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Temporal Cycle

Under this heading of Proper of the Time, we here comprise the movable Office of the Sundays and Ferias of Advent. Though anxious to give to the faithful the flowers of the Advent liturgy, yet were we to bring forward even those which might be considered as the choicest, four volumes would have barely sufficed. The fear of making our work too expensive to the faithful, persuaded us to limit it within much narrower bounds, and out of the abundant treasures before us, to give what we thought could be least dispensed with.

The plan we have adopted is this: We give the whole of the Mass and Vespers for the four Sundays of Advent. On the ferial days, we give one, at least, of the lessons from Isaias, which are read in the Office of Matins; adding to this a hymn or sequence, or some other poetic liturgical composition. All these have been taken from the gravest sources, for example, from the Roman and Mozarabic breviaries, from the Greek anthology and menæa, from the missals of the middle ages, &c. After this hymn or sequence, we have given a prayer from the Ambrosian, Gallican, or Mozarabic missal. So that the faithful will find in our collection an unprecedented abundance of liturgical formulæ, each of which carries authority with it, as being taken from ancient and approved sources.

We have not thought it desirable to give a commentary to each of the liturgical formulæ inserted in our work. It seemed to us that they would be rendered sufficiently intelligible by the general explanation which runs through our work, in which explanation we have endeavoured to excite the devotion of the reader, give unity to the several parts, and afford solid instruction. We shall thus avoid all those repetitions and commonplace remarks, which do little more than fatigue the reader.

We have inserted the Great Antiphons and the Office of Christmas Eve in the proper of the saints, because both of these have fixed days in the calendar, and to put them in the proper of the time, as they stand in the breviary and missal, would have required us to introduce into a book, destined for the laity, rubrics somewhat complicated, which would, perhaps, not have been understood.

For more information on the season of Advent, visit here.

We apply the name of Christmas to the forty days which begin with the Nativity of our Lord, December 25, and end with the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, February 2. It is a period which forms a distinct portion of the Liturgical Year, as distinct, by its own special spirit, from every other, as are Advent, Lent, Easter, or Pentecost. One same Mystery is celebrated and kept in view during the whole forty days. Neither the Feasts of the Saints, which so abound during this Season; nor the time of Septuagesima, with its mournful Purple, which often begins before Christmastide is over, seem able to distract our Holy Mother the Church from the immense joy of which she received the good tidings from the Angels[1] on that glorious Night for which the world had been longing four thousand years. The Faithful will remember that the Liturgy commemorates this long expectation by the four penitential weeks of Advent.
[1] St Luke ii 10.

(From Chapter 1: The History of Christmas)

For more information on the season of Christmas, visit here.

This third section of the liturgical year is much shorter than the two preceding ones; and yet it is one of real interest. The season of Septuagesima has only three weeks of the Proper of the Time, and the feasts of the saints are far less frequent than at other periods of the year. The volume we now offer to the faithful may be called one of transition, inasmuch as it includes the period between two important seasons—viz., Christmas and Lent. We have endeavoured to teach them how to spend these three weeks; and our instructions, we trust, will show them that, even in this the least interesting portion of the ecclesiastical year, there is much to be learned. They will find the Church persevering in carrying out the one sublime idea which pervades the whole of her liturgy; and, consequently, they must derive solid profit from imbibing the spirit peculiar to this season.

Were we, therefore, to keep aloof from the Church during Septuagesima, we should not have a complete idea of her year, of which these three weeks form an essential part. The three preliminary chapters of this volume will convince them of the truth of our observation; and we feel confident that, when they have once understood the ceremonies, and formulas, and instructions, offered them by the Church during this short season, they will value it as it deserves.

For more information on the season of Septuagesima, visit here.

We begin, with this volume, the holy season of Lent; but such is the richness of its liturgy, that we have found it impossible to take our readers beyond the Saturday of the fourth week. Passion-week and Holy Week, which complete the forty days of yearly penance, require to be treated at such length, that we could not have introduced them into this volume without making it inconveniently large.

The present volume is a very full one, although it only comprises the first four weeks of the season of Lent. We have called it Lent; and yet the two weeks of the next volume are also comprised in Lent; nay, they are its most important and sacred part. But, in giving the name of Lent to this first section, we have followed the liturgy itself, which applies this word to the first four weeks only; giving to the two that remain the names of Passion-week and Holy Week. Our next volume will, therefore, be called Passiontide and Holy Week.

For more information on Lent, visit here.

After having proposed the forty-days’ fast of Jesus in the desert to the meditation of the faithful during the first four weeks of Lent, the holy Church gives the two weeks which still remain before Easter to the commemoration of the Passion. She would not have her children come to that great day of the immolation of the Lamb, without having prepared for it by compassionating with Him in the sufferings He endured in their stead.

(From Chapter 1: The History of Passiontide and Holy Week)

For more information on Passiontide and Holy Week, visit here.

WITH this volume we begin the season of Easter, wherein are accomplished the mysteries prepared for, and looked forward to, since Advent. Such are the liturgical riches of this portion of the Christian year, that we have found it necessary to devote three volumes to it.

The present volume is wholly taken up with Easter Week. A week is indeed a short period; but such a week as this, with the importance of the events it brings before us, and the grandeur of the mysteries it celebrates, is, at least, equivalent to any other section of our Liturgical Year. We have abridged our explanations as much as possible; and yet we have exceeded two-thirds of one of our ordinary volumes. Hence, it was out of the question to add the remaining weeks; the more so, as the saints’ feasts recommence on the Monday following the Easter Octave, and their insertion would have obliged us to have made our volume considerably more bulky than even that of Passiontide. We have, therefore, been satisfied with giving the Mass and Office of the Annunciation, already given in our volume for Lent, but which are needed for the Monday after Low Sunday, when Easter falls between March 22 and April 2, which is frequently the case.

For more information on Paschal Tide, visit here.

This volume opens to us the second part of the Liturgical Year, beginning the long period of the Time after Pentecost. It treats of the feasts of the most holy Trinity, of Corpus Christi, and of the sacred Heart of Jesus. These three feasts require to be explained apart. Their dates depend on that of Easter; and yet they are detached, if we consider their object, from the moveable cycle, whose aim is to bring before us, each year, the successive, and so to speak historic, memories of our Lord’s mysteries. After the sublime drama, which has, by gradually presenting to us the facts of our Redeemer’s history, shown us the divine economy of the redemption, these feasts immediately follow, and give us a deep and dogmatic teaching: a teaching which is a marvellous synthesis, taking in the whole body of Christian doctrine.

The Holy Ghost has come down upon the earth, in order to sanctify it. Faith being the one basis of all sanctification, and the source of love, the holy Spirit would make it the starting-point of His divine workings in the soul. To this end, He inspires the Church, which has sprung up into life under the influence of His impetuous breathing, to propose at once to the faithful that doctrinal summary, which is comprised in the three feasts immediately coming after Pentecost. The volumes following the present one will show us the holy Spirit continuing His work, and, on the solid foundations of the faith He established at the outset, building the entire superstructure of the Christian virtues.

This was the idea which the author of the Liturgical year was busy developing in the second part of his work, when death came upon him; and the pen that had begun this volume was put by obedience into the hands of one, who now comes before the faithful, asking their prayers for the arduous task he has undertaken, of continuing the not quite finished work of his beloved father and master. He begs of them to beseech our Lord, that He Himself will vouchsafe to bring to a successful termination an undertaking that was begun for His honour and glory, and that has already produced so much fruit in the souls of men.

Br. L.F. O.S.B.

Solesmes, May 10, 1879.

 

For more information on Time after Pentecost, visit here.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

This day is called the ‘Feria of the great scrutiny,’ because in the Church of Rome, after the necessary inquiries and examinations, the list of the catechumens, who were to receive Baptism, was closed. The Station was held in the basilica of St. Paul outside the walls, both because of the size of the building, and also in order to honour the apostle of the Gentiles by offering him these new recruits, which the Church was about to make from paganism. The reader will be interested and edified by a description of this ceremony.

The faithful and the aspirants to Baptism being assembled in the basilica, about the hour of noon, the names of these latter were written down, and an acolyte arranged them in order before the people, placing the men on the right, and the women on the left. A priest then recited over each of them the prayer which made them catechumens, for it is by anticipation that we have hitherto given them this name. He signed their foreheads with the sign of the cross and imposed his hand upon their heads. He then blessed the salt, which signifies wisdom, and each of them tasted it.

After these preliminary ceremonies, they were made to go out of the church, and remained under the exterior portico, until such time as they were called back. As soon as they had left (the assembly of the faithful remaining in the church) the Introit was begun. It is taken from the words of the Prophet Ezechiel, wherein God tells us that He will gather His elect from all nations, and pour upon them a clean water, that shall cleanse them from their sins. The acolyte then read out the names of the catechumens, and they were brought into the church by the porter. They were arranged as before, and the sponsors stood near them. The pontiff then sang the Collect; after which, at the intimation given by the deacon, each sponsor made the sign of the cross on the forehead of the catechumen, for whom he or she was responsible. Acolytes followed, and pronounced the exorcisms over each of the elect, beginning with the men.

A lector next read the lesson from the Prophet Ezechiel, which we give in its proper place. It was followed by a Gradual, composed of these words of David:

Come, children, hearken to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Come ye to Him, and be enlightened; and your faces shall not be confounded.

In the Collect, which followed this lesson, the Church prayed that the faithful might receive the fruits of their lenten fast; and immediately a second lesson was read, from the Prophet Isaias, in which is foretold the remission of sins to be granted to those who shall be cleansed in the mysterious laver of Baptism.

A second Gradual gave these words from the royal psalmist:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; the people whom He hath chosen for His inheritance.

During the reading of these two lessons, and the chanting of the two Graduals, the mysterious ceremony of opening the ears was being gone through. A priest went to each catechumen, and touching his ears, said: Ephpheta, that is, be thou opened. This rite (which was an imitation of what our Saviour did to the deaf and dumb man mentioned in the Gospel)[1] was intended to prepare the catechumens to receive the revelation of the mysteries, which, up to that time, had been shown them only under the veil of allegory. The first initiation made to them was regarding the holy Gospels.

Reading of the Holy Gospels

As soon as the second Gradual was finished, there were seen coming from the secretarium, preceded by lights and incense, four deacons, each of them carrying one of the four Gospels. They advanced towards the sanctuary, and placed the sacred volumes on the altar, one on each corner. The bishop, or, if he wished it, a priest, addressed to the catechumens the following allocution, which we find still in the Gelasian sacramentary:

Being about to open to you the Gospels, that is, the history of the acts of God, it firstly behoves us, dearly beloved children, to tell you what the Gospels are, whence they come, whose words they contain, why they are four in number, and who wrote them; in fine, who are the four men who were announced by the holy Spirit, and foretold by the prophet. Unless we were to explain to you these several particulars, we should leave your minds confused; and whereas you have come to-day that your ears may be opened, it would be unseemly in us to begin by bewildering your minds. Gospel literally means good tidings, because it tells us of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The Gospel came from him, in order to proclaim and show that he, who spoke by the prophets, has now come in the flesh, as it is written: ‘I myself that spoke, lo, I am here.’ Having briefly to explain to you what the Gospel is, and who are the four men foretold by the prophet, we now give you their names, following the order of the figures under which they are designated. The Prophet Ezechiel says: ‘And as for the likenese of their faces, there was the face of a man and the face of a lion on the right side of ail the four: and the face of an ox on the left side of all the four: and the face of an eagle over all the four.’ These four figures are, as we know, those of tho evangelists, whose names are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

After this discourse, a deacon, ascending the ambo, thus addressed the catechumens:

Be silent: hear attentively!

Then, opening the Gospel of St. Matthew, which he had previously taken from the altar, he read the beginning, as far as the twenty-first verse.

These verses having been read, a priest spoke as follows:

Dearly beloved children, we wish to hold you no longer in suspense: therefore, we expound to you the figure of each evangelist. Matthew has the figure of a man, because, at the commencement of his book, he gives the genealogy of the Saviour; for he begins with these words: The book of the generation of Jesus Christy the son of David, the son of Abraham. You see, then, that it is not without reason, that to Matthew has been assigned the figure of the man, since he begins with the human birth of the Saviour.

Again the deacon from the ambo:

Be silent: hear attentively!

He then read the beginning of St. Mark’s Gospel, as far as the eighth verse. After which, the priest spoke as follows:

The evangelist Mark has the figure of the lion, because he begins with the desert, saying: A voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord; or again, because the Saviour now reigns, and is invincible. This type of the lion is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures, and is the application of those words; ‘Juda is a lion’s whelp: to the prey, my son, thou art gone up: resting, thou hast couched as a lion, and as a lioness: who shall rouse him?’

The deacon, having repeated his injunction, next read the beginning of the Gospel according to St. Luke, as far as the seventeenth verse; after which the priest said:

The evangelist Luke has the figure of the ox, which reminds us that the Saviour was offered in sacrifice. This evangelist begins by speaking of Zachary and Elizabeth, from whom, in their old age, was bom John the Baptist.

The deacon having announced, in the same solemn manner, the Gospel of St. John, of which he read the first fourteen verses, the priest thus continued his instruction:

John has the figure of the eagle, because he soars aloft in the high places. It is he that says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Ood, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. David also, speaking of the person of Christ, thus expresses himself: ‘Thy youth shall be renewed like the eagle’s’; because our Lord Jesus Christ, having risen from the dead, ascended into heaven. Thus, dearly beloved children, the Church that has begotten you, and still bears you in her womb, exults at the thought of the new increase to be given to the Christian law, when, on the venerable day of Easter, you are to be bom again in the waters of Baptism, and to receive, as all the saints, from Christ our Lord, the gift of the childhood of faith.

Traditio Symboli

The manifestation of the four evangelists was followed by the ceremony called the giving of the Symbol (Traditio Symboli). It consisted in giving to the catechumens the Apostles’ Creed (or Symbol), and in subsequent ages, that of Nicæa, or, as we call it, the Nicene Creed. The following allocution was first made by a priest:

Being now admitted to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, and become new creatures in the Holy Ghost, it behoves you, dearly beloved children, to conceive at once in your hearts the faith whereby you are to be justified: it behoves you, having your minds henceforth changed by the habit of truth, to draw nigh to God, who is the light of your souls. Receive, therefore, the secret of the evangelical Symbol, which was inspired by the Lord, and drawn up by the apostles. Its words are few, but great are the mysteries it contains: for the Holy Ghost, who dictated this formula to the first masters of the Church, has here expressed the faith that saves us, with great precision of words, in order that the truths you have to believe and unceasingly meditate on might neither surpass your understanding, nor escape your memory. Be, then, attentive, that you may learn this Symbol; and what, having ourselves received, we hand down to you, that same write, not on corruptible things, but on the tablets of your heart. Now, the confession of faith, which you have received, begins thus.

One of the catechumens was then told to come forward, and the priest addressed the following question to the acolyte who accompanied him:

In what language do these confess our Lord Jesus Christ?

The acolyte answered:

In Greek.

It should be remembered, that under the emperors, the use of the Greek language was almost as general in Rome as that of the Latin. The priest then said to the acolyte:

Make known to them the faith they believe.

Here the acolyte, holding his hand over the catechumen’s head, pronounced the Creed in Greek, in a solemn tone. One of the female catechumens, whose language was the Greek, was then brought forward, and the acolyte repeated the Creed in the same manner. The priest then said:

Dearly beloved children, you have heard the Symbol in Greek; hear it now in Latin.

Accordingly, two catechumens, who spoke the Latin language, were brought forward, first a man, and then a woman. The acolyte recited the Creed in Latin before each of them, and loud enough for all the others to hear. The giving of the Symbol thus completed, the priest made the following allocution:

This is the compendium of our faith, dearly beloved children, and these are the words of the Symbol, drawn up, not according to the conceits of human wisdom, but according to the thoughts of God. There is no one but can understand and remember them. There it is, that is expressed the one and coequal power of God the Father and the Son; there, that is shown to us the only-begotten Son of God, born, according to the flesh, of the Virgin Mary, by the operation of the Holy Ghost; there, that are related his crucifixion, his burial, and his resurrection on the third day; there, that is proclaimed his ascension above the heavens, his sitting at the right hand of the majesty of the Father, and his future coming to judge the living and the dead; there, that is announced the Holy Ghost, who has the same divinity as the Father and the Son; there, in fine, that are taught the vocation of the Church, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection of the flesh. You, therefore, put off the old man, my learly beloved children, that you may be reformed according to the new; once carnal, you begin now to be spiritual; once of earth, now of heaven. Believe, with firm and unshaken faith, that the Resurrection which was accomplished in Christ will likewise be accomplished in you; and that this miracle, which has been achieved in him who is our Head, will be repeated in all them that are members of his body. The Sacrament of Baptism, which you are soon to receive, is the visible expression of this hope; for in it is represented both a death and a resurrection; there the old man is left, there the new man is assumed. The sinner descends into the water, and comes out justified. He, that had dragged us into death, is cast off; and he is received who restored us to life, and who, by the grace that he will give you, will make you children of God, not by the flesh, but by the virtue of the Holy Ghost. It is your duty, therefore, to keep this short formula in your hearts, so as to make use of the confession it contains, as a help to you on all occasions. The power of this armour is invincible against all the attacks of the enemy; it should be worn by the true soldiera of Christ. Let the devil, who tempts mail without ceasing, find you ever armed with this Symbol. Triumph over the adversary, whom you have just renounced. By God’s grace, preserve incorruptible and unsullied, even to the end, the grace he is about to give you; that thus, he in whom you are soon to receive the forgiveness of your sins, may bring you to the glory of the Resurrection. Thus, then, dearly beloved children, you know the Symbol of the Catholic faith; carefully learn it, not changing one word. God’s mercy is powerful; may it bring you to the faith of the Baptism to which you aspire; and may it lead us, who this day reveal to you the mysteries, to the heavenly kingdom together with you; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

The giving of the Symbol was followed by another gift: the Lord’s Prayer. The deacon first made the announcement; he urged the catechumens to silence and attention; and then a priest delivered the following allocution:

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, among his other saving precepts, gave to his disciples, on that day when they asked him how they ought to pray, this form of prayer, which we are about to repeat to you, and explain in all its fulness. Let your charity, therefore, now hear how the Saviour taught his disciples to pray to God the Father almighty. ‘When thou shalt pray,’ said he, ‘enter into thy chamber; and having shut the door, pray to thy Father.’ Here, by chamber, he means not a room, but the interior of the heart, which is known to God alone. By saying that we ought to adore God after having shut the door, he signifies that we ought to shut out, with a spiritual key, all bad thoughts from our heart, and speak to God, though our lips may be closed, in purity of soul. What our God hears, is not the sound of our words, but our faith. Let our heart, then, be shut, with the key of faith, against the craft of the enemy; let it not be opened save to that God, whose temple we know it is; and the Lord, dwelling thus in our heart, will be propitious and grant our prayers. The prayer taught us by the Word, the Wisdom of God, Christ our Lord, is this:

OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN

Observe these words, how full they are of holy liberty and confidence. Live, therefore, in such manner, that you may be children of God, and brethren of Christ. Of what rashness would he be guilty who dared to call God his Father, yet proved himself to be degenerate by opposing God’s will! Dearly beloved children, show yourselves to be worthy of the divine adoption; for it is written; ‘To them that believe in his name, he gave power to be made the eons of God.’

HALLOWED BE THY NAME

It is not that God, who is ever holy, needs to be hallowed by us; but what we here ask, is that his name be sanctified in us: so that we, who have been made holy by the Baptism he has given us, may persevere in the new being we have received from him.

THY KINGDOM COME

Our God whose kingdom is for ever, does he not always reign? Yes, undoubtedly: but what we ask for, when we say, Thy kingdom come, is the coming of that kingdom which he has promised us, and which Christ has merited for us by his Blood and Passion.

THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

That is to say: May thy will be in such manner fulfilled, that what thou wiliest in heaven, may be faithfully accomplished by us who are on earth.

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD

We mean, by this, our spiritual food; for Christ is our bread, as he said; ‘I am the living Bread that came down from heaven.’ We say our daily bread, because we ought unceasingly to ask to be made free from sin, in order that we may be made worthy of the heavenly nourishment.

AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES, AS WE FORGIVE THEM THAT TRESPASS AGAINST US

These words signify that we cannot merit the forgiveness of our sins, unless we first forgive what others do against us. Thus it is that our Lord says in the Gospel: ‘If you will not forgive men their offences, neither will your Father forgive you your offences.’

AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION

That is: suffer us not to be led into it by the tempter, by the author of evil. For the Scripture says: ‘God is not the tempter of evil things.’ It is the devil that tempts us; and that we may overcome him, the Lord says to us: ‘Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.’

BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL

These words refer to that which is said by the apostle: ‘We know not what we should pray for.’ We should beseech the one only and omnipotent God, that the evils which we cannot avoid because of human weakness, we may avoid in virtue of that help which will mercifully be granted us by our Lord Jesus Christ, who, being God, liveth and reignoth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever.

After this allocution, the deacon said:

Observe order and silence, and lend an attentive ear!

The priest then continued, in these words:

You have just heard, dearly beloved children, the mysteries of the Lord’s Prayer: see, therefore, that you fix them in your hearts, both coming in and going out, that you may become perfect, asking and receiving the mercy of God. The Lord our God is mighty, and will lead you, who are on the way to faith, to the laver of the water of regeneration. May he mercifully grant that we, who have delivered unto you the mysteries of the Catholic faith, may be brought, together with you, to the kingdom of heaven: who liveth and reigneth with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever.

After the Gospel, in which was related the cure of the man that was born blind, the deacon, as usual, commanded all the catechumens to leave the church. They were taken out by their sponsors; but these returned, in order to assist at Mass with the rest of the faithful. At the Offertory, they came up to the altar, and gave the names of their spiritual children; which names, as also those of the sponsors themselves, were read by the bishop in the Canon. Towards the end of Mass, the catechumens were brought back into the church, and were told on what day they were to present themselves for examination on the Symbol and the other instructions they had that day received.

The imposing ceremony, which we have thus briefly described, was not confined to this day: it was repeated as often as needed; that is, according to the number of the catechumens, and the time required for gaining information regarding their conduct and the preparation they were making for Baptism. In the Church of Rome, these scrutinies were held seven times, as we have already remarked; but the one of to-day was the most numerous and solemn; each of the seven terminated with the ceremony we have been describing.

Collect

Deus, qui et just is præmia raeritorum, et peccatoribus per jejunium veniam præbes: miserere supplicibus tuis; ut reatus nostri confessio indulgentiam valeat percipere delictorum. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
O God, who givest to the righteous the reward of their good works, and by fasting, pardon to sinners; have mercy on thy suppliants, that the acknowledgment of our guilt may procure us the remission of our sins. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

First Lesson

Lectio Ezechielis Prophetæ.

Cap. xxxvi.

Hæc dicit Dominus Deus: Sanctificabo nomen meum magnum, quod pollutum est inter gentes, quod polluistis in medio earum: ut sciant gentes quia ego Dominus, cum sanctificatus fuero in vobis coram eis. Tollam quipped vos de gentibus, et congregabo vos de universis terris, et adducam vos in terrain vestram. Et effundam super vos aquam mundam, et mundabimini ab omnibus inquinamentis vestris, et ab universis idolis vestris mundabo vos. Et dabo vobis cor novum, et spiritum novum ponam in medio vestri: et auferam cor lapideum de carne vestra, et dabo vobis cor carneum. Et Spiritum meum ponam in medio vestri: et faciam ut in præceptis meis ambuletis, et judicia mea custodiatis, et operemini. Et habitabitis in terra quam dedi patribus vestris: et eritis mihi in populum, et ego ero vobis in Deum: dicit Dominus omnipotens.
Lesson from the Prophet Ezechiel.

Ch. xxxvi.

Thus saith the Lord God: I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the Gentiles, which you have profaned in the midst of them; that the Gentiles may know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord of hosts, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the Gentiles, and will gather you together out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. And I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness, and I will cleanse you from all your idols. And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in the midst of you, and I will cause you to walk in my commandments, and to keep my judgments, and do them. And you shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God, saith the Lord almighty.

These magnificent promises, which are to be fulfilled in favour of the Jewish people, as soon as God’s justice shall have been satisfied, are to be realized firstly, in our catechumens. These are they that have been gathered together from all the countries of the Gentile world, in order that they may be brought into their own land, the Church. A few days hence there will be poured upon them that clean water, which shall cleanse them from all the defilements of their past idolatry; they shall receive a new heart, and a new spirit; they shall be God’s people for ever.

Second Lesson

Lectio Isaiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. i.

Hæc dicit Dominus Deus: Lavamini, mundi estote, auferte malum cogitationum vestrarum ab oculis meis: quiescite agere perverse, discitebenefacere: quærite judicium, subvenite oppresso, judicate pupillo, def endite viduam. Et venite, et arguite me, dicit Dominus. Si fuerint peccata vestra ut coccinum, quasi nix dealbabuntur: et si fuerint rubra quasi vermiculus, velut lana alba erunt. Si volueritis, et audieritis me, bona terræ comedetis: dicit Dominus omnipotens.
Lesson from the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. i.

Thus saith the Lord God: Wash yourselves, be clean, take away the evil of your devices from my eyes: cease to do perversely, learn to do well: seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow. And then come and accuse me, saith the Lord: if your sins be as the scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow: and if they be red as crimson, they shall be white as wool. If you be willing, and will hearken to me, you shall eat the good things of the land, saith the Lord almighty.

It is to her penitents that the Church addresses these grand words of Isaias. There is a baptism also prepared for them; a laborious baptism indeed, but still, one that has power to cleanse their souls from all their defilements, if only they receive it with sincere contrition, and be resolved to make atonement for the evil they have committed. What could be stronger than the language used by God, in making His promise of forgiveness? He compares the change He will make, in the soul of a repentant sinner, to that of scarlet and crimson become white as snow. The unjust is to be made just; darkness is to be turned into light; the slave of satan is to become the child of God. Let us rejoice with our glad mother, the holy Church; and redoubling the fervour of our prayer and penance, let us induce our Lord to grant that, on the great Easter feast, the number of conversions may surpass our hopes.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. ix.

In illo tempore: Præteriens Jesus vidit hominem cæcum a nativitate: et interrogaverunt eum discipuli ejus: Rabbi, quis peccavit, hie, aut parentes ejus, ut cæcus nasceretur? Responds Jesus: Neque hic peccavit, neque parentes ejus: sed ut manifestentur opera Dei in illo. Me oportet operari opera ejus, qui misit me, donee dies est: venit nox, quando nemo potest operari. Quamdiu sum in mundo, lux sum mundi. Hæc cum dixisset, exspuit in terram, et fecit lutum ex sputo, et linivit lutum super oculos ejus, et dixit ei: Vade, lava in natatoria Siloe (quod interpretatur Missus). Abiit ergo, et lavit, et venit videns. Itaque vicini, et qui viderant cum prius, quia mendicus erat, dicebant: Nonne hic est, qui sedebat, et mendicabat? Alii dicebant: Quia hic est; alii autem: Nequaquam, sed similis est ei. Ule vero dicebat: Quia ego sum. Dicebant ergo ei: Quomodo aperti sunt tibi oculi? Respondit: Illo homo qui dicitur Jesus, lutum fecit et unxit oculos meoe, et dixit mihi: Vade ad natatoria Siloe, et lava. Et abii, lavi, et video. Et dixerunt ei: Ubi est ille? Ait: Nescio. Adducunt eum ad pharisæos, qui cæcus fuerat. Erat autem Sabbatum quando lutum fecit Jesus, et aperuit oculos ejus. Iterum ergo interrogabant eum pharisæi quomodo vidisset. Ille autem dixit eis: Lutum mihi posuit super oculos, et lavi, et video. Dicebant ergo ex pharisæis quidam: Non est hic homo a Deo, qui sabbatum non custodit. Alii autem dicebant: Quomodo potest homo peccator hæc signa facere? Et schisma erat inter eos. Dicunt ergo caeco iterum: Tu quid dicis de illo, qui aperuit oculos tuos? Ille autem dixit: Quia propheta est. Non crediderunt ergo Judæi de illo, quia cæcus fuisset et vidisset, donee vocaverunt parentes ejus, qui viderat: et interrogaverunt eos, dicentes: Hic est filius vester, quem vos dicitis quia cæcus natus est? Quomodo ergo nunc videt? Responderunt eis parentes ejus, et dixerunt: Scimus quia hic est filius noster, et quia cæcus natus est: quomodo autem mine videat, nescimus: aut quis ejus aperuit oculos, nos nescimus, ipsum interrógate: ætatem håbet; ipse de se loquatur. Hæc dixerunt parentes ejus, quoniam timebant Judæo: jam enim conspira ve rant Judæi, ut si qui eum confiteretur esse Christum, extra synagogam fieret: propterea parentes ejus dixerunt: Quia ætatem håbet, ipsum interrogate. Vocaverunt ergo rursum hominem, qui fuerat cæcus, et dixerunt ei: Da gloriam Deo. Nos scimus quia hio homo peccator est. Dixit ergo eis ille: Si peccator est, nescio: unum scio, quia cæcus cum essem, modo video. Dixerunt ergo illi: Quid fecit tibi? quomodo aperuit tibi oculos? Respondit eis: Dixi vobis jam, et audistis: quid iterum vultis audire? numquid et vos vultis discipuli ejus fieri? Maledixerunt ergo ei, et dixenint: Tu discipulus illius sis: nos autem Moysi, discipuli sumue. Nos scimus quia Moysi locutus est Deus: hunc autem nescimus unde sit. Respondit ille homo, et dixit eis: In hoc enim mirabile est, quia vos nescitis unde sit, et aperuit meos oculos: scimus autem quia peccatores Deus non audit: sed si quis Dei cultor est, et voluntatem ejus facit, hunc exaudit. A sæculo non est auditum, quia quis aperuit oculos cæci nati. Nisi esset hio a Deo, non poterat facere quidquam. Responderunt et dixerunt ei: In peccatis natus es totus, et tu doces nos? Et ejecerunt eum foras. Audivit Jesus quia ejecerunt eum foras; et cum invenisset eum, dixit ei: Tu credis in Filium Dei T Respondit ille, et dixit: Quis est, Domine, ut credam in eum? Et dixit ei Jesus: Et vidisti eum: et qui loquitur tecum, ipse est. At ille ait: Credo, Domine. (Here all kneel.) Et procidens. adoravit eum.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. ix.

At that time: Jesus passing by, saw a man who was blind from his birth; and his disciples asked him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, whilst it is day: . the night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had said these things, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and spread the clay upon his eyes, and said to him: Go, wash in the pool of Siloe, which is interpreted, Sent. He went therefore, and washed, and he came seeing. The neighbours, therefore, and they who had seen him before, that he was a beggar, said: Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said: This is he; but others said: No, but he is like him. But he said: I am he. They said therefore to him: How were thine eyes opened? He answered: That man that is called Jesus, made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said to me: Go to the pool of Siloe, and wash. And I went, I washed, and I see. And they said to him: Where is he? He saith: I know not. They bring him that had been blind to the pharisees. Now it was the Sabbath, when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Again therefore the pharisees asked him, how he had received his sight. But he said to them: He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and I see. Some therefore of the pharisees said: This man is not of God, who keepeth not the Sabbath. But others said: How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say therefore to the blind man again: What sayest thou of him that hath opened thy eyes? And he said: He is a prophet. The Jews then did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight, and asked them, saying: Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then doth he now see? His parents answered them, and said: We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind, but how he now seeth we know not, or who hath opened his eyes we know not; ask himself; he is of age, let him speak for himself. These Things his parents said, because they feared the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed among themselves, that if any man should confess him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore did his parents say: He is of age, ask him. They therefore called the man again that had been blind, and said to him: Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner. He said therefore to them: If he be a sinner, I know not; one thing I know, that whereas I was blind now I see. They said then to him: What did he to thee? How did he open thy eyes? He answered them: I have told you already, and you have heard, why would you hear it again? will you also become his disciples? They reviled him, therefore, and said: Be thou his disciple: but we are the disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses; but as to this man, we know not from whence he is. The man answered and said to them j Why, herein is a wonderful thing, that you know not from whence he is, and he hath opened my eyes. Now we know that God doth not hear sinners: but if a man be a server of God, and doth his will, him he heareth. From the beginning of the world it hath not been heard, that any man hath opened the eyes of one born blind. Unless this man were of God, he could not do anything. They answered and said to him: Thou wast wholly born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said to him: Dost thou believe in the Son of God? He answered, and said: Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him? And Jesus said to him: Thou hast both seen him and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said: I believe, Lord. (Here all kneel.) And falling down, he adored him.

In the early ages of the Church, Baptism was frequently called illumination, because this Sacrament confers supernatural faith, whereby man is enlightened with the divine light. It is on this account, that the history of the cure of the man born blind was read on this day, for it is the figure of man’s being enlightened by Christ. This subject is frequently met with in the paintings in the catacombs, and on the bas-reliefs of the ancient Christian monuments.

We are all born blind; Jesus, by the mystery of His Incarnation, figured by this clay which represents our flesh, has merited for us the gift of sight; but in order that we may receive it, we must go to the pool of Him that is divinely Sent, and we must be washed in the water of Baptism. Then shall we be enlightened with the very light of God, and the darkness of reason will disappear. The humble obedience of the blind man, who executes, with the utmost simplicity, all that our Saviour commands him, is an image of our catechumens, who listen with all docility to the teachings of the Church, for they, too, wish to receive their sight. The blind man of the Gospel is, by the cure of his eyes, a type of what the grace of Christ works in us by Baptism. Let us listen to the conclusion of our Gospel, and we shall find that he is, also, a model for those who are spiritually blind, yet would wish to be healed.

Our Saviour asks him, as the Church asked us on the day of our Baptism: Dost thou believe in the Son of God? The blind man, ardently desiring to believe, answers eagerly: Who is He, Lordthat I may believe in Him? Faith brings the weak reason of man into union with the sovereign wisdom of God, and puts us in possession of His eternal truth. No sooner has Jesus declared Himself to be God, than this simplehearted man falls down and adores Him: he that from being blind is blessed with bodily sight is now a Christian! What a lesson was here for our catechumens! At the same time, this history showed them, and reminds us, of the frightful perversity of Jesus’ enemies. He, the pre-eminently Just Man, is shortly to be put to death, and it is by the shedding of His Blood that He is to merit for us, and for all mankind, the cure of that blindness in which we were all born, and which our own personal sins have tended to increase. Glory, then, love, and gratitude be to our divine Physician, who, by uniting Himself to our human nature, has prepared the ointment, whereby our eyes are cured of their infirmity, and strengthened to gaze, for all eternity, on the brightness of the Godhead!

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Pateant aures mieericordiæ tuæ, Domine, precibus supplicantium; et ut petentibus desiderata concedas, fae eos quæ tibi sunt placita postulare. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

May the ears of thy mercy, O Lord, be open to the prayers of thy servants; and in order to obtain the effect of our petitions, grant we may ask what is pleasing to thee. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Mozarabic liturgy offers us this fine Preface, or Illation, which is suggested by to-day’s Gospel.

Illatio
(Dominica II. Quadragesimæ)

Dignum et jus turn est nos tibi grati&s agere: Domine sanete, Pater æterne, omnipotens Deus, per Jesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum. Qui illuminatione suæ fidei tenebras mundi expulit: et fecit filios esse gratiæ, qui tenebantur sub legis justa damnations: qui ita in judicium in hoc mundo venit: ut non videntes viderent: et videntes cæci essent: qualiter et hi qui se in tenebris confiterentur errorum, perciperent lumen ætemum, per quod carerent tenebris delictorum. Et hi qui de meritis suis arrogantes lumen in semetipsos habere justitiæ existimabant, in semetipeis merito tenebrescerent; qui elevati superbia sua et de justitia confisi propria, ad sanandum medieum non quærebant. Per Jesum enim, qui ostium esse dixit ad Patrem, poterant introire. Sed quia de mertis elevati sunt improbe, in sua remansemnt nihilominus cæcitate. Pro· inde humilee nos venientes, nee de mentis nostris præsuraentee, ape rim us ante altare tuum, sanctissime Pater, vulnus proprium: tenebras nostrorum fatemur errorum: conscientiæ nostræ aperimus arcanum. Invenianme, quæsumus, in vulnere medicinarn, in tenebris lucem æternam: ipnocentiæ puritatem in conscientia. Cernere etenim totis nisibuS volumus faciem tuam: sed impedimur cæcati tenebra consueta. Cœlos aspicere cupimus, nec valemus: dum cæcati tenebris peccatorum, nec hos pro sancta vita attendimus, qui propter excellent iam vitae cceli nomine nuncupati sunt. Occurre igitur, Jesu, nobis in templo tuo orantibue: et cura omnes in hac dic, qui in virtutibus facientes noluisti Sabbatum custodire. Ecce ante gloriam nominis tui aperimus vulnera nostra: tu appone nostris infirmitatibus medicinam. Succurre nobis ut promisisti precantibas: qui ex nihilo fecisti quod sumus. Fac collyrium et tange oculos nostri cordis et corporis: ne cæcique labamur in tenebrarum erroribus consuetis. Ecce pedes tuos rigamus fletibus: non nos abjicias humiliatos. O Jesu bone! a vestigiis tuis non recedamus: qui humilis venieti in terris. Audi jam nostrorum omnium precem: et evellens nostrorum criminum cæcitatem, videamus gloriam faciei tuæ in pacis ætemæ beatitudine.
It is meet and just that we should give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, eternal Father, almighty God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son: who by the light of his faith dispelled the darkness of the world. He made them, that were held captives under the just condemnation of the law, become children of grace. He came into the world that he might exercise this judgment: that they who saw not, might see: and they who saw, might become blind. Thue, they that confessed themselves to be in the darkness of error, were to receive the eternal light, whereby they would be delivered from the darkness of their sins: and they that prided themselves on their merits, and seemed to themselves to have the light of justice, were by a just judgment to be shrouded in their own darkness; they were exalted in their pride, they confided in their own justice: they sought not the physician that could heal them, for they might have entered by Jesus, who calls himself the door whereby we go to the Father. These men, therefore, by a wicked highmindedness in their own merits, were left in their blindness. We, therefore, humbly come before thee; we presume not on ourmerits; but here before thy altar, O most holy Father, we confess our wounds, and the darkness of our errors, and the hidden things of our conscience. Grant, we beseech thee, that we may find cure for our wounds, light eternal for our darkness, spotless innocence for our conscience. With all our hearts do we desire to see thy face; but we are prevented by our usual darkness which blinds us. We would look up to heaven, yet cannot, for we are blinded by the darkness of our sins; neither do we, by holiness of life, come nigh to those, who, by reason of their sublime virtues, are called the heavens. Come, then, O Jesus, to us that are praying in thy temple. Heal us all upon this day, O thou that wouldst not have us so keep the Sabbath as to rest from good works. Lo! in thy divine presence, we confess our wounds; do thou heal our infirmities. Help us who pray to thee, for thou hast so promised; help us, thou that, out of nothing, didst create us. Make an ointment for us, and touch with it the eyes of our soul and body; lest, left in our blindness, we fall into our old darkness of error. We throw ourselves at thy feet, and water them with our tears; cast us not away from thee, humbled thus before thee. O good Jesus! thou that didst humbly come upon our earth, suffer us to remain hear thee and tread in thy footsteps. Hear this our united prayer; take from us the blindness of our sins; and grant us to see the glory of thy face in the blessedness of eternal peace.

[1] St. Mark vii. 32-34.

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Station is at the church of Saints Sylvester and Martin, which is one of the most venerable in Rome. It was originally built by Pope St. Sylvester, and still bears his name: but in the sixth century, it was consecrated to St. Martin of Tours. In the seventh century, it was enriched with the relics of Pope Saint Martin, which were brought from Chersonesus, where he had died a martyr a few years before. This church was the first Title of St. Charles Borromeo. It was also that of the learned liturgiologist, the Blessed Joseph-Mary Tommasi, whose body is now venerated in this church, and has been miraculously preserved, even to this day, in a state of incorruption.

Collect

Præsta quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut quos je junia votiva castigant, ipsa quoque devotio sancta lætificet: ut, terrenie affectibus mitigatis, facilius cœlestia capiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that the devotion which makes us punish ourselves by this yearly fast, may also make us rejoice; to the end that, suppressing in ourselves all earthly affections, we may more easily receive thy heavenly inspirations. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle

Lectio libri Regum.

4. Cap. iv.

In diebus illis: Venit mulier Sunamitis ad Eliscum in montem Carmeli: cum· que vidisset eam vir Dei e contra, ait ad Giezi puerum suum: Ecce Sunamitis ilia. Vade ergo in occursum ejus, et die ei: Rectene agitur circa te, et circa virum tuum, et circa filium tuum? Quæ responds: Recte. Cumque venisset ad virum Dei in montem, apprehendit pedes ejus: et accessit Giezi ut amoveret eam. Et ait homo Dei: Dimitte illam, anima enim ejus in amaritudine est, et Dominus celavit a me, et non indicavit mihi. Quæ dixit illi: Numquid petivi filium a domino meo? Numquid non dixi tibi: Ne illudas me? Et ille ait ad Giezi: Accinge lumbos tuos, et tolle baculum me·um in manu tua, et vade. Si occurrerit tibi homo, non salutes eum: et si salutaverit te quispiam, non respondeae illi: et pones baculum meum super faciem pueri. Porro mater pueri ait: Vivit Dominus, et vivit anima tua, non dimittam te. Surrexit ergo, et secutue est eam. Giezi autem præcesserat ante eos, et posuerat baculum super faciem pueri, et non erat vox, neque sensus: reversusque est in occursum ejus, et nuntiavit ei dicens: Non surrexit puer. Ingressus est ergo Eliseus domum, et ecce puer mortuus j ace bat in lectulo ejus: ingressusque clausit ostium super se, et super puerum: et oravit ad Dominant!. Et ascendit, et incubuit super puerum: posuitque os suum super os ejus, et oculos suos super oculos ejus, et manus suas super manus ejus: et incurvavit se super eum, et calefacta est caro pueri. At ille reversus, deambulavit in domo, semel hue atque illue: et ascendit, et inoubuit super eum: et oscitavit puer septies, aperuitque oculos. At ille vocavit Giezi, et dixit ei: Voca Sunamitidem hane. Quæ vocata, ingressa est ad eum. Qui ait: Tolle filium tuum. Venit illa, et corruit ad pedes ejus, et adoravit super terram: tulitque filium suum, et egressa est, et Eliseus reversus est iu Galgala.
Lesson from the Book of Kings.

4. Ch. iv.

In those days: A Sunamitess came to Eliseus on Mount Carmel: and when the man of God saw her coming towards him, he said to Giezi his servant: Behold that Sunamitess. Go therefore to meet her, and say to her: Is all well with thee, and with thy husband, and with thy son? And she answered: Well. And when she came to the man of God to the mount, she caught hold on his feet; and Giezi came to remove her. And the man of God said: Let her alone, for her soul is in anguish, and the Lord hath hid it from me, and hath not told me. And she said to him: Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say to thee: Do not deceive me? Then he said to Giezi: Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thy hand and go. If any man meet thee, salute him not; and if any man salute thee, answer him not; and lav my staff upon the face of the child. But the mother of the child said: As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. He arose, therefore, and followed her. But Giezi was gone before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child, and there was no voice nor sense; and he returned to meet him, and told him, saying: The child is not risen. Eliseus therefore went into the house, and behold the child lay dead on his bed. And going in, he shut the door upon him, and upon the child, and prayed to the Lord. And he went up, and lay upon the child; and he put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands, and he bowed himself upon him, and the child’s flesh grew warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house, once to and fro; and he went up, and lay upon him, and the child gaped seven times, and opened his eyes. And he called Giezi, and said to him: Call this Sunamitess. And she being called, went in to him. And he said: Take up thy son. She came and fell at his feet, and worshipped upon the ground, ana took up her son, and went out. And Eliseus returned to Galgal.

In this mysterious event are clustered together all the wonders of the plan laid down by God for the salvation of man. If the catechumens were instructed in these sublime truths, it would be a disgrace in us to be ignorant of them; therefore, let us be attentive to the teachings of this Epistle. This dead child is the human race; sin has caused its death, but God has resolved to restore it to life. First of all, a servant is sent to the corpse; this servant is Moses. His mission is from God; but, of itself, the Law he brings gives not life. This Law is figured by the staff which Giezi holds in his hand, and which he lays upon the child’s face; but to no purpose. The Law is severe; its rule is one of fear, on account of the hardness of Israel’s heart; yet is it with difficulty that it triumphs over his stubbornness; and they of Israel who would be just must aspire to something more perfect and more filial than the Law of Sinai. The Mediator who is to bring down from heaven the sweet element of charity, has not yet come; He is promised, He is prefigured; but He is not made flesh, He has not yet dwelt among us. The dead child is not risen. The Son of God must Himself come down.

Eliseus is the type of this divine Redeemer. See how he takes on himself the littleness of the child’s body, and bows himself down into closest contact with its members, and this in the silence of a closed chamber. It was thus that the Word of the Father, shrouding His brightness in the womb of a Virgin, united Himself to our nature, and, as the apostle expresses it, emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men,[1] that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly[2] than when it was given to them at the beginning Take notice, too, of what happens to the child, and what are the signs of the resurrection wrought in him. He breathes seven times: the Holy Ghost with His seven gifts, is to take possession of man’s soul and make it His temple. The child opens his eyes: the blindness of death is at an end. Neither must we forget the Sunamitess, the mother of the child: she is the type of the Church, who is praying her divine Elieeus to give her the resurrection of her dear catechumens, and of all unbelievers who are dwelling in the region of the shadow of death.[3] Let us join our prayers with hers, and beg that the light of the Gospel may be spread more and more, and that the obstacles, opposed by satan and the malice of men to its propagation, may be for ever removed.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.

Cap. vii.

In illo tempore: I bat Jesus in civitatem quæ vocatur Naim: et ibant cum eo discipuli ejus, et turba copiosa. Cum autem appropinquaret portae civitatis, ecce defunctus efferebatur, filius unicus matris suae: et hæc vidua erat: etturba civitatis multa cum ilia. Quam cum vidisset Dominus, misericordiamotus super eam, dixit illi: Noli flere. Et accessit, et tetigit loculum (hi autem qui portabant steterunt). Et ait: Adolescens, tibi dico, surge. Et resedit qui erat mortuus, et cœpit loqui. Et dedit ilium matri suæ. Accepit autem omnes timor: et magnificabant Deum, dioentes: Quia Propheta magnus surrexit in nobis: et quia Deus visitavit plebem suam.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.

Ch. vii.

At that time: Jesus went into a city that is called Naim; and there went with him his disciples, and a grea£ multitude. And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a great multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her: Weep not. And he came near, and touched the bier. And they that carried it, stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, arise. And he that was dead, sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all, and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up among us, and God hath visited his people.

The Church, both to-day and to-morrow, gives us types of the Resurrection; it is an announcement of the coming Pasch, and an encouragement for sinners to hope that their spiritual death will soon be changed into life. Before entering on the two weeks which are to be devoted to the commemoration of our Saviour’s Passion, the Church shows ter children the tender mercies of Him whose Blood is to purchase our reconciliation with divine Justice. She would have us argue, for our own consolation, that from such a Saviour we may well hope for pardon. Being thus rid of our fears, we shall be the more at liberty to contemplate the Sacrifice of our august Victim, and compassionate His sufferings. Let us attentively consider the Gospel just read to us. A heart-broken mother is following to the grave the corpse of an only son. Jesus has compassion upon her; He stays the bearers; He puts His divine hand on the bier; He commands the young man to arise; and then, as the Evangelist adds, Jesus gave him to his mother.This mother is the Church, who mourns over the death of so many of her children. Jesus is about to comfort her. He, by the ministry of His priests, will stretch forth His hand over these dead children; He will pronounce over them the great word that gives resurrection; and the Church will receive back into her arms these children she had lost, and they will be full of life and gladness.

Let us consider the mystery of the three resurrections wrought by our Saviour: that of the ruler’s daughter,[4] that of the young man of to-day’s Gospel, and that of Lazarus, at which we are to assist tomorrow. The daughter of Jaims (for such was the ruler’s name) had been dead only a few hours: she represents the sinner who has but recently fallen, and has not yet contracted the habit of sin, nor grown insensible to the qualms of conscience. The young man of Naim is the figure of a sinner, who makes no effort to return to God, and whose will has lost its energy: he is being carried to the grave; and but for Jesus’ passing that way, he would soon have been of the number of them that are for ever dead. Lazarus is an image of a worse class of sinners. He is already a prey to corruption. The stone that closes his grave seals his doom. Can such a corpse as this ever come back to life? Yes, if Jesus mercifully deign to exercise His power. Now, it is during this holy season of Lent that the Church is praying and fasting, and we with her, to the end that these three classes of sinners may hear the voice of the Son of God, and hearing, rise and live.[5] The mystery of Jesus’ Resurrection is to produce this wonderful effect in them all. Let us take our humble share in these merciful designs of God; let us, day and night, offer our supplications to our Redeemer, that, in a few days hence, seeing how He has raised the dead to life, we may cry out, with the people of Naim: A great Prophet is risen up among us, and God hath visited His people!

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Populi tui, Deus, institutor, et rector, peccata quibus impugnatur expelle: ut sem per tibi placitus, et tuo münimine sit securas. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen
Bow down your heads to God.

O God, the creator and governor of thy people, deliver them from the sins by which they are assaulted; that they may be always well pleasing in thy sight, and safe under thy protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

We offer to our readers this admirable canticle of the Gothic Church of Spain, It is addressed to the catechumens, who are admitted to Baptism; but, here and there, it is applicable to the penitents, who are soon to be reconciled.

Hymn
(Sabbato Hebdomadæ V. in Quadragesima)

Vocaris ad vitam, sacrum Dei genus;
Creator adsciscens, amat quæ condidit;
Redemptor attrahit benigno spiritu;
Venite, dicit, ves ter unus sum Deus.

Prorsus relicto claritatis lumine,
Ingens chaos vos pessime concluserat:
Locus beatitudinis jam non erat;
Cruenta terra qua re mors intraverat.

En, mitis adveni, creans; et recreans Deus;
Potens, infirmitatis particeps vestræ
Valenter vos feram, concurrite;
Ut jam receptet vos ovile gaudii.

Signo crucis frons prænotetur indito:
Aures, et os perfusa signet unctio:
Præbete dictis cordis aurem: vividum
Confessionis personate canticum.

Omnes novo estote læti nomine:
Omnea novæ sortie lovet hæreditas:
Nullus manebit servus hosti subditus:
Eritis unius Dei regnum manens.

Honor sit ætemo Deo, sit gloria
Uni Patri, ejusque soli Filio,
Cum Spiritu; quæ Trinitas perenniter
Vivit potens in sæculorum sæcula.

Amen.
O holy people of God! you are called unto life.
The Creator, loving the works of his hands, invites you:
the Redeemer lovingly draws you,
saying: Come, I am your only God.

You had departed from the bright light;
you had wretchedly fallen into the great abyss;
there was no longer a heaven for you;
cruel death had come upon the earth.

Lo! I, your Creator and your Re-Creator, your God,
have come to you in love. I, though a sharer of your weakness,
am the mighty God; I will carry you in my strength;
come unto me, and the fold of joy shall welcome you back.

Your foreheads shall be marked with the sign of the cross;
and your ears and mouth anointed with oil.
Lend the ear of your heart to what you are taught;
and sing the Symbol as a canticle of fervent praise.

Rejoice in the new name that is given you.
You are all made heirs to a new inheritance.
Not one of you shall remain a slave to the enemy.
You shall be the permanent kingdom of the one God.

Honour be to the eternal God!
Glory be to the one Father, and to his only Son,
together with the Holy Ghost: the almighty Trinity,
that liveth unceasingly for ever and ever.

Amen.

[1] Phil. ii. 7.
[2] St. John x. 10.
[3] Is. ix. 2.
[4] It is given in the Gospel for the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost.
[5] St. John v. 23.

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Station is in the church of Saint Eusebius, priest of Rome, who suffered for the faith, in the Arian persecution, under the emperor Constantius.

Collect

Deus, qui ineffabilibus mundum renovas sacramentis: præsta quæsumus, ut Ecclesia tua et æternis proficiat institutis, et temporalibus non destituatur auxiliis. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
O God, who by thy ineffable mysteries givest new life to the world; grant, we beseech thee, that thy Church may advance in the observance of thy eternal precepts, and never be destitute of thy temporal assistance. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle

Lectio libri Regum.

3. Cap. xvii.

In diebus illis: Ægrotavit filius mulieris matrisfamilias, et erat languor fortissimus, ita ut non remaneret in eo halitus. Dixit ergo ad Eliam: Quid mihi et tibi vir Dei? Ingressus es ad me, ut rememorarentur iniquitates meæ, et interficeres filium meum? Et ait ad eam Elias: Da mihi filium tuum. Tulitque eum de sinu ejus, et portavit in cænaculum ubi ipse manebat, et posuit super lectulum suum. Et clamavit ad Dominum et dixit: Domine Deus meus, etiamne viduam, apud quam ego utcumque sustentor, afflixisti ut interficeres filium ejus? Et expandit se, atque mensus est super puerum tribus vicibue, et clamavit ad Dominum, et ait: Domine Deus meus, revertatur, obsecro, anima pueri hujus in viscera ejus. Et exaudivit Dominus vocem Eliæ: et reversa est anima pueri intra eum, et revixit. Tulitque Elias puerum, et deposuit eum de coenaculo in inferiorem domum, et tradidit matri suæ, et ait illi: En vivit filius tuus. Dixitque mulier ad Eliam: Nunc in isto cognovi, quoniam vir Dei es tu, et verbum Domini in ore tuo verum est.
Lesson from the Book of Kings.

3. Ch. xvii.

In those days: The son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick, and the sickness was very grievous, so that there was no breath left in him. And she said to Elias: What have I to do with thee, thou man of God T Art thou come to me, that my iniquities should be remembered, and that thou shouldst kill my son? And Elias said to her: Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him into the upper chamber where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried to the Lord, and said: O Lord, my God, hast thou afflicted also the widow, with whom I am after a sort maintained, so as to kill her son? And he stretched, and measured himself upon the child three times, and cried to the Lord, and said: O Lord, my God, let the soul of this child, I beseech thee, return into his body. And the Lord heard the voice of Elias; and the soul of the child returned into him, and he revived. And Elias took the child, and brought him down from the upper chamber to the house below, and delivered him to his mother, and said to her: Behold thy son liveth. And the woman said to Elias: Now, by this, I know that thou art a man of God, and the word of the Lord in thy mouth is true.

Again it is a mother that comes, with tears in her eyes, praying for the resurrection of her child. This mother is the widow of Sarephta, whom we have already had as the type of the Gentile Church. She was once a sinner, and an idolatress, and the remembrance of the past afflicts her soul; but the God that has cleansed her from her sins, and called her to be His bride, comforts her by restoring her child to life. The charity of Elias is a figure of that of the Son of God. Observe how this great prophet stretches himself upon the body of the boy, fitting himself to his littleness, as did also Eliseus. Here again, we recognize the divine mystery of the Incarnation. Elias thrice touches the corpse; thrice, also, will our catechumens be immersed in the baptismal font, whilst the minister of God invokes the three Persons of the adorable Trinity. On the solemn night of Easter, Jesus, too, will say to the Church, His bride: Beholdthy son liveth; and she, transported with joy, will acknowledge the truth of God’s promises. Nay, the very pagans bore witness to this truth; for when they saw the virtuous lives of this new people, which came forth regenerated from the waters of Baptism, they acknowledged that God alone could produce such virtue in man. There suddenly arose from the midst of the Roman empire, demoralized as it was and corrupt beyond imagination, a race of men of angelic purity; and these very men had, but a short time before their Baptism, wallowed in all the abominations of paganism. Whence had they derived this sublime virtue? From the Christian teaching, and from the supernatural remedies it provides for man’s spiritual miseries. Then it was that unbelievers sought for the true faith, though they knew it was at the risk of martyrdom; they ran to the Church, asking her to become their mother, and saying to her: We know that thou art of Godand the word of the Lord in thy mouth is true.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. xi.

In illo tempore: Erat quidam languens Lazarus a Bethania, de castello Mariae et Marthae eororis ejus. (Maria autem erat, quæ unxit Dominum ungüento, et extersit pedes ejus capillis suis: cujus frater Lazarus infirmabatur.) Miserunt ergo sor ores ejus ad eum, dicentes: Domine, ecce quern amas, infirmatur. Audiens autem Jesus, dixit eis: Infirmitas hæc non est ad mortem, sed pro gloria Dei, ut glorificetur Filius Dei per eam. Diligebat autem Jesus Martham, et sororem ejus Mariam, et Lazarum. Ut ergo audivit quia infirmabatur, tunc quidem mansit in eodem loco duobus diebus. Deinde post hæc dixit discipulie suis: Eamus in Judæam iterum. Dicunt ei discipuli: Rabbi, nunc quærebant te Judæi lapidare, et iterum vadis illuc? Respondit Jesus: Nonne duodecim sunt horæ diei? Si quis ambulaverit in die, non offendit, quia lucem hujus mundi videt: si autem ambulaverit in nocte, offendit, quia lux non est in eo. Hæc ait, et post hæc dixit eis: Lazarus amicus noster dormit: sed vado ut a somno excitem eum. Dixerunt ergo discipuli ejus: Domine, si dormit salvus erit. Dixerat autem Jesus de morteejus: illi autem putaverunt quia de dormitione somni diceret. Tunc ergo Jesus dixit eis manifeste: Lazarus mortuus est; et gaudeo propter vos, ut credatis, quoniam non eram ibi. Sed eamus ad eum. Dixit ergo Thomas, qui dicitur Didymus, ad condiscipulos: Eamus et nos, ut moriamur cum eo. Venit itaque Jesus; et invenit eum quatuor dies jam in monumento habentem. (Erat autem Bethania juxta Jerosolymam quasi stadiis quindecim.) Multi autem ex Judæis vener ant ad Martham et Mariam, ut consolarentur eas de fratre suo. Martha ergo ut audivit quia Jesus venit, occurrit illi: Maria autem domi sedebat. Dixit ergo Martha ad Jesum: Domine, si fuisses hie, frater meus non fuisset mortuus. Sed et nunc scio quia quæcumque poposceris a Deo, dabit tibi Deus. Dicit illi Jesus: Resurget frater tuus. Dicit ei Martha: Scio quia resurget in resurrections in novissimo die. Dixit ei Jesus:’ Ego sum resurrectio et vita: qui credit in me, etiamsi mortuus fuerit, vivet: et omnis qui vivit et credit in me, non morietur in æternum. Credis hoc? Ait illi: Utique, Domine, ego credidi, quia tu es Christus Filius Dei vivi, qui in huno mundum venisti. Et cum hæc dixisset, abiit, et vocavit Mariam sororem suam silentio, dicens: Magister adest, et vocat te. Hla, ut audivit, surgit cito, et venit ad eum; nondum enim venerat Jesus in castellum, sed erat adhuc in illo loco, ubi occurrerat ei Martha. Judaei ergo, qui erant cum ea in domo, et consolabantur eam, cum vidissent Mariam, quia cito surrexit et exiit, Becuti sunt eam, dicentes: Quia vadit ad monumentum, ut ploret ibi. Maria ergo, cum venisset ubi erat Jesus, videns eum, cecidit ad pedes ejus, et dicit ei: Domine, si fuisses hie, non esset mortuus frater meus. Jesus ergo, ut vidit eam ploran tern, et Judaeos qui venerant cum ea plorantes, infremuit spiritu, et turbavit seipsum, et dixit: Ubi posuistis eum? Dicunt ei: Domine, veni et vide. Et lacrymatue est Jesus. Dixerunt ergo Judaei: Ecce quomodo amabat eum! Quidam autem ex ipsis dixerunt: Non poterat hie, qui aperuit oculos cæci nati, facere ut hic non moreretur? Jesus ergo rursum fremens in semetipso, venit ad monumentum. Erat autem spelunca: et lapis superpositus erat ei. Ait Jesus: Tollite lapidem. Dicit ei Martha, soror ejus qui mortuus fuerat: Domine, jam foetet, quatriduanus est enim. Dicit ei Jesus: Nonne dixi tibi, quoniam si credideris, vide bis gloriam Dei? Tulerunt ergo lapidem: Jesus autem, elevatis sursum oculis, dixit: Pater, gratias ago tibi, quoniam audisti me. Ego autem sciebam quia semper me audis, sed propter populum qui circumstat, dixi: ut credant quia tu me misisti. Hæc cum dixisset, voce magna clama vit: Lazare, veni foras. Et statim prodiit, qui fuerat mortuus, ligatus pedes et manus institis, et facies illius sudario erat ligata. Dixit eis Jesus: Solvite eum, et sinite abire. Multi ergo ex Judæis, qui venerant ad Mariam et Martham, et viderant quæ fecit Jesus, crediderunt in eum.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. xi.

At that time: There was a certain man sick named Lazarus, of Bethania, of the town of Mary, and of Martha her sister. And Mary was she that anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. His sisters therefore sent to him, saying: Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. And Jesus hearing it said to them: This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he still remained in the same place two days. Then after that, he said to his disciples: Let us go into Judea again. The disciples say to him: Rabbi, the Jews but now sought to stone thee, and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered: Are there not twelve hours of the day? If a man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world; but if he walk in the night he stumbleth, because the light is not in him. These things he said, and after that he said to them: Lafcarus our friend sleepeth: but I go that I may awake him out of sleep. His disciples therefore said: Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. But Jesus spoke of his death; and they thought that he spoke of the repose of sleep. Then therefore Jesus said to them plainly: Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes, that I was not there, that you may believe; but let us go to him. Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples: Let us also go, that we may die with him. Jesus therefore came, and found that he had been four days already in the grave. (Now Bethania was near Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off.) And many of the Jews were come to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Martha, therefore, as soon as she heard that Jesus was come, went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha therefore said to Jesus: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died; but now also I know, that whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith to her: Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith to him: I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live; and every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever. Believest thou this? She saith to him: Yea, Lord, I have believed that thou art Christ, the Son of the living God, who art come into this world. And when she had said these things, she went, and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: The Master is come, and calleth for thee. She, as soon as she heard this, riseth quickly, and cometh to him; for Jesus was not yet come into the town, but he was still in that place where Martha had met him. The Jews therefore, who were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary that she rose up speedily, and went out, followed her saying: She goeth to the grave, to weep there. When Mary therefore was come where Jesus was, seeing him, she fell down at his feet, and saith to him: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. Jesus therefore, when he saw her weeping, and the Jews, that were come with her, weeping, groaned in the spirit, and troubled himself, and said: Where have you laid him? They say to him: Lord, come and see. And Jesus wept. The Jews therefore said: Behold how he loved him l But some of them said: Could not he, that opened the eyes of the man bom blind, have caused that this man should not die? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself, cometh to the sepulchre: now it was a cave and a stone was laid over it. Jesus saith: Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith to him: Lord, by this time he etinketh, for he is now of four days. Jesus saith to her: Did I not say to thee that if thou believe, thou shalt see the glory of God? They took therefore the stone away; and Jesus, lifting up his eyes, said: Father, I give thee thanks that thou hast heard me; and I knew that thou hearest me always, but because of the people who stand about have I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. When he had said these things, he cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth! And presently he that had been dead came forth, bound feet and hands with winding bands, and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them: Loose him, and let him go. Many therefore of the Jews, who were come to Mary and Martha, and had seen the things that Jesus did, believed in him.


Let us meditate upon this admirable history; and as we meditate, let us hope; for it not only shows us what Jesus does for the souls of others, but what He has done for ours. Let us, also, renew our prayers for the penitents, who now, throughout the world, are preparing for the great reconciliation. It is not a mother that is here represented as praying for the resurrection of her child; it is two sisters asking this grace for a brother. The example must not be lost on us: we must pray for one another. But let us take our Gospel in the order of its truths.

First, Lazarus was sick; and then, he died. The sinner begins by being tepid and careless; and then he receives the mortal wound. Jesus could have cured Lazarus of his sickness; but He permitted it to be fatal. He intends to work such a miracle, and that within sight of Jerusalem, that His enemies shall have no excuse for refusing to receive Him as the Messias. He would also prove that He is the sovereign Master of life, in order that He might hereby teach His apostles and disciples not to be scandalized at the death He Himself was soon to suffer. In the moral sense, God, in His wisdom, sometimes leaves an ungrateful soul to itself, although He foresees that it will fall into sin. It will rise again; and the confusion it will feel for having sinned will lead it to that great preservative against a future fall—humility.

The two sisters, Martha and Mary, are full of grief, yet full of confidence in Jesus. Let us observe how their two distinct characters are shown on this occasion. Jesus tells Martha that He is the resurrection and the life, and that they who believe in Him shall not die—that is, shall not die the death of sin. But when Mary came to Him, and He saw her weepingHe groaned in the spiritand troubled Himself, because He knew the greatness of her love. His divine Heart was touched with compassion as He beheld these, who were so dear to Him, smarting under that chastisement of death which sin had brought into the world. Having reached the sepulchre where Lazarus was buried, He wept, for He loved Lazarus. Thus did our Redeemer, by His own weeping, sanctify the tears which Christian affection sheds over the grave of a relative or friend. Lazarus has been in the sepulchre four days; it is the image of the sinner buried in his sins. To see him now makes even his sister shudder: but Jesus rebukes her, and bids them take away the stone. Then with that voice which commands all nature and makes hell tremble, He cries out: Lazaruscome forth! He that had been dead rises up in the sepulchre; but his feet and hands are tied, his face is covered with a napkin; he lives, but he can neither walk nor see. Jesus orders him to be set free; and then, by the hands of the men that are present, he recovers the use of his limbs and eyes. So is it with the sinner that receives pardon. There is no voice but that of Jesus which can call him to conversion, and touch his heart, and bring him to confess his sins; but Jesus has put into the hands of priests the power to loose, enlighten, and give movement. This miracle, which was wrought by our Saviour at this very season of the year, filled up the measure of His enemies’ rage, and set them thinking how they could soonest put Him to death. The few days He has still to live, are all to be spent at Bethania, where the miracle has taken place, and which is but a short distance from Jerusalem. In nine days from this, He will make His triumphant entry into the faithless city, after which He will return to Bethania, and after three or four days, will once more enter Jerusalem, there to consummate the Sacrifice, whose infinite merits are to purchase resurrection for sinners.

The early Christians loved to see this history of our Lord’s raising Lazarus to life painted on the walls of the catacombs. We also find it carved on the sarcophagi of the fourth and fifth centuries; and later on, it was not unfrequently chosen as a subject for the painted windows of our cathedrals. This symbol of spiritual resurrection was formerly honoured by a most solemn ceremony, in the great monastery of holy Trinity, at Vendóme, in France. Every year, on this day, a criminal who had been sentenced to death, was led to the church of the monastery. He had a rope round his neck, and held in his hand a torch weighing thirty-three pounds, in memory of the years spent on earth by our Saviour. The monks made a procession, in which the criminal joined; after which, a sermon was preached, at which he also assisted. He was then taken to the foot of the altar, where the abbot, after exhorting him to repentance, imposed on him, as a penance, the pilgrimage to St. Martin’s church at Tours. The abbot loosened the rope from his neck, and declared him to be free. The origin of this ceremony was, that when Louis of Bourbon, Count of Vendóme, was prisoner in England, in the year 1426, he made a vow that, if God restored him to liberty, he would establish this custom in the church of holy Trinity, as a return of gratitude, and as a homage to Christ, who raised up Lazarus from the tomb. God accepted the vow, and the prince soon recovered his freedom.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Da nobis, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut qui infirmitatis nostræ conscii, de tua virtute confidimus, de tua semper pietate gaudeamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we, who are sensible of our own weakness, and confide in thy power, may always rejoice in the effects of thy goodness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray to-day for the conversion of sinners, using this devout formula given by the Roman pontifical in the reconciliation of penitents:

Prayer

Deus, humani generis benignissime conditor, et misericordissimereformator, qui hominem invidia diaboli ab aeternitate dojectum unici Filii tui sanguine redemisti, vivifica hos famulos tuos, quos tibi nullatenus mori desideras; et qui non derelinquis devios, assume correctos; moveant pietatem tuam, quæsumus, Domine, horum famulorum tuorum lacrymosa suspiria; tu eorum medere vulneribus; tu jacentibus manum porrige salutarem; ne Ecclesia tua aliqua sui corporis portione vastetur; ne grex tuus detrimentum sustineat: ne de familiæ tuæ damno inimicus exsultet; ne renatos lavacro salutari mors secunda possideat. Tibi ergo, Domine, supplices fundimus preces, tibi fletum cordis effundimus; tu parce confitentibus, ut imminentibus pænis sententiam futuri judicii, te miserante, non incidant; nesciant quod terret in tenebris, quod stridet in flammis, atque ab erroris via ad iter reversi justitiæ, nequaquam ultra novis vulneribus saucientur; sed integrum sit eis, ac perpetuum, et quod gratia tua contulit, et quod misericordia reformavit. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum. Amen.
O God, the most loving Creator, and most merciful Redeemer of mankind! who, when man, through the devil's malice, forfeited eternal life,didst redeem him by the Blood of thine only Son; restore to life these thy servants, who thou wiliest not should be dead to thee. Thou abandonest not them that go astray; receive these that have returned to the right path. We beseech thee, O Lord, let thy mercy be moved by the tears and sighs of these thy servants; heal their wounds; stretch forth thy saving hand, and raise them up: lest thy Church be robbed of a part of her body; lest thy flock should suffer loss; lest the enemy should rejoice in the perdition of them that are of thy family; lest the second death should seize them that were regenerated in the waters of salvation. To thee, therefore, O Lord, do we thy suppliants pour forth our prayers, to thee the weeping of our heart. Spare them that trust in thee, and, in thy mercy, suffer them not to fall under the sentence of thy judgment to come, whereby they would be condemned to punishment. Let not the horrors of darkness, or the scorching of flames come nigh to them. They have returned from the way of error to the path of justice; let them not be again wounded. What thy grace hath conferred, and thy mercy hath reformed, let it remain in them whole and for ever. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

This Saturday, in the early ages of Christianity, was called Sitientes, from the first word of the Introit of the Mass, in which the Church addresses her catechumens in the words of Isaias, and invites them that thirst after grace, to come and receive it in the holy Sacrament of Baptism. At Rome, the Station was originally in the basilica of Saint Laurence outside the walls; but it was found inconvenient, on account of its great distance from the city; and the church of Saint Nicholas in carcere, which is within the walls, was selected for to-day’s Station.

Collect

Fiat, Domine, quæsumus, per gratiam tuam, fructuosus nostrae devotionis affectus: quia tunc nobis proderunt euecepta jejunia, si tuæ sint placita pietati. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Grant us, O Lord, we beseech thee, an increase of devotion: for then only will our fasts avail us, when they are well pleasing to thy goodness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle

Lectio Isaiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. xlix.

Hæc dicit Dominus: In tempore placito exaudivi te, et in die salutis auxiliatus sum tui: et servavi te, et dedi te in fædus populi, ut susci tares terrain, et possideres hæreditates dissipatas; ut diceres his qui vincti sunt: Exite: et his qui in tenebris: Revelamini. Super vias pascentur, et in omnibus planis pascua eorum. Non esurient, neque sitient, et non percutiet eos æstus et sol: quia miserator eorum reget eos, et ad fontes aquarum potabit eos. Et ponam omnes montes meos in viam, et semitae mese exaltabuntur. Ecce isti de longe venient, et ecce illi ab aquilone et mari, et isti de terra australi. Laudate, cceli, et exsulta, terra; jubilate, montes, laudem: quia consolatus est Dominus populum suum, et pauperum suorum miserebitur. Et dixit Sion: Dereliquit me Dominus, et Dominus oblitus est mei. Numquid oblivisci potest mulier infantem suum, ut non misereatur filio uteri sui? Et si illa oblita fuerit, ego tamen non obliviscar tui, dicit Dominus omnipotens.

Lesson from the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. xlix.

Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time I have heard thee, and in the day of salvation I have helped thee; and I have preserved thee, and given thee to be a covenant of the people, that thou mightiest raise up the earth and possess the inheritances that were destroyed; that thou mightest say to them that are bound: Come forth; and to them that are in darkness: Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures-shall be in every plain. They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun strike them: for he that is merciful to them shall be their shepherd, and at the fountains of waters he shall give them drink. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my paths shall be exalted. Behold these shall come from afar, and behold these from the north and from the sea, and these from the south country. Give praise, O ye heavens, and rejoice, O earth; ye mountains, give praise with jubilation; because the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy on his poor ones. And Sion said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and the Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? And if she should forget, yet will I not forget thee, saith the Lord almighty.


How these words of love must have consoled the hearts of our catechumens! Never did our heavenly Father express His tender mercy towards us in more glowing terms; and He bade His prophet deliver them to us. He gives the whole earth to His Son, Jesus Christ, our Incarnate Lord, not that He may judge and condemn it, as it deserves, but that He may save it.[1] This divine Ambassador, having come on the earth, tells all that are galled by fetters, or that sit in the gloomy shadow of death, to come to Him, promising them liberty and light. Their hunger shall be appeased, and their thirst quenched. They shall no longer pant under the scorching rays of the sun, but shall be led by their merciful Shepherd to the cool shades on the banks of the water of life. They came from every nation under heaven: the fountain, the font, shall be the centre where all the human race is to meet. The Gentile world is to be henceforth called Sion, and the Lord loveth the gates of this new Sion above all the tabernacles of Jacob.[2] God had not forgotten her during the long ages of her idol worship; His love is tender as that of the fondest mother; yea, and though a mother’s heart may forget her child, God never will forget His Sion. You, then, who received Baptism at your very entrance into the world, but have, since then, served another master besides Him to whom you swore perpetual allegiance at the font, be of good heart! If the grace of God has found you submissive, if the holy exercises of Lent and the prayers offered for you by the C   hurch have had their effect, and you are now preparing to make your peace with God, read these words of your heavenly Father, and fear not! How can you fear? He has given you to His own Son; He has told Him to save, heal, and comfort you. Are you in the bonds of sin? Jesus can break them. Are you in spiritual darkness? He is the light of the world, and can dispel the thickest gloom. Are you hungry? He is the Bread of life. Are you thirsty? He is the fountain of living water. Are you scorched, are you burnt to the very core, by the heat of concupiscence? Ewen so, poor sufferers! you must not lose courage; there is a cool fountain ready to refresh you, and heal all your wounds; not indeed the first font, which gave you. the life you have lost; but the second Baptism, the divine Sacrament of Penance, which can restore you to grace and purity!

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. viii.

In illo tempore: Locutus est Jesus turbis Judæorum, dicens: Ego sum lux mundi: qui sequitur me, non ambulat in tenebris, sed habebit lumen vitae. Dixerunt ergo ei pharisæi: Tu de teipso testimonium perhibes: testimonium tuum non est verum. Respondit Jesus, et dixit eis: Et si ego testimonium perhibeo de meipso, verum est testimonium meum: quia scio unde veni, et quo vado: vos ftutem nescitis unde venio, aut quo vado. Vos secundum carnem judicatis: ego non judico quemquam: et si judico ego, judicium meum verum est: quia solus non sum, sed ego, et qui misit me, Pater. Et in lege vestra scriptum est, quia duorum hominum testimonium verum est. Ego sum qui testimonium perhibeo de meipso: et testimonium perhibet de me, qui misit me, Pater. Dicebant ergo ei: Ubi est Pater tuus? Respondit Jesus: Neque me scitis, neque Patrem meum: si me sciretis, forsitan et Patrem meum sciretis. Hæc verba locutus est Jesus in gazophylacio, docena in templo: et nemo apprehendit eum, quia necdum venerat hora ejus.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. viii.

At that time: Jesus spoke to the multitude of the Jews, saying: I am the light of the world; he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The pharisees therefore said to him: Thou givest testimony of thyself; thy testimony is not true. Jesus answered and said to them: Although I give testimony of myself, my testimony is true: for I know whence I came and whither I go, but you know not whence I come, or whither I go. You judge according to the flesh, I judge not any man. And if I do judge, my judgment is true; because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. And in your law it is written, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one, that give testimony of myself; and the Father that sent me, giveth testimony of me. They said therefore to him: Where is thy Father? Jesus answered: Neither me do you know, nor my Father; if you did know me, perhaps you would know my Father also. These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, teaching in the temple: and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

What a contrast between the tender mercy of God, who invites all men to receive His Son as their Redeemer, and the obduracy of heart wherewith the Jews receive the heavenly Ambassador! Jesus has proclaimed Himself to be the Son of God, and, in proof of His divine origin, has, for three long years, wrought the most astounding miracles. Many of the Jews have believed in Him, because they argued that God could never have authorized falsity by miracles; and they therefore accepted the doctrine of Jesus as coming from heaven. The pharisees hate the light, and love darkness; their pride will not yield even to the evidence of facts. At one time they denied the genuineness of Jesus’ miracles; at another, they pretended to explain them by the agency of the devil. Then, too, they put questions to Him of such a captious nature, that, in what way soever Jesus answered, they might accuse Him of blasphemy, or contempt for the Law. To-day, they have the audacity to make this objection to Jesus’ being the Messias: that He gives testimony in His own favour! Our blessed Lord, who knows the malice of their hearts, deigns to refute their impious sarcasm; but He avoids giving them an explicit answer. It is evident that the light is passing from Jerusalem, and is to bless other lands. How terrible is this punishment of a soul that abuses the truth, and rejects it by an instinctive hatred! Her crime is that sin against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.[3] Happy he that loves the truth, though it condemns his evil passions, and troubles his conscience! Such an one proves that he reveres the wisdom of God; and if it do not altogether rule his conduct it does not abandon him. But happier far he that yields himself wholly to the truth, and, as a humble disciple, follows Jesus. He walketh not in darkness; he shall have the light of life. Let us, then, lose no time, but take at once that happy path marked out for us by Him who is our light and our life. Keeping close to His footsteps, we went up the rugged hill of Quarantana, and there we witnessed His rigid fast; but now that the time of His Passion is at hand, He invites us to follow Him up another mount, that of Calvary, there to contemplate His sufferings and death. Let us not hesitate; we shall be repaid: we shall have the light of life.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Deus, qui sperantibus in te misereri potius eligis quam irasci: da nobis digne flere mala quæ fecimus, ut tuæ consolationis gratiam invenire mereamur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

O God, who choosest rather to show mercy, than to be angry with those that hope in thee, grant we may worthily lament the evil we have committed, that so we may find the favour of thy consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us end these first four weeks of Lent with a hymn to our blessed Lady, the Mother of mercy. Saturday is always sacred to her. The hymn we give is taken from the ancient Roman-French missals.

Sequence

Ave Maria,
Gratia plena.
Dominus tecum,
Virgo serena.

Benedicta tu
In mulieribus,
Quæ peperieti
Pacem hominibus,
Et angelis gloriam.

Et benedictus
Fructus ventris tui,
Qui cohæredes
Ut essemus sui,
Nos fecit per gratiam.     

Per hoc autem Ave,
Mundo tam suave,
Contra carnis jura
Genuisti prolem,
Novum Stella solem,
Nova genitura.               

Tu parvi et magni,
Leonis et Agni,
Salvatoris Christi
Templum exstitisti;
Sed virgo intacta.               

Tu Solis et Roris,
Panis et Pastoris,
Virginum Regina,
Rosa sine spina,
Genitrix es facta.   

Tu civitas Regis justitiæ,
Tu mater es misericordiæ,
De lacu fæcis et miseriæ
Theophilum reformans gratiæ.    

Te collaudat cælestis curia
Tu Mater es Regis et filia,
Per te reis donatur venia,
Per te justis confertur gratia.    

Ergo maris stella,
Verbi Dei celia,
Et solis aurora, 

Paradisi porta,
Per quam lux est orta,
Natum tuum ora, 

Ut nos solvat a peccatis,
Et in regno claritatis,
Quo lux lucet sedula,
Collocet per sæcula.              

Amen.
Hail Mary,
full of grace!
The Lord is with thee,
O gentle Virgin!

Blessed art thou
among women,
for thou didst bring forth
peace to men
and glory to the angels.

And blessed
is the fruit of thy womb Jesus,
who, by his grace,
made us to be
his coheirs.

By this Ave,
which sounded so sweetly to the world,
thou didst conceive,
and not by nature’s laws.
Thou wast the new star
that wast to bring forth a new Sun.

Thou, though ever the purest of virgins,
wast the temple
of our Saviour Jesus Christ
(who united in his person the little and the great),
the Lion and the Lamb.

O Queen of virgins!
O rose without thorns!
Thou wast made Mother of him
who is our Sun, our Dew,
our Bread, and our Shepherd.

Thou art the city of the just King;
thou art the Mother of mercy,
bringing grace to Theophilus,
by drawing him out of the den of filth and misery.

The heavenly court praises thee,
for thou art both Mother and Daughter of its King.
By thee, the guilty obtain pardon;
by thy prayers, the just receive grace.

Therefore, O star of the sea,
O tabernacle of the Word,
O aurora of the divine Sun,

O gate of heaven,
by whom Light arose to the world!
pray for us to thy Son,

That he loose us from sin,
and introduce us
into the kingdom of. brightness,
where perpetual light shines for ever.

Amen.

 


[1] St. John iii. 17.
[2] Ps. lxxzvi. 2.
[3] St. Matt. xii. 32.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Hodie, si vocem Domini audieritis, nolite obdurare corda vestra.
To-day if you shall hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

The holy Church begins her night Office of this Sunday with these impressive words of the royal prophet. Formerly, the faithful considered it their duty to assist at the night Office, at least on Sundays and feasts; they would have grieved to lose the grand teachings given by the liturgy. Such fervour has long since died out; the assiduity at the Offices of the Church, which was the joy of our Catholic forefathers, has now become a thing of the past; and even in countries which have not apostatized from the faith, the clergy have ceased to celebrate publicly Offices at which no one assisted. Excepting in cathedral churches and in monasteries, the grand harmonious system of the divine praise has been abandoned, and the marvellous power of the liturgy has no longer its full influence upon the faithful.

This is our reason for drawing the attention of our readers to certain beauties of the Divine Office, which would otherwise be totally ignored. Thus, what can be more impressive than this solemn Invitatory of to-day’s Matins, which the Church takes from one of the psalms, and which she repeats on every feria between this and Maundy Thursday? She says: To-day, if ye shall hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts! The sweet voice of your suffering Jesus now speaks to you, poor sinners! be not your own enemies by indifference and hardness of heart. The Son of God is about to give you the last and greatest proof of the love that brought Him down from heaven; His death is nigh at hand: men are preparing the wood for the immolation of the new Isaac: enter into yourselves, and let not your hearts, after being touched with grace, return to their former obduracy; for nothing could be more dangerous. The great anniversaries we are to celebrate have a renovating power for those souls that faithfully correspond with the grace which is offered them; but they increase insensibility in those who let them pass without working their conversion. To-day, therefore, if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts!

During the preceding four weeks, we have noticed how the malice of Jesus' enemies has been gradually increasing. His very presence irritates them; and it is evident that any little circumstance will suffice to bring the deep and long-nurtured hatred to a head. The kind and gentle manners of Jesus are drawing to Him all hearts that are simple and upright; at the same time, the humble life He leads, and the stem purity of His doctrines, are perpetual sources of vexation and anger, both to the proud Jew that looks forward to the Messias being a mighty conqueror, and to the pharisee, who corrupts the Law of God, that he may make it the instrument of his own base passions. Still, Jesus goes on working miracles; His discourses are more than ever energetic; His prophecies foretell the fall of Jerusalem, and such a destruction of its famous temple, that not a stone is to be left on a stone. The doctors of the Law should, at least, reflect upon what they hear; they should examine these wonderful works, which render such strong testimony in favour of the Son of David; and they should consult those divine prophecies which, up to the present time, have been so literally fulfilled in His person. Alas! they themselves are about to carry them out to the very last iota. There is not a single outrage or suffering foretold by David and Isaias, as having to be put upon the Messias, which these blind men are not scheming to verify.

In them, therefore, was fulfilled that terrible saying: ‘He that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.’[1] The Synagogue is nigh to a curse. Obstinate in her error, she refuses to see or to hear; she has deliberately perverted her judgment: she has extinguished within herself the light of the holy Spirit; she will go deeper and deeper into evil, and at length fall into the abyss. This same lamentable conduct is but too often witnessed nowadays in those sinners, who, by habitual resistance to the light, end by finding their happiness in sin. Neither should it surprise us, that we find in people of our own generation a resemblance to the murderers of our Jesus: the history of His Passion will reveal to us many sad secrets of the human heart and its perverse inclinations; for what happened in Jerusalem, happens also in every sinner’s heart. His heart, according to the saying of St. Paul, is a Calvary, where Jesus is crucified. There is the same ingratitude, the same blindness, the same wild madness, with this difference: that the sinner who is enlightened by faith, knows Him whom he crucifies; whereas the Jews, as the same apostle tells us, knew not the Lord of glory.[2] Whilst, therefore, we listen to the Gospel, which relates the history of the Passion, let us turn the indignation which we feel for the Jews against ourselves and our own sins; let us weep over the sufferings of our Victim, for our sins caused Him to suffer and die.

Everything around us urges us to mourn. The images of the saints, the very crucifix on our altar, are veiled from our sight. The Church is oppressed with grief. During the first four weeks of Lent, she compassionated her Jesus fasting in the desert; His coming sufferings and crucifixion and death are what now fill her with anguish. We read in to-day’s Gospel, that the Jews threaten to stone the Son of God as a blasphemer: but His hour is not yet come. He is obliged to flee and hide Himself. It is to express this deep humiliation, that the Church veils the cross. A God hiding Himself, that He may evade the anger of men—what a mystery! Is it weakness? Is it, that He fears death? No; we shall soon see Him going out to meet His enemies: but at present He hides Himself from them, because all that had been prophesied regarding Him has not been fulfilled. Besides, His death is not to be by stoning: He is to die upon a cross, the tree of malediction, which, from that time forward, is to be the tree of life. Let us humble ourselves, as we see the Creator of heaven and earth thus obliged to hide Himself from men, who are bent on His destruction! Let us go back, in thought, to the sad day of the first sin, when Adam and Eve hid themselves because a guilty conscience told them they were naked. Jesus has come to assure us of our being pardoned, and lo! He hides Himself, not because He is naked—He that is to the saints the garb of holiness and immortality—but because He made Himself weak, that He might make us strong. Our first parents sought to hide themselves from the sight of God; Jesus hides Himself from the eye of men. But it will not be thus for ever. The day will come when sinners, from whose anger He now flees, will pray to the mountains to fall on them and shield them from His gaze; hut their prayer will not be granted, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with much power and majesty.[3]

This Sunday is called Passion Sunday, because the Church begins, on this day, to make the sufferings of our Redeemer her chief thought. It is called also, Judica, from the first word of the Introit of the Mass; and again Neomania, that is, the Sunday of the new (or the Easter) moon, because it always falls after the new moon which regulates the feast of Easter.

In the Greek Church, this Sunday goes under the simple name of the fifth Sunday of the holy fasts.

 

MASS

 

At Rome, the Station is in the basilica of St. Peter. The importance of this Sunday, which never gives way to any feast, no matter what its solemnity may be, required that the place for the assembly of the faithful should be in one of the chief sanctuaries of the holy city.

The Introit is taken from the first verses of Psalm xlii. The Messias appeals to God’s tribunal, and protests against the sentence about to be pronounced against Him by men. He likewise expresses His confidence in His Father’s help, who, after His sufferings and death, will lead Him in triumph into the holy mount.

Introit

Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso eripe me: quia tu es Deus meus, et fortitudo mea. 

Ps. Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua. Judica me.
Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy; deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man: for thou art my God and my strength.

Ps. Send forth thy light and thy truth; for they have conducted me, and brought me to thy holy mount, and into thy tabernacles. Judge me, &c.

The Gloria Patri is not said during Passiontide and Holy Week (unless a saint’s feast be kept), but the Introit is repeated immediately after the Psalm.

In the Collect, the Church prays that there may be produced in her children that total reformation, which the holy season of Lent is intended to produce. This reformation is such, that it will not only subject the body to the spirit, but preserve also the spirit itself from those delusions and passions, to which it has been, hitherto, more or less a slave.

Collect

Quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, familiam tuam propitius respice: ut, te largiente, regatur in corpore, et, te servante, custodiatur in mente. Per Dominum.
Mercifully look down on thy people, we beseech thee O almighty God, that by thy bounty and protection, they may be governed and guarded both in body and soul. Through, &c.

Then is added one of the following prayers:

Against the Persecutors of the Church

Ecclesiæ tuæ, quæsumus, Domine, preces placatus admitte: ut destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, secura tibi serviat libertate. Per Dominum.
Mercifully hear, we beseech thee, O Lord, the prayers of thy Church: that all oppositions and errors being removed, she may serve thee with a secure liberty. Through, &c.

For the Pope

Deus, omnium fidelium Pastor et Rector, famulum tuum N., quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quæsumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus præest, proficere; ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Dominum.
O God, the Pastor and Ruler of all the faithful, look down, in thy mercy, on thy servant N„ whom thou hast appointed Pastor over thy Church; and grant we beseech thee, that both by word and example, he may edify all those that are under his charge: and, with the flock entrusted to him, arrive at length at eternal happiness. Through, &c.

Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Hebræos.

Cap. IX.

Fratres: Christus assistens Pontifex futurorum bonorum, per amplius et perfectius tabernaculum non manufactum, id est, non hujus creationis: neque per sanguinem hircorum aut vitulorum, sed per proprium Sanguinem introivit semel in Sancta, æterna redemptione inventa. Si enim sanguis hircorum et taurofum, et cinis vitulæ aspersus inquinatos sanctificat ad emundationem carnis: quanto magis Sanguis Christi, qui per Spiritum sanctum semetipsum obtulit immaculatum Deo, emundabit conscientiam nostram ab operibus mortuis, ad serviendum Deo viventi? Et ideo novi Testamenti mediator est: ut morte intercedente, in redemptionem earum prævaricationum, quæ erant sub priori Testamento, repromissionem accipiant, qui vocati sunt, æternæ hæreditatis: in Christo Jesu Domino nostro
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews.

Ch. IX.

Brethren: Christ being come, an High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by his own Blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For, if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh; how much more shall the Blood of Christ (who by the Holy Ghost offered himself unspotted unto God), cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And therefore, he is the mediator of the new Testament: that by means of his death, for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former Testament, they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is by blood alone that man is to be redeemed. He has offended God. This God cannot be appeased by anything short of the extermination of His rebellious creature, who, by shedding his blood, will give an earnest of his repentance and his entire submission to the Creator, against whom he dared to rebel. Otherwise, the justice of God must be satisfied by the sinner’s suffering eternal punishment. This truth was understood by all the people of the ancient world, and all confessed it by shedding the blood of victims, as in the sacrifices of Abel at the very commencement of the world, in the hecatombs of Greece, in the countless immolations whereby Solomon dedicated the temple. And yet God thus speaks to His people: ‘Hear, O My people, and I will speak: O Israel, and I will testify to thee: I am God thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices, and thy burnt-offerings are always in my sight. I will not take calves out of thy house, nor he-goats out of thy flocks. I need them not: for all the beasts of the woods are Mine. If I should be hungry I would not tell thee; for the world is Mine, and the fullness thereof. Shall I eat the flesh of bullocks? or shall I drink the blood of goats?’[4] Thus, God commands the blood of victims to be offered to Him, and, at the same time, declares that neither it nor they are precious in His sight. Is this a contradiction? No: God would hereby have man understand that it is only by blood that he can be redeemed, but that the blood of brute animals cannot effect this redemption. Can the blood of man himself bring him his own redemption, and appease God’s justice? No, not even man’s blood, for it is defiled; and even were it undefiled, it is powerless to compensate for the outrage done to God by sin. For this there was needed the Blood of a God; such was the Blood of Jesus, and He has come that He may shed it for our redemption.

In Him is fulfilled the most sacred of the figures of the old Law. Once each year, the high-priest entered into the Holy of holies, there to make intercession for the people. He went within the veil, even to the Ark of the Covenant; but he was not allowed to enjoy this great privilege, unless he entered the holy place carrying in his hands the blood of a newlyoffered victim. The Son of God, the true HighPriest, is now about to enter heaven, and we are to follow Him thither; but unto this, He must have an offering of blood, and that Blood can be none other than His own. We are going to assist at this His compliance with the divine ordinance. Let us open our hearts, that this precious Blood may, as the apostle says in to-day’s Epistle, cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

The Gradual is taken from the Psalms. Our Saviour here prays to be delivered from His enemies, and protected from the rage of them that have risen up against Him; yet is He ready to do the will of His Father, by whom He will be avenged.

In the Tract, which is also taken from the Psalms, the Messias, under the name of Israel, complains of the persecution He has met with from the Jews, even from His youth. They are now about to scourge Him in a most cruel manner. But He also foretells the punishment their deicide is to bring upon them.

Gradual

Eripe me, Domine, de inimicis meis: doce me facere voluntatem tuam.

℣. Liberator meus, Domine, de gentibus iracundis: ab insurgentibus in me exaltabis me: a viro iniquo eripies me.
Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; teach me to do thy will.

℣. Thou, O Lord, art my deliverer from the enraged Gentiles: thou wilt put me out of the reach of those that assault me; and thou wilt rescue me from the unrighteous man.

Tract

Sæpe expugnaverunt me a juventute mea.
℣. Dicat nunc Israel; Sæpe expugnaverunt me a juventute mea.
℣. Etenim non potuerunt mihi: supra dorsum meum fabricaverunt peccatores.
℣. Prolongaverunt iniquitates suas: Dominus justus concidet cervices peccatorum.
Many a time have they fought against me from my youth.
℣. Let Israel now say: They have often attacked me from my youth.
℣. But they could not prevail over me: the wicked have wrought upon my back.
℣. They have lengthened their iniquity: the Lord who is just, will cut the necks of sinners.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. viii.

In illo tempore: Dicebat Jesus turbis Judæorum: Quis ex vobis arguet me de peccato? Si veritatem dico vobis, quare non creditis mihi? Qui ex Deo est, verba Dei audit. Propterea vos non auditis, quia ex Deo non estis. Responderunt ergo Judæi, et dixerunt ei: Nonne bene dicimus nos quia Samaritanus es tu, et dæmonium habes? Respondit Jesus: Ego dæmonium non habeo: sed honorifico Patrem meum, et vos inhonorastis me. Ego autem non quæro gloriam meam: est qui quærat et judicet. Amen, amen dico vobis: Si quis sermonem meum servavaverit, mortem non videbit in æternum. Dixerunt ergo Judæi: Nunc cognovimus quia dæmonium habes. Abraham mortuus est, et prophetæ: et tu dicis: Si quis sermonem meum servaverit, non gustabit mortem in æternum. Numquid tu major es patre nostro Abraham, qui mortuus est? et prophetæ mortui sunt. Quem teipsum facis? Respondit Jesus: Si ego glorifico meipsum, gloria mea nihil est: est Pater meus, qui glorificat me, quem vos dicitis quia Deus vester est, et non cognovistis eum; ego autem novi eum: et si dixero quia non scio eum, ero similis vobis mendax. Sed scio eum, et sermonem ejus servo. Abraham pater vester exsultavit ut videret diem meum: vidit, et gavisus est. Dixerunt ergo Judæi ad eum: Quinquaginta armos nondum habes, et Abraham vidisti? Dixit eis Jesus: Amen, amen, dico vobis, antequam Abraham fieret, ego sum. Tulerunt ergo lapides ut jacerent in eum: Jesus autem abscondit se, et exivit de templo.
Sequel of the holy Gospel, according to John.

Ch. viii.

At that time: Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? He that is of God, heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God. The Jews, therefore, answered and said to him; Do not we say well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered: I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and you have dishonoured me. But I seek not my own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen, I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever. The Jews therefore said: Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets: and thou sayest: If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself? Jesus answered: If I glorify myself my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God; and you have not known him, but I know him. And if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know him, and do keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad. The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

The fury of the Jews is evidently at its height, and Jesus is obliged to hide Himself from them. But He is to fall into their hands before many days are over; then will they triumph and put Him to death. They triumph, and Jesus is their victim: but how different is to be His lot from theirs! In obedience to the decrees of His heavenly Father, and out of love for men, He will deliver Himself into the hands of His enemies, and they will put Him to death; but He will rise victorious from the tomb, He will ascend into heaven, He will be throned on the right hand of His Father. His enemies, on the contrary, after having vented all their rage, will live on without remorse, until the terrible day come for their chastisement. That day is not far off, for observe the severity wherewith our Lord speaks to them: 'You hear not the words of God, because you are not of God' Yet there was a time when they were of God, for the Lord gives His grace to all men; but they have rendered this grace useless; they are now in darkness, and the light they have rejected will not return.

You say that My Father is your God, and you have not known Him; but I know Him. Their obstinacy in refusing to acknowledge Jesus as the Messias, has led these men to ignore that very God, whom they boast of honouring; for if they knew the Father, they would not reject His Son. Moses, and the Psalms, and the Prophets, are all a dead letter to them; these sacred Books are soon to pass into the hands of the Gentiles, who will both read and understand them. If, continues Jesus, I should say that I know Him not, I should be like to you, a liar. This strong language is that of the angry Judge who is to come down, at the last day, to destroy sinners. Jerusalem has not known the time of her visitation: the Son of God has visited her, He is with her, and she dares to say to Him: Thou hast a devil! She says to the eternal Word, who proves Himself to be God by the most astonishing miracles, that Abraham and the prophets are greater than He! Strange blindness, that comes from pride and hardness of heart! The feast of the Pasch is at hand; these men are going to eat, and with much parade of religion, the flesh of the figurative lamb; they know full well that this lamb is a symbol, or a figure, which is to have its fulfilment. The true Lamb is to be sacrificed by their hands, and they will not know Him. He will shed His Blood for them, and it will not save them. How this reminds us of those sinners, for whom this Easter promises to be as fruitless as those of the past years! Let us redouble our prayers for them, and beseech our Lord to soften their hearts, lest trampling the Blood of Jesus under their feet, they should have it to cry vengeance against them before the throne of the heavenly Father.

At the Offertory, confiding in the merits of the Blood that has redeemed us, let us, in the words of the Psalm, give praise to God, and proclaim Him to be the author of that new life, of which the sacrifice of the Lamb is the never-failing source.

Offertory

Confitebor tibi, Domine, in toto corde meo: retribue servo tuo; vivam, et custodiam sermones tuos: vivifica me secundum verbum tuum, Domine.
I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart: reward thy servant: I shall live, and keep thy commandments: save me according to thy word, O Lord.

The Sacrifice of the spotless Lamb has produced two effects upon the sinner: it has broken his fetters, and has made him the object of God’s love. The Church prays, in the Secret, that the Sacrifice which she is about to offer, and which is one with that of the cross, may work the same results in us.

Secrets

Hæc munera, quæsumus, Domine, et vincula nostræ pravitatis absolvant, et tuæ nobis misericordiæ dona concilient. Per Dominum.
May these offerings, O Lord, both loosen the bonds of our wickedness, and obtain for us the gifts of thy mercy. Through, &c.

Against the Persecutors of the Church

Protege nos, Domine, tuis mysteriis servientes: ut divinis rebus inhærentes, et corpore tibi famulemur et mente. Per Dominum.
Protect us, O Lord, while we assist at thy sacred mysteries: that being employed in acts of religion, we may serve thee both in body and mind. Through &c.

For The Pope

Oblatis, quæsumus, Domine, placare muneribus: et famulum tuum N. quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, assidua protectione guberna. Per Dominum.
Be appeased, O Lord, with the offering we have made: and cease not to protect thy servant N., whom thou hast been pleased to appoint Pastor over thy Church. Through, &c.

The Communion-antiphon is formed out of the very words spoken by Jesus, when instituting the august Sacrifice which has just been celebrated, and of which the priest and people have partaken, in memory of the Passion, for it renews both the remembrance and the merits of the Passion.

Communion

Hoc corpus, quod pro vobis tradetur: hic calix novi testamenti est in meo sanguine, dicit Dominus: hoc facite, quotiesque sumitis, in meam commemorationem.
This is the body which shall be delivered up for you; this is the cup of the new covenant in my blood, saith the Lord. As often as you roceive them, do it in remembrance of me.

In the Postcommunion, the Church prays to God, that He would maintain in the faithful the fruits of the visit He has so graciously paid them; for, by their participation in the sacred mysteries, He has entered into them.

Postcommunions

Adesto nobis, Domine Deus noster: et, quos tuis mysteriis recreasti, perpetuis defende subsidiis. Per Dominum.
Help us, O Lord our God, and for ever protect those whom thou hast refreshed with thy sacred mysteries. Through, &c.

Against the Persecutors of the Church

Quæsumus, Domine Deus noster: ut quos divina tribuis participatione gaudere, humanis non sinas subjacere periculis. Per Dominum.
We beseech thee, O Lord our God, not to leave exposed to the dangers of human life, those whom thou hast permitted to partake of these divine mysteries. Through, &c.

For the Pope

Hæc nos quæsumus, Domini, divini Sacramenti perceptio protegat: et famulum tuum N. quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, una cum commisso sibi grege salvet semper et muniat. Per Dominum.
May the participation of this divine Sacrament protect us, we beseech thee, O Lord, and always procure safety and defence to thy servant N., whom thou hast appointed Pastor over the Church, together with the flock committed to his charge. Through &c.

 

VESPERS

 


The psalms and antiphons are given on page 81.


Capitulum
(Heb. ix)

Fratres: Christus assiitene Pontifex futurorum bonorum, per amplius et perfectius tabernaculum non manufactum, id est, non hujus creationis, neque per sanguinem hircorum, aut vitulorum, sed per proprium sanguinem, introivit semel in Sancta, æterna redemptione inventa.
Brethren: Christ being come an High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by his own Blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption.

For the hymn and versicle, see page 89.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Abraham pater vester exsultavit ut videret diem meum: vidit et gavisus est.

Oremus

Quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, familiam tuam propitius respice: ut, te largiente, regatur in corpore, et, te servante, custodiatur in mente. Per Dominum.
Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad.

Let us Pray

Mercifully look down on thy people, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that by thy bounty and protection, they may be governed and guarded both in body and soul. Through, &c.

The following, appropriate prayer is from the Mozarabic breviary.

Capitulum

Passionis tuæ festum, Christe Dei Filius, devotis cordium officiis, recurs temporis inchoantes, quo pro nobis et linguae fuisti persequentium passus, et tradentium te vulneribus crucifixus; rogamus atque exposcimus ne te elonges a nobis: ut quia proximante tribulatione, non est qui adjuvet; tu solus Passionis tuæ nos subleves ope: ne tradas ergo nos inimicis nostris in malum, sed excipe servos tuos in bonum: ut nos calumniantes superbi, inimici scilicet animarum nostrarum, virtutis tuæ potentia propellantur; tu es enim divina lucerna per humanitatem super candelabrum crucis imposita; ideo te rogamus, ut nos accendas, ne veniamus in pænam. Quos ergo perspicis initiatum Passionis tuæ festum devotis cordibus excepisse, facito eos Passioni tuæ communicare: ut tenebrarum nostrarum errore discusso, lucis tuæ muniamur præsidio.
The course of the year has brought us to the time for celebrating, with devout hearts and offices, the feast of thy Passion, O Jesus, Son of God! wherein, for our sake, thou didst suffer the calumnies of thine enemies, and wast crucified by the wounds of them that betrayed thee. We pray and beseech thee, that thou depart not from us; and whereas tribulation is nigh at hand, and there is none to help us, do thou, by the help of thy Passion, become our sole protector. Deliver us not, therefore, into the hands of our enemies unto evil, but receive us, as thy servants, unto good; that the haughty ones who calumniate us, namely the enemies of our souls, may be repelled by the might of thy power. Thou, by the human nature thou hast assumed, art the lamp set on the stand of the cross: we beseech thee, therefore, that thou enkindle us by thy flame, lest we become a prey to punishment. Behold us now entering, with devout hearts, upon the feast of thy Passion; oh! grant that we may partake of the merits of thy Passion: that thus, being delivered from the error of our darkness, we may be fortified by the help of thy light.

That we may the better honour the holy cross, we give, for each day of this week, an appropriate hymn from one or other of the various ancient liturgies. The one we have selected for to-day is the composition of St. Venantius Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers.

Hymn

 

Crux benedicta nitet, Dominus qua came pependit.
Atque cruore suo vulnera nostra lavat.

Mitis amore pio pro nobis victima factus,
Traxit ab ore lupi qua sacer Agnus oves.

Transfixis palmis ubi mundum a clade redemit,
Atque suo clausit funere mortis iter.

Hic manus illa fuit clavis confixa cruentis.
Quæ eripuit Paulum crimine, morte Petrum.

Fertilitate potens, o dulce et nobile lignum,
Quando tuis ramis tam nova poma geris.

Cujus odore novo defuncta cadavera surgunt,
Et redeunt vitæ qui caruere die.

Nullum uret æstus sub frondibus arboris hujus:
Luna nec in noctem, sol neque meridie.

Tu plantata micas secus est ubi cursus aquarum:
Spargis et ornatas flore recente comas.

Appensa est vitis inter tua brachia, de qua
Dulcia sanguineo vina rubore fluunt.
Brightly shineth the blessed cross, whereon hung the Body of our Lord, when, with his Blood, he washed our wounds.

Become, out of tender love for us, a meek Victim, this divine Lamb did by the cross rescue us his sheep from the jaws of the wolf.

’Twas there, with his hands nailed to the wood, that he redeemed the world from ruin, and by his own death, closed the way of death.

Here was fastened with cruel nails that hand which delivered Paul from sin, and Peter from death.

O sweet and noble tree! how vigorous in thy growth, when, on thy branches, hang fruits so rare as these!

Thy fresh fragrance gives resurrection to many that lay in the tomb, and restores the dead to life.

He that shelters beneath thy shade, shall not be scorched either by the moon at night or by the midday sun.

Planted near the running waters, thou art lovely in thy verdure, and blossoms ever fresh blow on each fair branch.

Between thine arms hangs the pendant Vine, whence wine most sweet flows in a ruddy stream,

 


[1] St. Matt. xii. 32.
[2] 1 Cor. ii. 8.
[3] St. Matt. xxiv. 30.
[4] Ps. xlix. 7-13.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Station, at Rome, is in the church of Saint Chrysogonus, one of the most celebrated martyrs of the Church of Rome. His name is inserted in the Canon of the Mass.

Collect

Sanctifica, quæsumus, Domine, nostra jejunia: et cunctarum nobis indulgentiam propitius largire culparum. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Sanctify, O Lord, we beseech thee, our fasts, and mercifully grant us the pardon of all-our sins. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle

Lectio Jonæ Prophetæ

Cap. iii.

In diebus illis: Factum est verbum Domini ad Jonam prophetam secundo, dicens: Surge, et vade in Nineven civitatem magnam: et prædica in ea prædicationem quam ego loquor ad te. Et surrexit Jonas, et abiit in Niniven juxta verbum Domini. Et Ninive erat civitæ magna itinere trium dierum. Et cœpit Jonas introire in civitatem itinere diei unius: et clamavit, et dixit: adhuc quadraginta dies et Ninive subvertetur. Et crediderunt viri Ninivitæ in Deum: et prædicaverunt jejunium, et vestiti sunt saccis a majore usque ad minorem. Et pervenit verbum ad regem Ninive: et surrexit de solio suo, et abjecit vestimentum suum a se, et indutus est sacco, et sedit in cinere. Et clamavit, et dixit in Ninive ex ore regis, et principum ejus, dicens: Homines, et jumenta, et boves, et pecora non gustent quidquam; nec pascantur, et aquam non bibant. Et operiantur saccis homines, et jumenta, et clament ad Dominum in fortitudine; et converbatur vir a via sua mala, et ab iniquitate, quæ est in manibus eorum. Quis scit si convertatur et ignoscat Deus: et revertatur a furore iræ suæ, et non peribimus? Et vidit Deus opera eorum, quia conversi sunt de via sua mala: et misertus est populo suo Dominus Deus noster.
Lesson from Jonas the Prophet.

Ch. iii.

In those days: the word of the Lord came to Jonas the second time, saying: Arise and go to Ninive, the great city: and preach in it the preaching that I bid thee. And Jonas arose, and went to Ninive, according to the word of the Lord. Now Ninive was a great city of three days’ journey. And Jonas began to enter into the city one day’s journey: and he cried and said: Yet forty days and Ninive shall be destroyed. And the men of Ninive believed in God: and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least. And the word came to the king of Ninive: and he rose up out of his throne, and cast away his robe from him, and was clothed in sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published in Ninive, from the mouth of the king and of his princes, saying: Let neither men nor beasts, oxen nor sheep, taste anything: let them not feed nor drink water. And let men and beasts be covered with sackcloth, and cry to the Lord with all their strength, and let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the iniquity that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and forgive: and will turn away from his fierce anger, and we shall not perish? And God saw their works, that they were turned from their evil way: and the Lord our God had mercy on his people.

The Church’s intention in this day’s lesson is to encourage us to earnestness and perseverance in our penance. Here we have an idolatrous city, a haughty and debauched capital, whose crimes have merited the anger of heaven. God threatens it with His vengeance: yet forty days, and Ninive and its inhabitants shall he destroyed. How came it, that the threat was not carried into effect? What was it that caused Ninive to be spared? Its people returned to the God they had left; they sued for mercy; they humbled themselves, and fasted; and the Church concludes the prophet’s account by these touching words of her own: 'And the Lord our God had mercy on His people.' They are Gentiles, but they became His people, because they did penance at the preaching of the prophet. God had made a covenant with one only nation, the Jews; but He rejected not the Gentiles as often as they renounced their false gods, confessed His holy name and desired to serve Him. We are here taught the efficacy of corporal mortification; when united with spiritual penance, that is, with the repentance of the heart, it has power to appease God’s anger. How highly, then, should we prize the holy exercises of penance, put upon us by the Church during this holy season! Let us also learn to dread that false spirituality, which tells us that exterior mortification is of little value: such doctrine is the result of rationalism and cowardice.

This passage from the prophet Jonas is also intended for the catechumens, whose Baptism is so close at hand. It teaches them to have confidence in this merciful God of the Christians, whose threats are so terrible, but who, notwithstanding, turns from His threats to forgive the repentant sinner. These catechumens, who had hitherto lived in the Ninive of paganism, were here taught that God, even before sending His Son into the world, invited all men to become His people. Seeing the immense obstacles their Gentile ancestors had to surmount in order to receive and persevere in the grace offered them, they would bless God their Saviour for having, by His Incarnation, His Sacrifice, His Sacraments, and His Church, facilitated salvation for us who live under the new Testament. True, He was the source of salvation to all preceding generations: but with what incomparable richness is He the source of ours! The public penitents, too, had their instruction in this Epistle. What an encouragement for them to hope for pardon! God has shown pardon to Ninive, sinful as it was, and sentenced to destruction: He would, therefore, accept their repentance and penance, He would stay His justice, and show them mercy and pardon.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. vii.

In illo tempore: Miserunt principes et pharisæi ministros, ut apprehenderent Jesum. Dixit ergo eis Jesus: Adhuc modicum tempus vobiscum sum: et vado ad eum qui me misit. Quæretis me. et non invenietis: et ubi ego sum vos non potestis venire. Dixerunt ergo Judæi ad semetipsos: Quo hic iturus est, quia non inveniemus eum? Numquid in dispersionem Gentium iturus est, et docturus Gentes? Quis est hic sermo quem dixit: Quæretis me, et non invenietis: et ubi sum ego, vos non potestis venire? In novissimo autem die magno festivitatis stabat Jesus, et clamabat dicens: Si quis sitit, veniat ad me, et bibat. Qui credit in me, sicut dicit Scriptura, flumina de ventre ejus fluent aquæ vivæ. Hoc autem dixit de Spiritu, quem accepturi erant credentes in eum.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. vii.

At that time: The rulers and pharisees sent ministers to apprehend Jesus. Jesus therefore said to them: Yet a little while I am with you: and then I go to him that sent me. You shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither you cannot come. The Jews therefore said among themselves: Whither will he go that we shall not find him? Will he go to the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles? What is this saying that he hath said: You shall seek me and shall not find me; and where I am, you cannot come? And on the last and great day of the festival, Jesus stood and cried, saying: If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink. He that believeth in me, as the Scripture saith, ‘Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said of the Spirit which they should receive who believed in him.

The enemies of Jesus sought to stone Him to death, as we were told in yesterday’s Gospel; to-day they are bent on making Him a prisoner, and send soldiers to seize Him. This time Jesus does not hide Himself; but how awful are the words He speaks: I go to Him that sent Me: you shall seek Me, and shall not find Me! The sinner, then, who has long abused the grace of God, may have his ingratitude and contempt punished in this just, but terrific way—that he shall not be able to find the Jesus he has despised: he shall seek, and shall not find. Antiochus, when humbled under the hand of God, prayed, yet obtained not mercy.[1]After the death and resurrection of Jesus, whilst the Church was casting her roots in the world, the Jews, who had crucified the just One, were seeking the Messias in each of the many impostors, who were then rising up in Judea, and fomenting rebellions, which led to the destruction of Jerusalem. Surrounded on all sides by the Roman legions, with their temple and palaces a prey to flames, they sent up their cries to heaven, and besought the God of their fathers to send, as He had promised, the Deliverer! It never occurred to them that this Deliverer had shown Himself to their fathers, to many even of themselves; that they had put Him to death, and that the apostles had already carried His name to the ends of the earth. They went on looking for Him, even to the very day when the deicide city fell, burying beneath its ruins them that the sword had spared. Had they been asked what it was they were awaiting, they would have replied that they were expecting their Messias! He had come, and gone. You shall seek Me, and shall not find Me! Let those, too, think of these terrible words of Jesus, who intend to neglect the graces offered to them during this Easter. Let us pray, let us make intercession for them, lest they fall into that awful threat, of a repentance that seeks mercy when it is too late to find aught save an inexorable justice.

But what consoling thoughts are suggested by the concluding words of our Gospel! Faithful souls, and you that have repented! listen to what your Jesus says, for it is to you that He speaks: If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink. Remember the prayer of the Samaritan woman: Give me O Lord, to drink of this water! This water is divine grace: come and drink your fill at the fountains of your Saviour, as the prophet Isaias bids you.[2] This water gives purity to the souls that are defiled, strength to them that are weak, and love to them that have no fervour. Nay, our Saviour assures us that he who believes in Him shall himself become as a fountain of living water, for the Holy Ghost will come upon him, and he shall pour out upon others of the fulness that he himself has received. With what joy must the catechumen have listened to these words, which promised him that his thirst should soon be quenched at the holy font! Jesus has made Himself everything to the world He has come to save: Light to guide us, Bread to nourish us, a Vine to gladden our hearts with its fruit, and, lastly, a Fountain of living water to quench our thirst.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Da, quæsumus, Domine, populo tuo salutem mentis et corporis: ut bonis operibus inhærendo, tua semper mereatur protectione defendi. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, to thy people, health both of body and mind, that being constant in the practice of good works, they may always be safe under thy protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

This being the day on which the Church offers to our meditations the history of the prophet Jonas preaching to Ninive, we subjoin a new fragment from the hymn of Prudentius on fasting. It is the passage where he relates the life of this prophet, and the repentance of the wicked city.

Hymn

Referre prisci stemma nunc jejunii
Libet, fideli proditum volumine,
Ut diruendæ civitatis incolis
Fulmen benigni mansuefactum Patris,
Pie repressis ignibus, pepercerit.

Gens insolenti præpotens jactantia
Pollebat olim: quam fluentem nequiter
Corrupta vulgo solverat lascivia;
Et inde bruto contumax fastidio
Cultum superni negligebat Numinis.

Offensa tandem jugis indulgentiæ
Censura, justis excitatur motibus,
Dextram perarmat rhomphæali incendio,
Nimbos crepantes, et fragosos turbines
Vibrans tonantum nube flammarum quatit.

Sed pœnitendi dum datur diecula,
Si forte vellent improbam libidinem
Veteresque nugas condomare, ac frangere.
Suspendit ictum terror exorabilis,
Paulumque dicta substitit sententia.

Jonam prophetam mitis ultor excitat,
Pœnæ imminentis iret ut prænuncius;
Sed nosset ille quum minacem judicem
Servare malle, quam ferire ac plectere,
Tectam latenter vertit in Tharsos fugam.

Celsam paratis pontibus scandit ratem:
Udo revincta fune puppis solvitur.
Itur per altum; fit procellosum mare:
Tum causa tanti quæritur periculi:
Sors in fugacem missa vatem decidit.

Jussus perire solus e cunctis reus,
Cujus voluta crimen urna expresserat,
Præceps rotatur, et profundo immergitur:
Exceptus inde belluinis faucibus,
Alvi capacis vivus hauritur specu.

Intactus exin tertiæ noctis vice,
Monstri vomentis pellitur singultibus,
Qua murmuranti fine fluctus frangitur,
Salsosque candens spuma tundit pumices,
Ructatus exit, seque servatum stupet.

In Ninivitas se coactus percito
Gressu reflectit: quos ut increpaverat,
Pudenda censor imputans opprobria.
Impendit, inquit, ira summi vindicis,
Urbemque flamma mox cremabit: credite.

Apicem deinceps ardui montis petit,
Visurus inde conglobatum turbidæ
Fumum ruinæ, cladis et diræ struem,
Tectus flagellis multinodi germinis,
Nato et repente perfruens umbraculo.

Sed mœsta postquam civitas vulnus novi
Hausit doloris, heu! supremum palpitat.
Cursant per ampla congregatim mœnia
Plebs, et senatus, omnis ætas civium,
Pallens juventus, ejulantes feminæ.

Placet frementem publicis jejuniis
Placare Christum: mos edendi spernitur.
Glaucos amictus induit monilibus
Matrona demptis, proque gemma, et serico
Crinem fluentem sordibus spargit cinis.

Squalent recincta veste pullati patres,
Setasque plangens turba sumit textiles,
Impexa villis virgo bestialibus
Nigrante vultum contegit velamine,
Jacens arenis et puer provolvitur.

Rex ipse Coos æstuantem murices
Lænam revulsa dissipabat fibula,
Geminas virentes, et lapillos sutiles,
Insigne frontis exuebat vinculum
Turpi capillos impeditus pulvere.

Nullus bibendi, nemo vescendi memor:
Jejuna mensas pubes omnis liquerat:
Quin et negato lacte vagientium
Fletu madescunt parvulorum cunulæ:
Succum papillæ parca nutrix derogat.

Greges et ipsos claudit armentalium
Solers virorum cura, ne vagum pecus
Contingat ore rorulenta gramina,
Potum strepentis neve fontis hauriat:
Vacuis querelæ personant præsepibus.

Mollitus his, et talibus, brevem Deus
Iram refrænat, temperans oraculum
Prosper sinistrum: prona nam dementia
Haud difficulter supplicum mortalium
Solvit reatum, fitque fautrix flentium.
I fain would now, in holy fasting’s praise,
tell, from the book of truth,
how God our Father, with his wonted love,
repressed the fire and thunder of his wrath,
and spared the city doomed to be destroyed.

In ancient days a city flourished, whose mighty
power drove her into haughtiness extreme. Criminal indulgence and lewd corruption had destroyed the
morals of her people, so brutalizing them, that
they left the worship of the God of heaven.

At length, the tired patience of God’s long-suffering
gave way to justice, which moves his hand
to prepare his arrowed lightnings,
and storm-voiced clouds, and jarring whirlwind,
and thunderbolts that shake the vault of heaven.

Yet does he grant them time for penitence,
wherein to tame and break the wickedness
of their lust and wonted follies. Mercy, that
waits for prayer, holds back the blow of anger;
a brief delay puts off the day of doom.

The meek avenger sends a herald of the coming
woe: it is Jonas the prophet.
But he, well knowing that the threatening Judge
is prone to save rather than to strike and punish,
stealthily to Tharsis flees.

A noble vessel was prepared for sail, whereon he takes
his place. The anchor weighed, the vessel puts from
shore. She ploughs the deep, when, lo! a storm. Endangered thus, the crew would know the cause,
and casting lots, it falls upon the fugitive, the prophet.

Of all, the only one in fault is he.
His guilt is clear, the lot has told the tale.
Headlong is he cast, and buried in the deep;
and as he falls, a whale’s huge jaw receives the prophet,
burying him alive in the sepulchre of his capacious womb.

There for three nights does Jonas lie unhurt;
which passed, the sick monster heaves him from his womb,
just where the murmuring billows break upon the shore,
and whiten the salty rocks with foam.
The prophet comes forth, wondering, but safe.

Compelled, to Ninive he turns his hurried steps.
He chides, he censures, he charges her with all her shamless crimes,
saying: ‘The anger of the great Avenger shall fall upon you,
and speedily your city shall be made a prey to fire.
Believe the prophecy I speak.’

Then to the summit of a lofty hill he goes,
from whence to see the thickened clouds of smoke
rising from the ruined heap, and gaze upon the pile of unpitied dead.
Suddenly there grows upon the spot an ivy-tree
whose knotted branches yield a shady cover.

But scarce had the mournful city felt the wound of her coming grief,
than deathly fear possesses her.
Her people and her senate, her young and old,
youths pale with panic, and women wailing loud,
hurry in groups along the spacious walls.

It is decreed: the anger of Christ shall by fasting be
appeased. Henceforth they spurn to eat.
Matrons doff their trinkets, and vest in dingy garbs,
and, for their wreaths of pearls and silks,
sprinkle ashes on their hair

Patricians put on robes of sombre hue;
the people, weeping, take hair-shirts for their dress;
dishevelled maidens, clad in skins of beasts,
hide their faces in veils of black.
Children, too, make the dust of earth their bed.

The king himself from his shoulders
tears the Cossian purple robe,
and for the diadem that decks his brow
with emeralds and gems,
strews grim ashes on his head.

None thinks of drink or meat. Among the youths,
not one would touch the food prepared.
Nay, babes are kept from their mothers’ breasts,
and in their cradles, wet with tears,
these little fasters lie.

The herdsman, too, pens up his flock with care,
lest, left to roam, the dewy grass or rippling fount
should tempt them to transgress the universal fast;
but now, pent up, their moans
rebellow through their prison-cave.

Thus is God appeased, his anger brief restrained,
and threatened evil yields to proffered love:
for mercy leans to pardon men their sins,
if they but humbly pray; and when they weep,
she makes herself their friend.

Let us close the day with these stanzas in honour of the holy cross. We have taken them from the Triodion of the Greek Church.

Hymn
(Feria VI. mediæ Septimanæ)

Sanctissimum lignum, in quo Christus manibus extensis adversarias potestates devicit, adoremus jejunio nitidi, ad laudem et gloriam Omnipotentis.

Crux salutifera sanctificationem suppeditans proposita cenitur. Accedamus, cor et corpus emundantes.

Igne mandatorum tuorum munda me, benigne, et da, ut salutiferam Passionem tuam intuear, et cum desiderio adorem, cruce vallatus et conservatus.

Aquis jejunii pectora purgati, lignum crucis fideliter amplectamur, in quo Christus crucifixus aquam immortalitatis nobis emisit.

Crucis velut velo alati, salutarem jejunii navigationem jam mediam emensi sumus, Jesu Salvator, per quam deduc nos ad Passionis tuæ portum.

Præmonstrabat te Moyses in monte, o crux, in gentium interitum. Nos vero efformantes te, et corde intuentes et adorantes, hostes carnis expertes virtute tua profligamus.
Purified by our fast, let us, to the praise and glory of the omnipotent God, venerate that most holy cross, whereon Christ, with his arms stretched forth, overcame the power of our enemy.

The saving cross, that sanctifies us, is now exposed before our eyes. Let us draw nigh, having purified our body and our soul.

Cleanse me, O merciful Saviour, by the fire of thy commandments, and grant that I may contemplate thy saving Passion, and lovingly adore it, having the cross for my protection and defence.

Having our hearts purified by the waters of our fast, let us, with faith, embrace the wood of the cross, on which Christ was crucified, and gave us the water of immortality.

Having thy cross as our sail, we have already winged our way half through the saving voyage of our fast. Lead us by the same, O Jesus our Saviour, into the haven of thy Passion.

Moses on the mount was a figure of thee, O holy cross, (when he prayed with his outstretched arms), unto the destruction of the Amalekites. Grant that we, who sign thee on ourselves, and lovingly gaze on and venerate thee, may, by thy power, put our spiritual enemies to flight.

 

[1] 2 Mach. ix. 13.
[2] Is. xii. 3.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Station in Rome was formerly the church of the martyr St. Cyriacus, and as such it is still given in the Roman missal; but this holy sanctuary having been destroyed, and the relics of the holy deacon translated to the church of St. Mary in Via lata, it is here that the Station is now held.

Collect

Nostra tibi, Domine, quæsumus, sint accepta jejunia: quæ nos et expiando gratia tua dignos efficiant; et ad remedia perducant æterna. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
May our fast, O Lord, we beseech thee, be acceptable to thee, and, having purified us from sin, make us worthy of thy grace, and procure us everlasting remedies. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Epistle

Lectio Danielis Prophetæ.

Cap. xiv.

In diebus illis: Congregati sunt Babylonii ad regem, et dixerunt ei: Trade nobis Danielem, qui Bel destruxit, et draconem interfecit; alioquin interficiemus te et domum tuam. Vidit ergo rex quod irruerent in eum vehementer: ut necessitate compulsus tradidit eis Danielem. Qui miserunt eum in lacum leonum, et erat ibi diebus sex. Porro in lacu erant leones septem, et dabantur eis duo corpora quotidie, et duæ oves: et tunc non data sunt eis, ut devorarent Danielem. Erat autem Habacuc propheta in Judæa, et ipse coxerat pulmentum, et intriverat panes in alveolo: et ibat in campum ut ferret messoribus. Dixitque angelus Domini ad Habacuc: Fer prandium quod habes in Babylonem Danieli, qui est in lacu leonum. Et dixit Habacuc: Domine, Babylonem non vidi, et lacum nescio. Et apprehendit eum angelus Domini in vertice ejus, et portavit eum capillo capitis sui, posuitque eum in Babylone supra lacum in impetu spiritus sui. Et clamavit Habacuc, dicens: Daniel, serve Dei, tolle prandium quod misit tibi Deus. Et ait Daniel: Recordatus es mei Deus, et non dereliquisti diligentes te. Surgensque Daniel comedit. Porro angelus Domini restituit Habacuc confestim in loco suo. Venit ergo rex die septimo, ut lugeret Danielem: et venit ad lacum, et introspexit, et ecce Daniel sedens in medio leonum. Et exclamavit voce magna rex, dicens: Magnus es, Domine Deus Danielis! Et extraxit eum de lacu leonum. Porro illos qui perditionis ejus causa fuerant, intromisit in lacum, et devorati sunt in momento coram eo. Tunc rex ait: Paveant omnes habitantes in universa terra Deum Danielis; quia ipse est Salvator, faciens signa et mirabilia in terra: qui liberavit Danielem de lacu leonum.
Lesson from Daniel the Prophet.

Ch. xiv.

In those days: The people of Babylon gathered together against the king: and said to him: Deliver up to us Daniel, who hath destroyed Bel, and killed the dragon, otherwise we will destroy thee and thy house. And the king saw that they pressed upon him violently; and being constrained by necessity, he delivered Daniel to them. And they cast him into the den of lions, and he was there six days. And in the den there were seven lions, and they had given to them two carcasses every day, and two sheep: but then they were not given unto them, to the intent that they might devour Daniel. Now there was in Judea a prophet called Habacuc, and he had boiled pottage, and had broken bread in a bowl; and was going into the field to carry it to the reapers. And the angel of the Lord said to Habacuc: Carry the dinner which thou hast, into Babylon, to Daniel, who is in the lions’ den. And Habacuc said: Lord, I never saw Babylon, nor do I know the den. And the angel of the Lord took him by the top of his head, and carried him by the hair of his head, and set him in Babylon, over the den, in the force of his spirit. And Habacuc cried, saying: O Daniel, thou servant of God, take the dinner that God hath sent thee. And Daniel said: Thou hast remembered me, O God, and thou hast not forsaken them that love thee. And Daniel arose and ate. And the angel of the Lord presently set Habacuc again in his own place. And upon the seventh day the king came to bewail Daniel: and he came to the den, and looked in, and behold Daniel was sitting in the midst of the lions. And the king cried out with a loud voice, saying: Great art thou, O Lord, the God of Daniel. And he drew him out of the lions’ den. But those that had been the cause of his destruction, he cast into the den, and they were devoured in a moment before him. Then the king said: Let all the inhabitants of the whole earth fear the God of Daniel: for he is the Saviour, working signs and wonders in the earth; who hath delivered Daniel out of the lions den.

This lesson was intended, in an especial manner, as an instruction to the catechumens. They were preparing to enroll themselves as Christians; it was, therefore, necessary that they should have examples put before them, which they might study and imitate, Daniel, oast into the lions’ den for having despised and destroyed the idol Bel, was the type of a martyr. This prophet had confessed the true God in Babylon; he had put to death a dragon, to which the people, after Bel had been destroyed, had given their idolatrous worship; nothing less than Daniel’s death could appease their indignation. The holy man full of confidence in God, allowed himself to be thrown into the lions’ den, thus setting an example of courageous faith to the future Christians: they would imitate him, and for three centuries would nobly shed their blood for the establishment of the Church of Christ. In the Roman catacombs we continually meet with the representation of Daniel surrounded by lions, and many of these paintings date from the ages of persecution. Thus the eyes of the catechumens could see what their ears heard; both told them to be ready for trial and sacrifice. It is true, the history of Daniel showed them the power of God interfering and delivering him from death; but they were fully aware that, in order to merit a like deliverance, they would have to show a like constancy, and be ready to suffer death rather than deny their faith. From time to time, a Christian was led to the amphitheatre, and the wild beasts would fawn at his feet: but such miracles only put off the martyr’s sacrifice, and perhaps won others to the faith.

It was the prophet’s courage, and not his victory over the lions, that the Church proposed to her catechumens. The great thing for them to bear in mind was this maxim of our Lord: Fear not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him that can destroy both soul and body into hell.[1] We are the descendants of these early Christians; but our faith has not cost us what it cost them. And yet we have a tyrant to try even ours: we have to confess our faith, not indeed before pro consuls and emperors, but before the world. Let the example of the brave martyrs send us forth from our Lent with a courageous determination to withstand this tyrant, with his maxims, his pomps, and his works. There has been a truce between him and us, during these days of retirement and penance; but the battle will soon be renewed, and then we must stand the brunt, and show that we are Christians.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. vii.

In illo tempore: Ambulabat Jesus in Galilæam, non enim volebat in Judæam ambulare, quia quærebant eum interficere. Erat autem in proximo dies festus Judæorum, Scenopegia. Dixerunt autem ad eum fratres ejus: Transi hinc, et vade in Judæam, ut et disci puli tui videant opera tua quæ facis. Nemo quippe in occulto quid facit, et quærit ipse in palam esse: si hæc facis, manifesta teipsum mundo. Neque enim fratres ejus credebant in eum. Dicit ergo eis Jesus: Tempus meum nondum advenit: tempus autem vestrum semper est paratum. Non potest mundus odisse vos; me autem odit: quia ego testimonium perhibeo de illo, quod opera ejus mala sunt. Vos ascendite ad diem festum hunc, ego autem non ascendo ad diem festum istum: quia meum tempus nondum impletum est. Hæc cum dixisset, ipse mansit in Galilæa. Ut autem ascenderunt fratres ejus, tunc et ipse ascendit ad diem festum non manifeste, sed quasi in occulto. Judæi ergo quærebant eum in die festo, et dicebant: Ubi est ille? et murmur multum erat in turba de eo. Quidam enim dicebant: Quia bonus est. Aliiautem dicebant: Non, sed seducit turbas. Nemo tamen palam loquebatur de illo, propter metum Judæorum
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. vii.

At that time: Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. And his brethren said to him: Depart from hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see thy works which thou dost. For there is no man that doth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly; if thou do these things, manifest thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him. Then Jesus said to them: My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth: because I give testimony of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go you up to this festival day, but I go not up to this festival day; because my time is not accomplished. When he had said these things, he himself staid in Galilee. But after his brethren were gone up, then he also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. The Jews therefore sought him on the festival day, and said: Where is he? And there was much murmuring among the multitude concerning him. For some said: He is a good man. And others said: No, but he seduceth the people. Yet no man spoke openly of him, for fear of the Jews.

The facts here related refer to an earlier part of our Lord’s life; but the Church proposes them to our consideration to-day, on account of their connexion with those given us in the Gospels read to us during the last few days. We learn from these words of St. John, that the Jews were plotting the death of Jesus, not only when this the last Pasch for the Synagogue was approaching, but even so far back as the feast of tabernacles, which was kept in September. The Son of God was reduced to the necessity of going from place to place as it were in secret; if He would go to Jerusalem, He must take precautions! Let us adore these humiliations of the Man-God, who has deigned to sanctify every position of life, even that of the just man persecuted and obliged to hide himself from his enemies. It would have been an easy matter for Him to confound His adversaries by working miracles, such as those which Herod’s curiosity sought for; He could have compelled them to treat Him with the reverence that was due to Him. But this is not God’s way: He does not force man to duty; He acts, and then leaves man to recognize his Creator’s claims. In order to do this, man must be attentive and humble, he must impose silence on his passions. The divine light shows itself to the soul that thus comports herself. First, she sees the actions, the works, of God; then, she believes, and wishes to believe: her happiness, as well as her merit, lies in faith, and faith will be recompensed in eternity with light, with the vision.

Flesh and blood cannot understand this; they love show and noise. The Son of God, having come down upon this earth, could not subject Himself to such an abasement as that of making a parade of His infinite power before men. He had to work miracles, in order to give a guarantee of His mission; but, as Man, not everything He did was to be a miracle. By far the longest period of His life was devoted to the humble duties of a creature; had it not been so, how should we have learned from Him what we so much needed to know? His brethren (the Jews gave the name of brothers to all who were collaterally related) wished Jesus to make a display of His miraculous power, for some of the glory would have accrued to them. This their ambition caused our Lord to address them in these strong words, upon which we should meditate during this holy season, for, later on, we shall stand in need of the teaching: 'The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth.’ Let us, therefore, for the time to come, not please the world; its friendship would separate us from Jesus Christ.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo. 

Da nobis, quæsumus, Domine, perseverantem in tua voluntate famulatum: ut in diebus nostris, et merito et numero, populus tibi serviens augeatur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

Grant us, O Lord, we beseech thee, perseverance in thy service; that in our days, thy faithful may increase both in number and goodness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The following devout hymn, taken from the ancient Roman-French missals, may serve us as an expression of the sentiments we entertain towards our loving Redeemer.

Hymn

Rex Christe factor omnium,
Redemptor et credentium:
Placare votis supplicum
Te laudibus colentium.

Cujus benigna gratia
Crucis per alma vulnera,
Virtute solvit ardua
Primi parentis vincula.

Qui es Creator siderum,
Tegmen subisti carneum:
Dignatus es vilissimam
Pati doloris formulam.

Ligatus es ut solveres
Mundi mentis complices:
Per probra tergens crimina
Quæ mundus auxit plurima.

Cruci Redemptor figeris,
Terram sed omnem concutis:
Tradis potentem spiritum,
Nigrescit atque sæculum.

Mox in paternæ gloriæ
Victor resplendens culmine;
Cum Spiritus munimine
Defende nos, Rex optime.

Amen.
O Jesus! thou King and Creator of all,
Redeemer, too, of believers,
be appeased by the prayer
and praise of thy humble suppliants.

’Twas thy loving grace that,
by the dear wounds of the cross,
broke so powerfully the fetters
forged by our first parents.

Thou, that art the Creator of the stars,
didst deign to assume
a body of flesh, and endure
the most humiliating sufferings.

Thy hands were tied, that thou mightest loosen sinners,
accomplices of a world condemned:
thou didst suffer shame, so to cleanse away
the manifold sins of the world.

Thou, our Redeemer, art fastened to the cross,
but thou movest the whole earth:
thou breathest forth thy mighty Spirit,
and the world is buried in darkness.

But soon we see thee shining
triumphantly on the high throne of thy Father’s glory:
do thou, O best of kings,
defend us by the protection of the holy Spirit.

Amen.

Let us pay our homage to the holy cross, in these words of the Greek liturgy.

Hymn
(Feria IV mediæ Septimanæ)

Domine omnium et conditor Deus, in medio terræ in crucem elevatus es, attrahens ad te eam, quæ pessimo inimici suasu corruerat, humanam naturam. Quapropter sincere te concelebramus, Passione tua roborati.

Mundatis sensibus jejunii lumine, intellectualibus crucis radiis largissime illustremur, eamque hodie propositam reverenter conspicientes, castis labiis, ore et corde adoremus.

Locum ubi steterunt pedes Domini adoremus, crucem videlicet divinam; obsecrantes ut animæ nostræ pedes in petra divinorum mandatorum firmentur, et ut gressus ejus, divina gratia, in viam pacis dirigantur.

Plaudite omnes fines terræ in hymnis, quando adorari videtis lignum in quo Christus suspensus, et diabolus vulneratus est.

Vivifica crux hodie proponitur: cum gaudio igitur et timore adoremus Domini crucem, ut Spiritum sanctum accipiamus.

Accedens ut te tangam, vivifica crux, cohorresco et lingua et mente, cernens in te divinum Domini mei sanguinem effusum esse.

Confirma, Domine, Ecclesiam tuam, quam acquisivisti virtute crucis tuæ; in illa enim inimicum triumphasti, totumque mundum illuminasti.
Thou, O Lord God, the Creator of all things, wast lifted up on the cross, in the middle of the earth; thou didst draw up to thyself that human nature which had fallen by the most wicked persuasion of the enemy. Wherefore we pay thee our loyal homage, for thy Passion has strengthened us.

The light of fasting has purified our senses; may we be most brightly enlightened by the spiritual rays of thy cross. On this day it is exposed to our view; grant that we may devoutly kiss it, and venerate it in our hymns and with our hearts.

Let us adore the place where stood his feet, that is, the holy cross, and beseech him to firmly fix the feet of our soul on the rock of his divine commandments, and, by his holy grace, guide her steps into the way of peace.

Loudly sing your hymns, O all ye ends of the earth, when ye behold men venerating that wood whereon Christ was fastened, and whereby satan received his wound.

The life-giying cross is this day exposed: let us, then, with joy and fear, venerate the cross of our Lord, that we may receive the Holy Ghost.

O life-giving cross, my tongue and heart tremble with fear, as I draw nigh to touch thee, for I see the divine Blood of my Lord poured forth upon thee.

Strengthen, O Lord, thy Church, which thou didst purchase to thyself by the power of thy cross; for by the cross thou didst triumph over the enemy and enlighten the whole world.

 

[1] St. Matt. X. 28.

 

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