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From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

And the Spirit and the Bride say: Come And he that heareth, let him say: Come! — Surely I come quickly: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.[1]

While we honour the Church triumphant with our chants, and succour the Church suffering with our prayers, let us also turn our thoughts to the Church militant, during these days when the closing cycle presents her to us as about to complete her work on earth. Now the Church is our model; but especially at the close of our pilgrimage ought we to make her attitude our own. The above-cited dialogue, which will terminate the world's history, shows clearly the sentiments wherewith the Holy Spirit inspires her in preparation for the final hour.

As the sufferings of the dying man break the last ties that bound him to the life of the senses; so the last social convulsions, however violently they may shake the Church, will eventually disengage her from the trammels of a world, which she will no longer be able to save from ruin. Free, therefore, to give herself up to her desires, which had been pent up for ages and kept under control by so many labours, she will have but one word to utter: Come! And in the universal destruction, when the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall hide her light, and the powers of heaven shall be moved, she will rejoice, knowing that in the midst of that awful night the cry will be heard: Behold the Bridegroom cometh!

Let him that heareth, let everyone of us say also: Come! If we love our Lord, if we would be recog­nized as members of his dear Church, let us be wor­thy of that beautiful title; let us see all things with the Church's eyes; let us appreciate all things, and especially death, according to her heart; let us look upon the last passage, both for our dear ones and for ourselves, as the entrance into the eternal nuptial feast. We know well that if anyone sincerely desires our Lord, our Lord will not be wanting to hint. Even if, after this life, we have yet some debts to pay, if some adornment be wanting to our wedding garment ere we can take our place at the heavenly banquet; the blessed passage, nevertheless, places all the just, at once and entirely, in a state of impeccability, and in the secure possession of eternal love. Such, as we shall have occasion to see, were the sentiments of our forefathers.

Many churches in France, Switzerland, and England, used formerly to sing the following Sequence in honour of the Saints.


Christo inclyto candida
Nostra canunt melodiam agmina,
Laudes omnibus dantia
Sanctis per haec sacrata festalis.

Mariam primum vox sonet nostra,
Per quam nobis vitae sunt data praemis.
Regina, quae es mater et casta,
Solve nostra per Filium tuum peccata.

Angelorum concio tota
Et Archangelorum turba inclyta
Nostra diluant jam peccata,
Parando supera coeli gaudia.

Tu propheta, praeco, lucerns,
Atque plus quam propheta,
In lucida nos pone via,
Mundans nostra corpora.

Apostolorum princepe atque cuncta
Juncta caterva, jam corrobora
Vera in doctrina
Plebis pectors.

Stephane gloriose, rutilans in corona,
Sancorumque Martyrum turma valida,
Fortia date corda, corpora aeque firma,
Sacra ut hostem vincant rite spicula.

Martine inclyte
Et praesulum omnis caterva,
Suscipe nunc pia modo
nostra clemens precata.

Regina Virginum permaxima, 
tu Mater es incorrupta,
Virgo et gravida; sacrata Domino est castitas:
Nostras serva animas mundaque corpora.

Monachorum veneranda suffragia 
Omniumque Sanctorum contubernia per precata assidus
Nostra gubernent tempora, nosque ducant ad superna
Polorum vera gaudis.

Subjungant pium agmina
Amen redempta.
To Christ the all-glorious
our white-robed choirs sing melody,
giving praise to all the Saints
on this their sacred festival.

First let our voice name Mary,
through whom was given to us the gift of life
O Queen, who art both Mother and Virgin,
through thy Son cancel our sins.

May the whole assembly of Angels,
and the glorious multitude of Archangels,
cleanse away our sins,
and prepare us for the supernal delights of heaven.

O thou, who wast prophet,
and herald, and lamp,
yea and more than a prophet,
make us all pure and set us in the path of light.

Prince of Apostles,
together with all thy colleagues,
strengthen the hearts of thy people
in true doctrine.

Glorious Stephen, glittering in thy crown;
mighty army of holy martyrs;
give us brave hearts and strong bodies,
that the darts of our holy faith may duly vanquish the enemy.

Illustrious Martin,
and all the band of holy Pontiffs,
kindly receive this day
our filial prayers.

O peerless Queen of virgins,
thou art a Mother and yet spotless,
a Maiden and yet fruitful; chastity is sacred to our Lord;
preserve our souls and bodies pure.

May the venerable suffrages of the Monks,
and may the assembly of all the Saints by their prayers,
rule our times, and lead us
to the true and supernatural joys of heaven.

Let the ranks of the re­deemed
add a fervent Amen.

The hymn for the Vespers of the Dead in the Mozarabic Office is taken from the tenth song in the Cathemerinon of Prudentius.


Deus ignee fons animarum,
Duo qui socias elementa:
Vivum simul, ac moribundum,
Hominem, Pater effigiasti.

Tua sunt, tua Rector utraque:
Tibi copula jungitur horum;
Tibi, dum vegetata cohaerent
Spiritus simul et caro servit.

Rescissa sed ista seorsum,
Solvunt hominem, perimuntque;
Humus excipit arida corpus,
Animae rapit aura liquorem.

Quia cuncta creata necesse est
Labefacta senescere tandem,
Compactque dissociari,
Et dissona texta retexi.

Hine maxima cura sepulchris
Impenditur: hinc resolutos
Honor ultimus accipit artus,
Et funeris ambitus ornat.

Hoc provida Christicolarum
Pietas studet utpote credens
Fore protinus omnia viva,
Quae nunc gelidus sopor urget.

Ui jacta cadavera passim
Miserans tegit aggere terrae:
Opus exhibet ille benignum
Christo pius omnipotenti.

Quia lex eadem monet omnes
Gemitum dare sorte sub una,
Cognataque funera nobis
Aliena in morte dolere.

Sequimur tua dicta, Redemptor,
Quibus atra e morte triumphans,
Tua per vestigia mandas
Socium crucis ire latronem.

Patet ecce fidelibus ampli
Via lucida jam paradise;
Licet et nemus illud adire
Homini, quod ademerat anguis.

Illic precor, Optime Ductor,
Famulam tibi praecipe mentem
Genitali in sede sacrari,
Quam liquerst exsul, et errans.

Animas, non immemor ob hoc,
Quarum memores sumus ipsi,
Dues, sorde rogamus, piatas,
Erebi rogis fac alienas.

Sit honor tibi, fons pietatis:
Laus, gloria, summa potestas
Patri, Genito, sive Domino
Orbis Regi; qui Deus unus.

O God, thou fiery source of living beings,
who, uniting two elements in one,
the mortal and the immortal,
didst fashion man, O our Father.

Both are thine, and thou art their Ruler;
their union is linked to thee;
and while they live and cleave together,
both spirit and flesh serve thee.

But when they are rent asunder,
dissolution and death come upon man;
the dry earth receives his body,
while the swift spirit flees to heaven.

‘Tis the lot of all created things
to fail and grow old at last,
for compound beings to be dissolved,
for the union of dissimilar elements to be unknit.

Therefore is so great care bestowed upon the sepulchres;
therefore are the last honours
paid to these lifeless limbs,
and the funeral pomp does them homage.

Such is the provident piety
exercised by Christ's disciples,
believing that all which now lies wrapt in icy slumber,
shall suddenly spring to life again.

Whoever, then, in loving pity,
shall cover with earth the corpses that lie unburied,
does in his piety a kindly deed
to Christ himself the Omnipotent.

Since the common law ad­monishes us
that all groan under the same fate,
it behoves us to mourn, in a stranger's death,
the loss of one of our kin.

We follow therefore thy words,
O Redeemer, when, triumphing over dismal death,
thou didst bid the thief, thy fellow-crucified,
to tread in thy footprints.

Lo! Now the shining path,
that leads to the broad land of Eden, lies open to thy faithful;
and man may again enter that beautiful garden,
of which the serpent had despoiled him.

There, O best of guides! We pray thee,
bid the soul thy handmaid
be made holy in the place of her creation,
which she had quitted as an exile and a wanderer.

Wherefore be mindful, O God, of the souls,
whose memory we cherish;
let them, we beseech thee, be cleansed from all stain,
and escape the fires of hell.

Honour to thee, O fount of mercy!
Praise, glory, sovereign power,
to the Father, to the Son, to the Lord
who rules the world, one only God.


The following Preface, which is well inspired and has a ring of the ancient formulae, is still used in some places in Masses for the Dead.


Vere dignum et justum est, sequum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus; per Christum Dominum nostrum. In quo nobis spem beatae resurrectionis concessisti; ut dum naturam contristat certa moriendi conditio, fidem consoletur futurae immortalitatis promissio. Tuis enim fidelibus, Domine, vita mutatur, non tollitur; et dissoluta terrestris hujus habitationis doo, aeterna in ccoelis habitatio comparatur. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militia coelestis exercitus, humnum gloriae tuae canimus, sine fine dicentes: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus.
It is truly meet and just, right and salutary, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ our Lord. In whom thou halt bestowed on us the hope of a blessed resurrection: so that, although the inevitable sentence of death fills our human nature with sorrow, the promise of a future resurrection consoles our faith. For the life of thy faithful, O Lord, is altered, not taken away ; and when this house of our earthly habitation is destroyed, an eternal dwelling is prepared for us in heaven. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominations, and with all the host of the heavenly army, we sing a hymn to thy glory, saying without ceasing: Holy, Holy, Holy.

[1] Apox. xxii. 17, 20.