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November (end of the year)

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

“A great mystery” says St. John Chrysostom, “is accomplished in our dead. A mystery of praise and of joy, when, summoned by the King of kings, the soul goes to meet her Lord, accompanied by Angels sent from heaven for the purpose! And thou-dost thou lament?[1] When the bridegroom, to whom thou hast given thy daughter, carries her to a far country, thou dolt not complain, provided he makes her happy; although her absence is a grief to thee, the sadness is tempered. And now, because it is not a man, a fellow-slave, but the Lord himself that claims one of thy family, is thy grief to be without measure? I do not forbid thee to shed a tear; weep, but be not disconsolate even as others who have no hope.[2] And be ready also to return thanks, as is meet; honouring thereby thy dead, as well as glorifying God, and thus giving them magnificent obsequies.”[3]

With such sentiments were our fathers inspired, in those farewells of the primitive liturgy, which contrasted so strangely with the sad of pagans, and which made the funeral train resemble a pomp bridal procession. First, loving hands respectfully washed the body, which had been sanctified by the waters of Baptism and the holy oil, and so often honoured by the visit of our Lord in his blessed Sacrament. It was then clothed in the robes of honour in which it had served its divine Spouse; and, like him in the tomb, it was surrounded with fragrant spices. Often the sacred Host itself was laid upon the breast after the holy sacrifice of thanksgiving and propitiation. Thus, during an admirable succession of prayers and triumphant chants, amid clouds of incense and numberless torches, the body was carried to the place of rest, where Christian burial was to associate it to the last mystery of our Saviour's mortal career. There, as over the garden of Golgotha on the great Saturday, the naked Cross, despoiled of its divine Burden, looked down upon the graves, where the Man-God in his mystic members still awaited the hour of resurrection.

At Rome, and indeed in all the Latin Churches, in the middle ages, there were sung, during the procession to the tomb and the burial, seven celebrated Antiphons, whose touching inspiration, perpetuated in the In Paradisum and the Subvenite, is in complete harmony with the sentiments we have just alluded to. The first, Aperite mihi portas justitiæ, formed the refrain to Psalm 117, Confitemini Domino, and enhanced its accents of victory. It is from this Psalm that the Church borrows the Verse she so unceasingly repeats on the Solemnity of solemnities: Haec dies quam fecit Dominus, exsultemus et laetemur in ea. This is the day which the Lord hath made, let us be glad and rejoice therein.

But we cannot do better than give the entire series of Antiphons, indicating the Psalms which they accompanied. The last Psalm and the Canticle Benedictus are still used; as also the Responsory Subvenite and the Antiphon In Paradisum, which according to the present Ritual are sung, the former on entering the Church, the latter on leaving it.

1. Ant. Aperite mihi portas justitiae, ingressus in eas confitebor Domino.

1. Ant. Open to me the gates of justice: I will go in to them and give praise to the Lord.


Ps. 117. Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus


2. Ant. Ingrediar in locum tabernaculi admirabilis, usque ad domum Dei.

2. Ant. I shall go into the place of the wonderful tabernable, even to the house of God.


Ps. 41. Quemadmodum desiderat cervus


 

3. Ant. Haec requies mea in saeculum saeculi, hic habitabo quoniam elegi eam.

3. Ant. This is my rest forever and ever: here will I dwell, for I have chosen it.


Ps. 131. Memento Domine David


 

4. Ant. De terra plasmasti me Domine, et carne induisti me: Redemptor meus, resuscita me in novissimo die.

4. Ant. Thou has formed me, O Lord, of the earth, and with flesh thou hast clothed me: O my Redemmer, raise me up on the last day.


Ps. 138. Domine probasti me


 

5. Ant. Nom intres in judicium cum servo tuo, Domine, quia non justificabitur in conspectu tuo omnis vivens.

5. Ant. Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord: for in thy sight no man living shall be justified.


Ps. 142. Domeine exaudi orationem meam


 

6. Ant. Omnis spiritus laudet Dominum.

6. Ant. Let every spirit praise the Lord.


Ps. 148. Laudate Dominum de coelis


 

7. Ant. Ego sum resurrectio et vita: qui credit in me, etiam si mortuus fuerit, vivet: et omnis qui vivit et credit in me, non morietur in aeternum.

7. Ant. I am the resurrection, and life: he that believes in me, though he be dead, shall live; and every one that lives and believes in me shall never die.


Canticle Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel


In some places the following Antiphon was sung at the conclusion.

Laeto animo pergo ad te, suscipe me Domine; quia de terra plasmsti me, spiritus de coelo introivit in me jussu tuo, veni ut commendes terrae corpus meum: animam quam dedisti, suscipe illam Deus.
With a joyful heart I come to thee, receive me, O Lord; since of the earth thou didst form me, and a spirit from heaven entered into me by thy command, come and commit my body to the earth, and the soul which thou gayest receive O my God.

Responsory and Antiphon from the Roman Ritual

℟. Subvenite Sancti Dei, occurrite Angeli Domini:
* Suscipientes animam ejus:
* Offerentes eam in conspectu Altissimi.
V. Suscipiat te Christus qui vocavit te, et in sinum Abrahae Angeli deducant te.
* Suscipientes.
V. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine: et lux perpetua luceat ei.
* Offerentes.

Ant. In paradisum deducant te Angeli: in tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem. Chrous Angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere aeternam habeas requiem.

℟. Come to his assistance, all ye Saints of God; meet him all ye Angels of the Lord,
* Receiving his soul,
* presenting it in the sight of the Most High.
V. May Christ receive thee, who has called thee, and may the Angels conduct thee into Abraham's bosom.
* Receiving his soul.
V. Eternal rest give to him, O Lord. And may perpetual light shine on him.
* Offering it in the sight of the Most High.

Ant. May the Angels con­duct thee into paradise: may the Martyrs receive thee at thy coming, and lead thee into the holy city of Jerusalem. May the choir of angels receive thee, and mayst thou have eternal rest with Lazarus, who was formerly poor.


For the consolation of mothers, as well as in homage to the Paradise of which their children are the graceful flowers, we will today commemorate, with St. Ephrem, the little ones snatched in their innocence from this land of miseries.

Canon xxxvi[4]

Amabilis puer quem gratia in utero matris formavit, ut vidit lucem, ut insiliit acerba mors, et aestu infestiore quam solis esse solet, vernantis floris folia decussit, caulem arefecit, ramos siccavit.


Obitum fiere tuum vereor, qui didici te a filio Regis ad supernae lucis adyta fuisse deductum. Natura quidem tuo, fili, fat illacrymari eogit: ego vero dum recognite te ad regionem beatae lucis translatum, cavendum mihi video ne Regis aula profano polluatur lucut, tum ipse arguar audax et impudenes, qui laetitiae regiam atratus et lacrymans intraverim. Quin ergo meliore consilio puram hostiam offeram, et ad hilaritatem animum componam.


Tui quidem cantus, care puer, meas ante mulcibant sures, meque vehementer delectarunt; suave melos quod olim fundebas memoria adhuc retineo, et verba recordor. Quamquam dum cor illa repetit, mens ad Superum evolat choros, et audit admirabunda Coelites tecum canentes triumphale carmen Hosanna.


Pars tua, Domine, sunt parvuli pueri, hisce sedes in coelo super astra dabis. Illos pro nobis, oro, statue deprecatores; puras quippe scimus esse puerorum preces.


Quin ergo te summis efferam laudibus, qui jubes tuis tales convivas assidere mensis. Nostrae Reparator salutis in oculis conspectuque populi amplexatus est pueros, eisque benedixit, quo hujus aetatis puritatem et innocentiam sibi placere demonstraret. Vere omni laude dignus est, cui innocentes pueros apud se habere placuit.


Vidit ille, in quo tamquam in sua sede considet justitis, hominum iniquitates ultra omnem increvisse modum, et pessumdata innocentia ubique regnare contumaciam in perversa nitentium. Delectum puerorum agmen, misso apparitore ad se accersivit, et in delicarum aeternarum sede locavit.


Parvuli, quasi lilia de deserta et inculta regione revulsa, in amcenissimi horti areis iterato panguntur; et quasi margaritae insreuntur diademati; inde ad coeleste regnum evecti, sine fine laudant suae felicitatis Auctorem.


Porro cuinam jucundum non sit, parvulos videre coelo donatos? Aut quisnam plangat eorum obitum, quod tensos ubique vitiorum laqueos evaserint? Utinam tua, Domine, favente gratia, talem mihi contigat habere finem, et beato eorum potiri convictu.


Laus sit et gloria Optimo, Maximo, qui pueros terris abstulit et coelo dedict, qui parvulos hujus vitae aerumnis eripuit et in coeestem et beatam domum transtulit, atque in illam jucundissimam securitatem asseruit.

The lovely child, whom grace formed in his mother's womb, no sooner saw the light, than cruel death rushed upon him, and with a heat more burning than the sun's, struck off the leaves of this spring flower, withered its stem, and scorched its branches.


I dare not lament thy death, for I have heard that the King's Son has led thee into the inner courts of heavenly light. Nature indeed forces me, my child, to weep over thy fate: but when I think of thee carried into the region of blessed light, I see I must beware of dishonouring the King's court by my profane grief; moreover I should be accused of being bold and impertinent, if I entered the palace of joy weeping and clad in mourning weeds. Therefore I will take a better way, and, offering a spotless victim, I will turn my soul to joyfulness.


Thy songs, indeed, beloved boy, were once so welcome to my ears, and delighted me exceedingly; the sweet sounds thou didst utter and thy pretty prattle I well remember. But while the heart recalls them, the mind soars to the choirs of Angels, and listens entranced to the heavenly citizens singing with thee the triumphant song Hosanna.


The little children, O Lord, are thine own portion ; and to them thou wilt give thrones, beyond the stars. Set them before thee, I pray, as our intercessors, for we know that children's prayers are pure.


Why, then, should I not ex­tol thee with highest praises, who commandest such guests to be seated at thy table? In the presence of the people, my Redeemer and Saviour embraced children and blessed them, in order to show how pleasing to him are the purity and innocence of that age. Truly is he worthy of all praise, who loves to be surrounded by innocent little Ones.


He, in whom justice is seat­ed as on her own throne, sees that the sins of men have in­creased beyond all measure; that all innocence is crushed out, and that everywhere reigns the insolence of them that contend for evil. He has therefore sent his officer to gather the band of children and lead them to himself, where he has placed them in the abode of eternal delights.


The little ones, like lilies uprooted from this desert and uncultivated land, are planted again in the flower-beds of the most lovely garden ; like pearls they are set in our Lord's diadem; caught up from earth tothe heavenly kingdom, they unceasingly praise the Author of their happiness.


Who, then, would not rejoice at seeing heaven thus given to babes? Or who would bewail their death, since they have escaped from the snares of vices everywhere spread out? May it please thee, O Lord, that by thy grace a similar end may be my lot, and I may be admitted to a share in their blessed life.


Praise and glory be to God the supremely Good and Great, who has taken the children from earth and given them to heaven; who has snatched the little ones from the miseries of this life and taken them to a heavenly and blessed home, and has established them in that most happy security.


Canon xliv

Perfecta tibi, Domine Deus noster, jam est laus ex ore infantium et lactentium; pueri quippe sunt, qui modo quasi agni simplices in horto deliciarum pubescunt, Gabrielem Archangelum electi hujus gregis ductorem sequenties. Incolunt terram nefariis acelerum vestigiis usquequaque expiatam; ejus autem quae maledicto subjecta fuit, ne meminere quidem.

Veniet tandem sanctissimus ille dies, quando eorum cadavera vocem Filii Dei audient, et e tumulis cum tripudio exsilient; contra inimica virtutis voluptas frontem submittet rubore suffusa, quod illorum mentes perturbare nequiverit. Paucos hic quidem vicere dies, paradisus excepit in aevum sempiternum victuros: unde ipsorum parentes abesse se dolent, eoque ocyus perveniere desierant.
O Lord our God, thy praise is now perfected out of the mouths of babes and sucklings; these children, who now like simple lambs, grow up in the garden of delights, following the Archangel Gabriel the guide of this chosen flock. They dwell in a land entirely free from all traces of wicked crime; but of that other, which was subjected to the curse, they have not so much as the remembrance.

At length that most holy day will come, when their bodies shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and exultingly spring from their tombs; while self-indulgence, the enemy of virtue, will hang down her head, being covered with confusion because she could not disturb their souls. They lived but few days on earth, paradise received them to live for eternal ages: wherefore their parents mourn that they themselves are still far off from that land, and long to reach it with all speed.

Let us conclude with a prayer taken from the rites of the Latin church for the burial of infants.

Prayer

Omnipotens et mitisseme Deus, qui omnibus parvulis renatis fonte baptismatis dum migrant a saeculo, sine ullis eorum meritis, vitam illico largiris aeternam, sicut animae hujus parvuli hodie credimus te fecisse: fac nos, quaesumus Domine, per intercessionem beatae Mariae semper virginis, et omnium sanctorum tuorum, hic purificatis tibi mentius famulari, et in paradiso cum beatis parvulis perenniter sociari. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.


℟. Amen.

O Almighty and most merciful God, who vouchsafest to all children baptized, departing this world, eternal life, without any merit of theirs, as we believe thou hast done this day to the soul of this child: grant us, we beseech thee, O Lord, by the intercession of the blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, and of all thy saints, to serve thee here with pure minds, and to be united hereafter with thy blessed children in heaven. Through.


℟. Amen.


[1] Chrys. in Acta Ap. Homilis xxi. 3, 4.
[2] i. Thess. iv. 12.
[3] Chrys. Homilia de Dormientibus, V. de Lazaro, 2.
[4] S. Ephram Syri funebres canones, ap. Assemani.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

How could we more appropriately conclude the teachings of this Octave, than by quoting the words used by the Church herself in today's Liturgy?

Strangers as we are and pilgrims on the earth, let us fix our hearts and our thoughts on the day which will give to each of us a home, and restore us to Paradise. Who, that is on a voyage, would not hasten to return to his country! Who, that is on the way home, would not eagerly desire a favourable wind, that he might the sooner embrace his dear ones! Parents, brothers, children, friends in multitudes impatiently await us in our heavenly fatherland; blessed crowd already secure of their own eternal happiness, they are solicitous about our salvation. What joy for them and for us, when at length we see them and they may embrace us! How great the delight of that heavenly kingdom: no more fear of death; but eternal and supreme happiness! Let all our earnest desires tend to this: that we may be united with the Saints, that together with them we may possess Christ.[1]

These enthusiastic words, borrowed from St. Cyprian's beautiful book “On Mortality,” are used by the Church in her second Nocturn; and in the third she gives us the strong language of St. Augustine, consoling the faithful, who are obliged still to remain in exile, by reminding them of the great beatitude of this earth : the beatitude of those who are persecuted and cursed by the world. To suffer gladly for Christ, is the Christian's glory, the invisible beauty which wins for his soul the good pleasure of God, and procures him a great reward in heaven.[2]

He that hurteth, let him hurt still, says our Lord ; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is just, let him be justified still; and he that is holy, let him be sanctified still. Behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to every man according to his works. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.[3] Patience, then, Christians I Patience, all who are now despised, for time is short; the fashion of this world passeth away![4] It is in the light of our Baptism that we must look upon those foolish men, who think themselves strong, because they are violent; who call themselves wise, because pleasure is their only law. When the Man-God, with the spirit of his mouth, shall take vengeance on Satan their leader, their lot will be the indignant sentence heard by the Prophet of Patmos: Without are dogs, murderers, every one that loveth and maketh a lie.[5] Meanwhile the whole creation, which they made the unwilling slave of their corruption, will an­swer to their digraceful fall by a triumphant song of deliverance. Itself will be transformed into new heavens and a new earth. It will partake of the glory of the children of God, delivered like itself, and will be worthy to contain the new Jerusalem, the holy city, where in our flesh we shall see God; and where, seated at the right hand of the Father in the Person of Jesus Christ, our glorified human nature will enjoy forever the honours of a bride.

 

COMMEMORATION OF THE FOUR CROWNED MARTYRS

 

Let us go in spirit to Rome, and direct our steps towards the ancient church on the Coelian Hill, which bears the name of the Four crowned Martyrs. There are few Saints whose Acts have been more disparaged “by a superficial criticism ignorant of archeological science,” such as that of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. But now "the history and traditions relating to the august monument on the Coelian have been restored to honour by learned men and antiquaries, whom no one could accuse of superstition, or of a blind credulity with regard to mediaeval legends.[6] Such is the unanswerable decision of the Commandant de Rossi. Let us, then, with the holy Liturgy, offer our homage and prayers to the titular Saints of this venerable church, who once held offices of trust in the empire; and let us not forget those other Martyrs, the five sculptors, who like the former preferred death to infidelity, and now share the glory of their tomb.

Prayer

Praesta, quaesummus omnipotens Deus: ut, qui gloriosos Martyres fortes in sua confessione cognovimus, pios apud te in nostra intercessione sentiamus. Per Dominum.
Grant we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who know thy glorious Martyrs to have been strong in their con­fession of thee, may experience their compassion by their interceding for us with thee. Through our Lord.

Let us honour all the Saints by a Sequence long sung on this Octave day by the church of Seville.

Sequence

Ad honorem Salvatoris,
Intus corde, voce foris,
Concinat haec concio;
Dulcis erit melodia
Si concordent ista tria:
Cor, os, operatio.

Admirandus est in sanctis
Suis Deus; sed cum tantis
Tandem bonis satiat,
Cur dum spirant in hac vita
Vix respirant, eos ita
Flagellat et cruciat?

Numquid, Christe, pie odis
Quos diversis poenae modis
Dignum ducis affici,
Et attritos in tormentis
Saepe sinis et consentis
Dirae neci subjici?

Sed non odit, sed explorat
Quo affectu quis laborat
In ejus obsequio;
Amat cunctos, probat tamen
Per sudorem et certamen
Quanta sit devotio.

Certant enim contra mundum,
Hostem nequam et immundum,
Canis quoque vitia;
Hac imprimis confessores
Martyresque formant mores
Virili constantia.

Est certamen capitale
Quod conflict capitale
Martyri supplicium;
Sed interdum confessori
Litor deest in lituri
Carnis optans gaudium.

Ob amorem ergo Christi
Certant illi, certant isti,
Tam mares quam feminae:
Qui plus sudat in agone
Plus mercedis et coronae
Refert pro certamine.

Omnes Deo sunt electi:
Velit Deus horum flexti
Meritis et precibus,
Ut quum dies erit dira
Non nos sua subdat ira
Tartari tortoribus.

Sed hunc nostra laudet lyra
Cum coelorum civibus.

Amen.
To the honour of our Saviour,
let this assembly sing,
both with the inward music of the heart,
and with the outward sound of the voice;
sweet will be the melody if these three
be of one accord: heart, lips, and action.

God is wonderful in his Saints;
but since at the last he satisfies them
with such good things, wherefore,
while they live this life,
are they scarce able to breathe,
he so scourges and torments them?

Is it O Christ, that thou
dost lovingly hate them,
since thou judgest well that
they should suffer in so many ways,
and permittest them often to be crushed
under tortures and subjected to a cruel death?

Nay, he hates them not,
but seeks to know with how much
love each one labours in his service;
he loves them all, yet he proves,
by the toil and the strife,
how great is their devotedness.

For they strive against the world,
the wicked unclean foe,
the vices of the flesh;
chiefly by this manly constancy
that confessors and martyrs
form themselves to virtue.

The special combat for the martyr
is that which gives him
the stroke of death;
but for the confessor the executioner is wanting;
he must choose the struggle
against the pleasures of the flesh.

'Tis therefore for the love of Christ
that strive the former and the latter,
whether men or women;
and he that labours most in the strife,
carries off a higher prize,
a brighter crown for his combat.

All are elected by God:
may God allow himself to be moved
by their merits and prayers,
that when the terrible day shall come,
he may not in his wrath
hand us over to the infernal torturers.

But rather may our lyre be permitted
to praise him in the company of the heavenly citi­zens.

Amen.

Let us next pray for our dear departed ones. The Missals of several churches furnish us with this earnest supplication.

Sequence

De profundis exclamantes
Audi, Christe, nostras voces
In coelesti curia:
Pro defunctis fidelibus
Orat nunc mater omnibus,
Te supplex Ecclesia.

Fiant ergo intendentes
Ut audiant tuae aures
Vocia haec suffragia:
Vox haec orat, Rex gloriae
Fidelibus ut hocie
Concedas remedia.

Peccatores quamvis simus,
Sustinere nec possimus,
Si observes vitia:
Fiat tamen salutaris
Quae offertur nunc a nobis
Pro defunctis hostia.

Haec quam Patri obtulisti
Offerimus et nos ipsi;
Sit eis propitia:
Propitius esto eis;
Solve vincla, jesu, reis
In tua potentis.

Propter legem quam dedisti,
Te sustinent quos fecisti:
Averte supplicia:
Te sustinent, eruantur;
In te sperant, educantur
Ad coeli palatia.

In te sperant, in te credunt;
Ad te tendunt et suspirant
De faecis miseria:
In te die, in te nocte,
In te mane et vespere
Sit eis fiducia.

Sit apud te quem rogamus,
Pro qua tibi supplicamus,
Pietatis copia:
Ut redims eas, Christe,
Supplex rogat coetus iste,
Ab omni nequitia.

Reginarum imperatrix,
Tua roget te genitrix:
Fiat horum impetratix
Quae rogamus, Maria.

Bone Jesu Rex gloriae,
Omnes sancti praecipue
Te rogantes sint hodie
Pro eorum venia.

Qui per crucem exaltatus
Peccatorum es misertus,
Audi preces queis devotus
Ad te clamat noster coetus
Cum misericordia.

Per te vincla confringantur,
Portae mortis destruantur,
Diaboli confundantur,
Et animae consequantur
Sempiterna guadia.

Amen.
As we cry out from the depths,
hear, O Christ, our voices
from thy heavenly court:
mother Church now
suppliantly implores thee
for all the faithful departed.

Let, then, thine ears be attentive
to hear her prayerful voice:
this voice that calls on thee,
O King of glory,
to grant this day
some relief to the faithful.

Although we are sinners
and unable to endure
if thou consider our vices:
still, let the victim
now offered by us
avail for the dead.

See, we offer the same
as thou didst offer to the Father:
may it be a succour to them;
yea, be thou propitious to them,
and in thy might, O Jesus,
loose the bonds of the guilty.

Because of the law which thou hast given,
the creatures thou hast made wait for thee;
turn away the punishment:
they wait for thee, may they be delivered;
they trust in thee,
lead them forth to the heavenly dwellings.

In thee they trust, in thee they believe,
towards thee they yearn and sigh
from their awful depth of misery;
in thee by day, in thee by night,
in thee at morn and evening
be their sure confidence.

With thee, we implore,
be that abundant mercy for which we pray;
that thou wouldst redeem them,
O Christ, from all evil,
this suppliant crowd
beseeches thee.

Let the Queen of queens,
thy Mother, intercede;
may Mary obtain
for us what we ask.

O good Jesus, King of glory,
let all thy Saints
ask pardon for them,
especially on this day.

O thou who, raised upon the cross,
didst take pity on sinners,
mercifully hear the prayers
wherewith our assembly
cries to thee.

By thee may all bonds be broken,
the gates of death destroyed,
the devils put to confusion,
and souls obtain possession
of never-ending joys.

Amen.

[1] S. Cyprian. De Mortalitate, xxvi.
[2] S. Aug. De Sermone Domini in monte, Lib. i. cap. v.
[3] Apoc. xxii. 11-13.
[4] I Cor. vii. 29-31.
[5] Apoc. xxii. 15.
[6] De Rossi. Bullet: 1879.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Domum Dei decet sanctitudo: Sponsum ejus Christum adoremus in ea. Such is the Invitatory Antiphon, which sums up the liturgical thought of the day: “Holiness becometh the House of God: let us adore therein Christ her Spouse.” What is this mystery of a house that is at the same time a bride? - Our churches are holy because they belong to God, and on account of the celebration of the holy Sacrifice therein, and the prayer and praise offered to the divine Guest who dwells there. More truly than the figurative tabernacle or the ancient temple, they are separated, solemnly and forever by their dedication, from all the dwellings of men, and exalted far above all earthly palaces. Still, notwithstanding the magnificent rites performed within them on the day they were consecrated to God, notwithstanding the holy oil with which their walls remain forever impregnated, they themselves are devoid of feeling and life. What else, then, can be meant, but that the solemn function of the dedication, and the annual Feast that commemorates it, do not point merely to the material building, but rise to living and more sublime realities? The principal glory of the noble edifice will be to symbolize those great realities. Under the shelter of its roof, the human race will be initiated into ineffable secrets, the mystery whereof will be consummated in another world, in the noonday light of heaven. Let us listen to some doctrine on this subject.

God has but one sanctuary truly worthy of him, viz: his own divine life; the tabernacle, with which he is said to surround himself when he bends the heavens; though impenetrable darkness to the eyes of mortals, it is the inaccessible light wherein dwells in glory the ever-tranquil Trinity.[1] And yet, O God most high, this same divine life, which cannot be contained by the heavens, much less by the earth, thou deignest to communicate to our souls, and thereby to make man a partaker in the divine nature. Henceforth there is no reason why the holy Trinity should not reside in him, just as in the highest heavens. Thus, from the beginning, thou couldst lay it down as the law of the newly-created world, and couldst declare to the abyss, to the earth, to the heavens, that it would be thy delight to dwell with the children of men.

When, therefore, the 'fulness of time came, God sent his Son, making him the son of Adam, in order that in man might dwell all the fulness of the Godhead corporally.[2] From that day forward earth has had the advantage over heaven. Every Christian has participation in Christ; and having become the temple of the Holy Ghost, bears God in his body.[3] This temple of God, says the Apostle, is holy, which you are;[4] the temple is the individual Christian; it is also the Christian assembly.

Whereas Christ calls the whole human race to participate in his own fulness, the human race in its turn completes Christ. It is bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh, one body with him, and, together with him, the one victim which is to burn eternally with the fire of love upon the altar of heaven. At the same time, Christ is the corner-stone, on which other living stones, all the predestined, are built up by the apostolic architects into the holy temple of the Lord. Thus the Church is the Bride, and by and with Christ she is the House of God. She is such already in this world, where in labour and suffering the elect stones are chiselled, and are laid successively in the places assigned them by the divine plan. She is such in the happiness of heaven, where the eternal temple is being constructed of every soul that ascends from earth; until, when completed by the acquisition of Our immortal bodies, it will be consecrated by the great High-Priest on the day of the incomparable dedication, the close of time. Then will the world, redeemed and sanctified, be solemnly restored to the Father who gave it his only-begotten Son, and God. will be all in all. Then it will appear that the Church was truly the archetype shown beforehand on the Mount,[5] whereof every other sanctuary, built by the hands of men, could be but the figure and the shadow. Then will be realized the vision of St. John: I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God.

It was fitting, then, that this Feast should illuminate the closing Cycle with the first rays of eternity. It is by one of the seven Angels having phials full of the seven last plagues, that the Bride in her rich apparel was shown to the Evangelist; let the hope of contemplating her in her glory be a comfort to us too in these evil days. The expectation of her approaching appearance will animate the courage of the just during the final combats.

But let us, the children of the Church, already praise our Mother. Let this day so dear to her heart be to us one of the greatest solemnities; for it commemorates both her birth from the side of the heavenly Adam, and the sacred consecration which entitles her to the good pleasure of the Father, to the love of the Son, and to the bountiful gifts of the Holy Ghost.

 

First Vespers

 

When, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the churches of France were restored to their holy use, it seemed good to the Holy See to establish a general Dedication Feast, instead of the local solemnity hitherto observed by each church on the actual anniversary of its consecration. The Feast was still to have the honours of a Double of second class, which proved that it had lost nothing of its importance in the eyes of Rome. Its being permanently fixed on a Sunday, secured to the people the benefit of annually receiving the sublime teaching in which our fathers took such delight. And the choice of this particular Sunday, immediately after the Octave of All Saints', made this solemnity as it were the completion of the other, and the crowning of the entire year.

The following Office and Mass are those of the Common of the Dedication per annum. We shall have them again, in this same month, on the Dedications of the Lateran Basilica of our Saviour, and of the Basilicas of St. Peter on the Vatican and St. Paul on the Ostian Way.

The Church, about to sing in the 109th Psalm the eternal Priesthood of Christ, is seized with an overpowering sentiment of the holiness of this house of the Lord, where she has assembled her children, and in which the great Sacrifice is offered to God. The first Antiphon is taken from the 92nd Psalm, which it accompanies at Lauds.

1. Ant. Domum tuam Domine decet sanctitudo in longitudinem dierum.

1. Ant. Holiness becometh thy house, O Lord, unto length of days.


Ps. Dixit Dominum, page 36.


Yes, this house is holy: the house of prayer is the name given to it by all nations. This name had been foretold by Isaias, as our Lord himself reminded the buyers and sellers in the temple.

2. Ant. Domus mea domus orationis vocabitur.

2. Ant. My house shall be called the house of prayer.


Ps. Confitebor tibi Domine, page 37.


House of God! How the Church loves to repeat it! And now it reminds her of the Gospel text, where our Lord compares the man who hears his word and does it, to one who builds his house upon a rock. We begin to perceive the connection in the Church's mind between the faithful soul and the sacred building whose stability she is praising.

3. Ant. Haex est domus Domini firmiter aedificata, bene fundata est supra firmam petram.

3. Ant. This is the house of the Lord, strongly built, it is firmly founded on the solid rock.


Ps. Beatus vir, page 38.


 

The chants rise in enthusiasm ; the fourth Antiphon repeats, as if in ecstasy, the expressions of the third. Without any doubt the Church is no longer thinking of these walls which are one day to crumble; the solid rock is Christ, the house is the assembly of the elect.

4. Ant. Bene fundata est domus Domini supra firmam petram.

4. Ant. Firmly founded is the house of the Lord, upon the solid rock.


Ps. Laudate pueri, page 39.


 

Caught up beyond this world, the Church in her admiration addresses the glorious dwelling, which the Lord her Spouse is building in heaven entirely of precious stones, the living gems which are to form the towers of the new Sion.

5. Ant. Lapides pretiosi omnes muri tui, et turres Jerusalem gemmis aedificabuntur.

5. Ant. All they walls shall be of precious stones, and the towers of Jerusalem shall be built of jewels.


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 fumenti satiat te.
Qui emittit eloquium suum terrae * velociter currit sermo ejus.
Qui dat nivem sicut lanam: * nebulam sicut cinerem spargit.
Mittit crystallum suam sicut buccellas: * ante faciem frigoris ejus, quis sustinebit?
Emittet Verbum suum, et liquefacet ea: * fiabit Spiritus ejus, et fluent aquae.
Qui annuntiat Verbum suum Jacob: * justitias, et judicia sua Israel.
Non fecit taliter omni nationi: * et judicia sua non manifestavit eis.

Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem: praise thy God, O Sion.
Because he hath strengthened the bolts of thy gates, he bath blessed thy children within thee.
Who hath placed peace in thy borders: and filleth thee with the fat of corn.
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 shall blow, and the waters shall run.
Who declareth his word to Jacob: his justices and his judgments to Israel.
He hath not done in like manner to every nation: and his judgments he hath not made manifest to them.


But this new Sion is the Church herself; for who but she is the Bride? And iu the Capitulum St. John shows us this holy city, coming down from heaven, adorned as a bride for her bridegroom.

Capitulum
(Apoc. xxi.)

Vidi civitatem sanctam Jerusalem novam descendentem de coelo a Deo, paratam sicut sponsam ornatam viro suo.

I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.


The seventh century, it will be remembered, witnessed the solemn Dedication of the Pantheon, which gave rise to the Feast of All Saints. It is to the same century we are indebted for the beautiful composition, from which the Hymns of Vespers and Lauds are taken. We will give the whole of it farther on, in its primitive text.

Hymn

Coelestis urbs Jerusalem,
Beata pacis visio,
Quae celsa de viventibus
Saxis ad astra tolleris,
Sponsaeque ritu cingeris
Mille Angelorum millibus.

O sorte nupta prospera,
Dotata Patris gloria,
Respersa sponsi gratia,
Regina formosissima,
Christo jugata Principi,
Coeli corusca civitas.

Hic margaritis emicant,
Patentque cunctis ostia:
Virtute namque praevia
Mortalis illuc ducitur;
Amore Christi percitus
Tormenta quisquis sustinet.

Scalpri salubris ictibus,
Et tunsione plurima,
Fabri polita malleo
Hanc saxa moem construunt,
Aptisque juncta nexibus
Locantur in fastigio.

Decus Parenti debitum
Sit usquequaque Altissimo,
Natoque Patris unico,
Et inclyto Paraclito,
Cui laus, potestas, gloria
Eterna sit persaecula.

Amen.

Jerusalem, heavenly city,
blessed vision of peace!
Built of living stones,
thou risest to the very stars;
and like a bride art circled round
with thousand, thousand Angels.

Oh! How happily art thou espoused!
Dowered with the Father's glory,
and the grace of thy Spouse shed over thee,
most lovely Queen united
to Christ the King;
resplendent city of heaven!

Thy gates, glittering with pearls,
are open to all;
thither is led whosoever follows virtue,
and who, urged
by the love of Christ,
endures torments.

After the strokes of the sa­lutary chisel,
and many a blow,
the stones, polished by the workman's hammer,
raise up this stately pile;
and being well fitted together,
are placed in the highest summit.

Be everywhere due honour
paid to the most high Father,
and to that Father's only Son,
and to the glorious Paraclete;
to whom be praise, power, and glory,
through everlasting ages.

Amen.


V. Haec est domus Domini firmiter aedificata.
℟. Bene fundata est supra firmam petram.
V. This is the house of the Lord, strongly built.
℟. It is firmly founded on the solid rock.

When Solomon dedicated the Temple, he reminded Jehovah of his former promises, concerning the place he would choose for his Name to dwell in. Our churches are far superior to the ancient temple, for they have in them more than the Name of the Lord; moreover, every Christian is now the dwelling-place of God. How much more excellently such is Mary, the predestined tabernacle, sanctified and dedicated, from the first moment of her existence, to the God who was to take Flesh in her, and thus begin to dwell among us! Let us return thanks, both for her and for ourselves, by singing her heavenly canticle.

Antiphon of the Magnificat

Sanctificavit Dominus tabernaculum suum: quia haec est domus Dei, in qua invocabitur nomen ejus, de quo scriptum est: Et erit nomen meum ibi, dicit Dominus.

The Lord hath sanctified his tabernacle: for this is the house of God, in which his name shall be invoked, where­of it is written: And my name shall be there, saith the Lord.


The Canticle Magnificat, page 44.

Prayer

Deus qui nobis per singulos annos hujus sancti templi tui consecrationis reparas diem, et sacris semper mysteriis repraesentas incolumes: exaudi preces populi tui, et praesta; ut quisquis hoc templum beneficia petiturus ingreditur, cuncta se impetrase laetetur. Per Dominum.

O God, who dost renew to us every year the day of the consecration of this thy holy temple, and dost ever bring us again in safety to the holy mysteries, graciously hear the prayers of thy people, and grant that whoever enters this temple to implore blessings, may rejoice in having obtained all his requests. Through our Lord.


The name of Church given to the Christian temple signifies the assembly of the baptized. The sanctification of the elect in its successive phases, is the soul and inspiration of that most solemn of liturgical functions, the dedication of a church.

First of all, the temple with its bare walls and closed doors represents the human race created by God, and yet robbed of his presence ever since the original sin. But the heirs of the promise have not yielded to despair: they have fasted, they have prayed through the night; morning finds them sending up to God the supplication of the penitential Psalms, the inspired expression of David's chastisement and repentance.

At early dawn there appears under the tent, where the exiles are praying,[6] the Word our Saviour. He is represented by the Pontiff vesting in the sacred robes, as he clothed himself with our flesh.[7] The God-Man joins his brethren in their prayer; then, leading them to the still closed temple, he there prostrates with them and redoubles his supplications.

Then around the noble edifice, unconscious of its destinies, begins the patient strategy, wherewith the grace of God, and the ministers of that grace, undertake the siege of abandoned souls. Thrice the Pontiff goes around the whole building, and thrice he attempts to force open those obstinately closed doors; but his storming consists of prayers to heaven, his force is but the merciful and respectful persuasion of human liberty. “Open, O ye gates, and the King of glory shall enter in.” At length the unbeliever yields; an entrance is gained into the temple: “Peace eternal to this house, in the name of the Eternal!”

All is not yet finished however; far from it; this

is but the commencement; the still profane edifice must be made into a dwelling worthy of God. The Pontiff, now within, continues to pray. His thoughts are intent upon the human race, symbolized by this future church. He knows that in its fallen state ignorance is its first evil. Accordingly he rises; and, on two lines of ashes running transversely from end to end of the temple and crossing in the centre of the nave, he traces with his episcopal crozier the Greek and Latin alphabets, the elements of the two principal languages[8] in which Scripture and Tradition are preserved. They are traced with the pastoral staff, on ashes, and on the cross; because sacred science comes to us from doctrinal authority, because it is understood only by the humble, and because it is all summed up in Jesus crucified.

Like the catechumen, the human race now enlightened requires, together with the temple, to be purified. The Pontiff makes use of the loftiest Christian symbolism, in order to perfect the element of this purification which he has so much at heart: he mingles water and wine, ashes and salt, figures of the humanity and the divinity, of the death and the resurrection of our Saviour. As Christ preceded us in the waters of Baptism at the Jordan, the aspersions are begun at the Altar and continued through the whole building.[9] Originally, at this point in the function, not only the interior and the pavement of the temple, but also the exterior of the walls, and in some places even the roof,[10] were inundated with the sanctifying shower which drives away demons, gives this dwelling to God, and prepares it for the reception of fresh favours.

In the order of the work of salvation, water is followed by oil, which confers on the Christian, in the second Sacrament, the perfection of his super­natural being; and which also makes kings, priests, and pontiffs. For all these reasons, the holy oil now flows copiously over the Altar, which represents Christ our Head, Pontiff and King, that it may afterwards, like the water, find its way to the walls of the entire church. Truly is this temple henceforth worthy of the name of church; for thus baptized and consecrated, with the God-Man, by water and the Holy Ghost, the stones of which it is built represent perfectly the faithful,[11] who are bound together and to the divine Corner-Stone by the imperishable cement of love.

Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem, praise thy God, O Sion![12] The sacred chants which, since the beginning of the solemn function, have not ceased to enhance its sublime developments, now redouble in en­thusiasm; and rising to the full height of the mystery, they hail the church, now so intimately associated to the Altar, as the Bride of the Lamb.[13] From this Altar ascend clouds of incense, which, mounting to the roof and stealing down the nave, impregnate the whole temple with the perfumes of the Spouse. And now the Subdeacons come forward, presenting for the Pontiff's blessing the gifts made to the Bride on this great day, and the vesture she has prepared for herself and for the Lord.

In the early middle ages, it was only at this point[14] that took place the triumphant translation of the relics destined to be placed in the Altar, after having remained all this time in the tent outside, as it were in exile. This ceremony is still, in the East, the conclusion of the Dedication rites.[15] “I go to prepare a place for you,” said our Lord, “and when I have prepared it, I will come again, and will take you to myself, that where I am you also may be.” In the Greek church, the Pontiff lays the holy relies on the sacred disc, (corresponding to our paten), and carries them raised above his head, “honouring equally with the venerable mysteries these precious remains, because the Apostle said of the faithful: You are the body of Christ and his members.”[16] In the West, up to the thirteenth century and even later, the sacred Body of our Lord himself in the holy Eucharist was sealed up in the Altar with the relics of the Saints. It was the “Church united to the Redeemer, the Bride to the Bridegroom,” says St. Peter Damian;[17] it was the final consummation, the passage from time to eternity.

 

MASS

 

Filled with the thought of the day when she became the object of the divine predilection, the Church renews her youth, and puts on her richest ornaments; she robes herself in white as a bride. As at the moment when she was ennobled for ever by the outpouring of the holy chrism, the twelve torches, symbols of apostolic light, shine from her consecrated walls above the twelve crosses which testify her right to the favours of heaven.

Our churches are to the Angels the border-land between heaven and earth; hence the Introit repeats the words uttered by Jacob on awaking from his vision of the mysterious ladder, with its heavenly messengers ascending and descending. The Verse, taken from the 83rd Psalm, celebrates at once the earthly and the heavenly temple.

“Is this the kingdom thou didst promise me, Father?” asked Clovis dazzled, as he entered for the first time the church of St. Mary at Rheims. “No,” replied Remigius, “it is the entrance of the way that will lead thee thither.”

Introit

Terribilis est locus iste: hic domus Dei est, et porta coeli, et vocabitur aula Dei.

Ps. Quam dilecta tabernacula tua, Domine virtuum: concupiscit, et deficit anima mea in atria Domini. Gloria Patri. Terribilis.

Terrible is this place: it is the house of God, and the gate of heaven; and shall be called the court of God.

Ps. How lovely are thy ta­bernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. Glory be to the Father. Terrible is this place.


The Holy See, while extending this Feast to churches not consecrated, has not thought fit to make any alteration in the Collect. Whether we consider these churches as participating in the privilege of their respective cathedrals ; or prefer to look at the dedication in its universal sense as explained above, whereby each sacred building is but the symbol of one august temple the same in all places: thanks are due to him, who enables us this year again to taste the joys of so great a solemnity. Life prolonged and health preserved, are benefits of God which we ought to recognize; and to thank him for them in his house, is to dispose him to hear us when we come to ask him for all other blessings, corporal or spiritual, in this place where he deigns to listen to all the petitions of his people.

Collect

Deus, qui nobis per singulos annos hujus sancti templi tui consecrationis repara diem, et sacris semper mysteriis repraesentas incolmes: exaudi preces populi tui, et praesta; ut quisquis hoc templum beneficia petituru ingreditur, cuncta se impetrasse laetetur. Per Dominum.

O God, who dost renew to US every year the day of the consecration of this thy holy temple, and dost over bring us again in safety to the holy mysteries, graciously hear the prayers of thy people, and grant that whoever enters this temple to implore blessings, may rejoice in having obtained all his requests. Through our Lord.


Epistle

Lectio libri Apocalypsis beati Johannis Apostoli.
Cap. xxvi.

In diebus illis: Vidi sanctam civitatem Jerusalem novam descendentem de coelo a Deo, paratam sicut sponsam ornatam viro suo. Et audivi vocem magnam de throno dicentem: Ecce tabernaculum Dei cum hominbus, et habitabit cum eis. Et ipsi populus ejus erunt, et ipse Deus cum eis erit eorum Deus: et absterget Deus omnem lacrymam ab oculis eorum: et mors ultra non erit, neque luctus, neque clamor, neque dolor erit ultra, quia prima abierunt. Et dixit qui sedebat in throno: Ecce nova facio omnia.

Lesson from the Book of the Apocalypse of blessed John the Apostle.
Ch. xxvi.

In those days, I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men; and he will dwell with them: and they shall be his people, and God himself with them shall be their God: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and death shall be no more, nor mourning nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. And he that sat on the throne said: Behold, I make all things new.


We must not forget that all the grandeurs of the Church in heaven belong, though invisibly, to the Church on earth, who is even now all beautiful and holy, truly a Bride, and as such attracting God, who through her dwells among us. The Prophets of Israel used the same expressions as does here the beloved disciple, when they announced that the unfaithful Sion was to be superseded, even on earth, by a new Jerusalem: — Behold I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be in remembrance... And I will rejoice in Jerusalem and joy in my people, and the voice of weeping shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.[18] And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.[19] Jerusalem, city of God, give glory to the Lord for thy good things, and bless the God eternal, that he may rebuild his taber­nacle in thee... Thou shalt shine with a glorious light: and all the ends of the earth shall worship thee. Nations from afar shall come to thee, and shall bring gifts, and shall adore the Lord in thee... The gates of Jerusalem shall be built of sapphire and of emerald, and all the walls thereof roundabout of precious stones. All its streets shall be paved with white and clean stones: and Alleluia shall be sung in its streets.[20]

Today, then, let us congratulate the Church militant no less than the triumphant; let us renew our veneration for her, our devotedness, and our love. Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad with her, all you

that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all you that mourn for her. That you may suck, and be filled with the breasts of her consolation: that you may milk out, and flow with delights, from the abundance of her glory.[21] Thus sang the prince of prophets, who had seen, in the vision of the far future, the house of the Lord prepared on the top of mountains, and above the hills among the Gentiles. In proud Ninive, which held Israel captive, the old Tobias echoed his words, declaring himself blessed in the hope that one of his seed might live to contemplate the glory of the new Sion; and he added: They shall be cursed that shall despise thee: and they shall be condemned that shall blaspheme thee : and blessed shall they be that shall build thee up... Blessed are all they that love thee, and that rejoice in thy peace. And let us also conclude with him: Blessed be the Lord who hath exalted it, and may he reign over it forever and ever.[22]

The ineffable sentiments which fill the soul of holy Church, find vent, in the Gradual, in one of the most admirable of all the Gregorian melodies. The Alleluia Verse is taken from the 137th Psalm.

Gradual

Locus iste a Deo factus est, inestimabile sacramentum, irreprehensibilis est.
V. Deus, cui adstate Angelorum chorus, exaudi preces servorum tuorum.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. Adorabo ad templum sanctum tuum, et confitebor nomini tuo. Alleluia.

This place was made by God, an invaluable mystery, it is without reproof.
V. O God, before whom stands the choir of Angels, graciously hear the prayers of thy servants.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. I will worship towards thy holy temple; and I will give glory to thy name. Alleluia.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.
Cap. xix.

In illo tempore: Ingressus Jesus perambulabat Jericho. Et ecce vir nomine Zachaeus: et hic princeps erat publicanorum, et ipse dives: et quaerebat videre Jesum, quis esset: et non poterat prae turba, quia statura pusillus erat. Et praecurrens ascendit in arborem sycomorum ut videret eum: quia inde erat transiturus. Et cum venisset ad locum, suspiciens Jesus vidit illum, et dixit ad eum: Zachaee, festinans descende: quia hodie in domo tua oportet me manere. Et festinans descendit, et excepit illum gaudens. Et cum viderent omnes, murmurabant, dicentes, quod ad hominem peccatorem divertisset. Stans autem Zachaeus, dixit ad Dominum: Ecce dimidium bonorum meorum, Domine, do pauperibus: et si quid aliquem defraudavi, reddo quadruplum. Ait Jesus ad eum: Quia hodie salus domui huic facta est: so quod et ipsa filius sit Abrahae. Venit enim Filius hominis quaerere, et salvum facere, quod perierat.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.
Ch. xiv.

At that time, Jesus entering in walked through Jericho. And behold there was a man named Zachaeus, who was the chief of the publicans, and he was rich; and he sought to see Jesus, who he was, and he could not for the crowd, because he was of low stature. And running before, he climbed up into a sycamore-tree that he might see him, for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus was come to the place, looking up he saw him, and said to him: Zachzeus, make haste and come down, for this day I must abide in thy house. And he made haste and came down, and received him with joy. And when all saw it, they murmured, saying that he was gone to be a guest with a man that was a sinner. But Zachasus stand­ing said to the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have wronged any man of anything, I restore him fourfold. Jesus said to him: This day is salvation come to this house; because he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.


In the Mass which follows the Dedication of their churches, the Greeks sing the .passage of the Gospel, where Jesus says to Simon Bar-Jona: Thou art Peter: and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. It is a fitting conclusion to the symbolical lessons of so great a day; and one certainly not less relished by us because of the schism which originated it. Let us hail this apostolic rock, the fixing of which in our West proves that the Latin races are predestined to remain forever the quarry that will furnish the noblest materials for the eternal temple. Nevertheless it is from other texts of the sacred Volume that our fathers chose the Gospel reading for today.

The comparison drawn by our Lord between the faithful soul and the man who built his house upon a rook, determined the choice of some churches; and as we have seen, it has inspired more than one Anti­phon and Verse in the Office. Rome, however, preferred the passage in St. Luke, where Jesus in­vites himself to the house of ZachEeus. The house which our Lord deigned to make his own, and that not merely for a day, was the publican himself, so despised by the Synagogue; it was all we the Gentiles, of whom, as St. Ambrose says in the Night Office, he was the figure.[23]

Zachaeus, lowly of origin and poor in merits like the nations, as the holy Doctor explains, merited to see our Lord, whom his own people would not receive. He, then, who had neither the Prophets nor the Law to raise him above earth and enable him to see the Saviour, ran before; he ran to the sycamore, that is to the Cross,[24] by which Jesus, leaving the Jews, had to pass in order to go to the Gentiles. From the height attained by his humility, he beheld the Wisdom of God.[25] He heard the Lord saying to this proud and ungrateful multitude: Behold your house shall be left to you desolate; while to him, despite the phari­saical murmurs of fallen Israel, rose the sweet voice that invited him to supplant the first-born in the honour of receiving his God into his house. And surely, if the house of the man, who hears the words of Jesus and does them, is proof against winds and waves, being built upon a rock: what dwelling could be more secure, than the heart of this representative of the disinherited nations, so magnificently repairing the past, and anticipating so generously the very counsels of our Lord!

The Offertory is taken from a passage in the first Book of Paralipomenon, where David thanks God for having allowed him to gather the treasures necessary for the building of the temple. The Church makes his words her own, while she offers on the altar not only her gifts, but also herself and her children, to be united in one same Sacrifice with the Lord her Spouse, and to form with him the true temple of God. All things are thine, said the Prophet-King; and we have given thee what we received of thy hand... I know, my God, that thou provest hearts and lovest simplicity.[26]

Offertory

Domine Deus, in simplicitate cordis mei laetus obtuli universa: et populum tuum, qui repertus est, vidi cum ingenti gaudio: Deus Israel, custodi hanc voluntatem. Alleluia.

O Lord God, in the simpli­city of my heart I have joyfully offered all these things; and I have seen with great joy thy people which are present: O God of Israel keep this will. Alleluia.


When the Dedication feast is not that of the church in which the Mass is being said, the words in parenthesis in the Secret are omitted.

Secret

Annue. Quaesumus Domine, precibus nostris: (ut quicumque intra templi hujus, cujus anniversarium dedicationis diem celebramus, ambitum continemur, plena tibi, atque perfecta corporis et animae devotione placamus;) ut, dum haec vota praesentia reddimus, ad aeterna praemia, te adjuvante, pervenire mereamur. Per Dominum.

Favourably incline to our prayers, O Lord, we beseech thee: (and grant that all we who are gathered within the walls of this temple, the anniversary day of whose dedication we are celebrating, may be pleasing to thee by complete and perfect devotion of body and soul;) so that while we offer these our present vows, we may by thy assistance deserve to arrive at eternal rewards. Through.


Prayer said in a consecrated church has a very special efficacy, as the Communion Antiphon assures us on the strength of God's own words, declaring his house to be a house of prayer. And therein, adds the Church on her own authority, is verified this other divine word: Every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth ; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.[27]

Communion

Domus mea, domus orationis vocabitur, dicit Dominus: in ea omnis, qui petit, accipit: et qui quaerit, invenit, et pulsanti aperietur.

My house shall be called the house of prayer, saith the Lord: every one that asketh therein, receiveth ; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.


The Postcommunion gathers into one last aspiration the sentiments which fill the holy Church on this great feast, while it beautifully expresses the manifold mystery of the day.

Postcommunion

Deus, qui de vivis et electis lapidibus aeternum Majestati tuae praeparas habitaculum, auxiliare populo tuo supplicanti, ut quod Ecclesiae tuae corporalibus proficit spatiis, spiritulibus amplificetur augmentis. Per Dominum.

O God, who preparest of living and chosen stones an eternal habitation for thy Majesty, assist thy suppliant people, that what benefits thy Church by corporal space, may be enlarged by spiritual increase. Through our Lord.


 

Second Vespers

 

The Second Vespers are the same as the First, excepting only the Versicle and the Magnificat Antiphon.

V. Domum tuam Domine decet sanctitudo.
℟. In longitudinem dierum.

V. Holiness becometh thy house, O Lord.
℟. Unto length of days.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

O quam metuendus est locus iste: vere non est hic aliud, nisi domus Dei, et porta oceli.

Oh! How awful is this place! Truly it is no other than the house of God, and the gate of heaven.


This Feast, as might be expected, has furnished abundant themes for Christian poetry. The Hymns of the Office in their original form, which we now give, were composed, as we have already said, in the seventh century.

Hymn

Urba Jerusalem beata,
Dixta pacis visio,
Quae contruitur in coelis
Vivis ex lapidibus,
Et Angelis coronata,
Ut sponsata comite.

Nova venienes e coelo,
Nuptiali thalamo
Praeparata, ut sponsata
Copuletur Domino:
Plateae et muri ejus
Ex auro purissimo.

Portae nitent margaritis
Adytis patentibus;
Et virtute meritorum
Illuc introducitur
Omnis, qui ob Christi nomen
Hic in mundo premitur.

Tunsionibus, pressuris
Expoliti lapides,
Suis coaptantur locis
Per manus artificis,
Disponuntur permansuri
Sacris aedificiis.

Angularis fundamentum
Lapis Christus missus est,
Qui parietum compage
In untroque nectitur,
Quem Sion sancta suscepti,
In quo credens permanet.

Omnis illa Deo sacra
Et dilecta civitas,
Plena modulis, in laude,
Et canore jubilo,
Trinum Deum unicumque
Cum fervore praedicat.

Hoc in templo summe Deus,
Exoratus adveni;
Et clementi bonitate
Recum vota suscipe;
Largam benedictionem
Hic infunde jugiter.

Hic promercantur omnes
Petita acquirere,
Et adepta possidere:
Cum Sanctis perenniter
Paradisum introire,
Translati in requiem.

Gloria et honor Deo
Usquequaque altissimo,
Una Patri, Filioque,
Inclyto Paraclito,
Cui laus est et potestas
Per aeterna saecula.

Amen.

Jerusalem, blessed city,
called the vision of peace!
She is built up
in heaven of living stones,
and surrounded by Angels,
as a bride by her cortege.

'Tis the new Sion
coming down from heaven,
adorned for her nuptials,
that as a bride she may be united to her Lord.
Her streets and walls
are all of purest gold.

Her ever open gates
are glittering with pearls;
and whosoever suffers in this world
for the Name of Christ,
finds entrance there
in virtue of his merits.

The stones, polished
by the blows of affliction,
are fitted to their places
by the builder's hand:
they are fixed to remain
for ever in the hallowed pile.

Christ the corner stone
was sent to be the foundation,
bound in both joints of the walls;
whom Sion received and became holy,
in whom believing
she endures for ever.

All this beloved city,
con­secrated to God,
is full of melodies;
in praise and joyful song
she fervently extols
her God One and Trine.

In this temple, O most high God,
be present when thou art called upon;
and in thy merciful goodness
receive our suppliant vows;
here pour out ever
thy copious benedictions.

Here may all merit
to obtain what they request,
and to keep what they have obtained:
so that, when taken into their rest,
they may enter Paradise
for ever with the Saints.

Glory and honour be in all places
to God most high:
equally to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the glorious Paraclete,
to whom belong praise and power
through everlasting ages.

Amen.


The following Sequence magnificently celebrates the sublime mystery of the Dedication, as understood by our forefathers. It has been sung in our churches ever since the thirteenth century, and has been considered worthy to be attributed to Adam of St. Victor. We have thought it necessary to give the text most generally used at present.

Sequence

Jerusalem et Sion filie,
Coetus omnis fidelis curise,
Melos pangant jugis laetitiae:
Alleluia.

Christus enim, norma justitiae,
Matrem nostram desponsat hodie,
Quam de lacu traxit miseriae.
Ecclesiam.

Hanc, sanguinis et aquae munere,
Dum penderet in crucia arbore,
De proprio produxit latere
Deus homo.

Formaretur ut six Ecclesia,
Figuratur in prima femin,
Quae de costis adiae est edita,
Mater Heva.

Heva fuit noverca psoteris:
Haec est mater electi generis,
Vitae parens, asylum miseris,
Et tutela.

Haec est cymba qua tuti vehimur,
Hoc ovile quo tecti condimur
Haec columna qua firmi nitimur
Veritatis.

O solemnis festum laetitiae,
Quo unitur Christus Ecclesiae,
In quo nostrae salutis nuptiae
Celebrantur!

Justis inde solvuntur praemia,
Lapsis autem donatur venia:
Et sanctorum augentur gaudia
Angelorum.

Ab aeterno fons sapientiae,
Intuitu solius gratiae,
Sic praevidit in rerum serie
Haec futura.

Christus jungens nos suis nuptiis,
Recreatos veris deliciis,
Interesse faciat gaudiis
Electorum.

Amen.

Let the daughters of Jerusalem and Sion,
and all the assembly of the faithful people,
sing a sweet song
of never-ending joy: Alleluia.

For Christ, the pattern of holiness,
this day doth wed our mother,
holy Church, whom he hath drawn
from the abyss of misery.

While hanging on the tree of the Cross,
the God made Man brought her forth
from his own side,
giving her the blood and water for her dower.

That thus was to be formed the holy Church,
was prefigured in the first of womankind,
our mother Eve,
produced from Adam's side.

Eve was a cruel step-mother to her posterity;
but this one is the mother of the chosen race,
parent of life, a refuge to the wretched,
and their shelter.

This is the bark wherein we safely sail,
this the sheep-fold
that shelters and protects us,
this the pillar of truth whereon we lean securely.

O feast of solemn joy!
Whereon Christ is united to the Church,
where on the nuptials
of our salvation are celebrated!

Rewards this day are given to the just,
and pardon is be­stowed upon the fallen;
yea, and the joys of the holy
Angels are increased.

From all eternity the Fount of Wisdom,
regardless of aught save his free grace alone,
foresaw and arranged in due course
these happy events.

May Christ, uniting us in his own nuptials,
and recreating us with true delights,
admit us to share
in the eternal joys of his elect.

Amen.


Let us now hear what blessings the Bride implores, on the day of their consecration, for these churches, in each of which she sees an image of herself. If we remember that the Church’s prayer is always heard, this Preface from the Pontifical will show us what great benefits await our humble supplications.

Preface

Eterne Deus, adesto precibus nostris, adesto Sacramentis, adesto etiam piis famulorum tuorum laboribus, nobisque misericordiam tuam poscentibus. Descendat quoque in hanc Ecclesiam tuam, quam sub invocatione sancti nominis tui in honorem sanctae crucis, in qua coaeternus tibi Filius tuus Dominus noster Jesus Christus pro redemptione mundi pati dignatus est, et memoriam sancti tui N. nos indigni consecramus, Spiritus Sanctus tuus, septiformis gratiae ubertate redundans; ut quotiescumque in hac domo tua sanctum nomen tuum fuerit invocatum, eorum, qui te invocaverint, a te pio Domino preces exaudiantur.

O beata et sancta Trinitas, quae omnia purificas, omnia mundas, et omnia perornas. O beata majestas Dei, quae cuncta mples, cuncta contines, cuncta disponis. O beata et sancta manus Dei, quae omnia sanctificas, omnia benedicis, omnia locupletas. O sancte Sanctorum Deus, tuam clementiam humillima devotione deposcimus, ut hanc Ecclesiam tuam, per nostrae humilitatis famulatum, in honorem sanctae et victoriosissimae crucis, et memoriam sancti tui N. purificare, benedicere, et consecrare, perpetua sanctificationis tuae ubertate digneris. Hic quoque Sacerdoates sacrificia tibi laudis offerant. Hic fidelis populi vota persolvant. Hic peccatorum onera solvantur, fidelesque lapsi reparentur.

In hac ergo, quaesumus Domine, domo tua Spiritus sancti gratia aegroti sanentur; infirmi recuperentur; claudi curentur; leprosi mundentur; caeci illuminentur; daemonia ejiciantur. Cunctorum hic debilium incommoda, te, Domine, annuente, pellantur, omniumque vincula peccatorum absolvantur. Ut omnes qui hoc templum beneficia juste deprecaturi ingrediuntur, cuncta se impetrasse laetentur; ut concessa misericordia, quam precaturn, perpetua miserationis tuae munere glorientur. Per eumdum Dominum.

O eternal God, be propitious to our prayers, be propi­tious to our sacred rites, be propitious to the pious labours of thy servants, as we implore thy mercy. Upon this church, which we though unworthy consecrate under the invocation of thy holy Name, unto the honour of the holy Cross whereon thy co-eternal Son our Lord Jesus Christ deigned to suffer for the redemption of the world, and in memory of thy Saint N. (here is named the titular of the church), may thy Holy Spirit descend, over­flowing with the abundance of his sevenfold grace; so that, whensoever thy holy Name is invoked in this house, thou O Lord, in thy goodness, mayest hear the prayers of them that call on thee.

O blessed and holy Trinity, that purifiest all things, cleansest all things, adornest all things. O blessed Majesty of God, that fillest all things, containest all things, orderest all things. O blessed and holy hand of God, that sanctifiest all things, blessest all things, enrichest all things. O God, holy of holies, with most humble devotion we implore thy mercy that thou wouldst deign, through the ministry of our lowliness, to purify, bless, and consecrate, by the everlasting abundance of thy sacred gifts, this thy church, unto the honour of the holy and triumphant Cross, and the memory of thy Saint N. Here also may thy priests offer to thee the sacrifice of praise. Here may the faithful perform their vows. Here may the burdens of sinners be undone, and the faithful who have fallen be restored to grace.

We therefore beseech thee, O Lord, in this thy house, by the grace of thy Holy Spirit, may the sick be healed, the infirm restored to strength, the lame cured, the lepers cleansed, the blind enlightened, demons cast out. May all miseries and weaknesses be driven away, by thy favour, O Lord, and the bonds of all sins be loosed. Thus may all who enter this temple for the purpose of rightly asking thy benefits, rejoice to find all their petitions granted; so that, having obtained the mercy they sought, they may glory in the eternal munificence of thy tender compassion. Through the same Lord.


We will conclude with these beautiful formulae from the Ambrosian Liturgy, where the Dedication is celebrated on the third Sunday of October, and gives its name, post Dedicationem, to the last Sundays of the sacred Cycle.

Preface

Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Qui eminentiam potestatis acceptae tradidit Ecclesiae, quam pro honore percepto et Reginam constituit, et Sponsam. Cujus sublimitati universa subjecit; ad cujus judicium consentire jussit a coelo. Haec est mater omnium viventium, filiorum numero facta sublimior: quae per Spiritum Sanctum quotidie Deo filios procreat; cujus palmitibus mundus omnis impletus est: quae propagines suas ligno bajulante suspensas erigit ad regna coelorum. Haec est civitas illa, sublimis jugo montis erecta, persipcua cunctis, et omnibus clara; cujus conditor, et inhabitator est idem Dominus noster Jesus Christus Filius tuus. Quem una tecum omnipotens Pater.

It is just to return thanks to thee, O eternal God, through Christ our Lord. Who delivered to the Church the eminent power he had received from thee, and, on account of that honour, constituted her Queen and Bride. To her sovereignty he subjected all things, and ordered her judg­ment to be ratified in heaven. She is the mother of all the living, and her glory is enhanced by the number of her children: for daily by the Holy Spirit she brings forth sons to God. The whole world is filled with her branches: and suspending her shoots on the tree that supports her, she raises them up to the kingdom of heaven. She is the city built on the summit of the lofty mountain, visible to all, well-known to all; whose builder and indweller is the same Jesus Christ our Lord thy Son, whom together with thee, O almighty Father, the Angels praise.


Prayer

Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam, Unigeniti tui Sponsam vocare dignatus es, ut, quae habet gratiam per fidei devotionem, haberet etiam ex nomine pietatem: da, ut omnis haec plebs, nomini tuo serviens, hujus vocabuli consortio digna esse mereatur. Per eumdum Dominum.

O God, who bast deigned to call the Church the Bride of thine only-begotten Son; that as she has found favour by the devotion of her faith, so she might also obtain love by reason of her very name: grant that all this people subject to thy Name, may be found worthy to share with her so glorious an appellation. Through the same Lord.


I have loved O Lord the beauty of thy house, and the place where thy glory dwelleth.[28] May this word remain with us as a lingering fragrance of the great solemnity. Thy house, O God, is our Church, unspeakably beautiful with the splendour of the divine mysteries. Compared with her, what was the tabernacle that sheltered the Ark of the Covenant of Sinai? And yet the thought of it filled the heart of David in the desert, and made him faint like the stag panting after the fountains of water. Let us learn from our fathers, who lived in the ages of expectation, how to love the courts of the Lord.

Christian! The exile which afflicted David, can never be your fate; for in Baptism you became the sanctuary of God. Let this Dedication day remind you of the consecration which took you from yourself to make you the temple of the Holy Ghost; to give you to Christ, together with whom your life is henceforth hidden in the sweet and fruitful secrecy of the Father's Face. Learn to render to the Blessed Trinity in your soul a homage worthy of his presence.

Lastly, baptized and consecrated soul, remember that you are not alone at the banquet of God's love; that divine charity, which unites you to Christ the Spouse, must link you to his members, and fit you, a living stone, to the other stones; preparing you here below for your future place in the structure of the heavenly sanctuary. Learn to adapt yourself to the living Church; to vibrate in unison with the great Bride; practising for eternity, where your one happy occupation will be to glorify with her, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, forever and ever.


[1] Cf. Ps. xvii.
[2] Col. ii. 9.
[3] Cor. vi. 20.
[4] Ibid. iii. 17.
[5] Exod. xxvi. 30.
[6] Sub tentorio ante fores Ecclesiae consecrandae parate. Pontificale rom.
[7] Simson Thessalonic. De temple et ejus consecratione. cii.
[8] Remig. Antissiodorensis, tractatus de Dedicat. Ecclesiae; Ivo Carnotensis, Sermo iv, de Sacramentia Dedicat., De Rossi, Bulletin. 1881.
[9] Simeon Thessalon, ubi supra, cvii.
[10] Et per colmina templi. Ordo IV. In Dedicat. Apud Martène, ex Pontific. S. Dunstani Cantuar.
[11] Pontificale rom. Ant. Lapides pretiosi, ad unctionem parietum.
[12] Ps. cxlvii. Ibid. ad id.
[13] ℟. Haec est Jerusalem, ibid.
[14] Remig. Antissiod. Ubi supra; Ordines veterum apud Martène.
[15] Eucholog. Ordo et Officium Dedicationis Templi.
[16] Simeon Thessalon. Ubi supra. cxvi.
[17] Petr. Damien. Sermo lxxii. in Dedicat. Iv.
[18] Is. lxv. 17-19.
[19] Jerem. xxxi. 33.
[20] Tob. xiii.
[21] Is. lxvi.
[22] Tob. xiii.
[23] Homil. diei festi, ex Ambr. in Luc. viii.
[24] Homil. 5th diei infra Oct., ex BED. in Luc. v.
[25] Homil. 4th diei infra Oct., ex GREG. Moral. xxvii. 27.
[26] I Paralip. xxix.
[27] St Luke xi. 10.
[28] Ps. xxv. 8.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

IN the fourth century of our era, the cessation of persecution seemed to give the world a foretaste of its future entrance into eternal peace. “Glory to the Almighty! Glory to the Redeemer of our souls!” wrote Eusebius at the opening of the tenth and last book of his History. Himself a witness of the triumph, he describes the admirable spectacle everywhere displayed by the dedication of the new sanctuaries. In city after city the Bishops assembled, and crowds flocked together. From nation to nation, the good-will of mutual charity, of common faith, and of recollected joy, so harmonized all hearts, that the unity of Christ's body was clearly manifested in these multitudes animated by the same inspiration of the Holy Ghost. It was the fulfilment of the ancient prophecies: the living city of the living God, where all, whatever their age or sex, praise together the Author of all good things. How solemn were then the rites of the Church! The complete perfection therein displayed by the Pontiffs, the enthusiasm of the psalmody, the inspired readings, the celebration of the ineffable Mysteries, formed a divine pageantry.[1]

Constantine had placed the imperial treasure at the disposal of the Bishops; and he himself stimu­lated their zeal for what he called in his edicts the work of the churches.[2] Rome, the place of his victory by the Cross, the capital of the now Christian world, was the first to benefit by the prince's munificence. In a series of dedications, to the glory of the holy Apostles and Martyrs, Sylvester, the Pontiff of peace, took possession of the eternal city in the name of the true God.

Today is the birthday of the mother and mistress of churches, called “of our Saviour, Aula Dei (God's palace), the golden Basilica;” it is a new Sinai,[3] whence the apostolic oracles and so many Councils have made known to the world the law of salvation. No wonder this feast is celebrated by the whole world.

Although the Popes for centuries have ceased to dwell in the Lateran palace, the Basilica still holds the first rank. It is as true now, as it was in the time of St. Peter Damian, to say that “as our Saviour is the Head of the elect, so the church which bears his name is the head of all churches; those of St. Peter and St. Paul, on its right and left, are the two arms with which this sovereign and universal church embraces the whole earth, saving all those who desire salvation, cherishing and protecting them in its maternal bosom.”[4] And St. Peter Damian applied conjointly to our Saviour and his Basilica the words of the prophet Zacharias; Behold a Alan, the Orient is his name: and under him shall he spring up, and shall build a temple to the Lord. Yea, he shall build a temple to the Lord: and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit, and rule upon his throne: and he shall be a priest upon his throne.[5]

It is still at the Lateran Basilica that the Roman Pontiffs take official possession of their See. There each year, in the name of the Pope as Bishop of Rome, the episcopal functions are performed, viz: the blessing of the Holy Oils on Maundy Thursday, and on Holy Saturday the blessing of the Font, solemn Baptism and Confirmation, and the general Ordination. Could the great poet of the age of triumph, Prudentius, return to life in these our days, he might still say: “The Roman people hasten in eager crowds to the Lateran, whence they return marked with the sacred sign, with the royal chrism. And are we yet to doubt that Rome is consecrated " to thee, O Christ!”[6]

Ritus quos in consecrandis ecclesiis et altaribus Romana servat Ecclesia, beatus Silvester Papa primus instituit. Nam etsi jam ab Apostolorum tempore loca fuerunt Deo dicata, quae ab quibusdam Oratoria, ab aliss Ecclesiae dicebantur, ubi collectae fiebant per unam sabbati, et christianus populus arare, Dei verbum audire, et Eucharistiam sumere solitus erat: non tamen illa adeo solemni ritu consecrabantur, nec in eis adhus in titulum erectum erat altare, quod chrismate delibutum, Domini nostri Jesu Christi, qui altare, hostia et sacerdos noster est, figuram exprimeret.

Sed ubi Constatntinus imperator per baptismi sacramentum sanitatem salutemque consecutus est, tum primum lege ab eo lata concessum est toto orbe terrarum, Christiani, ut eccelesias aedificarent: quos ille non solum edicto, sed etiam exemplo ad sacram aedificationem est chortatus. Name et in suo Lateranensi palatio ecclesian Salvatori dedicavit, et ei continentem basilicam nomine sancti Joannis Baptiste condidit, eo loco quo ipse, baptizatus a sancto Silvestro, a lepra mundatus est: quam idem Pontifex consecravit quinto idus novemtris: cujus consecrationis memoria celebratur hodierno dis, quo primum Romae publice ecclesia consecrata est, et imago Salvatoris in pariete depicta populo roman apparuit.

Quod si beatus Silvester postea in consecratione altaris Principis Apostolorum decrevit, ut deinceps nisi ex lapide altaria non aedificarentur, tamen, basilecae Lateranensis altare fuit e ligno erectum: quod mirum non est. nam cum a sancto Petro usque ad Silvestrum, propter persecutiones, Pontifices certo loco consistere non possent: quocumque eas necessitas compuliset, sive in cryptas, sive in coemeteria, sive in aedes piorum, super illo altari ligneo ad arcae similitudinem cancavo, sacra faciebant. Quo altari sanctus Silvester, reddita Ecclesiae pace, honoris causa Principis Apostolorum, qui in illo sacrificasse dicitur, et relinquorum Pontificum, qui usque ad id tempus ad mysteria conficienda eo usi fuerant, in Lateranensi prima ecclesia collocato, sancivit ne quisquam in eo, praeter Romanum Pontificem, Missam deinceps celebraret. Eamdem ecclesiam incendiis, vastationibus, terrae insuper motibus disjectam eversamque, ac secula Summorum Pontificum cura reparatam, nova postmodum molitione restitutam, Benedictus decimus tertius Pontifex Maximus Ordinis Praedicatorum, die vigesima octava aprilis anni millesimi septingentesimi vigesimi sexti, ritu solemni consecravit, ejusque celebritatis memoriam hac die recolendam statuit. Quod autem Pius nonus perficiendum censuerat, Leo decimus tertius, cellam maximam, vetustate fatiscentem, ingenti molitione producendam laxandamque curavit, vetus musivum multis jam antea partibus instauratum, ad antiquum exemplar restitui et in novam absidem, opere cultuque magnifico exornatam, transferri, aulam transversam laqueari et contignatione refectia expoliri jussit, anno millesimo octingentesimo octuagesimo quart, sacrario, aede canonicorum perpetuaque ad Baptisterium Constantinianum porticu adjectia.
The rites observed by the Roman Church in consecrating churches and altars were instituted by the blessed Pope Sylvester. For although from apostolic times churches were dedicated to God, and called by some oratories, by others churches; and in them the Christian people assembled on the first day of the week, and were wont there to pray, to hear the word of God, and to receive the Holy Eucharis ; yet hitherto they were never so solemnly consecrated, nor was an altar erected in them, anointed with chrism, to represent and signify our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our altar, our victim, and our priest.

But when the emperor Constantine had received health of body and soul by the Sacrament of Baptism, he promulgated a law to the whole world, allowing the Christians to build churches; and he encouraged them in this work by his own example as well as by this edict. Thus, in his Lateran palace he dedicated a church to our Saviour; and founded the adjoining baptistery in honour of St. John Baptist, on the very spot where he himself had been baptized by St. Sylvester and cleansed from his leprosy. The Pontiff consecrated it on the fifth of the Ides of November; and we celebrate the memory thereof on this same day, whereon for the first time a church was publicly dedicated in Rome, and there appeared before the eyes of the Roman people an image of our Saviour depicted on the wall.

Although later on, when consecrating the altar of the Prince of the Apostles, blessed Sylvester decreed that thenceforward all altars should be built of stone yet the altar of the Lateran Basilica was of wood. This however is not surprising. For, from the time of St. Peter down to Sylvester, persecution prevented the Pontiffs from having any fixed abode; so that they offered the holy Sacrifice either in crypts or cemeteries, or in the houses of the faithful, as necessity compelled them, upon the said wooden altar, which was hollow like a chest. When peace was granted to the Church, Sylvester placed this altar in the first church, the Lateran; and in honour of the Prince of the Apostles, who is said to have offered the holy Sacrifice upon it, and of the other Pontiffs who had used it up to that time, he decreed that no one should celebrate Mass upon it except the Roman Pontiff. This church having been injured and half ruined in consequence of fires, hostile invasions, and earthquakes, was several times repaired by the care of the Popes. After a new restoration Pope Benedict XIII. a Dominican, solemnly consecrated it, on the twenty-eighth day of April in the year 1726, and ordered the commemora­tion thereof to be celebrated on this present day. The great works undertaken by Pius IX., have been happily com­pleted by Leo XIII., to wit : the principal apse, which was threatening to fall through age, has been very much enlarged; the ancient mosaic, already partially restored at different times, has been reconstructed on the old model, and transferred to the new apse, which is handsomely and richly decorated; the roof and woodwork of the transepts have been renewed and ornamented. Moreover a sacristy and a house for the Canons have been added, as well as a portico connecting these buildings with Constantine's baptistery. The whole work was completed in the year 1884.

So many details might seem superfluous to the profane. But, just as the Pope is to all of us our first and our own Pastor, so his church of the Lateran is our own church; whatever concerns it cannot, or at least should not, be a matter of indifference to the faithful. Let us take our inspirations regarding it from the following beautiful formulae, given us by the Roman Pontifical in the dedication ceremony. To no church could they be better applied than to this.

Antiphons And Responsories

℟. Fundata est domus Domini super verticem montium, et exaltata est super omnes colles, et venient ad eam omnes gentes. * Et dicent: Gloria tibi, Domine.
V. Venientes autem venient cum exaultatione, portantes manipulos suos. * Et dicent.

℟. Tu Domine universorum, qui nullam habes in digentiam, voluisti templum tuum fieri in nobis. * Conserva domum istam immaculatum in aeternum, Domine.
V. Tu elegisti, Domine, domum istam ad invocandum nomen tuum in ea, ut esset domus orationis, et obsecrationis populo tuo. * Conserva.

Ant. Pax aeterna ab Eterno huic domui. Pax perennis, Verbum Patris, sit pax huic domui. Pacem pius Consolator huic praestet domui.

Ant. O quam metuendus est locus iste: vere non est hic aluid, nisi domus Dei, et porta coeli.

Ant. Haec est domus Domini firmiter aedificata: bene fundata est supra firmam petram.

Ant. Vidit Jacob scalam, summitas ejus coelos tangebat, et descendentes Angelos, et dixit: Vere locus iste sanctus est.

℟. Haec est Jerusalem civitas illa magna coelestis, ornata tamquam sponsa Agni. * Quoniam tabernaculum facta est. Alleluia.
V. Portae ejus non claudentur per diem, nox enim non erit in ea. * Quiniam.

℟. Plateae tuae, Jerusalem, sternentur auro mundo, Alleluia, et cantabitur in te canticum laetitiae, Alleluia. * Et per omnes vicos tuos dicetur ab universis, Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. Luce spendida fulgebis: et omnes fines terrae adorabunt te. * Et per omnes.

Ant. Circumdate Sion, et complectimini eam, narrate in turribus ejus.

V. Magnus Dominus et laudabilis nimis, in civitate Dei nostri, in monte sancto ejus.

℟. Induit te Dominus tunica jucunditatis, et imposuit tibi coronam. * Et ornavit te ornamentis sanctis.
V. Luce spendida fulgebis, et omnes fines terrae adorabunt coram te. * Et ornavit te.
V. Nationes ex longinquo ad te venient, et munera deferentes adorabunt Dominum; et terram tuam in sanctificatione habebunt, et nomen magnum invocabunt in te. * Et ornavit.
V. Benedicti erunt, qui to aedificaverunt; tu autem laetaberis in filiis tuis, guoniam omnes benedicentur et congregabuntur ad Dominum. * Et ornavit te.

℟. The house of the Lord is founded upon the summit of mountains, and raised up above all hills, and all nations shall come to her. * And they shall say: Glory be to thee, O Lord.
V. Coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves. *And they shall say:

℟. Thou, O Lord of all things, who hast no need, hast willed that this thy temple should be in the midst of us. * Preserve this house spotless forever, O Lord.
V. Thou, O Lord, hast cho­sen this house, that thy name may be invoked in it; that it may be a house of prayer and supplication for thy people. * Preserve.

Ant. Peace eternal from the Eternal be to this house! May the unending Peace, the Word of the Father, be peace to this house! Peace may the loving Consoler grant unto this house!

Ant. Oh how awful is this place: truly it is nought else but the house of God, and the gate of heaven.

Ant. This is the house of the Lord, strongly built: it is firmly founded on the solid rock.

Ant. Jacob beheld a ladder, the top whereof touched the heavens; and Angels coming down; and he said: Truly this place is holy.

℟. This is Jerusalem, the great and heavenly city, adorned as the Bride of the Lamb. *For she has become the true tabernacle. Alleluia.
V. Her gates shall not be closed by day, and there shall be no night in her. * For she has become.

℟. Thy streets, O Jerusa­lem, shall be paved with pure gold, Alleluia, and there shall be sung in thee the canticle of joy, Alleluia. * And all along thy streets every one shall say: Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. Thou shalt shine with a glorious light; and all the ends of the earth shall worship thee. * And all along.

Ant. Surround Sion and encompass her, tell ye her wonders in her towers.

V. Great is the Lord and exceedingly to be praised, in the city of our God, in his holy mountain.

℟. The Lord hath clad thee with a garment of joy, and hath set a crown on thy head. * And he hath adorned thee with holy ornaments.
V. Thou shalt shine with a glorious light, and all the ends of the earth shall worship before thee. * And he hath adorned.
V. Nations from afar shall come to thee, and bringing gifts shall adore the Lord; and they shall esteem thy land as holy, and shall call upon the great name in thee. * And he hath adorned.
V. Blessed shall they be that build thee up ; but thou shalt rejoice in thy children, because they shall be all blessed, and shall be gathered together to the Lord. * and he hath adorned.


Prayer

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui per Filium tuum, angularem scilicet lapidem, duos ex diverso venientes, ex circumcisione et praeputio parietes, duosque greges ovium sub uno eodemque pastore unisit; da famulis tuis per haec nostrae devotionis officia, indissolubile vinculum charitatis, ut nulla divisione mentium, nullaque perversitatis varietate sequestrentur, quos sub unius regimine pastrois unus grex continent, uniusque te custode ovilis septa concludunt. Per Dominum.

O Almighty, eternal God, who through thy Son, the Corner-stone, hast joined the two walls coming from opposite directions, to wit, from the circumcision and the uncircum­cision, and hast united the two flocks of sheep under the one same pastor; give to thy servants, through these functions of our devotion, the indissoluble bond of charity, so that no division of opinions, no sort of perverse disagreement, may separate those, who are all one flock under the guidance of one shepherd, and are enclosed in one fold under thy protection Through the same Lord.


Commemoration Of Saint Theodore, Martyr

On this day is commemorated the great martyr Theodore of Amasea, a conscript soldier, who was burnt alive. His praises have been celebrated by St. Gregory of Nyssa; he is honoured in Rome at the foot of the Palatine, and had three churches dedicated to his name in Constantinople. Let us say with the Latin Church:

Prayer

Deus, qui nos beati Theodori Martyris tui confessione gloriosa circumdas et protegia: praesta nobis ex ejus imitatione proficere, et oratione fulciri. Per Dominum.
O God, who dost encompass and protect us by the glorious confession of blessed Theodore thy Martyr; grant us by his example to improve, and by his prayer to be supported. Through our Lord.

[1] Euseb. Hist. eccl. x. 1-4.
[2] Ibid. De vita Constantini, ii, 45, 46.
[3] Inscriptio vetus olim in apside majori.
[4] Petr. Dam. Epist. Lib ii. 1.
[5] Zach. Vi. 12, 13.
[6] Prudent. Lib. i. contra Symmachum.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

IN the sixteenth century, in reply to the reproach of exhaustion hurled against the Church, the Holy Ghost raised from her soil an abundant harvest of sanctity. Andrew was one of his most worthy cooperators in the work of holy reformation and supernatural renaissance, which then took place. Eternal Wisdom had as usual suffered Satan to go before, for his own greater shame, cloaking his evil works under the grand names of renaissance and reform.

It was nine years since St. Cajetan had departed this world, leaving it strengthened by his labours and all embalmed with the fragrance of his virtues; the former Bishop of Theate, his companion and col­laborator in founding the first Regular Clerks, was now governing the Church under the name of Paul IV.; when in 1556 God bestowed upon the Theatines, in the person of our Saint, an heir to the supernatural gifts, the heroic sanctity, and the zeal for the sanctuary, that had characterized their father. Andrew was the friend and support of the great Bishop of Milan, St. Charles Borromeo, whose glory in heaven he went to share on this day. His pious writings are still used in the Church. He himself formed some admirable disciples, such as Laurence Scupoli, author of the well-known work so prized by the Bishop of Geneva, the Spiritual Combat.[1]

Nothing need be added to the following history of his life.

Andreas Avellinus, dictus antea Lancellottus, apud Castrum Novum Lucaniae pagum natus, inter ipsa infantiae primordia, futurae sanctitatis non obscura praebuit indicia. Adoloscens ad litteras addiscendas paterna e domo egressus, lubricam illius aetatis semitam intr bonarum artium tudia ita peregit, ut sapientiae initium, quod est timor Domini, ob oculos potissimum habere numquam praetermiserit. Cum egregia proinde forma eximum castitatis studium conjunxit, quo impudicas saepe mulierum insidias elusit, interdum etiam apertam vim propulsavit. Cleriali militiae jampridem adscriptus, Neapolim se contulit, ut legalibus disciplinis vacaret, ibique jurisprudentiae lauream adeptus, atque interea ad sacerdotalem dignitatem evectus, causarum patrocinia in foro dumtaxat ecclesiastico, proque privatis quibusdam personis, juxta sacrorum canonum sanctiones agere ceopit. Verum cum aliquando inter causam agendam leve ei mendacium excidisset, mox vero fortuita sacrarum Scripturarum lectione in illa verba incidisset: Os, quod mentitur, occidit animam; tento ejus culpae dolore ac poenitentia correptus est, ut statim ab ejusmodi vitae instituto sibi recendeum esse duxerit. Itaque, abdicatis forensibus curis, se totum divino cultui sacrisque ministeriis mancipavit. Cumque ecclesiasticae virtutis exemplis emineret, sanctimonialum regimini a tunc exsistente archiepiscopo Neapolitano praefectus fuit. Quo in munere cum pravorum hominum odia subiisset, primo quidem intentatae sibi necis periculum declinavit; mox vero per sicarium tribus in facie acceptia vulneribus, injuriae atrocitatem aequo animo pertulit. Tum perfectia vitae desiderio flagrans, ut inter Clericos regulares adscriberetur, suppliciter postulavit, votique compos factus, ob ingentem, quo aestuabat, crucis amorem, ut sibi Andreae nomen imponeretur, precibus impetravit.

Arctioria itaque vitae curriculum alacri studio ingressus, in eas maxime virtutis exercitationes incubuit, ad quas sese arduis etiam emissis votia obstrinxit, altero scillicet suae impsius voluntati jugiter obsistendi, altero vero in via christianae perfectionis semper ulterius progrediendi. Regularis disciplinae cultor assidus, et in ea promovenda, cum aliis praeesset, studiosissimus fuit. Quidquid ab instituti sui officii et regulae praescripto supererat temporis, orationi et animarum saluti tribuebat. In confessionibus excipiendis mira ejus pietas et prudentia enituit: vicos et oppids Neapoli finitima evangelicia ministeriis magno cum animarum lucro frequens lustrabat. Quam ardentem erga proximos sancti viri caritatem signis etiam Dominus illustravi. Cum enim intempesta nocte ab audita aegri confessione domum rediret, ac pluviae ventorumque via praelucentem facem exstinxisset, non solum ipse cum sociis inter efusissemos imbres nihil madefactus est; verum etiam, inusitato splendore e suo corpore mirabiiter emicante, sociis inter densissimas tenebras iter monstravit. Abstinentia et patientia, nec non abjections atqu, nec non abjectione atque odio sui summopere praestitit. Necem fratis filio illatam imperturbato animo tulit, ac suos ab omni ulciscendi cupidatate compescuit, imo etiam pro interfectoribus opem et misericordiam judicum imploravit.

Pluribus in locis Clericorum regularium Ordinem propagavit, eorumque demicilia Mediolani et Placentiae instituit. Illius operam sanctus Carolus Borromaeus, et Paulus de Aretio Clericus regularis, Cardinales, quibus erat acceptissimus, in pastoralis muneris curis adhibuerunt. Deiparam Virginem singulari amore et cultu prosequibatur. Angelorum colloquio perfrui meruit, quos, cum divinas laudes persolveret, e regione concinentes se audisee testatus est. denique post heroica virtutum exempla, prophetiae quoque dono illustris, quo et secreta cordium, et absentia, et futura prospexit, annis gravis et laboris fractis ad aram celebraturus in verbis illis tertio repetitis: Introibo ad altare Dei, repentino apoplexiae morbo correptus est; mox sacramentis rite munitus, placidissime inter suos animam efflavit. Ejus corpos Neapoli in ecclesia sancti Pauli ad haec usque tempora eo frequentissimo populi concursu colitur, quo fuit elatum. Illum deniue insignibus in vita et post mortem miraculis clarum Clemens Undecimus Pontifex Maximus solemni ritu sanctorum catalogo adscripsit.
Andrew Avellino, formerly called Lancelot, was born at Castro Nuovo in Lucania ; and, while still an infant, gave evident signs of future holiness. He left his father's house to study the liberal arts; in the pursuit of which he passed so blamelessly through the slippery age of youth, as ever to keep before his eyes the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. Of a comely appearance, he was so great a lover of holy purity that he was able to escape snares laid for his chastity by shameless wo­men, and even to repel open attacks. After being made a cleric, he went to Naples to study law, and there took his degree. Meanwhile he was promoted to the priesthood; after which he began to plead, but only in the ecclesiastical court and for private individuals, in accordance with the prescriptions of Canon Law. Once, however, when pleading a cause, a slight untruth escaped him; and happening soon after, in reading the Holy Scripture, to come upon these words: The mouth that belieth killeth the soul, he conceived so great a sor­row and repentance for his fault, that he determined at once to abandon that kind of life. He therefore left the bar, and devoted himself entirely to the divine service and the sacred ministry. As he was eminent in priestly virtues, the Archbishop of Naples confided to him the direction of certain nuns. In discharging this office he incurred the hatred of some evil men, who attempted his life. He escaped their first assault; but soon afterwards one of the assassins gave him three wounds in the face : an injury which he bore unmoved. Desirous of a more perfect life, he humbly begged to be admitted among the Regular Clerks; and on obtaining his request, he asked to be called by the name of Andrew, on account of his ardent love of the Cross.

He earnestly devoted himself to the stricter manner of life he had embraced, and to the practice of the virtues, going so far as to bind himself thereto by two most difficult vows, viz; never to do his own will, and ever to advance in Christian perfection. He had the greatest respect for religious discipline, and zealously promoted it when he was superior. Whatever time remained over after the discharge of his duties and the prescriptions of the rule, he devoted to prayer and the salvation of souls. He was noted for his piety and prudence in hearing Confessions. He frequently visited the towns and villages near Naples, exercising the apostolic ministry with profit to souls. Our Lord was pleased to show by miracles how great was this holy man's love of his neighbour. As he was once returning home late at night from hearing a sick man's confession, a violent storm of wind and rain put out the light that was carried before him; but neither he nor his companions were wet by the pouring rain; and moreover a wonderful light shining from his body enabled them to find their way through the darkness. His abstinence and patience were extraordi­nary, as also his humility and hatred of self. He bore the assassination of his nephew with unruffled tranquility, withheld his family from seeking revenge, and even implored the judges to grant mercy and protection to the murderers.

He propagated the Order of the Regular Clerks in many places, and founded houses for them in Milan and Piacenza. The Cardinals Charles Borromeo and Paul of Arezzo a Regular Clerk, bore him great affection, and availed themselves of his assistance in the discharge of their pastoral office. The Virgin Mother of God he honoured with a very special love and worship. He was permitted to converse with the Angels; and affirmed that when saying the Divine Office, he heard them singing with him as if in Choir. At length, after giving heroic examples of virtue, and becoming illustrious for his gift of prophecy, whereby he knew the secrets of hearts, and distant and future events, he was worn out with old age and broken down with labours. As he was at the foot of the Altar about to say Mass, he thrice repeated the words: I will go in to the altar of God, and fell down struck with apo­plexy. After being strength­ened by the Sacraments of the Church, he peacefully expired in the midst of his brethren. His body was buried at Naples in the church of St. Paul, and is honoured even to this day by as great a concourse of people as attended the interment. Finally, as he had been illustrious for miracles both in life and after death, he was solemnly enrolled among the Saints by Pope Clement XI.

How sweet and yet how strong were the ways of Eternal Wisdom in thy regard, O blessed Andrew, when a slight fault into which thou wast surprised became the starting-point of thy splendid sanctity! The mouth that belieth, killeth the soul. Seek not death in the error of your life, neither procure ye destruction by the works of your hands.[2] Thou didst read these words of divine Wisdom and fully understand them. The aim of life then appeared to thee very different, in the light of the vows thou wast inspired to make, ever to turn away from thyself and ever to draw nearer to the Sovereign Good. With holy Church in her Collect, we glorify our Lord for having disposed such admirable ascensions in thy heart. This daily progress led thee on from virtue to virtue, till thou dolt now behold the God of gods in Sion. Thy heart and thy flesh rejoiced in the living God; thy soul, absorbed in the love of his hallowed courts, fainted at the thought thereof. No wonder it was at the foot of God's altar that thy life failed thee, and thou didst enter on the passage to his blessed home. With what joy thou wast welcomed into the eternal choirs, by those who had been on earth thy angelic associates in the divine praise!

Be not unmindful of the world's homage. Deign to respond to the confidence of Naples and Sicily, which commend themselves to thy powerful patronage. Bless the pious family of Regular Clerks Theatines, in union with St. Cajetan thy father and theirs. Obtain for us all a share in the blessings so largely bestowed on thee. May the vain pleasures found in the tabernacles of sinners never seduce us; but may we prefer the humility of God's house to all worldly pomp. If, like thee, we love truth and mercy, our Lord will give to us, as he gave to thee, grace and glory. Calling to mind the circumstances of thy blessed end, Christians honour thee as a protector against sudden and unprovided death: be our guar­dian at that last moment; let the innocence of our life, or at least our repentance, prepare for us a happy exit; and may we, like thee, breathe out our last sigh in hope and love.[3]

Commemoration of Saints Tryphon, Respicius, and Nympha, Martyrs

Rome invites us to-day to honour with her a group of martyrs, the protectors and the treasure of her great hospital of the Holy Ghost, where they rest under the high altar. The church of St. Augustine, close to the ancient stational church of St. Tryphon, also possesses a portion of the latter's precious remains.

Prayer

Fac nos, quesummus Domine, sanctorum Martyrum tuorum Tryphonis, Respicii et Nyphyae semper festa sectari: quorum suffragiis protectionis tue dona sentiamus. Per Dominum.
Grant us we beseech thee, O Lord, to keep the festival of thy holy martyrs, Tryphon, Respicius and Nymphs; by whose suffrages may we experience the gifts of thy protection. Through our Lord.

[1] It is clear and very practical. Yes, my daughter, the Spiritual Combat is a great book, and a book dear to me. I have carried it in my pocket for at least eighteen years, and I never read it without profit. S. Francis de Sales, Spiritual Letters.
[2] Wisd. i. 11, 12.
[3] Cf. Ps. lxxxiii.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

THREE thousand six hundred and sixty churches dedicated to St. Martin in France alone,[1] and well-nigh as many in the rest of the world, bear witness to the immense popularity of the great thaumaturgus. In the country, on the mountains, and in the depth of forests, trees, rocks, and fountains, objects of superstitious worship to our pagan ancestors, received, and in many places still retain, the name of him who snatched them from the dominion of the powers of darkness to restore them to the true God. For the vanquished idols, Roman, Celtic or German, Christ substituted their conqueror, the humble soldier, in the grateful memory of the people. Martin's mission was to complete the destruction of paganism, which had been driven from the towns by the martyrs, but remained up to his time master of the vast territories removed from the influence of the cities.

While on the one hand he was honoured with God's favours, on the other he was pursued by hell with implacable hatred. At the very outset he had to encounter Satan, who said to him: “I will beset thy path at every turn;[2] and he kept his word. He has kept it to this very day : century after cen­tury, he has been working ruin around the glorious tomb, which once attracted the whole world to Tours ; in the sixteenth, he delivered to the flames, by the hands of the Huguenots, the venerable remains of the protector of France: by the nineteenth, he had brought men to such a height of folly, as themselves to destroy, in time of peace, the splendid basilica which was the pride and the riches of their pity. The gratitude of Christ, and the rage of Satan, made known by such signs, reveal sufficiently the incom­parable labours of the pontiff, apostle, and monk, St. Martin.

A monk indeed he was, both in desire and in reality, to the last day of his life. “From earliest infancy he sighed after the service of God. He became a catechumen at the age of ten, and at twelve he wished to retire to the desert; all his thoughts were engaged on monasteries and churches. A soldier at fifteen years of age, he so lived as even then to be taken for a monk.[3] After a first trial of religious life in Italy, he was brought by St Hilary to this solitude of Ligugé, which, thanks to him, became the cradle of monastic life in Gaul. To say the truth, Martin, during the whole course of his life, felt like a stranger everywhere else, except at Ligugé. A monk by attraction, he had been forced to be a soldier, and it needed violence to make him a Bishop: and even then he never relinquished his monastic habits. He responded to the dignity of a Bishop, says his historian, without declining from the rule and life of a monk.[4] At first he constructed for himself a cell near his church of Tours; and soon afterwards built, at a little distance from the town, a second Liguge, under the name of Marmoutier or the great monastery.”[5]

The holy Liturgy refers to St. Hilary the honour of the wonderful virtues displayed by Martin.[6] What were the holy bishop's reasons for leading his heaven-sent disciple by ways then so little known in the West, he has left us to learn from the most legitimate heir of his doctrine as well as of his elo­quence. It has ever been," says Cardinal Pie, the ruling idea of all the Saints, that, side by side with the ordinary ministry of the pastors, obliged by their functions to live in the midst of the world, the Church has need of a militia, separated from the world and enrolled under the standard of evangelical perfection, living in self-renunciation and obedience, and carrying on day and night the noble and incomparable function of public prayer. The most illustrious pontiffs and the greatest doctors have thought, that the secular clergy themselves could never be better fitted for spreading and making popular the pure doctrines of the Gospel, than if they could be prepared for their pastoral office by living either a monastic life, or one as nearly as possible resembling it. Read the lives of the greatest bishops both in East and West, in the times immediately preceding or following the peace of the Church, as well as in the middle ages: they have all, either themselves at some time professed the monastic life, or lived in continual contact with those who professed it. Hilary, the great Hilary, had, with his experienced and unerring glance, perceived the need; he had seen the place that should be occupied by the monastic Order in Christendom, and by the regular clergy in the Church. In the midst of his struggles, his cornbats, his exile, when he witnessed with his own eyes the importance of the monasteries in the East, he earnestly desired the time when, returning to Gaul, he might at length lay the foundations of the religious life at home. Providence was not long in sending him what was needful for such an enterprise: a disciple worthy of the master, a monk worthy of the bishop.”[7]

Elsewhere, comparing together St. Martin, his predecessors, and St. Hilary himself in their common apostolate of Gaul, the illustrious Cardinal says: “Far be it from me to undervalue all the vitality and power already possessed by the religion of Jesus Christ in our divers provinces, thanks to the preaching of the first apostles, martyrs, and bishops, who may be counted back in a long line almost to the day of Calvary. Still I fear not to say it: the popular apostle of Gaul, who converted the country parts, until then almost entirely pagan, the founder of national Christianity, was principally St. Martin. And how is it that he, above so many other great bishops and servants of God, holds such preeminence in the apostolate? Are we to place Martin above his master Hilary? With regard to doctrine, certainly not; and as to zeal, courage, holiness, it is not for me to say which was greater, the master's or the disciple's. But what I can say is, that Hilary was chiefly a teacher, and Martin was chiefly a thaumaturgus. Now, for the conversion of the people, the thaumaturgus is more powerful than the teacher; and consequently, in the memory and worship of the people, the teacher is eclipsed and effaced by the thaumaturgus.

“Now-a-days there is much talk about the neoessitrof reasoning in order to persuade men as to the reality of divine .things : but that is forgetting Scripture and history; nay more, it is degenerating. to reason with us. He has spoken; he has said God has not deemed it consistent with his Majesty what is and what is not; and as he exacts faith in his word, he has sanctioned his word. But how has he sanctioned it? After the manner of God, not of man; by works, not by reasons: non in sermone, sed in virtute, not by the arguments of a humanly persuasive philosophy: non in persuasibilibus humance sapientide verbis, but by displaying a power "altogether divine: sed in ostensione spiritus et virtutis. And wherefore? For this profound reason: Ut fides non sit in sapientia hominum, sed in virtute Dei: that faith may not rest upon the wisdom of man but upon the power of God.[8] But now men will not have it so : they tell us that in Jesus Christ the theurgist wrongs the moralist; that miracles are a blemish in so sublime an ideal. But they cannot reverse this order; they cannot abolish the Gospel, nor history. Begging the pardon of the learned men of our age and their obsequious followers: not only did Christ work miracles, but he established the faith upon the foundation of miracles. And the same Christ, — not to confirm his own miracles, which are the support of all others; but out of compassion for us, who are so prone to forgetfulness, and who are more impressed by what we see than by what we hear, — the same Jesus Christ has placed in his Church, and that for all time, the power of working miracles. Our age has seen some, and will see yet more. The fourth century witnessed in particular those of St. Martin.

The working of wonders seemed mere play to him; all nature obeyed him; the animals were subject to him. ‘Alas!’ cried the Saint one day: ‘the very serpents listen to me, and men refuse to hear me.’ Men, however, often did hear him. The whole of Gaul heard him; not only Aquitaine, but also Celtio and Belgic Gaul. Who could resist words enforced by so many prodigies? In all these provinces he overthrew the idols one after another, reduced the statues to powder, burnt or demolished all the temples, destroyed the sacred groves and all the haunts of idolatry. Was it lawful? You may ask. If I study the legislation of Constantine and Constantius, perhaps it was. But this I know: Martin, eaten up with zeal for the house of the Lord, was obeying none but the spirit of God. And I must add, that against the fury of the pagan population Martin's only arms were the miracles he wrought, the visible assistance of Angels sometimes granted him, and, above all, the prayers and tears he poured out before God, when the hard-heartedness of the people resisted the power of his words and of his wonders. With these means Martin changed the face of the country. Where he found scarcely a Christian on his arrival, he left scarcely an infidel at his departure. The temples of the idols were immediately replaced by temples of the true God; for, says Sulpicius Severus, as soon as he had destroyed the homes of superstition, he built churches and monasteries. It is thus that all Europe is covered with sanctuaries bearing the name of St. Martin.”[9]

His beneficial actions did not cease with his death; they alone explain the uninterrupted concourse of people to his holy tomb. His numerous feasts in the year, the Deposition or Natalis, the Ordination, Subvention and Reversion, did not weary the piety of the faithful. Kept everywhere as a holiday of obligation,[10] and bringing with it the brief return of bright weather known as St. Martin's summer, the eleventh of November rivalled with St. John's day in the rejoicings it occasioned in Latin Christendom. Martin was the joy of all, and the helper of all.

St. Gregory of Tours does not hesitate to call his blessed predecessor the special patron of the whole world;[11] while monks and clerics, soldiers, knights, travellers and inn-keepers on account of his long journeys, charitable associations of every kind in memory of the cloak of Amiens, have never ceased to claim their peculiar right to the great Pontiff's benevolence. Hungary, the generous land which gave him to us, without exhausting its own provision for the future, rightly reckons him among its most powerful protectors. But to France he was a father : in the same manner as he laboured for the unity of the faith in that land, he presided also over the formation of national unity; and he watches over its continuance. As the pilgrimage of Tours preceded that of Compostella in the Church, the cloak of St. Martin[12] led the Frankish armies to battle even before the oriflamme of St. Denis. “How,” said Clovis, “can we hope for victory, if we offend blessed Martin?”[13]

Let us read the account given by holy Church, who lingers lovingly over the last moments of her illustrious son, worthy as they are of all admiration.

Martinus, Sabariae in Pannonia natus, cum decimum attigisset annum, invitis parentibus ad Ecclesiam confugiens, in catechumenorum numerum adscribi voluit. Quindecim annos natus in militiam profectus, primum in Constantii, deinde Juliani exercitu militavit. Qui cum nihil haberet praeter arma, et vestimentum quo tegebatur, Ambiani, pauperi ac nudo ab eo petenti, ut Christi nomine sibi eleemosynam tribueret, partem chlamydis dedit. Cui sequenti nocte Christus dimidiata illa veste indutus apparuit, hanc mittens vocem: Martinus catechumenus hac me veste contexit.

Decem et octo annos cum haberet, baptizatus est. quare relicta militari vita, ad Hilarium Pictaviensem episcopum se contulit, a quo in acolythorum numerum redactus est. Post factus episcopus Turonensis monasterium aedificavit, ubi cum octoginta monachis sanctissime aliquamdiu vixit. Qui cum postea ad Candacensem vicum suae dioecesis in gravem febrim incidisset, assidua Deum oratione precabatur, ut se ex illo mortali carcere liberaret. Quem audientes discipuli, sic rogabant: Cur nos pater deseris? Cui nos miseros derelinquis? Quorum voce commotus Martinus, ita Deum orabat: Domine, si adhuc populo tuo sum necessarius, non recuso laborem.

Sed cum eum in illa vehementi febre supinum orantem viderent discipuli, suppliciter ab eo petierunt, ut converso corpore tantisper, dum remitteret morbi vis, pronus conquiesceret. Quibus Martinus, Sinite me, inquit, coelum potius, quam terram aspicere, ut suo jam itinere iturus ad Dominum spiritus dirigatur. Instante jam morte, viso humani generis hoste: Quid, inquit, astas, cruenta bestia? Nihil in me funeste reperies. Ea in voce, unum et octoginta annos natus, animam Deo reddidit: quam Angelorum chorus excepit, eosque divinas canentes laudes multi, in primisque sanctus Severinus Coloniensis episcopus, audierunt.

Martin was born at Sabaria in Pannonia. When ten years old he fled to the church, against his parents’ will, and had himself enrolled among the catechumens. At the age of fifteen he became a soldier, and served in the army first of Constantine and afterwards of Julian. On one occasion, when a poor naked man at Amiens begged an alms of him in the name of Christ, having nothing but his armour and clothing, he gave him half of his military cloak. The following night Christ appeared to him clad in that half-cloak, and said: Martin, while yet a catechumen has clothed me with this garment.

At eighteen years of age, he was baptized; and abandoning his military career, betook himself to Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, by whom he was made acolyte. Later on, having become bishop of Tours, he built a monastery, where he lived for some time in a most holy manner, in company with eighty monks. He was seized with a violent fever at Cande, a village in his diocese; and he earnestly besought God to free him from the prison of the body. His disciples hearing, asked him: Father, why dost thou abandon us P or to whom dost thou leave us in our desolation? Martin, touched by their words, prayed to God in this manner: O Lord, if I am still necessary to thy people, I do not refuse to labour.

When his disciples saw him praying in the height of the fever, lying on his back, they besought him to turn over for a little while, that he might get some rest and relief. But Martin answered: Suffer me to gaze on heaven rather than earth, that my spirit, which is about to depart, may be directed on its way to our Lord. As death drew nigh, he saw the enemy of mankind, and exclaimed: What art thou doing here, thou cruel beast? Thou wilt find no evil in me. While uttering these words he gave up his soul to God, at the age of eighty-one. He was received by a choir of Angels, whom many, and in particular St. Severinus Bishop of Cologne, heard singing the praises of God.


We here give the beautiful Antiphons of Vespers. The first five are composed of passages from the letter of Sulpicius Severus to Bassula, in which he relates the Saint's death, thus completing the book he had written of the Life of St. Martin, while the holy bishop was still on earth.

Antiphons

Dixerunt discipuli ad beatum Martinum: Cur nos pater deseris, aut cui nos desolatos relinquis? Invadent enim gregem tuum lupi rapaces.

Domine, si adhuc populo tuo sum necessarius, non recuso laborem: flat voluntas tua.

O virum ineffablem, nec labore victum, nec morte vincendum, qui nec morte vincendum, qui nec mori timuit, nec vivere recusavit!

Oculis ac manibus coelum semper intentus, invictum ab oratione spiritum non relaxabat. Alleluia.

Martinus Abrahae sinu laetus excipitur: Martinus, hic pauper et modicus, coelum dives ingreditur, humnis coelestibus hooratur.

O beatum virum, cujua anima paradisum possidet: unde exsultant Angeli, laetantur Archangeli, chorus Sanctorum proclamat, turba Virginum invitat, Mane nobiscum in aeternum.

O beatum Pontificem, qui totis visceribus diligebat Christum Regem, et non formidabat imperii principatum: o sanctissima anima, quam etsi gladius persecutoris non abstulit, palmam tamen martrii non amisit.

The disciples said to blessed Martin: Why father, dost thou abandon us? Or to whom dost thou leave us in our desola­tion? For ravening wolves will rush upon thy flock.

Lord, if I am still necessary to thy people, I do not refuse the labour: may thy will be done.

O man beyond all praise! Neither conquered by labour, nor conquerable by death; who neither feared to die, nor refused to live.

Ever intent with eyes and hands raised to heaven, he never relaxed from prayer his invincible spirit. Alleluia.

Martin is received with joy in Abraham's bosom: Martin here poor and humble, enters heaven rich, and is honoured with celestial hymns.

O blessed man, whose soul is now in possession of Paradise! Wherefore the Angels exult, the Archangels rejoice, the choir of the Saints proclaims his glory, the Virgins crowd around him saying : Remain with us forever.


O blessed Pontiff, who, with his whole inmost being loved Christ the King, and feared not the power of the mighty! O most holy soul, which, though not snatched away by the sword of the persecutor, did not forego the palm of martyrdom!

St. Odo of Cluny, one of the most illustrious and devout clients of St. Martin, composed the following hymn in his honour. The faithful will find in their Vesper books, in the Common of the Saints, the more ancient hymn, Iste Confessor; it is somewhat altered from the original, which was intended to celebrate the miracles wrought at the tomb of this the first Saint not a martyr to be honoured by the whole Church.

Hymn

Rex Christe, Martini decus,
Hic laus tua, tu illius:
Tu nos in hunc te colere,
Quin ipsum in te tribue.

Qui das per orbis cardines,
Quod gemma fulget Praesulum;
Da quos premunt culpae graves,
Solvat per ingena meritum.

En pauper hic et modicus
Coelum dives ingreditur;
Coeli cohortes obviant,
Linguae, tribus, gentes ovant.

Ut vita, fulget transitus,
Coelis et arvo spendidus;
Guadere cunctis pium est,
Cunctis salus sit haec dies.

Martine, par Apostolis,
Festum colentes tu fove;
Qui vivere discipulis
Vis, aut mor, nos respice.

Fac nunc quod olim gesseras,
Tu praesules clarifica,
Auge decua Ecclesiae,
Fraudes relide Satanae.

Qui ter chaos evisceras.
Mersos reatu suscita:
Diviseras ut chlamydem,
Nos indue justitiam.

Ut specialis gloriae
Quondam recorderis tuae.
Monastico nunc Ordini,
Jam pene lapso, subveni.

Sit Trinitati gloria,
Martinus ut confessus est;
Cujus fidem per opera
In nos et ipse roboret.

Amen.

O Christ our King, Martin's glory,
he is thy praise, and thou art his:
suffer us to honour thee in him,
yea and him in thee.

Thou who causest the jewel of Pontiffs
to shine throughout the world;
grant that through his exceeding great merit,
he may deliver us who are oppressed by the weight of our sins.

Poor and humble here on earth, lo!
Now he enters heaven abounding in riches;
the celestial hosts come forth to meet him,
and all tongues, tribes, and nations celebrate his triumph!

His death, like his life, was resplendent with light,
a glory to earth and to heaven;
to rejoice thereat is the duty of all;
may this day be to all a day of salvation.

O Martin, equal to the Apostles,
succour us who keep thy feast;
look upon us, O thou who wast willing alike
to live for thy disciples or to die.

Do now what thou didst heretofore:
make Pontiffs illustrious in virtue,
increase the glory of the Church,
and frustrate the wiles of Satan.

Thrice didst thou despoil the abyss of its prey:
raise up now those that are buried in sin.
As once thou didst share thy mantle with another,
clothe us with the garb of holiness.

Remembering what was once
thy special glory,
succour the monastic Order
now well-nigh extinct.

Glory be to the holy Trinity,
whom Martin confessed by his life;
may he obtain that our faith
in that mystery be confirmed by works.

Amen.


Adam of St. Victor has consecrated to the holy Bishop of Tours one of his most enthuastic pieces.

Sequence.

GaudeSion, quae diem recolis,
Qua Martinus, compar Apostolis,
Mundum vincens, junctus coelicolis
Coronatur.

Hic Martinus, pauper et modicus,
Servus prudens, fidelis villicus,
Coelo dives, civis, angelicus
Sublimatur.

Hic Martinus, jam catechumenus
Nudum vestit, et nocte protinus
In sequenti, hac veste Dominus
Est indutus.

Hic Martinus, spernens militiam,
Inimicis inermis obviam
Ire parat, baptismi gratiam
Assecutus.

Hic Martinus, dum offert hostiam,
Intus ardet per Dei gratiam:
Supersedens apparet etiam
Globus ignis.

Hic Martinus, qui coelum reserat,
Mari praeest et terris imperat,
Morbos sanat et monstra superat,
Vir insignis.

Hic Martinus nec mori timuit,
Nec vivendi laborem respuit,
Sicque Dei se totum tribuit
Voluntati.

Hic Martinus, qui nulli nocuit,
Hic Martinus, qui cunctis profuit,
Majestati.

Hic Martinus, qui fana destruit,
Qui gentiles ad fidem imbuit,
Et de quibus eos instituit,
Operatur.

Hic Mortinus, qui tribus mortuis
Meritis dat vitam praecipuis:
Nunc momentis Deum continuis
Contemplatur.

O Martine, pasor egregie,
O coelestia consors militiae,
Nos a lupi defendas rabie
Saevientis.

O Martine fac nunc quod gesseras,
Deo preces pro nobis offeras,
Esto memor, quam numquam
deseras Tuae gentis.

Amen.

Rejoice, O Sion, celebrating the day
whereon Martin, equal to the Apostles,
conquering the world,
is crowned among the heavenly citizens.

This is Martin, poor and humble,
the prudent servant, the faithful steward;
now rich, he is throned on high in heaven,
a fellow-citizen of the Angels.

This is Martin, who, yet a catechumen,
clothes the naked,
and straightway the next night
the Lord himself is covered with that garment.

This is Martin, who, des­pising the army,
is ready to go unarmed and face the foe;
for now he has obtained
the grace of baptism.

This is Martin, who, while he offers the holy Victim,
is all on fire within, through the grace of God,
and lo! a fiery globe appears
resting above his head.

This is Martin, who opens heaven,
gives orders to the sea,
commands the earth, heals diseases,
and vanquishes monsters incomparable man.

This is Martin, who neither feared to die,
nor refused to live and labour,
thus abandoning himself
entirely to the will of God.

This is Martin, who never injured any;
this is Martin, who was good and kind to all;
this is Martin, who was well-pleasing
to the majestic Trinity.

This is Martin, who destroys the pagan temples,
who initiates the nations to the faith,
and what he teaches them
does first himself.

This is Martin, who by his singular merits
raises three dead men to life;
he now beholds God for ever
without intermission.

O Martin, illustrious pastor,
O soldier in the heavenly ranks,
defend us from the fury
of the ravening wolf.

O Martin, act once more as thou didst of old;
offer to God thy prayers for us;
be mindful of thine own nation
and forsake it never.

Amen.


O holy Martin, have compassion on our depth of misery! A winter more severe than that which caused thee to divide thy cloak now rages over the world; many perish in the icy night brought on by the extinction of faith and the cooling of charity. Come to the aid of those unfortunates, whose torpor prevents them from asking assistance. Wait not for them to pray; but forestall them for the love of Christ in whose name the poor man of Amiens implored thee, whereas they scarcely know how to utter it. And yet their nakedness is worse than the beggar’s, stripped as they are of the garment of grace, which their fathers received from thee and handed down to posterity

How lamentable, above all, has become the destitution of France, which thou didst once enrich with the blessings of heaven, and where thy benefits have been requited with such injuries! Deign to consider, however, that our days have seen the beginning of reparation, close by thy holy tomb restored to our filial veneration. Look upon the piety of those grand Christians, whose hearts were able, like the generosity of the multitude, to rise to the height of the greatest projects; see the pilgrims, however reduced their numbers, now taking once more the road to Tours, traversed so often by people and kings in better days of our history.

Has that history of the brightest days of the Church, of the reign of Christ as King, come to all end, O Martin? Let the enemy imagine he has already sealed our tomb. But the story of thy miracles tells us that thou canst raise up even the dead. Was not the catechumen of Liguge snatched from the land of the living, when thou didst call him back to life and Baptism? Supposing that, like him, we were already among those whom the Lord remembereth no more, the man or the country that has Martin for protector and father need never yield to despair. If thou deign to bear us in mind, the Angels will come and . say again to the supreme Judge: “This is the man, this is the nation for whom Martin prays;” and they will be commanded to draw us out of the dark regions where dwell the people without glory, and to restore us to Martin, and to our noble destinies.[14]

Thy zeal, however, for the advancement of God’s kingdom knew no limits. Inspire, then, strengthen and multiply the apostles all over the world, who, like thee, are driving out the remnants of infidelity. Restore Christian Europe, which still honours thy name, to the unity so unhappily dissolved by chism and heresy. In spite of the many efforts to the contrary, maintain thy noble fatherland in its post of honour, and in its traditions of brave fidelity. May thy devout clients in all lauds experience that thy right arm still suffices to protect those who implore thee.

In heaven today, as the Church sings, the Angels are full of joy, the Saints proclaim thy glory, the Virgins surround thee saying: “Remain with us " forever.[15] Is not this the continuation of what thy life was here on earth, when thou and the virgins vied with each other in showing mutual veneration ; when Mary their. Queen, accompanied by Theola and Agnes, loved to spend long hours with thee in thy cell at Marmoutier, which thus became, says thy historian, like the dwellings of the Angels?[16] Imi­tating their brothers and sisters in heaven, virgins and monks, clergy and pontiffs turn to thee, never fearing that their numbers will cause any one of them to receive less; knowing that thy life is a light sufficient to enlighten all ; and that one glance from Martin will secure to them the blessings of the Lord.

 

Commemoration of Saint Mennas, Martyr

 

The soldier Mennas was a native of Egypt, and after his martyrdom became the protector of Alexandria. It is not a rare thing to find, even at this date, phials formerly brought by pilgrims to be filled with oil from the lamp burning before his tomb. Let us say with the Church:

Prayer

Praesta quaesumus omnipotens Deus: ut qui beati Mennae Martyris tui natalitia colimus, intercessione ejus in tui nominis amore roboremur. Per Dominum.

Grant we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who celebrate the festival of blessed Menuas thy martyr, may by his intercession be strengthened in the love of thy name. Through our Lord.


[1] A list arranged according to the dioceases may be seen in the Appendix to SAINT MARTIN by LECOY DE LA MARCHE.
[2] Sulpit. Sever. Vita vi.
[3] Ita ut, jam illo tempore, non miles sed monachus putaretur. Ibid. ii.
[4] Ita implebat episcopi dignitatem, ut non tamen propositum monaci virtutemque desereret. Ibid. x.
[5] Cardinal Pie, Homily pronounced on occasion of the re‑establishment of the Benedictine Order at Ligugé, Nov. 25th 1853.
[6] Hilarium secutus est Martinus, qui tantum illo doctore profecit, quantum ejus postes sanctitas declaravit. In festo S. Hilarii, Noct. II, Lect. Ii.
[7] Cardinal Pie, ubi supra.
[8] I Cor. ii.4.
[9] Cardinal Pie, Sermon preached in the cathedral of Tours, on the Sunday following the patronal feast of St. Martin, Nov. 14th, 1858.
[10] Council. Mogunt. an. 813, can. xxxvi.
[11] Greg. Tur. De miraculis S. Martini IV. In Prolog.
[12] Whatever may have been the garment designated by this word chape, it gave to the oratory of the kings of France the name of chapelle, chapel, which has sine passed into common use.
[13] Et ubi erit spes victoriae, si beatus Martinus offenditur? GREG. TUR. Historia Francorum, II. 37.
[14] Sulpit. Sever. Vita, vii.
[15] Ant. Ad Magnificat, in I Vesp.
[16] Sulpit, Sever. Dialog. I.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

WHILE the concourse of pilgrims to the sepulchre of the Bishop of Tours induced his third successor Perpetuus, to raise over his precious remains the basilica, in which so many prodigies were to be wrought all through the middle ages, Rome herself was dedicating to St. Martin one of her noblest churches, uniting with him as joint titular her own illustrious Pontiff and Confessor Sylvester. Adorned with this twofold glory, St. Martin-on-the-hill worthily inaugurated in the eternal City the cultus of Confessors side by side with that of the Martyrs. But another honour awaited the venerable sanctuary. Beside the wonder-working apostle and the pontiff of peace, both vanquishers of idolatory, who had escaped the sword only through the conversion of the persecutors, the last of the martyr-popes, also Martin by name, came to seek a resting-place, long after the pagan persecutions had ceased. “Martin I.,” says Baronies, “fared better than any of his predecessors since the time of Constantine. Found worthy to suffer more than all of them for the Name of Jesus Christ, he had the good fortune to find a Decius and a Diocletian in a baptised prince.”[1]

The emperor thus stigmatised by the great annalist was Constans II. From his grandfather Hera-dins, who at least had given the world a few years of glory, he inherited nothing but the Byzantine pretension of imposing his dogmatic edicts upon the Church. Like the Ecthesis of Heraclius, the Type of Constans aimed at silencing the Catholics in their struggle with the Monothelites. St. Leo II., on the 28th June, has already initiated us into these contests concerning the integrity of the two natures, divine and human, in the Man-God. Could the Church, without protesting, allow it to be said that her Spouse had taken from Adam a mere appearance of humanity, a half-formed nature without a will, such as the new sectaries imagined.

More clear-sighted than Honorius, Martin I. understood the danger, and knew how to repair the past, while securing the future. Scarcely had he as­cended the apostolic throne, when he gathered, in the Church of our Saviour, one of the most beautiful assemblies ever held there. “Sound the trumpet, cry out upon the mountain; soldiers of God, awake!”[2] Thus from its very opening did the Lateran Council of 649, repair the fatal silence and avenge the Church's honour. On reading its splen­did and ample definitions, which present to the world the Son of the Virgin Mother in all his adorable integrity, we are reminded of the solemn declaration in the pretorium on the great Friday: “Behold the Man!” only that this time it was proclaimed in triumph and by those who loved him. Truly, O God our Saviour, thou art the most complete, the most perfect, the most beautiful of the sons of men.

What a solace to the mind, to see the imperial lucubrations returned, with the qualification of wicked and impious,[3]to the Byzantine Omar, who held the defenceless Pontiff at his mercy in still dependent Rome! Martin I. like St. Paul, could take the Church of God to witness[4] that he had not neglected his duty of enlightening the flock; he could remind the pastors of the price at which Christ had purchased the sheep committed to their care: he himself was ready for everything. His martyrdom was to secure the final triumph, of which the sixth general Council and St. Leo II. were destined to gather the fruits.

The Greeks celebrate on April 13 the feast of this glorious Pope, whom they call a “corypheus of divine dogmas, the honour of Peter's See, the pontiff who maintained the Church unshaken on the divine Rock.”[5]

Rome gives the following brief notice of him in her Liturgy.

Martinus, Tuderti in Umbria natus, initio pontificatus, et litteris et legationibus missis operam dedit, ut Paulum Constantinopolitanum Patriarcham a nefaria haeresi ad catholicae fidei vertatem revocaret. Qui Constante imperatore haeretico fretus, eo amentiae progressus fuerat, ut Sedis apostolicae legatos varie in insulas relegarit. Quo ejus acelere commotus Pontifex, coacto Rome concilio centum quinque episcoporum, eum condemnavit.

Quae causa fuit Constanti mittendi in Ttaliam Olympium exarchum, ut Martinum Pontifecem inerficiendum, aut ad se perducendum curaret. Igitur Olympius Roman eniens lictori mandat, ut Pontificem, dum in basilica sanctae Mariae ad Praesepe Missarum solemnia celebraret, occideret. Quod ubi lictor aggreditur, caecus repente factus est.

Constanti autem imperatori ex eo tempore multae calamitates inciderunt: quibus nihilo melior factus, Thedorum Calliopam and Urbem mittens, imperial ur Pontifici manus injiciat. A quo per fraudem captus Martinus, et Constantinopolim perductus, deinde in Chersonesum relegatus, ibi ob catholicam fidem aerumnis confectus, pridie idus novembris cessit e vita clarus miraculis. Cujus corpor Romam postea translatum, in ecclesia conditum est, quae, sanctorum Silvestri et Martini nomine dedicata erat. Praefuit Ecclesiae annos sex, mensem unum, dies viginti sex. Habuit ordinationes duas mense decenbri, quibus creavit presbyteros undecim, diaconos quinque, episcopos per diversa loca triginta tres.
Martin was born at Todi in Umbria. Upon ascending the pontifical throne, he strove by letters and embassies to recall Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople from his wicked heresy to the true Catholic faith. But, supported by the heretical emperor Constans, Paul was so carried away as to exile the legates of the Apostolic See to various islands. The Pope, indignant at this outrage, summoned a council of one hundred and five bishops at Rome, in which he condemned Paul.

Upon this Constans sent the exarch Olympius into Italy, with orders either to kill Pope Martin or else to bring him to the emperor. Olympius, on reaching Rome, charged a lictor to assassinate the Pope as he was celebrating Mass in St. Mary's at the Crib. But the man, attempting to do so, was suddenly struck blind.

From that time many ca­lamities befel the emperor Constans, which however made him no better; and he sent Theodore Calliopus to Rome to seize the Pope. By his deceitful dealing Martin was arrested and led prisoner to Constantinople. Thence he was banished into the Chersonesus; where, on the eve of the Ides of November, he died worn out by his sufferings for the Catholic faith, and not without the glory of miracles. His body was afterwards translated to Rome, and placed in the church dedicated to Saints Sylvester and Martin. He governed the church six years, one month, and twenty-six days. He held two ordinations in the month of December, and ordained eleven priests, five deacons, and thirty-three bishops for divers places.

If it is just that the human race should honour its members in proportion as it has been honoured by them, thou, O holy Pontiff, deservest a glorious memory. For, not only were thy wonderful virtues such as cause the very powers of heaven to admire our earth, but thou didst likewise compel Satan to humble himself before our human nature. Deified entirely in the Person of God the Son, it is through thee that it was fully recognized as such, in spite of contradictions, in spite of the powerful ones of this world leaguing with the spirits of wickedness to over-cloud this incomparable nobility of the sons of Adam.

How comes it, that man is ever ready to join hands with Satan, for his own destruction? But Lucifer himself was at first his own only enemy; and surely his folly is more difficult to explain, than that of the frail creature he strives to draw after him along the path of pride which led him to perdition. It is pride that made him the prince of folly and the father of lies. His intellect, though the loftiest in heaven, was not proof against self-love, which induced him to take complacency in his created nothingness, to detain the truth of God in injustice,[6] and to prefer darkness to the light. Thus it is that men, following Satan's example, and dishonouring God to exalt themselves, become vain in their thoughts,[7] till such a darkness comes over their mind and heart and senses, as strikes with astonishment the soul that remains simple and upright in its humility.

Protect us, then, O holy Pontiff keep up in us the understanding of God's gift. May we never deserve the reproach of the Psalmist: Man when he was in honour, did not understand; he is compared to senseless beasts, and is become like to them.[8] May eternal Wisdom, to whose alliance we are called, never have the grief of seeing us prefer death. At the same time, teach us that, for the honour of God, as well as of man, the integrity of Our Lord's Incarnation does not require the authentication of politicians, nor the approbation of the would be wise; for it is of this mystery the Apostle says, that we must believe it with the heart in order to become just, and confess it with the mouth in order to be saved.[9] Spare the Church the sorrow of ever again finding herself in such a situation as that from which thy heroic martyrdom was alone able to deliver her.


[1] Baron. Ad ann. 651.
[2] Conclusion of the opening discourse. Mansi, X. 870.
[3] Impiissimam exthesim, accelerosum typum. Canon xviii. Mansi, x. 1158
[4] Epist. encyclica promulgationis concilii. Ibid. 1178.
[5] Menaea. 13 Aprilis.
[6] Rom. i. 18.
[7] Rom. i. 21.
[8] Psalm xlviii. 13.
[9] Rom. x. 10.

 

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