocte: dum dicitur mihi quotidie: Ubi est Deus tuus?

Hæc recordatus sum, et effudi in me animam meam: quoniam transibo in locum tabernaculi admirabilis, usque ad domum Dei:
In voce exsultationis, et confessionis: sonus epulantis.
Quare tristis es, anima mea: et quare conturbas me?
Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.
Ad meipsum anima mea conturbata est: propterea memor ero tui de terra Jordanis, et Hermoniim a monte modico.
Abyssus abyssum invocat, in voce cataractarum tuarum.
Omnia excelsa tua, et fluctus tui super me transierunt.
In die mandavit Dominus misericordiam suam, et nocte canticum ejus.
Apud me oratio Deo vitæ meæ, dicam Deo: Susceptor meus es.
Quare oblitus es mei? et quare contristatus incedo, dum affligit me inimicus?
Dum confringuntur ossa mea; exprobraverunt mihi qui tribulant me inimici mei.
Dum dicunt mihi per singulos dies: Ubi est Deus tuus? Quare tristis es, anima mea? et quare conturbas me?
Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.

Ant. In voce exsultationis resonent epulantes in mensa Domini.

As the hart panteth after the fountains of water: so my soul panteth after thee, O God.
My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God: when shall I come and appear before the face of God?
My tears have been my bread day and night: whilst it is said to me daily: Where is thy God?

These things I remembered, and poured out my soul in me: for I shall go over into the place of the wonderful tabernacle, even to the house of God:
With the voice of joy, and praise: the noise of one feasting.
Why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou trouble me?
Hope in God, for I will still give praise to him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God.
My soul is troubled within myself: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan and Hermoniim from the little hill.
Deep calleth on deep, at the noise of thy flood-gates.
All thy heights and thy billows have passed over me.
In the day-time, the Lord hath commanded his mercy: and a canticle to him, in the night.
With me is prayer to the God of my life, I will say to God: Thou art my support.
Why hast thou forgotten me? and why go I mourning whilst mine enemy afflicteth me?
Whilst my bones are broken, mine enemies, who trouble me, have reproached me.
Whilst they say unto me, day by day: Where is thy God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me?
Hope thou in God, for I will still give praise unto him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God.

Ant. Let them that feast at the Table of the Lord, make the voice of joy resound.

℣. Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti, alleluia.
℟. Et de petra, melle saturavit eos, alleluia.
℣. He hath fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia.
℟. And filled them with honey out of the rock, alleluia.

Pater noster.
Our Father.

After the Pater noster, which is said as prescribed above in the first nocturn, the priest says:

Ipsius pietas et misericordia nos adjuvet, qui cum Patre et Spiritu sancto vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculorum.

℟. Amen.
May his goodness and mercy help us, who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth for ever and ever.

℟. Amen.

The angelic Doctor provides us with the second nocturn lessons: his own words are going to be read to us, words which will aid our faith to enter into the science of the divine Sacrament, ‘as far as it can be understood by man whilst on the way, and humanly be defined.’ These were the words of our Lord, when approving the doctrine ‘of Thomas, on the Sacrament of the Body.’[55] Three cities, Paris, Naples, and Orvieto, had the honour of being, each in its turn, the scene of these manifestations of Christ to His faithful servant, the angelic Doctor. There is still venerated in the church of St. Dominio at Orvieto, the crucifix by which our Lord spoke, when giving His divine approval to the Office we are actually celebrating. Let us, then, listen with veneration to the following passage, which the Church has selected from one of the saint’s treatises. As to its scholastic phraseology, let us remember that, although in itself it is not learning, yet it was the war-dress wherewith our forefathers of the thirteenth century deemed it necessary to accoutre theology, when she had to come to close argument with dry logicians.

Benedictio. Deus Pater omnipotens sit nobis propitius et clemens.

℟. Amen.
Blessing. May God the Father almighty be propitious and merciful unto us.

℟. Amen.

Fourth Lesson

Sermo Sancti Thomæ Aquinatis.

Immensa divinæ largitatis beneficia, exhibita populo Christiano, inæstimabilem ei conferunt dignitatem. Neque enim est, aut fuit aliquando tam grandis natio, quæ habeat deos appropinquantes sibi, sicut adest nobis Deus noster. Unigenitus siquidem Dei Filius, suae divinitatis volens nos esse participes, naturam nostram assumpsit, ut homines deos faceret, factus homo. Et hoc insuper quod de nostro assumpsit, totum nobis contulit ad salutem. Corpus namque suum pro nostra reconciliatione in ara crucis hostiam obtulit Deo Patri: sanguinem suum fudit in pretium simul et lavacrum: ut redempti a miserabili servitute, a peccatis omnibus mundaremur. Ut autem tanti beneficii jugis in nobis maneret memoria, corpus suum in cibum, et sanguinem suum in potum, sub specie panis et vini sumendum, fidelibus dereliquit.
Sermon of Saint Thomas of Aquin.

The immeasurable blessings of divine bounty, which have been shown to the Christian people, confer an inestimable dignity upon it. For neither is there, nor ever was there, any nation so great, that hath gods so nigh them, as our God is present with us. For the onlybegotten Son of God, wishing that we should be partakers of his divinity, assumed our nature, and was made Man, that he might make men gods. And, moreover, he conferred upon us, unto salvation, the whole of that which he assumed of ours. For he offered to God his Father, for our reconciliation, his own Body, as a victim, on the altar of the cross: he shed his Blood, that it might be our ransom and our laver to cleanse us: that being redeemed from a miserable slavery, we might be cleansed from all sins. But that the remembrance of so great a benefit might abide in us, he left to the faithful, under the species of bread and wine, his Body for food, and his Blood for drink.

℟. Cœnantibus illis, accepit Jesus panem, et benedixit, ac fregit, deditque discipulis suis, et ait: * Accipite et comedite: Hoc est corpus meum.
℣. Dixerunt viri tabernaculi mei: Quis det de carnibus ejus, ut saturemur? * Accipite.
℟. Whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to his disciples, and saith: * Take ye, and eat: This is my Body.
℣. The men of my tabernacle said: Who can give us of his Flesh, that we may be filled? * Take ye.

Benedictio. Christus perpetuæ det nobis gaudia vitæ.

℟. Amen.
Blessing. May Christ grant unto us the joys of eternal life.

℟. Amen.

Fifth Lesson

O pretiosum et admirandum convivium, salutiferum, et omni suavitate repletum! Quid enim hoc convivio pretiosius esse potest? in quo non carnes vitulorum et hircorum, ut olim in lege, sed nobis Christus sumendus proponitur verus Deus. Quid hoc Sacramento mirabilius? in ipso namque panis et vinum in Christi Corpus et Sanguinem substantialiter convertuntur, ideoque Christus Deus, et homo perfectus sub modici panis et vini specie continetur. Manducatur itaque a fidelibus, sed minime laceratur: quinimo, diviso Sacramento, sub qualibet divisionis particula integer perseverat. Accidentia autem sine subjecto in eodem subsistunt ut fides locum habeat, dum visibile invisibiliter sumitur aliena specie occultatum: et sensus a deceptione reddantur immunes, qui de accidentibus judicant sibi notis.
O precious and wonderful banquet! health-giving, and replete with every sweetness! For what can possibly be more precious than this banquet? wherein, not the flesh of calves and goats, as heretofore in the Law, but Christ, very God, is put before us, that we may take him. What more wonderful than this sacrament? for, in it, bread and wine are substantially changed into the Body and Blood of Christ: and, therefore, Christ, perfect God and Man, is contained under the species of a little bread and wine. He is, therefore, eaten by the faithful, but not lacerated: nay, when the Sacrament is divided, he remains whole, under each particle of the division. But the accidents subsist in the same, without a subject, in order that there may be room for faith, inasmuch as the visible is invisibly taken, being hid under a species not its own; and the senses are kept free from deception, for they judge of accidents, (which are the only things)known by them.

℟. Accepit Jesus calicem, postquam cœnavit, dicens: Hic calix novum testamentum est in meo sanguine: * Hoc facite in meam commemorationem.
℣. Memoria memor ero, et tabescet in me anima mea. * Hoc facite.
℟. Jesus took the cup, after he had supped, saying: This Chalice is the new testament in my Blood: * Do ye this for the commemoration of me.
℣. Remembering, I will remember, and my soul shall languish within me. * Do ye this.

Benedictio. Ignem sui amoris accendat Deus in cordibus nostris.

℟. Amen.
Blessing. May God enkindle within our hearts the fire of his love.

℟. Amen.

Sixth Lesson

Nullum etiam sacramentum est isto salubrius, quo purgantur peccata, virtutes augentur, et mens omnium spiritualium charismatum abundantia impinguatur. Offertur in Ecclesia pro vivis et mortuis: ut omnibus prosit, quod est pro salute omnium institutum. Suavitatem denique hujus Sacramenti nullus exprimere sufficit, per quod spiritualis dulcedo in suo fonte gustatur: et recolitur memoria illius, quam in sua passione Christus monstravit, excellentissimæ charitatis. Unde ut arctius hujus charitatis immensitas fidelium cordibus infigeretur, in ultima cœna, quando Pascha cum discipulis celebrato, transiturus erat de hoc mundo ad Patrem, hoc Sacramentum instituit, tanquam passionis suæ memoriale perenne, figurarum veterum impletivum, miraculorum ab ipso factorum maximum, et de sua contristatis absentia solatium singulare reliquit.
Again, there is no sacrament more health-giving than this, in which sins are wiped away, virtues are increased, and the mind is made rich with the abundance of all spiritual gifts. It is offered, in the Church, for the living and the dead; that what was instituted for the salvation of all, may profit all. Finally, no one can adequately express the sweetness of this Sacrament, by which spiritual sweetness is tasted in its very source: and remembrance is solemnly made of that most perfect charity evinced by Christ in his Passion. Wherefore, in order that the immensity of this charity might the more deeply be impressed on the hearts of the faithful, it was at the last Supper, when, having celebrated the Pasch with his disciples, he was about to pass out of this world unto his Father, that he instituted this Sacrament, and left it as the perpetual memorial of his Passion, the fulfilment of the ancient figures, the greatest of the miracles done by him, and the special consolation to them that were to be sad because of his absence.

℟. Ego sum panis vitæ: patres vestri manducaverunt manna in deserto, et mortui sunt; * Hic est panis de coelo descendens: ut si quis ex ipso manducet, non moriatur.
℣. Ego sum panis vivus, qui de coelo descendi: si quis manducaverit ex hoc pane, vivet in æternum. * Hic est. Gloria. * Hic est.
℟. I am the Bread of life: your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead: * This is the Bread coming down from heaven; that if any man eat thereof, he may not die.
℣. I am the living Bread, that came down from heaven; if any man shall eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever. * This is the Bread. Glory. * This is the Bread.


THE THIRD NOCTURN

 

The seventh psalm of these Matins is a sequel to the one immediately preceding it in the psalter. The two are inspired by the same trying circumstances; there is the same idea running through both; and several of the expressions are identical. We have the cry of the poor soul when, being harassed by her enemy, she is longing for her God; she has the wish and the confidence of at last seeing the holy mount, and that altar of God, where God gives Himself in the Person of the Incarnate Word, of Christ, who comes for the purpose of restoring their youth to His happy adorers and guests.

Ant. Introibo ad altare Dei: sumam Christum qui renovat juventutem meam.
Ant. I will go in to the altar of God: I will take the Christ, who reneweth my youth.

Psalm 42

Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me.
Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea: quare me repulisti, et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus?
Emitte lucem tuam, et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt, et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua.
Et introibo ad altare Dei: ad Deum, qui laetificat juventutem meam.
Confitebor tibi in cithara Deus, Deus meus: quare tristis es, anima mea, et quare conturbas me?
Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.

Ant. Introibo ad altare Dei: sumam Christum qui renovat juventutem meam.
Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.
For thou art, God, my strength: why hast thou cast me off? and why go I sorrowful, whilst the enemy afflicteth me?
Send forth thy light, and thy truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto thy holy hill, and into thy tabernacles.
And I will go in to the altar of God: to God, who giveth joy to my youth.
To thee, O God, my God, I will give praise upon the harp: why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me?
Hope in God, for I will still give praise unto him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God.

Ant. I will go in to the altar of God: I will take the Christ, who reneweth my youth.

 


The eighth psalm celebrates, with enthusiasm, the sovereign goodness of the God of Jacob. He had, by numberless prodigies, worked the deliverance of His people. Open thy mouth, He said, and I will fill it; and He this day keeps His word, notwithstanding the frequent sad frowardness of His unworthy children. He feeds them with the fat of wheat; He fills them with honey out of the rock; that is to say, He gives them to taste the ineffable sweetness of Christ, who is the wheat of the elect and the rock of the desert.[56]

Ant. Cibavit nos Dominus ex adipe frumenti: et de petra, melle saturavit nos.
Ant. The Lord hath fed us with the fat of wheat; and hath filled us with honey out of the rock.

Psalm 80

Exsultate Deo adjutori nostro: jubilate Deo Jacob.
Sumite psalmum, et date tympanum, psalterium jucundum cum cithara.
Buccinate in Neomenia tuba, in insigni die solemnitatis vestræ.
Quia præceptum in Israel est: et judicium Deo Jacob.
Testimonium in Joseph posuit illud, cum exiret de terra Ægypti: linguam quam non noverat, audivit.
Divertit ab oneribus dorsum ejus: manus ejus in cophino servierunt.
In tribulatione invocasti me, et liberavi te: exaudivi tein abscondito tempestatis: probavi te apud aquam contradictionis.
Audi, populus meus, et contestabor te: Israel, si audieris me, non erit in te deus recens, neque adorabis deum alienum.
Ego enim sum Dominus Deus tuus, qui eduxi te de terra Ægypti: dilata os tuum, et implebo illud.
Et non audivit populus meus vocem meam: et Israel non intendit mihi.
Et dimisi eos secundum desideria cordis eorum, ibunt in adinventionibus suis.
Si populus meus audisset me: Israel si in viis meis ambulasset:
Pro nihilo forsitan inimicos eorum humiliassem; et super tribulantes eos misissem manum meam.
Inimici Domini mentiti sunt ei: et erit tempus eorum in sæcula.
Et cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti: et de petra, meile saturavit eos.

Ant. Cibavit nos Dominus ex adipe frumenti; et de petra, melle saturavit nos.
Rejoice unto God, our helper: sing aloud to the God of Jacob.
Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel: the pleasant psaltery with the harp.
Blow up the trumpet on the new moon, on the noted day of your solemnity.
For it is a commandment in Israel, and a judgment to the God of Jacob.
He ordained it for a testimony in Joseph, when he came out of the land of Egypt, he heard a tongue which he knew not.
He removed his back from the burdens, his hands had served in baskets.
Thou calledst upon me in affliction, and I delivered thee: I heard thee in the secret place of tempest: I proved thee at the waters of contradiction.
Hear, O my people, and I will testify to thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me, there shall be no new god in thee: neither shalt thou adore a strange god.
For I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
But my people heard not my voice: and Israel hearkened not to me.
So I let them go according to the desires of their heart: they shall walk in their own inventions.
If my people had heard me: if Israel had walked in my ways:
I should soon have humbled their enemies: and laid my hand on them that troubled them.
The enemies of the Lord have lied to him: and their time shall be for ever.
And he fed them with the fat of wheat: and filled them with honey out of the rock.

Ant. The Lord hath fed us with the fat of wheat: and hath filled us with honey out of the rock.

Christ is that living God, who makes my heart and my flesh rejoice. Let us take this next psalm, and sing the praises of the altars of the Lord of hosts, our King and our God. Those altars are a house for the sparrow, and a nest for the turtle-dove. Happy they who dwell in those lovely tabernacles!

Ant. Ex altari tuo, Domine, Christum sumimus, in quem cor et caro nostra exsultant.
Ant. We receive Christ from thine altar, O Lord; in whom our heart and flesh rejoice.

Psalm 83

Quam dilecta tabernacula tua, Domine virtutum! concupiscit et deficit anima mea in atria Domini.
Cor meum et caro mea exsultaverunt in Deum vivum.
Etenim passer invenit sibi domum: et turtur nidum sibi, ubi ponat pullos suos.
Altaria tua, Domine virtutum: Rex meus, et Deus meus.
Beati, qui habitant in domo tua, Domine: in saecula sæculorum laudabunt te.
Beatus vir, cujus est auxilium abs te: ascensiones in corde suo disposuit, in valle lacrymarum, in loco quem posuit.
Etenim benedictionem dabit legislator, ibunt de virtute in virtutem: videbitur Deus deorum in Sion.
Domine, Deus virtutum, exaudi orationem meam: auribus percipe, Deus Jacob.
Protector noster aspice, Deus: et respice in faciem Christi tui.
Quia melior est dies una in atriis tuis, super millia.
Elegi abjectus esse in domo Dei mei: magis quam habitare in tabernaculis peccatorum.
Quia misericordiam et veritatem diligit Deus: gratiam et gloriam dabit Dominus.
Non privabit bonis eos, qui ambulant in innocentia: Domine virtutum, beatus homo qui sperat in te.

Ant. Ex altari tuo, Domine, Christum sumimus, in quem cor et caro nostra exsultant.
How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God.
For the sparrow hath found herself a house, and the turtle a nest for herself, where she may lay her young ones.
Thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God!
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord! they shall praise thee for ever and ever.
Blessed is the man whose help is from thee: in his heart he hath disposed to ascend by steps, in the vale of tears, in the place which he hath set.
For the lawgiver shall give a blessing, they shall go from virtue to virtue: the God of gods shall be seen in Sion.
O Lord God of hosts! hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob.
Behold, O God! our protector: and look on the face of thy Christ.
For better is one day in thy courts, above thousands.
I have chosen to be an abject in the house of my God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners.
For God loveth mercy and truth: the Lord will give grace and glory.
He will not deprive of good things them that walk in innocence: O Lord of hosts! blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

Ant. We receive Christ from thine altar, O Lord; in whom our heart and flesh rejoice.

℣. Educas panem de terra, alleluia.
℟. Et vinum lætificet cor hominis, alleluia.
℣. Bring forth bread out of the earth, alleluia.
℟. And may wine cheer the heart of man, alleluia.

Pater noster.
Our Father.

After the Pater noster, which is said as in the first two nocturns, the priest says:

A vinculis peccatorum nostrorum absolvat nos omnipotens et misericors Dominus.

℟. Amen.
May the almighty and merciful Lord deliver us from the chains of our sins.

℟. Amen.

Here is read the first sentence of the Gospel of the Mass of this feast; and the interpretation of it, as given by St. Augustine, is immediately added. The holy Doctor dwells particularly on the unity which our Lord intended to produce among His followers by the august Sacrament. He shows the necessity of the interior dispositions required for receiving this Sacrament with fruit; and lays special stress on this one effect: that it is to make man live for Christ, just as He lives for His Father.

Benedictio. Evangelica lectio sit nobis salus et protectio.

℟. Amen.
Blessing. May the reading of the Gospel bring us salvation and protection.

℟. Amen.

Seventh Lesson

Lectio sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. vi.

In illo tempore, dixit Jesus turbis Judæorum: Caro mea, vere est cibus: et sanguis meus, vere est potus. Et reliqua.

Homilia sancti Augustini Episcopi.

Cum cibo et potu id appetant homines, ut neque esuriant, neque sitiant, hoc veraciter non præstat, nisi iste cibus et potus, qui eos, a quibus sumitur, immortales et incorruptibiles facit: id est, societas ipsa sanctorum: ubi pax erit, et unitas plena atque perfecta. Propterea quippe, sicut etiam ante nos hoc intellexerunt homines Dei, Dominus noster Jesus Christus Corpus et Sanguinem suum in eis rebus commendavit, quae ad unum aliquid rediguntur ex multis. Namque aliud in unum ex multis granis conficitur: aliud in unum ex multis acinis confluit. Denique jam exponit quomodo id fiat, quod loquitur: et quid sit manducare Corpus ejus, et Sanguinem bibere.
Lesson from the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. vi.

At that time, Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: My flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. And the rest.

Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop.

Seeing that men desire this, by the food and drink they take, that they may suffer neither hunger nor thirst, this result is not gained by any other than this food and drink, which makes those who take it immortal and incorruptible; that is, the very fellowship of the saints, where there is peace, and full and perfect unity. For—as also men of God, who preceded us, understood this subject—it was for that purpose that our Lord Jesus Christ commended his Body and Blood in such things as are brought, from being many, into one. For the first of these is made into one, out of several grains; and the second flows into one, out of several berries. He now, at last, explains how that is effected which he is speaking: and what it is to eat his Body, and drink his Blood.

 

℟. Qui manducat meam carnem et bibit meum sanguinem, * In me manet, et ego in eo.
℣. Non est alia natio tam grandis, quae habeat deos appropinquantes sibi, sicut Deus noster adest nobis. * In me.
℟. He that eateth my fiesh, and drinketh my blood, * Abideth in me, and I in him.
℣. There is no other nation so great, that hath its gods so nigh unto it, as our God is present with us. * Abideth.

Benedictio. Divinum auxilium maneat semper nobiscum.

℟. Amen.
Blessing. May the divine assistance remain always with us.

℟. Amen.

Eighth Lesson

Qui manducat carnem meam, et bibit meum sanguinem, in me manet, et ego in illo. Hoc est ergo manducare illam escam, et illum bibere potum, in Christo manere, et illum manentem in se habere. Ac per hoc, qui non manet in Christo, et in quo non manet Christus, procul dubio nec manducat spiritaliter carnem ejus, nec bibit ejus sanguinem, licet carnaliter et visibiliter premat dentibus sacramentum Corporis et Sanguinis Christi: sed magis tantæ rei sacramentum ad judicium sibi manducat et bibit, quia immundus præsumpsit ad Christi accedere sacramenta, quæ aliquis non digne sumit, nisi qui mundus est: de quibus dicitur: Beati mundo corde, quoniam ipsi Deum videbunt.

 

He that eateth my Flesh, and drinketh my Blood, abideth in me, and I in him. This, then, it is to eat that meat, and drink that drink: to abide in Christ, and have Him abiding in one’s self. And therefore, he that abideth not in Christ, and in whom Christ doth not abide, certainly does not spiritually either eat his Flesh, or drink his Blood, although he may, carnally and visibly, press the sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood with his teeth: but rather, he eateth and drinketh the sacrament of so great a thing to his own judgment, seeing that he, unclean as he is, hath presumed to approach Christ’s sacraments, which no one worthily receives unless he be clean: of whom it is said: Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.

℟. Misit me vivens Pater, et ego vivo propter Patrem: * Et qui manducat me vivet propter me.
℣. Cibavit illum Dominus pane vitæ et intellectus. * Et qui manducat. Gloria. * Et qui manducat.
℟. The living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: * And he that eateth me, shall live by me.
℣. The Lord hath fed him with the bread of life and understanding. * And he. Glory. * And he.

Benedictio. Ad societatem civium supernorum perducat nos Rex angelorum.

℟. Amen.
Blessing. May the King of angels lead us to the fellowship of heavenly citizens.

℟. Amen.

Ninth Lesson

Sicut, inquit, misit me vivens Pater, et ego vivo propter Patrem: et qui manducat me, et ipse vivet propter me. Ac si diceret: Ut ego vivam propter Patrem, id est, ad illum tamquam ad majorem referam vitam meam, exinanitio mea fecit, in qua me misit. Ut autem quisquam vivat propter me, participatio facit, qua manducat me. Ego itaque humiliatus vivo propter Patrem: ille erectus vivit propter me. Si autem ita dictum est, vivo propter Patrem, quia ipse de illo, non ille de ipso est: sine detrimento æqualitatis dictum est. Nec tamen dicendo, et qui manducat me, et ipse vivet propter me: eamdem suam et nostram æqualitatem significavit, sed gratiam mediatoris ostendit.
As, says he, the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so, he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. It is as though he should say: * That I should live by the Father (that is, should refer my life to him as to one greater), it was done by that emptying of myself, in which he sent me. But that any one live by me, it is done by that participation whereby he eateth me. I, therefore, being brought low, live by the Father; man, being raised up, liveth by me.’ But if the words, I live by the Father, are taken in this sense, that the Son is of the Father, not the Father of the Son, they must be so taken without lessening the equality (between Father and Son). And yet, we are not to take those words, So he that eateth me, the same shall live by me, as meaning equality between Christ and ourselves: (they do not mean that) but they show the grace (bestowed by him in his office) of Mediator.

Hymn of Thanksgiving

Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te æternum Patrem; omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi cœli et universae Potestatates.
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim: incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus,
Sanctus,
Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth!
Pleni sunt cœli et terra majestatis gloriae tuæ.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus.
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur ecclesia:
Patrem immensæ majestatis;
Venerandum tuum verum, et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriæ, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius,
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu devicto mortis aculeo: aperuisti credentibus regna coelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes in gloria Patris.
Judex crederis esse venturus.
We praise thee, O God! we acknowledge thee to be our Lord.
Thee, the Father everlasting, all the earth doth worship.
To thee the Angels, to thee the heavens, and all the Powers,
To thee the Cherubim and Seraphim, cry out without ceasing:
Holy!
Holy!
Holy! Lord God of Sabaoth!
Full are the heavens and the earth of the majesty of thy glory.
Thee the glorious choir of the Apostles,
Thee the laudable company of the Prophets,
Thee the white-robed army of Martyrs doth praise.
Thee the holy Church, throughout the world, doth acknowledge:
The Father of incomprehensible majesty,
Thy adorable, true, and only Son,
And the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete.
Thou, O Christ, art the King of glory.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Thou, being to take upon thee to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb.
Thou, having overcome the sting of death, hast opened to believers the kingdom of heaven.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Thee we believe to be the Judge to come.

All kneel at the following verse:

Te ergo quæsumus, tuis famulis subveni, quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Æterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hæreditati tuæ.
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in »ternum.
Per singulos dies, benedicimus te.
Et laudamus nomen tuum in sæculum, et in saeculum sæculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri, Domine; miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi; non confundar in æternum.
We beseech thee, therefore, to help thy servants, whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious Blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy saints in eternal glory.
O Lord, save thy people, and bless thine inheritance.
And govern them, and exalt them for ever.
Every day we magnify thee.
And we praise thy name for ever and ever.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us, this day, without sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have put our trust in thee.
In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust: let me not be confounded for ever.

The three vigils of the night are over. The Church has kept watch for her Spouse; and, to beguile the hours, which seemed to go so slowly on, she has been singing the praises of her Beloved, and beseeching Him, with most ardent prayers, to come quickly. Blessed mother Church! For, blessed are they whom, when the Lord returneth from the nuptials, He shall find watching, ready to open to Him at His first knocking. He will gird Himself, as Jesus says in the Gospel, and will make them sit down to meat; and, passing, will minister unto them; and, if He shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants![57] These divisions, called nocturns, which are so long a portion of the Divine Office, yet are independent of the seven Canonical Hours of the day, have been interpreted as signifying those long ages, when the human race, sitting as it was in darkness, and a prey to the anger of God, was asking for the Mediator, who was to justify the world by His Blood,[58] and to bring back the light, by restoring that peace with heaven which had been broken by original sin. Equally with the prayers of the Patriarchs and the desires of the Prophets, the supplications of the Church and of all the just were being heard in anticipation, and were hastening the time when the Messias was to come, and to offer the great Sacrifice, whereby sin was to have an end, the justice of God be made manifest, and the covenant with many be confirmed.[59]

But the Church still awaits her Spouse every day. It is true, He came but once to die; hut He comes down every day from heaven, in order to enrich His bride, in the act of the daily Sacrifice; wherein a ceaseless application is made of the merits of the Sacrifice of the cross, which was offered up once for all, and for all future ages. This daily visit of her Jesus is the one hour to which the Church directs all she does; it divides her days into two parts, one of desire, the other of thanksgiving. She gives expression, seven times in each day, to the feelings of her heart; and to this her sacrifice of praise, which is the joyful outcome of the eucharistic Sacrifice, she invites her children. It is from the royal prophet that she learnt to do this,[60] as also to set singers before the altar, making sweet melody by their voices.[61]

For, as soon as David had brought the Ark into Jerusalem, with all the solemnity recorded in Scripture , and had completed the sacrifices,he appointed a choir of levites to miuister before it, and to glorify and praise the Lord God of Israel, in the name of all the people. Later on, when, full of days, he crowned on Sion that son of his, who was to have the happiness, denied to himself, of building the temple of Jehovah, he put into Solomon’s hands the plans of the great building, which was to substitute stability for the tent-like structure of the days of desert life. David himself drew up the permanent arrangement which was to regulate divine worship as required by the new order of things. To the four-and-twenty priestly families, who were appointed to take their turns, week by week (or, in our own way of expressing it, to be hebdomadarians) in the offering of the sacrifices, there were added, as a natural complement, four thousand singers or psalmists, who were likewise divided into four-and-twenty sets; they were to keep up an unbroken ministry of prophecy or praise, under the direction of Asaph, Heman, and Idithun, and receive lessons from two hundred and eighty-eight, who, as being skilled in the science of sacred chant, and in giving praise with harp, psaltery, and cymbal, taught the song of the Lord to their brethren.[62] Praise, or choral chanting, was prophecy in those days, just as now, in the new Testament, it is confession, that is, celebration; they sang in hope, as we sing in faith; but the object of all these chants, both theirs and ours, was and is the same, that is, Christ our Lord; and hence, so many of the sacred formulas of Israel have become those of our mother the Church.

David was the perfect type of Christ. As such, he would not merely provide the people with the words of their chants by giving them his inspired psalms, but he takes his place among the very levites, clad, like them, with a robe of fine linen, and directing their songs, on that great day of the carrying of the Ark into the holy city.[63] 'O most excellent precentor!’ says the devout and learned abbot Rupert: ‘he leads the sacred choirs, and dances before the Ark of the Lord’s covenant. O king! O prince of sacred rites! what means this excessive enthusiasm in one so noble as thou? Observe, how he, who is not of the priestly race, commands the priests, and gives his orders to the levites, that they be sanctified; he appoints the chanters; he selects who are to sing mysteries, and who the song of victory for the octave; he arranges them that are to blow the trumpets, them that are to strike the horns, and them that are to sound harps or cymbals, or psalteries, or organs. In all these things, he foresaw his Son, Christ our Lord; he ventured upon an office, which he knew was to belong to this his Son; for the Ark of the Covenant was a figure of the human Nature to be assumed by Him, since it contained the manna of the Word, and the tables of the Testament, and the rod of priestly and kingly power. It is for this reason that our David, after He had destroyed the kingdom of death, as the other David had destroyed that of Saul, carries the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, and sets it in the heavenly tabernacle, which He had Himself prepared. The Church, seeing this, excites herself, like the former people, to sing with her David. The whole multitude, therefore, of the sons of Jacob sing harmoniously; and David himself plays the harp in the house of the Lord; for, whatsoever Israel sings, she learns it from David, her master, her precentor, who, with the finger of God, strikes the harps of our hearts. It is David that rouses the souls of men, so that they give forth sounds of bodily harmony, at one time low, at another high, or grandly; and under the dictate of one same faith, the immense body of the Church, spread as she is throughout all nations, sings everywhere a chant which is varied, yet one, and she sings it to her Head, who is Christ, and it sounds sweetly in His ear.’[64]

But the dawn of our feast is breaking. Turning towards the east, the Church knows, through the twilight, that her Spouse is preparing to visit her. She is all joy at this hour, when the king of day is about to shine on our earth; she has her solemn Office of Lauds, full of gladness and praise, as its name indicates; and in this Office she invites earth, and sea, and firmament, to sing canticles which are worthy of our Jesus, who is the true Sun, for He is rising upon us, and, as the psalmist tells us, is Himself rejoicing, as a giant,[65] to come to the altar of Sacrifice.

 

LAUDS

 

℣. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.
℟. Domine ad adjuvandum me festina.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui sancto;
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen. Alleluia.
℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

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. Alleluia.

The first psalm of Lauds shows us, in all His power and infinite greatness, the Lord, the King of nations, hidden in me sacred Host. By the ever-living Sacrifice, He establishes, He strengthens, the world, notwithstanding all there is to move and disturb it. The voice of the deep sea is wonderful; but far more so, in the high heaven, is the voice of the divine Victim. Infinite Wisdom bears testimony to it on this day, for it is Wisdom that hath built the house, and set forth the table, for the great Sacrifice. Let us lead lives worthy, by their holiness, of this house, whose priceless treasure is proclaimed this day by Wisdom.

Ant. Sapientia ædificavit sibi domum, miscuit vinum, et posuit mensam, alleluia.
Ant. Wisdom hath built himself a house, mingled his wine, and set forth his table, alleluia.

Psalm 92

Dominus regnavit, decorem indutus est: indutus est Dominus fortitudinem et præcinxit se.
Etenim firmavit orbem terræ: qui non commovebitur.
Parata sedes tua ex tunc: a saeculo tu es.
Elevaverunt flumina, Domine: elevaverunt flumina vocem suam.
Elevaverunt flumina fluctus suos: a vocibus aquarum multarum.
Mirabiles elationes maris: mirabilis in altis Dominus.
Testimonia tua credibilia facta sunt nimis: domum tuam decet sanctitudo, Domine, in longitudinem dierum.

Ant. Sapientia ædificavit sibi domum, miscuit vinum et posuit mensam, alleluia.
The Lord hath reigned, he is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded himself.
For, by his Sacrifice, he hath established the world, which shall not be moved.
Thy throne, O divine Wisdom! is prepared from old: thou art from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord! the floods have lifted up their voice.
The floods have lifted up their waves, with the noise of many waters.
Wonderful are the surges of the sea: wonderful is the Lord on high.
Thy testimonies, O Wisdom! are become exceedingly credible: holiness becometh thy house, O Lord, unto length of days.

Ant. Wisdom hath built himself a house, mingled his wine, and set forth his table, alleluia.

The following psalm invites all the inhabitants of earth to enter into the house of divine Wisdom, there to celebrate, in a becoming manner, the sweet presence of Him,whose delight it is to be thus dwelling among the children of men; and yet, this very Wisdom is the Lord of glory the God who made us; we are His people,and the sheep of His exquisite pasture; let us proclaim His love with gladness and gratitude.

Ant. Angelorum esca nutrivisti populum tuum, et panem de cœlo præstitisti eis, alleluia.
Ant. Thou hast nourished thy people with the Bread of angels; and hast granted them Bread from heaven, alleluia.

Psalm 99

Jubilate Deo omnis terra, servite Domino in lætitia.
Introite in conspectu ejus; in exsultatione.
Scitote quoniam Dominus ipse est Deus; ipse fecit nos, et non ipsi nos.
Populus ejus, et oves pascuae ejus, introite portas ejus in confessione: atria ejus in hymnis, confitemini illi.
Laudate nomen ejus, quoniam suavis est Dominus; in aeternum misericordia ejus; et usque in generationem et generationem veritas ejus.

Ant. Angelorum esca nutrivisti populum tuum, et panem de coelo præstitisti eis, alleluia.
Sing joyfully unto God, all the earth! serve ye the Lord with gladness.
Come in before his Presence, with exceeding great joy.
Know ye, that the Lord is God: he made us, and not we ourselves.
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture; go ye into his gates, with praise: into his courts, with hymns, and give glory unto him.
Praise ye his name, for the Lord is sweet; his mercy endureth for ever: and his truth to generation and generation.

Ant. Thou hast nourished thy people with the Bread of angels; and hast granted them Bread from heaven, alleluia.

Jubilate Deo omnis terra, servite Domino in lætitia.
Introite in conspectu ejus; in exsultatione.
Scitote quoniam Dominus ipse est Deus; ipse fecit nos, et non ipsi nos.
Populus ejus, et oves pascuae ejus, introite portas ejus in confessione: atria ejus in hymnis, confitemini illi.
Laudate nomen ejus, quoniam suavis est Dominus; in aeternum misericordia ejus; et usque in generationem et generationem veritas ejus.

Ant. Angelorum esca nutrivisti populum tuum, et panem de coelo præstitisti eis, alleluia.
Sing joyfully unto God, all the earth! serve ye the Lord with gladness.
Come in before his Presence, with exceeding great joy.
Know ye, that the Lord is God: he made us, and not we ourselves.
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture; go ye into his gates, with praise: into his courts, with hymns, and give glory unto him.
Praise ye his name, for the Lord is sweet; his mercy endureth for ever: and his truth to generation and generation.

Ant. Thou hast nourished thy people with the Bread of angels; and hast granted them Bread from heaven, alleluia.

The two following psalms, which the Church joins together, are the prayer of the faithful soul at break of day. She has been awakened by the thirst for her God; she longs for the Bread of life, which is to fill her with marrow and fatness, that is, with the very substance of Christ, with what makes even kings delighted. She is overwhelmed with joy at the thought that to-day the object of her love is to receive a public triumph, which will, for at least a few hours, turn this earthdesert, trackless, and dry as it is—into a temple, where He will receive such solemn homage! All over the world, men are going to unite in one common feeling of adoration, joy, and praise: nations will gratefully honour the divine Fruit, which this our earth hath yielded.

Ant. Pinguis est panis Christi, et praebebit delicias regibus, alleluia.
Ant. The bread of Christ is fat, and it shall yield dainties to kings, alleluia.

Psalm 62

Deus, Deus meus: ad te de luce vigilo.
Sitivit in te anima mea: quam multipliciter tibi caro mea.
In terra deserta, et invia, et inaquosa: sic in sancto apparui tibi, ut viderem virtutem tuam et gloriam tuam.
Quoniam melior est misericordia tua super vitas: labia mea laudabunt te.
Sic benedicam te in vita mea: et in nomine tuo levabo manus meas.
Sicut adipe et pinguedine repleatur anima mea: et labiis exsultationis laudabit os meum.
Si memor fui tui super stratum meum, in matutinis meditabor in te: quia fuisti adjutor meus.
Et in velamento alarum tuarum exsultabo, adhæsit anima mea post te:me suscepit dextera tua.
Ipsi vero in vanum quæsierunt animam meam, introibunt in inferiora terræ: tradentur in manus gladii: partes vulpium erunt.
Rex vero lætabitur in Deo, laudabuntur omnes qui jurant in eo: quia obstructum est os loquentium iniqua.
O God, my God, to thee do I watch at break of day.
For thee my soul hath thirsted, for thee my flesh oh! how many ways.
In a desert land, and where there is no way, and no water: so, in the sanctuary, have I come before thee, to see thy power and thy glory.
For thy mercy is better than lives: thee my lips shall praise.
Thus will I bless thee all my life long: and in thy name I will lift up my hands.
Let my soul be filled, as with marrow and fatness, with thee, O Bread of life! and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.
If I have remembered thee upon my bed, I will meditate upon thee in the morning: because thou hast been my helper.
And I will rejoice under the covert of thy wings; my soul hath stuck close to thee: thy right hand hath received me.
But they have sought my soul in vain; they shall go into the lower parts of the earth: they shall be delivered into the bands of the sword, they shall be the portion of foxes.
The just man, thus delivered, shall, as a king, rejoice in God; all they shall be praised who swear in Him: because the mouth is stopped of them that speak wicked things.

Psalm 66

Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis: illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri.
Ut cognoscamus in terra viam tuam: in omnibus gentibus salutare tuum.
Confiteantur tibi populi, Deus: confiteantur tibi populi omnes.
Lætentur et exsultent gentes: quoniam judicas populos in æquitate, et gentes in terra dirigis.
Confiteantur tibi populi, Deus, confiteantur tibi populi omnes: terra dedit fructum suum.
Benedicat nos Deus, Deus noster, benedicat nos Deus: et metuant eum omnes fines terræ.

Ant. Pinguis est panis Christi, et praebebit delicias regibus, alleluia.
May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may he cause the light of his countenance to shine upon us, and may he have mercy on us.
That we may know thy way upon earth, O Emmanuel! thy salvation in all nations.
Let people confess unto thee, O God! let all people give praise unto thee.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice: for thou judgest the people with justice, and directest the nations upon earth.
Let the people, O God, confess unto thee: let all the people give praise unto thee: the earth hath yielded her Fruit.
May God, our God, bless us, may God bless us: and all the ends of the earth fear him.

Ant. The Bread of Christ is fat, and it shall yield dainties to kings, alleluia.

The canticle in which the three children in the fiery furnace of Babylon bade all God’s creatures to bless His name, comes to-day lending a voice to all nature, and inviting the whole of God’s works to praise their Maker. How just it is that heaven and earth should unite in paying homage to Him, who, by the great Sacrifice, which is daily renewed by the offering made of it by the priests of the Church, has re-established all things, that are in heaven and on earth![66]

Ant. Sacerdotes sancti incensum et panes offerunt Deo. alleluia.
Ant. Holy priests offer incense and Bread unto God, alleluia.

Canticle of the Three Children
(Dan. iii.)

Benedicite omnia opera Domini Domino: laudate et superexaltate eum in sæcula.
Benedicite angeli Domini Domino: benedicite cœli Domino.
Benedicite aquae omnes quæ super cœlos sunt, Domino: benedicite omnes virtutes Domini Domino.
Benedicite sol et luna Domino: benedicite stellæ cœli Domino.
Benedicite omnis imber et ros Domino: benedicite omnes spiritus Dei Domino.
Benedicite ignis et aestus Domino: benedicite frigus et aestus Domino.
Benedicite rores et pruina Domino: benedicite gelu et frigus Domino.
Benedicite glacies et nives Domino: benedicite noctes et dies Domino.
Benedicite lux et tenebræ Domino: benedicite fulgura et nubes Domino.
Benedicat terra Dominum: laudet et superexaltet eum in sæcula.
Benedicite montes et colles Domino: benedicite universa germinantia in terra Domino.
Benedicite fontes Domino: benedicite maria et flumina Domino.
Benedicite cete et omnia quæ moventur in aquis Domino: benedicite omnes volucres cœli Domino.
Benedicite omnes bestiæ, et pecora Domino: benedicite filii hominum Domino.
Benedicat Israel Dominum: laudet et superexaltet eum in sæcula.
Benedicite sacerdotes Domini Domino: benedicite servi Domini Domino.
Benedicite spiritus et animæ justorum Domino: benedicite sancti et humiles corde Domino.
Benedicite Anania, Azaria, Misael Domino: laudate et superexaltate eum in sæcula.
Benedicamus Patrem et Filium cum sancto Spiritu: laudemus, et superexaltemus eum in sæcula.
Benedictus es, Domine, in firmamento cœli: et laudabilis et gloriosus, et superexaltatus in sæcula.

Ant. Sacerdotes sancti incensum et panes offerunt Deo, alleluia.
All ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye angels of the Lord, bless the Lord: O ye heavens, bless the Lord.
O all ye waters, that are above the heavens, bless the Lord: O all ye powers of the Lord, bless the Lord.
O ye sun and moon, bless the Lord: O ye stars of heaven, bless the Lord.
O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: O all ye spirits of God, bless the Lord.
O ye fire and heat, bless the Lord: O ye cold and heat, bless the Lord.
O ye dews and hoar frosts, bless the Lord: O ye frost and cold, bless the Lord.
O ye ice and snow, bless the Lord: O ye nights and days, bless the Lord.
O ye light and darkness, bless the Lord: O ye lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord.
Oh! let the earth bless the Lord: let it praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye mountains and hills, bless the Lord: O all ye things that spring up in the earth, bless the Lord.
O ye fountains bless the Lord: O ye seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
O ye whales, and all that move in the waters, bless the Lord: O all ye fowls of the air, bless the Lord.
O all ye beasts and cattle, bless the Lord: O ye sons of men, bless the Lord.
Oh! let Israel bless the Lord: let them praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye priests of the Lord, bless the Lord: O ye servants of the Lord, bless the Lord.
O ye spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord: O ye holy and humble of heart, bless the Lord.
O Ananias, Azarias, Misael, bless ye the Lord, praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Let us bless the Father, and the Son, with the Holy Ghost; let us praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Blessed art thou, O Lord, in the firmament of heaven: and worthy of praise, and glorious, and exalted above all, for ever.

Ant. Holy priests offer incense and bread unto God, alleluia.

 


The last three psalms of Lauds, which the Church unites under one antiphon, are also the last of the psalter. They sing the praise of the Lord, and urge all creatures to bless His holy name. The first of the three has a great resemblance with the canticle of the three children; the second invites the saints to sing to the Lord who has glorified them, and, by the sacred Host, has given them to partake of His own happiness and power; the third calls on everything that can breathe forth music, to come, this day, and honour the God who is present with us by the Eucharist, and to give Him their sweetest melodies.

Ant. Vincenti dabo manna absconditum et nomen novum, alleluia.
Ant. To him that conquereth, I will give hidden manna, and a new name, alleluia.

Psalm 148

Laudate Dominum de cœlis: laudate eum in excelsis.
Laudate eum omnes angeli ejus: laudate eum, omnes virtutes ejus.
Laudate eum, sol et luna: laudate eum omnes stellæ et lumen.
Laudate eum, cœli coelorum: et aquæ omnes quæ super coelos sunt, laudent nomen Domini.
Quia ipse dixit, et facta sunt: ipse mandavit, et creata sunt.
Statuit ea in æternum, et in sæculum sæculi: præceptum posuit, et non præteribit.
Laudate Dominum de terra: dracones et omnes abyssi.
Ignis, grando, nix, glacies, spiritus procellarum: quae faciunt verbum ejus.
Montes et omnes colles: ligna fructifera, et omnes cedri.
Bestiae et universa pecora: serpentes et volucres pennatae.
Reges terrae et omnes populi: principes, et omnes judices terrae.
Juvenes, et virgines, senes cum junioribus, laudent nomen Domini: quia exaltatem est nomen ejus solius.
Confessio ejus super coelum et terram: et exaltavit cornu populi sui.
Hymnus omnibus sanctis ejus: filiis Israel, populo appropinquanti sibi.
Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise ye him in the high places.
Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.
Praise ye him, O sun and moon: praise ye him, all ye stars and light.
Praise him, ye heaven of heavens: and let all the waters, that are above the heavens, praise the name of the Lord.
For he spoke, and they were made: he commanded, and they were created.
He hath established them for ever, and for ages of ages: he hath made a decree, and it shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all ye deeps.
Fire, hail, snow, ice, stormy winds, which fulfil his word.
Mountains and all hills: fruitful trees, and all cedars.
Beasts and all cattle; serpents and feathered fowls.
Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth.
Young men and maidens: let the old with the younger, praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is exalted.
His praise is above heaven and earth: and he hath exalted the horn (the power) of his people.
A hymn to all his saints: to the children of Israel a people approaching unto him.

Psalm 149

Cantate Domino canticum novum: laus ejus in Ecclesia sanctorum.
Lætetur Israel in eo, qui fecit eum: et filii Sion exsultent in rege suo.
Laudent nomen ejus in choro: in tympano et psalterio psallant ei.
Quia beneplacitum est Domino in populo suo: et exaltabit mansuetos in salutem.
Exsultabunt sancti in gloria: lætabuntur in cubilibus suis.
Exaltationes Dei in gutture eorum: et gladii ancipites in manibus eorum.
Ad faciendam vindictam in nationibus: increpationes in populis.
Ad alligandos reges eorum in compedibus: et nobiles eorum in manicis ferreis.
Ut faciant in eis judicium conscriptum: gloria hæc est omnibus sanctis ejus.
Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: let his praise be in the Church of the saints.
Let the new Israel rejoice in him that made him: and let the children of Sion be joyful in their King.
Let them praise his name in choir: let them sing to him with the timbrel and the psaltery.
For the Lord is well pleased with his people: and the meek he will exalt unto salvation.
The saints shall rejoice in glory: they shall be joyful in their beds.
The high praises of God shall be in their mouth: and two-edged swords in their hands.
To execute vengeance upon the nation: chastisements among the people;
To bind their kings with fetters: and their nobles with manacles of iron;
To execute upon them the judgment that is written: this glory is to all his saints.

Psalm 150

Laudate Dominum in sanctis ejus: laudate eum in firmamento virtutis ejus.
Laudate eum in virtutibus ejus: laudate eum secundum multitudinem magnitudinis ejus.
Laudate eum in sono tubae: laudate eum in psalterio et cithara.
Laudate eum in tympano et choro: laudate eum in chordis et organo.
Laudate eum in cymbalis bene sonantibus, laudate eum in cymbalis jubilationis: omnis spiritus laudet Dominum.

Ant. Vincenti dabo manna absconditum, et nomen novum, alleluia.
Praise ye the Lord in his holy places: praise ye him, in the firmament of his power.
Praise ye him for his mighty acts: praise ye him according to the multitude of his greatness.
Praise him with sound of trumpet: praise him with psaltery and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and choir: praise him with strings and organ.
Praise him on high sounding cymbals, praise him on cymbals of joy: let every spirit praise the Lord.

Ant. To him that conquereth, I will give hidden manna, and a new name, alleluia.

 


The following capitulum is taken from the first Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians. We have already had it, with what precedes and follows it, in the first nocturn lessons.

Capitulum
(1 Cor. xi.)

Fratres, ego enim accepi a Domino quod et tradidi vobis, quoniam Dominus Jesus in qua nocte tradebatur, accepit panem, et gratias agens, fregit, et dixit: Accipite, et manducate; hoc est Corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradetur: hoc facite in meam commemorationem.
Brethren, for I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye and eat: this is my Body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me.

The hymn is celebrated for its fourth strophe, which, in its graceful brevity, resumes the mystery of our Jesus, who is our companion, food, ransom, and recompense. Let us sing it with gratitude, confidence , and love.

Hymn*

Verbum supernum prodiens,
Nec Patris linquens dexteram,
Ad opus suum exiens,
Venit ad vitæ vesperam.

In mortem a discipulo
Suis tradendus aemulis,
Prius in vitae ferculo
Se tradidit discipulis.

Quibus sub bina specie
Carnem dedit et sanguinem:
Ut duplicis substantiae
Totum cibaret hominem.

Se nascens dedit socium,
Convescens in edulium,
Se moriens in pretium,
Se regnans dat in praemium.

O salutaris Hostia,
Quae cœli pandis ostium:
Bella premunt hostilia,
Da robur, fer auxilium.

Uni, trinoque Domino
Sit sempiterna gloria:
Qui vitam sine termino
Nobis donet in patria.

Amen.
The divine Word coming forth,
yet leaving not his Father’s right hand,
went forth to do his work;
and reached the evening of his life.

When about to be given over,
by a disciple, to his enemies,
he first gave himself to his disciples,
in the food of life.

He gave them his Flesh and his Blood
under the twofold species,
that he might thus feed man,
who is of a twofold nature.

He was born, and became our companion;
he eat with us, and became our food;
he died, and became our ransom;
he reigns, and is our reward.

O saving Host,
that openest heaven’s gate!
we are pressed by wars and foes;
Oh give us strength and aid!

May everlasting glory
be to the Triune God!
and may he give to us life without end,
in our country above!

Amen.

℣. Posuit fines tuos pacem, alleluia.

℟. Et adipe frumenti satiat te, alleluia.
℣. He hath placed peace in thy borders, alleluia.

℟. And filleth thee with the fat of corn, alleluia.

The canticle of Zachary is now sung: it is the Church’s daily welcome of the rising Sun. It celebrates the coming of Jesus to His creatures; the fulfilment of the promises made by God; and the apparition of the divine Orient in the midst of our darkness.

Ant. Ego sum panis vivus, qui de cœlo descendi: si quis manducaverit ex hoc pane, vivet in æternum, alleluia.
Ant. I am the living Bread, that am come down from heaven: if any man shall eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever, alleluia.

Canticle of Zachary
(St.Luke i.)

Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel: quia visitavit, et fecit redemptionem plebis suæ.
Et erexit cornu salutis nobis: in domo David pueri sui.
Sicut locutus est per os sanctorum: qui a sæculo sunt prophetarum ejus.
Salutem ex inimicis nostris: et de manu omnium qui oderunt nos.
Ad faciendam misericordiam cum patribus nostris: et memorari testamenti sui sancti.
Jusjurandum quod juravit ad Abraham patrem nostrum: daturum se nobis.
Ut sine timore de manu inimicorum nostrorum liberati: serviamus illi.
In sanctitate et justitia coram ipso: omnibus diebus nostris.
Et tu, puer, propheta Altissimi vocaberis: præibis enim ante faciem Domini parare vias ejus.
Ad dandam scientiam salutis plebi ejus: in remissionem peccatorum eorum.
Per viscera misericordiæ Dei nostri: in quibus visitavit nos Oriens ex alto.
Illuminare his, qui in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedent: ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis.

Ant. Ego sum panis vivus, qui de coelo descendi; si quis manducaverit ex hoc pane, vivet in æternum, alleluia.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel: because he hath visited, and wrought the redemption of his people.
And hath raised up an horn of salvation to us, in the house of David his servant.
As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets who are from the beginning.
Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us.
To perform mercy to our fathers, and to remember his holy testament.
The oath which he swore to Abraham, our father; that he would grant to us.
That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, we may serve him without fear.
In holiness and justice before him, all our days.
And thou, child, Precursor of the Emmanuely shalt be called the prophet of the Most High: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways.
To give unto his people the knowledge of salvation, unto the remission of their sins.
Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us;
To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death; to direct our feet into the way of peace.

Ant. I am the living Bread, that am come down from heaven; if any man shall eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever, alleluia.

Collect

Deus, qui nobis sub Sacramento mirabili passionis tuæ memoriam reliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos Corporis et Sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuæ fructum in nobis jugiter sentiamus. Qui vivis et regnas. Amen.
O God, who, under the wonderful Sacrament, hast left us a memorial of thy Passion: grant us, we beseech thee, so to reverence the sacred mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that, in our souls, we may always feel the fruit of thy Redemption. Who livest, &c.

The sun has risen in his splendour, while the sweet chants of the sanctuary have been greeting the coming of the divine Orient. The appointed ministers of the sacred psalmody have been giving, in the name of the whole world, the solemn tribute of Lauds to God the Creator and Redeemer; and now that the king of day is up, we behold a very busy scene outside the precincts of the holy place: the children of men are all intent on a work, in which neither the desire of lucre, nor the thirst after pleasure, have any share. Tidings of salvation have been heard; the voice of rejoicing is in the tabernacles of the just:[67] ‘God is preparing to visit his creatures; Emmanuel, who is present in the sacred Host, is about to go forth from His sanctuary; He is coming into your cities and your fields, to hold His court in your green forests;[68] the Lord God hath shone upon you, He hath appointed this solemn day; prepare His throne with shady boughs, and cover the way to the horn of the altar with flowers!’[69]

This announcement has excited a holy enthusiasm in the souls of men. For several previous days, many a faithful heart has had something of the feelings which animated David, when he vowed his vow to the God of Jacob: ‘I will not enter into the tabernacle of my house, I will not go up into the bed wherein I lie, I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or rest to my temples, until I find out a place for the Lord, and a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.'[70] O beautiful reposoirs! resting-places where are to stand the feet of the King of peace![71] short-lived but exquisite designs! the produce of that sacred poetry which comes from the supernatural love of the Christian! We see them to-day, everywhere, save alas! where cold heresy has come to keep man from being too earnest in his worship of his Saviour! On every Catholic heart, even on those who, at all other times, seem to be out of the influence of grace, the mystery of faith makes its power tell; and many a wife, and daughter, and sister, who have seen the other feasts of the year of grace pass by and produce no effect on those dear to them who are out of the Church, on this bright summer morning have beheld them all busy in preparing decorations for the triumphant procession of Emmanuel (whom they have so long negleoted to receive), and spending themselves in getting the best of everything they can give, or procure, for the God who is so soon to pass by that way, and, passing, to give these dear ones the blessing of a conversion! It is the wakening up of the faith of their Baptism; it is the grace of the Sacrament of love working at a distance; a grace of a reminder of other and happier days, of first Communion perhaps; and when Jesus passes through the crowd, He will look at them, and they shall remember, and shall be converted to the Lord.[72]

It is such a morning! Heaven is all gladness; earth is doing its best to be perfect; the mighty sea will look, here and there, on some procession of the holy Sacrament, and, seeing, will praise its Lord with the voice of its wonderful surges.[73] The fields and all things that are in them, flowers, trees, branches, fragrance, all are rejoicing before the face of the Lord, because He cometh, not, indeed, to judge this world with justice,[74] but to visit us with exceeding great love!

It is very hard to be indifferent whilst everything around us is so excited at the near approach of our God. Let us, if we can take no other share in preparing for the procession, be full of love for that most dear King who is coming, not only to receive our homage, which is so justly His due, but moreover to load us with blessings.

All is now ready for the triumph of our Emmanuel. While the church bells are convoking the faithful to come to the great Sacrifice, for that now all things are ready,[75] we offer our readers a page which will interest them: it is the last ever written for this Liturgical Year, from which they have been deriving so much instruction during all the past months. Our much-loved father is drawing a plan of the feast; and we give it, almost exactly as we found it amongst his notes.

‘The grand feast has, at length, dawned upon us; and everything is speaking of the triumph of faith and love. During the feast of the Ascension, when commenting those words of our Lord: It is expedient to you that I go,[76] we were saying that the withdrawal of the visible presence of the Man-God from the eyes of men on earth, would bring among them, by the vivid operation of the Holy Ghost, a plenitude of light and a warmth of love which they had not had for Jesus, during His mortal career among them; the only creature that had rendered to Him, in her single self, the whole of those duties which the Church afterwards paid Him, was Mary, who was all illumined with faith.

‘In his exquisite hymn, Adoro te devote, St. Thomas of Aquin says: ‘On the cross the Divinity alone was hid; but here the Humanity, too, is hid’; and yet, on no day of the year is the Church more triumphant, or more demonstrative, than she is upon this feast. Heaven is all radiant; our earth has clad herself with her best, that she may do homage to Him, who has said: ‘I am the Flower of the fields, and the Lily of the valleys.'[77] Holy Church is not satisfied with having prepared a throne whereon, during the whole of this octave, the sacred Host is to receive the adorations of the faithful; she has decreed, that these days of solemn and loving exposition be preceded by the pageant of a triumph. Not satisfied, to-day, with elevating the Bread of life, immediately after the words of Consecration: she will carry It beyond the precincts of her churches, amidst clouds of incense, and on paths strewn with flowers; and her children, on bended knee, will adore, under heaven’s vaulted canopy, Him who is their King and their God.

‘Those joys, which each separate solemnity of the year brought us, seem to come back upon us, all of them at once, to-day. The royal prophet had foretold this, when he said: ‘He, (the Lord) hath made a remembrance (a memorial) of His wonderful works: He hath given Food to them that fear Him.’[78] Holy Church is filled with enthusiasm, holding in her arms that divine Spouse, who said: ‘Lo! I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.'[79] Nothing could be more formal; and the promise has been faithfully kept. It is true, we beheld Him ascending from Mount Olivet; He went up into heaven, and there He sitteth at His Father’s right hand: but ever since the memorable day of Pentecost, when the holy Spirit took possession of the Church, the sacred mystery of the Supper has been celebrated, in virtue of those words spoken by Jesus: Do this in remembrance of Me; and from that day forward, the human race has never been deprived of the presence of its Head and its Redeemer.

‘No wonder, therefore, that holy mother Church, possessing, as she does, the Word, the Son of God, is suddenly filled with wisdom. The sacramental Species, it is true, are there shrouding the mystery; but they are only existing for the purpose of leading into the invisible....’

These are the last words written for this work by our venerated Abbot: they are followed by the indication of several passages from the works of Saint Augustine, bearing on the union between the Word and man, between divine Wisdom and our humanity, in the sacred mysteries. Our beloved father was just on the point of developing these outlines of the ineffable mystery of the marriage-feast in the eucharistic banquet, when death came upon him, and deprived us of his teaching, which we had all been so long and so impatiently expecting. The continuators of his Liturgical Year, have made these his words their guide during the whole octave of this feast. Our readers will pardon us, his children, for thus respecting the wishes of such a teacher. No doubt, the theme he left them to finish, and the plan on which he intended to treat it, are very sublime; but they hesitated not to take both up, the more so as their own weakness would be less felt now, after the nine previous volumes, and the foregoing pages of this, have prepared the faithful soul for solid and choice instruction on the mysteries of our holy faith. There has been a progressive formation of the Christian, commencing with the subdued light of Advent, and leading up to the brilliant radiance of Pentecost; and all this must necessarily fit him for the sublime truths which we are still to put before him, and which, of course, we ourselves are but taking from the Scriptures and the fathers. Such was the plan proposed, such was the hope entertained, by the author of this work, when he wrote the following lines in the Christmas volume:

In the mystery of Christmas and its forty days, the light is given to us, so to speak, softened down; our weakness required that it should be so. It is, indeed the divine Word, the Wisdom of the Father, that we are invited to know and imitate; but this Word, this Wisdom, is shown us under the appearance of a Child. . . . Now, every soul that has been admitted to Bethlehem, that is to say, into the house of bread, and has been united with Him who is the Light of the world, no longer walks in darkness. . . . The light has shone upon us, and we are resolved to keep up the light, nay, to cherish its growth within us, in proportion as the liturgical year unfolds its successive seasons of mysteries and graces. God grant that we may reflect in our souls the Church's progressive development of this divine light; and be led, by its brightness, to that union, which crowns both the year of the Church, and the faithful soul which has spent the year under the Church’s guidance.[80]

And now, after these few words of necessary digression, we resume the explanation of the liturgy for this feast.

 

MASS

 

The procession, which immediately precedes Mass on other feasts, is to-day deferred till after the offering of the great Sacrifice. In this procession, Jesus is to preside in Person: we must, therefore, wait until the sacred Action (so our fathers call the Mass) has bowed down to us the heavens where He resides.[81] He will soon be shrouded beneath the mysterious cloud. He is coming, that He may nourish His elect with the fat of wheat, of that Wheat which has fallen on our earth,[82] and is to be multiplied by being mystically immolated on the countless altars of this earth. He is coming, to-day, that He may receive a triumph at the hand of His people, and hear the songs we shall so joyously sing to the God of Jacob. These are the ideas expressed by the Introit, wherewith the Church opens her chants during the holy Sacrifice; it is taken from Psalm lxxx, which is so sublime, and is one of those already recited in the Matins of this feast.

Introit

Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti, alleluia: et de petra, melle saturavit eos, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Exsultate Deo adjutori nostro: jubilate Deo Jacob. ℣. Gloria Patri. Cibavit eos.
He fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia: and filled them with honey out of the rock, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Rejoice unto God, our helper: sing joyfully unto the God of Jacob. ℣. Glory, &c. He fed them.

In the Collect, the Church reminds us of the intention our Lord had in instituting, on the eve of His Passion, the Sacrament of His love: it was to be a perpetual memorial of the Passion, which He was then going to suffer. Our mother prays that, being thus imbued with the spirit which leads her to pay honour to the Body and Blood of Christ, we may obtain the blessings which were purchased for us by His Sacrifice.

Collect

Deus qui nobis sub Sacramento mirabili passionis tuæ memoriam reliquisti: tribue, quæsumus; ita nos Corporis et sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuæ fructum in nobis jugiter sentiamus. Qui vivis.
O God, who, under the wonderful Sacrament, hast left us a memorial of thy Passion: grant us, we beseech thee, so to reverence the sacred mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that, in our souls, we may always feel the fruit of thy Redemption. Who livest, &c.

Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.

I. Cap. xi.

Fratres, ego enim accepi a Domino quod et tradidi vobis, quoniam Dominus Jesus, in qua nocte tradebatur, accepit panem, et gratias agens fregit et dixit: Accipite et manducate: hoc est corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradetur: hoc facite in meam commemorationem. Similiter et calicem, postquam cœnavit, dicens: Hic calix novum testamentum est in meo sanguine: hoc facite quotiescumque bibetis, in meam commemorationem. Quotiescumque enim manducabitis panem hunc, et calicem bibetis: mortem Domini annuntiabitis donec veniat. Itaque quicumque manducaverit panem hunc, vel biberit calicem Domini indigne: reus erit corporis et sanguinis Domini. Probet autem seipsum homo: et sic de pane illo edat, et de calice bibat. Qui enim manducat et bibit indigne, judicium sibi manducat et bibit: non dijudicans corpus Domini.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

I. Ch. xi.

Brethren, for I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye and eat: this is my body which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner, also, the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in myblood: this do ye, as often as ye shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as ye shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, ye shall show the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But, let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

The holy Eucharist, both as Sacrifice and Sacrament, is the very centre of the Christian religion; and therefore our Lord would have a fourfold testimony to be given, in the inspired writings, to its institution. Besides the accounts given by Saints Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we have also that of St. Paul, which has just been read to us, and which he received from the lips of Jesus Himself, who vouchsafed to appear to him, after his conversion, and instruct him.

St. Paul lays particular stress on the power, given by our Lord to His disciples, of renewing the act which He Himself had just been doing. He tells us, what the evangelists had not explicitly mentioned, that as often as a priest consecrates the Body and Blood of Christ, he shows (he announces) the death of the Lord: by that expression he tells us that the Sacrifice of the cross, and that of our altars, is one and the same. It is, likewise, by the immolation of our Redeemer on the cross, that the Flesh of this Lamb of God is truly meat, and His Blood truly drink, as we shall he told in a few moments, by the Gospel. Let not the Christian, therefore, forget it, even on this day of festive triumph. The Church insists on the same truth in her Collect of this feast: it is the teaching which she keeps repeating, in this formula, throughout the entire octave; and her object in this is to impress vividly on the minds of her children this last and earnest injunction of Jesus: ‘As often as ye shall drink of this cup of the new Testament, do it for the commemoration of Me!’ The selection she makes of this passage of St. Paul for the Epistle, should impress the Christian with this truth: that the divine Flesh which feeds his soul was prepared on Calvary; and that, although the Lamb of God is now living and impassible, He became our food, our nourishment, by the cruel death which he endured. The sinner, who has made his peace with God, will partake of this sacred Body with deep compunction, reproaching himself for having shed its Blood by his sins: the just man will approach the holy Table with humility, remembering how he, also, has had but too great a share in causing the innocent Lamb to suffer; and that, if he be at present in the state of grace, he owes it to the Blood of the Victim whose Flesh is about to be given to him for his nourishment.

But let us dread, and dread above all things, the sacrilegious daring, spoken against in such strong language by our apostle, which, by a monstrous contradiction, would attempt to put again to death Him who is the Author of life; and this attempt to be made in the very banquet, which was procured for us men by the precious Blood of this Saviour! Let a man prove himself, says the apostle; and so let him eat of that breads and drink of the chalice. This proving one’s self is sacramental confession, which must be made by him who feels himself guilty of a grievous sin, which has never before been confessed. How sorry soever he may be for it, were he even reconciled to God by an act of perfect contrition, the injunction of the apostle, interpreted by the custom of the Church and the decision of her Councils,[83] forbids his approaching the holy Table until he has submitted his sin to the power of the keys.

The Gradual and Alleluia-verse are a further instance of the parallelism between the two Testaments, which we have already noticed in the composition of the Matins responsories. The psalmist extols the bounty of God, to whom every living creature looks for its food; and Jesus offers Himself to us, as we have it in St. John’s Gospel, as our truest nourishment.

Gradual

Oculi omnium in te sperant, Domine: et tu das illis escam in tempore opportuno.

℣. Aperis tu manum tuam, et imples omne animal benedictione. Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Caro mea vere est cibus, et sanguis meus vere est potus; qui manducat meam carnem, et bibit meum sanguinem, in me manet, et ego in eo.
The eyes of all hope in thee, O Lord: and thou givest them food in due season.

℣. Thou openest thy hand, and finest with thy blessing every living creature. Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. My flesh is truly meat, and my blood is truly drink; he that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him.

Then follows the Sequence, that well-known composition of the Angelic Doctor. The Church, the true Sion, expresses her enthusiasm, and love, for the living and life-giving Bread, in words which, at first sight, would seem too precise and scholastic to be adapted to a poetic form or sentiment. The Eucharistic mystery is here developed with that concision and solemnity for which St. Thomas had such a wonderful talent. The words are accompanied by a chant which is worthy of them; and the two together excite in the Christian soul the sentiments of unearthly joy, which are so peculiar to this feast of the Sacrament of love.

Sequence

Lauda Sion Salvatorem,
Lauda ducem et pastorem
In hymnis et canticis.

Quantum potes, tantum aude:
Quia major omni laude,
Nec laudare sufficis.

Laudis thema specialis,
Panis vivus et vitalis
Hodie proponitur.

Quem in sacræ mensa cœnæ,
Turbæ fratrum duodenæ
Datum non ambigitur.

Sit laus plena sit sonora,
Sit jucunda, sit decora
Mentis jubilatio;

Dies enim solemnis agitur,
In qua mensæ prima recolitur
Hujus institutio.

In hac mensa novi Regis,
Novum Pascha novæ legis
Phase vetus terminat.

Vetustatem novitas,
Umbram fugat veritas,
Noctem lux eliminat.

Quod in cœna Christus gessit,
Faciendum hoc expressit
In sui memoriam.

Docti sacris institutis,
Panem, vinum in salutis
Consecramus hostiam.

Dogma datur Christianis,
Quod in carnem transit panis,
Et vinum in sanguinem.

Quod non capis, quod non vides,
Animosa firmat fides,
Præter rerum ordinem.

Sub diversis speciebus,
Signis tantum et non rebus,
Latent res eximiae.

Caro cibus, sanguis potus;
Manet tamen Christus totus
Sub utraque specie.

A sumente non concisus,
Non confractus, non divisus,
Integer accipitur.

Sumit unus, sumunt mille;
Quantum isti, tantum ille:
Nec sumptus consumitur.

Sumunt boni, sumunt mali:
Sorte tamen inaequali,
Vitae vel interitus.

Mors est malis, vita bonis:
Vide paris sumptionis
Quam sit dispar exitus.

Fracto demum Sacramento,
Ne vacilles, sed memento,
Tantum esse sub fragmento,
Quantum toto tegitur.

Nulla rei fit scissura,
Signi tantum fit fractura:
Qua nec status, nec statura
Signati minuitur.

Ecce panis angelorum,
Factus cibus viatorum:
Vere panis filiorum,
Non mittendus canibus.

In figuris præsignatur,
Cum Isaac immolatur:
Agnus Paschæ deputatur,
Datur manna patribus.

Bone Pastor, panis vere,
Jesu nostri miserere:
Tu nos pasce, nos tuere:
Tu nos bona fac videre
In terra viventium.

Tu qui cuncta scis et vales,
Qui nos pascis hic mortales:
Tuos ibi commensales,
Cohæredes et sodales,
Fac sanctorum civium.

Amen. Alleluia.
Praise thy Saviour, O Sion!
praise thy guide and shepherd,
in hymns and canticles.

As much as thou hast power, so also dare;
for he is above all praise,
nor canst thou praise him enough.

This day there is given to us
a special theme of praise
—the living and life-giving Bread,

Which, as our faith assures us,
was given to the twelve brethren,
as they sat at the table of the holy Supper.

Let our praise be full, let it be sweet:
let our soul’s jubilee be joyous,
let it be beautiful;

For we are celebrating that great day,
whereon is commemorated
the first institution of this Table.

In this Table of the new King,
the new Pasch of the new Law
puts an end to the old Passover.

Newness puts the old to flight,
and so does truth the shadow;
the light drives night away.

What Christ did at that Supper,
that he said was to be done
in remembrance of him.

Taught by his sacred institutions,
we consecrate the bread and wine
into the Victim of salvation.

This is the dogma given to Christians
—that bread passes into Flesh,
and wine into Blood.

What thou understandest not, what thou seest not,
that let a generous faith confirm thee
in beyond nature’s course.

Under the different species,
which are signs not things,
there hidden lie things of infinite worth.

The Flesh is food, the Blood is drink;
yet Christ is whole
under each species.

He is not cut by the receiver,
nor broken, nor divided:
he is taken whole.

He is received by one, he is received by a thousand;
the one receives as much as all;
nor is he consumed, who is received.

The good receive, the bad receive,
but with the difference
of life or death.

’Tis death to the bad, ’tis life to the good:
lo! how unlike is the effect
of the one like receiving.

And when the Sacrament is broken,
waver not! but remember,
that there is as much under each fragment,
as is hid under the whole.

Of the substance that is there, there is no division;
it is but the sign that is broken;
and he who is the signified, is not thereby diminished,
either as to state or stature.

Lo! the Bread of angels
is made the food of pilgrims;
verily it is the Bread of the children,
not to be cast to dogs.

It is foreshown in figures:
when Isaac is slain,
when the Paschal Lamb is prescribed,
when Manna is given to our fathers.

O good Shepherd! true Bread!
Jesus! have mercy upon us:
feed us, defend us:
give us to see good things
in the land of the living.

O thou, who knowest and canst do all things,
who feedest us mortals here below,
make us to be thy companions
in the banquet yonder above,
and thy joint-heirs, and fellow-citizens with the saints!

Amen. Alleluia.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. vi.

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus turbis Judaeorum: Caro mea vere est cibus: et sanguis meus vere est potus. Qui manducat meam carnem et bibit meum sanguinem, in me manet, et ego in in illo. Sicut misit me vivens Pater, et ego vivo propter patrem: et qui manducat me, et ipse vivet propter me. Hic est panis qui de coelo descendit. Non sicut manducaverunt patres vestri manna, et mortui sunt. Qui manducat hunc panem, vivet in æternum.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. vi.

At that time: Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: My flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so, he that eateth me, the same, also, shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.

The beloved disciple could not remain silent on the mystery of love. But, at the time when he wrote his Gospel, the institution of the Eucharist had been sufficiently recorded by the three evangelists who had preceded him, as also by the apostle of the Gentiles, Instead, therefore, of repeating what these had written, he completed it, by relating the solemn promise made by Jesus, on the banks of Lake Tiberias, a year before the last Supper.

He was surrounded by the thousands, who were in admiration at His having miraculously multiplied the loaves and fishes: Jesus takes the opportunity of telling them that He Himself is the true bread come down from heaven, which, unlike the manna given to their fathers by Moses, could preserve man from death. Life is the best of all gifts, as death is the worst of evils. Life exists in God as in its source;[84] He alone can give it to whom He pleases, and restore it to him who has lost it. Man, who was created in grace, lost his life, when he sinned, and incurred death. But God so loved the world as to send it, lost as it was, His Son,[85] with the mission of restoring man to life. True God of true God, Light of Light, the only-begotten Son is, likewise, true Life of true Life, by nature: and, as the Father enlightens them that are in darkness, by this Son who is His Light, so likewise. He gives life to them that are dead, and He gives it to them in this same Son who is His living Image.[86] The Word of God, then, came amongst men, that they might have life, and abundant life.[87] And whereas it is the property of food to increase and maintain life, therefore did He become our Food, our living and life-giving Food, which has come down from heaven; partaking of the life eternal which He has in His Father’s bosom, the Flesh of the Word communicates this same life to them that eat It. That, as St. Cyril of Alexandria observes, which of its own nature is corruptible, cannot be brought to life in any other way, than by its corporal union with the Body of Him who is life by nature: now, just as two pieces of wax melted together by the fire make but one, so are we and Christ made one by our partaking of His Body and Blood. This life, therefore, which resides in the Flesh of the Word, made ours within us, shall be no more overcome by death; on the day appointed, this life will throw off the chains of the old enemy, and will triumph over corruption in these our bodies, making them immortal.[88] Hence it is that the Church, with her delicate feelings as bride and mother, selects from this same passage of St. John her Gospel for the daily Mass of the dead; thus drying up the tears of the living who are mourning over their departed friends, and consoling them by bringing them into the presence of the holy Host, which is the source of true life, and the centre of all our hopes.

Thus not only was the soul to be renewed by her contact with the Word, but even the body, earthly and material as it is, was to share, in its way, in what our Saviour called the Spirit that quickeneth.[89] ‘They,’ St. Gregory of Nyssa has so beautifully said, ‘who have been led, by an enemy’s craft, to take poison, neutralize, by some other potion, the power which would cause death; and as was the deadly, so likewise the curative must be taken into the very bowels of the sufferer; that so the efficacy of that which brings relief may permeate through the whole body. Thus we, having tasted that which ruined our nature, require something which will restore and put right that which was disordered; that, when this salutary medioine shall be within us, it may, as an antidote, drive out the mischief of the poison, which had previously been taken into the body. And what is this (salutary medioine)? No other than that Body, which had both been shown to be stronger than death, and was the beginning of our life. For, says the apostle, as a little leaven makes the whole paste to be like itself, so likewise that Body, which God had willed should be put to death, when it is within ours, transmutes and transfers it wholly into Itself. . . . Now, the only way whereby a substance may be thus received into the body, is by its being taken as food and drink.’[90]

The Offertory is taken from the words of Leviticus (xxi. 6.) wherein God commands the priests of the ancient covenant to be holy because of their having to offer holocausts and loaves of proposition to Him, as figures of something future. As much as the priesthood of the new Testament is superior to this ministry of the figurative Law, so much should the hands of Aaron be surpassed in holiness by those that have to offer to God the Father the true Bread of heaven, which is the sacrifice of infinite fragrance.

Offertory

Sacerdotes Domini incensum et panes offerunt Deo: et ideo sancti erunt Deo suo, et non polluent nomen ejus, alleluia.
The priests of the Lord offer unto God the burnt-offering and loaves: and therefore shall they be holy to their God, and shall not defile his name, alleluia.

In the Secret, the priest prays that there may be in the Church that unity and peace, which are the special grace of the holy Sacrament, as the fathers teach us. The very bread and wine, which are offered, express this: the bread is made up out of many grains, and the wine out of many berries.

The Preface, both for the feast and the octave, is that of Christmas: we are thus reminded of the close connexion which exists between the two mysteries of the birth of Christ and the Eucharist. It was in Bethlehem, the house of bread, that Jesus, the Bread of life, came down from heaven, through the Virgin, His ever blessed Mother.

Secret

Ecclesiæ tuae, quæsumus Domine, unitatis et pacis propitius dona concede: quae sub oblatis muneribus mystice designantur. Per Dominum.
Mercifully grant thy Church, O Lord, we beseech thee, the gifts of unity and peace, which are mystically represented in these offerings. Through, &c.

Preface

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: quia per incarnati Verbi mysterium, nova mentis nostræ oculis lux tuæ claritatis infulsit: ut dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus, per hunc in invisibilium amorem rapiamur: et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militia coelestis exercitus hymnum gloriæ tuæcanimus, sine fine dicentes.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God; for that, by the mystery of the Incarnate Word, a new ray of thy glory has appeared to the eyes of our soul: so that while we behold God visibly, we may be carried by him to the love of things invisible: and therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly host, we sing a hymn to thy glory, saying unceasingly.

Faithful to her Lord’s injunction, which she brought before us in the Epistle, the Church reminds her children, in the Communion-anthem, that they announce the death of Christ, when they receive His Body; and that consequently they should tremble at the very thought of an unworthy Communion.

Communion

Quotiescumque manducabitis panem hunc, et calicem bibetis, mortem Domini annuntiabitis, donec veniat: itaque quicumque manducaverit panem, vel biberit calicem Domini indigne, reus erit corporis et sanguinis Domini, alleluia.
As often as ye shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, ye shall show the death of the Lord, until he come: whosoever, therefore, shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord, alleluia.

The Church concludes the mysteries by praying for that eternal and unveiled union with the divine Word, of which she has a pledge and figure in partaking, here below, of the real substance of His Body and Blood, under the veil of faith.

Postcommunion

Fac nos, quæsumus Domine, divinitatis tuæ sempiterna fruitione repleri: quam pretiosi Corporis et Sanguinis tui temporalis perceptio præfigurat. Qui vivis.
Grant us, O Lord, we beseech thee, the everlasting possession of thyself: as a pledge of which, we have received thy Body and Blood. Who livest, &c.

 

The Procession

 

Who is this who comes up, embalming the desert of the world with her clouds of incense and myrrh, and perfumes unnumbered? The bride has awakened of her own accord, to-day. Full of desire to please Him, and very lovely, the Church is standing before the golden litter whereon is throned her Spouse in His glory. Near Him are drawn up the valiant ones of Israel: the priests and levites of the Lord who are strong even with God. Go forth, ye daughters of Sion! fix your gaze on the true Solomon, so beautiful in the diadem wherewith His mother crowned Him on the day of His espousals, the day of the joy of His heart![91] The diadem is the Flesh received by the divine Word, from the Virgin Mother, when He took our human nature for His bride.[92] By this most perfect of bodies, by this sacred Flesh, the ineffable mystery of the marriage between man and eternal Wisdom is every day continued in the Eucharistic banquet. For our true Solomon, then, each day is the day of the joy of His heart, the day of nuptial rejoicing. Could anything be more just than that, once in the year, holy Church should give full freedom to the transports of her love for her divine Spouse, who resides with her in the Sacrament of love, although in a hidden manner? It is on this account that, in to-day’s Mass, the priest has consecrated two Hosts; and that after having received one of these in Communion, he has placed the other in the glittering Ostensorium, which is to be carried in his trembling hands, beneath a canopy, while hymns of triumphant joy are being sung, and the faithful, in prostrate adoration, are being blessed by Jesus, who thus comes amongst them.

This solemn homage to the sacred Host is, as we have already said, a later institution than the feast itself of Corpus Christi. Pope Urban IV. does not speak of it in his Bull of the Institution, in 1264. Twenty-two years later, Durandus of Mende wrote hisRational of Divine Offices, in which he several times mentions the processions which were then in use; but he has not a word upon that of Corpus Christi. On the other hand, Martin V. and Eugenius IV., in their Constitutions, which we have already quoted (May 26, 1429, May 26, 1433), plainly show that it was then in use, for they grant Indulgences to those who are present at it. Donatus Bossius of Milan tells us, in his Chronicle, that on Thursday, May 24, 1404, ‘the Body of Christ was, for the first time, solemnly carried through the streets of Padua; and this practice has since become the custom.’ Some writers have concluded from these words that the procession of Corpus Christi was not in use before that date, and that it first originated at Padua; but the words of Bossius scarcely justify such an inference, and the words he uses may be understood of a local custom.

Indeed, we find mention made of this procession, in a manuscript of the Church of Chartres in 1330; in an Act of the Chapter of Tournai in 1325; in a Council of Paris in 1323; and in one held at Sens in 1320. These two Councils grant indulgences to those who observe abstinence and fasting on the vigil of Corpus Christi, and they add these words: ‘As to the solemn procession made on the Thursday’s feast, when the holy Sacrament is carried, seeing that it appears to have been introduced in these our times by a sort of inspiration, we prescribe nothing at present, and leave all concerning it to the devotion of the clergy and people.'[93] It seems, then, that the initiative to the institution of to-day’s procession was given by the devotion of the faithful; and that this admirable completion of our feast began in France, and thence was adopted in all the Churches of the west.

There is ground for supposing that at first the sacred Host was carried in these processions veiled over, or enclosed in a sort of rich shrine. Even so far back as the eleventh century, it had been the custom, in some places, to carry It in this way during the processions of Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday morning. We have elsewhere spoken of these devotional practices, which, however, were not so much for the direct purpose of honouring the blessed Sacrament, as for that of bringing more forward the mystery of those solemnities.[94] Be this as it may, the use of ostensoria, or monstrances, as they are termed in a Council held in 1452 at Cologne, soon followed the institution of the new procession. They were made, at first, in shape like little towers. In a manuscript Missal, dated 1374, the letter D, the initial of the Collect for Corpus Christi, gives us a miniature illumination representing a bishop, accompanied by two acolytes, who is carrying a Host in a golden tower with four openings. But Catholic piety soon sought to compensate the Sun of justice for thus hiding Himself and His glory in the mystery of love. The sacred Host was now exposed to the gaze of the faithful, enclosed in a crystal sphere, surrounded by rays of gold, or of other precious material. Not to mention other, and more ancient records, we find a very marked instance of the rapidity wherewith this use of the monstrance was adopted: it occurs in a Gradual of the period of Louis XII. (1498-1515); the initial letter of the Introit for Corpus Christi has within it a sun or sphere, like those in present use; it is being carried on the shoulders of two figures vested in copes, who are followed by the King, and by several Cardinals and Prelates.[95]

And yet the Protestant heresy, which was then beginning, gave the name of novelty, superstition, and idolatry, to these natural developments of Catholic worship, prompted, as they were, by faith and love. The Council of Trent pronounced anathema upon these calumnies; and, in a Chapter apart,[96] showed how rightly the Church had acted in countenancing these practices. The words of the Council are as follows: ‘The holy Council declares that there has been most piously and religiously introduced into God’s Church the practice, that each year, on a certain special feast, the august and venerable Sacrament should be honoured with singular veneration and solemnity, and that It should be reverently and with every honour carried in processions through the public roads and places. For it is most just that certain holidays should be appointed, whereon all Christians should, with special and unusual demonstrations, evince their gratitude and mindfulness towards their common Lord and Redeemer, for this so unspeakable and truly divine favour, in which is represented His victory and triumph over death. And it was also necessary, that thus invincible truth should triumph over lying and heresy; that her enemies, seeing all that splendour, and being in the midst of such great joy of the whole Church, should either grow wearied and acknowledge their being beaten and broken, or, being ashamed and confounded, should be converted.’

But to us Catholics, faithful adorers of the Sacrament of love, ‘Oh! the joy of the immense glory the Church is sending up to God this hour! verily as if the world was all unfallen still. We think, and, as we think, the thoughts are like so many successive tide-waves filling our whole souls with the fulness of delight, of all the thousands of Masses which are being said or sung the whole world over, and all rising with one note of blissful acclamation, from grateful creatures, to the majesty of our merciful Creator. How many glorious processions, with the sun upon their banners, are now wending their way round the squares of mighty cities, through the flower-strewn streets of Christian villages, through the antique cloisters of the glorious cathedral, or through the grounds of the devout seminary, where the various colours of the faces, and the different languages of the people are only so many fresh tokens of the unity of that faith, which they are all exultingly professing in the single voice of the magnificent ritual of Rome! Upon how many altars of various architecture, amid sweet flowers and starry lights, amid clouds of humble incense, and the tumult of thrilling song, before thousands of prostrate worshippers, is the blessed Sacrament raised for exposition, or taken down for benediction! And how many blessed acts of faith and love, of triumph and of reparation, do not each of these things surely represent! The world over, the summer air is filled with the voice of song. The gardens are shorn of their fairest blossoms, to be flung beneath the feet of the Sacramental God. The steeples are reeling with the clang of bells; the cannon are booming in the gorges of the Andes and the Appenines; the ships of the harbours are painting the bays of the sea with their show of gaudy flags; the pomp of royal or republican armies salutes the King of kings. The Pope on his throne, and the sohool-girl in her village, cloistered nuns, and sequestered hermits, bishops and dignitaries and preachers, emperors and kings and princes, all are engrossed to-day with the blessed Sacrament. Cities are illuminated; the dwellings of men are alive with exultation. Joy so abounds that men rejoice they know not why, and their joy overflows on sad hearts, and on the poor, and the imprisoned, and the wandering, and the orphaned, and the home-sick exiles. All the millions of souls that belong to the royal family and spiritual lineage of St. Peter are to-day engaged more or less with the blessed Sacrament: so that the whole Church militant is thrilling with glad emotion, like the tremulous rocking of the mighty sea. Sin seems forgotten; tears even are of rapture rather than of penance. It is like the soul’s first day in heaven; or as if earth itself were passing into heaven, as it well might do, for sheer joy of the blessed Sacrament.’[97]

During the procession, the hymns of to-day’s Office are sung, also the Lauda Sion, the Te Deum, and, if time permit, the Benedictus, Magnificat, or other liturgical pieces in keeping with the spirit of the feast, such as the hymns for the Ascension, as specified in the ritual. On the return to the church, the function concludes, as at other Benedictions, with the Tantum ergo, the vesicle and Collect of the blessed Sacrament. But after the blessing has been given, the deacon does not put the sacred Host into the tabernacle, but on the throne prepared for It, around which, for eight days, the faithful will be keeping a devout and adoring watch.

 

SECOND VESPERS

 

In the Office of Vespers or Evensong, the Church chants, and in presence of the adorable Sacrament exposed on the throne, the wonders of this great day.

The first psalm is on the glories of Christ, our High Priest: The Lord hath sworn: He is a Priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech, Like that king of justice and peace, Christ selected bread and wine, as the materials of His Sacrifice: but under these appearances, was hidden the oblation worthy both of the eternal Priest who offered it, and of the Father, who begot Him before the day-star.

Ant. Sacerdos in aeternum Christus Dominus secundum ordinemMelchisedech, panem et vinum obtulit.
Ant. Christ the Lord, being a Priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech, offered bread and wine.

Ps. Dixit Dominus, page 72.


The bread and wine of the Sacrifice pointed to a banquet: this banquet is commemorated in the following psalm, which speaks of a great memorial, made by our God, of all the wonders He has done for us creatures. This memorial is Christ’s giving Himself, as food, to all them that fear Him. May His praise endure, then, for ever!

Ant. Miserator Dominus escam dedit timentibus se, in memoriam suorum mirabilium.
Ant. The merciful Lord hath given food unto them that fear him, as amemorial of his wonderful works.

Ps. Confitebor tibi, page 73.


The Eucharist, which is the compendium of all God’s favours, is, at the same time, the most perfect act of thanksgiving, and the only adequate one, which we can offer to His divine Majesty. If, then, having come to the close of this day, and filled with emotion at the sight of the wonders of God’s goodness towards us, we cry out with the psalmist: What shall I render unto the Lord for all the things that He hath rendered to me? let us answer, with the same prophet in the words of this third psalm: I will take the chalice of salvation; I will sacrifice the sacrifice of praise.

Ant. Calicem salutaris accipiam et sacrificabo hostiam laudis.
Ant. I will take the chalice of salvation, and will sacrifice the Host of praise.

Psalm 115

Credidi, propter quod locutus sum: ego autem humiliatus sum nimis.
Ego dixi in excessu meo: Omnis homo mendax.
Quid retribuam Domino: pro omnibus quæ retribuit mihi?
Calicem salutaris accipiam: et nomen Domini invocabo.
Vota mea Domino reddam coram omni populo ejus: pretiosa in conspectu Domini mors sanctorum ejus.
O Domine, quia ego servus tuus, ego servus tuus, et filius anciliæ tuæ.
Dirupisti vincula mea: tibi sacrificabo hostiam laudis, et nomen Domini invocabo.
Vota mea Domino reddam in conspectu omnis populi ejus: in atriis domus Domini, in medio tui Jerusalem.

Ant. Calicem salutaris accipiam, et sacrificabo hostiam laudis.
I have believed, therefore have I spoken: but I have been humbled exceedingly.
I said in my excess: Every man is a liar.
What shall I render unto the Lord, for all the things that he hath rendered to me?
I will take the chalice of salvation: and I will call upon the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord before all his people: precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
O Lord, for I am thy servant: I am thy servant, and the son of thy handmaid.
Thou hast broken my bonds: I will sacrifice unto thee the sacrifice of praise, and I will call upon the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord in the sight of all his people: in the courts of the house of the Lord, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.

Ant. I will take the chalice of salvation, and will sacrifice the Host of praise.

The following psalm proclaims, with holy enthusiasm, the loveliness of the sight offered this day by our earth. Happiness and holiness seemed, this morning, to have taken possession of the world. The oil of gladness flowed from Christ, the Head, upon all His members. The Church thrills with gladness at seeing, round about the holy Table, her children, like so many young olive plants, ready to bring forth fruits of grace and sanctification. May it be so! May this day be a new era for Sion, in abundance of all good things, and in the strengthening of peace in the holy city!

Ant. Sicut novellæ olivarum, Ecclesiæ filii sint in circuitu mensae Domini.
Ant. May the children of the Church be around the Table of the Lord, as young olive plants.

Psalm 127

Beati omnes qui timent Dominum, qui ambulant in viis ejus.
Labores manuum tuarum quia manducabis: beatus es, et bene tibi erit.
Uxor tua sicut vitis abundans, in lateribus domus tuæ.
Filii tui sicut novellae olivarum, in circuitu mensæ tuæ.
Ecce sic benedicetur homo qui timet Dominum.
Benedicat tibi Dominus ex Sion: et videas bona Jerusalem omnibus diebus vitæ tuæ.
Et videas filios filiorum tuorum, pacem super Israel.

Ant. Sicut novellæ olivarum, Ecclesiæ filii sint in circuitu mensae Domini.
Blessed are all they that fear the Lord: that walk in his ways.
For thou shalt eat the labours of thy hands: blessed art thou, and it shall be well with thee.
Thy wife as a fruitful vine, on the sides of thy house.
Thy children as olive plants, round about thy table.
Behold! thus shall the man be blessed, that feareth the Lord.
May the Lord bless thee out of Sion: and mayst thou see the good things of Jerusalem, all the days of thy life.
And mayest thou see thy children’s children, peace upon Israel.

Ant. May the children of the Church be around the Table of the Lord, as young olive plants.

‘Glory be to God, and peace unto men!’ Thus sang the angels when the Bread of heaven came to Bethlehem. We have already seen, and we will return during the days of this octave to see, that these are the two grand results of the Eucharist. In this fifth psalm of Vespers, the Church invites us to sing the praises of that peace which, by the grace of her Jesus, reigns in her borders, strengthens the bolts of her gates, and fills with blessing her children that are within her. But it is the divine nourishment, it is the wheat of heaven’s own making, that produces this admirable peace, by uniting all the members to Christ in the unity of one body.

Ant. Qui pacem ponit fines Ecclesiae, frumenti adipe satiat nos Dominus.
Ant. The Lord, who putteth peace in the borders of the Church, filleth us with the fat of wheat.

Psalm 147

Lauda Jerusalem Dominum: lauda Deum tuum Sion.
Quoniam confortavit seras portarum tuarum: benedixit filiis tuis in te.
Qui posuit fines tuos pacem: et adipe frumenti satiat te.
Qui emittit eloquium suum terrae: velociter currit sermo ejus.
Qui dat nivem sicut lanam: nebulam sicut cinere spargit.
Mittit crystallum suam sicut buccellas: ante faciem frigoris ejus quis sustinebit?
Emittet verbum suum, et liquefaciet ea: flabit spiritus ejus, et fluent aquæ.
Qui annuntiat verbum suum Jacob: justitias, et judicia sua Israel.
Non fecit taliter omni nationi: et judicia sua non manifestavit eis.

Ant. Qui pacem ponit fines Ecclesiae, frumenti adipe satiat nos Dominus.
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! praise thy God, O Sion!
Because he hath strengthened the bolts of thy gates: he hath blessed thy children within thee.
Who hath placed peace in thy borders: and filleth thee with the fat of corn, that is Jesus, the Bread of life,
Who sendeth forth his speech to the earth: his word runneth swiftly.
Who giveth snow like wool; scattereth mists like ashes.
He sendeth his crystal like morsels: who shall stand before the face of his cold?
He shall send out his word, and shall melt them: his wind, his holy Spirit, shall blow, and the waters shall run.
Who declareth his word unto Jacob: his justices and his judgments unto Israel.
He hath not done in like manner to every nation: and his judgments he hath not made manifest to them.

Ant. The Lord, who putteth peace in the borders of the Church, filleth us with the fat of wheat.

The capitulum gives us once more the words of the apostle of the Gentiles. It is a joy to hear him thus bearing his testimony to the institution of the Sacrament of love, and repeating to us the parting request of Jesus: Do this in commemoration of Me!

Capitulum
(1 Cor. xi.)

Fratres, ego enim accepi a Domino quod et tradidi vobis, quoniam Dominus Jesus in qua nocte tradebatur, accepit panem, et gratias agens, fregit, et dixit: Accipite, et manducate; hoc est Corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradetur: hoc facite in meam commemorationem.
Brethren, for I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye and eat: this is my Body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me.

The hymn, which then follows, gives us the whole doctrine of the Eucharist in a sublime and concise wording. It is the one chosen by the Church for singing the praise of the adorable Sacrament: and its last two strophes are prescribed for the rite of Benediction, throughout the year.

Hymn *

Pange, lingua, gloriosi
Corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
Quem in mundi pretium,
Fructus ventris generosi,
Rex effudit gentium.

Nobis datus, nobis natus
Ex intacta Virgine,
Et in mundo conversatus,
Sparso verbi semine,
Sui moras incolatus
Miro clausit ordine.

In supremæ nocte cænæ
Recumbens cum fratribus,
Observata lege plene
Cibis in legalibus,
Cibum turbæ duodenæ
Se dat suis manibus.

Verbum caro, panem verum
Verbo carnem efficit:
Fitque sanguis Christi merum:
Et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum
Sola fides sufficit.

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui!
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Præstet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.

Amen.

℣. Panem de cœlo præstitisti eis, alleluia.
℟. Omne delectamentum in se habentem, alleluia.
Sing, O my tongue,
the mystery of the glorious Body,
and of the precious Blood
which was shed as the world's ransom,
by him who is the fruit of Mary’s generous womb,
the King of nations.

Given unto us, and born for us
from the purest of Virgins,
he lived in this our world,
casting the seed of the word;
and closed the days of his sojourn here
by a way full of marvel.

On the night of the last Supper,
he sat at table with his brethren;
and having fully observed the Law
as to its legal repast,
he gave himself, with his own hands,
as food to the assembled twelve.

The Word made Flesh, makes, by a word,
that true bread should become Flesh,
and wine the Blood of Christ;
and though our sense may fail,
faith of itself is enough
to assure an upright heart.

Then let us, prostrate, adore
so great a Sacrament:
and let the ancient law
give place to the new rite:
let faith supply
the senses’ deficiency.

To the Father and the Son
be praise and jubilation,
salvation, honour, power,
and benediction:
to him that proceeded
from Both, be equal praise!

Amen.

℣. Thou hast given them bread from heaven, alleluia.
℟. Having in it all that is delicious, alleluia.

The antiphon which accompanies the canticle of our Lady, is a fervent exclamation of admiration for the sacred, banquet of divine union, and for the living memorial of Jesus' sufferings: it is here that man’s soul is filled with grace, and his very body receives the pledge of future glory. The phrase is not completed: the Church seems unable to finish these last words of her love of all that she has received by the Eucharist; but the gift is too great for human words!

Antiphon of the Magnificat

O sacrum convivium, in quo Christus sumitur: recolitur memoria passionis ejus: mens impletur gratia: et futuræ gloriæ nobis pignus datur, alleluia.
O sacred banquet, wherein Christ is received; the memorial of his Passion is celebrated; the mind is filled with grace; and a pledge of future glory is given unto us, alleluia.

Collect

Deus, qui nobis sub Sacramento mirabili passionis tuæ memoriam reliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos Corporis et Sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuæ fructum in nobis jugiter sentiamus. Qui vivis et regnas. Amen.
O God, who, under the wonderful Sacrament, hast left us a memorial of thy Passion: grant us, we beseech thee, so to reverence the sacred mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that, in our souls, we may always feel the fruit of thy Redemption. Who livest, &c.

At the close of this great feast, which is consecrated by the Latin Church to the honour of the sacred Host, we will listen to the Greek Church, which in the following passages expresses the same faith regarding the blessed Sacrament. These quotations are used during and after the Communion, in the Liturgy, or Mass, called St. John Chrysostom’s.’

Before Communion

Credo, Domine, et confiteor quod tu es Christus Filius Dei viventis, qui venisti in mundum ad salvandos peccatores, quorum primus ego sum.

Cœnæ tuæ mysticæ hodie communicantem me suscipe. Non enim inimicis tuis mysterium dicam, nec osculum tibi dabo velut Judas, sed ut latro tibi confiteor: memento mei, Domine, in regno tuo.

Domine, non sum dignus ut sub sordidum tectum animæ meæ ingrediaris: sed quemadmodum dignatus es in spelunca et præsepio brutorum recumbere, et in domo Simonis leprosi, etiam similem mei meretricem ad te accedentem suscepisti: ipse quoque dignare in præsepe animæ meæ rationis expertis et in coinquinatum meum corpus mortuum et et leprosum ingredi: et sicut non abhorruisti os sordidum meretricis illibatos pedes tuos osculantis, ita, Domine Deus meus, ne a me etiam peccatore abhorrueris. Sed tanquam bonus et clemens, dignare me participem effici sanctissimi tui Corporis et Sanguinis.

Deus meus, condona, relaxa, remitte mihi delicta mea quaecumque sciens, vel per ignorantiam, vel verbo vel opere patravi. Indulge mihi cuncta ut bonus et clemens; intercessionibus intemeratæ tuas et semper virginis Matris, incondemnatum me custodi, ut sumam pretiosum et immaculatum corpus tuum ad medelam animas et corporis. Quoniam tuum est regnum, et virtus, et gloria: Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti: nunc et semper, et in sascula sæculorum. Amen.

I believe, O Lord, and confess, that thou art Christ, Son of the living God, who camest into this world to save sinners, of whom I am the first.

Receive me, communicating, this day, in thy mystic Supper. For I will not speak of thy mystery to thine enemies, nor, like Judas, give thee a kiss, but, like the thief, confess to thee: Remember me, O Lord, in thy kingdom!

Lord, I am not worthy that thou enter under the filthy roof of my soul: but, as thou deignedst to repose in the cave and manger of brute beasts; and in the house of Simon the leper, receive a sinner like myself, when she approached thee: deign, also, to enter into the crib of my senseless soul, and into my defiled, dead, and leprous body. And, as thou disdainedst not the unclean mouth of the sinner, who kissed thy most pure feet; so, O my Lord God, disdain not me, a sinner. But, good and merciful as thou art, vouchsafe to make me a partaker of thy most holy Body and Blood.

O my God! forgive, pardon, remit me whatsoever sins I have, either knowingly, or through ignorance, committed either by word or deed. Pardon me them all, for that thou art good and merciful; by the intercessions of thy most pure and ever virgin Mother, keep me from condemnation, that I may receive thy precious and immaculate Body unto the cure of soul and body. For thine is the kingdom, and power, and glory, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, now and always, and for ever and ever. Amen.

After Communion

Gratias agimus tibi, benigne Domine, benefactor animarum nostrarum, quod etiam presenti die dignos fecisti nos coelestium tuorum et immortalium mysteriorum. Viam nostram dirige, confirma nos in timore tuo, custodi vitam nostram, fac securos gressus nostros: precibus et intercessione gloriosæDeipare, et semper virginis Mariæ, et omnium sanctorum.
We give thee thanks, O kind Lord, thou benefactor of our souls, for that on this present day, also, thou hast made us worthy of thy heavenly and immortal mysteries. Direct thou our ways, strengthen us in thy fear, guard our life, make safe our steps; by the prayers and intercession of the glorious Mother of God, and ever virgin Mary, and of all the saints.

Gratias agimus tibi, benigne Domine, benefactor animarum nostrarum, quod etiam presenti die dignos fecisti nos coelestium tuorum et immortalium mysteriorum. Viam nostram dirige, confirma nos in timore tuo, custodi vitam nostram, fac securos gressus nostros: precibus et intercessione gloriosæ Deipare, et semper virginis Mariæ, et omnium sanctorum.

Diac. Recti participes effecti divinorum, sanctorum, illibatorum, immortalium, supercœlestium, et vivificorum mysteriorum, digne gratias agamus Domino.

Chor. Domine, miserere.

Diac. Suscipe, salva, miserere, et conserva nos, Deus, tua gratia.

Chor. Domine, miserere.

Diac. Diem omnem perfectum, sanctum, pacificum, et a peccato immanem postulantes, nos ipsos, et invicem, et omnem vitam nostram Christo Deo commendemus.

Chor. Tibi, Domine.

Sacerdos, exclamando. Quoniam tu es sanctificatio nostra, et tibi gloriam referimus, Patri, et Filio, et sancto Spiritui, nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum.

Chor. Amen.
We give thee thanks, O kind Lord, thou benefactor of our souls, for that on this present day, also, thou hast made us worthy of thy heavenly and immortal mysteries. Direct thou our ways, strengthen us in thy fear, guard our life, make safe our steps; by the prayers and intercession of the glorious Mother of God, and ever virgin Mary, and of all the saints.

The deacon: Let us, who, being just, have been made partakers of the divine, holy, spotless, immortal, supercelestial and life-giving mysteries, worthily give thanks unto the Lord.

The choir: O Lord, have mercy.

The deacon: Receive, save, have mercy upon, and preserve us, O God, by thy grace.

The choir: O Lord, have mercy.

The deacon: Let us pray that every day of ours may be perfect, holy, peaceful, and free from sin, and let us commend ourselves, and one another, and our whole life, unto Christ our God.

The choir: Unto thee, O Lord!

The priest, lifting up his voice: For thou art our sanctification, and to thee we give glory, Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost, now and always, and for all ages.

The choir: Amen.

[1] St. John iii. 9; vi. 53.
[2] Prov. viii. 30, 31.
[3] Prov. viii. 27, 29.
[4] Ps. lxii.
[5] Ibid. xli.
[6] Ps. xviii.
[7] 2 Wisd. xi. 21.
[8] 1. St John iv. 8.
[9] Ibid. 10.
[10] Gal. iii. 5, 24, 26; iv. 9.
[11] St. John xiv. 26.
[12] Ps. lxvii. 19.
[13] Ibid, cx. 4.
[14] St. John xiii. 1.
[15] Gen. i. 26, 27.
[16] Mgr. Pie, Bishop of Poitiers. First synodal instruction on the chief errors of our times, viii.
[17] Gen. i. 26.
[18] Ps. lxii.
[19] Ibid. xli.
[20] 2 St. Pet i. 4.
[21] Rom.viii. 16.
[22] Eph. i. 17, 18; Rom. v. 2.
[23] Rom. viii. 26.
[24] Rom. viii. 27.
[25] Heb. i. 3.
[26] St. John iii. 16.
[27] Heb. ix. 8.
[28] Ps. xviii. 6.
[29] Ps. xliv. 5.
[30] Mich. v. 2.
[31] Ps. xliv. 3.
[32] 2 Cor. iv. 6.
[33] St. Matt. xxii. 1-14.
[34] Prov. i. 20, 21.
[35] Ibid. viii. 1-4.
[36] Ibid. ix. 1-5.
[37] St. Matt. xxii. 4.
[38] Prima ex Ant. maj. Adventus.
[39] Ant. Epiph. ad Benedictus.
[40] St. John xv. 5.
[41] Ecclus. xxiv. 23.
[42] Ps. lxiv. 14.
[43] Ibid. lxxi. 16.
[44] Wisd. viii. 2.
[45] Ecclus. xv. 2, 3.
[46] Prov. viii. 19.
[47] Ecclus. xxiv. 29.
[48] Wisd. viii. 16.
[49] Prov. viii. 18.
[50] Ecclus. xxiv. 1-7.
[51] Ibid. xv. 5-10.
[52] Const. Excellentissimum.
[53] Zach. ix. 17.
[54] St. John Chrysos. In Joan.
[55] Act. SS. ad dum 7 Martii; cap. ix. 53.
[56] Zach. ix. 17; 1 Cor. x. 4.
[57] St. Luke xii. 36-38.
[58] Rom. v. 9.
[59] Dan. ix. 24, 27.
[60] Ps. cxviii. 164.
[61] Ecclus. xlvii 11.
[62] 1 Paralip. xvi. xxiii. xxv. xxviii.
[63] Ibid. xv.
[64] Rupert. De div. Off. lib. 1. cap. 17.
[65] Ps. xviii. 6.
[66] Eph. i. 10.
* In the monastic breviary, it is preceded by this brief response : brev.—Panem cœli dedit eis, * Alleluia, alleluia, ℣. Panem angelorum manducavit homo, * Alleluia. Gloria Patri. Panem cœli.
[67] Ps. cxvii.
[68] Ibid. cxxxi.
[69] Ibid. cxvii.
[70] Ps. cxxxi. 3-5.
[71] Ibid. 7.
[72] Ps. xxi. 28.
[73] Ibid. xcii. 4.
[74] Ibid. xcv. 11-13.
[75] St. Matt. xxii.
[76] St. John xvi 7.
[77] Cant. ii. 1.
[78] Ps. cx. 4, 5.
[79] St. Matt. xxviii. 20.
[80] The volume for Christmas, chap. iii
[81] Ps. xvii. 10.
[82] St. John xii. 24, 25.
[83] Conc. Trid. Sess. xiv. cap. iv.
[84] Ps. xxxv. 10.
[85] St. John iii. 16.
[86] St. Cyril of Alex. In Joan. lib. iv. cap. 3.
[87] St. John x. 10.
[88] St. Cyril of Alex. In Joan. lib. x. cap. 2.
[89] St. John vi. 64.
[90] St. Gregory of Nyssa. Orat, Catech., cap. 37.
[91] Cant. iii. 5-11.
[92] St. Greg. Mag. in Cant.
[93] Labbe.
[94] Passiontide and Holy Week; Paschal Time, vol. i.
[95] Thiers. De l’exposit. du S. Sacr., liv. ii. ch. 2.
[96] Sess. xiii. cap. v. and Can. vi.
[97] Father Faber : The Blessed Sacrament.
* In the monastic breviary, it is preceded by this responsory : ℟. breve.—Cibavit illos ex adipe frumenti. * Alleluia, alleluia. Cibavit. ℣. Et de petra, melle saturavit eos. * Alleluia. Gloria. Cibavit.