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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.

The chief priests and the ancients of the people have met to-day in one of the rooms adjoining the temple, for the purpose of deliberating on the best means of putting Jesus to death. Several plans are discussed. Would it be prudent to lay hands upon Him at this season of the feast of the Pasch, when the city is filled with strangers, who have received a favourable impression of Jesus from the solemn ovation given to Him three days back? Then, too, are there not a great number of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who took part in that triumph, and whose enthusiastic admiration of Jesus might excite them to rise up in His defence? These considerations persuade them not to have recourse to any violent measure, at least for the present, as a sedition among the people might be the consequence, and its promoters, even were they to escape being ill-treated by the people, would be brought before the tribunal of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. They therefore come to the resolution of letting the feast pass quietly over, before apprehending Jesus.

But these blood-thirsty men are making all these calculations as though they were the masters. They are, if they will, shrewd assassins, who put off their murder to a more convenient day: but the divine decrees, which from all eternity have prepared a Sacrifice for the world’s salvation, have fixed this very year’s Pasch as the day of the Sacrifice, and to-morrow evening the holy city will re-echo with the trumpets which proclaim the opening of the feast. The figurative lamb is now to make way for the true one; the Pasch of this year will substitute the reality for the type; and Jesus’ Blood, shed by the hands of wicked priests, is soon to flow simultaneously with that of victims, which have been hitherto acceptable to God only because they prefigured the Sacrifice of Calvary. The Jewish priesthood is about to be its own executioner, by immolating Him, whose Blood is to abrogate the ancient Alliance, and perpetuate the new one.

But how are Jesus’ enemies to get possession of their divine Victim, so as to avoid a disturbance in the city? There is only one plan that could succeed, and they have not thought of it: it is treachery. Just at the close of their deliberations, they are told that one of Jesus’ disciples seeks admission. They admit him, and he says to them: 'What will you give me, and I will deliver Him unto you?’[1] They are delighted at this proposition: and yet, how is it that they, doctors of the law, forget that this infamous bargain between themselves and Judas has all been foretold by David, in Psalm cviii? They know the Scriptures from beginning to end: how comes it that they forget the words of the Prophet, who even mentions the sum of thirty pieces of silver?[2] Judas asks them what they will give him; and they give him thirty pieces of silver! All is arranged; tomorrow, Jesus will be in Jerusalem, eating the Pasch with His disciples. In the evening He will go, as usual, to the garden on Mount Olivet. But how shall they, who are sent to seize Him, be able to distinguish Him from His disciples? Judas will lead the way; he will show them which is Jesus, by going up to Him and kissing Him!

Such is the impious scheme devised on this day, within the precincts of the temple of Jerusalem. To testify her detestation at it, and to make atonement to the Son of God for the outrage thus offered Him, the holy Church, from the earliest ages, has consecrated the Wednesday of every week to penance. In our own times, the fast of Lent begins on a Wednesday; and when the Church ordained that we should commence each of the four seasons of the year with fasting, Wednesday was chosen to be one of the three days thus consecrated to bodily mortification.

On this day, in the Roman Church, was held the sixth scrutiny, for the admission of catechumens to Baptism. Those about whom there had been previous doubts were now added to the number of the chosen ones, if they were found worthy. There were two Lessons read in the Mass, as on the day of the great scrutiny, the Wednesday of the fourth week of Lent. As usual, the catechumens left the Church after the Gospel; but, as soon as the holy Sacrifice was over, they were brought back by the door-keeper, and one of the priests addressed them in these words: ‘On Saturday next, the Eve of Easter, at such an hour, you will assemble in the Lateran basilica, for the seventh scrutiny; you will then recite the Symbol, which you must have learned; and lastly, you will receive, by God’s help, the sacred laver of regeneration. Prepare yourselves, zealously and humbly, by persevering fasts and prayers, in order that, having been buried, by this holy Baptism, together with Jesus Christ, you may rise again with Him, unto life everlasting. Amen.’

At Rome, the Station for to-day is in the basilica of St. Mary Major. Let us compassionate with our holy Mother, whose heart is filled with poignant grief at the foresight of the Sacrifice which is preparing.

 

MASS

 

The Church commences her chants with one to the glory of the holy name of Jesus, outraged as it is, on this day, by them that plot His death. This name which was given Him by heaven, and signifies that He is our Saviour, is now being blasphemed by His enemies: in a few hours, their crime will bring its full meaning before us, for His death will have worked the salvation of the world.

Introit

In nomine Jesu omne genu flectatur, cœlestium terrestrium, et infernorum: quia Dominus factus est obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis: ideo Dominus Jesus Christus in gloria est Dei Patris.

Ps. Domine, exaudi orationem meam: et clamor meus ad te veniat. In nomine.
At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; because the Lord became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross: therefore the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

Ps. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee. At the name, &c.

In the first Collect, the Church acknowledges to God that her children have sinned against Him: but she reminds Him of the Passion endured for their sake, by His only-begotten Son; and this revives her hope.

Oremus

. Flectamus genua.
℟. Levate.

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut qui nostris excessibus incessanter affligimur, per unigeniti Filii tui Passionem liberemus. Qui tecum, &c.
Let Us Pray

℣. Let us kneel down.
℟. Stand up again.

Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we who continually are punished for our excesses, may be delivered by the Passion of thy only-begotten Son. Who liveth, &c.

Lectio Isaiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. lxii. et lxiii.

Hæc dicit Dominus Deus: Dicite filiæ Sion: Ecce Salvator tuus venit, ecce merces ejus cum eo. Quis eat iste qui venit de Edom, tinctis vestibus de Boera? Iste formosus in stola sua, gradiens in multitudine fortitudinis suæ? Ego, qui loquor justitiam: et propugnator sum ad salvandum. Quare ergo rubrum est indumentum tuum, et vestimenta tua sicut calcantium in torculari? Torcular calcavi solus: et de gentibus non est vir mecum. Calcavi eos in furore meo: et conculcavi eos in ira mea. Et asperSus est sanguis eorum super vestimenta mea, et omnia indumenta mea inquinavi. Dies enim ultionis in corde meo: annus redemptionis meæ venit. Circumspexi, et non erat auxiliator: quæsivi, et non fuit qui adjuvaret. Et salvavit mihi brachium meum: et indignatio mea ipsa auxiliata est mihi. Et conculcavi populos in furore meo: et inebriavi eos in indignatione mea, et detraxi in terram virtutem eorum. Miserationum Domini recordabor, laudem Domini super omnibus, quæ reddidit nobis Dominus Deus noster.
Lesson from Isaias the Prophet.

Ch. lxii. and lxiii.

Thus saith the Lord God: Tell the daughter of Sion: Behold thy Saviour cometh: behold his reward is with him. Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bosra, this beautiful one in his robe, walking in the greatness of his strength? I, that speak justice, and am a defender to save. Why then is thy apparel red, and thy garments like theirs that tread in the wine-press? I have trodden the wine press alone, and of the Gentiles there is not a man with me; I have trampled on them in my indignation, and have trodden them down in my wrath, and their blood is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained all my apparel. For the day of vengeance is in my heart, the year of my redemption is come. I looked about, and there was none to help; I sought, and there was none to give aid; and my own arm hath saved for me, and my indignation itself hath helped me. And I have trodden down the people in my wrath, and have made them drunk in my indignation, and have brought down their strength to the earth. I will remember the tender mercies of the Lord, the praise of the Lord, for all the things that the Lord hath bestowed on us.

How terrible is this our Defender, who tramples His enemies beneath His feet, as they that tread in the wine-press; so that their blood is sprinkled upon His garments! But is not this the fittest time for us to proclaim His power, now that He is being treated with ignominy, and sold to His enemies by one of His disciples? These humiliations will soon pass away; He will rise in glory, and His might will be shown by the chastisements wherewith He will crush them that now persecute Him. Jerusalem will stone them that shall preach in His name; she will be a cruel stepmother to those true Israelites, who, docile to the teaching of the prophets, have recognized Jesus as the promised Messias. The Synagogue will seek to stifle the Church in her infancy; but no sooner shall the Church, shaking the dust from her feet, turn from Jerusalem to the Gentiles, than the vengeance of Christ will fall on the city which bought, betrayed, and crucified Him. Her citizens will have to pay dearly for these crimes. We learn from the Jewish historian Josephus, who was an eye-witness to the siege, that the fire which was raging in one of the streets was quenched by the torrents of their blood. Thus were fulfilled the threats pronounced by our Lord against this faithless city, as He sat on Mount Olivet, the day after His triumphant entry.

And yet, the destruction of Jerusalem was but a faint image of the terrible destruction which is to befall the world at the last day. Jesus, who is now despised and insulted by sinners, will then appear on the clouds of heaven, and reparation will be made for all these outrages. Now He suffers Himself to be betrayed, scoffed at, and spit upon; but when the day of vengeance is come, happy they that have served Him, and have compassionated with Him in His humiliations and sufferings! Woe to them that have treated Him with contempt! Woe to those who, not content with refusing to bear His yoke, have led others to rebel against Him! For He is King; He came into this world that He might reign over it; and they that despise His mercy shall not escape His justice.

The Gradual, which immediately follows upon this sublime passage from Isaias, is a prayer addressed by Jesus to His eternal Father: the words are taken from one of the Psalms.

Gradual

Ne avertas faciem tuam a puero tuo, quoniam tribulor: velociter exaudi me. ℣. Salvum me fac, Deus, quoniam intraverunt aquæ usque ad animam meam: infixus sum in limo profundi, et non est substantia.
Turn not away thy face from thy servant, for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. ℣. Save me, O God, for the waters are come in even unto my soul; I stick fast in the mire of the deep, and there is no sure standing.

In the second Collect, the Church again reminds our heavenly Father of the death which His divine Son deigned to suffer in order to set us free from the yoke of satan; she prays that we may have a share in the glorious Resurrection of this our Redeemer.

Collect

Deus, qui pro nobis Filium tuum crucis patibulum subire voluisti, ut inimici a nobis expelieres potestatem: concede nobis famulis tuis, ut resurrectionis gratiam consequamur. Per eumdem, &c.
O God, who wouldst have thy Son suffer on the cross, to deliver us from the power of the enemy; grant that we thy servants may obtain the grace of his resurrection. Through the same, &c.

For the other Collect, page see 108.


Epistle

Lectio Isaiæ Prophetæ.

Capliii.

In diebus illis: Dixit Isaias: Domine, quis credidit auditui nostro; et brachium Domini cui revelatum est? Et ascendet sicut virgultum coram eo: et sicut radix de terra sitienti. Non est species ei, neque decor. Et vidimus eum; et non erat aspectus, et desideravimus eum: despectum, et novissimum virorum, virum dolorum, et scientem infirmitatem. Et quasi absconditus vultus ejus, et despectus, unde nec reputavimus eum. Vere languores nostros ipse tulit: et dolores nostros ipse portavit. Et nos putavimus eum quasi leprosum, et percussum a Deo, et humiliatum. Ipse autem vulneratus est propter iniquitates nostras: attritus est propter scelera nostra; discipline pacis nostræ super eum: et livore ejus sanati sumus. Omnes nos quasi oves erravimus: unusquisque in viam suam declinavit: et posuit Dominus in eo iniquitatem omnium nostrum. Oblatus est, quia ipse voluit: et non aperuit os suum. Sicut ovis ad occisionem ducetur: et quasi agnus coram tondente se, obmutescet: et non aperiet os suum. De angustia, et de judicio sublatns est. Generationem ejus quis enarrabit? Quia abscissus est de terra viventium. Propter scelus populi mei percussi eum. Et dabit impios pro sepultura, et divitem pro morte sua: eo quod iniquitatem non fecerit, neque dolus fuerit in ore ejus. Et Dominus voluit contere eum in infirmitate. Si posuerit pro peccato animam suam, videbit semen longævum: et voluntas Domini in manu ejus dirigetur. Pro eo quod laboravit anima ejus, videbit et saturabitur. In scientia sua justificabit ipse justus servus meus multos: et iniquitates eorum ipse portabit. Ideo dispertiam ei plurimos, et fortium dividet spolia: pro eo quod tradidit in mortem animam suam, et cum sceleratis reputatus est. Et ipse peccata multorum tulit: et pro transgressoribus rogavit
Lesson from Isaias the Prophet.

Ch. liii.

In those days: Isaias said: Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground. There is no beauty in him, nor comeliness. And we have seen him, and there was no sightliness that we should be desirous of him; despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity. And his look was as it were hidden and despised; whereupon we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our infirmities, and carried our sorrows. And we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all. He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth. He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer; and he shall not open his mouth. He was taken away from distress, and from judgment. Who shall declare his generation? because he is cut off out of the land of the living. For the wickedness of my people have I struck him. And he shall give the ungodly for his burial, and the rich for his death; because he hath done no iniquity, neither was there deceit in his mouth. And the Lord was pleased to bruise him in infirmity. If he shall lay down his life for sin, he shall see a long-lived seed, and the will of the Lord shall be prosperous in his hand. Because his soul hath laboured, he shall see and be filled: by his knowledge shall this my just servant justify many, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I distribute to him very many, and he shall divide the spoils of the strong, because he hath delivered his soul unto death, and was reputed with the wicked; and he hath borne the sins of many, and hath prayed for the transgressors.

Again it is Isaias that instructs us, not indeed upon the triumph which our Emmanuel is to win over His enemies, but upon the sufferings of the Man of sorrows. So explicit is his description of our Lord's Passion, that the holy fathers have called him the fifth evangelist. What could he more sublimely plaintive than the language here used by the son of Amos? And we, after hearing both the old and new Testament upon the sufferings which Jesus went through for our sins, how shall we sufficiently love this dear Redeemer, who bore our infirmities and carried our sorrows, so as to look as a leperand as one struck by God and afflicted?

We are healed by His bruises! O heavenly Physi cian, who takes upon Himself the sufferings of those He comes to cure! But not only was He bruised for our sins; He was also slaughtered as a lamb: and this not merely as a Victim submitting to the inflexible will of His Father who hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all, but (as the prophet here assures us) because it was His own will, His love for us, as well as His submission to His Father, led Him to the great Sacrifice. Observe, too, how He refuses to defend Himself before Pilate, who could so easily deliver Him from His enemies: He shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearers, and He shall not open His mouth. Let us love and adore this divine silence, which works our salvation. Let us not pass over an iota of the devotedness which Jesus shows us—a devotedness which never could have existed save in the heart of a God. Oh! how much He has loved us, His children, the purchase of His Blood, His seed, as the prophet here calls us. O holy Church! thou longlived seed of Jesus, who laid down His life, thou art dear to Him, for He bought thee at a great price. Faithful souls! give Him love for love. Sinners! be converted to this your Saviour; His Blood will restore you to life, for if we have all gone astray like sheep, remember what is added: The Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. There is no sinner, however great may be his crimes, there is no heretic, or infidel, who has not his share in this precious Blood, whose infinite merit is such, that it could redeem a million worlds more guilty even than our own.

The Tract, which follows this Lesson, is taken from Psalm ci, in which the royal prophet expresses the sufferings of body and mind endured by Jesus in His human Nature.

Tract

Domine, exaudi orationem meam, et clamor meus ad te veniat.

V. Ne avertas faciem tuam a me; in quacumque die tribulor, inclina ad me aurem tuam. V. In quacumque die invocavero te, velociter exaudi me.

V. Quia defecerunt sicut fumus dies mei: et ossa mea sicut in frixorio confrixa sunt.

V. Percussus sum sicut fœnum, et aruit cor meum, quia oblitus sum manducare panem meum.

V. Tu exsurgens, Domine, misereberis Sion, quia venit tempus miserendi ejus.
Hear, O Lord, my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee.

V. Turn not away thy face from me, in the day when I am in trouble, incline thine ear to me.

V. In what day soever I shall call upon thee, hear me speedily.

V. For my days are vanished like smoke: and my bones are as if they were fried in a frying-pan.
V. I am smitten as grass, and my heart is withered, because I forgot to eat my bread.

V. Thou, O Lord, arising, wilt have mercy on Sion, for the time to have mercy on her is come.

The Church then gives us the history of the Passion according to St. Luke. This evangelist mentions several details not given by Saints Matthew and Mark, which will assist us to a fuller understanding of the divine mystery of the sufferings and Sacrifice of the Man-God.

 

THE PASSION AND GOSPEL

 

Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Lucam.

Cap. xxii. et xxiii.

In illo tempore: Appropinquabat dies festus Azymorum, qui dicitur Pascha: et quærebant principes sacerdotum et scribæ, quomodo Jesum interficerent: timebant vero plebem. Intravit autem Satanas in Judam, qui cognominabatur lscariotes, unum de duodecim; et abiit et locutus est cum principibus sacerdotum et magistratibus, quemadmodum illum traderet eis. Et gavisi sunt: et pacti sunt pecuniam illi dare. Et spopondit. Et quærebat opportunitatem ut traderet illum sine turbis.

Venit autem dies azymorum, in qua necesse erat occidi Pascha. Et misit Petrum et Joannem, dicens: Euntes parate nobis Pascha, ut manducemus. At illi dixerunt: Ubi vis paremus? Et dixit ad eos: Ecce introeuntibus vobis in civitatem, occurret vobis homo quidam amphoram aquæ portans; sequimini eum in domum, in quam intrat, et dicetis patrifamilias domus: Dicit tibi Magister: Ubi est diversorium, ubi Pascha cum discipulis meis manducem? Et ipse ostendet vobis cœnaculum magnum stratum, et ibi parate.

Euntes autem invenerunt sicut dixit illis: et paraverunt Pascha. Et cum facta esset hora, discubuit, et duodecina apostoli cum eo. Et ait illis: Desiderio desideravi hoc Pascha manducare vobiscum, antequam patiar. Dico enim vobis: quia ex hoc non manducabo illud donec impleatur in regno Dei. Et accepto calice, gratias egit, et dixit: Accipite et dividite inter vos. Dico enim vobis: quod non bibam de generatione vitis, donec regnum Dei veniat. Et accepto pane, gratias egit, et fregit, et dedit eis, dicens: Hoc est corpus meum, quod pro vobis datur. Hoc facite in meam commemorationem. Similiter et calicem, postquam cœnavit, dicens: Hic est calix novum testamentum in sanguine meo, qui pro vobis fundetur. Verumtamen ecce manus tradentis me, mecum est in mensa. Et quidem Filius hominis, secundum quod definitum est, vadit: verumtamen væ homini illi, per quem tradetur. Et ipsi cœperunt quærere inter se, quis esset ex eis, qui hoc facturus esset.

Facta est autem et contentio inter eos, quis eorum videretur esse major. Dixit autem eis: Reges gentium dominantur eorum: et qui potestatem habent super eos, benefici vocantur. Vos autem non sic: sed qui major est in vobis fiat sicut minor; et qui præcessor est, sicut ministrator. Nam quis major est, qui recumbit, an qui ministrat? Nonne qui recumbit? Ego autem in medio vestrum sum, sicut qui ministrat: vos autem estis, qui permansistis mecum in tentationibus meis. Et ego dispono vobis, sicut disposuit mihi Pater meus regnum: ut edatis et bibatis super mensam meam in regno meo, et sedeatis super thronos, judicantes duodecim tribus Israël. Ait autem Dominus: Simon, Simon, ecce Satanas expetivit vos, ut cribraret sicut triticum. Ego autem rogavi pro te, ut non deficiat fides tua: et tu aliquando conversus, confirma fratres tuos. Qui dixit ei: Domine, tecum paratus sum, et in carcerem et in mortem ire. At ille dixit: Dico tibi Petre, non cantabit hodie gallus, donec ter abneges nosse me. Et dixit eis: Quando misi vos sine sacculo et pera et calceamentis, numquid aliquid defuit vobis? At illi dixerunt: Nihil. Dixit ergo eis: Sed nunc, qui habet sacculum tollat similiter et peram. Et qui non habet, vendat tunicam suam et emat gladium. Dico enim vobis, quoniam adhuc hoc, quod scriptum est, oportet impleri in me: Et cum iniquis deputatus est. Etenim ea quæ sunt de me, finem habent. At illi dixerunt: Domine, ecce duo gladii hic. At ille dixit eis: Satis est.

Et egressus ibat secundum consuetudinem in montem Olivarum: secuti sunt autem ilium et discipuli. Et cum pervenisset ad locum, dixit illis: Orate, ne intretis in tentationem. Et ipse avulsus est ab eis, quantum jactus est lapidis, et positis genibus orabat, dicens: Pater, si vis, transfer calicem istum a me: verumtamen non mea voluntas, sed tua fiat. Apparuit autem illi angelus de cœlo, confortans eum. Et factus in agonia, prolixius orabat. Et factus est sudor ejus sicut guttæ sanguinis decurrentis in terram. Et cum surrexisset ab oratione, et venisset ad discipulos suos, invenit eos dormientes prae tristitia, et ait illis: Quid dormitis? Surgite, orate, ne intretis in tentationem.

Adhuc eo loquente, ecce turba: et qui vocabatur Judas, unus de duodecim, antecedebat eos: et appropinquavit Jesu, ut oscularetur eum. Jesus autem dixit illi: Juda, osculo Filium hominis tradis? Videntes autem hi, qui circa ipsum erant, quod futurum erat, dixerunt ei: Domine, si percutimus in gladio? Et percussit unus ex illis servum principis sacerdotum: et amputavit auriculam ejus dexteram. Respondens autem Jesus, ait: Sinite usque huc. Et cum tetigisset auriculam ejus, sanavit eum. Dixit autem Jesus ad eos qui venerant ad se, principes sacerdotum et magistratus templi, et seniores: Quasi ad latronem existis cum gladiis et fustibus? Cum quotidie vobiscum fuerim in tempio, non extendistis manus in me. Sed hæc est hora vestra, et potestas tenebrarum.

Comprehendentes autem eum, duxerunt ad domum principis sacerdotum. Petrus vero sequebatur a longe. Accenso autem igne in medio atrii, et circumsedentibus illis, erat Petrus in medio eorum. Quem cum vidisset ancilla quædam sedentem ad lumen, et eum fuisset intuita, dixit: Et hic cum illo erat. At ille negavi eum dicens: Mulier, non novi illum. Et post pusillum alius videns eum, dixit: Et tu de illis es. Petrus vero ait: O homo non sum. Et intervallo facto quasi horæ unius, alius quidam affirmabat dicens: Vere et hic cum illo erat: nam et Galilæus est. Et ait Petrus:

Homo, nescio quid dicis. Et continuo, adhuc illo loquente, cantavit gallus. Et conversas Dominus respexit Petrum. Et recordatus est Petrus verbi Domini, sicut dixerat: Quia priusquam gallus cantet, ter me negabis. Et egressus foras Petrus, flevit amare.

Et viri qui tenebant ilium, illudebant ei cædentes. Et velaverunt eum: et percutiebant faciem ejus, et interrogabant eum, dicentes: Prophetiza, quis est qui te percussit? Et alia multa blasphemantes dicebant in eum. Et ut factus est dies, convenerunt seniores plebis, et principes sacerdotum et scribæ, et duxerunt ilium in concilium suum, dicentes: Si tu es Christus, dic nobis. Et ait illis: Si vobis dixero, non credetis mihi: si autem et interrogavero, non respondebitis mihi, neque dimittetis. Ex hoc autem erit Filius hominis sedens a dextris virtutis Dei. Dixerunt autem omnes: Tu ergo es Filius Dei? Qui ait: Vos dicitis, quia ego sum. At illi dixerunt: Quid adhuc desideramus testimonium? Ipsi enim audivimus de ore ejus.

Et surgens omnis multitudo eorum, duxerunt ilium ad Pilatum. Cœperunt autem ilium accusare, dicentes: Hunc invenimus subvertentem gentem nostram, et prohibentem tributa dare Cæsari, et dicentem se Christum regem esse. Pilatus autem interrogavit eum, dicens: Tu es Rex Judæorum? At ille respondens, ait: Tu dicis. Ait autem Pilatus ad principes sacerdotum et turbas: Nihil invenio causæ in hoc homine. At illi invalescebant, dicentes: Commovet populum, docens per universam Judæam, incipiens a Galilæa, usque huc. Pilatus autem audiens Galilæam, interrogavit, si homo Galilæus esset. Et ut cognovit, quod de Herodis potestate esset, remisit eum ad Herodem, qui et ipse Jerosolymis erat illis diebus. Herodes autem viso Jesu, gavisus est valde. Erat enim cupiens ex multo tempore videre eum, eo quod audierat multa de eo: et sperabat signum aliquod videre ab eo fieri. Interrogabat autem eum multis sermonibus. At ipse nihil illi respondebat. Stabant autem principes sacerdotum et scribæ constanter accusantes eum: sprevit autem illum Herodes cum exercitu suo: et illusit indutum veste alba, et remisit ad Pilatum. Et facti sunt amici Herodes et Pilatus in ipsa die: nam antea inimici erant ad invicem. Pilatus autem convocatis principibus sacerdotum, et magistratibus, et plebe, dixit ad illos: Obtulistis mihi hunc hominem quasi avertentem populum: et ecce ego coram vobis interrogans nullam causam invenio in homine isto ex his, in quibus eum accusatis. Sed neque Herodes: nam remisi vos ad ilium: et ecce, nihil dignum morte actum est ei. Emendatum ergo illum dimittam.

Necesse autem habebat dimittere eis, per diem festum, unum. Exclamavit autem simul universa turba, dicens: Tolle hunc, et dimitte nobis Barabbam. Qui erat, propter seditionem quamdam factam in civitate et homicidium, missus in carcerem. Iterum autem Pilatus locutus est ad eos, volens dimittere Jesum. At illi succlamabant, dicentes: Crucifige, crucifige eum. Ille autem tertio dixit ad illos: Quid enim mali fecit iste? Nullam causam mortis invenio in eo. Corripiam ergo illum, et dimittam. At illi instabant, vocibus magnis postulantes ut crucifigeretur: et invalescebant voces eorum. Et Pilatus adjudicavit fieri petitionem eorum. Dimisit autem illis eum qui propter homicidium et seditionem missus fuerat in carcerem, quem petebant: Jesum vero tradidit voluntati eorum.

Et cum ducerent eum, apprehenderunt Simonem quemdam Cyrenensem venientem de villa, et imposuerunt illi crucem portare post Jesum. Sequebatur autem ilium multa turba populi, etmulierum, quæ plangebant et lamentabantur eum. Conversus autem ad illas Jesus, dixit: Filiæ Jerusalem, nolite flere super me: sed super vos ipsas flete, et super filios vestros. Quoniam ecce venient dies, in quibus dicent: Beatæ steriles, et ventres qui non genuerunt, et ubera quæ non lactaverunt. Tunc incipient dicere montibus: Cadite super nos: et collibus: Operite nos. Quia si in viridi ligno hæc faciunt, in arido quid fiet? Ducebantur autem et alii duo nequam cum eo, ut interficerentur.

Et postquam venerunt in locum, qui vocatur Calvariæ, ibi crucifixerunt eum, et latrones unum a dextris, et alterum a sinistris. Jesus autem dicebat: Pater, dimitte illis: non enim sciunt quid faciunt. Dividentes vero vestimenta ejus, miserunt sortes. Et stabat populus spectans, et diridebant eum principes cum eis, dicentes: Alios salvos fecit: se salvum faciat, si hic est Christus, Dei electus. Illudebant autem ei et milites, accedentes, et acetum offerentes ei, et dicentes: Si tu es Rex Judæorum, salvum te fac. Erat autem et superscriptio scripta super eum litteris græcis, et latinis, et hebraicis: Hic est Rex Judæorum.

Unus autem de his, qui pendebant latronibus, blasphemabat eum, dicens: Si tu es Christus, salvum fac temetipsum et nos. Respondens autem alter, increpabat eum dicens: Neque tu times Deum, quod in eadem damnatione es? Et nos quidem juste, nam digna factis recipimus: hic vero nihil mali gessit. Et dicebat ad Jesum: Domine, memento mei, cum veneris in regnum tuum. Et dixit illi Jesus: Amen dico tibi: Hodie mecum eris in paradiso.

Erat autem fere hora sexta: et tenebræ factæ sunt in universam terram, usque in horam nonam. Et obscuratus est sol: et velum templi seissum est medium. Et damans voce magna Jesus ait: Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum. Et hæc dicens, exspiravit.
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

Ch. xxii. and xxiii.

At that time: The feast of unleavened bread, which is called the Pasch, was at hand. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might put Jesus to death; but they feared the people. And Satan entered into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariot, one of the twelve; and he went, and discoursed with the chief priests and the magistrates, how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised; and he sought opportunity to betray him in the absence of the multitude.

And the day of the unleavened bread came, on which it was necessary that the Pasch should be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying: Go and prepare for us the Pasch, that we may eat. But they said: Where wilt thou that we prepare? And ho said to them: Behold, as you go into the city, there shall meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in, and you shall say to the good man of the house: The Master saith to thee: Where is the guest-chamber, where I may eat the Pasch with my disciples? and he will show you a large dining-room furnished; and there prepare.

And they going found as he had said to them, and made ready the Pasch; and when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said to them: With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you, before I suffer. For I say to you, that from this time I will not eat it till it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And having taken the chalice he gave thanks and said: Take and divide it among you. For I say to you, that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, till the kingdom of God come. And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake, and gave to them, saying: This is my Body, which is given for you: do this for a commemoration of me. In like manner the chalice also, after he had supped, saying: This is the chalice, the new testament in my Blood, which shall be shed for you. But yet behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And the Son of Man indeed goeth, according to that which is determined; but yet wo to that man by whom he shall be betrayed. And they began to enquire among themselves which of them it was that should do this thing.

And there was also a strife amongst them, which of them should seem to be greater. And he said to them: The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that have power over them are called beneficent. But you not so; but he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger; and he that is the leader, as he that serveth. For which is greater, he that sitteth at table, or he that serveth? Is not he that sitteth at table? But I am in the midst of you, as he that serveth; and you are they who have continued with me in my temptations. And I dispose to you, as my Father hath disposed to me a kingdom: that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and may sit upon thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren. Who said to him: Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said: I say to thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, till thou thrice deniest that thou knowest me. And he said to them: When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, did you want any thing? But they said: Nothing. Then said he unto them: But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and like wise a scrip: and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword. For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me: And with the wicked was he reckoned: for the things concerning me have an end. But they said: Lord, here are two swords. And he said to them: It is enough.

And going out, he went according to his custom to the mount of Olives. And his disciples also followed him. And when he was come to the place, he said to them: Pray, lest ye enter into temptation. And he was withdrawn away from them a stone’s cast; and kneeling down he prayed, saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me; but yet not my will but thine be done. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow. And he said to them: Why sleep you? Arise, pray, lest you enter into temptation.

As he was yet speaking, behold a multitude; and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near to Jesus for to kiss him. And Jesus said to him: Judas, dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss? And they that were about him, seeing what would follow, said to him: Lord, shall we strike with the sword? And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answering, said: Suffer ye thus far. And when he had touched his ear, he healed him. And Jesus said to the chief priests and magistrates of the temple, and the ancients that were come unto him: Are you come out, as it were against a thief, with swords and clubs? When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hands against me. But this is your hour and the power of darkness.

And apprehending him, they led him to the high priest’s house: but Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were sitting about it, Peter was in the midst of them. Whom when a certain servant maid had seen sitting at the light, and had earnestly beheld him, she said: This man also was with him. But he denied him saying: Woman, I know him not. And after a little while, another seeing him, said: Thou also art one of them. But Peter said: O man, I am not. And after the space as it were of one hour, another certain man affirmed, saying: Of a truth this man was also with him: for he is also a Galilean.

And Peter said: Man, I know not what thou gayest. And immediately as he was yet speaking, the cock crew. And the Lord turning looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, as he had said: Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter going out wept bitterly.

And the men that held him, mocked him, and struck him. And they blindfolded him, and smote his face. And they asked him, saying: Prophesy, who is it that struck thee? And blaspheming, many other things they said against him. And as soon as it was day, the ancients of the people, and the chief priests and scribes came together, and they brought him into their council, saying: If thou be the Christ, tell us. And he saith to them: If I shall tell you, you will not believe me; and if I shall also ask you, you will not answer me, nor let me go. But hereafter the Son of man shall be sitting on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all: Art thou then the Son of God? Who said: You say that I am. And they said: What need we any further testimony? For we ourselves have heard it from his own mouth.

And the whole multitude of them rising up, led him away to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying: We have found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, and saying that he is Christ the King. And Pilate asked him saying: Art thou the King of the Jews? But he answering, said: Thou sayest it. But Pilate said to the chief priests and to the multitude: I find no cause in this man. But they were more earnest, saying: He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place. But Pilate hearing Galilee, asked if the man were of Galilee. And when he understood that he was of Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him away to Herod, who was also himself at Jerusalem in those days. And Herod seeing Jesus was very glad, for he was desirous of a long time to see him, because he had heard many things of him: and he hoped to see some sign wrought by him. And he questioned him in many words. But he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and the scribes stood by, earnestly accusing him. And Herod with his army set him at nought and mocked him, putting on him a white garment, and sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate were made friends that same day: for before they were enemies one to another. Then Pilate calling together the chief priests, and the magistrates, and the people, said to them: You have presented unto me this man, as one that perverteth the people: and behold I, having examined him before you, find no cause in this man, in those things wherein you accuse him. No, nor Herod neither. For I sent you to him, and behold, nothing worthy of death is done to him. I will chastise him therefore and release him.

Now of necessity he was to release unto them one upon the feast day. But the whole multitude together cried out saying: Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas. Who, for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison. And Pilate again spoke to them, desiring to release Jesus. But they cried again, saying: Crucify him, crucify him. And he said to them the third time: Why, what evil hath this man done? I find no cause of death in him. I will chastise him therefore, and let him go. But they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified; and their voices prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. And he released unto them him who for murder and sedition had been cast into prison, whom they had desired: but Jesus he delivered up to their will.

And as they led him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country: and they laid the cross on him to carry after Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For behold the days shall come, wherein they will say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills: Cover us. For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry? And there were also two other malefactors led with him to be put to death.

And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, they crucified him there; and the robbers, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But they dividing his garments, cast lots. And the people stood beholding, and the rulers with them derided him, saying: He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the elect of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him and offering him vinegar, and Baying: If thou be the King of the Jews, save thyself. And there was also a superscription written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew: This is the King of the Jews.

And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering, rebuked him saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done no evil. And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom. And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.

And it was almost the sixth hour; and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened; and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And Jesus crying with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost.


Here a pause is made, as on Palm Sunday. All kneel down, and, if such be the custom of the place, they prostrate and kiss the ground.

Videns autem centuno quod factum fuerat, glorificavt Deum, dicens: Vere hic homo justus erat. Et omnis turba eorum, qui simul aderant ad spectaculum istud, et videbant quæ fiebant, percutientes pectora sua, revertebantur. Stabant autem omnes noti ejus a longe et mulieres, quæ secutæ eum erant a Galilæa, hæc videntes.
Now the centurion seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: Indeed this was a just man. And all the multitude of them that were come together to that sight, and saw the things that were done, returned striking their breasts. And all his acquaintance, and the women that had followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

Here the deacon offers the incense to the priest, that he may bless it; and, having himself received a blessing, he concludes the history of the Passion, observing the ceremonies used for singing the Gospel at High Mass.

Et ecce vir nomine Joseph, qui erat decurio, vir bonus et justus: hic non consenserat consilio et actibus eorum: ab Arimathæa civitate Judææ: qui exspectabat et ipse regnum Dei. Hic accessit ad Pilatum, et petiit corpus Jesu. Et depositum involvit sindone: et posuit eum in monumento exciso, in quo nondum quisquam positus fuerat.
And behold there was a man named Joseph, who was a counsellor, a good and just man, (the same had not consented to their counsel and doings,) of Arimathea, a city of Judaea, who also himself looked for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. And taking him down he wrapped him in fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid.

The words of the Offertory are those of Jesus, suppliantly beseeching His eternal Father not to turn away His face from His own Son, who is a prey to every suffering, both of body and mind.

Offertory

Domine, exaudi orationem meam: et clamor meus ad te perveniat: ne avertas faciem tuam a me.
Hear, O Lord, my prayer; and let my cry come to thee: turn not away thy face from me.

In the Secret the Church prays that we may have a tender devotion for the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in which the Passion of our Saviour is daily commemorated.

Secret

Suscipe, quæsumus, Domine, munus oblatum, et dignanter operare: ut quod Passionis Filii tui Domini nostri mysterio gerimus, piis affectibus consequamur. Per eundem.
Accept, O Lord, we beseech thee, the offerings we have made: and mercifully grant that we may receive, with pious sentiments, what we celebrate in the mystery of the Passion of our Lord. Through the same, &c.

For the other Secret, see page 116.


The Church takes her Communion-anthem from the same Psalm, which supplied her with the Tract and Offertory, namely Psalm ci.

Communion

Potum meum cum fletu temperabam: quia elevans allisisti me: et ego sicut fænum arui: tu autem, Domine, in æternum permanes: tu exsurgens misereberis Sion, quia venit tempus miserendi ejus.
I mingled my drink with weeping; for having lifted me up thou hast thrown me down, and I am withered like grass; but thou, O Lord, endurest for ever: thou shalt arise, and have mercy on Sion; because the time to have mercy on her is come.

The death of Jesus should be to us an unceasing motive for confidence in the divine mercy. This confidence is one of the first conditions of our salvation. The Church asks it for us in the Postcommunion.

Postcommunion

Largire sensibus nostris omnipotens Deus: ut, per temporalem Filii tui mortem, quam mysteria veneranda testantur, vitam te nobis dedisse perpetuam confidamus. Per eumdem.
Grant, O almighty God, that we may have a lively hope that thou hast given us eternal life by the temporal death of thy Son, represented in these adorable mysteries. Through the same, &c.

See the other Postcommunion on page 117.


Oremus

Humiliate capita vestra Deo. Respice, quæsumus, Domine, super hanc familiam tuam: pro qua Dominus noster Jesus Christus non dubitavit manibus tradi nocentium, et crucis subire tormentum. Qui tecum, &c.
Let Us Pray

Bow down your heads to God. Look down, O Lord, we beseech thee, on this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ hesitated not to be delivered into the hands of wicked men, and undergo the punishment of the cross. Who liveth, &c.

 


On this and the two following days, the Church anticipates the night Office; she celebrates it on the previous evening of each day, and this in order that the faithful may be present at it. The Matins and Lauds of Maundy Thursday, are, therefore, said this afternoon. The faithful should make every effort to assist at this solemn Office, seeing it is on their account that the Church has changed her usual hours. As to the merit there is in joining in it, there can be no doubt that it is to be preferred to any private devotions. The surest means for obtaining favours from God, and winning Him to our requests, is to approach Him through the Church. And as regards the feelings of devotion wherewith we ought to celebrate the mysteries of these three great days, the Offices of the Church are, ordinarily speaking, a surer and richer source than the exercises of piety composed by men. The soul that feeds on the words and ceremonies of the holy liturgy, will be all the more disposed to profit by the private devotions she practises at home. The prayer of the Church will thus become the basis, whereon is built the edifice of Christian piety during these glorious anniversaries of our Redemption: and we shall be imitating our forefathers who lived in the ages of faith, and who were such admirable Christians because they lived the life of the Church, by means of the sacred liturgy.

The Office of Tenebræ for to-day is given below, on Maundy Thursday, page 301.

As an appropriate exercise for the close of this day, we offer our readers the following stanzas from a hymn of the Greek liturgy; they allude to the mysteries we have been explaining.

Hymn
(In Parasceve)

Hodie Judas Magistrum derelinquit, et diabolum assumit: obcæcatur passione amoris pecuniæ: decidit a lumine, obscuratus est ille. Quomodo namque videre poterat ille qui Luminare vendidit triginta argenteis? Sed nobis exortus est ille, qui passus est pro mundo. Ad quem clamemus: Qui passus es, et compassus es hominibus, gloria tibi.

Quænam te ratio, Juda, Salvatoris proditorem effecit? Numquid ille ab apostolorum techoro segregavit? Numquid sanitatum te gratia privavit? Numquid cum cœnaret una cum illis, a mensa te expulit? Numquid aliorum cum lavisset pedes tuos neglexit? O quantorum factus es immemor beneficiorum! et tuum sane consilium ingratum infamia notatur: illius autem prædicatur incomparabilis patientia et misericordia magna.

Dicite iniqui quidnam a Salvatore nostro audistis? Nonne Legem ac documenta Prophetarum exposuit? Quomodo ergo Verbum quod ex Deo est, et nostras animas redimit, Pilato tradere cogitastis?

Crucifigatur, clamabant ii qui tuis semper muneribus fuerant delectati; petebantque ut malefactorem acciperent pro benefactore interfectores illi justorum. Sed tacebas, Christe, eorum proterviam sustinens: volens pati, nosque salvare, ut hominum amans.

Loquendi libertatem non habemus propter multa peccata nostra; tu ex te genitum exora, Virgo Deipara: multum enim valet deprecatio Matris apud clementiam Domini. Ne de spicias peccatorum supplicationes, O castissima; quia misericors est et potens ad salvandum, is qui pro nobis etiam pati sustinuit.
On this day, Judas leaves his Master, and takes the devil for his guide. The love of money blinds him. He fell from the light, he became darkened: for how could he be said to see, who sold the Light for thirty pieces of silver? But to us he that suffered for the world has risen: let us thus cry out unto him: Glory be to thee, who didst endure thy Passion, and hadst compassion on mankind.

What was it, O Judas! that led thee to betray Jesus? Had be cut thee off from the number of his apostles? Had he deprived thee of the gift of healing the sick? When he supped with his apostles did he drive thee from table? When he washed their feet, did he pass thee by? And yet thou wast unmindful of these great favours! Thy ungrateful plot has branded thee with infamy: but his incomparable patience and great mercy are everywhere praised.

Say, O ye unjust ones! what is it ye have heard from our Saviour? Did he not expound unto you the Law and the Prophets? Why therefore, have ye plotted how to deliver up to Pilate the Word that is from God, and that came to redeem our souls?

They that had enjoyed thy unceasing gifts cried out: ‘Let him be crucified!’ These murderers of such as were innocent, sought thee, that they might treat thee, their benefactor, as an evil-doer. But thou, O Christ! didst bear their wickedness with silence; for thou, being the lover of mankind, didst desire to suffer for and save us.

We are prevented from speaking by the multitude of our sins: do thou, O VirginMother of God! pray for us to him that was born of thee, for the Mother’s prayer avails much with the mercy of our Lord. Despise not, O most pure Virgin! the prayers of sinners, for he that refused not even to suffer for us, is merciful, and is able to save us.

We subjoin the following beautiful Preface from the Ambrosian missal: it expresses, in a most touching manner, the sentiments which a Christian should have within him on this vigil of our Lord’s Supper.

Preface

Dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper hic et ubique gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, per Christum Dominum nostrum, qui innocens pro impiis voluit pati, et pro sceleratis indebite condemnari. Cujus mors delicta nostra detersit, et resurrectio Paradisi fores nobis reseravit. Per quem tuam pietatem suppliciter exoramus; ut nos hodie a peccatis emacules; crasvero venerabilis Cœnæ dapibus saties; hodie acceptes nostrorum confessionem delictorum: cras vero tribuas spiritualium incrementa donorum: hodie jejuniorum nostrorum vota suscipias; cras vero nos ad sanctissimæ Cœnæ convivium introducas. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
It is meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should ever, here and in all places, give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, through Christ our Lord: who, being innocent, willed to suffer for sinners, and be unjustly condemned for the guilty. His death wiped away our crimes, and his Resurrection opened for us the gates of heaven. Through him we beseech thy clemency, that, today, thou cleanse us from our sins, and, tomorrow, feed us on the banquet of the venerable Supper; that, to-day, thou receive the confession of our faults, and, to-morrow, grant us the increase of spiritual gifts; that, to-day, thou receive the offering of our fasts, but, to-morrow, introduce us to the feast of the most holy Supper. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

[1] St. Matt. xxvi. 15.
[2] Ibid, xxvii. 9. Zach. xi. 12.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Office of Matins and Lauds, for the last three days of Holy Week, differs, in many things, from that of the rest of the year. All is sad and mournful, as though it were a funeral-service: nothing could more emphatically express the grief that now weighs down the heart of our holy mother the Church. Throughout all the Office of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, she forbids herself the use of those formulas of joy and hope, wherewith, on all other days, she begins her praise of God. The Domine, labia mea aperies (O Lord, thou shalt open my lips): the Deus, in adjutorium meum intende (Incline unto mine aid, O God): the Gloria Patri, at the end of the psalms, canticles, and responsories—all are taken away. So likewise are those soul-stirring additions, which have been gradually made in the different ages; and nothing is left but what is essential to the form of the Divine Office: psalms, lessons, and chants expressive of grief. Each Canonical Hour ends with the psalm Miserere, and with a commemoration of the death and cross of our Redeemer.

The name of Tenebræ has been given to the Matins and Lauds of the last three days of Holy Week, because this Offioe used formerly to be celebrated during the night; and even when the hour was anticipated, the name of Tenebrœ was kept up for another reason, namely, that it began with day-light, but ended after the sun had set. There is an impressive ceremony, peculiar to this Office, which tends to perpetuate its name. There is placed in the sanctuary, near the altar, a large triangular candlestick, holding fifteen candles. These candles, and the six that are on the altar, are of yellow wax, as in the Office for the dead. At the end of each psalm or canticle, one of these fifteen candles is extinguished; but the one which is placed at the top of the triangle is left lighted. During the singing of the Benedictus, at Lauds, the six candles on the altar are also put out. Then the master of ceremonies takes the lighted candle from the triangle, and holds it upon the altar, on the epistle side, while the choir repeats the antiphon after the canticle: after which he hides it behind the altar during the recitation of the Miserere and the prayer which follows the psalm. As soon as this prayer is finished, a noise is made with the seats of the stalls in the choir, which continues until the candle is brought from behind the altar, and shows, by its light, that the Office of Tenebrœ is over.

Let us now study the meaning of these ceremonies. The glory of the Son of God was obscured, and, so to say, eclipsed, by the ignominies He endured during His Passion. He, the Light of the world, powerful in word and work, who, but a few days ago, was proclaimed King by the citizens of Jerusalem, is now robbed of all His honours; He is, says Isaias, the Man of sorrows, a leper;[1] He is, says the royal prophet, a worm of the earth, and no man;[2] He is, as He says of Himself, an object of shame even to His own disciples, for they are all scandalized in Him,[3] and abandon Him; yea, even Peter protests that he never knew Him. This desertion on the part of His apostles and disciples is expressed by the candles being extinguished, one after the other, not only on the triangle, but on the altar itself. But Jesus, our Light, though despised and hidden, is not extinguished. This is signified by the candle which is momentarily placed on the altar; it figures our Redeemer suffering and dying on Calvary. In order to express His burial, the candle is hidden behind the altar; its light disappears. A confused noise is heard in the house of God, where all is now darkness. This noise and gloom express the convulsions of nature, when Jesus expired on the cross: the earth shook, the rocks were split, the dead came forth from their tombs. But the candle suddenly reappears; its light is as fair as ever; the noise is hushed, and homage is paid to the Conqueror of death.

After having given these general explanations we now offer the faithful the text of the liturgy, to which we subjoin a few words of commentary, where we think it needed.

 

MATINS

 

After the Pater, Ave, and Credo, have been said secretly, the first Nocturn begins as follows.

 

THE FIRST NOCTURN

 

The first psalm was written by David, when obliged to flee from the persecution of his son Absalom, who sought his death. It refers to Christ, and describes various incidents of His Passion. The gall and vinegar, here mentioned, show us that this psalm is prophetic, for David never received any such treatment from his enemies.

Ant. Zelus domus tuæ comedit me, et opprobria exprobrantium tibi ceciderunt super me.
Ant. The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee, are fallen upon me.

Psalm 68

Salvum me fac, Deus: quoniam intraverunt aquæ usque ad animam meam.
Infixus sum in limo profundi: et non est substantia.
Veni in altitudinem maris: et tempestas demersit me.
Laboravi damans, raucæ factæ sunt fauces meæ: defecerunt oculi mei, dum spero in Deum meum.
Multiplicati sunt super capillos capitis mei: qui oderunt me gratis.
Confortati sunt qui persecuti sunt me inimici mei injuste: quæ non rapui, tunc exsolvebam.
Deus, tu scis insipientiam meam: et delicta mea a te non sunt abscondita.
Non erubescant in me, qui exspectant te, Domine: Domine virtutum.
Non confundantur super me: qui quærunt te Deus Israel.
Quoniam propter te sustinui opprobrium: operuit confusio faciem meam.
Extraneus factus sum fratribus meis: et peregrinus filiis matris meæ.
Quoniam zelus domus tuæ comedit me: et opprobria exprobrantium tibi ceciderunt super me.
Et operui in jejunio ani-
mam meam: et factum est in opprobrium mihi.
Et posui vestimentum meum cilicium: et factus sum illis in parabolam.
Adversum me loquebantur qui sedebant in porta: et in me psallebant qui bibebant vinum.
Ego vero orationem meam ad te, Domine: tempus beneplaciti Deus.
In multitudine misericordiæ tuæ exaudi me: in veritate salutis tuæ.
Eripe me de luto, ut non infigar: libera me ab iis qui oderunt me, et de profundis aquarum.
Non me demergat tempestas aquæ, neque absorbeat me profundum: neque urgeat super me puteus os suum.
Exaudi me, Domine, quoniam benigna est misericordia tua: secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum respice in me.
Et ne avertas faciem tuam a puero tuo: quoniam tribulor, velociter exaudi me.
Intende animæ meæ et libera eam: propter inimicos meos eripe me.
Tu scis improperium meum, et confusionem meam: et reverentiam meam.
In conspectu tuo sunt omnes qui tribulant me: improperium exspectavit cor meum et miseriam.
Et sustinui qui simul contristaretur, et non fuit: et qui consolaretur, et non inveni.
Et dederunt in escam meam fel: et in siti mea potaverunt me aceto.
Fiat mensa eorum coram ipsis in laqueum: et in retributiones, et in scandalum.
Obscurentur oculi eorum ne videant: et dorsum eorum semper incurva.
Effunde super eos iram tuam: et furor iræ tuæ comprehendat eos.
Fiat habitatio eorum deserta: et in tabernaculis eorum non sit qui inhabitet.
Quoniam quem tu percussisti, persecuti sunt: et super dolorem vulnerum meorum addiderunt.
Appone iniquitatem super iniquitatem eorum: et non intrent injustitiam tuam.
Deleantur de libro viventium: et cum justis non scribantur.
Ego sum pauper et dolens: salus tua Deus suscepit me.
Laudabo nomen Dei cum cantico: et magnificabo eum in laude.
Et placebit Deo super vitulum novellum: cornua producentem et ungulas.
Videant pauperes et lætentur: quærite Deum, et vivet anima vestra.
Quoniam exaudivit pauperes Dominus: et vinctos suos non despexit.
Laudent ilium cœli et terra: mare et omnia reptilia in eis.
Quoniam Deus salvam faciet Sion: et ædificabuntur civitates Juda.
Et inhabitabunt ibi: et hæreditate acquirent eam.
Et semen servorum ejus possidebit eam: et qui diligunt nomen ejus habitabunt in ea.

Ant. Zelus domus tuæ comedit me, et opprobria exprobrantium tibi cecide runt super me.
Save me, O God: for the waters are come in even unto my soul.
I stick fast in the mire of the deep: and there is no sure standing.
I am come into the depth of the sea: and a tempest hath overwhelmed me.
I have laboured with crying: my jaws are become hoarse: my eyes have failed, whilst I hope in my God.
They are multiplied above the hairs of my head, who hate me without cause.
My enemies are grown strong, who have wrongfully persecuted me: then did I pay that which I took not away.
O God thou knowest my foolishness; and my offences, the offences which I have taken upon myself, are not hid from thee.
Let them not be ashamed for me, who look for thee, O Lord, the Lord of hosts.
Let them not be confounded on my account, who seek thee, O God of Israel.
Because for thy sake I have borne reproach: shame hath covered my face.
I am become a stranger to my brethren, and an alien to the sons of my mother.
For the zeal of thy house hath eaten me up: and the reproaches of them that reproached thee, are fallen upon me.
And I covered my soul in
fasting and it was made a reproach to me.
And I made hair-cloth my garment: and I became a byword to them.
They that sat in the gate spoke against me: and they that drank wine made me their song.
But as for me, my prayer is to thee, O Lord: for the time of thy good pleasure, O God.
In the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
Draw me out of the mire, that I may not stick fast: deliver me from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
Let not the tempest of water drown me, nor the deep swallow me up: and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
Hear me, O Lord, for thy mercy is kind: look upon me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.
And turn not away thy face from thy servant: for I am in trouble, hear me speedily.
Attend to my soul, and deliver it; save me because of my enemies.
Thou knowest my reproach, and my confusion, and my shame.
In thy sight are all they that afflict me; my heart hath experienced reproach and misery.
And I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none.
And they gave me gall for my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Let their table become as a snare before them, and a recompense, and a stumbling block.
Let their eyes be darkened that they see not: and their back bow thou down always.
Pour out thy indignation upon them: and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.
Let their habitation be made desolate: and let there be none to dwell in their tabernacles.
Because they have persecuted him whom thou hast smitten: and they have added to the grief of my wounds.
Add thou iniquity upon their iniquity: and let them not come into thy justice.
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living: and with the just let them not be written.
But I am poor and sorrowful: thy salvation, O God, hath set me up.
I will praise the name of God with a canticle: and I will magnify him with praise.
And it shall please God better than a young calf, that bringeth forth horns and hoofs.
Let the poor see and rejoice: Seek ye God, and your soul shall live.
For the Lord hath heard the poor, and hath not despised his prisoners.
Let the heavens and the earth praise him; the sea, and every thing that creepeth therein.
For God will save Sion: and the cities of Juda shall be built up.
And they shall dwell there, and acquire it by inheritance.
And the seed of his servants shall possess it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.

Ant. The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee, are fallen upon me.

The second psalm was written by David, under the same circumstances as the previous one. He begs God to defend him against the enemies that are seeking to destroy him. This psalm is prophetic of the lot reserved to the Messias.

Ant. Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant, qui cogitant mihi mala.
Ant. Let them that devise evils against me be turned back, and let them blush for shame.

Psalm 69

Deus in adjutorium meum intende: Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.
Confundantur et revereantur: qui quærunt animam meam.
Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant: qui volunt mihi mala.
Avertantur statim erubescentes: qui dicunt mihi: Euge, euge.
Exsultent et lætentur in te omnes qui quærunt te: et dicant semper: Magnificetur Dominus, qui diligunt salutare tuum.
Ego vero egenus et pauper sum: Deus adjuva me.
Adjutor meus et liberator meus es tu: Domine ne moreris.

Ant. Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant, qui cogitant mihi mala.
O God, come to my assistance: O Lord, make haste to help me.
Lot them be confounded and ashamed that seek my soul.
Let them be turned backward, and blush for shame, that desire evils to me.
Let them presently be turned away blushing for shame, that say to me: ‘Tis well, ‘tis well.
Let all that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say always: The Lord be magnified.
But I am needy and poor; O God, help me.
Thou art my helper and my deliverer: O Lord make no delay.

Ant. Let them that devise evils against me, be turned back, and let them blush for shame.

The third psalm refers to the same period of David’s life; but whilst it describes the dangers to which this holy king was exposed, it also expresses the wonderful confidence he had that God would crown him with victory over all his enemies. In its prophetic signification, this psalm shows us how the Man-God, even in the lowest depths of His anguish, confided in His Father’s help.

Ant. Deus meus, eripe me de manu peccatons.
Ant. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the sinner.

Psalm 70

In te Domine speravi, non confundar in aeternum: in justitia tua libera me, et eripe me.
Inclina ad me aurem tuam: et salva me.
Esto mihi in Deum protectorem et in locum munitum: ut salvum me facias.
Quoniam firmamentum meum: et refugium meum es tu.
Deus meus, eripe me de manu peccatoris: et de manu contra legem agentis et iniqui.
Quoniam tu es patientia mea, Domine: Domine, spes mea a juventute mea.
In te confirmatus sum ex utero: de ventre matris meæ tu es protector meus.
In te cantatio mea semper: tamquam prodigium factus sum multis; et tu adjutor fortis.
Repleatur os meum laude, ut cantem gloriam tuam: tota die magnitudinem tuam.
Ne projicias me in tempore senectutis: cum defecerit virtus mea, ne derelinquas me.
Quia dixerunt inimici mei mihi: et qui custodiebant animam meam consilium fecerunt in unum.
Dicentes: Deus dereliquit eum, persequimini et comprehendite eum: quia non est qui eripiat.
Deus ne elongeris a me: Deus meus in auxilium meum respice.
Confundantur et deficiant detrabentes animæ meæ: operiantur confusione et pudore, qui quærunt mala mihi.
Ego autem semper sperabo: et adjiciam super omnem laudem tuam.
Os meum annuntiavit justitiam tuam: tota die salutare tuum.
Quoniam non cognovi litteraturam, introibo in potentias Domini: Domine, memorabor justitiæ tuæ solius.
Deus docuisti me a juventute mea: et usque nunc pronuntiabo mirabilia tua.
Et usque in senectam et senium: Deus ne derelinquas me.
Donec annuntiem brachium tuum: generationi omni, quæ ventura est.
Potentiam tuam, et justitiam tuam Deus usque in altissima, quæ fecisti magnalia: Deus quis similis tibi?
Quantas ostendisti mihi tribulationes multas et malas: et conversus vivificasti me: et de abyssis terræ iterum reduxisti me.
Multiplicasti magnificentiam tuam: et conversus consolatus es me.
Nam et ego confitebor tibi in vasis psalmi veritatem tuam: Deus, psallam tibi in cithara, sanctus Israel.
Exsultabunt labia mea cum cantavero tibi; et anima mea, quam redemisti.
Sed et lingua mea tota die meditabitur justitiam tuam: cum confusi et re venti fuerint qui quærunt mala mihi.

Ant. Deus meus, eripe me de manu peccatoris.
In thee, O Lord, I have hoped, let me never be put to confusion: deliver me in thy justice, and rescue me.
Incline thine ear unto me, and save me.
Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a place of strength, that thou mayst make me safe.
For thou art my firmament and my refuge.
Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the sinner, and out of the hand of the transgressor of the law, and of the unjust.
For thou art my patience, O Lord: my hope, O Lord, from my youth.
By thee have I been confirmed from the womb: from my mother’s womb thou art my protector.
Of thee shall I continually sing: I am become unto many as a wonder: but thou art a strong helper.
Let my mouth be filled with praise, that I may sing thy glory: thy greatness all the day long.
Cast me not off in the time of old age; when my strength shall fail, do not thou forsake me.
For my enemies have spoken against me; and they that watched my soul have consulted together.
Saying: God hath forsaken him: pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him.
O God, be not thou far from me: O my God, make haste to help me.
Let them be confounded and come to nothing that detract my soul: let them be covered with confusion and shame that seek my hurt.
But I will always hope: and will add to thy praise.
My mouth shall show forth thy justice: thy salvation all the day long.
Because I have not known learning, I will enter into the powers of the Lord: O Lord, I will be mindful of thy justice alone.
Thou hast taught me, O God, from my youth, and till now I will declare thy wonderful works.
And unto old age and grey hairs, O God, forsake me not.
Until I show forth thy arm to all the generation that is to come.
Thy power, and thy justice, O God, even to the highest; great things thou hast done; O God, who is like to thee?
How great troubles hast thou showed me, many and grievous: and turning thou hast brought me to life, and hast brought me back again from the depths of the earth.
Thou hast multiplied thy magnificence; and turning to me, thou hast comforted me.
I will also give praise to thee: I will extol thy truth with the instruments of psaltery: O God, I will sing to thee with the harp, thou holy one of Israel.
My lips shall greatly rejoice when I shall sing to thee: and my soul which thou hast redeemed.
Yea and my tongue also shall meditate on thy justice ail the day: when they shall be confounded and put to shame that seek evils to me.

Ant. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the sinner.

℣. Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant.
℟. Qui cogitant mihi mala.
℣. Let them be turned back, and let them blush for shame.
℟. That devise evil things against me.

Here is said the Pater noster, but all in secret.

The lessons of the first nocturn for each of these three days are taken from the Lamentations of Jeremias, which describe the miserable state of Jerusalem, when, in punishment for her idolatry, her people were led captive into Babylon. How visibly is the anger of God shown in these ruins of the great city, over which Jeremias pours forth his inspired words of mourning! And yet, this first disaster was but a figure of a more terrible one to come. When the Assyrians took Jerusalem, and well nigh reduced her to a wilderness, she lost not her name; and the very prophet who laments over her destruction had foretold that the desolation was not to last beyond seventy years. But in her second destruction, the faithless city forfeited even her name. Rebuilt by her conquerors, she went, for two hundred years, under the name of Ælia Adriana; and when, after peace was granted to the Church, she was again called Jerusalem, it was not a restitution of honour to Juda, but a homage that was paid to the God of the Christians, whom Juda had crucified in her capital. Neither St. Helen’s and Constantine’s devotedness, nor the heroism of the crusaders, could raise Jerusalem to the position of even a second-rate city; she is doomed to be a slave, and a slave to infidels, to all but the very end of time. She drew this frightful curse upon herself by the crimes she committed against the Son of God; and nothing could give us a better idea of the enormity of those crimes, than the plaintive words of such a prophet as Jeremias. This is the reason that his Lamentations are chosen for the lessons of Tenebræ. The mournful chant to which they are sung is probably the one used by the Jews themselves. The names of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, which divide the stanzas of this inspired elegy, show us that it was written by the prophet as an acrostic. The Jewish custom of singing these Lamentations has been retained in the Christian Church.

First Lesson

Incipit Lamentatio Jeremiæ Prophetæ.
(Cap. i.)

Aleph. Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo! facta est quasi vidua domina gentium, princeps provinciarum facta est sub tributo.

Beth. Plorans ploravit in nocte et lacrymæ ejus in maxillis ejus: non est qui consoletur eam ex omnibus charis ejus. Omnes amici ejus spreverunt eam, et facti sunt ei inimici.

Ghimel. Migravit Judas propter afflictionem, et multitudinem servitutis: habitavit inter gentes, nec invenit requiem. Omnes persecutores ejus apprehenderunt eam inter angustias.

Daleth. Viæ Sion lugent, eo quod non sint qui veniant ad solemnitatem: omnes portæ ejus destructæ, sacerdotes ejus gementes, virgines ejus squalidæ, et ipsa oppressa amaritudine.

He. Facti sunt hostes ejus in capite, inimici ejus locupletati sunt: quia Dominus locutus est super eam propter multitudinem iniquitatum ejus. Parvuli ejus ducti sunt in captivitatem, ante faciem tribulantis.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
Here beginneth the Lamentation of Jeremias the Prophet.
(Ch. i.)

Aleph. How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is the mistress of nations become as a widow: the princes of provinces made tributary!

Beth. Weeping she hath wept in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: there is none to comfort her among all them that were dear to her: all her friends have despised her, and are become her enemies.

Ghimel. Juda hath removed her dwelling-place because of her affliction, and the greatness of her bondage: she hath dwelt among the nations, and she hath found no rest: all her persecutors have taken her in the midst of straits.

Daleth. The ways of Sion mourn, because there are none that come to the solemn feast: all her gates are broken down: her priests sigh, her virgins are in affliction, and she is oppressed with bitterness.

He. Her adversaries are become her lords, her enemies are enriched: because the Lord hath spoken against her for the multitude of her iniquities: her children are led into captivity, before the face of the oppressor.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. In Monte Oliveti oravit ad Patrem: Pater, si fieri potest, transeat a me calix iste: * Spiritus quidem promptus est, caro autem infirma.

. Vigilate, et orate, ut non intretis in tentationem. * Spiritus quidem promptus est: caro autem infirma.
℟. He prayed to his Father on Mount Olivet: Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me: * the spirit, indeed, is willing, but the flesh is weak.

. Watch and pray, that ye may not enter into temptation. * The spirit, indeed, is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Second Lesson

Vau. Et egressus est a filia Sion omnis decor ejus: facti sunt principes ejus velut arietes non invenientes pascua, et abierunt absque fortitudine, ante faciem subsequentis.

Zain. Recordata est Jerusalem dierum afflictionis suæ, et prævaricationis omnium desiderabilium suorum, quæ habuerat a diebus antiquis, cum caderet populus ejus in manu hostili, et non esset auxiliator. Viderunt eam hostes, et deriserunt sabbata ejus.

Heth. Peccatum peccavit Jerusalem; propterea instabilis facta est. Omnes qui glorificabant eam, spreverunt illam: quia viderunt ignominiam ejus. Ipsa autem gemens conversa est retrorsum.

Teth. Sordes ejus in pedibus ejus, nec recordata est finis sui. Deposita est vehementer, non habens consolatorem. Vide, Domine, afflictionem meam: quoniam erectus est inimicus.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
Vau. And from the daughter of Sion all her beauty is departed: her princes are become like rams that find no pastures: and they are gone away without strength before the face of the pursuer.

Zain. Jerusalem hath remembered the days of her affliction, and prevarication of ail her desirable things, which she had from the days of old, when her people fell in the enemy’s hand, and there was no helper: the enemies have seen her, and have mocked at her sabbaths.

Heth. Jerusalem hath grievously sinned, therefore is she become unstable: all that honoured her have despised her, because they have seen her shame: but she sighed and turned backward.

Teth. Her filthiness is on her feet, and she hath not remembered her end: she is wonderfully cast down, not having a comforter: behold, O Lord, my affliction, because the enemy is lifted up.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem: sustinete hic, et vigilate mecum: nunc videbitis turbam quæ circumdabit me: * Vos fugam capietis, et ego vadam immolari pro vobis.

. Ecce appropinquat hora, et Filius hominis tradetur in manus peccatorum. * Vos fugam capietis, et ego vadam immolali pro Vobis.
℟. My soul is sorrowful even to death: stay here, and watch with me: now ye shall see a multitude, that will surround me: * Ye will take to flight, and I shall go to be sacrificed for you.

. Behold the hour is at hand, when the Son of Man shall be delivered into the hands of sinners. * Ye will take to flight, and I shall go to be sacrificed for you.

Third Lesson

Jod. Manum suam misit hostis ad omnia desiderabilia ejus: quia vidit gentes ingressas sanctuarium suum, de quibus præceperas ne intrarent in ecclesiam tuam.

Caph. Omnis populus ejus gemens, et quærens panem, dederunt pretiosa quæque pro cibo ad refocillandam animam. Vide, Domine, et considera, quoniam facta sum vilis.

Lamed. O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite, et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus: quoniam vindemiavit me, ut locutus est Dominus in die iræ furoris sui.

Mem. De excelso misit ignem in ossibus meis, et erudivit me: expandit rete pedibus meis, convertit me retrorsum: posuit me desolatam tota die mœrore confectam.

Nun. Vigilavit juguminiquitatum mearum: in manu ejus convolutæ sunt, et impositæ collo meo: infirmata est virtus mea: dedit me Dominus in manu, de qua non potero surgere.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
Jod. The enemy hath put out his hand to all her desirable things: for she hath seen the Gentiles enter into her sanctuary, of whom thou gavest commandment that they should not enter into thy church.

Caph. All her people sigh, they seek bread: they have given all their precious things for food to relieve the soul. See, O Lord, and consider, for I am become vile.

Lamed. O all ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow: for he hath made a vintage of me, as the Lord spoke in the day of his fierce anger.

Mem. From above he hath sent fire into my bones, and hath chastised me: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back; he hath made me desolate, wasted with sorrow all the day long.

Nun. The yoke of my iniquities hath watched for me: they are folded together in his hand, and put upon my neck: my strength is weakened; the Lord hath delivered me into a hand, out of which I am not able to rise.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Ecce vidimus eum non habentem speciem, neque decorem; aspectus ejus in eo non est: hic peccata nostra portavit et pro nobis dolet: ipse autem vulneratus est propter iniquitates nostras: * Cujus livore sanati sumus.

℣. Vere languores nostros ipse tulit, et dolores nostros ipse portavit. * Cujus livore sanati sumus.

Here is repeated: Ecce vidimus.
℟. Lo! we have seen him as one not having beauty nor comeliness; there is no sightliness in him: he hath borne our sins, and he grieves for us: and he was wounded for our iniquities: * By his wounds we have been healed.

. Surely he hath borne our infirmities, and carried our sorrows. * By his wounds we have been healed.

Here is repeated: Lo! we have seen.

 

THE SECOND NOCTURN

 

The fourth psalm, which celebrates in such glowing terms the glories of the Son of David, would seem, at first sight, to be inappropriate for this Office, which commemorates only His humiliations. We sang this fine canticle on the night of our Emmanuel’s birth at Bethlehem; how comes it to be among our present chants, which are all so sorrowful? The Church has chosen it, because one of the glories here prophesied of Jesus is, that He shall deliver the poor from the mighty; and the needy that had no helper. Mankind is this poor one; satan is the mighty one; Jesus is about to deliver us from his power, by suffering what we have deserved by our sins.

Ant. Liberavit Dominus pauperem a potente, et inopem, cui non erat adjutor.
Ant. The Lord hath delivered the poor from the mighty; and the needy that had no helper.

Psalm 71

Deus judicium tuum regi da: et justitiam tuam filio regis.
Judicare populum tuum in justitia: et pauperes tuos in judicio.
Suscipiant montes pacem populo: et colles justitiam.
Judicabit pauperes populi, et salvos faciet filios pauperum: et humiliabit calumniatorem.
Et permanebit cum sole, et ante lunam: in generatione et generationem.
Descendet sicut pluvia in vellus: et sicut stillicidia stillantia super terram.
Orietur in diebus ejus justitia, et abundantia pacis: donec auferatur luna.
Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare: et a flumine usque ad terminos orbis terrarum.
Coram illo procident Æthiopes: et inimici ejus terram lingent.
Reges Tharsis et insulæ munera offerent reges Arabum et Saba dona adducent.
Et adorabunt eum omnes reges terræ: omnes gentes servient ei.
Quia liberabit pauperem a potente: et pauperem cui non erat adjutor.
Parcet pauperi et inopi: et animas pauperum salvas faciet.
Ex usuris et iniquitate redimet animas eorum: et honorabile nomen eorum coram illo.
Et vivet, et dabitur ei de auro Arabiæ, et adorabunt de ipso semper: tota die benedicent ei.
Et erit firmamentum in terra in summis montium, superextolletur super Libanum fructus ejus: et florebunt de civitate sicut fœnum terræ.
Sit nomen ejus benedictum in sæcula: ante solem permanet nomen ejus.
Et benedicentur in ipso omnes tribus terræ: omnes gentes magnificabunt eum.
Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel: qui facit mirabilia solus.
Et benedictum nomen majestatis ejus in æternum: et replebitur majestate ejus omnis terra: fiat, fiat.

Ant. Liberavit Dominus pauperem a potente, et inopem cui non erat adjutor.
Give to the king thy judgment, O God; and to the king’s son thy justice.
To judge thy people with justice, and thy poor with judgment.
Let the mountains receive peace for the people, and the hills justice.
He shall judge the poor of the people, and he shall save the children of the poor, and he shall humble the oppressor.
And his kingdom on earth shall continue with the sun; and before the moon, throughout all generations.
He shall come down like rain upon the fleece: and as showers falling gently upon the earth.
In his days justice shall spring up, and abundance of peace: till the moon be taken away.
And he shall rule from sea to sea: and from the river Jordan to the ends of the earth.
Before him the Ethiopians shall fall down: and his enemies shall lick the ground.
The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts.
And all kings of the earth shall adore him; all nations shall serve him.
For he shall deliver the poor from the mighty: and the needy that had no helper.
He shall spare the human race which is poor and needy: and he shall save the souls of the poor.
He shall redeem their souls from the usuries and iniquity of Satan: and their name shall be honourable in his sight.
And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Arabia: for him they shall always adore: they shall bless him all the day.
He is the Bread of life; therefore, under his reign there shall be a firmament on the earth, on the tops of mountains: above Libanus shall the fruit thereof be exalted: and they of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth.
Let his name be blessed for evermore: his name continueth before the sun.
And in him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed: all nations shall magnify him.
Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel, who alone doth wonderful things.
And blessed be the name of his majesty for ever: and the whole earth shall be filled with his majesty. So be it. So be it.

Ant. The Lord hath delivered the poor from the mighty; and the needy that had no helper.

The fifth psalm conveys a moral teaching, which, if listened to, would correct many a false judgment of the world. It often happens that men are shaken at seeing the wicked prosperous, and the virtuous afflicted. It was the temptation which overcame the apostles, when, seeing their divine Master in the hands of His enemies, they lost their faith in Him as the Messias. The psalmist owns that he himself was troubled by the same kind of thought; but God enlightened him to see the truth, that if divine Providenoe permit iniquity to triumph for a time, the day is sure to come when He will punish the wicked, and avenge the just that have suffered persecution.

Ant. Cogitaverunt impii, et locuti sunt nequitiam: iniquitatem in excelso locuti sunt.
Ant. The ungodly have thought and spoken wickedness: they have spoken iniquity on high.

Psalm 72

Quam bonus Israel Deus: his qui recto sunt corde.
Mei autem pene moti sunt pedes: pene effusi sunt gressus mei:
Quia zelavi super iniquos, pacem peccatorum videns.
Quia non est respectus morti eorum: et firmamentum in plaga eorum.
In labore hominum non sunt: et cum hominibus non flagellabuntur.
Ideo tenuit eos superbia: operti sunt iniquitate et impietate sua.
Prodiit quasi ex adipe iniquitas eorum: transierunt in affectum cordis.
Cogitaverunt et locuti sunt nequitiam: iniquitatem in excelso locuti sunt.
Posuerunt in cœlum os suum: et lingua eorum transivit in terra.
Ideo convertetur populus meus hic: et dies pieni invenientur in eis.
Et dixerunt: Quomodo scit Deus: et si est scientia in Excelso?
Ecce ipsi peccatores, et abundantes in sæculo: obtinuerunt divitias.
Et dixi: Ergo sine causa justificavi cor meum: et lavi inter innocentes manus meas.
Et fui flagellatus tota die: et castigatio mea in matutinis.
Si dicebam: Narrabo sic: ecce nationem filiorum tuorum reprobavi.
Existimabam ut cognoscerem hoc: labor est ante
me:
Donec intrem in sanctuarium Dei: et intelligam in novissimis eorum.
Verumtamen propter dolos posuisti eis: dejecisti eos dum allevarentur.
Quomodo facti sunt in desolationem, subito defecerunt: perierunt propter iniquitatem suam.
Velut somnium surgentium, Domine: in civitate
tua imaginem ipsorum ad nihilum rediges.
Quia inflammatum est cor meum, et renes mei commutati sunt: et ego ad nihilum redactus sum, et nescivi.
Ut jumentum factus sum apud te: et ego semper tecum.
Tenuisti manum dexteram meam: et in voluntate tua deduxisti me: et cum gloria suscepisti me.
Quid enim mihi est in cœlo: et a te quid volui super terrain?
Defecit caro mea, et cor meum: Deus cordis mei et pars mea Deus in æternum.
Quia ecce, qui elongant se a te, peribunt: perdidisti omnes qui fornicantur abs te.
Mihi autem adhærere Deo bonum est: ponere in Domino Deo spem meam.
Ut annuntiem omnes prædicationes tuas: in portis filiæ Sion.

Ant. Cogitaverunt impii, et locuti sunt nequitiam: iniquitatem in excelso locuti sunt.
How good is God to Israel, to them that are of a right heart!
But my feet were almost moved; my steps had well nigh slipt:
Because I had a zeal on occasion of the wicked, seeing the prosperity of sinners.
For there is no regard to their death; nor is there strength in their stripes.
They are not in the labour of men: neither shall they be scourged like other men.
Therefore pride hath held them fast: they are covered with their iniquity and their wickedness.
Their iniquity hath come forth, as it were from fatness: they have passed into the affection of the heart.
They have thought and spoken wickedness: they have spoken iniquity on high.
They have set their mouth against heaven: and their tongue hath passed through the earth.
Therefore will my people return here: and full days shall be found in them.
And they said: How doth God know, and is there knowledge in the Most High?
Behold these are sinners; and yet abounding in the world, they have obtained riches.
And I said: Then have I in vain justified my heart, and washed my hands among the innocent.
And I have been scourged all the day, and my chastisement hath been in the mornings.
If I said: I will speak thus: behold I should condemn the generation of thy children.
I studied that I might know this thing: it is as labour in my sight:
Until I go into the sanctuary of God, and understand concerning their last ends.
But indeed for deceits thou hast put it to them: when they were lifted up thou hast cast them down.
How are they brought to desolation! they have suddenly ceased to be: they have perished by reason of their iniquity.
As the dream of them that awake, O Lord, so in thy city
thou shalt bring their image to nothing.
For my heart hath been inflamed, and my reins have been changed: and I am brought to nothing, and I knew not.
I am become as a beast before thee: and I am always with thee.
Thou hast held me by my right hand: and by thy will thou hast conducted me: and with glory thou hast received me.
For what have I in heaven? and besides thee, what do I desire upon earth?
For thee my flesh and my heart hath fainted away: thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for ever.
For behold they that go far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that are disloyal to thee.
But it is good for me to stick close to my God, to put my hope in the Lord God.
That I may declare all thy praises in the gates of the daughter of Sion.

Ant. The ungodly have thought and spoken wickedness: they have spoken iniquity on high.

The sixth psalm is a reproach made to the enemies of the divine worship. The Jews used it for many ages against the Gentiles; the Christians now apply it to the Synagogue, which, after having crucified the Son of God, did its utmost to destroy His Church, by putting many of her children to death, and for bidding the apostles to preach the name of Christ.

Ant. Exsurge, Domine, et judica causam meam.
Ant. Arise, O Lord, and judge my cause.

Psalm 73

 

Ut quid Deus repulisti in finem: iratus est furor tuus super oves pascuæ tuæ?
Memor esto congregationis tuæ: quam possedisti ab initio.
Redemisti virgam hæreditatis tuæ: mons Sion in quo habitasti in eo.
Leva manus tuas in superbias eorum in finem: quanta malignatus est inimicus in saneto.
Et gloriati sunt qui oderunt te: in medio solemnitatis tuæ.
Posuerunt signa sua, signa: et non cognoverunt sicut in exitu super summum.
Quasi in silva lignorum securibus exciderunt januas ejus in idipsum: in securi et ascia dejecerunt eam.
Incenderunt igni sanctuarium tuum: in terra polluerunt tabernaculum nominis tui.
Dixerunt in corde suo cognatio eorum simul: Quiescere faciamus omnes dies festos Dei a terra.
Signa nostra non vidimus, jam non eat propheta: et nos non cognoscet amplius.
Usquequo Deus improperabit inimicua: irritat adversarius nomen tuum in finem.
Ut quid avertis manum tuam, et dexteram tuam: de medio sinu tuo in finem.
Deus autem rex noater ante sæcula: operatus eat salutem in medio terræ.
Tu confirmasti in virtute tua mare: contribulasti capita draconum in aquis.
Tu confregisti capita draconis: dedisti eum escam populis Æthiopum.
Tu dirupisti fontes, et torrentes: tu siccasti fluvios Ethan.
Tuus eat dies, et tua est nox: tu fabricatus es auroram et solem.
Tu fecisti omnea terminos terrae: æstatem et ver tu plasmasti ea.
Memor esto hujus, inimicua improperavit Domino: et populus insipiens incitavit nomen tuum.
Ne tradas bestiis animas confitentes tibi: et animas pauperum tuorum ne obliviscaris in finem.
Respice in testamentum tuum: quia repleti sunt qui obscurati sunt terræ, domibus iniquitatum.
Ne avertatur humilis factus confusus: pauper et inops laudabunt nomen tuum.
Exsurge Deus judica causam tuam: memor esto improperiorum tuorum, eorum quæ ab insipiente sunt tota die.
Ne obliviscaris voces inimicorum tuorum: superbia eorum qui te oderunt, ascendit semper.

Ant. Exsurge, Domine, et judica causam meam.
O God, why hast thou cast us off unto the end? why is thy wrath enkindled against the sheep of thy pasture?
Remember thy congregation, which thou hast possessed from the beginning.
The sceptre of thy inheritance which thou hast redeemed: Mount Sion, in which thou hast dwelt.
Lift up thy hands against their pride unto the end: see what things the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary.
And they that hate thee have made their boasts, in the midst of thy solemnity.
They have set up their ensigns for signs: and they knew not: both in the going out and on the highest top.
As with axes in a wood of trees, they have cut down at once the gates thereof: with axe and hatchet they have brought it down.
They have set fire to thy sanctuary: they have defiled the dwelling-place of thy name on the earth.
They said in their heart, the whole kindred of them together: Let us abolish all the festival days of God from the land.
Our signs we have not seen, there is now no prophet: and he will know us no more.
How long, O God, shall the enemy reproach? Is the adversary to provoke thy name for ever?
Why dost thou turn away thy hand; and thy right hand out of the midst of thy bosom for ever?
But God is our king before ages: he hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth.
Thou by thy strength didst make the sea firm: thou didst crush the heads of the dragons in the waters.
Thou hast broken the heads of the dragon: thou hast given him to be meat for the Ethiopian people.
Thou hast broken up the fountains, and the torrents: thou hast dried up the Ethan rivers.
Thine is the day, and thine is the night: thou hast made the dawn and the sun.
Thou hast made all the borders of the earth: the summer and the spring were formed by thee.
Remember this, the enemy hath reproached the Lord: and a foolish people bath provoked thy name.
Deliver not up to beasts the souls that confess to thee: and forget not to the end the souls of thy poor.
Have regard to thy covenant: for they that are the obscure of the earth have been filled with the dwellings of iniquity.
Let not the humble be turned away with confusion: the poor and the needy shall praise thy name.
Arise, O God, judge thy own cause: remember the reproaches with which the foolish man hath reproached thee all the day.
Forget not the voices of thy enemies: the pride of them that hate thee ascendeth continually.

Ant. Arise, O Lord, and judge my cause.

℣. Deus meus, eripe me de manu peccatoris.
℟. Et de manu contra legem agentis et iniqui.
℣. O my God, deliver me out of the hand of the sinner.
℟. And out of the hand of the transgressor of the law, and of the unjust.

Here is said, in secret, the Pater noster.

For the lessons of the second nocturn the Church reads, each of these three days, a passage from Saint Augustine’s Enarrations on the psalms which are prophetic of our Lord’s Passion.

Fourth Lesson

Ex tractatu Sancti Augustini Episcopi super Psalmos.
(Ps. liv.)

Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam, et ne despexeris deprecationem meam: intende mihi et exaudi me. Satagentis, solliciti, in tribulatione positi verba sunt ista. Orat
multa patiens, de malo liberari desiderans. Superest ut videamus in quo malo sit; et cum dicere cœperit, agnoscamus ibi nos esse: ut communicata tribulatione, conjungamus orationem. Contristatus sum, inquit, in exercitatione mea, et conturbatus sum. Ubi contristatus? ubi conturbatus? In exercitatione mea, inquit. Homines malos, quos patitur, commemorat us est: eamdemque passionem malorum hominum, exercitationem suam dixit. Ne putetis gratis esse malos in hoc mundo, et nihil boni de illis agere Deum. Omnis malus, aut ideo vivit, ut corrigatur: aut ideo vi vit, ut per ilium bonus exerceatur.
From the treatise of Saint Augustine, Bishop, upon the Psalms.
(Ps. liv.)

Hear my prayer, O God, and despise not my petition: attend to me and hear me. These are the words of a man in trouble, solicitude, and affliction. He prays in his great sufferings,
desiring to be freed from some evil. Let us now see what evil he lies under: and when he has told it to us, let us acknowledge ourselves in it: that by partaking of the affliction, we may join in his prayer. I am become sorrowful in my exercise, says he, and I am troubled. Where is he become sorrowful? Where is he troubled? He says, In my exercise. He speaks of the wicked men whom he suffers, and calls such suffering of wicked men his exercise. Think not that the wicked are in the world for nothing, and that God works no good with them. Every wicked man lives, either to amend his life, or to exercise the good man.

℟. Amicus meus osculi me tradidit signo: quem osculatus fuero, ipse est, tenete eum: hoc malum fecit signum, qui per osculum adimplevit homicidium. * Infelix prætermisit pretium sanguinis, et in fine laqueo se suspendit.

℣. Bonum erat ei, si natus non fuisset homo ille. * Infelix prætermisit pretium sanguinis, et in fine laqueo se suspendit.
℟. My friend hath betrayed me by the sign of a kiss: Whom I shall kiss, that is he; hold him fast: this was the wicked sign given by him, who committed murder by a kiss. * The unhappy wretch returned the price of Blood, and, in the end, hanged himself.

. It had been well for that man, had he never been born. * The unhappy wretch returned the price of Blood, and, in the end, hanged himself.

Fifth Lesson

Utinam ergo qui nos modo exercent, convertantur, et nobiscum exerceantur: tamen quamdiu ita sunt, ut exerceant nos, non eos oderimus: quia in eo quod malus est quis eorum, utrum usque in finem perseveraturus sit, ignoramus. Et plerumque cum tibi videris odisse inimicum, fratrem odisti, et nescis. Diabolus, et angeli ejus in Scripturis sanctis manifestati sunt nobis, quod ad ignem æternum sint destinati: ipsorum tantum desperanda est correctio, contra quos habemus occultam luctam: ad quam luctam nos armat apostolus, dicens: non est nobis colluctatio adversus carnem et sanguinem: id est, non adversus homines quos videtis, sed adversus principes, et potestates,et rectores mundi, tenebrarum harum. Ne forte cum dixisset, mundi, intelligeres dæmones esse rectores cœli et terræ: mundi dixit, tenebrarum harum: mundi dixit, amatorum mundi: mundi dixit, impiorum et iniquorum:mundi dixit, de quo dicit Evangelium: Et mundus eum non cognovit.
Would to God, then, they that now exercise us were converted and exercised with us: but let us not hate them, though they continue to exercise us; for we know not whether they will persevere to the end in their wickedness. And many times, when you imagine that you hate your enemy, it is your brother you hate, though you are ignorant of it. The holy Scriptures plainly show us that the devil and his angels are doomed to eternal fire. It is only their amendment we may despair of, with whom we wage an invisible war; for which the apostle arms us, saying: Our conflict is not with flesh and blood, that is not with the men you see before your eyes, but with the princes, and powers, and rulers of the world of this darkness.And lest by his saying, of the world, you might think perhaps, that the devils are rulers of heaven and earth, he added, of this darkness. By the world, then, he meant the lovers of the world: by the world, he meant the impious and the wicked: by the world, he meant that which the Gospel speaks of: And the world knew him not.

℟. Judas mercator pessimus osculo petiit Dominum: ille ut agnus innocens non negavit Judæ osculum: * Denariorum numero Christum Judæis tradidit.

℣. Melius illi erat, si natus non fuisset. * Denariorum numero Christum Judæis tradidit.
℟. Judas, the impious trader, betrayed his Lord with a kiss: He, as an innocent Lamb, refused not the kiss to Judas: * Who, for a few pence, delivered Christ up to the Jews.

℣. It would have been better for him, had he not been born. * Who, for a few pence, delivered Christ up to the Jews.

Sixth Lesson

Quoniam vidi iniquitatem et contradictionem in civitate. Attende gloriam crucis ipsius. Jam in fronte regum crux ilia fixa est, cui inimici insultaverunt. Effectus probavit virtutem: domuit orbem non ferro, sed ligno. Lignum crucis contumeliis dignum visum est inimicis, et ante ipsum lignum stantes caput agitabant, et dicebant: Si Filius Dei est, descendat de cruce. Extendebat ille manus suas ad populum non credentem, et contradicentem. Si enim justus est qui ex fide vivit, iniquus est qui non habet fidem. Quod ergo hic ait, iniquitatem, perfidiam intellige. Videbat ergo Dominus in civitate iniquitatem et contradictionem, et extendebat manus suas ad populum non credentem: et tamen ipsos exspectans dicebat: Pater, ignosce illis, quia nesciunt quid faciunt.
For I have seen injustice and strife in the city. See the glory of the cross! That cross, which was an object of derision to his enemies, is now placed on the foreheads of kings. The effect is a proof of his power: he conquered the world not by the sword, but by the wood. The wood of the cross was thought a subject of scorn by his enemies, who, as they stood before it, shook their heads and said: If he he the Son of God, let him come down from the cross. He stretched forth his hands to an unbelieving and seditious people. For if he is just that lives by faith, he is unjust that has not faith. By injustice then here you must understand infidelity. Our Lord, therefore, saw injustice and strife in the city, and stretched forth his hands to an unbelieving and seditious people: and yet he waited for them, saying: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

℟. Unus ex discipulis meis tradet me hodie: væ illi per quem tradar ego! * Melius illi erat, si natus non fuisset.

℣. Qui intingit mecum manum in paropside, hic me traditurus est in manus peccatorum. * Melius illi erat, si natus non fuisset.

Here is repeated: Unus ex discipulis meis.
℟. One of my disciples will this day betray me: woe to him, by whom I shall be betrayed! * It had been better for him, if he had not been born.

℣. He that dips his hand with me in the dish, he it is that is about to betray me into the hands of sinners. * It had been better for him, if he had not been born.

Here is repeated: One of my disciples.

 

THE THIRD NOCTURN

 

The seventh psalm declares the vengeance of God on those that excite His anger. It shows us what will happen to the Synagogue; after having obliged the Messias to drink the bitter chalice of His Passion, its own turn shall come, and it shall drink the cup of God’s wrath, even to the very dreys thereof.

Ant. Dixi iniquis: Nolite loqui adversus Deum iniquitatem.
Ant. I said to the wicked: Speak not iniquity against God.

Psalm 74

Confitebimur tibi Deus: confitebimur, et invocabimus nomen tuum.
Narrabimus mirabilia tua: cum accepero tempus, ego justitias judicabo.
Liquefacta est terra, et omnes qui habitant in ea: ego confirmavi columnas ejus.
Dixi iniquis: Nolite inique agere: et delinquentibus: Nolite exaltare cornu.
Nolite extollere in altum cornu vestrum: Nolite loqui adversus Deum iniquitatem.
Quia neque ab oriente, neque ab occidente, neque a desertis montibus: quoniam Deus judex est.
Hunc humiliat, et hunc exaltat: quia calix in manu Domini vini meri plenus mixto.
Et inclinavit ex hoc in hoc: verumtamen fæx ejus non est exinanita: bibent omnes peccatores terræ.
Ego autem annuntiabo in sæculum: cantabo Deo Jacob.
Et omnia cornua peccatorum confringam: et exalta buntur cornua justi.

Ant. Dixi iniquis: Nolite loqui adversus Deum iniquitatem.
We will praise thee O God: we will praise, and we will call upon thy name.
We will relate thy wondrous works: when, says the Lord, I shall take a time, I will judge justice.
The earth is melted and all that dwell therein: I have established the pillars thereof.
I said to the wicked: Do not act wickedly: and to the sinners: Lift not up the horn.
Lift not up your horn on high: speak not iniquity against God.
For neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert hills: for God is the judge.
One he putteth down, and another he lifteth up. For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup of strong wine full of mixture.
And he hath poured it out from this to that: but the dregs thereof are not emptied: all the sinners of the earth shall drink.
But I will declare for ever: I will sing to the God of Jacob.
And I will break all the horns of sinners: but the horns of the just shall be exalted.

Ant. I said to the wicked: Speak not iniquity against God.

The eighth psalm was written after David had conquered his enemies. He speaks of the peace that was restored to Sion, and of the sudden vengeance of God that overtook the wicked. The enemies of our Saviour were sleeping their sleep; when suddenly, the earth trembled, and God arose to judge them.

Ant. Terra tremuit et quievit, dum exsurgeret in judicio Deus.
Ant. The earth trembled, and was still, when God arose in judgment.

Psalm 75

Notus in Judæa Deus: in Israel magnum nomen ejus.
Et factus est in pace locus ejus: et habitatio ejus in Sion.
Ibi confregit potentias arcuum: scutum, gladium, et bellum.
Illuminans tu mirabiliter a montibus æternis: turbati sunt omnes insipientes corde.
Dormierunt somnum suum: et nihil invenerunt omnes viri divitiarum in manibus suis.
Ab increpatione tua Deus Jacob: dormitaverunt qui ascenderunt equos.
Tu terribilis es, et quis resistet tibi: ex tunc ira tua.
De cœlo auditum fecisti judicium: terra tremuit et quievit.
Cum exsurgeret in judicium Deus: ut salvos facerei omnes mansuetos terræ.
Quoniam cogitatio hominis confìtebitur tibi: et reliquiae cogitationis diem festum agent tibi.
Vovete et reddite Domino Deo vestro: omnes qui in circuitu ejus affertis munera.
Terribili et ei qui aufert spiritum principum: terribili apud reges terrae.

Ant. Terra tremuit et quievit, dum exsurgeret in judicio Deus.
In Judea God is known, his name is great in Israel.
And his place is in peace, and his abode in Sion.
There hath he broken the power of bows, the shield, the sword, and the battle.
Thou enlightenest wonderfully from the everlasting hills: all the foolish of heart were troubled.
They have slept their sleep; and all the men of riches have found nothing in their hands.
At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, they have all slumbered that mounted on horseback.
Thou art terrible, and who shall resist thee? from that time thy wrath.
Thou hast caused judgment to be heard from heaven: the earth trembled and was still.
When God arose in judgment, to save all the meek of the earth.
For the thought of man shall give praise to thee: and the remainders of the thought shall keep holyday to thee.
Vow ye, and pay to the Lord your God: all you that round about him bring presents.
To him that is terrible, even to him who taketh away the spirit of princes; to the terrible with the kings of the earth.

Ant The earth trembled, and was still, when God arose in judgment.

The ninth psalm tells us of David’s tribulation when his son Absalom, the type of the Jewish people, raised the standard of revolt against him The royal prophet, who is the figure of Christ, loses not his confidence in the midst of his trials. The recollection of the wonderful works wrought by God in favour of His people, animates his courage, and he feels that this same merciful God will deliver him.

Ant. In die tribulationis meæ Deum exquisivi manibus meis.
Ant. In the day of my tribulation, I sought God with my hands raised up in prayer.

Psalm 76

Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi: voce mea ad Deum, et intendit mihi.
In die tribulationis meæ Deum exquisivi, manibus meis nocte contra eum: et non sum deceptus.
Renuit consolari anima mea: memor fui Dei, et delectatua sum, et exercitatus sum, et defecit spiritus meus.
Anticipaverunt vigilias oculi mei: turbatus sum, et non sum locutus.
Cogitavi dies antiquos: et annos æternos in mente habui.
Et meditatus sum nocte cum corde meo: et exercitabar, et scopebam spiritum meum.
Numquid in æternum projiciet Deus: aut non apponet ut complacitior sit adhuc?
Aut in finem misericordiam suam abscindet: a generatione in generationem?
Aut obliviscetur misereri Deus: aut continebit in ira sua misericordias suas?
Et dixi: nunc cœpi: hæc mutatio dexteræ excelsi.
Memor fui operum Domini: quia memor ero ab initio mirabilium tuorum.
Et meditabor in omnibus operibus tuis: et in adinventionibus tuis exercebor.
Deus in sancto via tua: quis Deus magnus sicut Deus noster? Tu es Deus, qui fads mirabilia.
Notum fecisti in populis virtutem tuam: redemisti in brachio tuo populum tuum, filios Jacob et Joseph.
Viderunt te aquæ Deus, viderunt te aquæ: et timuerunt, et turbatæ sunt abyssi.
Multitudo sonitus aquarum: vocem dederunt nubes.
Etenim sagittæ tuæ transeunt: vox tonitrui tui in rota.
Illuxerunt coruscationes tuæ orbi terrae: commota est et contremuit terra.
In mari via tua, et semitæ tuæ in aquis multis: et vestigia tua non cognoscentur.
Deduxisti sicut oves populum tuum: in manu Moysi et Aaron.

Ant. In die tribulationis meæ Deum exquisivi manibus meis.
I cried to the Lord with my voice; to God with my voice and he gave ear to me.
In the day of my trouble I sought God: with my hands lifted up to him in the night, and I was not deceived.
My soul refused to be comforted; I remembered God, and was delighted, and was exercised, and my spirit swooned away.
My eyes prevented the watches: I was troubled, and I spoke not.
I thought upon the days of old: and I had in my mind the eternal years.
And I meditated in the night with my own heart, and I was exercised, and I swept my spirit.
Will God then cast off for ever? or will he never be more favourable again?
Or will he cut off his mercy for ever, from generation to generation?
Or will God forget to show mercy? or will he in his anger shut up his mercies?
And I said: Now have I begun: this is the change of the right hand of the Most High.
I remembered the works of the Lord; for I will be mindful of thy wonders from the beginning.
And I will meditate on all thy works; and will be employed in thy inventions.
Thy way, O God is in the holy place: who is the great God like our God? Thou art the God that dost wonders.
Thou hast made thy power known among the nations: with thy arm thou hast redeemed thy people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; and they were afraid, and the depths were troubled.
Great was the noise of the waters: the clouds sent out a sound.
For thy arrows pass: the voice of thy thunder in a wheel.
Thy lightnings enlightened the world, the earth shook and trembled,
Thy way is in the sea, and thy paths in many waters; and thy footsteps shall not be known.
Thou hast conducted thy people like sheep, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Ant. In the day of my tribulation, I sought God with my hands raised up in prayer.

℣. Exsurge, Domine.
℟. Et judica causam meam.
℣. Arise, O Lord.
. And judge my cause.

Here is said the Pater noster in secret.

The lessons of the third nocturn are taken from St. Paul. After having reproved the faithful of Corinth for the abuses which bad crept into their assemblies, he relates the institution of the holy Euoharist, which took place to-day (Thursday); and after showing us the dispositions wherewith we should approach the holy Table, he speaks of the enormity of the crime of an unworthy Communion.

Seventh Lesson

De Epistola prima Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.

Cap. xi.

Hoc autem præcipio: non laudans quod non in melius, sed in deterius convenitis. Primum quidem convenientibus vobis in ecclesiam, audio scissuras esse inter vos, et ex parte credo. Nam oportet et hæreses esse, ut et qui probati sunt, manifesti fiant in vobis. Convenientibus ergo vobis in unum, jam non est Dominicam Cœnam manducare. Unusquisque enim suam cœnam præsumit ad manducandum. Et alius quidem esurit, alius autem ebrius est. Numquid domos non habetis ad manducandum et bibendum? Aut Ecclesiam Dei contemnitis, et confunditis eos qui non habent? Quid dicam vobis? Laudo vos? In hoc non laudo.
From the first Epistle of Saint Paul, the Apostle, to the Corinthians.

Ch. xi.

Now this I ordain: not praising you that you come together, not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all I hear that when you come together in the church, there are schisms among you, and in part I believe it. For there must be, also, heresies; that they also, who are approved, may be made manifest among you. When you therefore come together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord’s Supper. For every one taketh before his own supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry, and another is drunk. What, have you not houses to eat and drink in? Or despise ye the Church of God, and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you? In this I praise you not.

℟. Eram quasi agnus innocens: ductus sum ad immolandum, et nesciebam: consilium fecerunt inimici mei adver sum me, dicentes: * Venite mittamus lignum in panem ejus, et eradamus eum de terra viventium.

℣. Omnes inimici mei adversum me cogitabant mala mihi: verbum iniquum mandaverunt adversum me, dicentes: * Venite, mittamuslignum in panem ejus, et eradamus eum de terra viventium.
℟. I was like an innocent lamb; I was led to be sacrificed, and I knew it not: my enemies conspired against me, saying: * Come, let us put wood into his bread, and root him out of the land of the living.

℣. All my enemies devised evil things against me: they uttered a wicked speech against me, saying: * Come, let us put wood into his bread, and root him out of the land of the living.

Eighth Lesson

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

℟. Una hora non potuistis vigilare mecum, qui exhortabamini mori pro me? * Vel Judam non videtis, quomodo non dormit, sed festinat tradere me Judæis?

℣. Quid dormitis? Surgite, et orate, ne intretis in tentationem. * Vel Judam non videtis, quomodo non dormit, sed festinat tradere me Judæis?
℟. Could ye not watch one hour with me, ye that exhorted each other to die for me? * Or see ye not how Judas sleepeth not, but maketh speed to deliver me up to the Jews?

℣. Why sleep ye? Arise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. * Or see ye not how Judas sleepeth not, but maketh speed to deliver me up to the Jews?

Ninth Lesson

Itaque quicumque manducaverit panem hunc, vel biberit calicem Domini indigne, reus erit Corporis et Sanguinis Domini. Probet autem seipsum homo; et sic de pane illo edat, et de calice bibat. Qui enim manducat et bibit indigne, judicium sibi manducat et bibit, non dijudicans Corpus Domini. Ideo inter vos multi infirmi et imbecilles,et dormiunt multi. Quod si nosmetipsos dijudicaremus, non utique judicaremur. Dum judicamur autem, a Domino corripimur, ut non cum hoc mundo damnemur. Itaque fratres mei, cum convenitis ad manducandum, invicem exspectate. Si quis esurit, domi manducet: ut non in judicium conveniatis. Cætera autem, cum venero, disponam.
Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and of the Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord. Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep. But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world. Wherefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If any man be hungry let him eat at home; that you come not together unto judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

℟. Seniores populi consilium fecerunt, * Ut Jesum dolo tenerent, et occiderent: cum gladiis et fustibus exierunt tamquam ad latronem.

℣. Colligerunt pontifices et pharisæi concilium. * Ut Jesum dolo tenerent, et occiderent: cum gladiis et fustibus exierunt tamquam ad latronem.

Here is repeated: Seniores populi.
℟. The ancients of the people consulted together, * How they might, by craft, apprehend Jesus, and kill him: they went forth with swords and clubs, as to a thief.

℣. The priests and pharisees held a council. * How they might, by craft, apprehend Jesus, and kill him: they went forth with swords and clubs, as to a thief.

Here is repeated: The ancients.

 

LAUDS

 

The first psalm is the one written by David after his sin, in which he so feelingly and so humbly breathes forth his repentance. The Church invariably makes use of this psalm, when she sues to God for mercy; and of all the canticles of the royal prophet there is not one so familiar to the faithful as this.

Ant. Justificeris, Domine, in sermonibus tuis, et vincas cum judicaris.
Ant. Be thou justified, O Lord, in thy words, and overcome, when thou art judged.

Psalm 50

Miserere mei, Deus: secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum: dele iniquitatem meam.
Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea: et a peccato meo munda me.
Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco: et peccatum meum contra me est semper.
Tibi soli peccavi, et malum coram te feci: ut justificeris in sermonibus tuis, et vincas cum judicaris.
Ecce enim in iniquitati bus conceptus sum: et in peccatis concepii me mater mea.
Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti: incerta et occulta sapientiæ tuæ manifestasti mihi.
Asperges me hyssopo, et mundabor: lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
Auditui meo dabis gaudium et lætitiam: et exsultabunt ossa humiliata.
Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis: et omnes iniquitates meas dele.
Cor mundum crea in me, Deus: et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis.
Ne projicias me a facie tua: et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me.
Redde mihi lætitiam salutaris tui: et spiritu principali confirma me.
Docebo iniquos vias tuas: et impii ad te convertentur.
Libera me de sanguinibus Deus, Deus salutis meæ: et exsultabit lingua mea justitiam tuam.
Domine, labia mea aperies: et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.
Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium dedissem utique; holocaustis non delectaberis.
Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus: cor contri tum et humiliatum, Deus, non despides.
Benigne fac Domine in bona voluntate tua Sion: ut ædificentur muri Jerusalem.
Tunc acceptabis sacrificium justitiæ, oblationes, et holocausta: tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos.

Ant. Justificeris, Domine, in sermonibus tuis, et vincas cum judicaris.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy.
And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my iniquities.
Wash me yet more from my iniquity: and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my iniquity: and my sin is always before me.
To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee: I confess it: do thou pardon me, that thou mayst be justified in thy words, and mayst overcome when thou art judged.
For behold I was conceived in iniquities: and in sins did my mother conceive me.
For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou bast made manifest to me.
Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, as a leper, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.
Turn away thy face from my sins: and blot out all my iniquities.
Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels.
Cast me not away from thy face: and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation: and strengthen me with a perfect spirit.
I will teach the unjust thy ways: and the wicked shall be converted to thee.
Deliver me from blood, O God, the God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol thy justice.
O Lord, thou wilt open my lips: and my mouth shall declare thy praise.
For if thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt-offerings thou wilt not be delighted.
A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humble heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Deal favourably, O Lord, in thy good-will with Sion: that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up.
Then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations and whole-burnt offerings: then shall they lay calves upon thine altar.

Ant. Be thou justified, O Lord, in thy words, and overcome when thou art judged.

The second psalm is one of those fixed for the Thursday of each week: it is a prayer suitable for the morning. The psalmist confesses the nothingness of man, and the shortness of his life: he asks God to bless the actions of the day. The faithful must not forget that the Office of Lauds is the morning service, and its being said over night, during these three days, is exceptional.

Ant. Dominus tamquam ovis ad victimam ductus est, et non aperuit os suum.
Ant. The Lord was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and he opened not his mouth.

Psalm 89

Domine, refugium factus es nobis: a generatione in generationem.
Priusquam montes fierent, aut formaretur terra et orbis: a sæculo et usque in sæcnlum tu es Deus.
Ne avertas hominem in humilitatem: et dixisti: Convertimini filii hominum.
Quoniam mille anni ante oculos tuos: tanquam dies hesterna quæ præteriit.
Et custodia in nocte: quæ pro nihilo habentur, eorum anni erunt.
Mane sicut herba transeat, mane floreat, et transeat: vespere decidat, induret, et arescat.
Quia defecimus in ira tua: et in furore tuo turbati sumus.
Posuisti iniquitates nostras in conspectu tuo: sæculum nostrum in illuminatione vultus tui.
Quoniam omnes dies nostri defecerunt: et in ira tua defecimus.
Anni nostri sicut aranea meditabuntur: dies annorum nostrorum in ipsis Septuaginta anni.
Si autem in potentatibus, octoginta anni: et amplius eorum labor et dolor.
Quoniam supervenit mansuetudo: et corripiemur.
Quis novit potestatem iræ tuæ: et præ timore tuo iram tuam dinumerare?
Dexteram tuam sic notam fac: et eruditos corde in sapientia.
Convertere, Domine, usquequo: et deprecabilis esto super servos tuos.
Repleti sumus mane misericordia tua: et exsultavimus, et delectati sumus omnibus diebus nostris.
Lætati sumus pro diebus quibus nos humiliasti: annis, quibus vidimus mala.
Respice in servos tuos, et in opera tua: et dirige filios eorum.
Et sit splendor Domini Dei nostri super nos, et opera manuum nostrarum dirige super nos: et opus manuum nostrarum dirige.

Ant. Dominus tanquam ovis ad victimam ductus est, et non aperuit os suum.
Lord, thou hast been our refuge: from generation to generation.
Before the mountains were made, or the earth and the world was formed: from eternity, and to eternity thou art God.
Turn not man away to be brought low; and thou hast said: Be converted, O ye sons of men.
For a thousand years, in thy sight, are but as yesterday which is past and gone.
And as a watch in the night: as things that are counted nothing, so shall their years be.
In the morning, man shall grow up like grass, in the morning he shall flourish and pass away: in the evening he shall fall, grow dry, and wither.
For in thy wrath we are quickly consumed: and are troubled in thy indignation.
Thou hast set our iniquities before thy eyes: our life in the light of thy countenance.
For all our days are spent: and in thy wrath we have fainted away.
Our years shall be considered as a spider: the days of our years in them are threescore and ten years.
But if in the strong they be fourscore years: and what is more of them is labour and sorrow.
For mildness is come upon us: and we shall be corrected.
Who knoweth the power of thy anger: and, for thy fear, can number thy wrath?
So make thy right hand known: and make us learned in heart in wisdom.
Return, O Lord, how long? and be entreated in favour of thy servants.
We are filled in the morning with thy mercy: and we are rejoiced and are delighted all our days.
We have rejoiced for the days in which thou hast humbled us: for the years in which we have seen evils.
Look upon thy servants, and upon their works: and direct their children.
And let the brightness of the Lord our God be upon us, and direct thou the works of our hands over us: yea, the work of our hands do thou direct.

Ant. The Lord was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and he opened not his mouth.

 


The following psalm, like the former, belongs to the Lauds of Thursdays. It speaks of the wicked man rising in the morning with his mind bent upon the evil deeds he has resolved on during the night; it implores God’s protection against him, and sings of the life, the true light, and the abundance of good things reserved for the just in heaven.

Ant. Contritmn est cor meum in medio mei, contremuerunt omnia ossa mea.
Ant. My heart is broken within me; all my bones have trembled.

Psalm 85

Dixit injustus ut delinquat in semetipso: non est timor Dei ante oculos ejus.
Quoniam dolose egit in conspectu ejus: ut in veniatur iniquitas ejus ad odium.
Verba oris ejus iniquitas, et dolus: noluit intelligere ut bene ageret.
Iniquitatem meditatus est in cubili suo: astitit omni vise non bonæ, malitiam autem non odivit.
Domine, in cœlo misericordia tua: et veritas tua usque ad nubes.
Justitia tua sicut montes Dei: judicia tua abyssus multa.
Homines, et jumenta salvabis, Domine: quemadmodum multiplicasti misericordiam tuam, Deus.
Filii autem hominum in tegmine alarum tuarum sperabunt.
Inebriabunturab ubertate domus tuæ: et torrente voluptatis tuæ potabis eos.
Quoniam apud te est fons vitæ: et in lumine tuo videbimus lumen.
Prætende misericordiam tuam scientibus te, et justitiam tuam his, qui recto Bunt corde.
Non veniat mihi pes superbiæ: et manus peccatoris non moveat me.
Ibi ceciderunt qui operantur iniquitatem: expulsi sunt, nec potuerunt stare.

Ant. Contritum est cor meum in medio mei, contremuerunt omnia ossa mea.
The unjust hath said within himself, that he would sin: there is no fear of God before his eyes.
For in his sight he hath done deceitfully: that his iniquity may be found unto hatred.
The words of his mouth are iniquity and guile: he would not understand that he might do well.
He hath devised iniquity on his bed: he hath set himself on every way that is not good; but evil he hath not hated.
O Lord, thy mercy is in the heavens: and thy truth reacheth even unto the clouds.
Thy justice is as the mountains of God: thy judgments are a great deep.
Men and beasts thou wilt preserve, O Lord: O how hast thou multiplied thy mercy, O God!
But the children of men shall put their trust: under the covert of thy wings.
They shall be inebriated with the plenteousness of thy house: and thou shalt make them drink of the torrent of thy pleasure.
For with thee is the well of life: and in thy light we shall see light.
Stretch forth thy mercy unto them that know thee: and thy justice unto them that are right of heart.
Let not the foot of pride come unto me: and let not the hand of the sinner move me.
There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast out, and they could not stand.

Ant. My heart is broken within me; all my bones have trembled.

The sublime Canticle of Moses, which was sung after the passage through the Red Sea, forms part of Thursday’s Lauds for penitential seasons. It is peculiarly appropriate now, when our catechumens are about to receive holy Baptism. The font will be their Red Sea, wherein all their sins will be drowned, as the Egyptians of old. The Israelites, after having offered the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb, passed safely between the waves: our catechumens will come to the laver of regeneration full of hope in the Sacrifice of the true Lamb, for His Blood has imparted to the element of water the power of purifying the soul.

Ant. Exhortatus es in virtute tua, et in refectione sancta tua, Domine.
Ant. Thou hast encouraged us by thy power, and by thy holy refreshment, O Lord!

Canticle of Moses
(Exod. xv.)

Cantemus Domino: gloriose enim magnificatus est: equum et ascensorem dejecit in mare.
Fortitudo mea et laus mea Dominus: et factus est mihi in salutem.
Iste Deus meus, et glorifica bo eum: Deus patris mei, et exaltabo eum.
Dominus quasi vir pugnator, Omnipotens nomen ejus: currus Pharaonis, et exercitum ejus projecit in mare.
Electi principes ejus submersi sunt in Mari Rubro: abyssi operuerunt eos, descenderunt in profundum quasi lapis.
Dextera tua, Domine, magnificata est in fortitudine: dextera tua, Domine, percussit inimicum: et in multitudine gloriæ tuæ deposuisti adversarios tuos.
Misisti iram tuam, quæ deyoravit eos sicut stipulam: et in spiritu furoris tui congregatæ sunt aquæ.
Stetit unda fluens: congregata sunt abyssi in medio mari.
Dixit inimicus: persequar et comprehendam: dividam spolia, implebitur anima mea.
Evaginabo gladium meum: interficiet eos manus mea.
Flavit spiritus tuus, et operuit eos mare: submersi sunt quasi plumbum in aquis vehementibus.
Quis similis tui in fortibus, Domine: quis similis tui, magnificus in sanctitate, terribilis atque laudabilis, faciens mirabilia?
Extendisti manum tuam, et devoravit eos terra: dux fuisti in misericordia tua populo quem redemisti.
Et portasti eum in fortitudine tua: ad habitaculum sanctum tuum.
Ascenderunt populi et irati sunt: dolores obtinuerunt habitatores Philisthiim.
Tunc conturbati sunt principes Edom, robustos Moab obtinuit tremor: obriguerunt omnes habitatores Chanaan.
Irruat super eos formido et pavor: in magnitudine brachii tui.
Fiant immobiles quasi lapis, donec pertranseat populus tuus Domine: donec pertranseat populus tuus iste, quem possedisti.
Introduces eos, et plantabis in monte hæreditatis tuæ: firmissimo habitaculo tuo, quod operatus es, Domine:
Sanctuarium tuum, Domine, quod firmaverunt manus tuæ: Dominus regnabit in æternum, et ultra.
Ingressus est enim eques Pharao cum curribus et equitibus ejus in mare: et reduxit super eos Dominus aquas maris.
Filii autem Israel ambulaverunt per siccum: in medio ejus.

Ant. Exhortatus es in virtute tua, et in refectione sancta tua, Domine.
Let us sing to the Lord: for he is gloriously magnified: the horse and the rider he hath thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my praise: and he is become salvation to me.
He is my God, and I will glorify him: the God of my father, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is as a man of war, Almighty is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he bath cast into the sea.
His chosen captains are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them, they are sunk to the bottom like a stone.
Thy right hand, O Lord, is magnified in strength; thy right hand, O Lord, hath slain the enemy. And in the multitude of thy power thou hast put down thy adversaries.
Thou hast sent thy wrath, which hath devoured them like stubbie. And with the blast of thy anger the waters were gathered together.
The flowing waters stood, the depths were gathered together in the midst of the sea.
The enemy said: I will pursue and overtake, I will divide the spoils, my soul shall have its fill.
I will draw my sword, my hand shall slay them.
Thy wind blew, and the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
Who is like to thee among the strong, O Lord? who is like to thee, glorious in holiness, terrible and praiseworthy, doing wonders?
Thou stretchedst forth thy hand, and the earth swallowed them. In thy mercy thou hast been a leader to the people whom thou hast redeemed:
And in thy strength thou hast carried them to thy holy habitation.
Nations rose up and were angry: sorrows took hold of the inhabitants of Philisthiim.
Then were the princes of Edom troubled, trembling seized on the stout men of Moab: all the inhabitants of Canaan became stiff.
Let fear and dread fall upon them in the greatness of thy arm.
Let them become immovable as a stone, until thy people, O Lord, pass by; until this thy people pass by, which thou hast possessed.
Thou shalt bring them in and plant them in the mountain of thy inheritance, in thy most firm habitation, which thou hast made, O Lord:
Thy sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.
For Pharaoh went in on horseback with his chariots and horsemen into the sea: and the Lord brought back upon them the waters of the sea.
But the children of Israel walked on dry ground in the midst thereof.

Ant. Thou hast encouraged us by thy power, and by thy holy refreshment, O Lord!

Though varying according to the days of the week, the last psalm of the morning Office is always one of praise, which is expressed in its very first word; whence this Hour has received its beautiful name of Lauds.

Ant. Oblatus est quia ipse voluit; et peccata nostra ipse portavit.
Ant. He was offered because it was his own will, and he himself bore our sins.

Psalm 146

Laudate Dominum quoniam bonus est psalmus: Deo nostro sit jucunda, decoraque laudatio.
Ædificans Jerusalem Dominus: dispersiones Israelis congregabit.
Qui sanat contritos coi de: et alligat contritiones corum.
Qui numerat multitudinem stellarum: et omnibus eis nomina vocat.
Magnus Dominus noster, et magna virtus ejus: et sapientiæ ejus non est numerus.
Suscipiens mansuetos Dominus: humilians autem peccatores usque ad terram.
Præcinite Domino in confessione: psallite Deo nostro in cithara.
Qui operit cœlum nubibus: et parat terræ pluviam.
Qui producit in montibus fœnum: et herbam servituti hominum.
Qui dat jumentis escam ipsorum: et pullis corvorum invocantibus eum.
Non in fortitudine equi Voluntatem habebit: nec in tibiis viri beneplacitum erit ei.
Beneplacitum est Domino super timentes eum: et in eis qui sperant super misericordia ejus.

Ant. Oblatus est quia ipse voluit, et peccata nostra ipse portavit.
Praise ye the Lord, for it is good to sing praises: let the praise of our God be joyful and comely.
The Lord buildeth up Jerusalem: he will gather together the dispersed of Israel.
Who healeth the broken of heart: and bindeth up their bruises.
Who telleth the number of the stars: and calleth them all by their names.
Great is our Lord, and great is his power: and of his wisdom there is no measure.
The Lord lifteth up the meek: and bringeth the wicked down even to the ground.
Sing ye to the Lord with praise: sing unto our God upon the harp.
Who covereth the heaven with clouds: and prepareth rain for the earth.
Who maketh grass to grow on the mountains: and herbs for the service of men.
Who giveth to beasts their food: and to the young ravens that call upon him.
He shall not delight in the strength of the horse: nor take pleasure in the legs of a man.
The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him: and in them that hope in his mercy.

Ant. He was offered because it was his own will, and he himself bore our sins.

℣. Homo pacis meæ, in quo speravi. ℟. Qui edebat panes meos, ampliavit adversum me supplantationem.
℣. The man of my peace, in whom I trusted. ℟. Who ate my bread, hath greatly supplanted me.

The Church now intones the sweet canticle of Zachary, which she repeats every morning. Its joyous accents strangely contrast with the sadness caused in us by the Passion of our Jesus, the Sun of justice. It was during these very days, that the remission of sins was wrought through the bowels of the mercy of our God; but the divine Orient rises not upon us from on high and in His splendour; He is about to set on Calvary by the most cruel of deaths. Let us weep for ourselves, while we weep for Him; but let us look forward to His Resurrection, which is to be ours also.

Ant. Traditor autem dedit eis signum dicens: Quem osculatus fuero, ipse est, tenete eum.
Ant. But the traitor gave them a sign, saying: He whom I shall kiss, that is he; hold him fast.

Canticle of Zachary
(St. Luke, i.)

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

Ant. Traditor autem dediteis signum, dicens: Quem osculatus fuero, ipse est, tenete eum.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because he hath visited and wrought the redemption of his people:
And hath raised up a horn of salvation to us, in the house of David his servant.
As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who are from the beginning:
Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us.
To perform mercy to our fathers; and to remember his holy covenant.
The oath which he swore to Abraham our father, that he would grant to us.
That being delivered from the hands of our enemies, we may serve him without fear.
In holiness and justice before him, all our days.
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shaft go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways.
To give knowledge of salvation to his people, unto the remission of their sins.
Through the bowels of the mercy of our God: in which the Orient from on high hath visited us.
To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet in the way of peace,

Ant. But the traitor gave them a sign, saying: He whom I shall kiss, that is he; hold him fast.

As soon as the antiphon is finished, the choir sings, to a most plaintive chant, the following words, which are continually on the lips of the Church, during these three days:

℣. Christus fact us est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem.
℣. Christ became, for our sake, obedient unto death.

Immediately after this the Pater noster is said in secret, which is followed by the Psalm Miserere (page 336); it is recited with a suppressed voice, by alternate choirs. Finally the first in dignity says the following prayer:

Respice, quæsumus, Domine, super hanc familiam tuam: pro qua Dominus noster Jesus Christus non dubitavit manibus tradi nocentium, et crucis subire tormentum:
Look down, O Lord, we beseech thee, upon this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ hesitated not to be delivered into the hands of wicked men, and to undergo the punishment of the cross:

(then the rest in secret:)

Qui tecum vivit et regnat, in unitate Spiritus sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula Sæculorum. Amen.
Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world with out end. Amen.

The ceremonies of gradually putting out the candles, of taking the one that is left lighted, concealing it and then showing it again, and of making a noise at the end of the Office, have already been explained (see page 301).


[1] Is. liii. 3, 4.
[2] Ps. xxi. 7.
[3] St. Mark xiv. 27.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including descriptions of the following:

This is the first day of the Azymes, or feast of the unleavened bread. At sunset, the Jews must eat the Pasch in Jerusalem. Jesus is still in Bethania; but He will return to the city before the hour for the paschal supper. The Law commands this; and, until He has abrogated the Law by the shedding of His Blood, He wishes to observe its ordinances. He therefore sends two of His disciples to get everything ready for the Pasch, without, however, telling them the great mystery wherewith it is to terminate. We, who know that at this last Supper was instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist, can understand why He sends Peter and John, in preference to any of the other disciples, to prepare what is needed.[1] Peter, who was the first to confess the Divinity of Jesus, represents faith: and John, who leaned upon the breast of the Man-God, represents love. The mystery, which is to be instituted at to-night’s Supper, is revealed to love by faith. It is this that Jesus would have us learn from His choice of the two apostles; but they themselves see not the intention of their Master.

Jesus, who knows all things, tells them by what sign they are to know the house, which He intends to honour with His presence: they have but to follow a man, whom they will see carrying a pitcher of water. The house to which this man is going belongs to a rich Jew, who recognizes Jesus as the Messias. The two apostles apprise him of their Master’s wishes; and immediately he puts at their disposal a large and richly furnished room. It was fitting that the place where the most august mystery was to be instituted should be something above the common. This room, where the reality was to be substituted for all the ancient figures, was far superior to the temple of Jerusalem. In it was to be erected the first altar for the offering up of the clean oblation foretold by the prophet;[2] in it was to commence the Christian priesthood; in it, finally, fifty days later on, the Church of Christ, collected together and visited by the Holy Ghost, was to make herself known to the world, and promulgate the new and universal Covenant of God with men. This favoured sanctuary of our faith is still venerated on Mount Sion. The infidels have profaned it by their false worship, for even they look on it as a sacred place; but, as though divine Providence, which has mercifully preserved unto us so many traces of our Redeemer, would give us an earnest of better days to come, this venerable sanctuary has recently been thrown open to several priests of the Church, and they have even been permitted to offer up the holy Sacrifice in the very place where the holy Eucharist was instituted.

During the course of the day, Jesus has entered Jerusalem, with the rest of His disciples: He has found all things prepared.

The Paschal Lamb, after being first presented in the temple, has been brought to the house, where Jesus is to celebrate the Supper; it is prepared together with the wild lettuce and the unleavened bread.

In a few hours, the divine Master and His disciples will be standing round the table, their loins girt, and staves in their hands: and, for the last time, they will observe the solemn rite prescribed by God to His people when they first went forth from Egypt.

But let us wait for the hour of Mass, before going further into the details of this last Supper. Meanwhile, let us seek edifioation and instruction in two holy functions, which belong to this great day. The first is the reconciliation of penitents, which, although not now in use, needs to be described, in order that our readers may have a proper idea of the lenten liturgy. The second is the consecration of the holy oils, which is a ceremony confined to cathedral churches, but so interesting to the faithful that we should have scrupled to exclude it from our volume. After having briefly described these, we will return to the history of the institution of the blessed Sacrament, and assist at Mass. Then we shall have to speak of the preparation for the Mass of the Presanctified for to-morrow’s service, of the stripping of the altars, and of the Mandatum, or washing of the feet. We proceed, therefore, to explain these several ceremonies, which make Maundy Thursday to be one of the most sacred days of the liturgical year.

 

THE RECONCILIATION OF PENITENTS

 

Three solemn Masses were anciently celebrated on this day; and the first was preceded by the absolution of the public penitents, and their readmission into the Church. The following was the order of the service for the reconciliation of penitents. They presented themselves at the church door, clad in penitential garb, and bare-footed. The hair of both head and beard had been allowed to grow from Ash Wednesday, the day on which they had received their penance. The bishop recited, in the sanctuary, the seven psalms in which David expresses his sorrow for having offended God. These were followed by the litany of the saints.

During these prayers the penitents were prostrate in the porch, for entrance into the church was forbidden them. Thrice during the litany the bishop deputed some of the clergy to go and visit them, in his name, and bear them words of hope and consolation. The first time, two subdeacons went to them and said: ‘As I live, saith the Lord, I will not the death of the sinner, but rather that he be converted and live.’ The second time, two other subdeacons were sent, with this message: ‘Thus saith the Lord: Do penance; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Finally, a deacon was commissioned to go to them and say: ‘Lift up your heads: lo! your redemption is nigh.’

After these announcements of approaching pardon, the bishop left the sanctuary and went towards the penitents, as far as half way down the centre nave, where was prepared a seat, turned towards the door which led into the porch where the penitents were still lying prostrate. The pontiff being seated, the archdeacon addressed him in these words:

Venerable pontiff! The acceptable time has come, the day of God’s mercy and of man’s salvation, when death was destroyed, and eternal life began. This is the time when, in the vineyard of the Lord of Sabaoth, new plants are to be set, and the detestableness of the old growth is to be pruned away. For though there is no period of time, which is not rich in the goodness and mercy of God, yet now indulgence produces a more abundant remission of sins, and grace yields a more plentiful number of the regenerated. Those that are regenerated add to our ranks; those that return, increase our numbers. There is a laver of water; there is a laver of tears. From the one, there is joy because of the admittance of them that are called; from the other, there is gladness because of them that repent. Therefore it is that these thy suppliant servants—after having fallen into sundry kinds of sins, by the neglect of the divine commandments, and the transgression of the moral law—humbled and prostrate, cry out to the Lord in these words of the prophet: ‘We have sinned: we have done unjustly; we have committed iniquity: have mercy on us, O Lord!’ It has not been in vain, that they have heard the words of the Gospel: Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted. As it is written, they have eaten the bread of sorrow; they have watered their couch with tears; they have afflicted their hearts with mourning, and their bodies with fasting, that thus they might recover the health of soul, which they had lost. The grace of penance, therefore, is one; but it profits each one that receives it, and gives help to all in common.

The bishop then rose, and advanced towards the penitents. He spoke to them concerning the mercy of God, and how they should live for the time to come. After this exhortation, he thus addressed them: ‘Come, come, come, my children! I will teach you the fear of the Lord.’ The choir then sang this antiphon, taken from Psalm xxxiii: ‘Come ye to Him and be enlightened, and your faces shall not be confounded.’ Hereupon, the penitents rose up, and, coming to the bishop, threw themselves at his feet. The archpriest then pleaded for them in these words:

Make good in them, O apostolic pontiff, all that has been corrupted in them by the temptation of the devil. By the merit of thy prayers and intercession, and by the grace of the divine reconciliation, bring these men nigh unto God. Thus they, who heretofore suffered by the sins they committed, may now be happy in the hope that, having overcome the author of their death, they may please the Lord in. the land of the living.

The bishop answered: ‘Knowest thou, if they be worthy of reconciliation?’ The archpriest replied: ‘I know and bear witness, that they are worthy.’ A deacon then ordered the penitents to rise. This done, the bishop took one of them by the hand, who did the same to his neighbour; and thus all, hand in hand, followed the bishop to the place prepared in the centre of the nave. Meanwhile, the choir sang the following antiphons: ‘I say unto you, there is joy to the angels of God over one sinner doing penance. It behoveth thee, my son, to rejoice; for thy brother was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and is found.’ The bishop then offered up to God this prayer, which he sang to the solemn tone of the Preface.

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, through Christ our Lord: whom thou, almighty Father, didst will to be born among us by an ineffable birth, that so he might pay to thee, his eternal Father, the debt contracted by Adam, and put our death to death by his own, and bear our wounds in his own flesh, and cleanse away our stains by his Blood; hereby enabling us, who had fallen by the envy of the old enemy, to rise again by his mercy. Through him, O Lord, we suppliantly beseech and pray thee that thou graciously hear us making intercession for the sins of others, who are not worthy to plead for our own. Do thou, O most merciful Lord, recall to thyself, with thy wonted goodness, these thy servants, who have separated themselves from thee by their sins. For neither didst thou reject the most wicked Achab when he humbled himself before thee, but didst avert from him the punishment he had deserved. So, likewise, didst thou graciously hear Peter, when he wept, and didst afterwards give to him the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and thou didst promise the reward of that same kingdom to the thief when he trusted in thee. Therefore, O most merciful Lord! mercifully welcome back these for whom we offer to thee our prayers, and restore them to the bosom of the Church, that the enemy may not triumph over them, but that they may be reconciled unto thee by thy coequal Son, and by him be cleansed from their guilt, and graciously admitted by him to the banquet of thy most holy Supper. May he in such wise refresh them by his Flesh and Blood, as to lead them, after this life’s course is run, to the kingdom of heaven.

After this prayer, all, both clergy and laity, prostrated themselves, together with the penitents, before the divine Majesty, and recited the three psalms which begin with the word Miserere, that is, psalms l, lv, and lvi. The bishop then stood up, and said over the penitents (who remained prostrate, as did also all the assistants) six prayers, from which we select the following sentences.

Give ear, O Lord, to our supplications, and mercifully hear me, though I myself need mercy above all others. Thou hast chosen me to be the minister of this work, not from any merits thou didst see in me, but by the pure gift of thy grace. Grant me courage to fulfil my office, and do thou work, by my ministry, the effects of thine own mercy. It is thou that didst bring back, on thy shoulders, the lost sheep to the fold, and that didst mercifully hear the prayers of the publican: do thou, also, restore to life these thy servants, whom thou wouldst not have die unto thee. O thou, who abandonest not them that are gone astray, receive these who have returned to thee. We beseech thee, O Lord, let the tearful sighs of these thy servants move thee to clemency: heal their wounds: stretch out thy saving hand to them, and raise them up. Permit not thy Church to be injured in any of her members: let not thy flock suffer loss; let not the enemy exult over the destruction of any of thy family, nor the second death lay hold of them that have been regenerated in the laver of salvation. Pardon, O Lord, these that confess their sins to thee: let them not fall into the punishments of the judgment to come; let them never know the horrors of darkness, or the torments of the flames of hell. They have returned from the way of error to the path of justice; let them not again be wounded, but maintain ever within themselves both what thy grace hath conferred upon them, and what thy mercy hath reformed within them.

Having said these prayers, the bishop stretched forth his hands over the penitents, and pronounced the reconciliation, in this solemn formula:

May our Lord Jesus Christ, who vouchsafed to take away the sins of the whole world, by delivering himself up for us, and shedding his spotless Blood; who also said unto his disciples: Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed also in heaven: and who hath numbered me, though unworthy, among these his ministers: may he deign, by the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, of the blessed Archangel Michael, of holy Peter the apostle (to whom he gave the power of binding and loosing), and of all the saints, to absolve you, by the merits of his Blood shed for the remission of sins, from all whatsoever you have negligently committed in thought, or word, or action; and, having loosed you from the bonds of sin, may he graciously lead you to the kingdom of heaven. Who, with God the Father, and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth for ever and ever. Amen.

The bishop then advanced towards the penitents, who were still lying prostrate: he sprinkled them with holy water, and thurified them. Finally, he addressed them in these words of the apostle: ‘Arise, ye that sleep! arise from the dead, and Christ shall enlighten you!’ The penitents stood up; and, in order to express the joy they felt at being reconciled with their God, they immediately went and changed their penitential garb for one more in accordance with gladness, and with the holy Communion they were now to receive together with the rest of the faithful.

This reconciliation of penitents has given rise to the magnificent ceremony, which takes place at Rome on this day, the papal benediction. After Mass, the sovereign Pontiff, vested in cope, and wearing the tiara, goes to the balcony over the centre door of the Vatican basilica. In the Piazza of St. Peter’s there stands an immense crowd of people, come from every country of the world, awaiting the appearanoe of the vicar of Christ, who is about to grant them the remission of the punishment due to their sins. One of the prelates who surround the Pope’s throne recites the usual form of the confession of sins; he recites it in the name of the assembly below, whom one and the same holy faith has thus brought before the father of the Christian world. After a few seconds of silence, the Pontiff beseeches God to show the riches of His mercy upon the multitude, who have already purified their conscience in the tribunal of reconciliation; he invokes upon them the assistance of the holy apostles Peter and Paul; and then rising, he raises up his hands to heaven, as though to draw thence the treasures of eternal indulgence; and immediately lowering them, he blesses the assembled multitude. This blessing,[3] which grants a plenary indulgence to all that have fulfilled the requisite conditions, was, originally, given only on Maundy Thursday; afterwards, it was given also on Easter Sunday; and again, later on, was extended to two other days in the year, namely, the Ascension (at St. John Lateran), and the Assumption (at St. Mary Major).

 

THE BLESSING OF THE HOLY OILS

 

The second Mass, which used formerly to be said on Maundy Thursday, was that of the blessing of the holy oils. This holy function, which takes place but once each year, requires a bishop as the consecrator. For now many centuries, this great ceremony is celebrated at the single Mass, which is said on this day in commemoration of our Lord’s Supper. As this blessing takes place only in cathedral churches, we will not enter into each detail; and yet we would not deprive our readers of what they ought to know with regard to the holy oils. Faith teaches us that, as we are regenerated by water, so are we confirmed and fortified by oil; and that oil is one of the chief elements chosen by the divine Author of the Sacraments, whereby to signify and produce grace in our souls.

The reason of the Church’s selecting Maundy Thursday for the blessing of the holy oils, was that they would be so much needed for the Baptism of the neophytes on Easter Eve. It behoves the faithful to understand the mystery of those sacred elements. We will, therefore, briefly explain it to them, in order that we may excite their hearts to gratitude to our blessed Lord, who has made material things the instruments of grace, and, by His Blood, has given them the sacramental power which resides within them.

Oil of the Sick

The first of the holy oils, that is, the first that is blessed by the bishop, is the one called the oil of the sick. It is the matter of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. It takes away from the dying Christian the remnants of sin; it strengthens him in his last combat; and, by the supernatural power it possesses, sometimes restores to him the health of the body. Formerly, it used to be blessed on any day of the year, as often as required: but, later on, its blessing was fixed for this day, that thus the three oils might be blessed all together. The faithful should assist, with much devotion, at this ceremony; for the element that is thus sanctified is one day to anoint and purify our bodies, sinking under sickness. Let them, as they see it being blessed, think upon their last hour, and praise the infinite goodness of their Saviour, whose Blood streams so plentifully through this precious fluid.’[4]

Chrism

The noblest of the three oils is the chrism, and its consecration is more solemn, and fuller of mystery, than those of the other two. It is by the chrism that the Holy Ghost imprints His indelible seal on the Christian that has already been made a member of Christ by Baptism. The water gives us our spiritual birth; the chrism gives us strength; and, until such time as we have received its holy anointing, we have not as yet the perfect character of a Christian. Anointed with this holy oil, the Christian has a visible sign given him of his being a member of the Man-God, whose name of Christ signifies the unction He has received both as King and Pontiff. This consecration of a Christian by chrism is so much in accordance with the spirit of our holy religion, that, immediately after Baptism, the child receives upon its head an anointing (though it is not a sacramental one) of this oil, to show that he is already a sharer of the kingly character of Jesus Christ.

In order to express, by an outward sign, the sacredness of chrism, an apostolic tradition requires the bishop to mix balm with it. This balm represents what the apostle calls the good odour of Christ,[5] of whom it is written: ‘We will run after Thee, to the odour of Thy ointments.’[6] The scarcity and high price of other perfumes has obliged the Latin Church to be content with balm alone in the mixture of holy chrism: but in the eastern Church, where the climate is more favourable than ours, three and thirty species of precious perfumes are put into the oil, and it thus becomes an ointment of exquisite fragrance.

The holy chrism, besides its sacramental use in Confirmation, and its being put upon the head of the newly baptized, is also used by the Church in the consecration of her bishops, in the consecration of chalices and altars, in the blessing of bells, and in the dedication of a church; in which last most imposing ceremony, the bishop pours out the chrism on the twelve crosses which are to attest to all succeeding ages the glory of God’s house.

Oil of the Catechumens

The third of the holy oils is that which is called the oil of catechumens. Though it be not the matter of any Sacrament, it is, nevertheless, apostolic institution. Its blessing is less solemn than that of the chrism, but more so than that of the oil of the sick. The oil of catechumens is used in the ceremonies of Baptism, for anointing the breast and shoulders. It is used also for the anointing of a priest’s hands in Ordination, and for the coronation of a king or queen.

These few words of explanation will give the faithful some idea of the importance of the blessing of the holy oils. By this threefold blessing, says St. Fortunatus in the beautiful hymn which is used during the ceremony, the bishop acquits the debt he owes, and which none but he can pay.

The holy Church seldom employs such pomp as she does on this occasion. Twelve priests, seven deacons, and seven subdeacons are present. The Roman pontifical tells us that the twelve priests assist as witnesses and co-operators of the holy chrism. The Mass commences, and goes on as far as the prayer of the Canon which immediately precedes the Pater noster. The bishop then leaves the altar, and goes to the place prepared for the blessing. The first phial of oil that is brought to him, is that which is intended for the sick. He prefaces the blessing by pronouncing the words of exorcism over this oil, in order to drive from it the influence of the wicked spirits, who, out of hatred for man, are ever seeking to infest the creatures given to us for our use. This done, he blesses it in these words:

We beseech thee, O Lord, send forth from heaven thy holy Spirit the Paraclete upon this rich juice of the olive, which thou hast graciously produced from the green wood, for the solace of both mind and body. By thy holy blessing, may all they that are anointed with this ointment of heavenly virtue, receive help to mind and body; may it remove from them all pains, all infirmities, and all sickness of mind and body, for it was with oil that thou didst anoint thy priests, kings, prophets, and mart yrs. May this, being blessed by thee, O Lord, become unto us an ointment of perfection, and abide within our whole being. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the seven subdeacons then carries the phial back, and the bishop returns to the altar, and continues the Mass. As soon as he has given holy Communion to the clergy, he returns to the place prepared for the blessing of the oils. The twelve priests, the seven deacons, and the seven subdeacons, repair to the place where the other two phials have been put. One contains the oil which is to become the chrism of salvation; the other, the oil which is to be sanctified as the oil of catechumens. The procession is soon seen returning towards the pontiff. The two phials are carried by two deacons; a subdeacon carries the vase of balm. The bishop begins by blessing the balm: he calls it ‘the fragrant tear of dry bark, the cozing of a favoured branch, that gives us the priestly unction’. Before proceeding to bless the oil of the chrism, he thrice breathes upon it, in the form of a cross. The twelve priests do the same. The Gospel tells us that our blessed Saviour used this same ceremony over His apostles. It signifies the power of the Holy Ghost, and expresses His name, which is the Spirit. This holy Spirit is about to make this oil become an instrument of His divine power. The bishop first prepares it for the heavenly dignity, by exorcising it. He then celebrates the praises of the chrism, by this magnificent Preface, which has been handed down to us from the earliest ages of our faith.

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God: who in the beginning, among the rest of thy bounteous gifts, didst command the earth to yield fruitbearing trees, among which should be the olive, which produces this most rich liquour, and whose fruit was to serve for making holy chrism. Hence it was that David, foreknowing by a prophetic spirit the Sacraments of thy grace, sang that our faces were to be made glad with oil: and when the sins of the world were expiated of old by the deluge, a dove announced that peace was restored to the earth, by bearing an olive branch, the type of the gift to come, which has been manifested in these latter ages; for after the waters of Baptism have washed away the sins of men, this anointing of oil gives us joy and calm. Hence, too, thou didst command thy servant Moses to ordain his brother Aaron priest, by pouring oil upon him, after he had been cleansed with water. A greater honour still was, that when thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, bade John baptize him in the waters of the Jordan, thou didst send upon him the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove; that thus by a voice that bore testimony, thou mightest designate thine only-begotten Son, in whom thou wast well pleased, and mightest prove, beyond all doubt, that this was the fulfilment of what the prophet David had foretold, when he sang, that he was to be anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. We, therefore, beseech thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, that thou vouchsafe to sanctify, by thy blessing, this thy creature oil, and infuse into it the virtue of the Holy Ghost, through the co-operating power of Christ, thy Son, from whose name it hath borrowed its own of chrism, and wherewith thou didst anoint the priests, kings, prophets, and martyrs. Raise this chrism into a Sacrament of perfect salvation and life, to them that are to be renewed by the spiritual laver of Baptism. That thus, the corruption of their first birth being absorbed by the infusion of this holy anointing, they may become a holy templeredolent with the fragrance of the innocence of holy living. According to what thou hast appointed in this mystery, bestow upon them the honour of kings, priests, and prophets, by vesting them in the robe of incorruption. May this oil be to them, that are born again from water and the Holy Ghost, a chrism of salvation, making them partakers of life everlasting, and coheirs of heavenly glory.

The bishop then takes the balm; and having mixed it, on a paten, with a little oil, he pours it into the phial. The consecration of the chrism thus completed, he salutes it with these words: ‘Hail, O holy chrism!’ This he does with the intention of honouring the Holy Ghost, who is to work by this sacramental oil. The same is done by each of the twelve priests.

The bishop then proceeds to bless the oil of catechumens. After having breathed upon it and pronounced the exorcism, as before in the blessing of the holy chrism, he says this prayer:

O God, the rewarder of every spiritual increase and growth! who strengthenest the beginnings of weakly souls by the power of the Holy Ghost: we beseech thee, O Lord, that thou vouchsafe to pour out thy blessing upon this oil, and grant to them, that come to the laver of holy regeneration, the cleansing of soul and body, by the anointing they receive from this thy creature; that so, if there should be any stains fixed upon them by their spiritual enemies, they may be effaced by the touch of this holy oil. May the wicked spirits find no room there; may the powers, that have been put to flight, have no further sway; may there be no lurking place left to insidious evil ones. May thy servants that come to the faith, and are to be cleansed by the operation of thy holy Spirit, find in this anointing a preparation for that salvation, which they are to receive in the Sacrament of Baptism, by the birth of a heavenly regeneration. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who is to come to judge the living, and the dead, and the world by fire. Amen.

The bishop then salutes the oil, on which he has conferred these wonderful prerogatives, saying: ‘Hail, O holy oil!’ The same act of reverence is repeated by each of the priests. One of the deacons takes the chrism, another the oil of catechumens, and a procession is again formed for taking them to the place prepared for them. They are covered with veils of silk: the holy chrism, with white; the oil of catechumens, with purple.

We will conclude our outline of this imposing ceremony, by giving our readers the beautiful hymn, composed in the sixth century, by St. Venantius Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers. The Church has adopted it for the two processions, which we have already described.

Hymn

O Redemptor sume carmen temet concinentium.
Repeat: O Redemptor.

Audi judex mortuorum,
Una spes mortalium,
Audi voces proferentum
Donum pacis prævium.
O Redemptor.

Arbor fœta alma luce
Hoc sacrandum protulit:
Fert hoc prona praesens turba,
Salvatori sæculi.
O Redemptor.

Stans ad aram immo supplex
Infulatus Pontifex,
Debitum persolvit omne,
Consecrato chrismate.
O Redemptor.

Consecrare tu dignare,
Rex perennis patriae,
Hoc olivum, signum vivum,
Jura contra dæmonum.
O Redemptor.

Ut novetur sexus omnis
Unctione chrismatis,
Ut sanetur sauciata
Dignitatis gloria.
O Redemptor.

Lota mente sacro fonte
Aufugantur crimina:
Uncta fronte, sacrosancta
Influunt charismata.
O Redemptor.

Corde natus ex Parentis,
Alvum implens Virginis,
Præsta lucem, claude mortem,
Chrismatis consortibus.
O Redemptor.

Sit hæc dies festa nobis
Sæculorum sæculis:
Sit sacrata, digna laude,
Nec senescat tempore.
O Redemptor.
O Redeemer of mankind! receive the hymn of them that sing thy praise.
Repeat: O Redeemer.

O Judge of the dead!
thou only hope of men!
hear the prayers of them that carry
the emblem of the gift of peace.
O Redeemer.

A tree made fruitful by the fostering sun,
produced this oil that is now to be blessed,
which we, the adorers of his holy name,
bring to the Saviour of the world.
O Redeemer.

The mitred pontiff, too,
standing humbly before the altar,
is about to pay his debt,
by consecrating the chrism.
O Redeemer.

O King of the everlasting kingdom!
deign to consecrate this oil,
this instrument of life,
that breaks the demon’s power.
O Redeemer.

Men and women are renovated
by the unction of the chrism;
and their glorious dignity that had been wounded,
is healed by the same.
O Redeemer.

When the soul is washed in the sacred font,
her crimes are put to flight:
and holiest graces come upon them,
whose brow is anointed with this oil.
O Redeemer.

O thou the Son of the eternal Father,
and Son of the Virgin-Mother!
grant light and life to us
whom thou hast made to share in thine own anointing.
O Redeemer.

May this day be to us
an everlasting feast.
May it be sacred, praiseworthy,
nor grow old with time.
O Redeemer.

 

THE MASS OF MAUNDY THURSDAY

 

The Church intends, on this day, to renew, in a most solemn manner, the mystery of the last Supper: for our Lord Himself, on this occasion of the institution of the blessed Sacrament, said to His apostles: ‘Do this for a commemoration of Me.’[7] Let us, therefore, resume the Gospel narrative.

Jesus is in the supper chamber, where the Paschal lamb is to be eaten. All the apostles are with Him; Judas is there, also, but his crime is not known to the rest. Jesus approaches the table, on which the lamb is served. His disciples stand around Him. The ceremonies prescribed by God to Moses are religiously observed. At the beginning of the repast, Jesus speaks these words to His apostles: ‘With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you, before I suffer.’[8] In saying this, He does not imply that the Pasch of this year is intrinsically better than those that have preceded it; but that it is dearer to Him, inasmuch as it is to give rise to the institution of the new Pasch, which He has prepared for mankind, and which He is now going to give them as His last gift; for, as St. John says, having loved His own, who were in the world, He loved them unto the end.[9]

During the repast, Jesus, who reads the hearts of all men, utters these words, which cause great consternation among the disciples: ‘Amen I say to you that one of you is about to betray Me:—he that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish, he shall betray Me.’[10] The sadness with which He speaks is enough to soften any heart; and Judas, who knows his Master’s goodness, feels that they imply a merciful pardon, if he will but ask it. But no: the passion of avarice has enslaved his soul, and he, like the rest of the apostles, says to Jesus: ‘Is it I, Rabbi?’ Jesus answers him in a whisper, in order not to compromise him before his brethren: ‘Thou hast said it!’ But Judas yields not. He intends to remain with Jesus, until the hour comes for betraying Him. Thus, the august mystery, which is on the point of being celebrated, is to be insulted by his presence! The legal repast is over. It is followed by a feast, which again brings the disciples around their divine Master.

It was the custom in the east, that guests should repose two and two on couches round the table: these have been provided by the disciple who has placed his house at Jesus’ service. John is on the same couch as Jesus, so that it is easy for him to lean his head on his Master’s breast. Peter is on the next couch, on the other side of Jesus, who is thus between the two disciples whom He had sent, in the morning, to prepare the Pasch, and who, as we have already observed, represent faith and love. The second repast is a sorrowful one, in consequence of Jesus having told the guests that one of them is a traitor. The innocent and affectionate John is overwhelmed with grief, and seeks consolation on the Heart of his dear Lord, whom some one is about to deliver to His enemies.

But the apostles little expect a third supper; Jesus has not told them of His intention; but He had made a promise, and He would fulfil it before His Passion. Speaking, one day, to the people, He had said: ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever, and the bread that I will give, is My Flesh for the life of the world... My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me, and I in him.’[11] The time has come for the fulfilment of this His loving promise. But as it was both His Flesh and His Blood that He promised us, He waited till the time of His sacrifice. His Passion has begun; He is sold to His enemies; His life is already in their hands:—He may at once, therefore, offer Himself in sacrifice, and give to His disciples the very Flesh and Blood of the Victim.

As soon as the second repast is over, Jesus suddenly rises, and, to the astonishment of His apostles, takes off His upper garment, girds Himself as a servant with a towel, pours water into a basin, and prepares to wash the feet of the guests. It was the custom, in the east, to wash one’s feet before taking part in a feast; it was considered as the very extreme of hospitality, when the master of the house himself did this service to his guest. Jesus is about to regale His apostles with a divine banquet; He wishes to treat them with every possible mark of welcome and attention. But in this, as in every other action of His, there is a fund of instruction: He would teach us, by what He is now doing, how great is the purity wherewith we should approach the holy Table. ‘He that is washed,’ says He, ‘needeth not but to wash his feet;’[12] as though He would say: ‘The holiness of this Table is such, that those who come to it should not only be free from grievous sins, but they should, moreover, strive to cleanse their souls from those lesser faults, which come from contact with the world, and are like the dust that covers the feet of one that walks on the high-way.’ We will explain further on the other teachings conveyed by this action of our Lord.

It is with Peter, the future head of His Church, that Jesus begins. The apostle protests; he declares that he will never permit his Master to humble Himself so low as this: but he is obliged to yield. The other apostles (who, as Peter himself, are reclining upon their couches) receive the same mark of love: Jesus comes to each of them in turn, and washes their feet. Judas is not excepted: he has just received a second warning from his merciful Master; for Jesus, addressing Himself to all the apostles, said to them: ‘You are clean, but not all’:[13] but the reproach produced no effect upon this hardened heart. Having finished washing the feet of the twelve, Jesus resumes His place, side by side with John.

Then taking a piece of the unleavened bread, that had remained over from the feast, He raises His eyes to heaven, blesses the bread, breaks it, and distributes it to His disciples saying to them: ‘Take ye, and eat; this is My Body’.[14] The apostles take the bread, which is now changed into the Body of their divine Master; they eat: and Jesus is now not only with them, but in them. But, as this sacred mystery is not only the most holy of the Sacraments, but moreover a true Sacrifice; and as a Sacrifice requires the shedding of blood; our Jesus takes the cup, and changing the wine into His own Blood, He passes it round to His disciples, saying to them: ‘Drink ye all, of this; for this is My Blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many, unto remission of sins’.[15]The apostles drink from the sacred chalice thus proffered them! When it comes to Judas, he too partakes of it, but he drinks his own damnation, as he ate his own judgment when he received the Bread of life.[16] Jesus, however, mercifully offers the traitor another grace, by saying, as He gives the cup to His disciples: ‘The hand of him that betrayeth Me is with Me on the table’.[17]

Peter is struck by Jesus thus frequently alluding to the crime, which is to be committed by one of the twelve. He is determined to find out who the traitor is. Not daring himself to ask Jesus, at whose right hand he is sitting, he makes a sign to John, who is on the other side, and begs him to put the question. John leans on Jesus’ breast, and says to Him in a whisper: ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answers him in an equally suppressed tone: ‘He to whom I shall reach bread dipped.’ And having taken one of the pieces of bread that remained over from the repast, He dipped it, and gave it to Judas. It was one more grace offered and refused, for the evangelist adds: ‘And after the morsel, satan entered into him.’[18] Jesus again addresses him saying: ‘That which thou dost, do quickly.’[19] The wretch then leaves the room, and sets about the perpetration of his crime.

Such is the history of the last Supper, of which we celebrate the anniversary on this day. But there is one circumstance of the deepest interest to us, to which we have, so far, made only an indirect allusion. The institution of the holy Eucharist, both as a Sacrament and a Sacrifice, is followed by another: the institution of a new priesthood. How could our Saviour have said: ‘Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of man, and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you,’[20] unless He had resolved to establish a ministry upon earth, whereby He would renew, even to the end of time, the great mystery He thus commands us to receive? He begins it to-day, in the cenacle. The twelve apostles are the first to partake of it; but observe what He says to them: ‘Do this for a commemoration of Me.’[21] By these words, He gives them power to change bread into His Body, and wine into His Blood; and this sublime power shall be perpetuated in the Church, by holy Ordination, even to the end of the world. Jesus will continue to operate, by the ministry of mortal and sinful men, the mystery of the last Supper. By thus enriching His Church with the one and perpetual Sacrifice, He also gives us the means of abiding in Him, for He gives us, as He promised, the Bread of heaven. To-day, then, we keep the anniversary, not only of the institution of the holy Eucharist, but also of the equally wonderful institution of the Christian priesthood.

To offer the faithful an outward expression of the greatness and the unity of this Supper, which our Saviour gave to His disciples, and, through them, to us, the Church forbids her priests to say private Masses on this day, except in cases of necessity. She would have but one Sacrifice to be offered in each church, at which the other priests are to assist, and receive holy Communion from the hands of the celebrant. When approaching the altar, they put on the stole, the emblem of their priesthood.

The Mass of Maundy Thursday is one of the most solemn of the year; and although the feast of Corpus Christi is the day for solemnly honouring the mystery of the holy Eucharist, still, the Church would have the anniversary of the last Supper to be celebrated with all possible splendour. The colour of the vestments is white, as it is for Christmas day and Easter Sunday; the decorations of the altar and sanctuary all bespeak joy, and yet, there are several ceremonies during this Mass which show that the holy bride of Christ has not forgotten the Passion of her Jesus, and that this joy is but transient. The priest entones the angelic hymn, Glory be to God in the highest! and the bells ring forth a joyous peal, which continues during the whole of the heavenly canticle: but from that moment they remain silent, and their long silence produces, in every heart, a sentiment of holy mournful ness. But why does the Church deprive us, for so many hours of, the grand melody of these sweet bells, whose voices cheer us during the rest of the year? It is to show us that this world lost all its melody and joy when its Saviour suffered and was crucified. Moreover, she would hereby remind us, how the apostles (who were the heralds of Christ, and are figured by the bells, whose ringing summons the faithful to the house of God), fled from their divine Master and left Him a prey to His enemies.

The holy Sacrifice continues as usual; but at the solemn moment of the elevation of the holy Host and the Chalice of salvation, the bell is silent, and outside the church there is not given to the neighbourhood the usual signal of the descent of Jesus upon the altar. When the time of the holy Communion is near, the priest does not give the kiss of peace to the deacon, who, according to the apostolic tradition, should transmit it, by the subdeacon, to those who are about to communicate. Our thoughts turn to the traitor Judas, who on this very day profaned the sign of friendship by making it an instrument of death. It is out of detestation for this crime, that the Church omits, to-day, the sign of fraternal charity: it would too painfully remind us of the sacrilegious hypocrisy.

Another rite peculiar to to-day, is the consecration of two Hosts during the Mass. One of these the priest receives in Communion; the other he reserves, and reverently places it in a chalice, which he covers with a veil. The reason of this is that to-morrow the Church suspends the daily Sacrifice. Such is the impression produced by the anniversary of our Saviour’s death, that the Church dares not to renew upon her altars the immolation which was then offered on Calvary; or rather, her renewal of it will be by fixing all her thoughts on the terrible scene of that Friday noon. The Host reserved from to-day’s Mass, will be her morrow’s participation. This rite is called the Mass of the Presanctified, because, in it, the priest does not consecrate, but only receives the Host consecrated on the previous day. Formerly, as we shall explain more fully further on, the holy Sacrifice was not offered up on Holy Saturday, and yet the Mass of the Presanctified was not celebrated as it was on the Friday.

But although the Church suspends, for a few short hours, the oblation of the perpetual Sacrifice, she would not that her divine Spouse should lose aught of the homage that is due to Him in the Sacrament of His love. Catholic piety has found a means of changing these trying hours into a tribute of devotion to the holy Eucharist. In every church is prepared a richly ornamented side-chapel or pavilion, where, after to-day’s Mass, the Church places the Body of her divine Lord. Though veiled from their view, the faithful will visit Him in this His holy restingplace, pay Him their most humble adorations, and present Him their most fervent supplications. Wheresoever the Body shall be, there shall the eagles be gathered together.[22] In every part of the Catholic world, a concert of prayer, more loving and earnest than at any other period of the year, will be offered to our Jesus, in reparation for the outrages He underwent, during these very hours, from the  Jews. Around this anticipated tomb will be united both His long-tried and fervent servants, and those who are newly converted, or are preparing for their reconciliation.

At Rome, the station is in the Lateran basilica. The metropolitan church both of the holy city and of the world was deservedly chosen for this great day of the reconciliation of sinners and of the consecration of the chrism. The papal function, however, now takes place at the Vatican; and, as we have already stated, the apostolic benediction is given by the sovereign Pontiff from the loggia of St. Peter’s.

 

MASS

 

In the Introit, the Church makes use of the words of St. Paul, in praise of the cross of Christ. She is filled with gratitude for this her Redeemer, who has made Himself our salvation, by dying for us; our life, by the Bread of heaven He has given us; and our resurrection, by His having risen from the grave.

Introit

Nos autem gloriari oportet in cruce Domini nostri Jesu Christi: in quo est salus, vita, et resurrectio nostra, per quem salvati, et liberati sumus.

Ps. Deus misereatur no­stri, et benedicat nobis; illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri. Nos autem.
We ought to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection; by whom we have been saved and delivered.

Ps. May God have mercy on us, and bless us; may his countenance shine upon us, and may he have mercy on us. We ought.

In the Collect, the Church reminds us of Judas and the good thief: both are guilty; and yet, the one is condemned, the other is pardoned. She prays for us to God, that the Passion of His Son, during which were thus shown the divine justice and mercy, may procure us the forgiveness of our sins, and the fulness of grace.

Collect

Deus, a quo et Judas reatus sui pœnam, et confessionis suæ latro præmium sumpsit: concede nobis tuæ propitiationis eff ectum: ut sicut in passione sua Jesus Christus Dominus noster diversa utrisque intulit stipendia meritorum, ita nobis,ablato vetustatis errore, resurrectionis suæ gratiam largiatur. Qui tecum.
O God, from whom both Judas received the punishment of his sin, and the thief the reward of his confession; grant us the effects of thy mercy; that as our Lord Jesus Christ, at the time of his Passion, bestowed on both different rewards according to their merits; so, having destroyed the old man in us, he may give us grace to rise again with him. Who liveth, &c.

Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.

I. Cap. xi.

Fratres: Convenientibus vobis in unum, jam non est dominicam cœnam manducare. Unusquisque enim suam cœnam præsumit ad manducandum. Et alius quidem esurit: alius autem ebrius est. Numquid domos non habetis ad manducandum et bibendum? Aut Ecclesiam Dei contemnitis, et confunditis eos, qui non habent? Quid dicam vobis? Laudo vos? In hoc non laudo. Ego enim accepi a Domino, quod et tradidi vobis: quoniam Dominus Jesus, in qua nocte tradebatur, accepit panem, et gratias agens fregit, et dixit: Accipite et manducate: hoc est Corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradetur; hoc facite in meam commemorationem. Similiter et calicem postquam cœnavit, dicens: Hic calix novum testamentum eat in meo Sanguine. Hoc facite quotiescumque bibetis, in meam commeinorationem. Quotiescumque enim manducabitis panem hunc, et calicem bibetis, mortem Domini annuntiabitis donec veniat. Itaque quicumque manducaverit panem hunc, vel biberit calicem Domini indigne, reus erit Corporis et Sanguinis Domini. Probet autem seipsum homo, et sic de pane illo edat, et de calice bibat. Qui enim manducat et bibit indigne, judicium sibi manducat et bibit, non dijudicans Corpus Domini. Ideo inter vos multi infirmi et imbecilles, et dormiunt multi. Quod si nosmetipsos dijudicaremus, non utique judicaremur. Dum judicamur autem, a Domino corripimur, ut non cum hoc mundo damnemur
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

I. Ch. xi.

Brethren: When you come, therefore, together, into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord’s Supper. For every one taketh before his own supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry, and another is drunk. What, have you not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the Church of God, and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you? In this I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye and eat: this is my Body which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my Blood: this do ye, as often as ye shall drink, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and of the Blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Body of the Lord. Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep. But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world.

After having rebuked the Christians of Corinth for the abuses into which they had fallen at the feasts (called Agape), which had been introduced by a spirit of fraternal charity but were soon abolished, the holy apostle relates the history of the last Supper. His account, which corresponds throughout with that given by the evangelists, rests upon the testimony of our blessed Saviour Himself, who deigned to appear to him and instruct him in person, after his conversion. The apostle does not omit to give the words, whereby our Lord empowered His apostles to renew what He Himself had done: he tells us that, as often as the priest consecrates the Body and Blood of Christ, he shows the death of the Lord, thus expressing the oneness there is between the Sacrifice of the cross and that of the altar. We have explained this important doctrine in the sixth chapter of the introduction to this present volume. The consequence to be drawn from this teaching is evident; it is contained in these words of the apostle: Let a man prove himself and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice. What could be more just, than that, having to be initiated in so intimate a manner to the mystery of the redemption and to contract so close a union with the divine Victim, we should banish from our hearts sin and affection to sin? ‘He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me, and I in Him,’ says our Lord.[23] Could there be a closer union? God and man abiding in each other? Oh! how carefully ought we to purify our soul, and render our will conformable with the will of Jesus, before approaching this divine banquet, to which He invites us! Let us beseech Him to prepare us Himself, as He did His apostles by washing their feet. He will grant us our request, not only today, but as often as we go to holy Communion, provided we are docile to His grace.

The Gradual is made up of those admirable words, which the Church so often repeats during these three days, and by which St. Paul warms us to gratitude towards the Son of God, who delivered Himself up for us.

Gradual

Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis.

℣. Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum, et dedit illi nomen, quod est super omne nomen.
Christ became, for our sake, obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.

℣. For which cause, God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name, which is above all names.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. xiii.

Ante diem festum Paschæ, sciens Jesus, quia venit hora ejus, ut transeat ex hoc mundo ad Patrem: cum dilexisset suos, qui erant in mundo, in finem dilexit eos. Et cœna facta, cum diabolus jam misisset in cor, ut traderet eum Judas Simonis Iscariotæ: sciens quia omnia dedit ei Pater in manus, et quia a Deo exivit et ad Deum vadit, surgit a cœna, et ponit vestimenta sua. Et cum accepisset linteum, præcinxit se. Deinde mittit aquam in pelvim, et cœpit lavare pedes discipulorum, et extergere linteo, quo erat præcinctus. Venit ergo ad Simonem Petrum, et dicit ei Petrus: Domine, tu mihi lavas pedes? Respondit Jesus, et dixit ei: Quod ego facio, tu nescis modo: scies autem postea. Dicit ei Petrus: Non lavabis mihi pedes in æternum. Respondit ei Jesus: Si non lavero te, non habebis partem mecum. Dicit ei Simon Petrus: Domine, non tantum pedes meos, sed et manus et caput. Dicit ei Jesus: Qui lotus est, non indiget nisi ut pedes lavet, sed est mundus totus. Et vos mundi estis, sed non omnes. Sciebat enim quisnam esset qui traderet eum; propterea dixit: Non estis mundi omnes. Postquam ergo lavit pedes eorum, et accepit vestimenta sua, cum recubuisset iterum, dixit eis: Scitis quid fecerim vobis? Vos vocatis me Magister et Domine: et bene dicitis: sum etenim. Si ergo ego lavi pedes vestros, Dominus et Magister, et vos debetis alter alterius lavare pedes. Exemplum enim dedi vobis, ut quemadmodum ego feci vobis, ita et vos faciatis.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. xiii.

Before the festival day of the Pasch, Jesus knowing that his hour was come that he should pass out of this world, to the Father: having loved his own who were in the world he loved them unto the end. And when supper was done (the devil having now put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray him), knowing that the Father had given him all things into his hands, and that he came from God and goeth to God: he riseth from supper, and layeth aside his garments, and having taken a towel, girded himself. After that, he putteth water into a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. He cometh therefore to Simon Peter. And Peter saith to him: Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered, and said to him: What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith to him: Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him: If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me. Simon Peter saith to him: Lord not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him: He that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean, but not all. For he knew who he was that would betray him: therefore he said: You are not all clean. Then after he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, being sat down again, he said to them: Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord: and you say well, for so I am. If then I, being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet: you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also.

Our Saviour’s washing the feet of His disciples before permitting them to partake of His divine mystery, conveys an instruction to us. The apostle has just been telling us, that we should prove ourselves: and here we have Jesus saying to His disciples: you are clean. It is true, He adds: but not all: just as the apostle assures us, that there are some who render themselves guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. God forbid we should ever be of the number! Let us prove ourselves; let us sound the depths of our conscience, before approaching the holy Table. Mortal sin, and the affection to mortal sin, would change the Bread of life into a deadly poison for our souls. But if respect for the holiness of God, who is about to enter within us by holy Communion, should make us shudder at the thought of receiving Him in the state of mortal sin which robs the soul of the image of God and gives her that of satan, ought not that same respect to urge us to purify our souls from venial sins, which dim the beauty of grace? He, says our Saviour, that is washed needeth not but to wash his feet. The feet are those earthly attachments, which so often lead us to the brink of sin. Let us watch over our senses, and the affections of our hearts. Let us wash away these stains by a sincere confession, by penance, by sorrow, and by humility; that thus we may worthily receive the adorable Sacrament, and derive from it the fullness of its power and grace.

In the Offertory-antiphon, the soul, confiding in the promise made to her by Christ that He will feed her with the Bread of life, gives way to a transport of joy. She praises her God for this divine nourishment, which keeps death from them that eat.

Offertory

Dextera Domini fecit virtutem, dextera Domini exaltavit me: non moriar, sed vivam, et narrabo opera Domini.
The right hand of the Lord hath displayed its might: the right hand of the Lord hath raised me up; I shall not die, but live, and publish the works of the Lord.

In the Secret, the Church reminds our heavenly Father that the august Sacrifice, which she is now celebrating, was instituted on this very day.

Secret

Ipse tibi, quæsumus, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, sacrificium nostrum reddat acceptum, qui discipulis suis in sui commemorationem hoc fieri hodierna traditione monstravit, Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster: Qui tecum.
We beseech thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, that our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, may make our sacrifice acceptable to thee, who on this day commanded his disciples to celebrate it in memory of him. Who liveth, &c.

After the priest has received under both kinds, he puts into a chalice the Host reserved for to-morrow: he then gives Communion to the clergy, and afterwards to the laity. As soon as the Communion is finished, the choir sings the following antiphon, which tells how Jesus prepared His disciples for the great mystery by humbly washing their feet.

Communion

Dominus Jesus postquam cœnavit cum discipulis suis, lavit pedes eorum, et ait illis: Scitis quid fecerim vobis, ego Dominus et Magister? Exemplum dedi vobis, ut et vos ita faciatis.
The Lord Jesus, after he had supped with his disciples, washed their feet, and said to them: Do you understand what I have done to you, I your Lord and Master? I have set you an example, that you may do the same.

Our holy mother prays for us, in the Postcommunion, that we may preserve in ourselves, for all eternity, the divine Gift just bestowed upon us.

Postcommunion

Refecti vitalibus alimentis, quæsumus, Domine Deus noster: ut quod tempore nostræ mortalitatis exsequimur, immortalitatis tuæ munere consequamur. Per Dominum.
We beseech thee, O Lord, our God, that being nourished with this life-giving food, we may receive by thy grace, in immortal glory, what we celebrate in this mortal life. Through, &c.

As soon as the Mass is over, a procession is formed to the place prepared for the sacred Host, which is to be reserved for the morrow. The celebrant carries it beneath a canopy, as on the feast of Corpus Christi; it is not however exposed, as on that day of its triumph, but concealed in a chalice closely veiled. Let us adore this divine Sun of justice, whose rising at Bethlehem brought gladness to our hearts: He is now near His setting: a few hours more, and His light will be eclipsed. Our earth will then be buried in gloom, until, on the third day, He will rise again with renewed splendour.

During the procession, the choir sings the well-known hymn of the blessed Sacrament.

Hymn

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.
Sing, my tongue,
the mystery of the glorious Body
and precious Blood!
that Blood which the King of all nations,
the Fruit of Mary’s womb,
shed for the world’s redemption.

He gave himself to us;
for us was he born from a pure Virgin;
he lived among men,
sowing the seed of his word,
and closed his career on earth
by a gift of wondrous love.

On the night of the last Supper,
he assembled his brethren around him;
and having observed the law,
and eaten the Pasch prescribed,
he, with his own hands,
gave himself to the twelve as their food.

The Word made Flesh changes bread,
by his word, into his own Flesh,
and the wine becomes the Blood of Christ.
Our senses fail us here:
but faith has power to take all wavering
from the Christian heart.

Let us, therefore, venerate this great
Sacrament in prostrate adoration!
Let the ancient form
give place to the new rite!
Let faith supply
what the senses cannot give.

Be praise and jubilee|
to the Father and the Son!
Salvation, honour, power,
yea and benediction be to them;
and to the Spirit that proceeds from both,
be one coequal praise!

Amen.

Having reached the place prepared, the priest places the chalice upon the altar, and censes the sacred Host. The deacon takes the chalice, and puts it in the tabernacle. After a short prayer in silence, the procession returns to the choir, and Vespers are immediately begun. This Office, which on feast days is celebrated with so much solemnity, is, to-day and to-morrow, deprived of everything that betokens joy. The psalms are recited, without the slightest chant or even inflexion. The Church, as a disconsolate widow, mourns the loss of her Jesus.

 

VESPERS

 

Pater and Ave are said in secret.

The first psalm alludes to the chalice of salvation, which Jesus prepared for His Church by shedding His Blood for our redemption. It was on this day, at His last Supper, that He gave her the chalice of the new Testament.

Ant. Calicem salutaris accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo.
Ant. I will take the chalice of salvation, and I will call upon the name of the Lord.

Psalm 115

 

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

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

Ant. I will take the chalice of salvation and I will call upon the name of the Lord.

The second psalm shows us our Lord patiently bearing the calumnies of His enemies, and the trials of His earthly sojourn.

Ant. Cum his qui oderunt pacem, eram pacificus: dum loquebar illis, impugnabant me gratis.
Ant. With them that hated peace, I was peaceable: when I spoke to them, they fought against me without cause.

Psalm 119

Ad Dominum cum tribularer, clamavi: et exaudivit me.
Domine, libera animam meam a labiis iniquis: et a lingua dolosa.
Quid detur tibi, aut quid apponatur tibi: ad linguam dolosam?
Sagittæ potentis acutæ: cum carbonibus desolatoriis.
Heu mihi quia incolatus meus prolongatus est! habitavi cum habitantibus Cedar: multum incoia fuit anima mea.
Cum his qui oderunt pacem eram pacificus: cum loquebar illis, impugnabant me gratis.

Ant. Cum his qui oderunt pacem eram pacificus: dum loquebar illis, impugnabant me gratis.
In my trouble, I cried to the Lord, and he heard me.
O Lord, deliver my soul from wicked lips, and a deceitful tongue.
What shall be given to thee, or what shall be added to thee, to a deceitful tongue?
The sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals that lay waste.
Wo is me that my sojourning is prolonged: I have dwelt with the inhabitants of Cedar: my soul has been long a sojourner.
With them that hated peace I was peaceable; when I spoke to them, they fought against me without cause.

Ant. With them that hated peace, I was peaceable: when I spoke to them, they fought against me without cause.

In the third psalm, the Messias complains of the perfidy of Judas, and of the persecutions He met with from the Synagogue.

Ant. Ab hominibus iniquis libera me, Domine.
Ant. From unjust men deliver me, O Lord!

Psalm 139

Eripe me, Domine, ab homine malo: a viro iniquo eripe me.
Qui cogitaverunt iniquitates in corde: tota die constituebant prælia.
Acuerunt linguas suas sicut serpentis: venenum aspidum sub labiis eorum.
Custodi me. Domine, de manu peccatone: et ab hominibus iniquis eripe me.
Qui cogitaverunt supplantare gressus meos: absconderunt superbi laqueum mihi.
Et funes extenderunt in laqueum: juxta iter scandalum posuerunt mihi.
Dixi Domino: Deus meus es tu: exaudi, Domine, vocem deprecationis meæ.
Domine, Domine, virtus salutis meæ; obumbrasti super caput meum in die belli.
Ne tradas me, Domine, a desiderio meo peccatori: cogita verunt contra me, ne derelinquas me, ne forte exaltentur.
Caput circuitus eorum; labor labiorum ipsorum operiet eos.
Cadent super eos carbones, in ignem dejicies eos: in miseriis non subsistent.
Vir linguosus non dirigetur in terra: virum injustum mala capient in interitu.
Cognovi quia faciet Dominus judicium inopia: et vindictam pauperum.
Verumtamen justi confitebuntur nomini tuo: et habitabunt recti cum vultu tuo.

Ant. Ab hominibus iniquis libera me, Domine.
Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man; rescue me from the unjust man.
Who have devised iniquities in their hearts: all the day long they designed battles.
They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent: the venom of asps is under their lips.
Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked: and from unjust men deliver me.
Who have proposed to supplant my steps: the proud have hid a net for me.
And they have stretched out cords for a snare: they have laid for me a stumblingblock by the way side.
I said to the Lord: Thou art my God: hear, O Lord, the voice of mv supplication.
O Lord. O Lord, the strength of my salvation: thou hast overshadowed my head in the day of battle.
Give me not up, O Lord, from my desire to the wicked: they have plotted against me; do not thou forsake me, lest they should triumph.
The head of their compassing me about: the labour of their lips shall overwhelm them.
Burning coals shall fall upon them; thou wilt cast them down into the fire: in miseries they shall not be able to stand.
A man full of tongue shall not be established in the earth: evils shall catch the unjust man unto destruction.
I know that the Lord will do justice to the needy, and will revenge the poor.
But as for the just, they shall give glory to thy name: and the upright shall dwell with thy countenance.

Ant. From unjust men deliver me, O Lord!

The fourth psalm represents our Saviour offering His prayer to God as evening incense: His hands are stretched out upon the cross. His bones are disjointed; the tomb, which the psalmist here calls hell, is soon to receive Him as its victim; and yet, He hopes in the promised aid.

Ant. Custodi me a laqueo, quem statuerunt mihi, et a scandalis operantium iniquitatem.
Ant. Keep me from the snare which they have laid for me, and from the stumblingblocks of them that work iniquity.

Psalm 140

Domine, clamavi ad te, exaudi me: intende voci meæ cum clamavero ad te.
Dirigatur oratio mea sicut incensum in conspectu tuo: elevatio manuum mearum, sacrificium vespertinum.
Pone, Domine, custodiam ori meo: et ostium circumstantiæ labiis meis.
Non declines cor meum in verba malitiæ: ad excusandas excusationes in peccatis.
Cum hominibus operantibus iniquitatem: et non communicabo cum electis eorum.
Corripiet me justus in misericordia, et increpabit me: oleum autem peccatoris non impinguet caput meum.
Quoniam adhuc et oratio mea in beneplacitis eorum: absorpti sunt juncti petræ judices eorum.Audient verba mea quoniam potuerunt: sicut crassitudo terræ erupta est super terram.
Dissipata sunt ossa nostra secus infernum: quia ad te Domine, Domine oculi mei: in te speravi, non auferas animam meam.
Custodi me a laqueo quem statuerunt mihi: et a scandalis operantium iniquitatem.
Cadent in retiaculo ejus peccatores: singulariter sum ego, donec transeam.

Ant. Custodi me a laqueo, quem statuerunt mihi, et a scandalis operantium iniquitatem.
I have cried out to thee, O Lord, hear me: hearken to my voice when I cry to thee.
Let my prayer be directed as incense in thy sight: the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.
Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth: and a door round my lips.
Incline not my heart to evil words: to make excuses for sins.
With men that work iniquity: and I will not communicate with the choicest of them.
The just man shall correct me in mercy, and reprove me: but let not the oil of the sinner fatten my head.
For my prayer also shall still be against the things with. which they are well pleased: their judges falling upon the rock have been swallowed up.They shall hear my words, for they have prevailed; as when the thickness of the earth is broken up upon the ground.
Our bones are scattered by the side of hell; but on thee, O Lord, Lord, are my eyes: in thee have I put my trust, take not away my soul.
Keep me from the snare, which they have laid for me, and from the stumbling-blocks of them that work iniquity.
The wicked shall fall in his net: I am alone until I pass.

Ant. Keep me from the snare which they have laid for me, and from the stumblingblocks of them that work iniquity.

In the fifth psalm, tho Messias complains of being abandoned by all. No one takes His part; His enemies have Him in their power, and are determined He shall not escape. He turns towards His eternal Father, and beseeches Him to deliver Him from the prison of the tomb, into which He is soon to descend.

Ant. Considerabam ad dexteram, et videbam; et non erat qui cognosceret me.
Ant. I looked on my right hand, and beheld; and there was no one that would know me.

Psalm 141

Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi: voce mea ad Dominum deprecatus sum.
Effundo in conspectu ejus orationem meam: et tribulationem meam ante ipsum pronuntio.
In deficiendo ex me spiritimi meum: et tu cognovisti semitas meas.
In via hac qua ambulabam: absconderunt laqueum mihi.
Considerabam ad dexteram, et videbam: et non erat qui cognosceret me.
Periit fuga a me: et non est qui requirat animam meam.
Clamavi ad te, Domine: dixi: Tu es spes mea, portio mea in terra viventium.
Intende ad deprecationem meam: quia humiliatus sum nimis.
Libera me a persequentibus me: quia confortati sunt super me.
Educ de custodia animam meam ad confitendum nomini tuo: me exspectant justi, donec retribuas mihi.

Ant. Considerabam ad dexteram, et videbam; et non erat qui cognosceret me.
I cried to the Lord with my voice: with my voice I made supplication to the Lord.
In his sight I pour out my prayer: and before him I declare my trouble.
When my spirit failed me, then thou knewest my paths.
In this way wherein I walked they have hidden a snare for me.
I looked on my right hand, and beheld: and there was no one that would know me.
Flight hath failed me: and there is no one that hath regard to my soul.
I cried to thee, O Lord: I said: Thou art ray hope, my portion in the land of the living.
Attend to my supplication: for I am brought very low.
Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I.
Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the just wait for me until thou reward me.

Ant. I looked on my right hand, and beheld: and there was no one that would know me.

Antiphon of the Magnificat

Cœnantibus autem illis, accepit Jesus panem et benedixit, ac fregit, deditque discipulis suis.
As they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to his disciples.

Then is said the canticle Magnificat (see page 90).


The antiphon is repeated, and then is added the following versicle:

V. Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem.
 V. Christ became, for our sake, obedient unto death.

After the Pater noster has been said secretly, the psalm Miserere (page 336) is recited with a suppressed voice. The following prayer concludes the Vespers.

Respice, quæsumus, Domine, super hanc familiam tuam: pro qua Dominus noster Jesus Christus non dubitavit manibus tradi nocentium,et crucis subire tormentum:
Look down, O Lord, we beseech thee, upon this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ hesitated not to be delivered into the hands of wicked men, and to undergo the punishment of the cross:

(then the rest in secret:)

Qui tecum vivit et regnat, in unitate Spiritus sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

 

THE STRIPPING OF THE ALTARS

 

As soon as Vespers are over, the celebrant returns to the sanctuary, assisted by the deacon and subdeacon. He goes to the altar, and takes off the cloths and ornaments. This ceremony signifies the suspension of the holy Sacrifice. The altar should be left in this denuded state, until the daily offering can be again presented to the divine Majesty; that is, when the Spouse of the holy Church shall arise from the grave, the Conqueror of death. He is now in the hands of His enemies, the Jews, who are about to strip Him of His garments, just as we strip the altar. He is to be exposed naked to the insults of the rabble; and for this reason, the psalm selected to he recited during this mournful ceremony is the twenty-first, wherein the Messias speaks of the Roman soldiers dividing His garments among them.

Ant. Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
Ant. They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.

Psalm 21

Deus, Deus meus, respice in me: quare me dereliquisti: longe a salute mea verba delictorum meorum.
Deus meus, clamabo per diem, et non exaudies: et nocte, et non ad insipientiam mihi.
Tu autem in sancto habitas: laus Israël.
In te speraverunt patres nostri: speraverunt, et liberasti eos.
Ad te clamaverunt, et salvi facti sunt: in te speraverunt, et non sunt confusi.
Ego autem sum vermis, et non homo: opprobrium hominum, et abjectio plebis.
Omnes videntes me deriserunt me: locuti sunt labiis, et moverunt caput.
Speravit in Domino, eripiat eum: salvum faciat eum, quoniam vult eum.
Quoniam tu es, qui extraxisti me de ventre: spes mea ab uberibus matris meæ.
In te projectus sum ex utero: de ventre matris meæ
Deus meus es tu: ne discesseris a me.
Quoniam tribulatio proxima est: quoniam non est qui adjuvet.
Circumdederunt me vituli multi: tauri pingues obsederunt me.
Aperuerunt super me os suum: sicut leo rapiens et rugiens.
Sicut aqua effusus sum: et dispersa sunt omnia ossa mea.
Factum est cor meum tamquam cera liquescens: in medio ventris mei.
Aruit tamquam testa virtus mea, et lingua mea adhæsit faucibus meis: et in pulverem mortis deduxisti me.
Quoniam circumdederunt me canes multi: concilium malignantium obsedit me.
Foderunt manus meas et pedes meos: dinumeraverunt omnia ossa mea.
Ipsi vero consideraverunt et inspexerunt me: diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
Tu autem, Domine, ne elongaveris auxilium tuum a me: ad defensionem meam conspice.
Erue a framea, Deus, animam meam: et de manu canis unicam meam.
Salva me ex ore leonis: et a cornibus unicornium humilitatem meam.
Narrabo nomen tuum fratribus meis: in medio ecclesiæ laudabo te.
Qui timetis Dominum, laudate eum: universum semen Jacob, glorificate eum.
Timeat eum omne semen Israel: quoniam non sprevit, neque despexit deprecationem pauperis.
Nec avertit faciem suam a me: et cum clamarem ad eum, exaudivit me.
Apud te laus mea in ecclesia magna: vota mea reddam in conspectu timentium eum.
Edent pauperes, et saturabuntur, et laudabunt Dominum qui requirunt eum: vivent corda eorum in sæculum sæculi.
Reminiscentur et convertentur ad Dominum: universi fines terræ.
Et adorabunt in conspectu ejus: universæ familiæ gentium.
Quoniam Domini est regnum: et ipse dominabitur gentium.
Manducaverunt, et adoraverunt omnes pingues terræ: in conspectu ejus cadent omnes, qui descendunt in terram.
Et anima mea illi vivet: et semen meum serviet ipsi.
Annuntiabitur Domino generatio ventura: et annuntiabunt cœli justitiam ejus, populo qui nascetur, quem fecit Dominus.

Ant. Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
O God, my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me: Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.
O my God, I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear: and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me.
But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel.
In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped and thou hast delivered them.
They cried to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.
All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.
He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighted in him.
For thou art he that hast drawn me out of the womb: my hope from the breasts of my mother.
I was cast upon thee from the womb: from my mother’s womb thou art my God, depart not from me.
For tribulation is very near: for there is none to help me.
Many calves have surrounded me: fat bulls have besieged me.
They have opened their mouths against me, as a lion ravening and roaring.
I am poured out like water: and all my bones are scattered.
My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaven to my jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death.
For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me.
They have dug my hands and feet: they have numbered all my bones.
And they have looked and stared upon me: they parted my garments amongst them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.
But thou, O Lord, remove not thy help to a distance from me: look towards my defence.
Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword: my only one from the hand of the dog.
Save me from the lion’s mouth: and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns.
I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I praise thee.
Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him.
Let all the seed of Israel fear him: because he hath not slighted nor despised the supplication of the poor man.
Neither hath he turned away his face from me: and when I cried to him he heard me.
With thee is my praise in the great church: I will pay vows in the sight of them that fear him.
The poor shall eat and shall be filled, and they shall praise the Lord that seek him: their hearts shall live for ever and ever.
All the ends of the earth shall remember, and shall be converted to the Lord.
And all the kindreds of the Gentiles shall adore in his sight.
For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he shall have dominion over the nations.
All the fat ones of the earth have eaten and have adored: all they that go down to the earth shall fall before him.
And to him my soul shall live: and my seed shall serve him.
There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come: and the heavens shall show forth his justice to a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made.

Ant. They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.

After having stripped the high altar, the celebrant takes off the cloths from the other altars that are in the church. An air of desolation pervades the temple of God. The very tabernacle has lost its divine Guest. The ciborium (in which the blessed Sacrament is reserved for Viaticum) has been taken to the place where reposes the chalice containing the Body of our Lord. The Majesty of our God has withdrawn to that mysterious sanctuary, into which we enter not but with silence and compunction.

It was the custom, in some churches, for the priest to wash the altars, in the afternoon, with wine and water, which he sprinkled upon them with a branch of hyssop. This ceremony, which has now ceased to be observed in almost every church excepting Saint Peter’s in Rome, was intended as a homage offered to our blessed Lord, in return for the humility wherewith He deigned to wash the feet of His disciples. We find it so explained by St. Isidore of Seville,[24] and St. Eligius, bishop of Noyon.[25]

 

THE WASHING OF THE FEET

 

After having, on this day, washed the feet of His disciples, Jesus said to them: 'Know ye what I have done to you? You call Me Master and Lord: and you say well, for so I am. If then I, being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you, also, ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also.’[26] Although the meaning of these words is that, after the example of our divine Master, we should practise works of fraternal charity towards our neighbour, yet the literal imitation of this our Saviour’s act has always been observed in the Church.

At the commencement, it was almost a daily practice. St. Paul, when mentioning the qualities which should adorn the Christian widow, includes that of washing the feet of the saints,[27] that is, of the faithful. We find this act of humble charity practised in the ages of persecution, and even later. The Acts of the saints of the first six centuries, and the homilies and writings of the holy fathers, are filled with allusions to it. Afterwards, charity grew cold, and this particular way of exercising it was confined, almost exclusively, to monasteries. Still, from time to time it was practised elsewhere. We occasionally find kings and queens setting this example of humility. The holy king Robert of France, and, later, Saint Louis, used frequently to wash the feet of the poor. The holy queen St. Margaret of Scotland, and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, did the same. The Church, with that spirit which makes her treasure up every recommendation of her divine Lord, has introduced this act of humility into her liturgy, and it is to-day that she puts the great lesson before her children. In every church of any importance, the prelate, or superior, honours our Saviour’s condescension, by the ceremony called the washing of the feet. The bishops throughout the world follow the example set them by the sovereign Pontiff, who performs this ceremony in the Vatican. Yea, there are still to be found kings and queens who, on this day, wash the feet of the poor, and give them abundant alms.

The twelve apostles are represented by the twelve poor who, according to the most general practice, are chosen for this ceremony. The Pope, however, washes the feet of thirteen priests of as many different countries; and this is the reason of the ceremonial requiring this number for cathedral churches. But, why thirteen? Some have interpreted it thus: that it represented the full number of the apostolic college, which is thirteen; for St. Mathias was elected in Judas’s place, and our Lord Himself, after His Ascension, called St. Paul to be an apostle. Other authors, however, and among them the learned Pope Benedict XIV,[28]assert that the reason of this number being chosen was the miracle related in the life of St. Gregory the Great. This holy Pope used, every day, to wash the feet of twelve poor men, whom he afterwards invited to his own table. One day, a thirteenth was present: it was an angel, whom God had sent, that He might thereby testify how dear to Him was the charity of His servant.

The ceremony of the washing of the feet is also called the Mandatum, from the first word of the first antiphon. After the deacon has chanted the Gospel of the Mass of Maundy Thursday (page 378), the celebrant takes off the cope, girds himself with a towel, and, kneeling down, begins to wash the feet of those who have been chosen. He kisses the right foot of each one after having washed it. Meanwhile, the choir sings the following antiphons:

Ant. Mandatum novum do vobis: ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos, dicit Dominus.
V. Beati imma culati in via: *qui ambulant in lege Domini. Mandatum.

AntPostquam surrexit Dominus a cœna, misit aquam in pelvim, et cœpit lavare pedes discipulorum suorum: hoc exemplum reliquit eis.
V. Magnus Dominus et laudabilis nimis: * in civitate Dei nostri, in monte sancto ejus. Postquam.

Ant. Dominus Jesus, postquam cœnavit cum discipulis suis, lavit pedes eorum, et ait illis: Scitis quid fecerim vobis ego Dominus et Magister? Exemplum dedi vobis, ut et vos ita facialis.
V. Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam; * avertisti captivitatem Jacob. Dominus.

AntDomine, tu mihi lavas pedes! Respondit Jesus, et dixit ei: Si non lavero tibi pedes, non habebis partem mecum.
V. Venit ergo ad Simonem Petrum, * et dixit ei Petrus: Domine.
V. Quod ego facio tu nescis modo: scies autem postea. Domine.

Ant. Si ego Dominus et Magister vester lavi vobis pedes: quanto magis debetis alter alterius lavare pedes!
V. Audite hæc, omnes gentes: * auribus percipite qui habitatis orbem. Si ego.

Ant. In hoc cognoscent omnes quia discipuli mei estis, si dilectionem habueritis ad invicem.
V. Dixit Jesus discipulis suls. In hoc.

Ant. Maneant in vobis fides, spes, chantas, tria hæc: major autem horum est charitas.
V. Nunc autem manent fides, spes, chantas, tria hæc: * major horum est charitas. Maneant.

Ant. Benedicta sit sancta Trinitas atque indivisa unitas: confitebimur ei, quia fecit nobiscum misericordiam suam.
V. Benedicamus Patrem et Filium, * cum sancto Spiritu.
V. Quam dilecta tabernacula tua, Domine virtutum! * concupiscit et deficit anima mea in atria Domini. Benedicta.
Ant. I give you a new commandment: that ye love one another, as I have loved you, says our Lord.
V. Blessed are the immaculate in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord. I give, &c.

Ant. After our Lord was risen from supper, he put Mater into a basin, and began to wash the feet of his disciples; to whom he gave this example.
V. Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised: in the city of our God, in his holy mountain. After, &c.

Ant. Our Lord Jesus, after he had supped with his disciples, washed their feet, and said to them: Know you what I your Lord and Master have done to you? I have given you an example, that ye also may do the same.
V. Thou hast blessed, 0 Lord, thy land; thou hast delivered Jacob from captivity. Our Lord, &c.

Ant. Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered, and said to him: If I do not wash thy feet, thou shalt have no part with me.
V. He came to Simon Peter, and Peter said to him: Lord, &c. V. What I do thou knowest not now: but thou shalt know it afterwards. Lord, &c.

Ant. If I your Lord and Master have washed your feet: how much more ought you to wash the feet of one another?
V. Hear these things, all ye nations: hearken to them all ye that inhabit the world. If I, &Ac.

Ant. In this all shall know that ye are my disciples, if ye have a love for one another.
V. Said Jesus to his disciples. In this, &c.

Ant. Let these three, faith, hope, and charity, remain in you: but the greatest of them is charity.
V. But now remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of them is charity. Let, &c.

Ant. Blessed be the holy Trinity and undivided Unity: we will praise him because he has shown us his mercy.
V. Let us bless the Father and the Son, with the Holy Ghost.
V. How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts: my soul desires and longs after the house of the Lord. Blessed, &c.

After these antiphons, the choir sings the following canticle. It is a fervent exhortation to fraternal charity, of which the washing of the feet is a symbol. 

Canticle

Ubi charitas, et amor, Deus ibi est.
℣. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
℣. Exsultemus, et in ipso jucundemur.
℣. Timeamus et amemus Deum vivum.
℣. Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Ubi charitas, et amor, Deus ibi est.
℣. Simul ergo cum in unum congregamur,
℣. Ne nos mente dividamur caveamus.
℣. Cessent jurgia maligna, cessent lites,
℣. Et in medio nostri sit Christus Deus.

Ubi chantas et amor, Deus ibi est.
℣. Simul quoque cum beatis videamus,
℣. Glorianter, vultum tuura, Christe Deus.
℣. Gaudium, quod est immensum atque probum,
℣. Sæcula per infinita sæculorum.

Amen.
Where charity and love are, there is God.
℣. The love of Christ hath gathered us together.
℣. Let us rejoice in him, and be glad.
℣. Let us fear and love the living God.
℣. And let us love one the other with a sincere heart.

Where charity and love are, there is God.
℣. When, therefore, we are gathered together,
℣. Let us take heed we be not divided in mind.
℣. Let wicked quarrels and contentions be at an end.
℣. And let Christ our God dwell among us.

Where charity and love are, there is God.
℣. Let us, also, with the blessed see
℣. Thy face in glory, O Christ our God!
℣. There to possess an immense and happy joy.
℣. For endless ages.

Amen.

The celebrant, having resumed his cope, concludes the ceremony with the following prayers:

Pater noster.
Our Father.

The rest of the Lord’s Prayer is said in silence, as far as the last two petitions.

℣. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.
℟. Sed libera nos a malo.

℣. Tu mandasti mandata tua, Domine.
℟. Custodiri nimis.

℣. Tu lavasti pedes discipulorum tuorum.
℟. Opera manuum tuarum ne despicias.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus.

Adesto, Domine quæsumus, officio servitutis nostræ: et quia tu discipulis tuis pedes lavare dignatus es, ne despicias opera manuum tuarum, quæ nobis retinenda mandasti: ut sicut hic nobis, et a nobis exteriora abluuntur inquinamenta, sic a te omnium nostrum interiora laventur peccata. Quod ipse præstare digneris, qui vivis et regnas Deus per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.
℣. And lead us not into temptation.
℟. But deliver us from evil.

℣. Thou hast commanded, O Lord.
℟. That thy precepts be exactly observed.

℣. Thou hast washed the feet of thy disciples.
℟. Despise not the work of thy hands.

℣. O Lord hear my prayer.
℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray.

Accept, O Lord, we beseech thee, this duty of our service, and since thou didst vouchsafe to wash the feet of thy disciples, despise not the work of thy hands, which thou hast commanded us to imitate: that as here the outward stains are washed away by us and from us, so the inmost sins of us all may be blotted out by thee. Which be thou pleased to grant, who livest and reignest one God for ever and ever.
℟. Amen.

 

THE OFFICE OF TENEBRÆ

 

At a late hour in the afternoon, the night Office of Good Friday is anticipated, as was done yesterday. The faithful repair to the church at the time specified. Let them remember that the bells are not rung from this till Saturday.

The Office of Tenebræ for Good Friday is given below, page 413.


 

THE EVENING

 

Judas has left the cenacle, and, profiting by the darkness, has reached the place where the enemies of his Saviour are assembled. Jesus then turns to His faithful apostles, and says to them: ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified.’[29] Yes, His Passion is to be followed by triumph and glory; and the Passion has already begun, for Judas has commenced his work of betraying Him. Meanwhile, the apostles, forgetting the trouble into which they had been thrown by Jesus’ telling, them that one of the twelve was about to betray Him, begin to dispute among themselves, which of them should seem to be greater.[30] They have not forgotten the words spoken by Jesus to Peter, when He made him the rock on which He would build His Church; and here at the supper, they have seen the divine Master wash the feet of Peter first. On the other hand, John’s affectionate familiarity with Jesus, during this same supper, has made some of them argue that he who was most loved would be most honoured.

Jesus puts an end to this dispute, by giving to these future pastors of His Church a lesson of humility. There shall, it is true, be a head among them, but, says our Redeemer, ‘let him that is the greater among you, become as the younger; and he that is the leader, as he that serveth’. He bids them look at Him: He is their Master, and yet, says He, ‘I am in the midst of you, as he that serveth’.[31] Then turning towards Peter, He thus addresses him: ‘Simon, Simon! behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren’.[32] This last interview is, as it were, our Saviour’s testament; He provides for His Church, before leaving her. The apostles are to be Peter’s brethren, but Peter is to be their head. This sublime dignity is to be enhanced by the humility of him that enjoys it: he shall be ‘the servant of the servants of God.’ The apostolic college is to be exposed to the fury of hell; but Peter alone is to confirm his brethren in the faith. His teaching shall ever be conformable to divine truth; it shall ever be infallible: Jesus has prayed that it may be so. Such a prayer is all-powerful; and thereby, the Church, ever docile to the voice of Peter, shall for ever maintain the doctrine of Christ.

Jesus, after having provided for the future of His Church by the words He addressed to Peter, thus speaks affectionately to all the eleven: ‘Little children! yet a little while I am with you. Love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another’ Peter says to him: ‘Lord! whither goest Thou?’ ‘Whither I go’, answers Jesus, ‘thou canst not now follow Me; but thou shalt follow hereafter’. ‘Why cannot I follow thee now?’ again asks Peter: ‘I will lay down my life for Thee’. ‘Wilt thou,’ replies Jesus, ‘lay down thy life for Me? Amen, amen, I say to thee: the cock shall not crow, till thou deny Me thrice’.[33] Peter’s love for Jesus had too much of the human about it, for it was not based on humility. Presumption comes from pride: it almost always results in a fall. In order to prepare Peter for his future ministry of pardon, as also to give us a useful lesson, God permits that he, who was soon to be made prince of the apostles, should fall into a most grievous and humiliating sin.

But let us return to the instructions contained in the last words spoken by our Jesus before He leaves His disciples. ‘I am,’ says He, ‘the way, the truth, and the life. If you love Me, keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you for ever. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. If you loved Me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father. I will not now speak many things with you, for the prince of this world cometh, and in Me he hath not anything. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father hath given Me commandment, so do I: arise, let us go hence.’[34] Deeply impressed by these words, the disciples arise, and, after the hymn of thanksgiving has been said, they accompany Jesus to Mount Olivet.

He continues His instructions as they go. along. He takes occasion from their passing by a vine to speak of the effect produced by divine grace, in the soul of man. ‘I am the true vine' He says, ‘and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me, that beareth not fruit, He will take away, and every one that beareth fruit, He will purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine; so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing. If any one abideth not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth. You have not chosen Me: but I have chosen you, and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit, and your fruit should remain.’[35]

He next speaks to them of the persecutions that await them, and of the hatred the world will have of them. He renews the promise He had made them of the holy Spirit, the Comforter, and tells them that it is to their advantage that He Himself should leave them. He assures them that they shall obtain whatever they ask of the Father in His name. ‘The Father,’ He adds, ‘loveth you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came from God. I come forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again I leave the world, and I go to the Father’ The disciples say to Him: ‘Now we know that Thou knowest all things, and Thou needest not that any man should ask Thee. By this we believe that Thou camest forth from God.’ ‘Do you now believe?’ answers Jesus: ‘Behold! the hour cometh, and it is now come, that you shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone.[36] All you shall be scandalized in Me this night; for it is written: “ I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed.” But after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.’[37]

Peter again protests that he will be faithful to his Master; the rest may abandon Him, if they will, but he will keep with Him to the last! It should, indeed, be so, for he has received so much more from Jesus than the others have: but he is again humbled by being told of his coming speedy fall. Jesus then calmly raising up his eyes to heaven, says: ‘Father! the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee. I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do; I have manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou hast given Me. They have known that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me. I pray for them; I pray not for the world. And now I am not in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father! keep them in Thy name, whom Thou hast given Me; that they may be one, as We also are. While I was with them, I kept them in Thy name. Those whom Thou gavest Me, have I kept; and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the Scripture may be fulfilled. I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, as I also am not of the world. I pray not that Thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldst keep them from evil. Not for them only do I pray, but for them also who, through their word, shall believe in Me: that they all may be one, as Thou, Father! in Me, and I in Thee: that they also may be one in Us: that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me. Father, I will that where I am, they also, whom Thou hast given Me, may be with Me; that they may see the glory which Thou hast given Me, because Thou hast loved Me before the creation of the world. Just Father! the world hath not known Thee; but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have made known Thy name to them, and will make it known, that the love, wherewith Thou hast loved Me, may be in them, and I in them.’[38]

Such are the out-pourings of the loving Heart of of our Jesus, as He crosses the brook of Cedron, and ascends, with His disciples the Mount of Olives. Having come as far as Gethsemani, He goes into a garden, whither He had often led His apostles and rested there with them. Suddenly, His Soul is overpowered with grief; His human Nature experiences, as it were, a suspension of that beatitude which results from its union with the Divinity. This His Humanity will be interiorly supported, even to the very last moment of His Passion; but it must bear everything that it is possible for it to bear. Jesus feels such intense sadness, that the very presence of His disciples is insupportable; He leaves them, taking with Him only Peter, James, and John, who, a short time before, had been witnesses of His glorious Transfiguration:—will they show greater courage than the rest, when they see their divine Master in the hands of His enemies P His words show them what a sudden change has come over Him. He whose language was, a few moments before, so calm, His look so serene, and His tone of voice so sweet, now says to them: ‘My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here, and watch with Me.’[39]

He leaves them, and goes to a grotto, which is about a stone’s throw distant. Even to this day it exists, perpetuating the memory of the terrible event. There does our Jesus prostrate Himself and pray saying: ‘Father! all things are possible to Thee. Remove this chalice from Me:—but not what I will, but what Thou wilt.’[40] While He is thus praying, a sweat of Blood flows from His Body and bathes the ground. It is not merely a swooning, it is an agony, that He suffers. God sends help to His sinking frame, and it is an angel that is entrusted with the office. Jesus is treated as man; His Humanity, exhausted as it is, is to receive no other sensible aid than that which is now brought Him by an angel (whom tradition affirms to have been Gabriel). Hereupon He rises, and again accepts the chalice prepared for Him. But what a chalice! Every pain that body and soul can suffer; the sins of the whole world taken upon Himself, and crying out vengeance against Him; the ingratitude of men, many of whom will make His sacrifice useless: Jesus has to accept all this, and at the very time when He seems to be left to His human Nature. The power of the Divinity, which is in Him, supports Him: but it does not prevent Him from feeling every suffering, just as though He had been mere Man. He begins His prayer by asking that the chalice may be taken from Him: He ends it by saying to His Father: ‘Not My will, but Thine be done!’[41]

Jesus then rises, leaving the earth covered with the Blood of His agony: it is the first bloodshedding of His Passion. He goes to His three disciples, and, finding them asleep, says to them: 'What! could you not watch one hour with Me?’[42] This is the beginning of that feature of His sufferings which consists in His being abandoned. He twice returns to the grotto, and repeats His sorrowful, but submissive, prayer; twice He returns to His disciples, whom He had asked to watch near Him, but at each time finds them asleep. At length, He speaks to them saying: ‘Sleep ye now, and take your rest! Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners.’ Then resuming the energy of His divine courage, He adds: ‘Rise! let us go! Behold, he is at hand that will betray Me.’[43]

While He is speaking these last few words, a numerous body of armed men enter the garden with torches in their hands. Judas is at their head. The betrayal is made by a profanation of the sign of friendship. ‘Judas! dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’[44] These piercing words should have made the traitor throw himself at his Master’s feet, and ask pardon; but it was too late: he feared the soldiers. But the servants of the high priest cannot lay hands on Jesus, unless He, their Victim, permit them to do so. With a single word, He casts them prostrate on the ground. Then permitting them to rise, He says to them with all the majesty of a King: ‘If you seek Me, let these go their way. You are come out, as it were against a thief with swords and clubs. When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hands against Me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.' Then turning to Peter, who has drawn and used his sword, He says to him: ‘Thinkest thou that I cannot ask My Father, and He will give Me presently twelve legions of angels? How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled?’[45]

And now, Jesus permits Himself to be led. Whereupon, His apostles run away in fear. Peter and another disciple follow Him, but as far off as they can. The soldiers lead Jesus by the same road, along which He had passed on the previous Sunday, when the people met Him with palm and olive branches in their hands. They cross the brook Cedron; and there is a tradition of the Church of Jerusalem that the soldiers, as they passed the bridge, threw Jesus into the water. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of David: He shall drink of the torrent in the way.[46]

They reach the city walls. The gate is opened, and the divine prisoner enters. It is night, and the inhabitants know not the crime that has been committed. It is only on the morrow that they will learn that Jesus of Nazareth, the great Prophet, has fallen into the hands of the chief priests and pharisees. The night is far advanced; but many hours must elapse before the dawn of day. The enemies of Jesus have arranged to take Him, in the morning, to Pontius Pilate, and accuse Him as being a disturber of the peace: but in the meanwhile, they intend to condemn Him as guilty in matters of religion! Their tribunal has authority to judge in cases or this nature, only they cannot pass sentence of death upon a culprit, how guilty soever they may prove him. They, consequently, hurry Jesus to Annas, the father-inlaw of the high priest Caiphas. Here is to take place the first examination. These blood-thirsty men have spent these hours in sleepless anxiety. They have counted the very minutes since the departure of their minions for Mount Olivet. They are not without some doubt as to whether their plot will succeed. At last, their Victim is brought before them, and He shall not escape their vengeance!

Here let us interrupt our history of the Passion, till the morrow shall bring us to the solemn hour, when the great mystery of our instruction and salvation was accomplished. What a day is this that we have been spending! How full of Jesus’ love! He has given us His Body and Blood to be our food; He has instituted the priesthood of the new Testament; He has poured out upon the world the sublimest instructions of His loving Heart. We have seen Him struggling with the feelings of human weakness, as He beheld the chalice of the Passion that was prepared for Him; but He triumphed over all, in order to save us. We have seen Him betrayed, fettered, and led captive into the holy city, there to consummate His Sacrifice. Let us adore and love this Jesus, who might have saved us by one and the least of all these humiliations; but whose love for us was not satisfied unless He drank, to the very dregs, the chalice He had accepted from His Father.

The following beautiful Preface of the Gothic missal of Spain will assist us in our devotion towards the mysteries we have been celebrating.

Illation

Dignum et justum est nos tibi, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, gratias agere: et Jesu Christo Filio tuo. Cujus nos humanitas colligit: humilitas erigit: traditio solvit: pæna redimit: crux salvificat: sanguis emaculat: caro saginat. Qui seipsum pro nobis hodie tradidit; et culpæ nostræ vincula relaxavit. Qui ad commendandam fidelibus bonitatis suæ, humilitatisque magnificentiam, etiam traditoris sui non dedignatus est pedes abluere: cujus jam manus prævidebat in scelere. Sed quid mirum: si dum ministerium formæ servilis voluntariæ morti vicinus adimplet, posuit vestimenta sua: qui cum in forma Dei esset, semetipsum exinanivit? Quid mirum si præcinxit se linteo: qui formam servi accipiens, habitu est inventus ut homo? Quid mirum si misit aquam in pelvim: unde lavaret pedes discipulorum: qui in terra sanguinem suum fudit: quo immunditias dilueret peccatorum? Quid mirum, si linteo quo erat præcinctus, pedes quos laverat tersit: qui carne qua erat indutus evangelistarum vestigia confirmavit? Et linteo quidem ut se præcingeret: posuit vestimenta quæ habebat: ut autem formam servi acciperet: quando semetipsum exinanivit: non quod habebat deposuit: sed quod non habebat accepit. Crucifigendus sane suis exspoliatus est vestimentis: et mortuus involutus est linteis: et tota illa ejus passio credentium facta est purgatio. Passums igitur exitia; præmisit obsequia. Non solum eis pro quibus subiturus venerat mortem; sed etiam illi qui fuerat traditurus illum ad mortem. Tanta quippe est humanæ humilitatis utilitas: ut eam suo commendaret exemplo divina sublimitas. Quia homo superbus in æternum periret: nisi illum Deus humilis inveniret. Ut qui periret superbia deceptoris: salvaretur humilitate piissimi redemptoris. Cui merito omnes Angeli et Archangeli non cessant clamare quotidie: una voce dicentes: Sanctussanctus, sanctus.
It is meet and just, that we should give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, and to Jesus Christ thy Son. We have been fostered by his Humanity, exalted by his humility, set free by his betrayal, redeemed by his punishment, saved by his cross, cleansed by his Blood, fed by his Flesh. He, on this day, delivered himself for us; and loosed the bonds of our sin. He showed to his faithful people the riches of his goodness and humility, by deigning to wash the feet of his very betrayer, whose hand he already perceived to be engaged in his wicked deed. But what wonder that he, on the eve of his voluntary death, when about to do the work of a servant, should take off his garments, who, being in the form of God, had emptied himself? What wonder that he should gird himself with a towel, who, taking the form of a servant, was found in the habit of man? What wonder that he should put water into a basin to wash the feet of his disciples, who shed his Blood upon the earth to cleanse away the defilements of sinners? What wonder that with the towel, wherewith he was girt, he should wipe the feet he had washed, who, with the Flesh wherewith he had clothed himself, had strengthened the feet of them that were to preach his Gospel? Before girding himself with the towel, he took off the garments he wore; but, when he took the form of a servant, and emptied himself, he laid not aside what he had, but assumed what he had not. When he was crucified, he was stripped of his garments, and when dead, was wrapped in linen: and his whole Passion was a purification of them that believe. When, therefore, he was on the eve of his sufferings, he prepared for them by benefits, given not only to them for whom he was about to suffer death, but even to him who was about to betray him unto death. Such, indeed, is the importance of humility to man, that the very majesty of God taught it him by his own example. Proud man would have been for ever lost, had not the humble God found him: and thus, he that had been ruined by the pride of the seducer, was saved by the humility of the most loving Redeemer, to whom deservedly all the Angels and Archangels cry out daily without ceasing, saying with one voice: Holy! Holy! Holy!

 


[1] St. Luke xxii. 8.
[2] Mal. i. 11.
[3] It is incorrectly called a blessing Urbi et Orbi, inasmuch as it is given only to the faithful who are present at it.
[4] Bossuet, Oraison funèbre d' Henriette d'Angleterre.
[5] 2 Cor. ii. 15.
[6] Cant. i. 3.
[7] St. Luke xxii. 19.
[8] St. Luke xxii. 15.
[9] St. John xiii. 1.
[10] St. Matt. xxvi. 21, 23.
[11] St. John vi. 51, 52, 56, 57.
[12] St John xiii. 10.
[13] Ibid
[14] St. Matt. xxvi. 26.
[15] Ibid. 27, 28.
[16] 1 Cor. xi. 29.
[17] St. Luke xxii. 21.
[18] St. John xiii. 27.
[19] Ibid
[20] Ibid vi. 54
[21] St. Luke xxii. 19.
[22] St. Matt. xxiv. 28.
[23] St. John vi. 57.
[24] De ecclesiasticis Officiis, lib. I. cap. xxviii.
[25] Homily viii. De cæna Domini.
[26] St. John xiii. 12-15.
[27] 1 Tim. v. 10.
[28] De Festis D.N.J.C. lib. I. cap. vi. no. 57.
[29] St. John xiii. 31.
[30] St. Luke xxii. 24.
[31] Ibid. 26, 27.
[32] Ibid. 31, 32.
[33] St. John xiii. 33-38.
[34] St. John xiv.
[35] Ibid. xv.
[36] St. John xvi.
[37] St. Matt. xxvi. 31, 32.
[38] St. John xvii.
[39] St. Matt. xxvi. 38.
[40] St. Mark xiv. 36.
[41] St. Luke xxii42.
[42] St. Matt. xxvi. 40.
[43] Ibid, 45, 46.
[44] St. Luke xxii48.
[45] St. John xviii. 8. St. Luke xxii. 52, 53. St. Matt. xxvi. 53, 54.
[46] Ps. cix. 7.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The ceremonies used by the Church for the Office of Tenebræ having been already explained, we deem it unnecessary to repeat our instructions. The reader may refer to them, should he require to refresh his memory. They are given on pages 301—303.

Pater noster, Ave, and Credo, in secret.

 

THE FIRST NOCTURN

 

The first psalm, after having spoken of the eternal generation of the Son of God, prophesies His kingship over the nations, and the vengeance He will take on His enemies, at the last day. As this magnificent canticle also foretells the revolt of earthly princes against Christ, the Church uses it on this day, when the Synagogue has plotted His death.

Ant. Adstiterunt reges terræ, et principes convenerunt in unum, adversus Dominum, et adversus Christum ejus.
Ant. The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

Psalm 2

Quare fremuerunt gentes: et populi meditati sunt inania?
Adstiterunt reges terræ, et principes convenerunt in unum: adversus Dominum et adversus Christum ejus.
Dirumpamus vincula eorum: et projiciamus a nobis jugum ipsorum.
Qui habitat in cœlis irridebit eos: et Dominus subsannabit eos.
Tunc loquetur ad eos in ira sua: et in furore suo conturbabit eos.
Ego autem constitutus sum rex ab eo super Sion montem sanctum ejus: prædicans præceptum ejus.
Dominus dixit ad me: Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te.
Postula a me, et dabo tibi Gentes hæreditatem tuam: et possessionem tuam terminos terræ.
Reges eos in virga ferrea: et tamquam vas figuli confringes eos.
Et nunc reges intelligite: erudimini qui judicatis terrain.
Servite Domino in timore: et exsultate ei cum tremore.
Apprehendite disciplinam: nequando irascatur Dominus: et pereatis de via justa.
Cum exarserit in brevi ira ejus: beati omnes qui confidunt in eo.

Ant. Adstiterunt reges terræ, et principes convenerunt in unum, adversus Dominum, et adversus Christum ejus.
Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things?
The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord, and against his Christ.
They said: Let us break their bonds asunder: and let us cast away their yoke from us.
He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them: and the Lord shall deride them.
Then shall he speak to them in his anger: and trouble them in his rage.
But I am appointed king by him over Sion his holy mountain, preaching his commandment.
The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance: and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron: and shalt break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
And now, O ye kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth.
Serve ye the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto him with trembling.
Embrace discipline, lest at any time the Lord be angry: and you perish from the just way.
When his wrath shall be kindled in a short time, blessed are all they that trust in him.

Ant. The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord and against his Christ.

The second psalm is pre-eminently the psalm of the Passion. The first verse contains one of the seven words spoken by our Saviour on the cross. The rest of the psalm mentions so many circumstances of the Passion, and with such clearness, that we almost seem to be reading the account of an eyewitness. Thus it tells us, among other particulars of our Lord’s sufferings, of His hands and feet being pierced, of His Body being violently stretched upon the cross, of His garments being divided, of lots being cast for His vesture, of His agony, and of His being insulted by them that crucified Him.

Ant. Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
Ant. They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.

Psalm 21

Deus, Deus meus, respice in me: quare me dereliquisti: longe a salute mea verba delictorum meorum.
Deus meus, clamabo per diem, et non exaudies: et nocte, et non ad insipientiam mihi.
Tu autem in sancto habitas: laus Israël.
In te speraverunt patres nostri: speraverunt, et liberasti eos.
Ad te clamaverunt, et salvi facti sunt: in te speraverunt, et non sunt confusi.
Ego autem sum vermis, et non homo: opprobrium hominum, et abjectio plebis.
Omues videntes me deriserunt me: locuti sunt labiis, et moverunt caput.
Speravit in Domino, eripiat eum: salvum faciat eum, quoniam vult eum.Quoniam tu es, qui extraxisti me de ventre: spes mea ab uberibus matris meæ.
In te projectus sum ex utero: de ventre matris meæ Deus meus es tu: ne discesseris a me.
Quoniam tribulatio proxima est: quoniam non est qui adjuvet.
Circumdederunt me vituli multi: tauri pingues obsederunt me.
Aperuerunt super me os suum: sicut leo rapiens et rugiens.
Sicut aqua effusus sum: et dispersa sunt omnia ossa mea.
Factum est cor meum tamquam cera liquescens: in medio ventris mei.
Aruit tamquam testa virtus mea, et lingua mea adhæsit faucibus meis: et in pulverem mortis deduxisti me.
Quoniam circumdederunt me canes multi: concilium malignantium obsedit me.
Foderunt manus meas et pedes meos: dinumeraverunt omnia ossa mea.
Ipsi vero consideraverunt et inspexerunt me: diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
Tu autem, Domine, ne elongaveris auxilium tuum a me: ad defensionem meam conspice.Erue a framea, Deus, animam meam: et de manu canis unicam meam.
Salva me ex ore leonis: et a cornibus unicornium humilitatem meam.
Narrabo nomen tuum fratribus meis: in medio ecclesiæ laudabo te.
Qui timetis Dominum, laudate eum: universum semen Jacob, glorificate eum.
Timeat eum omne semen Israel: quoniam non sprevit, neque despexit deprecationem pauperis.
Nec avertit faciem suam a me: et cum clamarem ad eum, exaudivit me.
Apud te laus mea in ecclesia magna: vota mea reddam in conspectu timentium eum.
Edent pauperes, et saturabuntur, et laudabunt Dominum qui requirunt eum: vivent corda eorum in sæculum sæculi.
Reminiscentur et convertentur ad Dominum: universi fines terræ.
Et adorabunt in conspectu ejus: universæ familiæ gentium.
Quoniam Domini est regnum: et ipse dominabitur gentium.
Manducaverunt, et adoraverunt omnes pingues terræ: in conspectu ejus cadent omnes, qui descendunt in terram.Et anima mea illi vivet: et semen meum serviet ipsi.
Annuntiabitur Domino generatio ventura: et annuntiabunt cœli justitiam ejus, populo qui nascetur, quem fecit Dominus.

Ant. Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
O God, my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me: Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.
O my God. I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear: and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me.
But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel.
In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped and thou hast delivered them.
They cried to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.
All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.
He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighted in him.For thou art he that hast drawn me out of the womb: my hope from the breasts of my mother.
I was cast upon thee from the womb: from my mother’s womb thou art my God, depart not from me.
For tribulation is very near: for there is none to help me.
Many calves have surrounded me: fat bulls have besieged me.
They have opened their mouths against me, as a lion ravening and roaring.
I am poured out like water: and all my bones are scattered.
My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaven to my jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death.
For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me.
They have dug my hands and feet: they have numbered all my bones.
And they have looked and stared upon me: they parted my garments amongst them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.
But thou, O Lord, remove not thy help to a distance from me: look towards my defence.Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword: my only one from the hand of the dog.
Save me from the lion’s mouth: and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns.
I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I praise thee.
Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him.
Let all the seed of Israel fear him: because he hath not slighted nor despised the supplication of the poor man.
Neither hath he turned away his face from me: and when I cried to him he heard me.
With thee is my praise in the great church: I will pay vows in the sight of them that fear him.
The poor shall eat and shall be filled, and they shall praise the Lord that seek him: their hearts shall live for ever and ever.
All the ends of the earth shall remember, and shall be converted to the Lord.
And all the kindreds of the Gentiles shall adore in his sight.
For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he shall have dominion over the nations.
All the fat ones of the earth have eaten and have adored: all they that go down to the earth shall fall before him.And to him my soul shall live: and my seed shall serve him.
There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come: and the heavens shall show forth his justice to a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made.

Ant. They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.

The third psalm was composed by David, when fleeing from Saul’s persecution. It shows us how this holy prophet kept up his confidence in the Lord, in spite of all the dangers that threatened him. David is here a figure of Christ in His Passion.

Ant. Insurrexerunt in me testes iniqui, et mentita est iniquitas sibi.
Ant. Unjust witnesses have risen up against me, and iniquity hath belied itself.

Psalm 26

Dominus illuminatio mea, et salus mea: quem timebo?
Dominus protector vitæ meæ: a quo trepidabo?
Dum appropiant super me nocentes: ut edant carnes meas.
Qui tribulant me inimici mei: ipsi infirmati sunt et ceciderunt.
Si consistant adversum me castra: non timebit cor meum.
Si exsurgat adversum me prœlium: in hoc ego sperabo.
Unam petii a Domino, hanc requiram: ut inhabitem in domo Domini omnibus diebus vitæ meæ.
Ut videam voluptatem Domini: et visitem templum ejus.
Quoniam abscondit me in tabernaculo suo: in die malorum protexit me in abscondito tabernaculi sui.
In petra exaltavit me: et nunc exaltavit caput meum super inimicos meos.
Circuivi, et immolavi in tabernaculo ejus hostiam vociferationis: cantabo, et psalmum dicam Domino.
Exaudi, Domine, vocem meam, qua clamavi ad te: miserere mei, et exaudi me.
Tibi dixit cor meum, exquisivit te facies mea: faciem tuam, Domine, requiram.
Ne avertas faciem tuam a me: ne declines in ira a servo tuo.
Adjutor meus esto: ne derelinquas me, neque despicias me, Deus salutaris meus.
Quoniam pater meus et mater mea dereliquerunt me: Dominus autem assumpsit me.
Legem pone mihi, Domine, in via tua: et dirige me in semitam rectam propter inimicos meos.
Ne tradideris me in animas tribulantium me: quoniam insurrexerunt in me testes iniqui, et mentita est iniquitas sibi.
Credo videre bona Domini: in terra viventium.
Exspecta Dominum, viriliter age: et confortetur cor tuum, et sustine Dominum.

Ant. Insurrexerunt in me testes iniqui, et mentita est iniquitas sibi.


The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the protector of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?
Whilst the wicked draw near against me, to eat my flesh.
My enemies that troubled me have been weakened, and have fallen.
If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear.
If a battle should rise up against me, in this will I be confident.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, this will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple.For he hath hid me in his tabernacle; in the day of evils he hath protected me in the secret place of his tabernacle.
He hath exalted me upon a rock: and now he hath lifted up my head above my enemies.
I have gone round, and have offered up in his tabernacle a sacrifice of jubilation: I will sing, and recite a psalm to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to thee: have mercy on me, and hear me.
My heart hath said to thee, my face hath sought thee: thy face, O Lord, will I still seek.
Turn not away thy face from me: decline not in thy wrath from thy servant.
Be thou my helper: forsake me not, do not thou despise
me, O God my Saviour.
For my father and my mother have left me: but the Lord hath taken me up.
Set me, O Lord, a law in thy way: and guide me in the right path, because of my enemies.
Deliver me not over to the will of them that trouble me: for unjust witnesses have risen up against me, and iniquity hath belied itself.
I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
Expect the Lord, do manfully: and let thy heart take courage, and wait thou for the Lord.

Ant. Unjust witnesses have risen up against me, and iniquity hath belied itself.

 


℣. Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea.
℟. Et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
℣. They parted my garments among them.
℟.. And upon my vesture they cast lots.

Here is said, in secret, the Pater noster.

The lessons of the first nocturn are to-day, also, taken from the Lamentations of Jeremias. We have already (page 311) explained why the Church reads them on these three days. The first two of the following lessons refer to the destruction of Jerusalem; the third we will explain in its proper place.

First Lesson

De Lamentatione Jeremiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. ii.

Heth. Cogitavit Domi nus dissipare murum filiæ Sion: tetendit funiculum suum, et non avertit manum suam a perditione: luxitque antemurale, et murus pariterdissipatus est.

Teth. Defixæ sunt in terra portæ ejus, perdidit et contrivit vectes ejus, regem ejus, et principes ejus, in gentibus. Non est lex: et prophetæ ejus non invenerunt visionem a Domino.

Jod. Sederunt in terra, conticuerunt senes filiæ Sion; consperserunt cinere capita sua, accincti sunt ciliciis; abjecerunt in terram capita sua virgines Jerusalem.

Caph. Defecerunt præ lacrymis oculi mei, conturbata sunt viscera mea. Effusum est in terra jecur meum super contritione filiæ populi mei, cum deficeret parvulus et lactens in plateis oppidi.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
From the Lamentation of Jeremias the Prophet.

Ch. ii.


Heth. The Lord hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Sion: he hath stretched out his line, and hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: and he bulwark hath mourned, and the wall hath been destroyed together.

Teth. Her gates are sunk into the ground: he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles. The law is no more, and her prophets have found no vision from the Lord.

Jod. The ancients of the daughter of Sion sit upon the ground, they have held their peace; they have sprinkled their heads with dust, they are girded with hair-cloth, the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.

Caph. My eyes have failed with weeping, my bowels are troubled. My liver is poured out upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people, when the children and the sucklings fainted away in the streets of the city.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Omnes amici mei dereliquerunt me, et prævaluerunt insidiantes mihi: tradidit me quem diligebam. * Et terribilibus oculis plaga crudelipercutientes, aceto potabant me.
℣. Inter iniquos projecerunt me: et non pepercerunt animæ meæ.
* Et terribilibus oculis plaga crudeli percutientes, aceto potabant me.
℟. All my friends have forsaken me, and they that lay in ambush for me prevailed: he whom I loved has betrayed me. ° And they, with terrible looks, striking me with a cruel wound, gave me vinegar to drink.
℣. They cast me out among the wicked, and spared not my life.
* And they, with terrible looks striking me with a cruel wound, gave me vinegar to drink.

Second Lesson

Lamed. Matribus suis dixerunt: Ubi est triticum et vinum? cum deficerent quasi vulnerati in plateis civitatis, cum exhalarent animas suas in sinu matrum suarum.

Mem. Cui comparabo te, vel cui assimilabo te filia Jerusalem? cui exæquabo te, et consolabor te, virgo filia Sion? Magna est enim velut mare contritio tua: quis medebitur tui?

Nun. Prophetæ tui viderunt tibi falsa et stulta: nec aperiebant iniquitatem tuam, ut te ad pænitentiam provocarent. Viderunt autem tibi assumptiones falsas, et ejectiones.

Samech. Plauserunt super te manibus omnes transeuntes per viam: sibilaverunt, et moverunt caput suum super filiam Jerusalem: Hæccine est urbs, dicentes, perfecti decoris, gaudium universæ terræ?

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
Lamed. They said to their mothers: Where is corn and wine? when they fainted away as the wounded in the streets of the city: when they breathed out their souls in the bosoms of their mothers.

Mem. To what shall I compare thee, or to what shall I liken thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? to what shall I equal thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Sion? For great as the sea is thy destruction: who shall heal thee?

Nun. Thy prophets have seen false and foolish things for thee; and they have not laid open thy iniquity, to excite thee to penance, but they have seen for thee false revelations and banishments.

Samech. All they that passed by the way have clapped their hands at thee: they have hissed and wagged their heads at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying: Is this the city of perfect beauty, the joy of all the earth?

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Velum templi scissum est, * Et omnis terra tremuit: latro de cruce clamabat, dicens: Memento mei, Domine, dum veneris in regnum tuum.
℣. Petræ scissæ sunt, et monumenta aperta sunt, et multa corpora sanctorum, qui dormierant, surrexerunt.
* Et omnis terra tremuit: latro de cruce clamabat, dicene: Memento mei, Domine, dum veneris in regnum tuum.
℟. The veil of the temple was rent, * And all the earth shook: the thief cried out from the cross, saying: Remember me, O Lord, when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.
℣. The rocks were split, and the monuments opened, and many bodies of the saints that were dead rose out of them.
* And all the earth shook: the thief cried out from the cross, saying: Remember me, O Lord, when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.

In the third lesson, which now follows, Jeremias passes to another subject. According to the usage of the prophets, he leaves Jerusalem, to speak of Him who is the expectation of Israel—the Messias. But it is not of the glory of the Messias that he now speaks: it is of the sufferings He endures: He has made Himself the object of God’s severest justice, by taking upon Himself the sins of the whole world.

Third Lesson

Aleph. Ego vir videns paupertatem meam, in virga indignationis ejus.

Aleph. Me minavit et adduxit in tenebras, et non in lucem.

Aleph. Tantum in me vertit, et convertit manum suam tota die.

Beth. Vetustam fecit pellem meam et carnem meam: contrivit ossa mea.

Beth. Ædificavit in gyro meo, et circumdedit me felle et labore.

Beth. In tenebrosis collocavit me, quasi mortuos sempiternos.

Ghimel. Circumædificavit adversum me, ut non egrediar: aggravavit compedem meum.

Ghimel. Sed et cum cla mavero et rogavero, exclusit orationem meam.

Ghimel. Conclusit vias meas lapidibus quadris, semitas meas subvertit.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
Aleph. I am the man that see my poverty by the rod of his indignation.

Aleph. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, and not into light.

Aleph. Only against me he hath turned, and turned again his hand all the day.

Beth. My skin and my flesh he hath made old, he hath broken my bones.

Beth. He hath built round about me, and he hath compassed me with gall and labour.

Beth. He hath set me in dark places as those that are dead for ever.

Ghimel. He hath built against me round about, that I may not get out: he hath made my fetters heavy.

Ghimel. Yea, and when I cry and entreat, he hath shut out my prayer.

Ghimel. He hath shut up my ways with square stones, he hath turned my paths upside down.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Vinea mea electa, ego te plantavi: * Quomodo conversa es in amaritudinem ut me crucifigeres, et Barabbam dimitteres?
℣. Sepivi te, et lapides elegi ex te, et ædificavi turrim.
* Quomodo conversa es in amaritudinem, ut me crucifigeres, et Barabbam dimitteres?
Here is repeated: Vinea mea.
℟. O my chosen vineyard, it is I that have planted thee: * How art thou become so bitter, that thou shouldst crucify me, and release Barabbas?
℣. I have hedged thee in, and picked the stones out of thee, and have built a tower.
* How art thou become so bitter, that thou shouldst crucify me, and release Barabbas?
Here is repeated: O my chosen.

 

THE SECOND NOCTURN

 

In the fourth psalm, David humbly acknowledges that the rebellion of his son Absolom was a just punishment of the sins he himself had committed. He is a figure of the Messias, who, in His agony, confesses that the iniquities, which He has taken upon Himself, are a heavy burthen upon Him, that His heart is troubled, and that His strength hath left Him.

Ant. Vim faciebant, qui quærebant animam meam.
Ant. They used violence that sought my soul.

Psalm 37

Domine, ne in furore tuo arguas me: neque in ira tua corripias me.
Quoniam sagittæ tuæ infixæ sunt mihi: et confirmasti super me manum tuam.Non est sanitas in carne mea a facie iræ tuæ: non est pax ossibus meis a facie peccatorum meorum.
Quoniam iniquitates meæ supergressæ sunt caput meum: et sicut onus grave gravatæ sunt super me.
Putruerunt, et corruptæ sunt cicatrices meæ: a facie insipientiæ meæ.
Miser factus sum, et curvatus sum usque in finem: tota die contristatus ingrediebar.
Quoniam lumbi mei impleti sunt illusionibus: et non est sanitas in carne mea.
Afflictus sum et humiliatus sum nimis: rugiebam a gemitu cordis mei.
Domine, ante te omne degiderium meum: et gemitus meus a te non est absconditus.
Cor meum conturbatum est, dereliquit me virtus mea: et lumen oculorum meorum, et ipsum non est mecum.
Amici mei et proximi mei: adversum me appropinquaverunt et steterunt.
Et qui juxta me erant, de longe steterunt: et vim faciebant qui quærebant animam meam.
Et qui inquirebant mala mihi, locuti sunt vanitates: et dolos tota die meditabantur.
Ego autem tamquam surdus non audiebam: et sicut mutus non aperiens os suum.Et factus sum sicut homo non audiens: et non habens in ore suo redargutiones.
Quoniam in te Domine, speravi: tu exaudies me, Domine Deus meus.
Quia dixi: Nequando supergaudeant mihi inimici mei: et dum commoventur pedes mei super me magna locuti sunt.
Quoniam ego in flagella paratus sum: et dolor meus in conspectu meo semper.
Quoniam iniquitatem meam annuntiabo: et cogitabo pro peccato meo.
Inimici autem mei vivunt, et confirmati sunt super me: et multiplicati sunt qui oderunt me inique.
Qui retribuunt mala pro bonis detrabebant mihi: quoniam sequebar bonitatem.
Ne derelinquas me, Domine Deus meus: ne discesseris a me.
Intende in adjutorium meum: Domine, Deus salutis meæ.

Ant. Vim faciebant qui quærebant animam meam.
Rebuke me not, O Lord, in thy indignation: nor chastise me in thy wrath.
For thy arrows are fastened in me: and thy hand hath been strong upon me.There is no health in my flesh, because of thy wrath: there is no peace for my bones, because of my sins.
For my iniquities are gone over my head: and as a heavy burthen are become heavy upon me.
My sores are putrefied and corrupted, because of my foolishness.
I am become miserable, and am bowed down even to the end: I walked sorrowful all the day long.
For my loins are filled with illusions: and there is no health in my flesh.
I am afflicted and humbled exceedingly: I roared with the groaning of my heart.
Lord, all my desire is before thee: and my groaning is not hid from thee.
My heart is troubled, my strength hath left me: and the light of my eyes itself is not with me.
My friends and my neighbours have drawn near, and stood against me.
And they that were near me stood afar off: and they that sought my soul used violence.
And they that sought evils to me spoke vain things: and studied deceits all the day long.
But I, as a deaf man, heard not: and was as a dumb man not opening his mouth.And I became as a man that heareth not: and that; hath no reproofs in his mouth.
For in thee, O Lord, have I hoped: thou wilt hear me, O Lord my God.
For I said: Lest at any time my enemies rejoice over me: and whilst my feet are moved, they speak great things against me.
For I am ready for scourges: and my sorrow is continually before me.
For I will declare my iniquity: and I will think for my sin.
But my enemies live, and are stronger than I: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.
They that render evil for good have detracted me, because I followed goodness.
Forsake me not, O Lord my God: do not thou depart from me.
Attend unto my help, O Lord, the God of my salvation.

Ant. They used violence that sought my soul.

The fifth psalm also represents David, under persecution, as the figure of the Messias. But there is one verse in it, which refers to Christ only, and not to David: it is the tenth, wherein it is said: burnt-offerings and sin-offerings thou didst not require; then said I;Behold I come!

Ant. Confundantur et revereantur, qui quærunt animam meam, ut auferant eam.
Ant. Let them be confounded and ashamed that seek after my soul, to take it away.

Psalm 39

Exspectans exspectavi Dominum: et intendit mihi.
Et exaudivit preces meas: et eduxit me de lacu miseriæ et de luto fæcis.
Et statuit super petram pedes meos: et direxit gressus meos.
Et immisit in os meum canticum novum: carmen Deo nostro.
Videbunt multi, et timebunt: et sperabunt in Domino.
Beatus vir, cujus est nomen Domini spes ejus: et non respexit in vanitates et insanias falsas.
Multa fecisti tu Domine Deus meus, mirabilia tua: et cogitationibus tuis non est qui similis sit tibi.
Annuntiavi et locutus sum: multiplicati sunt super numerum.
Sacrificium et oblationem noluisti: aures autem perfecisti mihi.
Holocaustum et pro peccato non postulasti: tunc dixi: Ecce venio.
In capite libri scriptum est de me, ut facerem voluntatem tuam: Deus meus, volui, et legem tuam in medio cordis mei.Annuntiavi justitiam tuam in ecclesia magna: ecce labia mea non prohibebo: Domine, tu scisti.
Justitiam tuam non abscondi in corde meo: veritatem tuam et salutare tuum dixi.
Non abscondi misericordiam tuam, et veritatem tuam: a concilio multo.
Tu autem, Domine, ne longe facias miserationes tuas a me: misericordia tua et veritas tua semper susceperunt me.
Quoniam circumdederunt me mala, quorum non est numerus: comprehenderunt me iniquitates meæ, et non potui ut viderem.
Multiplicati sunt super capillos capitis mei: et cor meum dereliquit me.
Complaceat tibi Domine, et eruas me: Domine, ad adjuvandum me respice.
Confundantur et revereantur simul, qui quærunt animam meam: ut auferant eam.
Convertantur retrorsum et revereantur: qui volunt mihi mala.
Ferant confestim confusionem suam: qui dicunt mihi: Euge, euge.
Exsultent et lætentur super te omnes quærentes te: et dicant semper:
Magnificetur Dominus, qui diligunt salutare tuum.Ego autem mendicus sum, et pauper: Dominus sollicitus est mei.
Adjutor meus et protector meus tu es: Deus meus, ne tardaveris.

Ant. Confundanturet revereantur, qui quærunt animam, ut auferant eam.
With expectation I have waited for the Lord, and he was attentive to me.
And he heard my prayers and he brought me out of the pit of misery, and the mire of dregs.
And he set my feet upon a rock, and directed my steps.
And he put a new canticle into my mouth, a song to our God.
Many shall see this, and shall fear: and they shall hope in the Lord.
Blessed is the man whose trust is in the name of the Lord: and who hath not had regard to vanities and lying follies.
Thou hast multiplied thy wonderful works, O Lord my God: and in thy thoughts there is no one like to thee.
I have declared, and I have spoken: they are multiplied above number.
Sacrifice and oblation thou didst not desire: but thou hast pierced ears for me.
Burnt-offerings and sinofferings thou didst not require: then said I: Behold I come.
In the head of the book it was written of me, that I should do thy will: O my God, I have desired it, and thy law in the midst of my heart.I have declared thy justice in the great Church: lo! I will not restrain my lips: O Lord, thou knowest it.
I have not hid thy justice within my heart. I have declared thy truth and thy salvation.
I have not concealed thy mercy and thy truth from the great council.
Withhold not thou, O Lord, thy tender mercies from me: thy mercy and thy truth have always upheld me.
For evils without number have surrounded me: my iniquities have overtaken me, and I was not able to see.
They are multiplied above the hairs of my head: and my heart hath forsaken me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me: look down, O Lord, to help me.
Let them be confounded and ashamed together, that seek after my soul, to take it away.
Let them be turned backward, and be ashamed, that desire evils to me.
Let them immediately bear their confusion that say to me: ’Tis well, ’tis well.
Let all that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation, say always, The Lord be magnified.But I am a beggar and poor: the Lord is careful for me.
Thou art my helper and my protector: O my God, be not slack.

Ant. Let them be confounded and ashamed that seek after my soul, to take it away.

In the sixth psalm, David, persecuted by Saul, is a figure of our Saviour, against whom the Synagogue prepares its wicked plots.

Ant. Alieni insurrexerunt in me, et fortes quæsierunt animam meam.
Ant. Strangers have risen up against me, and the mighty have sought after my soul.

Psalm 53

Deus, in nomine tuo salvum me fac: et in virtute tua judica me.
Deus, exaudi orationem meam: auribus percipe verba oris mei.
Quoniam alieni insurrexerunt adversum me, et fortes quæsierunt animam meam: et non proposuerunt Deum ante conspectum suum.
Ecce enim Deus adjuvat me: et Dominus susceptor est animæ meæ.
Averte mala inimicis meis: et in veritate tua disperde illos.
Voluntarie sacrificabo tibi: et confitebor nomini tuo, Domine, quoniam bonum est.
Quoniam ex omni tribulatione eripuisti me: et super inimicos meos despexit oculus meus.

Ant. Alieni insurrexerunt in me, et fortes quæsierunt animam meam.
Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me in thy strength.
O God, hear my prayer: give ear to the words of my mouth.
For strangers have risen up against me: and the mighty have sought after my soul: and they have not set God before their eyes.
For behold God is my helper: and the Lord is the protector of my soul.
Turn back the evils upon my enemies: and cut them off in thy truth.
I will freely sacrifice to thee, and will give praise, O God, to thy name: because it is good.
For thou hast delivered me out of all trouble: and my eye hath looked down upon my enemies.

Ant. Strangers have risen up against me, and the mighty have sought after my soul.

℣. Insurrexerunt in me testes iniqui.
℟. Et mentita est iniquitas sibi.
℣. Unjust witnesses have risen up against me.
℟. And iniquity hath belied itself.

Here is said, in secret, the Pater noster.


For the second nocturn lessons the Church continues the Enarrations of St. Augustine on the psalms prophetic of our Lord’s Passion.

Fourth Lesson

Ex tractatu Sancti Augustini Episeopi, super Psalmos.

Ps. lxiii.

Protexisti me, Deus, a conventu malignantium, a multitudine operantium iniquitatem. Jam ipsum caput nostrum intueamur. Multi martyres talia passi sunt, sed nihil sic elucet, quomodo caput martyrum: ibi melius intuemur, quod illi experti sunt. Protectus est a multitudine malignantium: protegente se Deo, protegente carnem suam ipso Filio, et homine quem gerebat, quia Filius hominis est, et Filius Dei est: Filius Dei, propter formam Dei: Filius hominis, propter formam servi, habens in potestate ponere animam suam, et recipere earn. Quid ei potuerunt facere inimici? Occiderunt corpus, animam non occiderunt. Intendite. Parum ergo erat Dominum hortari martyres verbo nisi firmaret exemplo.
From the treatise of Saint Augustine, Bishop, upon the Psalms.

Ps. lxiii.

Thou hast protected me, 0 God, from, the assembly of the malignant,from the multitude of the workers of iniquity. Now let us behold our head himself. Many martyrs have suffered such torments, but nothing is so conspicuous as the head of the martyrs; there we see better what they endured. He was protected from the multitude of the malignant: that is, God protected himself; the Son, and the Man assumed by the Son, protected his own flesh. For he is the Son of Man, and the Son of God: the Son of God because of the form of God: the Son of Man because of the form of a servant, having it in his power to lay down his life, and take it up again. What could his enemies do against him? They killed his body, but they did not kill his soul. Take notice, then. It signified little for our Lord to exhort the martyrs by word, if he had not fortified them by his example.

℟. Tanquam ad latronem existis cum gladiis et fustibus comprehendere me. * Quotidie apud vos eram in templo docens, et non me tenuistis: et ecce flagellatum ducitis ad crucifigendum.
℣. Cumque injecissent manus in Jesum, et tenuissent cum, dixit ad eos:
* Quotidie apud vos eram in templo docens et non me tenuistis: et ecce flagellatum ducitis ad crucifigendum.
℟. Ye are come out to take me, as a thief, with swords and clubs. * I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye did not apprehend me: and lo! ye scourge me, and lead me to be crucified.
℣. And when they had laid hands on Jesus, and taken him, he said to them:
* I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye did not apprehend me: and lo! ye scourge me, and lead me to be crucified.

Fifth Lesson

Nostis qui conventus erat malignantium Judæorum, et quæ multitudo erat operantium iniquitatem. Quam iniquitatem? Quia voluerunt occidere Dominum desuni Christum. Tanta opera bona, inquit, ostendi vobis; propter quod horum me vultis occidere? Pertulit omnes infirmos eorum. curavit omnes languidos eorum, prædicavitregnum cœlorum, non tacuit vitia eorum, ut ipsa potius eis displicerent, non medicus a quo sanabantur. His omnibus curationibus ejus ingrati, tamquam multa febre phrenetici, insanientes in medicum qui venerat curare eos, excogitaverunt consilium perdendi eum; tanquam ibi volentes probare, utrum vere homo sit qui mori possit, an aliquid super homines sit, et mori se non permittat. Verbum ipsorum agnoscimus in Sapientia Salomonis. Morte turpissima, inquiunt, condemnemus eum: interrogemus eum: erit enim respectus in sermonibus illius. Si enim vere Filius Dei est, liberet eum.
You know what was the assembly of the wicked Jews, and what the multitude of those that work iniquity. But what was that iniquity? It was that they intended to kill our Lord Jesus Christ. ‘I have done.’ saith he, ‘so many good works among you: for which of them will you kill me?’ He bore with ail their weaknesses, he cured all their sick, he preached the kingdom of heaven, he concealed not their crimes, that they might rather hate them, than the physician that healed them. Yet such was their ingratitude for all these cures, that like men raving in a high fever, they raged against the physician that came to cure them, and formed a design of destroying him: as if they had a mind to try whether he was a real man that could die, or something above men, and would not die. We find their words in the Wisdom of Solomon: ‘Let us condemn him,’ say they, ‘to a most shameful death. Let us examine him: for regard will be had to his words. If he is truly the Son of God, let him deliver him.’

℟. Tenebræ factæ sunt, dum crucifixissent Jesum Judæi: et circa horam nonam exclamavit Jesus voce magna: Deus meus, ut quid me dereliquisti? * Et inclinato capite, emisit spiritum.
℣. Exclamans Jesus voce magna ait: Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum.
* Et inclinato capite, emisit spiritum.
℟. Darkness covered the earth, whilst the Jews crucified Jesus: and about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice: My God! why hast thou forsaken me? * And bowing down his head, he gave up the ghost.
℣. Jesus crying out with a loud voice said: Father! into thy hands I commend my spirit!
* And bowing down his head, he gave up the ghost.

Sixth Lesson

Exacuerunt tamquam gladium linguas suas. Non dicant Judæi: Non occidimus Christum. Etenim propterea eum dederunt judici Pilato, ut quasi ipsi a morte ejus viderentur immunes. Nam cum dixisset eis Pilatus: Vos eum occidite; responderunt: Nobis non licet occidere quemquam. Iniquitatem facinoris sui in judicem hominem refundere volebant: sed numquid Deum judicem fallebant? Quod fecit Pilatus, in eo ipso quod fecit, aliquantum particeps fuit: sed in comparatione illorum, multo ipse innocentior. Institit enim quantum potuit, ut illum ex eorum manibus liberaret: nam propterea flagellatum produxit ad eos. Non persequendo Dominum flagellavit, sed eorum furori satisfacere volens: ut vel sic jam mitescerent, et desinerent velle occidere, cum flagellatum viderent. Fecit et hoc. At ubi perseveraverunt, nostis illum lavisse manus, et dixisse quod ipse non fecisset, mundum se esse a morte illius. Fecit tamen. Sed si reus, quia fecit vel invitus: illi innocentes, qui coegerunt ut faceret? Nullo modo. Sed ille dixit in eum sententiam, et jussit eum crucifigi, et quasi ipse occidit: et vos, O Judæi, occidistis. Unde occidistis? Gladio linguæ; acuistis enim linguas vestras. Et quando percussistis, nisi quando clamastis: Crucifige, crucifige?
They sharpened their tongues like a sword. Let not the Jews say: ‘We did not kill Christ:’ for they delivered him up to Pilate, the judge, that they might seem innocent of his death. Thus when Pilate had said to them: ‘Put him to death yourselves:’ they answered: 'It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.’ Hereby, they pretended to throw the injustice of their crime upon a judge that was a man: but could they deceive a judge that is God? What Pilate did, made him partaker of their crime: but in comparison with them, he was much more innocent. For he laboured what he could to get him out of their hands; and for that reason ordered him to be scourged and shown to them. This he did to our Lord, not by way of persecution, but to satisfy their rage; that the sight of him in that condition might move them to pity, and make them desist from desiring his death. All this he did. But when they still persisted, you know that he washed his hands, and said that he had no hand in it, that he was innocent of his death. And yet he really put him to death. But if he was guilty for doing so against his will: are they innocent that forced him to do it? By no means. He pronounced sentence upon him, and commanded him to be crucified, and so might be said to kill him: but you, O Jews, you also killed him. How? With the sword of your tongues: for ye sharpened your tongues. And when gave you the stroke, but when you cried out: 'Crucify him, crucify him’?

℟. Animam meam dilectain tradidi in manus iniquorum, et facta est mihi hæreditas mea sicut leo in silva: dedit contra me voces adversarius, dicens: Congregamini, et properate ad devorandum illum. Posuerunt me in deserto solitudinis, et luxit super me omnis terra:
* Quia non est inventus qui me agnosceret, et faceret bene.
℣. Insurrexerunt in me viri absque misericordia, et non peperceruntanimæ meæ.
* Quia non est inventus qui me agnosceret, et faceret bene.
Here is repeated: Animara meam dilectam.
℟. I have delivered my beloved soul into the hands of the wicked, and my inheritance is become to me like a lion in the forest: my adversary gave out his words against me, saying: Come together, and make haste to devour him. They placed me in a solitary desert, and all the earth mourned for me:
* Because there was none found that would know me, and do good unto me.
℣. Men without mercy rose up against me, and they spared not my life.
* Because there was none found that would know me, and do good unto me.
Here is repeated: I have delivered.

The Third Nocturn

The seventh psalm was composed by David at the time when he was being persecuted by Saul. The prophet, by describing the fury of his own persecutor, shows us what kind of men were the enemies of the Messias.

Ant. Ab insurgentibus in me, libera me, Domine, quia occupaverunt animam meam.
Ant. From them that rise up against me, deliver me, O Lord: for they are in possession of my soul.

Psalm 58

Eripe me de inimicis meis, Deus meus: et ab insurgentibus in me, libera me.Eripe me de operantibus iniquitatem: et de viris sanguinum salva me.
Quia ecce ceperunt animam meam: irruerunt in me fortes.
Neque iniquitas mea, neque peecatum meum, Domine: sine iniquitate cucurri, et direxi.
Exsurge in occursum meum, et vide: et tu, Domine, Deus virtutum, Deus Israel.
Intende ad visitandas omnes Gentes: non miserearis omnibus qui operantur iniquitatem.
Convertentur ad vesperam, et famem patientur ut canes: et circuibunt civitatem.
Ecce loquentur in ore suo, et gladius in labiis eorum: quoniam quis audivit?
Et tu, Domine, deridebis eos: ad nihilum deduces omnes Gentes.
Fortitudinem meam ad te custodiam, quia Deus susceptor meus es: Deus meus, misericordia ejus præveniet me.
Deus ostendit mihi super inimicos meos, ne occidas eos: nequando obliviscantur populi mei.
Disperge illos in virtute tua: et depone eos, protector meus, Domine.Delictum oris eorum, sermonem labiorum ipsorum: et comprehendantur in superbia sua.
Et de execratione et mendacio annuntiabuntur in consummatione: in ira consummationis, et non erunt.
Et scient quia Deus dominabitur Jacob: et finium terræ.
Convertentur ad vesperam, et famem patientur ut canes: et circuibunt civitatem.
Ipsi dispergentur ad manducandum: si vero non fuerint saturati, et murmurabunt.
Ego autem cantabo fortitudinem tuam: et exaltabo mane misericordiam tuam.
Quia factus es susceptor meus: et refugium meum, in die tribulationis meæ.
Adjutor meus tibi psallam, quia Deus susceptor meus es: Deus meus, misericordia mea.

Ant. Ab insurgentibus in me, libera me, Domine, quia occupaverunt animam meam.
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God: and defend me from them that rise up against me.
Deliver me from them that work iniquity: and save me from bloody men.
For behold they have caught my soul: the mighty have rushed in upon me.
Neither is it for my iniquity, nor for my sin, O Lord: without iniquity have I run and directed my steps.
Rise up thou to meet me, and behold: even thou, O Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel.
Attend to visit all the nations: have no mercy on all them that work iniquity.
They shall return at evening, and shall suffer hunger like dogs: and shall go round about the city.
Behold they shall speak with their mouth, and a sword is in their lips: for who, say they, hath heard us?
But thou, O Lord, shalt laugh at them: thou shalt bring all the nations to nothing.
I will keep my strength to thee, for thou art my protector: my God, his mercy shall prevent me.
God shall let me see over my enemies: slay them not, lest at any time my people forget.
Scatter them by thy power: and bring them down, O Lord, my protector.For the sin of their mouth, and the word of their lips: and let them be taken in their pride.
And for their cursing and lying they shall be talked of, when they are consumed: when they are consumed by thy wrath, and they shall be no more.
And they shall know that God will rule Jacob: and all the ends of the earth.
They shall return at evening, and shall suffer hunger like dogs: and shall go round about the city.
They shall be scattered abroad to eat: and shall murmur if they be not filled.
But I will sing thy strength: and will extol thy mercy in the morning.
For thou art become my support and my refuge, in the day of my trouble.
Unto thee, O my helper, will I sing, for thou art God, my defence: my God, my mercy.

Ant. From them that rise up against me, deliver me, O Lord, for they are in possession of my soul.

In the eighth psalm, the royal prophet shows us the Messias threatened with death, and complaining of His disciples having abandoned Him.

Ant. Longe fecisti notos meos a me: traditus sum, et non egrediebar.
Ant. Thou hast put away my acquaintance far from me: I was delivered up, and I escaped not.

Psalm 87

Domine, Deus salutis meæ: in die clamavi, et nocte coram te.
Intret in conspectu tuo oratio mea: inclina aurem tuam ad precem meam.
Quia repleta est malis anima mea: et vita mea inferno appropinquavit.
Æstimatus sum cum descendentibus in lacum: factus sum sicut homo sine adjutorio, inter mortuos liber.
Sicut vulnerati dormientes in sepulchris, quorum non es memor amplius: et ipsi de manu tua repulsi sunt.
Posuerunt me in lacu inferiori: in tenebrosis, et in umbra mortis.
Super me confirmatus est furor tuus: et omnes fluctus tuos induxisti super me.
Longe fecisti notos meos a me: posuerunt me abominationem sibi.
Traditus sum, et non egrediebar: oculi mei languerunt præ inopia.
Clamavi ad te, Domine, tota die: expandi ad te manus meas.
Numquid mortuis facies mirabilia: aut medici suscitabunt, et confitebuntur tibi?
Numquid narrabit aliquis in sepulchro misericordiam tuam: et veritatem tuam in perditione?Numquid cognoscentur in tenebris mirabilia tua: et justitia tua in terra oblivionis?
Et ego ad te, Domine, clamavi: et mane oratio mea præveniet te.
Ut quid, Domine, repellis orationem meam: avertis faciem tuam a me?
Pauper sum ego, et in laboribus a juventute mea: exaltatus autem, humiliatus sum et conturbatus.
In me transierunt iræ tuæ: et terrores tui conturbaverunt me.
Circumdederunt me sicut aqua tota die: circumdederunt me simul.
Elongasti a me amicum et proximum: et notos meos a miseria.

Ant. Longe fecisti notos meos a me: traditus sum, et non egrediebar.
O God, the God of my salvation, I have cried in the day, and in the night before thee.
Let my prayer come in before thee: incline thy ear to my petition.
For my soul is filled with evils: and my life hath drawn nigh to hell.
I am counted among them that go down to the pit: I am become as a man without help, free among the dead.
Like the slain sleeping in the sepulchres, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cast off from thy hand.
They have laid me in the lower pit: in the dark places and in the shadow of death.
Thy wrath is strong over me: and all thy waves thou hast brought in upon me.
Thou hast put away my acquaintance far from me: they have set me an abomination to themselves.
I was delivered up, and came not forth: my eyes languished through poverty.
All the day I cried to thee, O Lord: I stretched out my hands to thee.
Wilt thou show wonders to the dead: or shall physicians raise to life, and give praise to thee?
Shall any one in the sepulchre declare thy mercy, and thy truth in destruction?Shall thy wonders be known in the dark: and thy justice in the land of forgetfulness?
But I, O Lord, have cried to thee, and in the morning my prayer shall prevent thee.
Lord, why castest thou off my prayer: why turnest thou away thy face from me?
I am poor and in labours from my youth: and being exalted, have been humbled and troubled.
Thy wrath hath come upon me: and thy terrors have troubled me.
They have come round about me like water all the day: they have compassed me about together.
Friend and neighbour thou hast put far from me: and my acquaintance because of misery.

Ant. Thou hast put away my acquaintance far from me: I was delivered up, and I escaped not.

The ninth psalm invokes the vengeance of God upon the unjust judges, who shed the Blood of the innocent Jesus, and forget that there is One in heaven who is witness of their injustice and of His immolation. The high priests, the doctors of the Law, the dastardly Pontius Pilate, are here described as unjust judges, upon whose heads will fall the wrath of heaven.

Ant. Captabunt in animam justi, et sanguinem innocentem condemnabunt.
Ant. They will hunt after the soul of the Just; and will condemn innocent Blood.

Psalm 93

Deus ultionum Dominus: Deus ultionum libere egit.
Exaltare qui judicas terram: redde retributionem superbis.
Usquequo peccatores Domine: usquequo peccatores gloriabuntur?
Effabuntur et loquentur iniquitatem: loquentur omnes qui operantur injustitiam?
Populum tuum, Domine, humiliaverunt: et hæreditatem tuam vexaverunt.
Viduam et advenam interfecerunt: et pupillos occiderunt.
Et dixerunt: Non videbit Dominus: nec intelliget Deus Jacob.
Intelligite insipientes in populo: et stulti aliquando sapite.
Qui plantavit aurem, non audiet: aut qui finxit oculum, non considerat?
Qui corripit gentes, non arguet: qui docet hominem scientiam?
Dominus scit cogitationes hominum: quoniam vanæ sunt.
Beatus homo, quem tu erudieris, Domine: et de lege tua docueris eum.
Ut mitiges ei a diebus malis: donec fodiatur peccatori fovea.
Quia non repellet Dominus plebem suam: et hæreditatem suam non derelinquet.
Quoadusque justitia convertatur in judicium: et qui juxta illam omnes qui recto sunt corde.
Quis consurget mihi adversus malignantes: aut quis stabit mecum adversas operantes iniquitatem?
Nisi quia Dominus adjuvit me: paulo minus habitasset in inferno anima mea.
Si dicebam: Motus est pes meus: misericordia tua, Domine, adjuvabat me.
Secundum multitudinem dolorum meorum in corde meo: consolationes tuæ lætificaverunt animam meam.
Numquid adhæret tibi sedes iniquitatis: qui fingis laborem in præcepto?
Captabunt in animam justi: et sanguinem innocentem condemnabunt.
Et factus est mihi Dominus in refugium: et Deus meus in adjutorium spei meæ.
Et reddet illis iniquitatem ipsorum: et in malitia eorum disperdet eos: disperdet illos Dominus Deus noster.

Ant. Captabunt in animam justi, et sanguinem innocentem condemnabunt.
The Lord is the God to whom revenge belongeth: the God of revenge acted freely.
Lift up thyself, thou that judgest the earth: render a reward to the proud.
How long shall the wicked, O Lord, how long shall the wicked make their boast?
How long shall they utter and speak wrong things: how long shall the workers of iniquity talk?
Thy people, O Lord, they have brought low: and they have afflicted thy inheritance.
They have slain the widow and the stranger: and they have murdered the fatherless.
And they have said: The Lord shall not see: neither shall the God of Jacob understand.
Understand, ye senseless among the people: and you fools be wise at last.
He that planted the ear, shall he not hear: or he that formed the eye, doth he not consider?
He that chastiseth nations, shall he not rebuke: he that teacheth man knowledge?
The Lord knoweth the thoughts of men, that they are vain.
Blessed is the man whom thou shalt instruct, O Lord: and shalt teach him out of thy law.
That thou mayst give him rest from the evil days: till a pit be dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not cast off his people: neither will he forsake his own inheritance.
Until justice be turned into judgment: and they that are near it are all the upright of heart.
Who shall rise up for me against the evil doers? or who shall stand with me against the workers of iniquity?
Unless the Lord had been my helper: my soul had almost dwelt in hell.
If I said: my foot is moved: thy mercy, O Lord, assisted me.
According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart: thy comforts have given joy to my soul.
Doth the seat of iniquity stick to thee, who framest labour in commandment?
They will hunt after the soul of the just: and will condemn innocent blood.
But the Lord is my refuge: and my God the help of my hope.
And he will render to them their iniquity: and in their malice he will destroy them: yea, the Lord our God will destroy them.

Ant. They will hunt after the soul of the Just: and will condemn innocent Blood.

℣. Locuti sunt adversum me lingua dolosa.
℟. Et sermonibus odii circumdederunt me, et expugnaverunt me gratis.
℣. They have spoken against me with a deceitful tongue.
℟. And they have compassed me about with words of hatred, and have fought against me without cause.

Here is said the Pater noster in secret.

For the lessons of this nocturn, the Church has selected a passage from the Epistle to the Hebrews, where St. Paul speaks of the Son of God having become our High Priest and Mediator with the Father, by the shedding of His Blood. This precious Blood blots out our sins, and opens heaven to us, which Adam’s sin had closed against us.

Seventh Lesson

De Epistola Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Hebræos.

Cap. iv. et v.

Festinemus ingredi in illam requiem: ut ne in idipsum quis incidat incredulitatis exemplum. Vivus est enim sermo Dei, et efficax, et penetrabilior omni gladio ancipiti: et pertingens usque ad divisionem animæ ac spiritus, compagum quoque ac medullarum, et discretor cogitationum et intentionum cordis. Et non est ulla creatura invisibilis in conspectu ejus: omnia autem nuda et aperta sunt oculis ejus, ad quem nobis sermo. Habentes ergo Pontificem magnum, qui penetravit cœlos, Jesum Filium Dei, teneamus confessionem. Non enim habemus Pontificem qui non possit compati infirmitatibus nostris: tentatum autem per omnia pro similitudine absque peccata.
From the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle, to the Hebrews.

Ch. iv. and v.

Let us hasten therefore to enter into that rest: lest any man fall into the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any twoedged sword, and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also, and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature invisible in his sight: but all things are naked and open to his eyes, to whom our speech is. Having therefore a great High Priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a High Priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin.

℟. Tradiderunt me in manus impiorum, et inter iniquos projecerunt me, et non pepercerunt animæ meæ: congregati sunt adversum me fortes: * Et sicut gigantes steterunt contra me.
℣. Alieni insurrexerunt adversum me, et fortes quæsierunt animam meam.
* Et sicut gigantes steterunt contra me.
℟. They delivered me into the hands of the impious and cast me out among the wicked, and spared not my life: the powerful gathered together against me: * And like giants they stood against me.
℣. Strangers have risen up against me, and the mighty have sought my soul.
* And like giants they stood against me.

Eighth Lesson

Adeamus ergo cum fiducia ad thronum gratiæ: ut misericordiam consequamur, et gratiam inveniamus in auxilio opportuno. Omnis namque pontifex ex hominibus assumptus, pro hominibus constituiturin iis quæ sunt ad Deum, ut offerat dona et sacrificia pro peccatis: qui condolere possit iis qui ignorant et errant: quoniam et ipse circumdatus est infirmitate. Et propterea debet, quemadmodum pro populo, ita etiam et pro semetipso offerre pro peccatis.
Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid. For every high priest taken from among men, is appointed for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on them that are ignorant, and that err: because he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And therefore he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

℟. Jesum tradidit impius summis principibus sacerdotum, et senioribus populi: * Petrus autem sequebatur eum a longe, ut videret finem.
℣. Adduxerunt autem eum ad Caipham principem sacerdotum, ubi scribæ et pharisæi convenerant.
* Petrus autem sequebatur eum a longe, ut videret finem.
℟. The wicked man betrayed Jesus to the chief priests and elders of the people: ° But Peter followed him afar off, that he might see the end.
℣. And they led him to Caiphas the high priest, where the scribes and pharisees were met together.
* Put Peter followed him afar off, that he might see the end.

Ninth Lesson

Nec quisquam sumit sibi honorem sed qui vocatur a Deo, tanquam Aaron. Sic et Christus non semetipsum clarificavit ut pontifex fieret: sed qui locutus est ad eum: Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te. Quemadmodum et in alio loco dicit: Tu es sacerdos in æternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech. Qui in diebus carnis suae, preces, supplicationesque ad eum, qui possit illum salvum facere a morte, cum clamore valido et lacrymis offerens, exauditus est pro sua reverentia. Et quidem cum esset Filius Dei, didicit ex iis, quæ passusest, obedientiam: et consummatus, factus est omnibus obtemperantibus sibi, causa salutis æternæ, appellatus a Deo pontifex juxta ordinem Melchisedech.
Neither doth any man take the honour to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was. So also Christ did not glorify himself that he might be made a high priest: but he that said unto him: Thou art my Son. this day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech. Whο in the days of his flesh, with a strong cry and tears, offering up prayers and supplications to him that was able to save him from death, was heard for his reverence: and whereas indeed he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered: and being consummated he became, to all that obey him, the cause of eternal salvation, called by God a high-priest according to the order of Melchisedech.

℟. Caligaverunt oculi mei a fletu meo: quia elongatus est a me, qui consolabatur me. Videte omnes populi, * Si est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.
℣. O vos omnes qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte.
* Si est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.
Here is repeated: Caligaverunt oculi mei.
℟. My eyes are darkened by my tears: for he is far from me that comforted me. See all ye people, * If there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.
℣. O all ye that pass by the way, behold and see,
* If there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.
Here is repeated: My eyes are darkened.

 

LAUDS

 

The first psalm of Lauds is the Miserere, as yesterday, page 336. It is sung to the following antiphon:

Ant. Proprio Filio suo non pepercit Deus, sed pro nobis omnibus tradidit illum.
Ant. God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.

The second psalm is one of those that were composed by David during the time of Absalom’s rebellion. It is one of the psalms of Friday’s ferial Lauds throughout the year; and is appropriate to the mystery of to-day, inasmuch as it expresses how the Messias was abandoned by His disciples, and how confidently He hoped in God.

Ant. Anxiatus est super me spiritus meus, in me turbatum est cor meum.
Ant. My spirit is in anguish within me, my heart within me is troubled.

Psalm 142

[...]


The third psalm celebrates the great mystery of the Redemption accomplished on this day, the destruction of sin, and the propitiation of God’s offended majesty. It is sung to the following antiphon:

Ant. Ait latro ad latronem: Nos quidem digna factis recipimus: hic autem quid fecit? Memento mei, Domine, dum veneris in regnum tuum.
Ant. The thief said to the thief: We, indeed, receive the due reward of our deeds; but what has this Man done? Remember me, O Lord, when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.

Psalm 84

[...]


The following canticle is that of the prophet Habacuc; it comes in the ferial Lauds of Friday, for penitential seasons. It celebrates the victory of Christ over His enemies, when He shall come to judge the world; and forms a sublime contrast with the humiliations which the Man-God suffers on this the day of His death.

Ant. Cum conturbata fuerit anima mea, Domine, misericordiæ memor eris.
Ant. When my soul shall be in trouble, O Lord! thou wilt be mindful of thy mercy.

Canticle of Habacuc

 

[...]


The last psalm, which belongs to the Lauds of Fridays, is sung to-day to the following antiphon:

Ant. Memento mei, Domine, dum veneris in regnum tuum.
Ant. Remember me, O Lord, when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.

Psalm 147

[...]


℣. Collocavit me in obscuris.
℟. Sicut mortuos sæculi.
℣. He hath made me to dwell in darkness.
℟. As those that have been dead of old.

After this versicle, is sung the canticle Benedictus (see page 347) with the following antiphon:

Ant. Posuerunt super caput ejus causam ipsius scriptam: Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judæorum.
Ant. They put over his head his cause written: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

This antiphon having been repeated after the canticle, the choir sings, to a touching melody, the following words. She repeats them at the end of all the Canonical Hours of these three days, adding to them each day. The addition for to-day is, that the death which our Saviour deigned to suffer for us was the most disgraceful and painful of all deaths— the death of the cross.

℣. Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis.
℣. Christ became, for our sake, obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.

Then is said, in secret, the Pater noster, which is followed by the Miserere (page 336). This psalm is not sung, but only recited as explained in yesterday’s Tenebræ. As soon as the Miserere is finished, the following prayer is said by the first in dignity:

Respice, quæsumus, Domine, super hanc familiam tuam: pro qua Dominus noster Jesus Christus non dubitavit manibus tradi nocentium, et crucis subire tormentum:
Look down. O Lord, we beseech thee, upon this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ hesitated not to be delivered into the hands of wicked men. and to undergo the punishment of the cross:

(then the rest in secret:)

Qui tecum vivit et regnat, in unitate Spiritus sancti, Deus, per omnia sæeula sæculorum. Amen.
Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost. God, world without end. Amen.

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including descriptions of the following:

The sun has risen upon Jerusalem. But the priests and scribes have not waited all this time without venting their rage upon Jesus. Annas, who was the first to receive the divine Captive, has had Him taken to his son-in-law Caiphas, the high priest. Here He is put through a series of insulting questions, which disdaining to answer, He receives a blow from one of the high priest’s servants. False witnesses had already been prepared: they now come forward, and depose their lies against Him who is the very Truth: but their testimony is contradictory. Then Caiphas, seeing that this plan for convicting Jesus of blasphemy is only serving to expose his accomplices, turns to another. He asks Him a question, which will oblige our Lord to make an answer; and in this answer he, Caiphas, will discover blasphemy, and blasphemy will bring Jesus under the power of the Synagogue. This is the question: ‘I adjure Thee, by the living God, that Thou tell us, if Thou be the Christ the Son of God![1] Our Saviour, in order to teach us that we should show respect to those who are in authority, breaks the silence He has hitherto observed, and answers: ‘Thou hast said it: I am: and hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven.’[2] Hereupon, the impious pontiff rises, rends his garments, and exclaims: ‘He hath blasphemed! What further need have we of witnesses? Behold! now ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye?’ The whole place resounds with the cry: ‘He is guilty of death!’[3]

The Son of God has come down upon the earth in order to restore man to life; and yet, here we have this creature of death daring to summon his divine Benefactor before a human tribunal, and condemning Him to death! And Jesus is silent, and bears with these presumptuous, these ungrateful, blasphemers! Well may we exclaim, in the words wherewith the Greek Church frequently interrupts to-day’s reading of the Passion: ‘Glory be to thy patience, O Lord!’

Scarcely have the terrible words, 'He is guilty of death,’ been uttered, than the servants of the high priest rush upon Jesus. They spit upon Him, and blindfolding Him, they strike Him, saying: ‘Prophesy, who is it that struck Thee?’[4] Thus does the Synagogue treat the Messias, who, they say, is to be their glory! And yet, these outrages, frightful as they are, are but the beginning of what our Redeemer has to go through.

But there is something far more trying than all this to the heart of Jesus, and it is happening at this very time. Peter has made his way as far as the court of the high priest’s palace. He is recognized by the bystanders as a Galilean, and one of Jesus’ disciples. The apostle trembles for his life; he denies his Master, and affirms with an oath that he does not even know Him. What a sad example is here of the punishment of presumption! But Jesus has mercy on His apostle. The servants of the high priest lead Him near to the place where Peter is standing; He casts upon him a look of reproach and pardon; Peter immediately goes forth, and weeps bitterly. From this hour forward he can do nothing but lament his sin; and it is only on Easter morning, when Jesus shall appear to him after His Resurrection, that he will admit any consolation to his afflicted heart. Let us make him our model, now that we are spending these hours, with our holy mother the Church, in contemplating the Passion of Jesus. Peter withdraws, because he fears his own weakness; let us remain to the end, for what have we to fear? May our Jesus give us one of those looks, which can change the hardest and worst of hearts!

Meanwhile, the day-dawn breaks upon the city, and the chief priests make arrangements for taking Jesus before the Roman governor. They themselves have found Him guilty; they have condemned Him as a blasphemer, and according to the Law of Moses a blasphemer must be stoned to death. But they cannot apply the law: Jerusalem is no longer free, or governed by her own laws. The power over life and death may be exercised only by her conquerors, and that in the name of Cæsar. How is it that these priests and scribes can go through all this, and never once remember the prophecy of Jacob, that the Messias would come when the sceptre should be taken away from Juda?[5] They know off by heart, they are the appointed guardians of, those prophecies, which describe the death to which this Messias is to be put; and yet, they are the very ones who bring it about! How is all this? They are blind, and it is jealousy that blinds them.

The rumour of Jesus’ having been seized during the night, and that He is on the point of being led before the Roman governor, rapidly spreads through the city, and reaches Judas’ ears. This wretched man had a passion for money, but there was nothing to make him desire the death of his divine Master. He knew Jesus’ supernatural power. He perhaps flattered himself that He, who could command nature and the elements, would easily escape from the hands of His enemies. But now when he sees that He does not escape, and that He is to be condemned to death, he runs to the temple, and gives back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests. Is it that he is converted, and is about to ask his Master to pardon him? Alas, no! Despair has possession of him, and he puts an end to his existence. The recollection of all the merciful solicitations made to him, yesterday, by Jesus, both during the last Supper, and in the garden, gives him no confidence; it only serves to increase his despair. Surely, he well knew what a merciful Saviour he had to deal with! And yet, he despairs, and this at the very time when the Blood, which washes away the sins of the whole world, is about to be shed! He is lost, because he despaired.

The chief priests, taking Jesus with them present themselves at the governor’s palace, demanding audience for a case of importance. Pilate comes forward, and peevishly asks them: ‘What accusation bring ye against this Man?’ They answer: ‘If He were pot a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up to thee.’ It is very evident, from these first words, that Pilate has a contempt for these Jewish priests; it is not less evident that they are determined to gain their cause. ‘Take Him you,’ says Pilate, ‘and judge Him according to your Law.’ The chief priests answer: ‘It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.’[6]

Pilate leaves the hall, in order to speak with these men. He returns, and commands Jesus to be brought in. The Son of God and the representative of the pagan world are face to face. Pilate begins by asking Him: ‘Art Thou the King of the Jews?’ To this Jesus thus replies: ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews. But now My kingdom is not from hence’. ‘Art Thou a King, then? says Pilate. ‘Thou sayest,’ answers Jesus, ‘that I am a King.’ Having, by these last words, confessed His august dignity, our Lord offers a grace to this Roman; He tells him that there is something worthier of man’s ambition than earthly honours. ‘For this,’ says Jesus, ‘was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice.’ ‘What is truth?’ asks Pilate; but without waiting for the answer, he leaves Jesus, for he is anxious to have done with this case. He returns to the Jews, and says to them: ‘I find no cause in Him.’[7] Pilate fancies that this Jesus must be a leader of some Jewish sect, whose teachings give offence to the chief priests, but which are not worth his examining into them: yet at the same time, he is convinced that He is a harmless Man, and that it would be foolish and unjust to accuse Him of disturbing the state.

Scarcely has Pilate expressed his opinion in favour of Jesus, than a long list of accusations is brought up against Him by the chief priests. Pilate is astonished at Jesus’ making no reply, and says to Him: ‘Dost Thou not hear how great testimonies they allege against Thee?’[8] These words are kindly meant, but Jesus still remains silent: they, however, excite His enemies to fresh fury, and they cry out: ‘He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, even to this place.’[9] This word Galilee suggests a new idea to Pilate. Herod, the tetrarch of Galilee, happens to be in Jerusalem at this very time. Jesus is his subject; He must be sent to him. Thus Pilate will get rid of a troublesome case, and this act of courteous deference will re-establish a good understanding between himself and Herod.

The Saviour is therefore dragged through the streets of Jerusalem, from Pilate’s house to Herod’s palace. His enemies follow Him with relentless fury; but Jesus still observes His noble silence. Herod, the murderer of John the Baptist, insults Him, and ordering Him to be clothed in a white garment, as a fool, he sends Him back to Pilate. Another plan for ridding himself of this troublesome case now strikes the Roman governor. At the feast of the Pasch, he had the power of granting pardon to any one criminal the people may select. They are assembled together at the court-gates. He feels sure that their choice will fall upon Jesus, for it is but a few days ago that they led Him in triumph through the city: besides, he intends to make the alternative one who is an object of execration to the whole people; he is a murderer, and his name Barabbas. ‘Whom will you that I release to you?’ says Pilate:

‘Barabbas, or Jesus, that is called the Christ?’ He has not long to wait for the answer: the crowd exclaim: ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’ ‘What then,’ replies Pilate, ‘shall I do with Jesus, that is called the Christ?’ ‘Crucify Him.’ ‘Why, what evil hath He done? I will chastise Him, therefore, and let Him go.’ But they, growing irritated at this, cry out so much the louder: ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’[10]

Pilate’s cowardly subterfuge has failed, and left him in a more difficult position than he was before. His putting the innocent on a level with a murderer was in itself a gross injustice; and yet, he has not gone far enough for a people that is blind with passion. Neither does his promise to chastise Jesus satisfy them: they want more than His Blood; they insist on His death.

Here let us pause, and offer our Saviour a reparation for the insult He here receives. He is put in competition with a murderer, and the murderer is preferred! Pilate makes an attempt to save Jesus: but on what terms! He must be put on a footing with a vile wretch, and even so be worsted! Those very lips that, a few days back, sang ‘Hosannah to the Son of David,’ now clamour for His cruoifixion! The city magistrate and governor pronounces Him innocent, and yet condemns Him to be scourged, because he fears a disturbance!

Jesus is made over to the soldiers to be scourged. They rudely strip Him of His garments, and tie Him to the pillar which is kept for this kind of torture. Fiercely do they strike Him; the Blood flows down His sacred Body. Let us adore this the second bloodshedding of our Jesus, whereby He expiates the sins we and the whole world have committed by the flesh. This scourging is by the hands of Gentiles: the Jews delivered Him up to be punished, and the Romans were the executioners: thus have we all had our share in the awful deicide.

At last the soldiers are tired; they loose their Victim; but it is not out of anything like pity. Their cruelty is going to rest, and their rest is derision. Jesus has been called King of the Jews: a king, say they, must have a crown! Accordingly, they make one for the Son of David! It is of thorns. They press it violently upon His head, and this is the third boodshedding of our Redeemer. Then, that they may make thier scoffing perfect, the soldiers throw a scarlet cloak over His shoulders, and put a reed, for a sceptre, into His hand; and bending their knee before Him, they thus salute Him: ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ This insulting homage is accompanied with blows upon His face; they spit upon Him; and, from time to time, take the reed from His hand, wherewith to strike the thorns deeper into His head.

Here, the Christian prostrates himself before his Saviour, and says to Him with a heart full of compassion and veneration: ‘Yes! my Jesus! Thou art King of the Jews! Thou art the Son of David, and therefore our Messias and our Redeemer! Israel, that hath so lately proclaimed Thee King, now unkings Thee; the Gentiles scoff at Thy royalty, making it a subject for keener insult; but reign Thou must, and over both Jews and Gentiles: over the Jews, by Thy justice, for they are soon to feel the sceptre of Thy revenge; over the Gentiles, by Thy mercy, for Thine apostles are soon to lead them to Thy feet. Receive, dearest King! our homage and submission! Reign now and for ever over our hearts, yea, over our whole being!’

Thus mangled and bleeding, holding the reed in His hand, and with the scarlet tatters on His shoulders, Jesus is led hack to Pilate. It is just the sight that will soften the hearts of the people; at least, Pilate thinks so; and taking Him with him to a balcony of the palace, he shows Him to the crowd below, saying: ‘Behold the Man!’[11] Little did Pilate know all that these few words conveyed! He says not: ‘Behold Jesus!’ nor, ‘Behold the King of the Jews!’ He says: ‘Behold the Man!’ Man—the Christian understands the full force of the word thus applied to our Redeemer. Adam, the first man, rebelled against God, and, by his sin, deranged the whole work of the Creator: as a punishment for his pride and intemperance, the flesh tyrannized over the spirit; the very earth was cursed, and thorns were to be its growth. Jesus, the new Man, comes into this world, bearing upon Him, not the reality, but the appearance, the likeness, of sin: in Him, the work of the Creator regains the primeval order; but the change was not wrought without violence. To teach us that the flesh must be brought into subjection to the spirit, Jesus’ Flesh was torn by the scourges; to teach us that pride must give way to humility, the only crown that Jesus wears is made of thorns. Yes, ‘Behold the Man!’ the triumph of the spirit over the flesh, the triumph of humility over pride.

Like the tiger that grows fiercer as he sees blood, so is Israel at the sight of Jesus after His scourging. ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’—The cry is still the same. ‘Take Him you,’ says Pilate, ‘and crucify Him; for I find no cause in Him.’ And yet, he has ordered Him to be scourged enough to cause His death! Here is another device of the base coward; but it, too, fails. The Jews have their answer ready; they put forward the right granted by the Romans to the nations that are tributary to the empire.

‘We have,’ say they, ‘a law, and according to the law He ought to die; because He made Himself the Son of God.’ Disconcerted by this reply, Pilate takes Jesus aside into the hall, and says to Him: ‘Whence art Thou?’ Jesus is silent; Pilate was not worthy to hear the answer to his question. This silence irritates him. ‘Speakest Thou not to me?’ says he. ‘Knowest Thou not, that I have power to crucify Thee, and I have power to release Thee?’ Here Jesus deigns to speak; and He speaks in order to teach us that every power of government, even where pagans are in question, comes from God, and not from a pretended social compact: ‘Thou shouldst not have any power against Me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore, he that hath delivered Me to thee, hath the greater sin.’[12]

This dignified reply produces an impression upon Pilate: he resolves to make another attempt to save Jesus. But the people vociferate a threat which alarms him: ‘If thou release this Man, thou art not Cæsar’s friend; for whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Cæsar.’ Still, he is determined to try and pacify the crowd. He leaves the hall, sits upon the judgment-seat, orders Jesus to be placed near him, and thus pleads for Him: ‘Behold your King!’ as though he would say, ‘What have you or Cæsar to fear from such a pitiable object as this?’ The argument is unavailing, and only provokes the cry: ‘Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him!’ As though he did not believe them to be in earnest, Pilate says to them: ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ This time the chief priests answer: ‘We have no king but Cæsar.’[13] When the very ministers of God can talk thus, religion is at an end. No king but Cæsar! Then, the sceptre is taken from Juda, and Jerusalem is cast off, and the Messias is come!

Pilate, seeing that nothing can quell the tumult, and that his honour as governor is at stake, decides on making Jesns over to His enemies. Though against his own inclination, he passes the sentence, which is to cause him such remorse of conscience that he will afterwards seek relief in suicide. He takes a tablet, and with a style writes the inscription which is to be fastened to the cross. The people demand that two thieves should be crucified at the same time; it would be an additional insult to Jesus: this, too, he grants, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaias: And with the wicked was He reputed.[14] Having thus defiled his soul with the most heinous of crimes, Pilate washes his hands before the people, and says to them: ‘I am innocent of the Blood of this just Man; look ye to it!’ They answer him with this terrible self-imprecation: ‘His Blood be upon us and upon our children!’[15] The mark of parricide here fastens on this ungrateful and sacrilegious people; Cain-like, they shall wander fugitives on the earth. Eighteen hundred years have passed since then; slavery, misery, and contempt, have been their portion; but the mark is still upon them. Let us Gentiles—upon whom the Blood of Jesus has fallen as the dew of heaven’s mercy—return fervent thanks to the goodness of our heavenly Father, who hath so loved the world, as to give it His only-begotten Son.[16] Let us give thanks to the Son, who, seeing that our iniquities could not be blotted out save by His Blood, shed it, on this day, even to the very last drop.

Here commences ‘the way of the cross’: the house of Pilate, where our Jesus receives the sentence of death, is the first station. Our Redeemer is consigned, by the governor’s order, into the hands of the Jews. The soldiers seize Him, and drag Him from the court. They strip Him of the scarlet cloak and bid Him clothe Himself with His own garments as before the scourging. The cross is ready and they put it on His wounded shoulders. The place where the new Isaac loads Himself with the wood of His sacrifice, is the second station. To Calvary!—this is the word of command, and it is obeyed: soldiers, executioners, priests, scribes, people—these form the procession. Jesus moves slowly on; but after a few paces, exhausted by the loss of Blood and by His sufferings, He falls under the weight of His cross. It is the first fall, and marks the third station.

He falls, not so much by the weight of His cross, as by that of our sins! The soldiers roughly lay their hands on Him, and force Him up again. Scarcely has He resumed His steps, than He is met by His afflicted Mother. The ‘valiant woman’, whose love is stronger than death, was not to be absent at such an hour as this. She must see her Son, follow Him, keep close to Him, even to His last breath. No tongue can tell the poignancy of her grief. The anxiety she has endured during the last few days has exhausted her strength. All the sufferings of Jesus have been made known to her by a divine revelation; she has shared each one of them with Him. But now she cannot endure to be absent, and makes her way through the crowd. The sacrifice is nigh its consummation; no human power could keep such a Mother from her Jesus. The faithful Magdalene is by her side, bathed in tears; John, Mary the mother of James the Less, and Salome the mother of John, are also with her: they weep for their divine Master, she for her Son. Jesus sees her, but cannot comfort her, for all this is but the beginning of what He is to endure. Oh! what an additional suffering was this for His loving Heart, to see His Mother agonizing with sorrow! The executioners observe the Mother of their Victim, but it would be too much mercy in them to allow her to speak to Him; she may follow, if she please, with the crowd; it is more than she could have expected, to be allowed this meeting, which we venerate as the fourth station of the way of the cross.

But from this to the last there is a long distance, for there is a law that all criminals are to be executed outside the city walls. The Jews are afraid of Jesus’ expiring before reaching the place of sacrifice. Just at this time, they behold a man coming from the country, by name Simon of Cyrene; they order him to help Jesus to carry His cross. It is out of a motive of cruelty to our Lord, but it gives Simon the honour of sharing with Him the fatigue of bearing the instrument of the world’s salvation. The spot where this happens is the fifth station.

A little farther on, an incident occurs which strikes the executioners themselves with astonishment. A woman makes her way through the crowd, and setting the soldiers at defiance, comes close up to Jesus. She holds her veil in her hands, and with it respectfully wipes the face of our Lord, for it is covered with blood, sweat, and spittle. She loves Jesus, and cares not what may happen to her, so she can offer Him this slight comfort. Her love receives its reward: she finds her veil miraculously impressed with the likeness of Jesus’ Face. This courageous act of Veronica marks the sixth station of the way of the cross.

Jesus grows weaker at each step: He falls a second time: it is the seventh station. Again do the soldiers violently raise Him up, and push Him along the road. It is easy to follow in His footsteps, for a streak of Blood shows where He has passed. A group of women is following close behind the soldiers; they heed not the insults heaped upon them; their compassion makes them brave. But the last brutal treatment shown to Jesus is more than they can bear in silence; they utter a cry of pitiful lamentation. Our Saviour is pleased with these women, who, in spite of the weakness of their sex, are showing more courage than all the men of Jerusalem put together. He affectionately turns towards them, and tells them what a terrible chastisement is to follow the crime they are now witnessing. The chief priests and scribes recognize the dignity of the Prophet that had so often spoken to them: they listen with indignation; and, at this the eighth station of the great way, they hear these words: ‘Daughters of Jerusalem! weep not over Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us! And to the hills: Cover us!’[17]

At last, they reach the foot of the hill. Calvary is steep; but it is the place of Jesus’ Sacrifice. He begins the ascent, but falls a third time: the hallowed spot is counted as the ninth station. A third time the soldiers force Jesus to rise and continue His painful journey to the summit of the hill, which is to serve as the altar for the holocaust that is to surpass all others in holiness and power. The executioners seize the cross and lay it upon the ground, preparatory to nailing the divine Victim to it. According to a custom practised both by the Romans and the Jews, a cup containing wine and myrrh is offered to Jesus. This drink, which had the bitterness of gall, was given as a narcotic, in order to deaden, in some degree, the feeling of the criminal, and lessen his pain. Jesus raises to His lips the cup, which is proffered Him rather from custom than from any idea of kindness; but He drinks not its contents, for He wishes to feel the full intensity of the suffering He accepts for our sake. Then the executioners, having violently stripped Him of His garments, which had fastened to His wounds, lead Him to the cross. The place where He was thus stripped of His garments, and where the cup of bitter drink was presented to Him, is venerated as the tenth station of the way of the cross. The first nine, from Pilate’s hall to the foot of Calvary, are still to be seen in the streets of Jerusalem; but the tenth and the remaining four are in the interior of the church of Holy Sepulchre, whose spacious walls enclose the spot where the last mysteries of the Passion were accomplished.

But we must here interrupt our history: we have already anticipated the hours of this great Friday, and we shall have to return, later on, to the hill of Calvary. It is time to assist at the service of our holy mother the Church, in which she celebrates the Death of her divine Spouse. We must not wait for the usual summons of the bells; they are silent; we must listen to the call of our faith and devotion. Let us, then, repair to the house of God.

 

THE MORNING SERVICE

 

The service of this morning consists of four parts which we now proceed to explain. First of all, we have the lessons; next, the prayers; thirdly, the veneration of the cross; and lastly, the Mass of the Presanctified. These solemn and unusual rites announoe to the faithful the sacredness of this day, as also the suspension of the holy Sacrifice, for which they are substituted. The altar is stripped; the cross is covered with a black veil; the candles are of yellow wax; everything in the sanctuary bespeaks mournfulness. As soon as the choir have recited None, the celebrant and sacred ministers approach the altar; their black vestments denote the grief of holy Church. On reaching the foot of the altar, they prostrate, and pray in silence, while the acolytes cover the altar with a single cloth, instead of the three which are always required when Mass is celebrated. The celebrant and ministers then rise, and the lessons are begun.

 

THE LESSONS

 

The first portion of this morning’s function consists of two prophetic passages from the old Testament, and of the Passion according to St. John. The passage from the prophet Osee tells us of the merciful designs of God in favour of His new people, the Gentiles, who were dead, and who, nevertheless, were to rise again in three days with Christ, whom they do not yet so much as know. Ephraim and Juda are to be treated otherwise: their material sacrifices have not been acceptable to a God, who loves mercy above every other gift, and rejects the offerings of those whose hearts are filled with bitterness.

Lesson
(Osee, Chap, vi.)

Hæc dicit Dominus: In tribulatione sua mane coneurgent ad me. Venite et revertamur ad Dominum: quia ipse cœpit et sanabit nos: percutiet, et curabit nos. Vivificabit nos post duos dies: in die tertia suscitabit nos, et vivemus in conspectu ejus. Sciemus sequemurque, ut cognoscamus Dominum. Quasi diluculum præparatus est egressus ejus; et veniet quasi imber nobis temporaneus et serotinus terræ. Quid faciam tibi Ephraïm? Quid faciam tibi Juda? Misericordia vestra quasi nubes matutina: et quasi ros mane pertransiens. Propter hoc dolavi in prophetis, occidi eos in verbis oris mei: et judicia tua quasi lux egredientur. Quia misericordiam volui, et non sacrificium: et scientiam Dei, plus quam holocausta.
Thus saith the Lord: In their affliction they will rise early to me. Come, and let us return to the Lord: For he hath taken us, and he will heal us: he will strike, and he will cure us. He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. We shall know, and we shall follow on, that we may know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning light, and he will come to us as the early and the latter rain to the earth. What shall I do to thee, O Ephraim? what shall I do to thee, O Juda? Your mercy is as a morning cloud, and as the dew that goeth away in the morning. For this reason have I hewed them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of my mouth; and thy judgments shall go forth as the light. For I desired mercy and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than holocausts.

The Tract is taken from the canticle of the prophet Habacuc, which we have already sung at Lauds. It foretells the second coming of Christ, when He shall come in glory and majesty to judge them that have crucified Him.

Tract

Domine, audivi auditum tuum, et timui: consideravi opera tua, et expavi.

℣. In medio duorum animalium innotesceris: dum appropinquaverint anni, cognosceris: dum advenerit tempus, ostenderis.
℣. In eo, dum conturbate fuerit anima mea: in ira misericordiæ memor eris.
℣. Deus a Libano veniet, et sanctus de monte umbroso et condenso.
℣. Operuit cœlos majestas ejus: et laudis ejus plena est terra.
Lord, I have heard thy words, and was afraid: I considered thy works, and trembled.

℣. Thou wilt appear between two animals: when the years draw near, thou wilt be known; when the time shall come thou wilt be shown.
℣. When my soul shall be in trouble, even in thy wrath thou wilt remember thy mercy.
℣. God will come from Libanus, and the Holy One from the dark mountain.
℣. His majesty hath clouded the heavens; and the earth is full of his praise.

The Church sums up, in the following Collect, the prayers of her children She reminds our heavenly Father of His justice towards Judas and His mercy towards the good thief, and begs that every remnant of the old man may be removed from us, and we may rise again with our Lord Jesus Christ.

The deacon says:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Collect

Deus, a quo et Judas reatus sui pœnam, et confessionis suæ latro præmium sumpsit: concede nobis tuæ propitiationis effectum: ut sicut in paesione sua Jesus Christus Dominus noster diversa utrisque intulit stipendia meritorum; ita nobis, ablato vetustatis errore, resurrectionis suæ gratiam largiatur. Qui tecum.
O God, from whom both Judas received the punishment of his sin, and the thief the reward of his confession: grant us the effects of thy mercy; that as our Lord Jesus Christ, at the time of his Passion, bestowed on both different rewards according to their merits: so having destroyed the old man within us, he may give us grace to rise again with him. Who liveth, &c.

The second lesson now follows. It is taken from the Book of Exodus, and desoribes to us the ancient rite of the paschal lamb, which was the figure of the reality that is given us to-day. It is to be a lamb without spot or blemish. Its blood has the power of preserving from death those whose dwellings are sprinkled with it. It is not only to be immolated; it is to be eaten by them that have been saved by it. It is to be the food of the wayfarer; and they who partake of it must stand while they eat, like unto men who have no time to lose during this passing life. Its immolation is the signal of the Pasch; the immolation of our Emmanuel, the Lamb of God, is the signal of our Pasch.

Lesson
(Exod. Chap, xii)

In diebus illis: Dixit Dominus ad Moysen et Aaron in terra Ægypti: Mensis iste vobis principium men sium: primus erit in mensibus anni. Loquimini ad universum cœtum tiliorum Israël, et dicite eis: Decima die mensis hujus tollat unusquisque agnum per familias et domos suas. Sin autem minor est numerus, ut sufficere possit ad vescendum agnum, assumet vicinum suum, qui junctus est domui suæ: juxta numerum animarum, quæ sufficere possunt ad esum agni. Erit autem agnus absque macula, masculus, anniculus: juxta quem rituin toiletis et hædum. Et servabitis eum usque ad quartam decimam diem mensis hujus. Immolabitque eum universa multitudo filiorum Israel ad vesperam. Et sument de sanguine ejus: ac ponent super utrumque postem, et in superliminaribus domorum, in quibus comedent illum. Et edent carnes nocte illa assas igni, et azymos panes, cum lactucis agrestibus. Non comedetis ex eo crudum quid, nec coctum aqua: sed tantum assum igni. Caput cum pedibus ejus et intestinis vorabitis: nec remanebit quidquam ex eo usque mane. Si quid residuum fuerit, igne comburetis. Sic autem comedetis illum. Renes vestros accingetis: et calcea menta habebitis in pedibus, tenentes baculos in manibus: et comedetis festinanter. Est enim Phase (id est transitus) Domini.
In those days: The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall be to you the beginning of months: it shall be the first in the months of the year. Speak ye to the whole assembly of the children of Israel, and say to them: On the tenth day of this month, let every man take a lamb, by their families and houses. But if the number be less than may suffice to eat the lamb, he shall take unto him his neighbour that joineth to his house, according to the number of souls which may be enough to eat the lamb. And it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male of one year; according to which rite also you shall take a kid. And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month: and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood thereof, and put it upon both the sideposts, and on the upper door-posts of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh that night roasted at the fire, and unleavened bread, with wild lettuce. You shall not eat thereof anything raw, nor boiled in water, but only roasted at the fire: you shall eat the head with the feet and entrails thereof. Neither shall there remain anything of it until morning. If there be anything left you shall burn it with fire. And thus you shall eat it: you shall gird your reins, and you shall have shoes on your feet, holding staves in your hands, and you shall eat in haste: for it is the Phase (that is, the passage) of the Lord.

This magnificent prophecy is followed by a Tract taken from Psalm cxxxix, in which the Church represents our Redeemer (who has been betrayed into the hands of His enemies) praying to His eternal Father.

Tract

Eripe me, Domine, ab homine malo: a viro iniquo libera me.

℣. Qui cogitaverunt malitias in corde: tota die constituebant prælia.
℣. Acuerunt linguas suas sicut serpentis: venenum aspidum sub labiis eorum.
℣. Custodi me, Domine, de manu peccatoris: et ab hominibus iniquis libera me.
℣. Qui cogitaverunt supplantare gressus meos: abeconderunt superbi laqueum mihi.
℣. Et funes extenderunt in laqueum pedibus meis: juxta iter scandalum posuerunt mihi.
℣. Dixi Domino: Deus meus es tu: exaudi, Domine, vocem orationis meæ.
℣. Domine, Domine, virtus salutis meæ: obumbra caput meum in die belli.
℣. Ne tradas me, Domine, a desiderio meo peccatori: cogitaverunt adversue me, ne derelinquas me, ne unquam exaltentur.
℣. Caput circuitus eorum: labor labiorum ipsorum operiet eos.
℣. Verumtamen justi confite buntur nomini tuo: et habitabunt recti cum vultu tuo.
Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: rescue me from the unjust man.

℣. Who have devised iniquities in their hearts: all the day long they designed battles.
℣. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent: the venom of asps is under their lips.
℣. Keep me, O Lord, from the hand of the wicked: and from unjust men deliver me.
℣. Who have proposed to supplant my steps: the proud have hid a net for me.
℣. And they have stretched out cords for a snare: they have laid for me a stumblingblock by the way side.
℣. I said to the Lord: Thou art my God: hear, O Lord, the voice of my supplication.
℣. O Lord, Lord, the might of my salvation: cover thou my head in the day of battle.
℣. Give me not up, O Lord, from my desire to the wicked: they have plotted against me: do not thou forsake me, lest they should triumph.
℣. The head of their compassing me about: the labour of their lips shall overwhelm them.
℣. But as for the just, they shall give glory to thy name; and the upright shall dwell with thy countenance.

The prophets have prepared us for the fulfilment of their types. Holy Church is now going to relate to us the history of our Saviour’s Passion. It is St. John, the fourth of the evangelists, and an eyewitness of what took place on Calvary, who is about to describe to us the last moments of Jesus’ mortal life. Let us be all attention, and beg our Lord to give us something of that devotion, which filled the soul of His beloved disciple as he stood at the foot of the cross.

 

THE PASSION

 

Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem.
Cap. xviii. et xix.

In illo tempore: Egressus est Jesus cum discipulis suis, trans torrentem Cedron, ubi erat hortus, in quem introivit ipse, et discipuli ejus. Sciebat autem et Judas, qui tradebat eum, locum: quia frequenter Jesus convenerat illuc cum discipulis suis. Judas ergo cum accepisset cohortem, et a pontificibus et pharisæis ministros: venit illuc cum laternis, et facibus et armis. Jesus itaque sciens omnia, quæ ventura erant super eum, processit, et dixit eis: Quem quæritis? Responderunt ei: Jesum Nazarenum. Dicit eis Jesus: Ego sum. Stabat autem et Judas, qui tradebat eum, cum ipsis. Ut ergo dixit eis: Ego sum, abierunt retrorsum et ceciderunt in terram. Iterum ergo interrogavit eos: Quem quæritis? Illi autem dixerunt: Jesum Nazarenum. Respondit Jesus: Dixi vobis, quia ego sum. Si ergo me quæritis, sinite hos abire. Ut impleretur sermo, quem dixit: Quia quos dedisti mihi, non perdidi ex eis quemquam. Simon ergo Petrus habens gladium, eduxit eum et percussit pontificis servum, et abscidit auriculam ejus dexteram. Erat autem nomen servo Malchus. Dixit ergo Jesus Petro: Mitte gladium tuum in vaginam. Calicem quem dedit mihi Pater, non bibam illum?

Cohors ergo et tribunus et ministri Judæorum comprehenderunt Jesum, et ligaverunt eum, et adduxerunt eum ad Annam primum: erat enim socer Caiphæ, qui erat pontifex anni illius. Erat autem Caiphas, qui consilium dederat Judæis: Quia expedit unum hominem mori pro populo. Sequebatur autem Jesum Simon Petrus, et alius discipulus. Discipulus autem ille erat notus pontifici: et introivit cum Jesu in atrium pontificis. Petrus autem stabat ad ostium foris. Exivit ergo discipulus alius, qui erat notus pontifici: et dixit ostiariæ, et introduxit Petrum. Dicit ergo Petro ancilla ostiaria: Numquid et tu ex discipulis es hominis istius? Dicit ille: Non sum. Stabant autem servi et ministri ad prunas, quia frigus erat: et calefaciebant se. Erat autem cum eis et Petrus stans, et calefaciens se.

Pontifex ergo interrogavit Jesum de discipulis suis, et de doctrina ejus. Respondit ei Jesus: Ego palam locutus sum mundo. Ego semper docui in synagoga, et in templo, quo omnes Judæi conveniunt: et in occulto locutus sum nihil. Quid me interrogas? Interroga eos qui audierunt quid locutus sira ipsis: ecce hi sciunt quæ dixerim ego. Hæc autem cum dixisset, unus assistens ministrorum dedit alapam Jesu dicens: Sic respondes pontifici? Respondit ei Jesus: Si male locutus sum, testimonium perhibe de malo: si autem bene, quid me cædis? Et misit eum Annas ligatum ad Caipham pontificem. Erat autem Simon Petrus stans, et calefaciens se. Dixerunt ergo ei: Numquid et tu ex discipulis ejus es? Negavit ille et dixit: Non sum. Dicit ei unus ex servis pontificis, cognatus ejus cujus abscidit Petrus auriculam: Nonne ego te vidi in horto cum illo? Iterum ergo negavit Petrus: et statim gallus cantavit.

Adducunt ergo Jesum a Caipha in prætorium. Erat autem mane. Et ipsi non introierunt in prætorium, ut non contaminarentur: sed ut manducarent Pascha. Exivit ergo Pilatus ad eos foras, et dixit: Quam accusationem affertis adversus hominem hunc? Responderunt, et dixerunt ei: Si non esset hic malefactor, non tibi tradidissemus eum. Dixit ergo eis Pilatus: Accipite eum vos; et secundum legem vestram judicate eum. Dixerunt ergo ei Judæi: Nobis non licet interficere quemquam. Ut sermo Jesu impleretur, quem dixit, significans qua morte esset moriturus. Introivit ergo iterum in prætorium Pilatus; et vocavit Jesum, et dixit ei: Tu es Rex Judæorum? Respondit Jesus: A temetipso hoc dicis, an alii dixerunt tibi de me? Respondit Pilatus: Numquid ego Judæus sum? Gens tua, et pontifices tradiderunt te mihi. Quid fecisti? Respondit Jesus: Regnum meum non est de hoc mundo. Si ex hoc mundo esset regnum meum, ministri mei utique decertarent, ut non traderer Judæis. Nunc autem regnum meum non est hinc. Dixit itaque ei Pilatus: Ergo Rex es tu? Respondit Jesus: Tu dicis, quia Rex sum ego. Ego in hoc natus sum, et ad hoc veni in mundum: ut testimonium perhibeam veritati. Omnis qui est ex veritate, audit vocem meam. Dicit ei Pilatus: Quid est veritas? Et cum hoc dixisset, iterum exivit ad Judæos, et dicit eis: Ego nullam in eo invenio causara. Eet autem consuetudo vobis, ut unum dimittam vobis in Pascha. Vultis ergo dimittam vobis Regem Judæorum? Clamaverunt ergo rursum omnes dicentes: Non hunc sed Barabbam. Erat autem Barabbas latro.

Tunc ergo apprehendit Pilatus Jesum, et flagellavit. Et milites plectentes coronam de spinis, imposuerunt capiti ejus, et veste purpurea circumdederunt eum. Et veniebant ad eum, et dicebant: Ave, Rex Judæorum. Et dabant ei alapas. Exivit ergo iterum Pilatus foras, et dicit eis: Ecce adduco vobis eum foras, ut cognoscatis quia nullam invenio in eo causam. Exivit ergo Jesus portans coronam spineam et purpureum vestimentum. Et dicit eis: Ecce Homo. Cum ergo vidissent eum pontifices et ministri, clamabant, dicentes: Crucifige, crucifige eum, Dicit eis Pilatus: Accipite eum vos, et crucifigite: ego enim non invenio in eo causam. Responderunt ei Judæi: Nos legem habemus, et secundum legem debet mori: quia Filium Dei se fecit. Cum ergo audisset Pilatus hunc sermonem magis timuit. Et ingressus est prætorium iterum: et dixit ad Jesum: Unde es tu? Jesus autem responsum non dedit ei. Dicit ergo ei Pilatus: Mihi non loqueris? Nescis, quia potestatem habeo crucifigere te, et potestatem habeo dimittere te? Respondit Jesus: Non haberes potestatem adversum me ullam, nisi tibi datum esset desuper. Propterea qui me tradidit tibi, majus peccatum habet. Et exinde quærebat Pilatus dimittere eum. Judæi autem clamabant, dicentes: Si hunc dimittis, non es amicus Cæsaris. Omnis enim qui se regem facit, contradicit Cæsari. Pilatus autem cum audisset hos sermones, adduxit foras Jesum, et sedit pro tribunali in loco qui dicitur Lithostrotos, hebraïce autem Gabbatha.

Erat autem parasceve Paschæ, hora quasi sexta. Et dicit Judæis: Ecce rex vester. Illi autem clamabant: Tolle, tolle, crucifige eum. Dicit eis Pilatus: Regem vestrum crucifigam? Responderunt pontifices: Non habemus regem, nisi Cæsarem. Tunc ergo tradidit eis illum, ut crucifigeretur. Susceperunt autem Jesum: et eduxerunt. Et bajulans sibi crucem, exixit in eum qui dicitur Calvariæ locum, hebraïce autem Golgotha: ubi crucifixerunt eum, et cum eo alios duos hinc et hinc, medium autem Jesum. Scripsit autem et titulum Pilatus: et posuit super crucem. Erat autem scriptum: Jesus Nazarenus, Rex Judæorum. Hune ergo titulum multi Judæorum legerunt: quia prope civitatem erat locus, ubi crucifixus est Jesus. Et erat scriptum hebraïce, græce, et latine. Dicebant ergo Pilato pontifices Judæorum: Noli scribere: Rex Judæorum: sed quia ipse dixit, Rex sum Judæorum. Respondit Pilatus: Quod scripsi, scripsi. Milites ergo cum crucifixissent eum, acceperunt vestimenta ejus (et fecerunt quatuor partes, unicuique militi partem) et tunicam. Erat autem tunica inconsutilis, desuper contexta per totum. Dixerunt ergo ad invicem: Non scindamus eam, sed sortiamur de illa cujus sit. Ut Scriptura impleretur, dicens: Partiti sunt vestimenta mea sibi, et in vestem meam miserunt sortem. Et milites quidem hæc fecerunt.Stabant autem juxta crucem Jesu mater ejus, et soror matris ejus, Maria Cleophæ, et Maria Magdalene. Cum vidisset ergo Jesus matrem et discipulum stantem, quem diligebat, dicit matri suæ: Malier, ecco filius tuus. Deinde dicit, disci palo: Ecce mater tua. Et ex illa hora accepit eam discipulus in sua. Postea sciens Jesus, quia omnia consummata sunt: ut consummaretur Scriptura, dixit: Sitio. Vas ergo erat positum aceto plenum. Illi autem spongiam plenam aceto, hyssopo circumponentes. obtulerunt ori ejus. Cum ergo accepisset Jesus acetum, dixit: Consummatum est. Et inclinato capite, tradidit spiritum.
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to John.
Ch. xviii. and xix.

At that time: Jesus went with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where there was a garden, into which he entered with his disciples. And Judas who betrayed him, knew the place: because Jesus had often resorted thither together with his disciples. Judas therefore having received a band of soldiers, and servants from the chief priests and the pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said to them: Whom seek ye? They answered him: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith to them: I am he. And Judas also, who betrayed him, stood with them. As soon therefore as he had said to them: I am he: they went backward and fell to the ground. Again therefore he asked them: Whom seek ye? And they said: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered: I have told you, that I am he. If therefore you seek me, let these go their way. That the word might be fulfilled which he said: Of them whom thou hast given me, I have not lost any one. Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it: and struck a servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And the name of the servant was Malchus. Jesus therefore said to Peter: Put up thy sword into the scabbard. The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

Then the band, and the tribune, and the servants of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him; and they led him away to Annas first, for he was fatherin-law to Caiphas, who was the high priest of that year. Now Caiphas was he who had given the counsel to the Jews: That it was expedient that one man should die for the people. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. And that disciple was known to the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the court of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. The other disciple therefore, who was known to the high priest, went out, and spoke to the portress, and brought in Peter. The maid therefore that was portress, saith to Peter: Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith: I am not. Now the servants and ministers stood at a fire of coals, because it was cold, and warmed themselves. And with them was Peter also standing and warming himself.

The high priest therefore asked Jesus of his disciples and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him: I have spoken openly to the world: I have always taught in the synagogue, and in the temple whither all the Jews resort; and in secret I have spoken nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them who have heard what I have spoken unto them: behold they know what things I have said. And when he had said these things, one of the servants standing by, gave Jesus a blow, saying: Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him: If I have spoken evil, give testimony of the evil: but if well, why strikest thou me? And Annas sent him bound to Caiphas the high priest. And Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore to him: Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said: I am not. One of the servants of the high priest (a kinsman to him whose ear Peter cut off) saith to him: Did not I see thee in the garden with him? Again therefore Peter denied: and immediately the cock crew.

Then they led Jesus from Caiphas to the governor’s hall. And it was morning: and they went not into the hall, that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the Pasch. Pilate therefore went out to them and said: What accusation bring you against this man? They answered and said to him: If he were not a malefactor we would not have delivered him up to thee. Pilate therefore said to them: Take him you, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said to him: It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. That the word of Jesus might be fulfilled which he said, signifying what death he should die. Pilate therefore went into the hall again, and called Jesus, and said to him: Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus answered: Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others told it thee of me? Pilate answered: Am I a Jew? Thy own nation, and the chief priests have delivered thee up to me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence. Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this I came into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice. Pilate saith to him: What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them: I find no cause in him. But you have a custom that I should release one unto you at the Pasch: will you therefore that I release unto you the king of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying: Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

Then therefore Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. And the soldiers platting a crown of thorns, put it upon his head: and they put on him a purple garment. And they came to him and said: Hail, King of the Jews. And they gave him blows. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith to them: Behold I bring him forth unto you, that you may know that I find no cause in him. Jesus therefore came forth bearing the crowm of thorns, and the purple garment. And he saith to them: Behold the man. When the chief priests therefore and the servants had seen him, they cried out, saying: Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Take him you, and crucify him: for I find no cause in him. The Jews answered him: We have a law; and according to the law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore had heard this saying, he feared the more. And ho entered into the hall again; and he said to Jesus; Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore saith to him: Speakest thou not to me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and I have power to release thee? Jesus answered: Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore be that hath delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin. And from henceforth Pilate sought to release him. But the Jews cried out, saying: If thou release this man, thou art not Cæsar’s friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar. Now when Pilate had heard these words, he brought Jesus forth: and sat down in the judgment-seat in the place that is called Lithostrotos; and in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

And it was the Parasceve of the Pasch, about the sixth hour; and he saith to the Jews: Behold your king. But they cried out: Away with him, away with him, crucify bim. Pilate saith to them: Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered: We have no king but Cæsar. Then therefore he delivered him to them for to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him forth. And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha, where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title also: and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was, Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews. This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am the King of the Jews. Pilate answered: What I have written. I have written. The soldiers therefore when they bad crucified him took his garments (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said then one to another: Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it whose it shall be; that the Scripture might be fulfilled saying: ‘They have parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lots.’ And the soldiers indeed did these things.Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother, and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour the disciple took her to his own. Afterwards Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they putting a sponge full of vinegar about hyssop, put it to his mouth. Jesus, therefore, when he had taken the vinegar said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost.

Here a pause is made, as on Palm Sunday.

All kneel down, and if such be the custom of the place, they prostrate and kiss the ground.

Judæi ergo (quoniam Parasceve erat), ut non remanerent in cruce corpora sabbato (erat enim magnus dies ille sabbati), rogaverunt Pilatum, ut frangerentur eorum crura, et tollerentur. Venerunt ergo milites: et primi quidem fregerunt crura, et alterius qui crucifixus est cum eo. Ad Jesum autem cum venissent, ut viderunt eum jam mortuum, non fregerunt ejus crura; sed unus militum lancea latus ejus aperuit, et continuo exivit sanguis et aqua. Et qui vidit, testimonium perhibuit: et verum est testimonium ejus. Et ille scit, quia vera dicit, ut et vos credatis. Facta sunt enim hæc, ut Scriptura impleretur: Os non comminuetis ex eo. Et iterum alia Scriptura dicit: Videbunt in quem transfixerunt.
Then the Jews (because it was the parasceve), that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the sabbath-day (for that was a great sabbathday), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came; and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it, bath given testimony; and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true: that you also may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘You shall not break a bone of him.’ And again another Scripture saith: ‘They shall look on him whom they pierced.’

Here the deacon kneels at the foot of the altar, and prays, in silence, that the blessing of God may descend upon him; but he does not ask the blessing, as usual, from the celebrant, either upon the incense or upon himself. Neither do the acolytes hold their torches while he sings the Gospel. The subdeacon does not offer the missal to the priest, at the end of the Gospel. The omission of all these ceremonies is expressive of the grief which fills the soul of the bride of Christ, the Church.

Post hæc autern rogavit Pilatum Joseph ab Arimathæa (eo quod esset discipulus Jesu, occultus autem propter meturn Judæorum) ut tolleret corpus Jesu. Et permisit Pilatus. Venit ergo et tulit corpus Jesu. Venit autem et Nicodemus, qui venerat ad Jesum nocte primum, ferens mixturam myrrhæ et aloes, quasi libras centum. Acceperunt ergo corpus Jesu, et ligaverunt illud linteis cum aromatibus, sicut mosest Judæis sepelire. Erat autem in loco, ubi crucifixus est, hortus; et in horto monumentum novum, in quo nondum quisquam positus erat. Ibi ergo propter Parasceven Judæorum, quia juxta erat monumentum, posuerunt Jesum.
After these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore and took away the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus also came, he who at the first came to Jesus by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. They took therefore the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now there was in the place where he was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the Parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

THE PRAYERS

Having thus described to us the Passion and Death of her divine Spouse, the Church would follow the example set her by this the Mediator of the world. St. Paul tells us that Jesus, when dying on the cross, offered up to His eternal Father, for all mankind, prayers and supplications, with a strong cry and tears.[18] Therefore it is that, from the earliest ages, the Church has presented to the divine Majesty, upon this day, a solemn formula of prayers, in which she intercedes for the necessities of the whole world. How truly is she the mother of men, and the affectionate bride of Jesus! All, even the Jews, are included in this her intercession, which she makes, under the shadow of the cross, to the Father of all ages.

Each of these prayers is prefaced by a few words, which show its object. The deacon then bids the faithful kneel down; and the subdeacon tells them to rise, and unite in the prayer made by the priest.

Oremus, dilectissimi nobis, pro Ecclesia sancta Dei: ut eam Deus et Dominus noster, pacificare, adunare, et custodire dignetur toto orbe terrarum: subjiciens ei principatus, et potestates: detque nobis quietam et tranquillam vitam degentibus, glorificare Deum Patrem omnipotentem.

Oremus.

The deacon: Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui gloriam tuam omnibus in Christo gentibus revelasti: custodi opera misericordiæ tuæ: ut Ecclesia tua toto orbe diffusa, stabili fide in confessione tui nominis perseveret. Per eumdem, &c.
℟. Amen.

Oremus et pro beatissimo Papa nostro N. ut Deus et Dominus noster, qui elegit eum in ordine episcopatus, salvum atque incolumem custodiat Ecclesiæ suae sanctæ, ad regendum populum sanctum Dei.

Oremus.

The deacon:
 Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, cujus judicio universa fundantur: respice propitius ad preces nostras, et electum nobis Antistitem tua pietate conserva: ut Christiana plebs, quæ te gubernatur auctore, sub tanto Pontifice, credulitatis suæ meritis augeatur. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus et pro omnibus episcopis, presbyteris, diaconibus, subdiaconibus, acolythis, exorcistis, lectonbus, ostiariis, confessoribus, virginibus, viduis: et pro omni populo sancto Dei.

Oremus
.

The deacon
: Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, cujus Spiritu totum corpus Ecclesiæ sanctificatur et regitur: exaudi nos pro universis Ordinibus supplicantes: ut gratiæ tuæ munere, ab omnibus tibi gradibus fideliter serviatur. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.
Let us pray, most dearly beloved brethren, for the holy Church of God, that the Lord God would be pleased to grant her peace, maintain her in union, and preserve her all over the earth. That he would likewise bring into her bosom the princes and potentates of the whole world, and grant us peace and tranquillity in this life, so that we may glorify God the Father almighty.

Let us Pray.

The deacon:
 Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, who, by Christ, hast revealed thy glory to all nations; preserve the works of thine own mercy, that thy Church, which is spread over the whole world, may persevere with a constant faith in the confession of thy name. Through the same, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us pray also for our most holy Father Pope N., that our Lord God, who hath made choice of him in the order of the episcopacy, may preserve him in health and safety for the good of his holy Church, to govern the holy people of God.

Let us Pray.

The deacon:
 Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, by whose appointment all things are established and maintained; mercifully regard our prayers, and by thy goodness preserve the Prelate chosen to govern us; that the Christian people who are governed by thy authority, may increase the merits of their faith under so great a Pontiff. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us also pray for all bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, acolytes, exorcists, lectors, doorkeepers, confessors, virgins, widows, and for all the holy people of God.

Let us Pray.

The deacon:
 Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.
O almighty and eternal God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is sanctified and governed; hear our prayers for all Orders thereof; that by the operation of thy grace, thou mayst be served by every rank and condition. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

 


The Church of Rome, in the following prayer, had in view the emperor of Germany, who was formerly the head of the germanic confederation, and, in the middle ages, was entrusted by the Church with the charge of propagating the faith among the northern nations. This prayer is now omitted, excepting in those countries which are subject to Austria.

Oremus et pro Christianissimo imperatore nostro N. ut Deus et Dominus noster subditas illi faciat omnes barbaras nationes, ad nostram perpetuam pacem.

Oremus.

The deacon: Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, in cujus manu sunt omnium potestates, et omnium jura regnorum: respice ad Romanum benignus imperium; ut gentes, quæ in sua feritate confidunt, potentiæ tuæ dextera comprimantur. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus et pro catechumenis nostris: ut Deus et Dominus noster adaperiat aures præcordiorum ipsorum, januamque misericordiæ: ut per lavacrum regenerationis, accepta remissione omnium peccatorum, et ipsi inveniantur in Christo Jesu Domino nostro.

Oremus.

The deacon:
 Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam nova semper prole fœcundas: auge fidem et intellectum catechumenis nostris: ut renati fonte baptismatis, adoptionis tuæ filiis aggregentur. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus, dilectissimi nobis, Deum Patrem omnipotentem, ut cunctis mundum purget erroribus: morbos auferat: famem depellat: aperiat carceres: vincula dissol vat: peregrinantibus reditum. infirmantibus sanitatem, navigantibus portum salutis indulgeat.

Oremus.

The deacon: Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, mœstorum consolatio, laborantium fortitudo, perveniant ad te preces de quacumque tribulatione clamantium: ut omnes sibi in necessitatibue suis misericordiam tuam gaudeant adfuisse. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus et pro hæreticis et schismaticis: ut Deus et Dominus noster eruat eos ab erroribus universis: et ad sanctam matrem Ecclesiam Catholicam atque apostolicam revocare dignetur.

Oremus.

The deacon:
 Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui salvas omnes, et neminem vis perire: respice ad animas diabolica fraude deceptas: ut omni hæretica pravitate deposita, errantium corda resipiscant, ut ad veritatis tuæ redeant unitatem. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus et pro perfidis Judæis: ut Deus et Dominus noster auferat velamen de cordibus eorum, ut et ipsi agnoscant Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum.
Let us pray also for the most Christian emperor Ν., that the Lord God may reduce to his obedience all barbarous nations for our perpetual peace.

Let us Pray.

The deacon:
 Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, in whose hands are the power and right of all kingdoms, graciously look down on the Roman empire: that those nations who confide in their own haughtiness and strength, may be reduced by the power of thy right hand.
℟. Amen.

Let us pray also for our catechumens, that our Lord God may open for them the ears of their hearts, and the gates of mercy; that having received the remission of sin by the laver of regeneration, they may also belong to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us Pray.

The deacon:
 Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, who continually makest the Church fruitful in new children, increase the faith and understanding of our catechumens, that, being born again at the font of Baptism, they may be joined to thy adopted children. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us pray, most dearly beloved brethren, to God the Father almighty, that he would purge the world of all errors, cure diseases, drive away famine, open prisons, break chains, grant a safe return to travellers, health to the sick, and a secure harbour to such as are at sea.

Let us Pray.

The deacon: Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, the comfort of the afflicted, and the strength of those that labour; let the prayers of all such as call upon thee in tribulation, come to thee; that all, with joy, may find the effects of thy mercy in their necessities. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us pray also for all heretics and schismatics, that our Lord God would be pleased to deliver them from all their errors, and call them back to our holy, mother the Catholic and apostolic Church.

Let us Pray.

The deacon: Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, who savest all and wouldst have none to perish: look down on those souls that are seduced by the deceits of the devil; that the hearts of all those who err, laying aside all heretical malice, may repent and return to the unity of the truth. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us pray also for the perfidious Jews; that the Lord God would withdraw the veil from their hearts, that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son.

 

 


Here the deacon does not invite the faithful to kneel. The Church has no hesitation in offering up a prayer for the descendants of Jesus’ executioners; but in doing so she refrains from genuflecting, because this mark of adoration was turned by the Jews into an insult against our Lord during the Passion. She prays for His scoffers; but she shrinks from repeating the act wherewith they scoffed at Him.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui etiam Judaicam perfidiam a tua misericordia non repellis: exaudi preces nostras, quas pro illius populi obcæcatione deferimus: ut agnita veritatis tuæ luce, quæ Christus est, a suis tenebris eruantur. Per eumdem Dominum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus et pro paganis: ut Deus omnipotens auferat iniquitatem a cordibus eorum: ut relictis idolis suis, convertantur ad Deum vivum et verum, et unicum Filium ejus Jesum Christum, Deum et Dominum nostrum.

Oremus.

The deacon:
 Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterno Deus, qui non mortem peccatorum, sed vitam semper inquiris: suscipe propitius orationem nostram: et libera eos ab idolorum cultura: et aggrega Ecclesiæ tuæ sanctæ, ad laudem et gloriam nominis tui. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.
O almighty and eternal God, who deniest not thy mercy even to the perfidious Jews; hear our prayers which we pour forth for the blindness of that people; that by acknowledging the light of thy truth, which is the Christ, they may be brought out of their darkness. Through the same, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us pray also for the pagans, that almighty God would remove all iniquity from their hearts; that quitting their idols, they may be converted to the true and living God, and his only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let us Pray.

The deacon:
 Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, who seekest not the death of sinners, but that they should live; mercifully hear our prayers, and deliver them from their idolatry: and, to the praise and glory of thy name, admit them into thy holy Church. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

 

THE VENERATION OF THE CROSS

 

The prayers are ended. The charity and zeal of the Church have embraced the whole universe of men, invoking upon them the merciful effusion of that precious Blood, which is now flowing from the Wounds of her crucified Lord. She turns next to her faithful children. Filled with holy indignation at the humiliations heaped upon her Jesus, she invites us to a solemn act of reparation: it is to consist in venerating that cross which our divine Lord has borne to the summit of Calvary, and to which He is to be fastened with nails. The cross is a stumblingblock to the Jews, and foolishness to the Gentiles;[19] but to us Christians it is the trophy of Jesus’ victory, and the instrument of the world’s redemption. It is worthy of our deepest veneration, because of the honour conferred upon it by the Son of God: He consecrated it by His own Blood, He worked our salvation by its means. No time could be more appropriate than this for honouring it with the humble tribute of our veneration.

The holy ceremony of venerating the cross on Good Friday was first instituted in Jerusalem, in the fourth century. Owing to the pious zeal of the empress St. Helen, the true cross had then recently been discovered, to the immense joy of the whole Church. The faithful, as might be expected, were desirous of seeing this precious relic, and accordingly it was exposed every Good Friday. This brought a very great number of pilgrims to Jerusalem; and yet how few, comparatively, could hope to have the happiness of such a visit, or witness the magnificent ceremony! An imitation of what was done on this day at Jerusalem was a natural result of these pious desires. It was about the seventh century, that the practice of publicly venerating the cross on Good Friday was introduced into other churches. True, it was but an image of the true cross that these other churches could show to the people; but as the respect that is paid to the true cross refers to Christ Himself, the faithful could offer Him a like homage of adoration, even though not having present before their eyes the sacred wood which had been consecrated by the Blood of Jesus. Such was the origin of the imposing ceremony at which holy Church now invites us to assist.

The celebrant takes off the chasuble; which is the badge of the priesthood; it is in order that the reparation, which he is to be the first to offer to our outraged Jesus, may be made with all possible humility. He then stands on the step near the Epistle side of the altar, and turns his face towards the people. The deacon takes down the cross from the altar, and gives it to the celebrant, who then unveils the upper part as far as the arms. He raises it a little, and sings these words:

Ecce lignum crucis:
Behold the wood of the cross:

Then he continues, joined by the deacon and subdeacon:

in quo salus mundi pependit.
on which hung the salvation of the world.

The people then kneel down, and venerate the cross, while the choir sings these words:

Venite, adoremus.
Come, let us adore.

This first exposition, which is made at the side of the altar, and in a low tone of voice, represents the first preaching of the cross, that, namely, which the apostles made, when, for fear of the Jews, they dared not to speak of the great mystery except to the few faithful disciples of Jesus. For the same reason, the priest but slightly elevates the cross. The homage here paid to it is intended as a reparation for the insults and injuries offered to our Redeemer in the house of Caiphas.

The priest then comes to the front of the step, and is thus nearer to the people. He unveils the right arm of the cross, and holds up the holy sign of our redemption higher than the first time. He then sings. and on a higher note:

Ecce lignum crucis:
Behold the wood of the cross:

Then he continues, joined by the deacon and subdeacon:

in quo salus mundi pependit.
on which hung the salvation of the world.

The people then fall upon their knees, and continue in that posture, while the choir sings:

Venite, adoremus.
Come, let us adore.

This second elevation of the holy cross signifies the apostles’ extending their preaching of the mystery of our redemption to the Jews, after the descent of the Holy Ghost; by which preaching they made many thousand converts, and planted the Church in the very midst of the Synagogue. It is intended as a reparation to our Saviour, for the treatment He received in the court of Pilate.

The priest then advances to the middle of the altar, and, with his face still turned towards the people, he removes the veil entirely from the cross. He elevates it more than he did the two preceding times, and triumphantly sings on a still higher note:

Ecce lignum crucis:
Behold the wood of the cross:

The deacon and subdeacon here unite their voices with his:

in quo salus mundi pependit.
on which hung the salvation of the world.

The people fall down upon their knees, and the choir sings:

Venite, adoremus.
Come, let us adore.

This third and unreserved manifestation represents the mystery of the cross being preached to the whole earth, when the apostles, after being rejected by the majority of the Jewish people, turned towards the Gentiles, and preached Jesus crucified even far beyond the limits of the Roman empire. It is intended as a reparation to our Lord for the outrages offered to Him on Calvary.

There is also another teaching embodied in this ceremony of holy Church. By this gradual unveiling of the cross, she would express to us the contrast of the Jewish and the Christian view. The one finds nothing in Christ crucified but shame and ignominy: the other discovers in Him the power and the wisdom of God.[20] Honour, then, and veneration to His cross, now that the veil is removed by faith! Unveiled let it be upon our altar, for He that died upon it is soon to triumph by a glorious Resurrection! Yea, let every crucifix in our church be unveiled, and every altar beam once more with the vision of the glorious standard!

But the Church is not satisfied with showing her children the cross that has saved them; she would have them approach, and kiss it. The priest leads the way. He has already taken off his chasuble; he now takes off his shoes also, and then advances towards the place where he has put the crucifix. He makes three genuflections at intervals, and finally kisses the cross. The deacon and subdeacon follow him, then the clergy, and lastly the people.

The chants which are used during this ceremony are exceedingly fine. First of all, there are the Improperia, that is, the reproaches made by our Saviour to the Jews. Each of the first three stanzas of this plaintive hymn is followed by the Trisagion, or prayer to the thrice-holy God, who, as Man, suffers death for us. Oh! let us fervently proclaim Him to be the Holythe Immortal! This form of prayer was used at Constantinople, so far back as the fifth century. The Roman Church adopted it, retaining even the original Greek words, to which, however, she adds a Latin translation. The rest of this beautiful chant contains the comparison made by our Lord between the favours He has bestowed upon the Jewish people, and the injuries He has received from them in return.

 

THE ‘IMPROPERIA,’ OR ‘REPROACHES’

 

Popule meus, quid feci tibi, aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi. Quia eduxi te de terra Ægypti, parasti crucem Salvatori tuo.

Agios o Theos.
Sanctus Deus.
Agios ischyros.
Sanctus fortis.

Agios athanatos, eleison imas.
Sanctus immortalis, miserere nobis.

Quia eduxi te per desertum quadraginta annis: et manna cibavi te, et introduxi te in terram satis bonam, parasti crucem Salvatori tuo.
Agios o Theos, &c.

Quid ultra debui facere tibi, et non feci? Ego quidem plantavi te vineam meam speciosissimam: et tu facta es mihi nimis amara: aceto namque sitim meam potasti: et lancea perforasti latus Salvatori tuo.
Agios o Theos, &c.

Ego propter te flagellavi Ægyptum cum primogenitis suis: et tu me flagellatum tradidisti.

Popule meus, quid feci tibi, aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi.

Ego eduxi te de Ægypto, demerso Pharaone in mare Rubrum: et tu me tradidisti principibus sacerdotum.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego ante te aperui mare: et tu aperuisti lancea latus meum.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego ante te præivi in columna nubis: et tu me duxisti ad prætorium Pilati.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego te pavi manna per desertum: et tu me cæcidisti alapis et flagellis.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego te potavi aqua salutis de petra: et tu me potasti felle et aceto.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego propter te Chananæorum reges percussi: et tu percussisti arundine caput meum.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego dedi tibi sceptrum regale: et tu dedisti capiti meo spineam coronam.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego te exaltavi magna virtute: et tu me suspendisti in patibulo crucis.
Popule meus, &c.
My people, what have I done to thee? or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me. Because I brought thee out of the land of Egypt, thou hast prepared a cross for thy Saviour.

O Holy God!
O Holy God!
O Holy and Strong!
O Holy and Strong!

O Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.
O Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

Because I was thy guide through the desert for forty years, and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into an excellent land, thou hast prepared a cross for thy Saviour.
O Holy God, &c.

What more should I have done to thee, and have not done? I have planted thee for my most beautiful vineyard: and thou hast proved very bitter to me, for in my thirst thou gavest me vinegar to drink; and piercedst the side of thy Saviour with a spear.
O Holy God, &c.

For thy sake I scourged Egypt with her first-born; and thou hast delivered me up to be scourged.

My people, what have I done to thee? or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me,
I led thee out of Egypt, having drowned Pharaoh in the Red Sea; and thou hast delivered me up to the chief priests.
My people, &c.

I opened the sea before thee; and thou hast opened my side with a spear.
My people, &c.

I went before thee in a pillar of cloud; and thou hast brought me to the court of Pilate.
My people, &c.

I fed thee with manna in the desert; and thou hast beaten me with buffets and stripes.
My people, &c.

I gave thee wholesome water to drink out of the rock, and thou hast given me for my drink gall and vinegar.
My people, &c.

For thy sake I smote the kings of Chanaan; and thou hast smitten my head with a cane.
My people, &c.

I gave thee a royal sceptre, and thou hast given to my head a crown of thorns.
My people, &c.

By great might I raised thee on high; and thou hast hanged me on the gibbet of the cross.
My people, &c.

The Improperia are followed by this solemn antiphon, in which the two great mysteries are blended together: the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. This union eloquently expresses the triumph of our Redeemer.

Crucem tuam adoramus, Domine, et sanctam Resurrectionem tuam laudamus, et glorificamus: ecce enim propter lignum venit gaudium in universo mundo.

Ps. Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis: illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri.

Then is repeated: Crucem tuam, &c.
We adore thy cross, O Lord, and we praise and glorify thy holy Resurrection, for by the wood of the cross the whole earth is filled with joy·

Ps. May God have mercy on us and bless us; may his countenance shine upon us, and may he have mercy on us.

Then is repeated: We adore, &c.

If the adoration of the cross is not yet finished, the following hymn is sung. It was composed by Mamertus Claudianus, in the sixth century. One of the stanzas is repeated after each six verses, as the burden of the hymn.

Hymn

Crux fidelis, inter omnes
Arbor una nobilis:
Nulla silva talem profert,
Fronde, flore, germine.
Dulce lignum, dulces clavos,
Dulce pondus sustinet.

Pange lingua gloriosi
Lauream certaminis,
Et super crucis trophæo
Dic triumphum nobilem;
Qualiter Redemptor orbis
Immolatus vicerit.

Repeat:
 Crux fidelis.

De parentis protoplasti
Fraude factor condolens,
Quando pomi noxialis
In necem morsu ruit,
Ipse lignum tunc notavit,
Damna ligni ut solveret.

Repeat:
 Dulce lignum.

Hoc opus nostræ salutis
Ordo depoposcerat,
Multiformis proditoris
Ars ut artem falleret;
Et medelam ferret inde,
Hostis unde læserat.

Repeat:
 Crux fidelis.

Quando venit ergo sacri
Plenitudo temporis,
Missus est ab arce
Patris Natus orbis conditor:
Atque ventre virginali
Carne amictus prodiit.

Repeat:
 Dulce lignum.

Vagit infans, inter arcta
Conditus præsepia:
Membra pannis involuta
Virgo mater alligat,
Et Dei manus, pedesque
Stricta cingit fascia.

Repeat:
 Crux fidelis.

Lustra sex qui jam peregit,
Tempus implens corporis:
Sponte libera Redemptor
Passioni deditus:
Agnus in crucis levatur
Immolandus stipite.

Repeat:
 Dulce lignum.

Felle potus, ecce languit;
Spina, davi, lancea,
Mite corpus perforarunt;
Unda manat et cruor:
Terra, pontus, astra, mundus
Quo lavantur flumine.

Repeat:
 Crux fìdelis.

Flecte ramos arbor alta,
Tensa laxa viscera:
Et rigor lentescat ille,
Quem dedit nativitas:
Et superni membra Regis
Tende miti stipite.

Repeat:
 Dulce lignum.

Sola digna tu fuisti
Ferre mundi victimam,
Atque portum præparare
Arca mundo naufrago:
Quam sacer cruor perunxit,
Fusus Agni corpore.

Repeat:
 Crux fidelis.

Sempiterna sit beatæ
Trinitati gloria:
Æqua Patri, Filioque,
Par decus Paraclito;
Unius Trinique nomen
Laudet universitas.

Amen.

Repeat:
 Dulce lignum.
O faithful cross!
thou noblest of all trees.
No forest yields thy like,
in leaf, or flower, or fruit.
Sweet is the wood, that hath nails so sweet,
and bears so sweet a weight!

O sing, my tongue,
the victory of the glorious combat!
Tell how was won the noble triumph
on the trophy of the cross,
and how the world’s Redeemer,
when immolated, conquered.

Repeat:
 O faithful cross.

Our Creator compassionated his creature,
our first parent, when, being deceived,
he became a victim of death
by eating the fatal fruit:
and even then he chose the tree, whereby to make good
the evils brought on us by that other tree.

Repeat:
 Sweet is the wood.

This was the plan designed for our salvation:
that artifice divine should foil
the artifice of satan, the archseducer;
and turn the very instrument,
wherewith the enemy had wounded us,
into our remedy.

Repeat:
 O faithful cross.

When, therefore, the fulness of God’s
time had come, the Son,
by whom the world was made,
was sent from heaven;
and having clothed himself with our flesh,
in the Virgin’s womb, he came among us.

Repeat:
 Sweet is the wood.

He lies a weeping
Babe in a little crib.
His Virgin Mother
swathes his limbs with clothes.
The hands and feet of God
are tied with bands!

Repeat:
 O faithful cross.

Thirty years he lived on earth,
and his mortal life was nigh its end.
He, our Redeemer,
willingly gave himself up to his Passion;
he, the Lamb of Sacrifice,
was raised upon the cross.

Repeat:
 Sweet is the wood.

His drink is gall: his strength is gone:
his tender flesh is pierced with thorns,
and nails, and spear;
and from it flows a stream of water and blood,
wherewith the earth and sea,
the stars and world, are washed.

Repeat:
 O faithful cross.

Bow down thy branches,
lofty tree!
unstring thy sinews,
soften thine inborn hardness,
and gently welcome the Body
of our almighty King!

Repeat:
 Sweet is the wood.

Thou alone wast found
worthy to bear the Victim of the world!
Thou wast the ark that led this ship-wrecked world
into the haven of salvation!
The sacred Blood that flowed from the Lamb
covered and anointed thee.

Repeat:
 O faithful cross.

To the blessed Trinity
be glory everlasting!
To the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
be equal praise!
May heaven and earth praise
the name of the triune God!

Amen.

Repeat:
 Sweet is the wood.

Towards the end of the veneration of the cross, the candles are lighted, and the deacon spreads a corporal upon the altar, for the blessed Sacrament is to be placed there. As soon as the faithful have finished their adoration, the priest takes the cross and replaces it over the altar.

 

MASS OF THE PRESANCTIFIED

 

So vividly is the Church impressed with the remembrance of the great Sacrifice offered to-day on Calvary, that she refrains from renewing on her altars the immolation of the divine Victim: she contents herself with partaking of the sacred mystery by Communion. The deacon takes the chalice which contains it, and places it on the altar. Formerly the clergy and laity were also permitted to communicate; but the present discipline is that only the priest shall receive. After the priest has resumed his chasuble, the clergy go in procession to the altar, where the consecrated Host has been reserved since yesterday’s Mass. The priest, having offered the homage of his adoration to our Redeemer, takes into his hands the chalice wherein He is inclosed whom heaven and earth cannot contain. The clergy, with lighted tapers in their hands, return to the high altar, and sing, during the procession, the hymn of the cross.

Hymn

Vexilla Regis prodeunt;
Fulget crucis mysterium,
Qua Vita mortem pertulit,
Et morte vitam protulit.

Quæ vulnerata lanceæ
Mucrone diro, criminum
Ut nos lavaret sordibus,
Manavit unda et sanguine.

Impleta sunt quæ concinit
David fideli carmine,
Dicendo nationibus:
Regnavit a ligno Deus.

Arbor decora et fulgida,
Ornata regia purpura,
Electa digno stipite
Tam sancta membra tangere.

Beata cujus brachiis
Pretium pependit sæculi,
Statera facta corporis,
Tulitque prædam tartari.

O crux, ave, spes unica,
Hoc Passionis tempore,
Piis adauge gratiam,
Reisque dele crimina.

Te fons salutis, Trinitas,
Collaudet omnis spiritus:
Quibus crucis victoriam
Largiris, adde præmium.

Amen.
The standard of our King comes forth:
the mystery of the cross shines upon us,
that cross on which Life suffered death,
and by his death gave life.

He was pierced with the cruel spear,
that, by the Water and the Blood
which flowed from the wound,
he might cleanse us from sin.

Here on the cross
was fulfilled the prophecy
foretold in David’s truthful words:
‘God hath reigned from the tree.’

O fair and shining tree!
beautified by the scarlet of the King,
and chosen as the noble trunk
that was to touch such sacred limbs!

O blessed tree! on whose arms
hung the ransom of the world!
It was the balance, wherein was placed the Body of Jesus,
and thereby hell lost its prey.

Hail, O cross! our only hope!
During these days of the Passion,
increase to the good their grace,
and cleanse sinners from their guilt.

May every spirit praise thee,
O holy Trinity, thou fount of salvation!
and by the cross, whereby thou gavest us victory,
give us, too, our recompense.

Amen.

As soon as the priest has reached the altar, the deacon receives the sacred Host upon a paten, and pours wine and water into the chalice. Let us reverently fix our eyes upon the altar. The priest censes the offerings and the altar, as usual; but, to express the grief which now fills the soul of the Church, he himself is not thurified. He says, secretly, the following prayers.

Incensum istud, a te benedictum, ascendat ad te, Domine: et descendat super nos misericordia tua.

Dirigatur, Domine, oratio mea, sicut incensum in conspectu tuo. Elevatio manuum mearuin sacrificium vespertinum. Pone, Domine, custodiam ori meo, et ostium circumstantiæ labiis meis; ut non declinet cor meum in verba malitiæ, ad excusandas excusationes in peccatis.
May this incense, which hath been blessed by thee, O Lord, ascend unto thee, and may thy mercy descend upon us.

Let my prayer, O Lord, ascend like incense in thy sight. May the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Place, O Lord, a guard upon my mouth, and a gate of prudence before my lips; that my heart may not incline to evil words, to make excuses in sins.

Giving the thurible to the deacon, he says:

Accendat in nobis Dominus ignem sui amoris, et flammam æternæcharitatis. Amen.
May the Lord kindle within us the fire of his love, and the flame of everlasting cha rity. Amen.

Here he washes his hands, and then returns to the middle of the altar, where he says the following prayer in secret:

In spiritu humilitatis, et in animo contrito suscipiamur a te, Domine: et sic fiat sacrificium nostrum in conspectu tuo hodie, ut placeat tibi, Domine Deus.
Receive us, O Lord, coming to thee in the spirit of humility. and with a contrite heart: and grant that the sacrifice of this day may be so celebrated by us, as to be well pleasing unto thee, O Lord our God!

He then turns towards the people, and asks their prayers, saying:

Orate fratres: ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud Deum Patrem omnipotentem.
Brethren pray: that this my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Father almighty.

The usual answer, Suscipiat, is omitted; and the celebrant immediately sings, on the ferial tone, the Pater noster. Let us join, with earnest confidence, in the seven petitions. Our Jesus, with His arms extended on the cross, is now offering them for us, to His eternal Father. This is the solemn hour, when every prayer offered to heaven, through His mediation, is sure to be granted.

Pater noster, qui es in cœlis, sauctificetur nomen tuum; adveniat regnum tuum; fiat voluntas tua sicut in cœlo et in terra; panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie; et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris; et ne nos inducas in tentationem.

℟. Sed libera nos a malo.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation.

℟. But deliver us from evil.

The celebrant, having answered Amen in secret, says aloud the following prayer, which is said secretly in every Mass. He there prays that we may be delivered from every evil, set free from sin, and established in peace.

Libera nos, quæsumus, Domine, ab omnibus malis, præteritis, præsentibus, et futuris; et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beatis apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andrea, et omnibus sanctis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris, ut ope misericordiæ tuæ adjuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit etregnat in unitate Spiritus sancti, Deus: per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

℟. Amen.
Deliver us, we beseech thee, O Lord, from all evils, past, present, and to come: and by the intercession of the blessed and ever glorious Virgin Mary Mother of God, and of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and of Andrew, and of all the saints, mercifully grant peace in our days, that through the assistance of thy mercy, we may be always free from sin, and secure from all disturbance. Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth God: world without end.

℟. Amen.

But before receiving the sacred Host in holy Communion, the priest invites us to adore it. Taking, then, in his right hand, the adorable Body of our Redeemer, he raises it on high, as Jesus was raised up on the cross. The faithful, who are kneeling during this part of the Service, bow down in profound adoration before their crucified Lord.

The priest then divides the Host into three parts, one of which he puts into the chalice, that thus he may sanctify the wine and water which he is to take after having communicated. The wine is not changed into the Blood of Jesus by contact with the consecrated particle; but it thereby receives a very special benediction, similar to that which attached to the garments worn by our Saviour.

After this, the celebrant recites, in secret, the last of the three prayers which precede the Communion; and then, taking the two portions of the Host into his left hand, he says thrice:

Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea.
Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof: say but the word, and my soul shall be healed.

He then communicates. After which, he takes also the wine and water, and the sacred particle which he had put into the chalice. He then washes his fingers, returns to the middle of the altar, and says, in secret, the following prayer:

Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine, pura mente capiamus, et de munere temporali fiat nobis remedium sempiternum.
Grant, O Lord, that what we have taken with our mouth, we may receive with a pure mind; that of a temporal gift it may become to us an eternal remedy.

Thus terminates the Mass of the Presanctified. The priest, with the sacred ministers, makes a genuflection at the foot of the altar to the cross, and retires to the sacristy. The choir immediately begins Vespers, which are simply recited.

 

VESPERS

 

After the Pater and Are have been said in secret, the five antiphons and psalms of yesterday are recited: page 384. The Magnificat has the following antiphon:

Antiphon of the Magnificat

Cum accepisset Jesus acetum dixit: Consummatum est. Et inclinato capite, emisit spiritum.
When Jesus had taken the vinegar, he said: It is consummated. And bowing down his head, he gave up the ghost.

Then is said the canticle Magnificat (see page 90). The antiphon is repeated, and the following versicle is added:

℣. Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis.
℣. Christ became, for our sake, obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.

This is followed by the Pater noster, in secret; after which, the Psalm Miserere (page 336) is recited with a suppressed voice; and then the prayer Respice:

Respice, quæsumus, Domine, super hanc familiam tuam: pro qua Dominus noster Jesus Christus non dubitavit manibus tradi nocentium, et crucis subire tormentum:
Look down, O Lord, we beseech thee, upon this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ hesitated not to be delivered into the hands of wicked men. and to undergo the punishment of the cross:

(then the rest in secret:)

Qui tecum vivit et regnat, in unitate Spiritus sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

 

AFTERNOON

 

Holy Church will soon be calling us once more to join with her in the holy Offices: meanwhile, let us, as it behoves us, keep our hearts and thoughts upon our Redeemer, for these are the very hours when He wrought our salvation. Our morning’s meditation brought us to Calvary, where we were considering how the executioners stripped Jesus of His clothes, preparatory to nailing Him to the cross. Let us reverently assist at the consummation of the Sacrifice, which He offers for us to the justice of His eternal Father.

The executioners lead Jesus to the spot where the cross is lying on the ground: it is the eleventh station. Like a lamb destined for a holocaust, He lays Himself on the wood that is to serve as the altar. They violently stretch His hands and feet to the places marked for them, and fasten them with nails to the wood. The Blood gushes forth from these four life-giving founts, wherein our souls are to find their purification. This is the fourth blood-shedding. Mary hears the strokes of the hammer, and every blow wounds her heart. Magdalene’s grief is intensified by her incapability of helping her tortured Master. Jesus is heard to speak: it is His first word on Calvary: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!’[21] O infinite goodness of our Creator! He has come into this world, which is the work of His hands, and men nail Him to a cross: and on that cross He prays for them, and in His prayer He seems to excuse them!

The Victim is fastened to the wood, whereon He is to die. But the cross is not to be left, as it is, lying on the ground. Isaias has foretold that the Root of Jesse is to be raised up as a standard of all nations.[22] Our crucified God must be raised up, and, by that elevation, purify the polluted atmosphere of this world, infested as it is by the spirits of wickedness. He is the Mediator between God and men; He is our High Priest; our Intercessor: He is lifted up[23] between earth and heaven, making reconciliation between them.[24] Not far from the spot where the cross now lies on the ground, they have made a hole in the rock, wherein to fix it, so that all may have a sight of Him that hangs upon it. It is the twelfth station. It needs a great effort to raise and plant the Tree of the world’s Redemption. The soldiers lift it up, and then, with impatient vehemence, let it fall into the hole. The shock tears the four wounds. Oh! see Him now exposed naked before the multitude, this good Jesus who has come to clothe the nakedness that sin had caused in us!

The soldiers have done their work, and now they claim His garments. They tear them into four lots, and each takes a share. But a strange feeling induces them to respect His tunic, which was without a seam, and, as we are told by a pious tradition, was woven by the hand of His blessed Mother. ‘Let us not out it,’ say they, ‘but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be.’[25] It is a symbol of the unity of the Church, which is never to be broken under any pretext whatsoever.

Above our Redeemer’s head there are written these words, in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin: Jesus of nazareth, king of the jews. The people read this inscription, and say it to each other; without wishing it, they are once more proclaiming the royalty of the Son of David. The enemies of Jesus are quick enough to perceive this: they hasten to Pilate, and beseech him to have the title changed. The only answer he deigns to make them is: ‘What I have written, I have written.’[26] The holy fathers have noticed a circumstance of the crucifixion, which expresses how this King of the Jews is, indeed, rejected by His chosen people, but will reign all the more gloriously over the nations of the earth, whom the Father has given to Him for His inheritance. The circumstance we allude to is this: the soldiers, when fixing the cross in the rock, have so placed it that Jesus has His back to Jerusalem, and is stretching out His arms towards the countries of the west. The Sun of truth is setting on the deicide city, and rising upon the new Jerusalem, that proud Rome, which feels that she is destined to be the eternal city, yet knows not that she is to be so by the cross.

The tree of our salvation, as it falls into the hole prepared for it, strikes against a tomb: it is that of our first parent. The Blood of the Redeemer flows down the cross and falls upon a skull: it is the skull of Adam, whose sin has called for this great expiation. In His mercy, the Son of God wills that the instrument wherewith He has gained pardon for the guilty world should rest amidst the very bones of him that first caused its guilt. Thus is satan confounded: the creation is not, as he has hitherto thought, turned by his artifice to the shame of its Creator. The hill on which is raised the standard of our salvation, is called Calvary, which signifies a skull. Here, according to the tradition of the Jews, was buried our first parent, the first sinner. Among the holy fathers of the early ages, who have handed down this interesting tradition to us, we may cite St. Basil, St. Ambrose, Saint John Chrysostom, St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome. Origen, too, who had such opportunities of knowing the Jewish traditions, mentions this among the number.At a very early period Christian art introduced the custom of placing a human skull at the feet of Jesus’ image on the cross: it was done to commemorate the great fact to which we have been alluding.

But let us look up and see our Jesus, whose life is so soon to end upon this instrument of torture. Here we behold Him exposed to the view of the Jewish people, as the serpent was, of old, lifted up by Moses in the desert.[27] His enemies pass before Him, making insulting gestures, and saying: ‘Vah! Thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days dost rebuild it: save Thine own self! If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross!’[28] The chief priests and the ancients continue the blasphemy, adding their own emphasis to it: ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save! If He be King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusted in God; let Him now deliver Him, if He will have Him; for He said: I am the Son of God.’[29] The two thieves crucified with Him insult Him in like manner.

Never had God conferred on His creatures a blessing compared to this: and yet, never did man so boldly insult his God! Let us Christians, who adore Him whom the Jews blaspheme, offer Him, at this moment, the reparation He so infinitely deserves. These impious men cite His own words,. and turn them against Him: let us reverently remind our Jesus of an expression He once deigned to use, which should fill us with hope: ‘And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself.’[30] Sweet Jesus! the time has come; Thou art lifted up from the earth: fulfil Thy promise, draw us to Thyself! Alas! this earth has such hold upon us, we are chained fast to it by so many ties; self-love fetters us; and when we attempt to fly towards Thee, our flight is checked. Oh! break our chains, and draw us to Thyself, that we may at length reach Thee, and Thou mayst be consoled by the conquest of our souls!

It is the sixth hour, or, as we call it, midday. The sun immediately withdraws his light, and darkness covers the face of the earth. The stars appear in the heavens, and a gloomy silence pervades throughout the world. It is said that the celebrated Denys the Areopagite of Athens, who was afterwards a disciple of St. Paul, exclaimed, on witnessing this awful eclipse: ‘Either the God of nature is suffering, or the world is coming to an end.’ Phlegon, a pagan author, who wrote a century later, tells us that this sudden darkness spread consternation throughout the Roman empire, and that the astronomers owned it baffled all their calculations.

So terrible an indication of the wrath of heaven produces a panic of fear among the spectators on Calvary. Blasphemers are struck dumb, and the blasphemies of them that were just now insulting our Redeemer cease. All is silent as death. The thief whose cross is at the right of Jesus’, feels himself touched with repentance and hope. Turning to his companion, he upbraids him for what he has been saying: ‘Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art under the same condemnation? And we, indeed, justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done no evil.’[31] Jesus defended by a thief, at the very time that He is being insulted by those who boast that they know every iota of God’s Law, and are sitting in the chair of Moses! Nothing could give us a dearer idea of the blindness to which the Synagogue has voluntarily brought itself. This poor criminal, whose name is Dimas, represents the Gentile world, which now is steeped in ignorance and crime, yet is soon to be cleansed from all its abominations by confessing Jesus crucified to be the Son of God. Turning his head towards our Saviour’s cross, he thus prays to Him: ‘Lord! remember me, when Thou shalt come into Thy kingdom!’ He believes Jesus to be king; and the chief priests and ancients were, but a moment ago, deriding this King! Dimas sees the divine calmness and dignity of the innocent Victim: it is evidence enough; he gives Him his faith, and begs a remembrance from Him when the day of His glory comes. Grace has made him a true Christian: and who can doubt that the grace was asked and obtained for him by Mary, the Mother of mercy, who is now uniting herself in sacrifice together with her Jesus? Jesus is pleased to find in this poor criminal the faith He had vainly sought for from Israel: He thus grants his humble prayer: ‘Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in paradise.’[32] It is the second of Jesus’ words on the cross. The happy penitent is filled with joy, and awaits in patient silence the blissful moment when death shall set him free.

Meanwhile, Mary draws near to the cross, whereon hangs her Son. She recognizes Him, in spite of all the darkness; her love is her light. The eclipse has dispersed the crowd; all is silent; and the soldiers can find no reason for keeping the afflicted Mother from approaching her Son. Jesus looks with tenderest affection on Mary; the sight of her sorrow is a new grief to His sacred Heart. He is dying, and His Mother cannot console or embrace Him. Magdalene, too, is there, distracted with grief. Those feet, which, a few days before, she had anointed with her most precious perfumes, are now pierced through with nails, and the Blood is clotting round the wounds. They are near enough to the ground for her to reach and bathe them with her tears; but her tears cannot stay the pain. She has come to see the death of Him who forgave her all her sins. John, the beloved disciple, the only apostle that has followed Jesus to Calvary, is overwhelmed with sorrow. He thinks of the favour bestowed upon him last night, when he rested his head on the breast of this dear Master; and the remembrance intensifies his grief. He grieves for the Son, he grieves for the Mother. He little knows the reward he is soon to receive for this his love! Mary of Cleophas has followed the holy Mother up to the foot of the cross. At some distance off there stands a group of women, who loved Jesus and ministered unto Him during His life.[33]

The silence is again broken: Jesus speaks His third word, and it is to His Mother; but He does not call her by that dear name, for it would redouble her pain: 'Woman!' He says, ‘behold thy son!’ Then looking upon John, He says to him: ‘Son! behold thy Mother!’[34] What an exchange was here for Mary! but oh! what a blessing it brought upon John, and through him to all mankind: the Mother of God was made our Mother! This was the subject of our meditation on the Friday of Passion-week: let us, to-day, gratefully receive this last testament of our Jesus, who, having by His Incarnation made us the adopted children of His heavenly Father, now, in His dying moments, makes us children of His own blessed Mother.

It is close upon the ninth hour—the third hour after midday—the hour fixed by the eternal decree of God for the death of Jesus. The feeling of abandonment, which had caused our Redeemer to suffer an agony in the garden, now returns. He has taken upon Himself the sins of mankind: the whole weight of God’s justice now presses upon His Soul. The bitter chalice of God’s anger, which He is drinking to the very dregs, extorts from His lips this plaintive cry: ‘My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken Me?’[35] It is the fourth word. He does not say ‘My Father!’ He speaks as though He were but a poor sinner, trembling before the judgment-seat of God. A burning thirst elicits from Him the fifth word: ‘I thirst!’[36] Whereupon, one of the soldiers presents to His dying lips a sponge full of vinegar; and this is all the refreshment He receives from that earth, on which lie daily pours a heavenly dew, and to which He has given ever-flowing fountains and rivers.

The moment has at length come, when Jesus is to yield up His Soul to His Father. He has fulfilled every single prophecy that bad been foretold of Him, even that of His receiving vinegar when parched with thirst. He therefore speaks this His sixth word: ‘It is consummated!’[37] He has, then, but to die; His death is to put the finishing stroke to our redemption, as the prophet assures us. But He must die as God. This Man, worn out by suffering, exhausted by His three hours’ agony, whose few words were scarce audible to them that stood round His cross, now utters a loud cry, which is heard at a great distance, and fills the centurion, who commands the guard, with fear and astonishment: ‘Father! into Thy hands I commend My Spirit!’[38] This is His seventh and last word; after which He bows down His head and dies.

At this awful moment, the sun reappears in the heavens, and darkness ceases: but the earth is shaken by an earthquake, and the rocks are split. The space between the cross of Jesus and that of the bad thief is violently rent asunder, and the opening is shown to this day. The Jewish priests, who are in the temple, are terrified at seeing the veil, which hides the Holy of holies, torn from top to bottom: the time for figures and types is over, the great realities are come. Many holy personages arise from their graves, and return to life. But it is in hell itself that the death of Jesus is most felt. Satan now sees who He is, against whom he has excited all this persecution. He sees that the Blood, which he has caused to be shed, has saved mankind and opened the gates of heaven. This Jesus, whom he dared to tempt in the desert, he now recognizes as the Son of God, whose precious Blood has purchased for men a redemption that was refused to the rebel angels!

O Jesus! Son of the eternal Father! we adore Thee now lying dead on the wood of Thy sacrifice. Thy bitter death hath given us life. Like those Jews who saw Thee expire and returned to Jerusalem striking their breasts, we, also, confess that our sins have caused Thy death. Thou hast loved us as none but a God could love. Henceforth, we must be Thine, and serve Thee, as creatures redeemed at the infinite price of Thy Blood. Thou art our God; we are Thy people. Accept, we beseech Thee, our most loving thanks for this final proof of Thy goodness towards us. Thy holy Church now silently invites us to celebrate Thy praise. We leave Calvary for a time; but will soon return thither, to assist at Thy holy burial. Mary, Thy Mother, remains immovable at the foot of Thy cross. Magdalene clings to Thy feet. John and the holy women stand around Thee. Once more, dearest Jesus! we adore Thy sacred Body, Thy precious Blood, and Thy holy cross, that have brought us salvation.

 

THE OFFICE OF TENEBRÆ

 

At a late hour in the afternoon, the Night Office of Holy Saturday is anticipated, as on the two previous days. 

The faithful are not summoned to the church by the bells, for, as we have already explained, they are not rung till the Gloria in excelsis of to-morrow’s Mass.

The Office of Tenebræ for Holy Saturday is given below, page 520.

 

THE EVENING

 

Let us return to Calvary, and there close this mournful day. We left Mary there, with Magdalene and other holy women, and the beloved disciple John. An hour has scarcely elapsed since Jesus died, when a troop of soldiers, led on by a centurion, come up the hill, breaking the silence with their tramp and voices. They are sent by Pilate. The chief priests lost no time in returning to the governor’s house: and he, at their request, has sent these men to break the legs of the three crucified, detach them from their crosses, and bury them before night. The Jews count the days of their week from sunset; so that the great Sabbath day is close upon them. The soldiers come to the crosses; they begin with the two theives, and put an end to their sufferings and their life by breaking their legs. Dimas dies in saintly dispositions, for the promise made to him by Jesus is his consolation; his companion dies blaspheming. The soldiers now advance towards Jesus. Mary’s heart sinks within her. What fresh outrage are these men about to offer to the lifeless and bleeding Body of her Son? On inspection, they find that He is dead; but, that no doubt may be left, and no blame for neglect of orders fall upon them, one of the company raises up his spear and thrusts it into the right side of the divine Victim, even to the Heart; and when he draws his spear out, there gushes forth a stream of Water and Blood. This is the fifth bloodshedding, and the fifth wound inflicted on our Jesus upon the cross. The Church honours this mystery on the Feast of the sacred Heart; let us reserve our reflections till then.

The soul of the holy Mother is pierced by this cruel spear; and they that are with her redouble their sobs and tears. How is this terrible day to end? Who will take the Body of her Jesus from His cross? Who will enable her to give it a last embrace? The soldiers return to the city, and with them Longinus, he that pierced Jesus’ side, but is already feeling within himself the workings of that faith for which he is one day to lay down his life as a martyr. But lo! two other men are seen coming towards the cross; they are not enemies, they are faithful disciples of Jesus: one is the wealthy counsellor Joseph of Arimathea; the other is Nicodemus, a ruler among the Jews. Mary gratefully welcomes their arrival: they have come to take the Body of Jesus from the cross, and give it an honourable burial. They have the requisite authorization, for Pilate has given permission to Joseph to take the Body of Jesus.[39]

They lose no time in doing so, for the sun is near to setting, and then begins the Sabbath. Within a few yards from where stands the cross, at the foot of the hillock which forms the summit of Calvary, there is a garden, and in this garden a sepulchre cut into the rock. No one has yet been buried in this tomb. It is to be Jesus’ sepulchre. Hither Joseph and Nicodemus carry the sacred Body: they lay it upon a slab of stone, near to the sepulchre. It is here that Mary receives into her arms the Body of her Jesus: she kisses each wound, and bathes it with her tears. John, Magdalene, and all that are present, compassionate the holy Mother. She resigns it into the hands of the two disciples, for they have but a few moments left. Upon this slab which, even to this day, is called the stone of the anointing, and designates the thirteenth station of the way of the cross, Joseph unfolds a piece of fine linen,[40] and Nicodemus, whose servants have brought a hundred pound weight of myrrh and aloes,[41] makes every arrangement for the embalming. They reverently wash the Body, for it is covered with Blood; they remove the crown of thorns from the Head; and after embalming it with their perfumes, they wrap it in the windingsheet. Mary gives a last embrace to the remains of her Jesus, who is now hidden under these swathing-bands of the tomb.

Joseph and Nicodemus take the Body into their arms, and enter the sepulchre. It is the fourteenth station of the way of the cross. It consists of two open cells; it is into the one on the right hand that they enter, and there, in a cavity cut into the side of the rook, they lay the Body of Jesus. They then retire; and, with the assistance of their servants, they close up the entrance of the sepulchre with a large square stone, which Pilate, at the request of the Jews, orders to be fastened with his own seal, and guarded by a patrol of soldiers.

The sun is just setting; the great Sabbath, with its severe legal prescriptions, is just about to begin. Magdalene and the other women carefully notice the place where Jesus’ Body has been laid, and return with all speed to Jerusalem that they may have time to purchase and prepare a quantity of materials for a more careful embalming of the Body early on the Sunday morning, that is, immediately after the Sabbath is over. The holy Mother takes a farewell-look at the tomb wherein lies her Jesus, and then follows the rest into the city. John, her adopted son, keeps close to her. He is the guardian of her, who, without ceasing to be Mother of God, has been made also Mother of men. But oh! how much this second maternity cost her! She was standing at the foot of the cross, seeing her Jesus die, when she received us as her children. Let us imitate St. John, and keep our blessed Mother company during these trying hours which she has to pass before her Son rises from the grave.

How, O most merciful Redeemer! shall we leave Thy holy sepulchre, without offering Thee the tribute of our adoration and repentance? Death, which is the consequence of sin, has extended its dominion over Thee, for Thou didst submit Thyself to the sentence pronounced against Thee, and wouldst become like to us even to the humiliation of the tomb. It was Thy love for us, that led to all this! What return can we make Thee? The holy angels stand around Thy Body, thus lying in its rooky grave. They are lost in amazement at Thy having loved, to such an excess as this, Thy poor ungrateful creature, man. Thou hast made them, as well as us, out of nothing, and they loved Thee with all the intensity of their mighty spirits; but the sight of Thy tomb reveals to them a fresh abyss of Thine infinite goodness: Thou hast suffered death, not for their fallen fellowangels, but for us men, who are so inferior to the angels! Oh! what a bond of love between us and Thee must result from this sacrifice of Thy life for us! Thou hast died, O Jesus, for us: we must, henceforth, live for Thee. We promise it upon this tomb, which alas! is the handiwork of our sins. We, too, wish to die to sin, and live to grace. For the time to come, we will follow Thy precepts and Thine examples; we will avoid sin, which has made us accomplices in Thy Passion and Death. We will courageously bear, in union with Thine own, the crosses of this life: they are indeed light compared with Thine, but our weakness makes them heavy. And our death, too: when the moment comes for us to undergo that sentence which even Thou didst submit to, we will accept it with resignation. Terrible as that last hour is to nature, our faith tells us that Thy death has merited for it graces rich enough to make it sweet. Thy death, dearest Jesus! has made our death become but a passing into life: and as we now leave Thy holy sepulchre with the certain hope of speedily seeing Thee glorious in Thy Resurruction; so, when our body descends into the tomb, our soul shall confidently mount up to Thee, and there blissfully await the day of the resurrection of the flesh made pure by the humiliation of the grave.

We will close our day by offering to our readers the following stanzas from the Greek liturgy of Good Friday.

Hymn
(In Parasceve)

Hodie in cruce appenditur, qui super aquas terram appendit: corona spinea circumdatur Rex angelorum: falsa purpura operitur, qui operit cœlum nubibus: alapam suscipit, qui in Jordane libertati dedit Adamum: davis confixus est Sponsus Ecclesiæ: lancea punctus est filius Virginis. Adoramus passiones tuas, Christe. Et ostende nobis etiam gloriosam resurrectionem tuam.

Intuens agna agnum suum trahi ad occisionem: sequebatur Maria afflicta una cum aliis mulieribus, hæc damans: Quo progrederis, nate? Cujus rei gratia velocem cursum perficis? Num aliæ nuptiæ rursus fiunt in Cana; et eo tu nunc festinas, ut eis ex aqua vinum facias? Tecum veniam, nate; an te potius exspectabo? Da mihi verbum, O Verbum: ne silens me prætereas, qui me castam servasti filius et Deus meus.

Singula sanctæ carnis tuæ membra ignominiam propter nos sustinuerunt; spinas caput; facies sputa; maxilla alapas; os aceto mistum fel in gustu; impias blasphemias aures; dorsum fiagellationem; et manus arundinem; totiusque corporis extensiones in cruce; artus clavos; et latus lanceam. Qui passus ea pro nobis, et patiens liberos nos fecisti; quique amore erga homines una nobiscum te demisisti, noaque sublimasti, omnipotens Salvator, miserere nostri.

Hodie in cruce te suspensum, O Verbum, inculpata Virgo spectans, maternis visceribus mœrens, corde vulnerabatur amare, et gemena dolenter ex animæ profundo flebiliter exclamabat: Heu me, divine Nate! heu me, O lux mundi! cur ex oculis meis abscessisti, Agne Dei? Inde incorporeorum spirituum exercitus tremore corripiebantur, dicentes: Incomprehensibilis Domine, gloria tibi.

Domine, ascendente te in crucem, timor et tremor cecidit in creaturam: et terram quidem prohibebaa absorbere eoa, qui te crucifigebant: inferno autem permittebas remittere vinctos. Judex vivorum et mortuorum, venisti ut vitam præstares et non mortem: amans hominum, gloria tibi.
To-day, is poised upon a cross he that poised the earth upon the waters. He that is the King of angels, is wreathed with a crown of thorns. He that covereth the heaven with clouds, is covered with a mock scarlet robe. He that, in the Jordan, set Adam free, is buffeted. The Spouse of the Church is pierced with nails. The Son of the Virgin is wounded with a spear. O Jesus! we adore thy sufferings. Show unto us, also, thy glorious Resurrection.

Mary, the Mother, saw her Lamb dragged to the slaughter, and, in company with other women, followed him, saying: ' Whither goest thou, my Son? Wherefore this hurried step? Is it to a second marriage-feast at Cana that thou thus hastenest, there to turn water into wine? Must I come with thee, my Son? or must I wait thy return? O Word of the Father l speak one word to me. Pass me not by in silence, O thou, my Child and my God! who didst make me thy Virgin-Mother!’

For our sake, O Jesus! thou didst permit thy whole sacred Body to be ignominiously tortured: thy head with thorns; thy face with spittle; thy cheeks with blows: thy mouth with vinegar and gall; thine ears with impious blasphemies; thy back with scourges; thy hand with a reed; thy whole body, with the cross; thy hands and feet with nails; thy side with a spear. O almighty Saviour! who didst suffer for us, and by thy sufferings, didst make us free! O thou, that out of love for man didst humble thyself with us, that thus thou mightest exalt us! Have mercy on us!

To-day, the sinless Virgin saw thee, O Word! hanging on the cross: she wept over thee with a mother’s love: her heart was cruelly wounded: andlthus, with doleful sobs and tears, she spake from her inmost soul: ‘Alas! my divine Son! Alas! thou light of the world! why hast thou departed from my sight, O Lamb of God?’—The angel host was seized with trembling, and said: ‘Glory be to thee, O incomprehensible Lord!’

Fear and trembling fell upon thy creatures, O Lord, when thou didst ascend thy cross. Yet wouldst thou not permit the earth to swallow up them that crucified thee; nay, thou gavest leave to death to set its captives free. Thou camest into the world, O Judge of the living and the dead! that thou mightest bring, not death, but life. Glory be to thee, O Lover of mankind!

The ancient Gallican liturgy contains, in to-day’s Office, the following eloquent and devout prayer.

Prayer
(Oratio ad Nonam)

O salutaris hora Passionis, o magna maximarum gratiarum Nona hodierna, maxima horarum hora! Hac nunc tu, noster dilecte Sponse, osculare de cruce, licet post crucis trophæum. Osculare, precamur; salutare tuum impertire nobis, triumphator mirabilis, auriga supreme, Deus pie, gloriosissime propugnator. Avete, valete, invalescite et viriliter agite, confortamini dicito, loquere cordibus nostris inspector Christe. An qui olim hæc fecisti, nunc eadem non potes facere? Potes utique, potes; quia omnipotens es: potes, amantissime, potes facere quod non possumus cogitare; quia nihil tibi impossibile est, Deus omnipotens, Jesu, osculare, quæso, dilectiesime, qui triumphans regressus es ad Patrem, cum quo semper eras et permanes unus; quia osculum tuum dulce est, et ubera tua vino dulciora, fragrantia optimis unguentis: et nomen tuum super oleum; quem adolescentulæ dilexerunt: quem recti diligunt, quos trahis post te: cujus lectus floridns, cujus trophæum crux. Qui hac hora rubens de Edom, de cruce, tinctis vestibus de Bosra, solus quasi calcator magni illius torcularis ad cœlos ascendisti: cui occurrunt Angeli, Archangeli dicentes: Quis est iste, qui ascendit, tinctis vestibus de Bosra? Quibus te interrogantibus: Quare ergo rubrum est vestimentum tuum? Respondisti: Torcular calcavi solus, et vir de gentibus non fuit mecum. Vere Salvator, vere rubrum est tuum propter nos corpus: rubrum est sanguine uvæ; lavasti enim in vino stolam tuam, et pallium tuum in sanguine uvæ: qui es Deus solus, crucifixus pro nobis, quos antiqua prævaricatio morti tradidit: cujus vulnere omnium innumera peccatorum vulnera sanata sunt. Et nos, pie crucifixe Christe, cum tuis redime; salva, pia bonitas Deus. Qui regnas cum Patre et Spiritu sancto, unus in æternum et in sæcula sæculorum.
O saving hour of the Passion! O hour of None, favoured with richest graces! O hour of hours! O beloved Spouse of souls, kiss us at this hour from thy cross, for the cross is the trophy of thy victory. Yea, we beseech, grant us thy kiss, grant us thy salvation, O admirable Conqueror! O heavenly Charioteer! O good God! O most glorious Champion! Do thou, O allseeing Jesus, speak to our hearts, and say: 'Hail, all hail! Be vigorous, act manfully, be courageous!’ Thou, O Lord, that didst these things of old, canst thou not do the same now? Thou canst, yea thou canst, for thou art all-powerful. Thou canst, most loving Jesus! thou canst do beyond what we can think. And whereas nothing is impossible to thee, O almighty God, our Jesus! kiss us, we beseech thee, beloved Lord, who didst triumphantly return to the Father, with whom thou wast, and art for ever, one; for thy kiss is sweet, thy breasts are better than wine, and are fragrant with the best ointments. Thy name is as oil poured out, therefore have our souls loved thee. The righteous, whom thou drawest to thee, love thee. Thy couch is strewn with flowers, the cross is thy trophy. Coming in scarlet, at this hour, from Edom, thy cross—coming with dyed garments from Bosra, treading alone that great winepress—thou didst ascend to heaven. The Angels and Archangels go out to meet thee, and they say: ‘Who is this that cometh up, with dyed garments, from Bosra?’ They ask thee: ‘Why then, is thy apparel red?’ Thou answerest: ‘I have trodden the winepress alone: and of the Gentiles, there is not a man with me.’ Truly, O Saviour! truly is thy body red for our sake: it is red with the blood of the grape, for thou hast washed thy robe in wine, and thy garment in the blood of the grape. Thou alone art God, crucified for us, whom the ancient sin had delivered over to death: and by thy wounds, the countless sins of all men have been healed. O loving crucified Jesus! put us among thy redeemed. Save us, O loving goodness! our God! who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, reignest one God for ever, yea for ever and ever.

 

[1] St. Matt. xxvi. 63.
[2] Ibid. 64.—St. Mark xiv. 62.
[3] St. Matt, xxvi. 65, 66.
[4] St. Luke xxii. 64.
[5] Gen. xlix. 10.
[6] St. John xviii. 29-31.
[7] Ibid. 33, 36, 37, 38.
[8] St. Matt, xxvii. 13.
[9] St. Luke xxiii. 5.
[10] St. Matt, xxvii.—St. Luke xxiii.—St. John xviii.
[11] St. John xix. 5.
[12] St. John xix.
[13] Ibid
[14] Is. liii. 12.
[15] St. Matt, xxvii. 24, 25.
[16] St. John iii. 16.
[17] St. Luke xxiii. 28-30.
[18] Heb. v 7.
[19] 1 Cor. i. 23.
[20] 1 Cor. i. 24.
[21] St. Luke xxiii. 34.
[22] Is. xi. 10.
[23] St. John xii. 32.
[24] Rom. v. 11.
[25] St. John xix. 24.
[26] St. John xix. 22.
[27] St. John iii. 14.
[28] St. Matt, xxvii. 40.
[29] Ibid. 42, 43.
[30] St. John xii. 32.
[31] St. Luke xxiii. 40, 41.
[32] St. Luke xxiii. 42, 43.
[33] St. Matt, xxvii. 65.
[34] St. John xix. 26, 27.
[35]St. Matt, xxvii. 46.
[36] St. John xix. 26, 27.
[37] Ibid. 30.
[38] St. Luke xxiii. 46.
[39] St. John xix. 38.
[40] St. Mark xv. 46.
[41] St. John xix. 39.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The ceremonies used by the Church for the Office of Tenebræ having been already explained, we deem it unnecessary to repeat our instructions. The reader may refer to them, should he require to refresh his memory. They are given on pages 301—303.

Pater noster, Ave, and Credo, in secret.

 

THE FIRST NOCTURN

 

The first psalm is one which the Church daily recites in her Compline, because it expresses the confidence wherewith the Christian takes his rest. She uses it in to-day’s Tenebræ, to remind us of the rest taken by Christ in the sepulchre, where He sleeps with the assurance of wakening to a glorious Resurrection.

Ant. In pace, in idipsum, dormiam et requiescam.
Ant. In peace, in the selfsame, I will sleep, and I will take my rest.

Psalm 4

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

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

Ant. In peace, in the selfsame, I will sleep, and I will take my rest.

The second psalm speaks of the happiness that is in reserve for the just man, and of the rest which is to be the reward of his labours. The Church applies it to Christ, the Just One by excellence, who went about doing good.

Ant. Habitabit in tabernaculo tuo: requiescet in monte sancto tuo.
Ant. He shall dwell in thy tabernacle: he shall rest in thy holy hill.

Psalm 14

Domine, quis habitabit in tabernaculo tuo: aut quis requiescet in monte sancto tuo? Qui ingreditur sine macu la: et operatur justitiam.
Qui loquitur veritatem in corde suo: qui non egit dolum in lingua sua.
Nec fecit proximo suo malum: et opprobrium non accepit adversus proximos suos..
Ad nihilum deductus est in conspectu ejus malignus: timentes autem Dominum glorficat.
Qui jurat proximo suo, et non decipit: qui pecuniam suam non dedit ad usuram, et munera super innocentem non accepit:
Qui facit hæc, non movebitur in æternum.

Ant. Habitabit in tabernaculo tuo: requiescet in monte sancto tuo.
Lord, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle? or who shall rest in thy holy hill?
He that walketh without blemish, and worketh justice.
He that speaketh truth in his heart, who hath not used deceit in his tongue.
Nor hath done evil to his neighbour, nor taken up a reproach against his neighbours.
In his sight the malignant is brought to nothing: but he glorifieth them that fear the Lord.
He that sweareth to his neighbour, and deceiveth not: he that hath not put out his money to usury, nor taken bribes against the innocent.
He that doth these things, shall not be moved for ever.

Ant. He shall dwell in thy tabernacle: he shall rest in thy holy hill.

The third psalm, composed by David during his exile under Saul, is a prophecy of our Saviour’s Resurrection, and was quoted as such by St. Peter in his address to the Jews on the day of Pentecost. He that speaks in this psalm, says that his flesh shall rest in hope, and that the Lord will not give him to see corruption. This was not verified in David, but in Christ.

Ant. Caro mea requiescet in spe.
Ant. My flesh shall rest in hope.

Psalm 15

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

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

Ant. My flesh shall rest in hope.

℣. In pace in idipsum.
℟. Dormiam et requiescam.
℣. In peace, in the selfsame,
℟. I will sleep, and I will take my rest.

The Pater noster is here recited in secret.

The lessons of the first nocturn are again taken from the Lamentations of Jeremias. The first refers to our Saviour. It speaks of His fidelity to His Father, and of His resignation. It foretells the buffets He received during His Passion.

First Lesson

De Lamentatione Jeremiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. iii.


Heth. Misericordiæ Domini, quia non sumus consumpti: quia non defecerunt miserationes ejus.

Heth. Novi diluculo, multa est fides tua.

Heth. Pars mea Dominus, dixit anima mea: propterea exspectabo eum.

Teth. Bonus est Dominus sperantibus in eum, animæ quærenti illum.

Teth. Bonum est præstolari cum silentio salutare Dei.

Teth. Bonum est viro, cum portaverit jugum ab adolescentia sua.

Jod. Sedebit solitarius, et tacebit: quia levavit super se.

Jod. Ponet in pulvere os suum, si forte sit spes.

Jod. Dabit percutienti semaxillam, saturabitur opprobriis.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
From the Lamentation of Jeremias the Prophet.

Ch. iii.


Heth. The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed: because his tender mercies have not failed.

Heth. They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness.

Heth. The Lord is my portion, said my soul: therefore will I wait for him.

Teth. The Lord is good to them that hope in him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Teth. It is good to wait with silence for the salvation of God.

Teth. It is good for a man when he hath borne the yoke from his youth.

Jod. He shall sit solitary, and hold his peace: because he hath taken it up upon himself.

Jod. He shall put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope.

Jod. He shall give his cheek to him that striketh him, he shall be filled with reproaches.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Sicut ovis ad occisionem ductus est, et dum male tractaretur, non aperuit os suum: traditus est ad mortem:
* Ut vivificaret populum suum.
℣. Tradidit in mortem animam suam, et inter sceleratos reputatus est.
* Ut vivificaret populum suum.
℟. He was led like a sheep to the slaughter; and whilst he was ill-used, he opened not his month: he was condemned to death:
* That he might give life to his people.
℣. He delivered himself up to death, and was reckoned among the wicked.
* That he might give life to his people.

 


The second lesson is an elegy upon Jerusalem. The grievousness of the sins of this ungrateful city is expressed in forcible terms.

Second Lesson

Aleph. Quomodo obscuratum est aurum, mutatus est color optimus, dispersi sunt lapides sanctuarii in capite omnium platearum?

Beth. Filii Sion inclyti, et amicti auro primo: quomodo reputati sunt in vasa testea, opus manuum figuli?

Ghimel. Sed et lamiæ nudaverunt mammam, lactaverunt catulos suos: filia populi mei crudelis, quasi struthio in deserto.

Daleth. Adhæsit lingua lactentis ad palatum ejus in siti: parvuli petierunt panem, et non erat qui frangeret eis.

He. Qui vescebantur voluptuose interierunt in viis; qui nutriebantur in croceis, amplexati sunt stercora.

Vau. Et major effecta est iniquitas filiae populi mei peccato Sodomorum: quæ subversa est in momento, et non cœperunt in ea manus.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
Ai.eph. How is the gold become dim, the finest colour is changed, the stones of the sanctuary are scattered in the top of every street?

Beth. The noble sons of Sion, and they that were clothed with the best gold: how are they esteemed as earthen vessels, the work of the potter’s hands?

Ghimel. Even the seamonsters have drawn out the breast, they have given suck to their young: the daughter of my people is cruel, like the ostrich in the desert.

Daleth. The tongue of the sucking child hath stuck to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the little ones have asked for bread, and there was none to break it unto them.

He. They that were fed delicately, have died in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet, have embraced the dung.

Vau. And the iniquity of the daughter of my people is made greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment, and hands took nothing in her.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Jerusalem, surge, et exue te vestibus jucunditatis: induere cinere et cilicio:
* Quia in te occisus est Salvator Israël.
℣. Deduc quasi torrentem lacrymas per diem et noctem, et non taceat pupilla oculi tui.
* Quia in te occisus est Salvator Israël.
℟. Arise, Jerusalem, and put off thy garments of joy: put on ashes and hair-cloth:
* For in thee was slain the Saviour of Israel.
℣. Let tears rain down like a torrent day and night, and let not the apple of thine eye cease.
* For in thee was slain the Saviour of Israel.

 


The third lesson is a portion of the prayer made by the prophet for the Jewish people, after they had been led into captivity. It gives a faithful, but terrible, description of their miseries after they had committed the crime of deicide.

Third Lesson

Incipit Oratio Jeremiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. v.

Recordare, Domine, quid acciderit nobis: intuere, et respice opprobrium nostrum. Hæreditas nostra versa est ad alienos, domus nostræ ad extraneos. Pupilli facti sumus absque patre: matres nostræ quasi viduæ. Aquam nostram pecunia bibimus; ligna nostra pretio comparavimus. Cervicibus nostris minabamur: lassis non dabatur requies. Ægypto dedimus manum, et Assyriis, ut saturaremur pane. Patres nostri peccaverunt, et non sunt: et nos iniquitates eorum portavimus. Servi dominati sunt nostri: non fuit qui redimeret de manu eorum. In animabus nostris afferebamus panem nobis, a facie gladii in deserto. Pellis nostra quasi clibanus exusta est, a facie tempestatum famis. Mulieres in Sion humiliaverunt, et virgines in civitatibus Juda.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
Here beginneth the Prayer of Jeremias the Prophet.

Ch. v.

Remember, O Lord, what is come upon us: consider and behold our reproach. Our inheritance is turned to aliens: our houses to strangers. We are become orphans without a father, our mothers are as widows. We have drunk our water for money: we have bought our wood. We were dragged by the necks, we were weary and no rest was given us. We have given our hand to Egypt, and to the Assyrians, that we might be satisfied with bread. Our fathers have sinned, and are not: and we have borne their iniquities. Servants have ruled over us: there was none to redeem us out of their hand. We fetched our bread at the peril of our lives, because of the sword in the desert. Our skin was burnt as an oven, by reason of the violence of the famine. They oppressed the women in Sion, and the virgins in the cities of Juda.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Plange quasi virgo, plebs mea: ululate pastores in cinere et cilicio:
* Quia venit dies Domini magna et amara valde.
℣. Accingite vos sacerdotes et plangite: ministri altaris, aspergite vos cinere.
* Quia venit dies Domini magna, et amara valde.
Here is repeated: Plange.
℟. Mourn, O my people, as a virgin: howl, ye shepherds, in ashes and hair-cloth:
* For the great and exceeding bitter day of the Lord is coming.
℣. Gird yourselves, ye priests, and mourn; sprinkle yourselves with ashes, ye ministers of the altar.
* For the great and exceeding bitter day of the Lord is coming.
Here is repeated: Mourn, O my people.

 

THE SECOND NOCTURN

 

The fourth psalm speaks of the triumphant entry which the Son of God, after having risen from His tomb, shall make into heaven.

Ant. Elevamini portæ æternales, et introibit Rex gloriæ.
Ant. Be ye lifted up, O ye eternal gates, and the King of glory shall enter in.

Psalm 23

Domini est terra, et plenitudo ejus: orbis terrarum, et universi quihabitantineo.
Quia ipse super maria fundavit eum: et super flumina præparavit eum.
Quis ascendet in montem Domini: aut quis stabit in loco sancto ejus?
Innocens manibus et mundo corde: qui non accepit in vano animam suam, nec juravit in dolo proximo suo.
Hic accipiet benedictionem a Domino: et misericordiam a Deo salutari suo.
Hæc est generatio quærentium eum: quærentium faciem Dei Jacob.
Attollite portas principes vestras, et elevamini portæ æternales: et introibit Rex gloriæ.
Quis est iste Rex gloriæ? Dominus fortis et potens, Dominus potens in prælio.
Attollite portas principes vestras, et elevamini portæ æternales: et introibit Rex gloriæ.
Quis est iste Rex gloriæ? Dominus virtutum, ipse est Rex gloriæ.

Ant. Elevamini portæ æternales, et introibit Rex gloriæ.
The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; the world and all they that dwell therein.
For he hath founded it upon the seas: and hath prepared it upon the rivers.
Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
The innocent in hands, and clean of heart, who hath not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbour.
He shall receive a blessing from the Lord: and mercy from God his Saviour.
This is the generation of them that seek him, of them that seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of glory shall enter in.
Who is this King of glory? the Lord, who is strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of glory shall enter in.
Who is this King of glory? the Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.

Ant. Be ye lifted up, O ye eternal gates, and the King of glory shall enter in.

The fifth psalm was sung in yesterday's Office, and expressed the confidence in His Father’s love and assistance which never left our Jesus during His Passion: we repeat it to-day, because it speaks of His speedy deliverance. The Church changes the antiphon, which gave us the words of our Saviour complaining of His false witnesses, into the following, wherein we have our divine Master telling us that He is soon to be in the land of the living.

Ant. Credo videre bona Domini in terra viventium.
Ant. I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalm 26

Dominus illuminatio mea, et salus mea: quem timebo?
Dominus protector vitæ meæ: a quo trepidabo?
Dum appropiant super me nocentes: ut edant carnes meas.
Qui tribulant me inimici mei: ipsi infirmati sunt et ceciderunt.
Si consistant adversum me castra: non timebit cor meum.
Si exsurgat adversum me prœlium: in hoc ego sperabo.
Unam petii a Domino, hanc requiram: ut inhabitem in domo Domini omnibus diebus vitæ meæ.
Ut videam voluptatem Domini: et visitem templum ejus.
Quoniam abscondit me in tabernaculo suo: in die malorum protexit me in abscondito tabernaculi sui.
In petra exaltavit me: et nunc exaltavit caput meum super inimicos meos.
Circuivi, et immolavi in tabernaculo ejus hostiam vociferationis: cantabo, et psalmum dicam Domino.
Exaudi, Domine, vocem meam qua clamavi ad te: miserere mei, et exaudi me.
Tibi dixit cor meum exquisivit te facies mea: faciem tuam, Domine, requiram.
Ne avertas faciem tuam a me: ne declines in ira a servo tuo.
Adjutor meus esto: ne derelinquas me, neque despicias me, Deus salutaris meus.
Quoniam pater meus et mater mea dereliquerunt me: Dominus autem assumpsit me.
Legem pone mihi, Domine, in via tua: et dirige me in semitam rectam propter inimicos meos.
Ne tradideris me in animas tribulantium me: quoniam insurrexerunt in me testes iniqui, et mentita est iniquitas sibi.
Credo videre bona Domini: in terra viventium.
Exspecta Dominum, viriliter age: et confortetur cor tuum, et sustine Dominum.

Ant. Credo videre bona Domini in terra viventium.
The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the protector of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?
Whilst the wicked draw near against me, to eat my flesh.
My enemies that troubled me have been weakened, and have fallen.
If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear.
If a battle should rise up against me, in this will I be confident.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, this will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple.
For he hath hid me in his tabernacle; in the day of evils, he hath protected me in the secret place of his tabernacle.
He hath exalted me upon a rock: and now he hath lifted up my head above my enemies.
I have gone round, and have offered up in his tabernacle a sacrifice of jubilation: I will sing, and recite a psalm to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to thee: have mercy on me, and hear me.
My heart hath said to thee, my face hath sought thee: thy face, O Lord, will I still seek.
Turn not away thy face from me: decline not in thy wrath from thy servant.
Be thou my helper: forsake me not, do not thou despise me, O God my Saviour.
For my father and my mother have left me: but the Lord hath taken me up.
Set me, O Lord, a law in thy way: and guide me in the right path, because of my enemies.
Deliver me not over to the will of them that trouble me: for unjust witnesses have risen up against me, and iniquity hath belied itself.
I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
Expect the Lord, do manfully, and let thy heart take courage, and wait thou for the Lord.

Ant. I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

The sixth psalm tells us that Jesus, the divine Captive of death, will soon rise from the grave. The prophet speaks of the weeping which shall last till evening, and of the gladness that shall follow in the morning.

Ant. Domine abstraxisti ab inferis animam meam.
Ant. O Lord, thou hast brought forth my soul from hell.

Psalm 29

Exaltabo te, Domine, quoniam suscepisti me: nec delectasti inimicos meos super me.
Domine Deus meus, clamavi ad te: et sanasti me.
Domine eduxisti ab inferno animam meam: salvasti me a descendentibus in lacum.
Psallite Domino sancti ejus: et confitemini memoriæ sanctitatis ejus.
Quoniam ira in indignatione ejus: et vita in voluntate ejus.
Ad vesperum demorabitur fletus: et ad matutinum lætitia.
Ego autem dixi in abundantia mea: Non movebor in æternum.
Domine in voluntate tua: præstitisti decori meo virtutem.
Avertisti faciem tuam a me: et factus sum conturbatus.
Ad te, Domine, clamabo: et ad Deum meum deprecabor.
Quæ utilitas in sanguine meo: dum descendo in corruptionem?
Numquid confitebitur tibi pulvis: aut annuntiabit veritatem tuam?
Audivit Dominus, et misertus est mei: Dominus factus est adjutor meus.
Convertisti planctum meum in gaudium mihi: conscidisti saccum meum, et circumdedisti me lætitia.
Ut cantet tibi gloria mea, et non compungar: Domine Deus meus, in æternum confitebor tibi.

Ant. Domine abstraxisti ab inferis animam meam.
I will extol thee, O Lord, for thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me.
O Lord, my God, I have cried to thee, and thou hast healed me.
Thou hast brought forth, O Lord, my soul from hell: thou hast saved me from them that go down into the pit.
Sing to the Lord, O you his saints: and give praise to the memory of his holiness.
For wrath is in his indignation: and life in his good will.
In the evening, weeping shall have place: and in the morning, gladness.
And in my abundance I said: I shall never be moved.
O Lord, in thy favour, thou gavest strength to my beauty.
Thou turnedst away thy face from me, and I became troubled.
To thee, O Lord, will I cry: and I will make supplication to my God.
What profit is there in my blood, whilst I go down to corruption?
Shall dust confess to thee, or declare thy truth?
The Lord hath heard, and hath had mercy on me: the Lord became my helper.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into joy: thou hast cut my sackcloth, and hast compassed me with gladness.
To the end that my glory may sing to thee, and I may not regret. O Lord my God, I will give praise to thee for ever.

Ant. O Lord thou hast brought forth my soul from hell.

℣. Tu autem, Domine, miserere mei.
℟. Et resuscita me, et retribuam eis.
℣. But thou, O Lord, have mercy on me.
℟. And raise me up again, and I will requite them.

Here is said the Pater noster in secret.

For the second nocturn lessons, the Church continues the Enarrations of St. Augustine on the psalms prophetic of our Lord’s Passion.

Fourth Lesson

Ex tractatu Sancti Augustini Episcopi, super Psalmos.

Ps. lxiii.

Accedet homo ad cor altum, et exaltabitur Deus. Illi dixerunt: Quis nos videbit? Defecerunt scrutantes scrutationes, consilia mala. Accessit homo ad ipsa consilia: passus est se teneri ut homo. Non enim teneretur nisi homo, aut videretur nisi homo, aut cæderetur nisi homo, aut crucifigeretur, aut moreretur nisi homo. Accessit ergo homo ad illas omnes passiones, quæ in illo nihil valerent, nisi esset homo. Sed si ille non esset homo, non liberaretur homo. Accessit homo ad cor altum, id est cor secretum, objiciens aspectibus humanis hominem, servans intus Deum; celans formam Dei, in qua æqualis est Patri, et offerens formam servi, qua minor est Patre.
From the treatise of Saint Augustine, Bishop, upon the Psalms.

Ps. lxiii.

Man shall come to the deep heart, and God shall be exalted. They said: Who will see us? They failed in making diligent search for wicked designs. Christ, as Man, came to those designs, and suffered himself to be seized on as a Man. For he could not be seized on if he were not Man, nor seen if he were not Man, nor scourged if he were not Man, nor crucified nor die if he were not Man. As Man, therefore, he came to all these sufferings, which could have no effect on him if he were not Man. But if he had not been Man, man could not have been redeemed. Man came to the deep heart, that is, the secret heart, exposing his humanity to human view, but hiding his divinity: concealing the form of God, by which he is equal to the Father; and offering the form of the servant, by which he is inferior to the Father.

℟. Recessit Pastor noster. fons aquæ vivæ, ad cujus transitum sol obscuratus est:
* Nam et ille captus est, qui captivum tenebat primum hominem: hodie portas mortis et seras pariter Salvator noster disrupit.
℣. Destruxit quidem claustra inferni, et subvertit potentias diaboli.
* Nam et ille captus est qui captivum tenebat primumhominem: hodie portas mortis et seras pariter Salvator noster disrupit.
℟. Our Shepherd, the fountain of living water, is gone; at whose departure, the sun was darkened.
* For he is taken who made the first man a prisoner. To-day our Saviour broke the gates and bolts of death.
℣. He. indeed, destroyed the prisons of hell, and overthrew the powers of the devil.
* For he is taken who made the first man a prisoner. Today our Saviour broke the gates and bolts of death.

Fifth Lesson

Quo perduxerunt illas scrutationes suas, quas perscrutantes defecerunt, ut etiam mortuo Domino et sepulto, custodes ponerent ad sepulchrum? Dixerunt enim Pilato: Seductor ille. Hoc appellabatur nomine Dominus Jesus Christus, ad solatium servorum suorum, quando dicuntur seductores. Ergo illi Pilato: Seductor ille, inquiunt, dixit adhuc vivens: Post tres dies resurgam. Jube itaque custodiri sepulchrum usque in diem tertium, ne forte veniant discipuli ejus, et furentur eum, et dicant plebi: Surrexit a mortuis: et erit novissimus error pejor priore. Ait illis Pilatus: Habetis custodiam; ite, custodite sicut scitis. Illi autem abeuntes, munierunt sepulchrum, signantes lapidem cum custodibus.
How far did they carry this their diligent search, in which they failed so much, that when our Lord was dead and buried, they placed guards at the sepulchre? For they said to Pilate: This seducer; by which name our Lord Jesus Christ was called, for the comfort of his servants when they are called seducers. This seducer, say they to Pilate, while he was yet living, said: After three days I will rise again. Command therefore the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day, lest perhaps his disciples come and steal him away, and say to the people, he is risen from the dead: and the last error will be worse than the first. Pilate saith to them: Ye have a guard, go, and guard it as ye know. And they went away and secured the sepulchre with guards, sealing up the stone.

℟. O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte,
* Si est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.
℣. Attendite universi populi, et videte dolorem meum.
* Si est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.
℟. O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see,
* If there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.
℣. Attend all ye people, and see my sorrow.
* If there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.

Sixth Lesson

Posuerunt custodes milites ad sepulchrum. Concussa terra Dominus resurrexit: miracula facta sunt talia circa sepulchrum, ut et ipsi milites qui custodes advenerant, testes fierent, si vellent vera nuntiare. Sed avaritia illa, quæ capti vavit discipulum comitem Christi, captivavit et militem custodem sepulchri. Damus, inquiunt, vobis pecuniam, et dicite, quia vobis dormientibus venerunt discipli ejus, et abstulerunt eum. Vere defecerunt scrutantes scrutationes. Quid est quod dixisti, o infelix astutia? Tantumne deseris lucem consilii pietatis, et in profunda versutia demergeris, ut hoc dicas: Dicite, quiavobis dormientibus venerunt discipuli ejus, et abstulerunt eum? Dormientes testes adhibes: vere tu ipse obdormisti, qui scratando talia defecisti.
They placed soldiers to guard the sepulchre. The earth shook, and the Lord rose again: such miracles were done at the sepulchre, that the very soldiers that came as guards might be witnesses of it, if they would declare the truth. But that covetousness which possessed the disciple that was the companion of Christ, blinded also the soldiers that were the guards of his sepulchre. We will give you money, said they: and say, that while ye were asleep, his disciples came and took him away. They truly failed, in making diligent search. What is it thou hast said, O wretched craft? Dost thou shut thy eyes against the light of prudence and piety, and plunge thyself so deep in cunning, as to say this: Say that while ye were asleep, his disciples came and took him away? Dost thou produce sleeping witnesses? Certainly thou thyself sleepedst, that failedst in making search after such things.

℟. Ecce quomodo moritur justus, et nemo percipit corde: et viri justi tolluntur et nemo considerat: a facie iniquitatis sublatus est Justus:
* Et erit in pace raemoria ejus.
℣. Tamquam agnus coram tondente se obmutuit, et non aperuit os suum: de angustia, et de judicio sublatus est.
* Et erit in pace memoria ejus.
Here is repeated; Ecce quomodo.
℟. Behold! how the Just One dieth, and there is none that taketh it to heart: and just men are taken away and no one considereth it: the Just One is taken away because of iniquity:
* And his memory shall be in peace.
℣. He was silent, as a lamb under his shearer, and he opened not his mouth: he was taken away from distress and judgment.
* And his memory shall be in peace.
Here is repeated: Behold!

 

THE THIRD NOCTURN

 

The seventh psalm is one we sang yesterday, when commemorating the persecution our Saviour met with from the Jews. We repeat it, to-day, because of His approaching triumph, for the eternal Father is His helper and protector.

Ant. Deus adjuvat me, et Dominus susceptor est animæ meæ.
Ant. God is my helper, and the Lord is the protector of my soul.

Psalm 53

Deus, in nomine tuo salvum me fac: et in virtute tua judica me.
Deus, exaudi orationem meam: auribus percipe verba oris mei.
Quoniam alieni insurrexerunt adversum me. et fortes quæsierunt animam meam: et non proposuerunt Deum ante conspectum suum.
Ecce enim Deus adjuvat me: et Dominus susceptor est animæ meæ.
Averte mala inimicis meis: et in ventate tua disperde illos.
Voluntarie sacrificabo tibi: et confitebor nomini tuo, Domine, quoniam bonum est.
Quoniam ex omni tribulatione eripuisti me: et super inimicos meos despexit oculus meus.

Ant. Deus adjuvat me, et Dominus susceptor est animæ meæ.
Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me in thy strength.
O God. hear my prayer: give ear to the words of my mouth.
For strangers have risen up against me: and the mighty have sought after my soul: and they have not set God before their eyes.
For behold God is my helper: and the Lord is the protector of my soul.
Turn back the evils upon my enemies: and cut them off in thy truth.
I will freely sacrifice to thee, and will give praise. O God. to thy name: because it is good.
For thou hast delivered me out of all trouble: and my eye hath looked down upon my enemies.

Ant. God is my helper, and the Lord is the protector of my soul.

The eighth psalm is one that was sung in the Tenebræ of Maundy Thursday: then, it was an allusion to the divine vengeance that was to fall on the enemies of Jesus; to-day, we must rejoice in its prophecy of the sleep of peace which this our Saviour is taking in Sion. A few more hours, and He will rise from His tomb. His enemies, who boast of having Him in their power, will find, on awaking, that they have nothing in their hands. The earth shall tremble, and our Lord shall arise, an object of terror to His enemies, but a Saviour to the meek, that is, to the humble and faithful ones, who will then praise Him as the God ever faithful to His word.

Ant. In pace factus est locus ejus, et in Sion habitatio ejus,
Ant. His place is in peace, and his abode in Sion

Psalm 75

Notus in Judæa Deus: in Israël magnum nomen ejus.
Et factus est in pace locus ejus: et habitatio ejus in Sion.
Ibi confregit potentias arcuum: scutum, gladium, et bellum.
Illuminans tu mirabiliter a montibus æternis: turbati sunt omnes insipientes corde.
Dormierunt somnum suum: et nihil invenerunt omnes viri divitiarum in manibus suis.
Ab increpatione tua, Deus Jacob: dormitaverunt qui ascenderunt equos.
Tu terribilis es, et quis resistet tibi: ex tunc ira tua.
De cœlo auditum fecisti judicium: terra tremuit et quievit.
Cum exurgeret in judicium Deus: ut salvos faceret omnes mansuetos terrae.
Quoniam cogitatio hominis confitebitur tibi: et reliquiae cogitationis diem festum agent tibi.
Vovete et reddite Domino Deo vestro: omnes qui in circuitu ejus affertis munera.
Terribili et ei qui aufert spiritum principum: terribili apud reges terræ.

Ant. In pace factus eat locus ejus, et in Sion habitatio ejus.
In Judea God is known, his name is great in Israel.
And his place is in peace, and his abode in Sion.
There hath he broken the power of bows, the shield, the sword, and the battle.
Thou enlightenest wonderfully from the everlasting hills: all the foolish of heart were troubled.
They have slept their sleep: and all the men of riches have found nothing in their hands.
At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, they have all slumbered that mounted on horseback.
Thou art terrible, and who shall resist thee? from that time thy wrath.
Thou hast caused judgment to be heard from heaven: the earth trembled and was still.
When God arose in judgment, to save all the meek of the earth.
For the thought of man shall give praise to thee: and the remainders of the thought shall keep holiday to thee.
Vow ye, and pay to the Lord your God: all you that round about him bring presents.
To him that is terrible, even to him that taketh away the spirit of princes; to the terrible with the kings of the earth.

Ant. His place is in peace, and his abode in Sion.

The ninth psalm is the Domine, Deus salutis meœ, repeated from yesterday’s Office page 437. It shows us our Saviour praying to His Father, that He will raise Him, and free Him from among the dead. The time fixed for His lying in the darkness of the sepulchre is over, the hour of His Resurrection to life is at hand.

It is sung to the following antiphon.

Ant. Factus sum sicut homo sine adjutorio, inter mortuos liber.
Ant. I am become as a man without help, whose life is set free, and he is now numbered among the dead.

 

℣. In pace factus est locus ejus.
℟. Et in Sion habitatio ejus.
℣. His place is in peace.
℟.. And his abode in Sion.

The Pater noster is here recited in secret.

The third nocturn lessons are again from the Epistle to the Hebrews. In the passage chosen for to-day, the apostle shows us the divine efficacy of the Blood of Jesus, and how His testament, or last will, could not be applied to us save by His death.

 

SEVENTH LESSON

 

De Epistola Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Hebræos.

Cap. ix.

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, aeterna redemptione inventa. Si enim sanguis hircorum et taurorum, et cinis vitulæ aspersus inquinatos sanctificat ad emundationem carnis: quanto magis Sanguis Christi qui per Spiritimi sanctum semetipsum obtulit immaculatum Deo, emundabit conscientiam nostram ab operibus mortuis ad serviendum Deo viventi?
From the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle, to the Hebrews.

Ch. ix.

Christ being come a High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of thiscreation: neither by the blood of goats, nor 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?

℟. Adstiterunt reges terræ, et principes convenerunt in unum,
* Adversus Dominum, et adversus Christum ejus.
℣. Quare fremuerunt gentes, et populi meditati sunt inania?
* Adversus Dominum, et adversus Christum ejus.
℟. The kings of the earth stood, and the princes met together,
* Against the Lord, and against his Christ.
℣. Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things?
* Against the Lord, and against his Christ.

Eighth Lesson

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. Ubi enim testamelitum est, mors necesse est intercedat testatoris. Testamentum enim in mortuis confirmatum est; alioquin nondum valet, dum vivit qui testatus est. Unde nec primum quidem sine sanguine dedicatum est.
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. For where there is a testament, the death of a testator must of necessity come in. For a testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is as yet of no strength, whilst the testator liveth. Whereupon neither was the first indeed dedicated without blood.

℟. Æstimatus sum cum descendentibus in lacum.
* Factus sum sicut homo sine adjutorio, inter mortuos liber.
℣. Posuerunt me in lacu inferiori, in tenebrosis, et in umbra mortis.
* Factus sum sicut homo sine adjutorio, inter mortuos liber.
℟. I am counted among them that go dowm to the pit.
* I am become as a man without help, free among the dead.
℣. They have laid me in the lower pit, in the dark places, and in the shadow of death.
* I am become as a man without help, free among the dead.

Ninth Lesson

Lecto enim omni mandato legis a Moyse universo populo, accipiens sanguinem vitulorum et hircorum, cum aqua et lana coccinea et hyssopo: ipsum quoque librum et omnem populum aspersit, dicens: Hic sanguis testamenti, quod mandavit ad vos Deus. Etiam tabernaculum, et omnia vasa ministerii sanguine similiter aspersit. Et omnia pene in sanguine secundum legem mundantur: et sine sanguinis effusione non fit remissio.
For when every commandment of the law had been read by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying: this is the blood of the testament, which God hath enjoined unto you. The tabernacle also, and all the vessels of the ministry, in like manner, he sprinkled with blood. And almost all things, according to the law, are cleansed with blood: and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

℟. Sepulto Domino, signatum est monumentum, volventes lapidem ad ostium monumenti:
* Ponentes milites, qui custodirent illum.
℣. Accedentes principes sacerdotum ad Pilatum, petierunt illum.
* Ponentes milites, qui custodirent illum.
Here is repeated: Sepulto Domino.
℟. Having buried our Lord, they sealed up the sepulchre, rolling a stone before the entrance of the sepulchre:
* Placing soldiers to guard him.
℣. The chief priests went to Pilate, and sought his permission.
* Placing soldiers to guard him.
Here is repeated: Having buried.

 

LAUDS

 

The first psalm of Lauds is the Miserere (page 336 ). Its antiphon is the following:

Ant. O mors, ero mors tua: morsus tuusero, inferne.
Ant. O death! I will be thy death. O hell, I will be thy ruin.

The second psalm, which according to its title in the Psalter is to be sung on the Sabbath day, celebrates the magnificence of the Lord in His works, the fruitlessness of the plots laid by sinners, the triumph of Christ the Just One, and the blessed hope of His followers.

Ant. Plangent eum quasi unigenitum: quia innocens Dominius occisus est.
Ant. They shall mourn for him as for an only son: because the innocent Lord is slain.

Psalm 91

Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.
Ad annuntiandum mane misericordiam tuam: et veritatem tuam per noctem.
In decachordo, psalterio: cum cantico in cithara.
Quia delectasti me, Domine, in factura tua: et in operibus manuum tuarum exsultabo.
Quam magnificata sunt opera tua Domine! nimis profundæ factæ sunt cogitationes tuæ.
Vir insipiens non cognoscet: et stultus non intelliget hæc.
Cum exorti fuerint peccatores sicut fœnum: et apparuerint omnes qui operantur iniquitatem:
Ut intereant in sæculum sæculi: tu autem Altissimus in æternum, Domine.
Quoniam ecce inimici tui, Domine, quoniam ecce inimici tui peribunt: et dispergentur omnes, qui operantur iniquitatem.
Et exaltabitur sicut unicornis cornu meum: et senectus mea in misericordia uberi.
Et despexit oculus meus inimicos meos: et in insurgentibus in me malignantibus audiet auris mea.
Justus ut palma florebit: sicut cedrus Libani multiplicabitur.
Piantati in domo Domini, in atriis domus Dei nostri florebunt.
Adhuc multplicabunturin senecta uberi: et bene patientes erunt, ut annuntient.
Quoniam rectus Dominus Deus noster: et non est iniquitas in eo.

Ant. Plangent eum quasi unigenitum; quia innocens Dominus occisus est.
It is good to give praise unto the Lord; and to sing to thy name, O thou Most High.
To show forth thy mercy in the morning: and thy truth in the night.
Upon an instrument of ten strings, upon the psaltery: with a song upon the harp.
For thou hast given me, O Lord, delight in thy doings: and in the works of thy hands shall I rejoice.
O Lord, how great are thy works! thy thoughts are exceeding deep.
The unwise man shall not know: nor will the fool understand these things.
When the wicked shall spring up as the grass: and all the workers of iniquity shall appear.
That they may perish for ever and ever: but thou, O Lord, art Most High for evermore.
For behold thine enemies, O Lord, for behold thine enemies shall perish: and all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.
But my horn shall be exalted like that of the unicorn: and my old age in plentiful mercy.
Mine eye also hath looked down upon mine enemies: and mine ear shall hear of the downfall of the malignant that rise up against me.
The just shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus.
They that are planted in the house of the Lord: shall flourish in the courts of the house of our God.
They shall still increase in a fruitful old age: and it shall be well with them.
That they may show that the Lord our God is upright: and there is no iniquity in him.

Ant. They shall mourn for him as for an only son: because the innocent Lord is slain.

Psalm 63

Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam cum deprecor: a timore inimici eripe animam meam.
Protexisti me a conventu malignantium: a multitudine operantium iniquitatem.
Quia exacuerunt ut gladium linguas suas: intenderunt arcum rem amaram, ut sagittent in occultis immaculatum.
Subito sagittabunt eum, et non timebunt: firmaverunt sibi sermonem nequam.
Narraverunt ut absconderent laqueos: dixerunt: Quis videbit eos?
Scrutati sunt iniquitates: defecerunt scrutantes scrutinio.
Accedet homo ad cor altum: et exaltabitur Deus.
Sagittæ parvulorum factæ sunt plagæ eorum: et infirmatæ sunt contra eos linguae eorum.
Conturbati sunt omnes qui videbant eos: et timuit omnis homo.
Et annuntiaverunt opera Dei, et facta ejus intellexerunt.
Lætabitur justus in Domino, et sperabit in eo, et laudabuntur omnes recti corde.

Ant. Attendite universi populi, et videte dolorem meum.
Hear my prayer, O God, when I make supplication to thee: deliver my soul from the fear of the enemy.
Thou hast protected me from the assembly of the malignant: from the multitude of the workers of iniquity.
For they have whetted their tongues like a sword: they have bent their bow a bitter thing, to shoot in secret the undefiled.
They will shoot at him on a sudden, and will not fear: they are resolute in words of wickedness.
They have talked of hiding snares: they have said: Who shall see them?
They have searched after iniquities: they have failed in their search.
Man shall come to a deep heart: and God shall be exalted.
The arrows of children are their wounds: and their tongues are made weak against them.
All that saw them were troubled: and every man was afraid.
And they declared the works of God: and understood his doings.
The just shall rejoice in the Lord, and shall hope in him: and all the upright in heart shall be praised.

Ant. Attend, all ye people, and see my sorrow.

The canticle of Ezechias, which is always sung in Tuesday’s Lauds, is here substituted for that of Deuteronomy, which is the proper one for Saturdays, but which is not in harmony with to-day’s mystery. Ezechias lying on his sick-bed, and praying God to restore him to health, is a figure of Christ in His tomb, beseeching His Father to give Him a speedy Resurrection to life.

Ant. A porta inferi erue, Domine, animam meam.
Ant. From the gate of the tomb, O Lord, deliver my soul.

Canticle of Ezechial
(Is. xxxviii)

Ego dixi: in dimidio dierum meorum: vadain ad portas inferi.
Quæsivi residuum annorum meorum: dixi: Non videbo Dominum Deum in terra viventium.
Non aspiciam hominem ultra: et habitatorem quietis.
Generatio mea ablata est, et convoluta est a me: quasi tabernaculum pastorum.
Præcisa est velut a texente vita mea, dum adhuc ordirer succidit me: de mane usque ad vesperam finies me.
Sperabam usque ad mane: quasi leo sic contrivit omnia ossa mea.
De mane usque ad vesperam finies me: sicut pullus hirundinis sic clamabo, meditabor ut columba.Attenuati sunt oculi mei: suspicientes in excelsum.
Domine, vim patior, responde pro me: Quid dicam, aut quid respondebit mihi, cum ipse fecerit?
Recogitabo tibi omnes annos meos: in amaritudine animæ meæ.
Domine, si sic vivitur, et in talibus vita spiritus mei, corripies me, et vivificabis me: ecce in pace amaritudo mea amarissima.
Tu autem eruisti animam meam ut non periret: projecisti post tergum tuum omnia peccata mea.
Quia non infernus confitebitur tibi, neque mors laudabit te: non exspectabunt qui descendunt in lacum veritatem tuam.
Vivens, vivens, ipse confitebitur tibi, sicut et ego hodie: pater filiis notam faciet veritatem tuam.
Domine, salvum me fac, et psalmos nostros cantabimus cunctis diebus vitæ nostræ in domo Domini.

Ant. A porta inferi, erue, Domine, animam meam.
I said: in the midst of my days: I shall go to the gates of hell.
I sought for the residue of my years: I said, I shall not see the Lord God in the land of the living.
I shall behold man no more, nor the inhabitant of rest.
My generation is at an end, and it is rolled away from me as a shepherd’s tent.
My life is cut off as by a weaver; whilst I was but beginning, he cut me off: from morning even till night thou wilt make an end of me.
I hoped till morning: as a lion so hath he broken my bones.
From morning even till night thou wilt make an end of me:I will cry like a young swallow, I will meditate like a dove.My eyes are weakened with looking upward.
Lord, I suffer violence, answer thou for me. What shall I say, or what shall he answer for me, whereas he himself hath done it?
I will recount to thee all my years, in the bitterness of my soul.
O Lord, if man’s life be such, and the life of my spirit be in such things as these, thou shalt correct me, and make me to live. Behold in peace is my bitterness most bitter.
But thou hast delivered my soul that it should not perish: thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.
For hell shall not confess to thee, neither shall death praise thee: nor shall they that go down into the pit look for thy truth.
The living, the living, he shall give praise to thee, as I do this day: the father shall make thy truth known to the children.
O Lord, save me, and we will sing our psalms all the days of our life in the house of the Lord.

Ant. From the gate of the tomb, O Lord, deliver my soul.

The last psalm of Lauds, which is also the last of the Psalter, is a short hymn of praise sung by all creatures to their Creator. It is accompanied by the following antiphon:

Ant. O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte, si est dolor sicut dolor meus.
Ant. O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see, if there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.

Psalm 150

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

Ant. O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte, si est dolor sicut dolor meus.
Praise ye the Lord in his holy places: praise ye him in the firmament of his power.
Praise ye him for his mighty acts: praise ye him according to the multitude of his greatness.
Praise him with sound of trumpet: praise him with psaltery and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and choir: praise him with strings and organs.
Praise him on high-sounding cymbals: praise him on cymbals of joy: let every spirit praise the Lord.

Ant. O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see, if there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.

℣. Caro mea requiescet in spe.
℟. Et non dabis Sanctum tuum videre corruptionem.
℣. My flesh shall rest in hope.
℟. And thou wilt not suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.

After this versicle, the Benedictus (page 347) is sung, to the following antiphon

Ant. Mulieres sedentes ad monumentum lamentabantur, flentes Dominum.
Ant. The women, sitting near the tomb, mourned, weeping for the Lord.

The antiphon having been repeated after the canticle, the choir sings, to a touching melody, the following words, which are repeated at the end of all the Canonical Hours of these three days. But to-day the Church is not satisfied with announcing the death of her Jesus: she adds the remaining words of the apostle, wherein he tells us of the glory of the ManGod, the Conqueror of the tomb.

℣. Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis.

Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum, et dedit illi nomen, quod est super orane nomen.
℣. Christ became, for our sake, obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.

For which cause, God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name, which is above all names.

Then is said, in secret, the Pater noster, which is followed by the Miserere (page 336). As soon as the psalm is finished, the following prayer is recited by the first in dignity:

Respice, quæsumus, Domine, super hanc. familiam tuam: pro qua Dominus noster Jesus Christus non dubitavit manibus tradi nocentium, et crucis subire tormentum:
Look down, O Lord, we beseech thee, upon this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ hesitated not to be delivered into the hands of wicked men, and to undergo the punishment of the cross:

(then the rest in secret:)

Qui tecum vivit et regnat, in unitate Spiritus sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including descriptions of the following:

A night has passed over the tomb, wherein lies buried the Body of the Man-God. Death is triumphant in that silent cave, and holds captive Him that gives life to every creature: but his triumph will soon be at an end. The soldiers may watch, as best they will, over that grave: they cannot hold Jesus prisoner, as soon as the moment fixed for His Resurrection comes. The holy angels are there, profoundly adoring the lifeless Body of Him, whose Blood is to reconcile all things, both on earth and in heaven.[1] This Body, though for a brief interval separated from the Soul, is still united to the Person of the Son of God; so likewise the Soul, during its separation from the Body, has not for an instant lost its union with the Word. The Divinity remains also united with the Blood which lies sprinkled on Calvary, and which, at the moment of the Resurrection of the Man-God, is to enter once more into His sacred veins.

Let us also return to the sepulchre, and adore the Body of our buried Jesus. Now, at last, we understand what sin has done: by sin, death entered into the world; and it passed upon all men.[2] Though Jesus knew no sin,[3] yet has He permitted death to have dominion over Him, in order that He might make it less bitter to us, and by His Resurrection restore unto us that eternal life, of which we had been deprived by sin. How gratefully we should appreciate this death of our Jesus! By becoming Incarnate, He became a servant;[4] His death was a still deeper humiliation. The sight of this tomb, wherein His Body lies lifeless and cold, teaches us something far more important than the power of death: it reveals to us the immense, the incomprehensible love of God for man. He knew that wo were to gain by His humiliations; the greater His humiliations, the greater our exaltation: this was His principle, and it led Him to what seems like an excess! Let us, then, love this sacred sepulchre, which is to give us life. We have thanked Him for having died for us upon the cross; let us thank Him, but most feelingly, for having humbled Himself, for our sake, even to the tomb!

And now let us visit the holy Mother, who has passed the night in Jerusalem, going over, in saddest memory, the scenes she has witnessed. Her Jesus has been a victim to every possible insult and cruelty; He has been crucified; His precious Blood has flowed in torrents from those five Wounds; He is dead, and now lies buried in yonder tomb, as though He were but a mere man, yea the most abject of men. How many tears have fallen, during these long hours, from the eyes of the daughter of David! And yet, her Son has not come back to her! Near her is Magdalene; heart-broken by yesterday’s events, she has no words to tell her grief, for Jesus is gone, and, as she thinks, for ever. The other women, less loved by Jesus than Magdalene, yet most dear to Him, stand around the disconsolate Mother. They have braved every insult and danger in order to remain on Calvary till all was over, and they intend returning thither with Magdalene, as soon as the Sabbath is over, to honour the tomb and the Body of Jesus.

John, the adopted son of Mary, and the beloved disciple of Jesus, is oppressed with sorrow. Others, also, of the apostles and disciples visit the house of mourning. Peter, penitent and humble, fears not to appear before the Mother of mercy. Among the disciples are Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. We may easily imagine the conversation—it is on the sufferings and death of Jesus, and on the ingratitude of the Jews. The Church, in the seventh responsory of to-day’s Tenebrœ, represents these men as saying: ‘Behold! how the Just One dieth, and there is none that taketh it to heart. Iniquity has had its way. He was silent as a lamb under his shearer, and He opened not His mouth. He was taken away from distress and judgment: but His memory shall be in peace.’

Thus speak the men; the women are thinking of their morrow’s visit to the sepulchre. The saintliness of Jesus, His goodness, His power, His sufferings, His death—everything is remembered, except His Resurrection, which they had often heard Him say should certainly and speedily take place. Mary alone lives in expectation of His triumph. In her was verified that expression of the Holy Ghost, where, speaking of the valiant woman, He says: ‘Her lamp shall not be put out in the night.’[5] Her courage fails not, because she knows that the sepulchre must yield up its Dead, and her Jesus will rise again to life. St. Paul tells us that our religion is vain, unless we have faith in the mystery of our Lord’s Resurrection: where was this faith on the day after our Lord’s death? In one heart only—and that was Mary’s. As it was her chaste womb that had held within it Him whom heaven and earth cannot contain, so, on this day, by her firm and unwavering faith, she resumes within her single self the whole Church. How sacred is this Saturday, which, notwithstanding all its sadness, is such a day of glory to the Mother of Jesus! It is on this account that the Church has consecrated to Mary the Saturday of every week.

But it is time to repair to the house of God. The bells are still silent: our faith must speak to us, and make us eager to assist at the grand mysteries which the liturgy is about to celebrate. Surely the Christian sentiment must be dead in those who can be willingly absent from the church on such a morning as this. No, it cannot be that we, who have followed the celebration of the mysteries of our religion thus far, can flag now, and lose the graces of this morning’s magnificent service.

 

THE MORNING SERVICE 

 

It was the practice of the Church, and one that had been handed down from the earliest ages, that the Sacrifice of the Mass should not be offered up either yesterday or to-day. Yesterday, the anniversary of Jesus’ death, was exclusively devoted to the remembrance of the mystery of Calvary, and a holy fear kept the Church from renewing that Sacrifice upon her altars. For the same reason she abstained to-day, also, from its celebration. The burial of Christ is a sequel of His Passion: and during these hours when His Body lay lifeless in the tomb, it was fitting that the Sacrifice, wherein He is offered as the glorious and risen Jesus, should be suspended. Even the Greek Church, which never fasts on the Saturdays of Lent, follows the practice of the Latin Church for this Saturday: she not only fasts, but she even omits the celebration of the Mass of the Presanctified.

Such was the discipline of the Latin Church for nearly a thousand years: but about the eleventh century, an important change began to be introduced with regard to the celebration of Mass on Holy Saturday. The Mass which, hitherto, had been celebrated during the night preceding Easter Sunday, then began to be anticipated on the Saturday; but it was always considered as the Mass for the hour of our Lord’s Resurrection, and not as the Mass of Holy Saturday. The relaxations that had been introduced with regard to fasting were the occasion of this change in the liturgy. In the first ages, the faithful watched the whole night in the church, awaiting the hour when our Lord rose triumphant from the tomb. They also assisted at the solemn administration of Baptism to the catechumens, which so sublimely expressed the passing from spiritual death to the life of grace. There was no other Vigil of the whole year so solemnly observed as this: but it lost a great portion of its interest, when the necessity of baptizing adults was removed by Christianity having triumphed wheresoever it had been preached. The Orientals have kept up the ancient tradition to this day: but in the west, dating from the eleventh century, the Mass of the Resurrection hour has been gradually anticipated, until it has been brought even to the morning of Holy Saturday. Durandus of Menda, who wrote his Rational of the Divine Offices towards the close of the thirteenth century, tells us that, in his time, there were very few Churches which observed the primitive custom; and even these soon conformed to the general practice of the Latin Church.

As a result of this change, there is an apparent contradiction between the mystery of Holy Saturday and the Divine Service which is celebrated upon it; Christ is still in the tomb, and yet we are celebrating His Resurrection: the hours preceding Mass are mournful, and before midday the paschal joy will have filled our hearts. We will conform to the present order of the holy liturgy, thus entering into the spirit of the Church, who has thought proper to give her children a foretaste of the joys of Easter. We will give a general view of the solemn Service, at which we are going to assist; afterwards, we will explain each portion as it comes.

The great object of the whole of to-day’s Service, and the centre to which every one of the ceremonies converges, is the Baptism of the catechumens. The faithful must keep this incessantly before them, or they will be at a loss how to understand or profit by the liturgy of to-day. First of all, there is the blessing of the new fire, and incense. This is followed by the blessing of the Paschal candle. Immediately after this are read the twelve prophecies, which have reference to the mysteries of to-day’s Service. As soon as the prophecies are finished a procession is formed to the baptistery, and the water is blessed. The matter of Baptism thus prepared, the catechumens receive the Sacrament of regeneration. Confirmation is then administered to them by the bishop. Immediately after this, the holy Sacrifice is celebrated in honour of our Lord’s Resurrection, and the neophytes partake of the divine mysteries. Finally the joyous Vesper-Office comes in, and brings to a termination the longest and most fatiguing Service of the Latin liturgy. In order to assist our readers to enter fully into its spirit, we will go back a thousand years, and imagine ourselves to be celebrating this solemn eve of Easter in one of the ancient cathedrals of Italy, or of our own dear land.

At Rome, the Station is at St. John Lateran, the mother and mistress of all Churches. The Sacrament of regeneration is administered in the baptistery of Constantine. The sight of these venerable sanctuaries carries us back in thought to the fourth century; there, each year, holy Baptism is conferred upon some adult; and a numerous Ordination adds its own splendour to the sacred pomp of this day, whose liturgy, as we have just said, is the richest of the whole year.

 

BLESSING OF THE NEW FIRE AND INCENSE

 

Last Wednesday the catechumens were told to present themselves at the church, for the hour of to-day’s Terce (that is, nine o’clock in the morning).

It is the final scrutiny. The priests are there to receive them; those who have not previously been examined upon the Symbol, are now questioned. The Lord’s Prayer and the biblical attributes of the four evangelists having been explained, one of the priests dismisses the candidates for Baptism, bidding them spend the interval in recollection and prayer.

At the hour of None (our three o’clock in the afternoon), the bishop and all the clergy repair to the Church, and Holy Saturday vigil begins from this moment. The first ceremony consists in the blessing of the new fire, which is to furnish light for the whole Service. It was the daily custom, in the first ages of the Church, to strike a light from a flint before Vespers: from this the lamps and candles were lighted for the celebration of that Hour, and the light thus procured was kept up in the church till the Vespers of the following day. The Church of Rome observed this custom with great solemnity on Maundy Thursday morning, and the new fire received a special blessing. We learn, from a letter written in the eighth century by Pope St. Zachary to St. Boniface archbishop of Mayence, that three lamps were lighted from this fire, which were then removed to some safe place, and care taken that their light was kept in. It was from these lamps that the light for Holy Saturday night was taken. In the following century, under St. Leo IV, whose pontificate lasted from 847 to 855, the custom of every day procuring new fire from a flint was extended also to Holy Saturday.

It is not difficult to understand the meaning of this ceremony, which is no longer observed by the Latin Church save on this day. Our Lord said of Himself: ‘I am the light of the world.’[6] Light, then, is an image of the Son of God. Stone, also, is one of the types under which the Scriptures speak to us of the Messias. St. Peter,[7] and St. Paul,[8] quoting the words of the prophet Isaias,[9] speak of Jesus as the Corner-Stone. The spark which is struck from the flint represents our Lord rising from His rock-hewn sepulchre, through the stone that had been rolled against it.

It is fitting, therefore, that this fire which is to provide light for the Paschal candle, as well as for those that are upon the altar, should receive a special blessing, and be triumphantly shown to the faithful. All the lamps in the church have been extinguished. Formerly, the faithful used to put out the fires in their houses, before going to the church: they lighted them, on their return, with light taken from the blessed fire, which they received as a symbol of our Lord’s Resurrection. Let us not here omit to notice, that the putting out of all the lights in the church is a symbol of the abrogation of the old Law, which ended with the rending of the veil of the temple; and that the new fire represents the preaching of the new Law, whereby our Lord Jesus Christ, the light of the world, fulfilled all the figures of the ancient Covenant.

In order to help our readers to enter more fully into the mystery of the ceremony we are describing, we will here mention a miracle which was witnessed for many centuries. The clergy and people of Jerusalem assembled for the service of Easter eve in the church of holy sepulchre. After waiting for some time in silence, one of the lamps suspended over our Lord’s tomb was miraculously lighted. The other lamps and torches throughout the church were lighted from this, and the faithful took its holy flame with them to their homes. It would seem that this annual miracle first began after the Saracens had taken possession of Jerusalem: God so ordaining, that it might be a proof to these infidels of the divinity of the Christian religion. The historians of those times, who have written upon the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, all speak of this miracle as of an incontestable fact; and when Pope Urban II went to France, there to preach the first Crusade, he brought forward this miracle as one of the motives which should inspire the faithful with zeal for the defence of the sepulchre of Christ. When our Lord, in the unsearchable ways of His justice, permitted Jerusalem to be reconquered by the infidels, the miracle ceased, nor has it ever been witnessed from that time. Our readers have no doubt heard of the scandalous scene, which is now repeated every Holy Saturday in the church of holy sepulchre in Jerusalem: we allude to the deception practised by the schismatic Greek priests, whereby they persuade their deluded people that their ingenious trick for lighting a lamp is the continuation of the miracle.

The Church also blesses the five grains of incense, which are to be used in this morning’s Service. They represent the perfumes prepared by Magdalene and her holy companions for embalming the Body of Jesus. The prayer said by the bishop, when blessing the incense, not only shows us the connection there is between it and the light, but it also teaches us what is the power these several sacred objects have against the wicked spirits.

The bishop, with his attendants, goes in procession from the church to the place where he is to bless the fire and incense. The fire, as we have already said, is the symbol of our Lord Jesus Christ; and the sepulchre, whence He is to rise to life, is outside the walls of Jerusalem. The holy women and the apostles, when they go to the sepulchre, will have to go forth from the city.

The bishop, having come to the appointed place, blesses the fire by the following prayers.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus.

Deus, qui per Filium tuum, angularem scilicet lapidem, claritatis tuæ ignem fidelibus contulisti, productum e silice, nostris profuturum usibus. novum hunc ignem sanctifica: et concede nobis, ita per hæc festa Paschalia cœlestibus desideriis inflammari; ut ad perpetuai claritatis. puris mentibus, valeamus festa pertingere. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus.

Domine Deus. Pater omnipotens, lumen indeficiens, qui es conditor omnium luminum: benedic hoc lumen, quod a te sanctificatum atque benedictum est, qui illuminasti omnem mundum: ut ab eo Inmine accendamur, atque illuminemur igne claritatis tuæ; et sicut illuminasti Moysen exeuntem de Ægypto, ita illumines corda et sensus nostros; ut ad vitam et lucem æternam pervenire mereamur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus.

Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, benedicentibus nobis hunc ignem in nomine tuo, et unigeniti Filii tui Dei ac Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et Spiritus sancti, cooperare digneris, et adjuva nos contra ignita tela inimici, et illustra gratia cœlesti. Qui vivis et regnas cum eodem Unigenito tuo et Spiritu sancto, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray.

O God, who by thy Son the corner-stone, hast bestowed on the faithful the fire of thy brightness; sanctify this new fire produced from a flint for our use: and grant that, during this Paschal festival, we may be so inflamed with heavenly desires, that with pure minds we may come to the solemnity of eternal splendour. Through the same Christ our Lord.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray.

O Lord God, almighty Father, never failing light, who art the author of all light’ bless this light, that is blessed and sanctified by thee, who hast enlightened the whole world: that we may be enlightened by that light, and inflamed with the fire of thy brightness: and as thou didst give light to Moses, when he went out of Egypt, so illumine our hearts and senses, that we may obtain light and life everlasting. Through Christ our Lord,
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray.

O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God: vouchsafe to co-operate with us, who bless this fire in thy name, and in that of thy only Son Christ Jesus, our Lord and God: and of the Holy Ghost: assist us against the fiery darts of the enemy, and illumine us with thy heavenly grace. Who livest and reignest with the same only Son and Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever.
℟. Amen.

The bishop then blesses the incense, thus addressing himself in prayer to God:

Veniat, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, super hoc incensum larga tuæ benedictionis infusio: et hunc nocturnum splendorem invisibilis regenerator accende: ut non solum sacrificium quod hac nocte litatum est, arcana luminis tui admixtione refulgeat: sed in quocumque loco ex hujus sanctificationis mysterio aliquid fuerit deportatum, expulsa diabolicæ fraudis nequitia, virtus tuæ majestatis assistat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

℟. Amen.
Pour forth, we beseech thee, O almighty God, thy abundant blessing on this incense: and kindle, O invisible regenerator, the brightness of this night: that not only the sacrifice that is offered this night may shine by the secret mixture of thy light; but also into whatever place anything of this mysterious sanctification shall be brought, there, by the power of thy majesty, all the malicious artifices of the devil may be defeated. Through Christ our Lord.

℟. Amen.

After these prayers, an acolyte puts some of the blessed fire into the thurible. The bishop then censes the fire and the incense, after having first sprinkled them with holy water. Another acolyte lights a candle from the blessed fire, that the new light may be brought into the church. The deacon then vests in a white dalmatic. This festive colour, which contrasts so strongly with the purple cope worn by the bishop, is used on acoount of the joyful ministry which the deacon is about to fulfil. He takes into his right hand a reed, on the top of which is placed a triple-branched candle. The reed is in memory of our Lord’s Passion: it also expresses the weakness of the human Nature which He assumed to Himself by the Incarnation. The three-branched candle signifies the blessed Trinity, of which the Incarnate Word is the Second Person.

The procession returns. Having entered the church, the deacon, after advancing a few steps, lowers the reed, and the acolyte who carries the new light, lights one of the three branches of the candle. The deacon then kneels, as do also all the clergy and people. Raising the light on high, he sings these words:

Lumen Christi.
The light of Christ!

All answer:

Deo gratias.
Thanks be to God!

This first showing of the light expresses the revelation made to us, by Jesus, of the Divinity of the Father. ‘No one,’ says He, ‘knoweth the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him.’[10]

After this, all rise, and the procession advances as far as mid-way up the church. Here the deacon again lowers the reed, and a second branch of the candle is lighted by the acolyte. The same ceremonies are observed as before, and the deacon sings on a higher note:

Lumen Christi.
The light of Christ!

The whole assembly answers:

Deo gratias.
Thanks be to God!

This second showing of the light signifies the world’s receiving the knowledge of the Divinity of the Son; He appeared and dwelt among us, and, with His own sacred lips, taught us that He was God, equal to the Father in all things

The procession continues as far as the altar-steps. The third branch of the candle on the reed is lighted, and the deacon once more sings, but on a still higher and gladder note:

Lumen Christi.
The light of Christ!

Again, the response is made:

Deo gratias.
Thanks be to God!

This third showing of the light signifies the revelation of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, which was made to us by our Saviour when He commanded His apostles to do what the Church is to do this very night: ‘Teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’[11] It is, then, by Jesus, who is the Light of the world, that mankind has been taught to know the blessed Trinity. The bishop, before administering Baptism to the catechumens, will ask them if they believe in this great mystery. During the whole of this night’s Service, they will have before their eyes the expressive symbol of the Trinity, the three-branched candle.

This, then, is the first use to which the new fire is put: to proclaim the holy Trinity. It is next to publish the glory of the Incarnate Word, by lighting up the glorious symbol which is now to be brought before us. The bishop is seated on his throne. The deacon kneels before him, and asks a blessing, before beginning the great work entrusted to him. The pontiff thus blesses him:

Dominus sit in corde tuo, et in labiis tuis: ut digne et competenter annunties suum Paschale præconium. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti. Amen.
The Lord be in thy heart and on thy lips, that thou mayst worthily and fitly proclaim his Paschal praise. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Thus prepared, the deacon rises and goes to the ambo. The acolytes, holding the triple candle and the five grains of incense, are standing at his side. Near the ambo is a marble pillar, on which is fixed the Paschal candle.

 

THE PASCHAL CANDLE

 

The sun is setting, and our earth will soon be mantled in darkness. The Church has provided a torch, which is to spread its light upon us during the whole of this long vigil. It is of an unusual size. It stands alone, and is of a pillar-like form. It is the symbol of Christ. Before being lighted, its scriptural type is the pillar of a cloud, which hid the Israelites when they went out from Egypt; under this form, it is the figure of our Lord, when lying lifeless in the tomb. When lighted, we must see in it both the pillar of fire which guided the people of God, and the glory of our Jesus risen from His grave. Our holy mother the Church would have us enthusiastically love this glorious symbol, and speaks its praise to us in all the magnificence of her inspired eloquence. As early as the beginning of the fifth century, Pope St. Zozimus extended to all the churches of the city of Rome, the privilege of blessing the Paschal candle, although Baptism was administered no where but in the baptistery of St. John Lateran. The object of this grant was, that all the faithful might share in the holy impressions which so solemn a rite is intended to produce. It was for the same intention that, later, every church, even though it had no baptismal font, was permitted to have the blessing of the Paschal candle.

The deacon proclaims the Easter solemnity to the people, while chanting the praises of this sacred object: and whilst celebrating the glories of Him, whose emblem it is, he becomes the herald of the Resurrection. The altar, the sanctuary, the bishop, all are in the sombre colour of the lenten rite; the deacon alone is vested in white. At other times, he would not presume to raise his voice as he is now going to do, in the solemn tone of a Preface: but this is the eve of the Resurrection; and the deacon, as the interpreters of the liturgy tell us, represents Magdalene and the holy women, on whom our Lord conferred the honour of being the first to know His Resurrection, and to whom He gave the mission of preaching to the very apostles that He had risen from the dead, and would meet them in Galilee.

But let us listen to the thrilling Exsultet of our deacon, and learn from him the joys that await us on this wonderful night.

Exsultet jam angelica turba cœlorum; exsultent divina mysteria: et pro tanti Regis victoria, tuba insonet salutaris. Gaudeat et tellus tantis irradiata fulgoribus: et æterni Regis splendore illustrata, totius orbis se sentiat amisisse caliginem. Lætetur et mater Ecclesia, tanti luminis adornata fulgoribus: et magnis populorum vocibus hæc aula resultet. Quapropter adstantes vos, fratres charissimi, ad tam miram hujus sancti luminis claritatem, una mecum, quæso, Dei omnipotentis misericordiam invocate. Ut qui me non meis meritis intra levitarum numerura dignatus est aggregare: luminis sui claritatem infundens, cerei hujus laudem implere perficiat. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium suum: qui cum eo vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℣. Sursum corda.
℟. Habemus ad Dominum.

℣. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
℟. Dignum et justum est.

Vere dignum et justum est invisibilem Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Filiumque ejus unigenitum, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, toto cordis ac mentis affectu, et vocis ministerio personare. Qui pro nobis æterno Patri Adæ debitum solvit: et veteris piaculi cautionem pio cruore detersit. Hæc sunt enim festa Paschalia, in quibus venis ille Agnus occiditur, cujus sanguine postes fidelium consecrantur.

Hæc nox est, in qua primum patres nostros filios Israël eductos de Ægypto, mare Rubrum sicco vestigio transire fecisti. Hæc igitur nox est quæ peccatorum tenebras columnæ illuminatione purgavit. Hæc nox est quæ hodie per universum mundum, in Christo credentes, a vitiis sæculi, et caligine peccatorum segregatos reddit gratiæ, sociat sanctitati. Hæc nox est in qua destructis vinculis mortis, Christus ab inferis victor ascendit. Nihil enim nobis nasci profuit, nisi redimi profuisset.

O mira circa nos tuæ pietatis dignatio! O inestimabilis dilectio charitatis! ut servum redimeres, filium tradidisti. O certe necessarium Adæ peccatum, quod Christi morte deletum est! O felix culpa, quæ talem ac tantum meruit habere Redemptorem!

O vere beata nox, quæ sola meruit scire tempus et horam, in qua Christus ab inferis resurrexit. Hæc nox est, de qua scriptum est: Et nox sicut dies illuminabitur; et: Nox illuminatio mea in deliciis meis. Hujus igitur sanctificatio noctis, fugat scelera, Culpas lavat: et reddit innocentiam lapsis, et mæstis lætitiam. Fugat odia, concordiam parat, et curvat imperia.
Let now the heavenly troops of angels rejoice: let the divine mysteries be joyfully celebrated: and let a sacred trumpet proclaim the victory of so great a King. Let the earth also be filled with joy, being illuminated with such resplendent rays: and let it be sensible that the darkness, which overspread the whole world, is chased away by the splendour of our eternal King. Let our mother, the Church, be also glad, finding herself adorned with the rays of so great a light: and let this temple resound with the joyful acclamations of the people. Wherefore, beloved brethren, you who are now present at the admirable brightness of this holy light, I beseech you to invoke with me the mercy of almighty God. That he who has been pleased, above my desert, to admit me into the number of his levites, will, by an infusion of his light upon me, enable me to celebrate the praises of this candle. Through our Lord Jesus Christ his Son, who, with him and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth one God for ever and ever.
℟. Amen.

℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

℣. Lift up your hearts.
℟. We have them fixed on God.

℣. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
℟. It is meet and just.

It is truly meet and just to proclaim with all the affection of our heart and soul, and with the sound of our voice, the invisible God the Father almighty, and his only Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Who paid for us, to his eternal Father, the debt of Adam: and by his sacred Blood cancelled the guilt contracted by original sin. For this is the Paschal solemnity, in which the true Lamb was slain, by whose Blood the doors of the faithful are consecrated.

This is the night in which thou formerly broughtest forth our forefathers the children of Israel out of Egypt, leading them dry-foot through the Red Sea. This, then, is the night which dissipated the darkness of sin, by the light of the pillar. This is the night which now delivers, all over the world, those that believe in Christ, from the vices of the world, and darkness of sin, restores them to grace, and clothes them with sanctity. This is the night in which Christ broke the chains of death, and ascended conqueror from hell. For it availed us nothing to be born, unless it had availed to be redeemed.

O how admirable is thy goodness towards us! O how inestimable is thy love! Thou hast delivered up thy Son to redeem a slave. O truly necessary sin of Adam, which the death of Christ has blotted out! O happy fault, that merited such and so great a Redeemer!

O truly blessed night, which alone deserved to know the time and hour when Christ rose again from hell. This is the night of which it is written: And the night shall be as light as the day, and the night is my illumination in my delights. Therefore the sanctification of this night blots out crimes, washes away sins, and restores innocence to sinners, and joy to the sorrowful. It banishes enmities, produces concord, and humbles empires.

Here the deacon pauses, and taking the five grains of incense, he fixes them in the candle in the form of a cross. They represent the five Wounds received by our Lord upon the cross; as also the perfumes which Magdalene and her companions had prepared for embalming His Body in the tomb. Thus far, as we have already explained, the Paschal candle is the figure of the Man-God not yet glorified by the Resurrection.

In hujus igitur noctis gratia, suscipe, sancte Pater, incensi hujus sacrificium vespertinum quod tibi in hac cerei oblatione solemni, per ministrorum manus de operibus apum, sacrosancta reddit Ecclesia. Sed jam columnæ hujus præconia novimus, quam in honorem Dei rutilans ignis accendit.
Therefore, on this sacred night, receive, O holy Father, the evening sacrifice of this incense, which thy holy Church, by the hands of her ministers, presents to thee in the solemn oblation of this wax candle made out of the labour of bees. And now we know the excellence of this pillar, which the sparkling fire lights for the honour of God.

After these words, the deacon again pauses, and taking the reed which holds the triple candle, he lights the Paschal candle with one of its branches. This signifies the instant of our Lord’s Resurrection, when the divine power restored His Body to life, by uniting with it the Soul which death had separated. The glorious symbol of Christ, our Light, is now perfect; and holy Church exults in the thought of soon beholding her heavenly Spouse triumph over death.

Qui licet sit divisus in partes, mutuati tamen luminis detrimenta non novit. Alitur enim liquantibus ce ris, quas in substantiam pretiosæ hujus lampadis, apis mater eduxit.
Which fire, though now divided, suffers no loss from the communication of its light. Because it is fed by the melt ed wax, which its mother the bee made for the composition of the precious torch.

Here are lighted, from the new fire, the lamps of the church. They are lighted after the Paschal candle, to signify that Jesus’ Resurrection was made known gradually. It also tells us that our resurrection is to be a consequence and a likeness of that of our Saviour, who opens to us the way, whereby, after having like Him passed through the tomb, we shall enter into life everlasting.

O vere beata nox quæ exspoliavit Ægyptios, ditavit Hebræos. Nox, in qua terrenis cœlestia, humanis divina junguntur. Oramus ergo te Domine: ut cereus iste in honorem tui nominis consecratus, ad noctis hujus caliginem destruendam, indeficiens perseveret. Et in odorem suavitatis acceptus, supernis luminaribus misceatur. Flammas ejus lucifer matutinus inveniat. Ille, inquam, Lucifer, qui nescit occasum. Ille, qui regressus ab inferis, humano generi serenus illuxit.

Precamur ergo te Domine: ut nos famulos tuos omnemque clerum, et devotissimum populum: una cum beatissimo Papa nostro N. et antistite nostro N. quiete temporum concessa, in his Paschalibus gaudiis, assidua protectione regere, gubernare et conservare digneris. (Respice etiam ad devotissimum imperatorem nostrum N., cujus tu, Deus, desiderii vota prænoscens, ineffabili pietatis et misericordiæ tuæ munere, tranquillum perpetuæ pacis accommoda: et coelestem victoriam cum omni populo suo.) Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

℟. Amen.
O truly blessed night! which plundered the Egyptians, and enriched the Hebrews. Anight, in which things heavenly are united with those of earth, and divine with human. We beseech thee therefore, O Lord, that this candle, consecrated to the honour of thy name, may continue burning to dissipate the darkness of this night. And being accepted as a sweetsmelling savour, may be united with the celestial lights. Let the morning-star find it burning. I mean that Star which never sets. Who being returned from hell shone with brightness on mankind.

We beseech thee therefore, O Lord, to grant us peaceable times during these Paschal solemnities, and with thy constant protection to rule, govern and preserve us thy servants, and all the clergy, and the devout people, together with our holy Father Pope N., and our bishop N. [1] (Regard also our most devout emperor: and since thou knowest, O God, the desires of his heart, grant by the ineffable grace of thy goodness and mercy, that he may enjoy with all his people the tranquillity of perpetual peace and heavenly victory.) Through the same Lord Jesus Christ thy Son: who, with thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth one God for ever and ever.

℟. Amen.

 

THE PROPHECIES

 

The torch of the resurrection now sheds its light from the ambo throughout the holy place, and gladdens the hearts of the faithful. How solemn a preparation for what is now to engage our attention, viz. the Baptism of the catechumens, whose instruction and progress in good works we have followed with such interest during the past forty days! They are assembled together under the outward porch of the Church. The priests are performing over them the preparatory rites, which embody such profound teaching, and which were instituted by the apostles. First of all, the sign of the cross was made upon their foreheads; and then the priest, imposing his hand upon the head of each catechumen, adjures satan to depart from this soul and body, and give place to Christ. Imitating thus our Redeemer, the priest then touches the ears with his spittle, saying: ‘Be ye opened!’ He does the same to the nostrils, and says: ‘Breathe ye in the sweetness of fragrance! ‘The neophyte is next anointed, on the breast and between the shoulders with the oil of catechumens: but, as this ceremony expresses his having to fight the spiritual combat, the priest first receives from him the promise to renounce satan, with his works and pomps.

These rites are performed first over the men, and then over the women. The children of Christian parents are also admitted to take their place among the catechumens. If any of these latter be labouring under any sickness, and have notwithstanding come to the church in order to receive to-night the grace of regeneration, the priest says over them a prayer, in which he fervently begs of God to heal them, and confound the malice of satan.

These ceremonies, which are called the Catechization, occupy a considerable portion of time, on account of the great number of the aspirants to Baptism. It is for this reason that the bishop came to the church at the hour of None (three o’clock in the afternoon), and that the great vigil began so early. Whilst these rites are being administered to the catechumens, the rest of the faithful are listening to appropriate passages from the Scripture, which are being read from the ambo, and which are the complement to the lenten instructions.

These lessons are twelve in number: but in the venerable basilica, where we are now supposing ourselves to be, we may say there are twenty-four, since each of the twelve is read in Latin first, and then in Greek. In order to fix the attention, and excite the devotion of her children to what she reads to them, the Church, after each lesson, recites a prayer, which sums up the doctrine expressed in the preceding prophecy. To some of them is added an appropriate canticle from the old Testament, and it is sung, by the whole assembly, to the well known melody of the Tract. The aspirants to Baptism, as soon as they have received the ceremonies of catechization, are allowed to enter the church, where, in the place assigned to them, they listen to the lessons, and join in the prayers. How could they better continue their preparation for the great Sacrament? And yet, there is an aspect of mournfulness about this portion of the Service, which tells us that the longed-for hour has not yet come. Frequent genuflexions, and the sombre-coloured vestments, strongly contrast with the beautiful flame of the Paschal torch, which sheds its silent beams of light upon the faithful. Their hearts are still throbbing with the emotions excited within them by the Exsultet: they are impatient to see their Jesus’ Resurrection fulfilled in the Baptism of the catechumens.

First Prophecy
(Genesis, Chap, i.)

In principio creavit Deus cœlum et terrain. Terra autem erat inanis, et vacua: et tenebræ erant super faciem abyssi: et Spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas. Dixitque Deus: Fiat lux. Et facta est lux. Et vidit Deus lucem quod esset bona; et divisit lucem a tenebris. Appellavitque lucem, Diem: et tenebras, Noctem. Factumque est vespere et mane, dies unus.

Dixit quoque Deus: Fiat firmamentum in medio aquarum, et dividat aquas ab aquis. Et fecit Deus firmamentum: divisitque aquas, quæ erant sub firmamento ab his quæ erant super firmamentum. Et faotum est ita. Vocavitque Deus firmamentum, Cœlum. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies secundus.

Dixit vero Deus: Congregentur aquæ, quæ sub cœlo sunt, in locum unum et appareat arida. Factumque est ita. Et vocavit Deus aridam, Terram: congregationesque aquarum appellavit, Maria. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum, et ait: Germinet terra herbam virentem, et facientem semen: et lignum pomiferum faciens fructum juxta genus suum, cujus semen in semetipso sit super terram. Et factum est ita. Et protulit terra herbam virentem, et facientem semen juxta genus suum, lignumque faciens fructum: et babens unumquodque semen tem secundum speciem suam. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum: et factum est vespere et mane, dies tertius.

Dixit autem Deus: Fiant luminaria in firmamento coeli, et dividant diem ac noctem: et sint in signa et tempora, et dies, et annos: et luceant in firmamento cœli, et illuminent terram. Et factum est ita. Fecitque Deus duo luminaria magna, luminare majus, ut præesset diei: et luminare minus, ut præesset nocti: et stellas. Et posuit eas in firmamento coeli, ut lucerent super terrain: et præessent diei ac nocti, et dividerent lucem ac tenebras. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies quartus.

Dixit etiam Deus: Producant aquæ reptile animæ viventis, et volatile super terram, sub firmamento coeli. Creavitque Deus cete grandia, et omnem animam viventem atque motabilem, quam produxerant aquæ in species suas: et omne volatile, secundum genus suum. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum: benedixitque eis, dicens: Crescite, et multiplicamini, et replete aquas maria: avesque multiplicentur super terram. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies quintus.

Dixit quoque Deus: Producat terra animam viventem in genere suo: jumenta, et reptilia, et bestias terrae, secundum species suas. Factumque est ita. Et fecit Deus bestias terræ juxta species suas: et jumenta, et omne reptile terræ in genere suo. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum: et ait: Faciamus hominem ad imaginem et similitudinem nostram: et præsit piscibus maris, et volatilibus cœli, et bestiis, universæque terrae omnique reptili quod movetur in terra.

Et creavit Deus hominem ad imaginem suam: ad imaginem Dei creavit illum: masculum et feminam creavit eos. Benedixitque illis Deus, et ait: Crescite, et multiplicamini, et replete terrain, et subjicite eam: et dominamini piscibus maris, et volatilibus cœli, et universis animantibus, quæ moventur super terram. Dixitque Deus: Ecce dedi vobis omnem herbam afferentem semen super terram: et universa ligna, quæ habent in semetipsis sementem generis sui: ut sint vobis in escam, et cunctis animantibus terræ, omnique volucri cœli, et universis quæ moventur in terra, et in quibus est anima vivens, ut habeant ad vescendum. Et factum est ita. Viditque Deus cuncta quæ fecerat: et erant valde bona. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies sextus.

Igitur perfecti sunt cœli et terra, et omnis ornatus eorum. Complevitque Deus die septimo opus suum, quod fecerat: et requievit die septimo ab universo opere quod patrarat.
In the beginning God created heaven and earth. And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God moved over the waters. And God said: Be light made. And light was made. And God saw the light that it was good: and he divided the light from the darkness. And he called the light day, and the darkness night; and there was evening and morning one day.

And God said: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament from those that were above the firmament. And it was so. Aud God called the firmament, Heaven: and the evening and morning were the second day.

God also said: Let the waters that are under the heaven be gathered together into one place: and let the dry land appear. And it was so done. And God called the dry land Earth: and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. And he said: Let the earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done. And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind, and the tree that beareth fruit, having seed each one according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Ana the evening and the morning were the third day.

And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; to shine in the firmament of heaven, and to give light upon the earth. And it was so done. And God made two great lights; a greater light to rule the day, and a lesser light to rule the night; and the stars. And he set them in the firmament of heaven, to shine upon the earth. And to rule the day and the night, and to divide the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And the evening and morning were the fourth day.

God also said: let the waters bring forth the creeping creature having life, and the fowl that may fly over the earth under the firmament of heaven. And God created the great whales, and every living and moving creature, which the waters brought forth, according to their kinds, and every winged fowl according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And he blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the waters of the sea; and let the birds be multiplied upon the earth. And the evening and morning were the fifth day.

And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature in its kind, cattle, and creeping things, the beasts of the earth according to their kinds; and it was so done. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and cattle, and everything that creepeth on the earth after its kind. And God saw that it was good. And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness, and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth.

And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. And God blessed them, saying: Increase and. multiply, and till the earth. And subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth. And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat: and to all beasts of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to all that move upon the earth, and wherein there is life, that they may have to feed upon. And it was so done. And God saw all the things that he had made, and they were very good. And the evening and morning were the sixth day.

So the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the furniture of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.

After the lesson, the bishop says:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon, addressing the faithful:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

The bishop then says this prayer:

Deus, qui mirabiliter creasti hominem, et mirabilius redemisti: da nobis, quæsumus, contra oblectamenta peccati, mentis ratione persistere: ut mereamur ad æterna gaudia pervenire. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, who didst wonderfully create man, and redeem him by a still greater wonder: grant us, we beseech thee, such strength of mind and reason against ail the allurements of sin, that we may deserve to obtain eternal joys. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

Second Prophecy
(Genesis, Chap. v.)

The second lesson gives us the history of the Deluge. God makes the waters serve as the minister of His justice, those very waters which were afterwards, by Jesus, to become the instrument of His mercy; the ark, which is a type of the Church, is the shelter for those who would be saved from the flood; the human race is preserved by one family, which represents the disciples of Christ, who at first were few in number, but afterwards peopled the whole earth.

Noe vero cum quingentorum esset annorum, genuit Sem, Cham et Japhet. Cumque cœpissent homines multiplican super terram, et filias procreassent: videntes filii Dei filias hominum quod essent pulchræ, acceperunt sibi uxores ex omnibus quas elegerant. Dixitque Deus: Non permanebit spiritus meus in homine in æternum, quia caro est: eruntque dies illius centum vigniti annorum.

Gigantes autem erant super terram in diebus illis. Postquam enim ingressi sunt filii Dei ad filias hominum, illæque genuerunt: isti sunt potentes a sæculo viri famosi. Videns autem Deus, quod multa malitia hominum esset in terra, et cuncta cogitatio cordis intenta esset ad malum omni tempore, pœnituit eum, quod hominem fecisset in terra. Et tactus dolore cordis intrinsecus: Delebo, inquit, hominem quem creavi, a facie terræ, ab homine usque ad animantia, a reptili usque ad volucres cœli: pœnitet enim me fecisse eos.

Noe vero invenit gratiam coram Domino. Hæ sunt generationes Noe. Noe vir justus atque perfectus fuit in generationibus suis, cum Deo ambulavit; et genuit tres filios, Sem, Cham, et Japhet. Corrupta est autem terra coram Deo, et repleta est iniquitate. Cumque vidisset Deus terram esse corruptam (omnis quippe caro corruperat viam suam super terram) dixit ad Noe: Finis universæ carnis venit coram me: repleta est terra iuiquitate a facie eorum: et ego disperdam eos cum terra. Fac tibi arcana de lignis lævigatis. Manaiunculas in arca facies: et bitumine linies intrinsecus et extrinsecus. Et sic facies eam. Trecentorum cubitorum erit longitudo arcæ: quinquaginta cubitorum latitudo: et triginta cubitorum altitudo illius. Fenestram in arca facies: et in cubito consummabis summitatem ejus. Ostium autem arcæ pones ex latere; deorsum, cœnacula, et tristega facies in ea. Ecce ego adducam aquas diluvii super terram: ut interficiam omnem carnem, in qua spiritus vitæ est subter cœlum. Universa quæ in terra sunt, consumentur. Ponamque fœdus meum tecum: et ingredieris arcam tu, et filii tui, uxor tua, et uxores filiorum tuorum tecum. Et ex cunctis animantibus universæ carnis bina induces in arcam, ut vivant tecum, masculini sexus et feminini. De volucribus juxta genus suum, et de jumentis in genere suo, et ex omni reptili terræ secundum genus suum: bina de omnibus ingredientur tecum, ut possint vivere. Tolies igitur tecum ex omnibus escis, quæ mandi possunt, et comportabis apud te: et erunt tam tibi, quam illis in cibum. Fecit igitur Noe omnia quæ præceperat illi Deus.

Eratque sexcentoriim annorum, quando diiuvii aquæ inundaverunt super terram. Rupti sunt omnes fontes abyssi magnæ, et cataractæ cœli apertæ sunt: et facta est pluvia super terram quadraginta diebus et quadraginta noctibus. In articulo diei illius ingressus est Noe, et Sem, et Cham, et Japhet, filii ejus, uxor illius, et tres uxores filiorum ejus, cum eis in arcam: ipsi et omne animal, secundum genus suum, universaque jumenta in genere suo, et omne quod movetur super terram in genere suo, cunctumque volatile secundum genus suum. Porro arca ferebatur super aquas. Et aquæ prævaluerunt nimis super terram: opertique sunt omnes montes excelsi sub universo cœlo. Quindecim cubitis altior fuit aqua super montes quos operuerat. Consumptaque est omnis caro, quæ movebatur super terram, volucrum, animantium, bestiarum, omniumque reptilium quæ reptant super terram. Remansit autem solus Noe, et qui cum eo erant, in arca. Obtinueruntque aquæ terram centum quinquaginta diebus.

Recordatus autem Deus Noe, cunctorumque animantium, et omnium jumentorum quæ erant cum eo in arca: adduxit spintum super terram, et imminutæ sunt aquæ. Et clausi sunt fontes abyssi, et cataractæ cœli: et prohibitæ aunt pluviæ de cœlo. Reversæque sunt aquæ de terra euntes et redeuntes: et cœperunt minui post centum quinquaginta dies. Cumque transissent quadraginta dies, aperiens Noe fenestram arcæ quam fecerat, dimisit corvum. Qui egrediebatur, et non revertebatur, donec siccarentur aquæ super terram. Emisit quoque columbam post eum, ut videret si jam cessassent aquæ super faciem terræ. Quæ cum non invenisset ubi requiesceret pes ejus, reversa est ad eum in arcam. Aquæ enim erant super universam terram. Extenditque manum, et apprehensam intulit in arcam. Exspectatis autem ultra septem diebus aliis, rursum dimisit columbam ex arca. At illa venit ad eum ad vesperam, portans ramum olivæ virentibus foliis in ore suo. Intellexit ergo Noe, quod cessassent aquæ super terram. Exspectavitque nihilominus septem alios dies; et emisit columbam, quæ non est reversa ultra ad eum. Locutus est autem Deus ad Noe, dicens: Egredere de arca tu, et uxor tua: filii tui, et uxores filiorum tuorum tecum. Cuncta animantia, quæ sunt apud te, ex omni carne, tam in volatilibus quam in bestiis, et universis reptilibus quæ reptant super terram, educ tecum, et ingredimini super terram. Crescite, et multiplicamini super eam.

Egressus est ergo Noe et filii ejus, uxor illius, et uxores filiorum ejus cum eo. Sed et omnia animantia, jumenta, et reptilia quæ reptant super terram, secundum genus suum, egressa sunt de arca. Ædificavit autem Noe altare Domino: et tollens de cunctis pecoribus et volucribus mundis, obtulit holocausta super altare. Odoratusque est Dominus odorem suavitatis.
And Noe, when he was five hundred years old, begot Sem, Cham, and Japheth. And after that men began to be multiplied upon the earth, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God seeing the daughters of men, that they were fair, took to themselves wives of all which they chose. And God said: My spirit shall not remain in man for ever, because he is flesh: and his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

Now giants were upon the earth in those days. For after the sons of God went in to the daughters of men, and they brought forth children, these are the mighty men of old, men of renown. And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times, it repented him that he had made man on the earth. And being touched inwardly with sorrow of heart, he said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, from mau even to beasts, from the creeping thing even to the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them.

But Noe found grace before the Lord. These are the generations of Noe: Noe was a just and perfect man in his generations, he walked with God. And he begot three sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth. And the earth was corrupted before God, and was filled with iniquity. And when God had seen that the earth was corrupted (for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth), he said to Noe: The end of all flesh is come before me, and the earth is filled with iniquity through them, and I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of timber planks: thou shalt make little rooms in the ark, and thou shalt pitch it within and without. And thus shalt thou make it. The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits: the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. Thou shalt make a window in the ark. and in a cubit shalt thou finish the top of it: and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side: with lower, middle chambers, and third stories shalt thou make it. Behold I will bring the waters of a great Hood upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, under heaven. All things that are in the earth shall be consumed. And I will establish my covenant with thee: and thou shalt enter into the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife, and the wives of thy sons with thee. And of every living creature of all flesh, thou shalt bring two of a sort into the ark, that they may live with thee; of the male sex, and the female. Of fowls according to their kind, and of beasts in their kind, and of everything that creepeth on the earth according to its kind: two of every sort shall go in with thee, that they may live. Thou shalt take unto thee of all food that may be eaten, and thou shalt lay it up with thee: and it shall be food for thee and them. And Noe did all things which God commanded him.

And he was six hundred years old, when the waters of the flood overflowed the earth. All the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the flood-gates of heaven were opened. And the rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. In the self-same day Noe, and Sem, and Cham, and Japheth, his sons: his wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, went into the ark: they and every beast according to its kind, and all the cattle in their kind, and every thing that moveth upon the earth according to its kind, and every fowl according to its kind, all birds, and all that fly. And the ark was carried upon the waters. And the waters prevailed beyond measure upon the earth: and all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The water was fifteen cubits higher than the mountains, which it covered. And all flesh was destroyed that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beasts, and of all creeping things that creep upon the earth: and Noe only remained, and they that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days.

And God remembered Noe, and all the living creatures, and all the cattle which were with him in the ark, and brought a wind upon the earth, and the waters were abated. The fountains also of the deep, and the floodgates of heaven were shut up, and the rain from heaven was restrained. And the waters returned from off the earth, going and coming: and they began to be abated after a hundred and fifty days. And after that forty days were passed, Noe opening the window of the ark which he had made, sent forth a raven: which went forth and did not return till the waters were dried up upon the earth. He sent forth also a dove after him, to see if the waters had now ceased upon the face of the earth. But she not finding where her foot might rest, returned to him into the ark: for the waters were upon the whole earth: and he put forth his hand, and caught her, and brought her into the ark. And having waited yet seven other days, he again sent forth the dove out of the ark. And she came to him in the evening, carrying a bough of an olive-tree, with green leaves, in her mouth. Noe therefore understood that the waters were ceased upon the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and he sent forth the dove, which returned not any more unto him. And God spoke to Noe, saying: Go out of the ark, thou and thy wife, thy sons, and the wives of thy sons with thee. All living things that are with thee of all flesh, as well in fowls, as in beasts, and all creeping things, that creep upon the earth, bring out with thee, and go ye upon the earth: increase and multiply upon it.

So Noe went out, he and his sons, his wife, and the wives of his sons with him: and all living things, and cattle, and creeping things that creep upon the earth, according to their kinds, went out of the ark. And Noe built an altar unto the Lord: and taking of all cattle and fowls that were clean, offered holocausts upon the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus incommutabilis virtus, et lumen æternum, respice propitius ad totius Ecclesiæ tuæ mirabile sacramentum, et opus salutis humanæperpetuæ dispositionis effectu tranquillius operare: totusque mundus experiatur et videat, dejecta erigi, inveterata renovari, et per ipsum redire omnia in integrum, a quo sumpsere principium: Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum. Qui tecum.

℟. Amen.
O God, whose power is unchangeable, and whose light never faileth, mercifully regard the wonderful sacrament of thy whole church, and by an effect of thy perpetual providence, accomplish in peace the work of human salvation: and let the whole world experience and see, that what was fallen, is raised up again: what was old, is become new; and that all things are again settled by him who gave them their first being, our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son. Who liveth, &c.

℟. Amen.

Third Prophecy
(Genesis, Chap. xxii.)

Abraham, the father of believers, is here offered to our catechumens as a model of faith. They are taught how man should ever depend upon his God, and faithfully serve Him. The obedience shown by Isaac to his father’s orders is a figure of that which our Saviour has shown on Calvary. The wood for the holocaust, carried up the mountain by Abraham’s son, brings to our minds the Son of God carrying His cross.

In diebus illis: Tentavit Deus Abraham, et dixit ad eum: Abraham, Abraham. At ille respondit: Adsum. Ait illi: Tolle filium tuum unigenitum, quem diligis Isaac, et vade in terram visionis: atque ibi offeres eum in holocaustum super unum montium, quem monstravero tibi. Igitur Abraham de nocte consurgens, stravit asinum suum, ducens secum duos juvenes, et Isaac filium suum. Cumque concidisset ligna in holocaustum, abiit ad locum quem præceperat ei Deus. Die autem tertio elevatis oculis, vidit locum procul: dixitque ad pueros suos: Exspectate hic cum asino: ego et puer illuc usque properantes, postquam adoraverimus, revertemur ad vos. Tulit quoque ligna holocausti et imposuit super Isaac filium suum: ipse vero portabat in manibus ignem et gladium. Cumque duo pergerent simul, dixit Isaac patri suo: Pater mi. At ille respondit: Quid vis, fili? Ecce, inquit, ignis et ligna, ubi est victima holocausti? Dixit autem Abraham: Deus providebit sibi victimam holocausti, fili mi.

Pergebant ergo pariter: et venerunt ad locum, quem ostenderat ei Deus: in quo ædificavit altare, et desuper ligna composuit. Cumque alligasset Isaac filium suum, posuit eum in altare super struem lignorum. Extenditque manum, et arripuit gladium, ut immolaret filium suum. Et ecce angelus Domini de cœlo clamavit, dicens: Abraham, Abraham. Qui respondit: Adsum. Dixitque ei: Non extendas manum tuam super puerum: neque facias illi quidquam. Nunc cognovi, quod times Deum: et non pepercisti unigenito filio tuo propter me. Levavit Abraham oculos suos, viditque post tergum arietem inter vepres hærentem cornibus: quem assumens, obtulit holocaustum pro filio. Appellavitque nomen loci illius: Dominus videt. Unde usque hodie dicitur: In monte Dominus videbit.

Vocavit autem angelus Domini Abraham secundo de cœlo, dicens: Per memetipsum juravi, dicit Dominus: quia fecisti hanc rem, et non pepercisti filio tuo unigenito propter me: benedicam tibi, et multiplicabo semen tuum sicut stellas cœli, et velut arenam, quæ est in littore maria. Possidebit semen tuum portas inimicorum suorum: et benedicentur in semine tuo omnes gentes terræ, quia obedisti voci meæ. Reversus est Abraham ad pueros suos: abieruntque Bersabee simul, et habitavit ibi.
In those days: God tempted Abraham, and said to him: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am. He said to him: Take thy only-begotten son Isaac whom thou lovest, and go into the land of vision: and there thou shalt offer him for a holocaust upon one of the mountains which I will shew thee. So Abraham rising up in the night, saddled his ass; and took with him two young men, and Isaac his son; and when he had cut wood for the holocaust, he went his way to the place which God had commanded him And on the third day, lifting up his eyes, he saw the place afar off. And he said to his young men: Stay you here with the ass: I and the boy will go with speed as far as yonder, and after we have worshipped, will return to you. And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son: and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as they two went on together, Isaac said to his father: My father. And he answered: What wilt thou, son? Behold, saith he, fire and wood: where is the victim for the holocaust? And Abraham said: God will provide himself a victim for a holocaust, my son.

So they went on together: and they came to the place which God had shewn him, where he built an altar, and laid the wood in order upon it: and when he had bound Isaac his son, he laid him on the altar, upon the pile of wood. And he put forth his hand, and took the sword to sacrifice his son. And behold an angel of the Lord from heaven called to him saying: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am. And he said to him: Lay not thy hand upon the boy, neither do thou anything to him: now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not spared thy only-begotten son for my sake. Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw behind his back a ram amongst the briers, sticking fast by the horns, which he took and offered for a holocaust instead of his son. And he called the name of that place, The Lord seeth. Whereupon, even to this day, it is said: In the mountain the Lord will see.

And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, saying: By my own self have I sworn, saith the Lord; because thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thy only-begotten son for my sake: I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is by the sea shore: thy seed shall possess the gates of their enemies. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice. Abraham returned to his young men, and they went to Bersabee together, and he dwelt there.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus, fidelium Pater summe, qui in toto orbe terrarum, promissionis tuæ filios diffusa adoptionis gratia multiplicas: et per Paschale sacramentum, Abraham puerum tuum universarum, sicut jurasti, gentium efficis patrem: da populis tuis digne ad gratiam tuæ vocationis introire. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, the sovereign Father of the faithful, who throughout the whole world multipliest the children of the promise by the grace of thy adoption, and makest thy servant Abraham, according to thy oath, the father of all nations by this Paschal Sacrament; grant that thy people may worthily receive the grace of thy vocation. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

Fourth Prophecy
(ExodusChapxiv.)

Here we have the great type of Baptism. The people of God, delivered from Pharao’s tyranny, are saved by the very water that destroys the Egyptian. The catechumens will come forth from the baptismal font freed from satan’s sway; their sins will perish for ever in its saving waters.

In diebus illis: Factum est in vigilia matutina, et ecce respiciens Dominus super castra Egyptiorum per columnam ignis et nubis, interfecit exercitum eorum: et subvertit rotas curruum, ferebanturque in profundum. Dixerunt ergo Ægyptii: Fugiamus Israelem: Dominus enim pugnat pro eis contra nos. Et ait Dominus ad Moysen: Extende manum tuam super mare: ut revertantur aquæ ad Ægyptios super currus et equites eorum. Cumque extendisset Moyses manum contra mare, reversum est primo diluculo ad priorem locum; fugientibusque Ægyptiis occurrerunt aquæ: et involvit eos Dominus in mediis fluctibus. Reversæque sunt aquæ, et operuerunt currus et equites cuncti exercitus Pharaonis, qui sequentes ingressi fuerant mare; nec unus quidem superfuit ex eis. Filii autem Israel perrexerunt per medium sicci maris: et aquæ eis erant quasi pro muro a dextris et a sinistris. Liberavitque Dominus in die illa Israel de manu Ægyptiorum. Et viderunt Ægyptios mortuos super littus maris: et manum magnam, quam exercuerat Dominus contra eos. Timuitque populus Dominum: et crediderunt Domino, et Moysi servo ejus. Tunc cecinit Moyses, et filii Israël, carmen hoc Domino, et dixerunt:
In those days: It came to pass in the morning watch, and behold the Lord looking upon the Egyptian army through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, slew their host: and overthrew the wheels of the chariots, and they were carried into the deep. And the Egyptians said: Let us flee from Israel: for the Lord fighteth for them against us. And the Lord said to Moses: Stretch forth thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and horsemen. And when Moses had stretched forth his hand towards the sea, it returned at the first break of day to the former place; and as the Egyptians were fleeing away, the waters came upon them, and the Lord shut them up in the middle of the waves. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots and the horsemen of all the army of Pharao, who had come into the sea after them, neither did there so much as one of them remain. But the children of Israel marched through the midst of the sea upon dry land, and the waters were to them as a wall on the right hand and on the left: and the Lord delivered Israel on that day out of the hands of the Egyptians. And they saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore, and the mighty hand that the Lord had used against them: and the people feared the Lord, and they believed the Lord, and Moses his servant. Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this canticle to the Lord, and said:

Here the Church sings the canticle of Moses. His sister Mary and the daughters of Israel sang it on the shore of the Red Sea, as they looked upon the dead bodies of the Egyptians.

Tract

Cantemus Domino: gloriose enim honorificatus est: equum et ascensorem projecit in mare: adjutor et protector factus est mihi in salutem.

℣. Hic Deus meus, et honorificabo eum: Deus patris mei, et exaltabo eum.
℣. Dominus conterens bella: Dominus nomen est illi.
Let us sing to the Lord, for he is gloriously magnified: the horse and the rider he hath thrown into the sea: he is become my helper and protector unto salvation.

℣. He is my God, and I will glorify him: the God of my father, and I will exalt him.
℣. The Lord is he that destroyeth war; Almighty is his name.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus, cujus antiqua miracula etiam nostris sæculis coruscare sentimus: dum quod uni populo a persecutione Ægyptiaca liberando, dexteræ tuæ potentia contulisti, id in salutem gentium per aquam regenerationis operaria: præta, ut in Abrahæ filios, et in Israeliticam dignitatem totius mundi transeat plenitudo. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, whose ancient miracles we see renewed in our days: whilst, by the water of regeneration thou performest, for the salvation of the Gentiles, that which by the power of thy right hand thou didst for the deliverance of one people from the Egyptian persecution; grant that all the nations of the world may become the children of Abraham, and partake of the dignity of the people of Isræl. Through &c.

℟. Amen.

Fifth Prophecy
(Isaias, Chap. lv)

Isaias, the most sublime of the prophets, here invites our catechumens to come to the waters, that their thirst may be quenched: he bids them satiate their hunger with the sweetest food: he tells them of the inheritance which God has in store for them: they need not fear their poverty, for the infinitely rich God will overwhelm them with good things.

Hæc est hæreditas servorum Domini, et justitia eorum apud me, dicit Dominus. Omnes sitientes venite ad aquas: et qui non habetis argentum, properate, emite, et comedite. Venite, emite absque argento, et absque ulla commutatione vinum et lac. Quare appenditis argentum non in panibus, et laborem vestrum non in saturitate? Audite audientes me, et comedite bonum: et delectabitur in crassitudine anima vestra. Inclinate aurem vestram, et venite ad me: audite, et vivet anima vestra: et feriam vobiscum pactum sempiternum, misericordias David fideles. Ecce testem populis dedi eum, ducem ac præceptorem gentibus. Ecce gentem quam nesciebas, vocabis; et gentes, quæ te non cognoverunt, ad te current, propter Dominum Deum tuum, et sanctum Israël, quia glorificavit te. Quærite Dominum, dum inveniri potest, invocate eum, dum prope est. Derelinquat impius viam suam, et vir iniquus cogitationes suas: et revertatur ad Dominum, et miserebitur ejus: et ad Deum nostrum, quoniam multus est ad ignoscendum. Non enim cogitationes meæ, cogitationes vestræ, neque viæ vestræ, viæ meæ, dicit Dominus. Quia sicut exaltantur cœli a terra: sic exaltatæ sunt viæmeæ a viis vestris, et cogitationes meæ a cogitationibus vestris. Et quomodo descendit imber, et nix de cœlo, et illuc ultra non revertitur, sed inebriat terram, et infundit eam, et germinare eam facit, et datsemen serenti, et panem comedenti: sic erit verbum meum quod egredietur de ore meo. Non revertetur ad me vacuum, sed faciet quæcumque volui, et prosperabitur in his, ad quæ misi illud: dicit Dominus omnipotens.
This is the inheritance of the servants of the Lord, and their justice with me, saith the Lord. All you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money, make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which doth not satisfy you? Hearken diligently to me, and eat that which is good, and your soul shall be delighted in fatness. Incline your ear and come to me: hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the faithful mercies of David. Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, for a leader and a master to the Gentiles. Behold thou shalt call a nation which thou knewest not: and the nations that knew not thee shall run to thee, because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found: call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he is bountiful to forgive. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts. And as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and return no more thither, but soak the earth and water it, and make it to spring and give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be, which shall go forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void. but it shall do whatever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it, saith the Lord almighty.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, multiplica in honorem nominis tui quod patrum fidei spopondisti: et promissionis filios sacra adoptione dilata: ut quod priores sancti non dubitaverunt futurum, Ecclesia tua magna jam ex parte cognoscat impletum. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O almighty and eternal God, multiply for the honour of thy name, what thou didst promise to the faith of our forefathers: and increase, by thy sacred adoption, the children of that promise: that what the ancient saints doubted not would come to pass, thy Church may now find in great part accomplished. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


 

Sixth Prophecy
(BaruchChap. iii.)

In this admirable passage from the prophet Baruch, God reminds the catechumens, who are about to receive holy Baptism, of their past sins, which made them unworthy of pardon: but by His gratuitous mercy, He has vouchsafed to pour out His Wisdom upon them, and they came unto Him. He then speaks to them of those men of the Gentile world, who were wealthy, and powerful, and enterprising, and have left a name behind them. But they perished, and their earthly wisdom with them. The new people, whom the Lord this day forms to Himself, shall not go astray: Wisdom is to be their portion. Heretofore, God spoke His mysteries to Jacob; but this His word did not reach all men: now, He has come in person upon earth; He conversed with men, and dwelt among them; therefore, the people He now raises up for Himself shall be for ever faithful.

Audi Israel mandata vitæ: auribus percipe, ut scias prudentiam. Quid est Israel quod in terra inimicorum es? Inveterasti in terra aliena, coinquinatus es cum mortuis: deputatus es cum descendentibus in infernum? Dereliquisti fontem sapientiæ. Nam si in via Dei ambulasses, habitasses utique in pace sempiterna. Disce ubi sit prudentia, ubi sit virtus, ubi sit intellectus: ut scias simul ubi sit longiturnitas vitæ et victus, ubi sit lumen oculorum et pax.

Quis invenit locum ejus? Et quis introivit in thesauros ejus? Ubi sunt principes gentium, et qui dominantur super bestias, quæ sunt super terram? Qui in avibus cœli ludunt, qui argentum thesaurizant, et aurum, in quo confidunt homines: et non est finis acquisitionis eorum: qui argentum fabricant, et solliciti sunt: nec est inventio operum illorum? Exterminati sunt, et ad inferos descenderunt: et alii loco eo rum surrexerunt. Juvenes viderunt lumen: et habita verunt super terram. Viam autem disciplinæ ignoraverunt, neque intellexerunt semitas ejus, neque filii eorum susceperunt eam. A facie ipsorum longe facta est. Non est audita in terra Chanaan: neque visa est in Theman. Filii quoque Agar, qui exquirunt prudentiam quæ de terra est, negotiatores Merrhæ et Theman, et fabulatores, et exquisitoresprudentiæ et intelligentiæ; viam autem sapientiæ nescierunt, neque commemorati sunt semitas ejus.

O Israël, quam magna est domus Dei, et ingens locus possessionis ejus! Magnus est, et non habet finem, excelsus et immensus. Ibi fuerunt gigantes nominati illi, qui ab initio fuerunt, statura magna, scientes bellum. Non hos elegit Dominus: neque viam disciplinæ invenerunt: propterea perierunt. Et quoniam non habuerunt sapientiam, interierunt propter suam insipientiam. Quis ascendit in cœlum, et accepit eam, et eduxit eam de nubibus? Quis transfretavit mare, et invenit illam, et attulit illam super aurum electum? Non est qui possit scire vias ejus: neque qui exquirat semitas ejus. Sed qui scit universa, novit eam: et adinvenit eam prudentia sua. Qui præparavit terrain in æterno tempore: et replevit eam pecudibus et quadrupedibus. Qui emittit lumen, et vadit: et vocavit illud, et obedit illi in tremore.Stellæ autem dederunt lumen in custodiis suis, et lætatæ sunt. Vocatæ sunt et dixerunt: Adsumus. Et luxerunt ei cum jucunditate qui fecit illas. Hic est Deus noster et non æstimabitur alius adversus eum. Hic adinvenit omnem viam disciplinæ, et tradidit illam Jacob puero suo, et Israel dilecto suo. Post hæc in terris visus est, et cum hominibus conversatus est.
Hear, O Israel, the commandments of life: give ear, that thou mayst learn wisdom. How happeneth it, O Israel, that thou art in thy enemies’ land? Thou art grown old in a strange country, thou art defiled with the dead: thou art counted with them that go down into hell. Thou hast forsaken the fountain of wisdom; for if thou hadst walked in the way of God, thou hadst surely dwelt in peace for ever. Learn where is wisdom, where is strength, where is understanding: that thou mayst know also where is length of days and fife, where is the fight of the eyes, and peace.

Who hath found out her place? and who hath gone in to her treasures? Where are the princes of the nations, and they that rule over the beasts that are upon the earth? That take their diversion with the birds of the air, that hoard up silver and gold, wherein men trust, and there is no end of their getting? who work in silver and are solicitous, and their works are unsearchable? They are cut off, and are gone down to hell, and others are risen up in their place. Young men have seen the light, and dwelt upon the earth: but the way of knowledge they have not known, nor have they understood the paths thereof, neither have their children received it: it is far from their face. It hath not been heard of in the land of Chanaan, neither hath it been seen in Theman. The children of Agar also, that search after wisdom that is of the earth, the merchants of Merrha, and of Theman, and the tellers of fables, and searchers of prudence and understanding: but the way of wisdom they have not known, neither have they remembered her paths.

O Israel, how great is the house of God, and how vast is the place of his possession! It is great and hath no end: it is high and immense. There were the giants, those renowned men that were from the beginning, of great stature, expert in war. The Lord chose not them, neither did they find the way of knowledge: therefore did they perish. And because they had not wisdom, they perished through their folly. Who hath gone up into heaven, and taken her, and brought her down from the clouds? Who hath passed over the sea, and found her, and brought her preferably to chosen gold? There is none that is able to know her ways, nor that can search out her paths. But he that knoweth all things, knoweth her, and hath found her out with his understanding: he that prepared the earth for evermore, and filled it with cattle, and four-footed beasts: he that sendeth forth light, and it goeth; and hath called it, and it obeyeth him with trembling. And the stars have given light in their watches and rejoiced: they were called, and they said: Here we are. And with cheerfulness they have shined forth to him that made them. This is our God, and there shall no other be accounted of in comparison of him. He found out all the way of knowledge, and gave it to Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved. Afterwards he was seen upon earth, and conversed with men.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam semper gentium vocatione multiplicas: concede propitius: ut quos aqua baptismatis abluis, continua protectione tuearis. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, who continually multipliest thy Church, by the vocation of the Gentiles: mercifully grant thy perpetual protection to those whom thou washest with the water of Baptism. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


Seventh Prophecy.
(EzechielChap. xxxvii.)

This lesson brings before our catechumens the resurrection of the body: a dogma which met with great opposition from the proud and sensual Gentiles. What a fitting occasion is this for remembering the promised resurrection, which God has mercifully made to us! For lo! Christ is about to rise from His grave, showing us hereby what our resurrection is to be, and giving us a pledge of its certainty. Our catechumens, also, are signified by these dry bones, which are to return to life, by the Spirit of God coming upon them: they are to form a numerous people to God.

In diebus illis: Facta est super me manus Domini; et eduxit me in Spiritu Domini, et dimisit me in medio campi, qui erat plenus ossibus: et circumduxit me per ea in gyro. Erant autem multa valde super faciem campi, siccaque vehementer. Et dixit ad me: Fili hominis, putasne vivent ossa ista? Et dixi: Domine Deus, tu nosti. Et dixit ad me: Vaticinare de ossibus istis: et dices eis: Ossa arida, audite verbum Domini. Hæc dicit Dominus Deus ossibus his: Ecce ego intromittam in vos spiritum, et vivetis: et dabo super vos nervos, et succrescere faciam super vos carnes, et superextendam in vobis cutem: et dabo vobis spiritum, et vivetis: et scietis, quia ego Dominns. Et prophetavi sicut præceperat mihi. Factus est autem sonitus, prophetante me, et ecce commotio. Et accesserunt ossa ad ossa: unumquodque ad juncturam su-am. Et vidi: et ecce super ea nervi et carnes ascenderunt, et extenta est in eis cutis desuper: et spiritum non habebant. Et dixit ad me: Vaticinare ad spiritum, vaticinare, fili hominis, et dices ad spiritum: Hæc dicit Dominus Deus: A quatuor ventis veni, spiritus; et insuffla super interfectos istos, et reviviscant. Et prophetavi sicut præceperat mihi. Et ingressus est in ea spiritus, et vixerunt; steteruntque super pedes suos, exercitus grandis nimis valde. Et dixit ad me: Fili hominis, ossa hæc universa domus Israel est. Ipsi dicunt: Aruerunt ossa nostra, et periit spes nostra, et abscissi sumus. Propterea vaticinare, et dices ad eos: Hæc dicit Dominus Deus: Ecce, ego aperiam tumulos vestros, et educam vos de sepulchris vestris, populus meus, et inducam vos in terrain Israel. Et scietis quia ego Dominus, cum aperuero sepulchra vestra, et eduxero vos de tumulis vestris, popule meus: et dedero Spiritum meum in vobis, et vixeritis: et requiescere vos faciam super humum vestram: dicit Dominus omnipotens.
In those days: The hand of the Lord was upon me, and brought me forth in the spirit of the Lord: and set me down in the midst of a plain that was full of bones. And he led me about through them on every side: now they were very many upon the face of the plain, and they were exceeding dry. And he said to me: Son of man, dost tbou think these bones shall live? And I answered: O Lord God, thou knowest. And he said to me: Prophesy concerning these bones: and say to them: Ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will send spirit into you, and you shall live; and I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to grow over you, and will cover you with skin: and I will give you spirit, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord. And I prophesied as he had commanded me: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a commotion: and the bones came together, each one to its joint. And I saw, and behold the sinews and the flesh came up upon them: and the skin was stretched out over them, but there was no spirit in them. And he said to me: Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, O son of man, and say to the spirit: Thus saith the Lord God: Come spirit, from the four winds, and blow upon these slain, and let them live again. And I prophesied as he had commanded me: and the spirit came into them,and they lived: and they stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. And he said to me: Son of man, all these bones are the house of Israel. They say: Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost, and we are cut off. Therefore prophesy, and say to them: Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves, and will bring you out of your sepulchres, O my people: and will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have opened your sepulchres, and shall have brought you out of your graves, O my people, and shall have put my spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall make you rest upon your own land, saith the Lord almighty.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus, qui nos ad celebrandum Paschale Sacraraentum, utriusque Testamenti paginis instruis: da nobis intelligere misericordiam tuam: ut ex perceptione præsentium munerum, firma sit exspectatio futurorum. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, who by the Scriptures of both testaments teachest us to celebrate the Paschal sacrament: give us such a sense of thy mercy, that, by receiving thy present favours, we may have a firm hope of thy future blessings. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


Eighth Prophecy
(IsaiasChap. iv.)

The seven women here mentioned, as having been set free from ignominy and cleansed from defilement, represent the souls of our catechumens, on whom God is about to pour His mercy. They desire to be called after the name of their Deliverer: their desire shall be granted, for, as they come from the font, they will be called Christians, that is, children of Christ. Henceforth, they will abide on Mount Sion, sheltered from whirlwind and rain. The abode of light and rest, here promised them, is the Church; there will they dwell in company with her divine Spouse.

Apprehendent septem mulieres virum unum in die illa, dicentes: Panem nostrum comedemus, et vestimentis nostris operiemur: tantummodo invocetur nomen tuum super nos: aufer opprobrium nostrum. In die illa erit germen Domini in magnificentia, et gloria: et fructus terræ sublimis: et exsultatio his qui sal vat i fuerint de Israel. Et erit: omnis qui relictus fuerit in Sion, et residuus in Jerusalem, sanctus vocabitur: omnis qui scriptus est in vita in Jerusalem. Si abluent Dominus sordes filiarum Sion: et sanguinem Jerusalem la verit de medio ej us, in spiritu judicii, et spiritu ardoris. Et creabit Dominus super omnem locum montis Sion, et ubi invocatus est, nubem per diem, et fumum et splendorem ignis flammantis in nocte: super omnem enim gloriam protec tio. Et tabernaculum erit in umbraculum diei ab æstu, et in securitatem et absconsionem a turbine et a pluvia.
In that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying: We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, take away our reproach. In that day the bud of the Lord shall be in magnificence and glory, and the fruit of the earth shall be high, and a great joy to them that shall have escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that every one that shall be left in Sion, and that shall remain in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, every one that is written in life in Jerusalem. If the Lord shall wash away the filth of the daughters of Sion, and shall wash away the blood of Jerusalem out of the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every place of mount Sion, and where he is called upon, a cloud by day,and a smoke and the brightness of a flaming fire in the night: for over all the glory shall be a protection. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shade in the day time from the heat, and for a security and covert from the whirlwind, and from rain.

This lesson is followed by a Tract, taken from the same prophet Isaias, wherein he foretells the favours to be lavished by Christ on His Church, His vineyard, the object of His loving and ceaseless care.

Tract 

Vinea facta est dilecto in cornu, in loco uberi.
℣. Et maceriam circumdedit, et circumfodit: et plantavit vineam Sorec, et ædificavit turrim in medio ejus.
℣. Et torcular fodit in ea: vinea enim Domini Sabaoth, domus Israël est.
My Beloved had a vineyard on a hill, in a fruitful place.
℣. He fenced it in, and digged it about: and planted it with Sorec, the choicest of vines, and built a tower in the midst thereof.
℣. And he set up a winepress therein: for the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus, qui in omnibus Ecclesiæ tuæ filiis, sanctorum prophetarum voce man if estasti, in omni loco dominationis tuæ satorem te bonorum seminum, et electorum palmitum esse cultorem: tribue populis tuis, qui et vinearum apud te nomine censentur et segetum: ut, spinarum et tribulorum squalore resecato, digna efficiantur fruge fœcundi. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, who by the mouth of the holy prophets hast declared that through the whole extent of thy empire it is thou that sowest the good seed, and improvest the choicest branches that are found in all the children of thy Church: grant to thy people, who are called by the names of vineyards and corn, that they may root out all thorns and briers, and bring forth good fruit in plenty. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


Ninth Prophecy
(ExodusChapxii.)

It was by the blood of the figurative lamb, that Israel was protected against the sword of the destroying angel, was delivered from Egypt, and began his journey towards the promised land: it is by the Blood of the true Lamb, wherewith they are to be marked, that our catechumens will be delivered from eternal death and from the slavery in which satan has heretofore held them. They shall be guests at that banquet where the Flesh of this divine Lamb is eaten, for the Pasch is close upon us, and they are to join us in its celebration.

In diebus illis: Dixit Dominus ad Moysen et Aaron in terra Ægypti: Mensis iste vobis principium mensium: primus erit in raensibus anni. Loquimini ad universum c œ tum filiorum Israel, et dicite eis: Decima diemensis hujus tollat unusquisque agnum per familias et domos suas. Sin autem minor est numerus, ut sufficere possit ad veecendum agnum, assumet vicinum suum, qui junctus est domui suae: juxta numerum animarum, quae sufficere possunt ad esum agni. Erit autem agnus absque macula, masculus, anniculus: juxta quem ritum tolletis et hœdum. Et servabitis eum usque ad quartam decimam diem mensis hujus. Immolabitque eum universa multitudo filiorum Israel ad vesperam. Et sument de sanguine ejus: ac ponent super utrumque postem, et in superliminaribue domorum, in quibus comedent illum. Et edent carnes nocte illa assas igni et azymos panes, cum lactucis agrestibus. Non comedetis ex eo crudum quid, nec coctum aqua: sed tantum assum igni. Caput cum pedibus ejus et intestinis vorabitis: nec remanebit quidquam ex eo usque mane. Si quid residuum fuerit, igne comburetis. Sic autem comedetis illum. Renes vestros accingetis: et calceamenta habebitis in pedibus, tenontes baculos in manibus: et comedetis festinanter. Est enim Phase, id est transitus, Domini.
In those days: the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall be to you the beginningof months: it shall be the first in the months of the year. Speak ye to the whole assembly of the children of Israel, and say to them: On the tenth day of this month, let every man take a iamb, by their families and houses. But if the number be less than may suffice to eat the lamb, he shall take unto him his neighbour that joineth to his house, according to the number of souls which may be enough to eat the lamb. And it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male of one year; according to which rite also you shall take a kid. And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month: and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood thereof, and put it upon both the sideposts, and on the upper door posts of the houses wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh that night roasted at the fire, and unleavened bread, with wild lettuce. You shall not eat thereof anything raw, nor boiled in water, but only roasted at the fire: you shall eat the head with the feet and entrails thereof: neither shall there remain any thing of it until morning. If there be any thing left, you shall burn it with fire. And thus you shall eat it: you shall gird your reins, and you shall have shoes on your feet, holding staves in your hands, and you shall eat in haste: for it is the Phase (that is, the passage) of the Lord.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui in omnium operum tuorum dispensatione mirabilis es: intelligant redempti tui non fuisse excellentiue quod initio factus est mundus, quam quod in fine sæculorum Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christ us. Qui tecum.

℟. Amen.
O almighty and eternal God, who art wonderful in the performance of all thy works: let thy servants whom thou hast redeemed understand that the creation of the world, in the beginning, was not a more excellent work than the sacrificing of Christ, our Passover, at the end of the world. Who liveth, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


Tenth Prophecy
(Jonas, Chap. iii.)

Ninive is the Gentile world, debased by every crime, and a prey to false doctrines. God took compassion upon her and sent her His apostles, in the name of His own Son. She heard their preaching, abjured her errors and vices, and did Penance: and God made her the city of His elect. Our cateohumens were once children of Ninive: they are soon to be numbered among the children of Jerusalem. The grace of God, and their works of penance, have Drought about this wondrous adoption.

In diebus illis: Factum est verbum Domini ad Jonam prophetam secundo, dicens: Surge et vade in Niniven 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 civitas magna, itinere trium dierum. Et cœpit Jonas introire in civitatem, itinere diei unius: et clamavit, et dixit: Adhuc quadraginta dies, et Ninive subvertetur. Et erediderunt viri Ninivitæ in Deum, et praedicaverunt jejunium, et vestiti sunt saccis a majore usque ad minorem. Et pervenit verbum ad regem Ninive. Et surrexit de solio suo, et abjecit vestimen tum 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 convertatur vir a via sua mala, et ab iniquitate, quæ est in manibus eorum. Quis scit, si convertatur, et ignoecat 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.
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 with 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 'et 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 bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus, qui diversitatem gentium in confessione tui nominis adunasti: da nobis et velle et posse quæ præcipis: ut populo ad æternitatem vocato una sit fides mentium, et pietas actionum. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, who hast united the several nations of the Gentiles in the profession of thy name; give us both a will and a power to obey thy commands: that all thy people, who are called to eternity, may have the same faith in their minds, and piety in their actions. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


Eleventh Prophecy
(DeuteronomyChap. xxxi.)

The holy Church instructs the catechumens, by this lesson, upon the obligation they are about to contract with God. The grace of regeneration is not to be conferred upon them, until they have made a solemn promise that they renounce satan, the enemy of their God. Let them be faithful to their promise, and remember that God is the avenger of every infringement of so solemn a vow.

In diebus illis: Scripsit Moyses canticum et docuit filios Israël, Præcepitque Dominus Josue filio Nun, et ait: Confortare, et esto robustus. Tu enim introduces filios Israel in terram, quam pollicitus sum, et ego ero tecum. Postquam ergo scripsit Moyses verba legis hujus in volumine, atque complevit; præcepit levitis, qui portabant arcam fœderis Domini, dicens: Tollite librum istum, et ponite eum in latere arcæ fœderis Domini Dei vestri: ut sit ibi contra te in testimonium. Ego enim scio contentionem tuam, et cervicem tuam durissimam. Adhuc vivente me, et ingrediente vobiscum, semper contentiose egietis contra Dominum: quanto magis cum mortuus fuero? Congregate ad me omnes majores natu per tribus vestras, atque doctores: et loquar audientibus eis sermones istos, et invocabo contra eos cœlum et terram. Novi enim quod post mortem meam inique agetis: et declinabitis cito de via, quam præcepi vobis. Et occurrent vobis mala in extremo tempore, quando feceritis malum in conspectu Domini: ut irritetis eum per opera manuum vestrarum. Locutus est ergo Moyses, audiente universa cœtu Israel, verba carminis hujus: et ad finem usque complevit.
In those days: Moses wrote a canticle, and taught it to the children of Israel. And the Lord commanded Josue, the son of Nun and said: Take courage and be valiant: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I have promised, and I will be with thee. Therefore after Moses had wrote the words of this law in a volume, and finished it, he commanded the levites, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying: Take this book and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God: that it may be there for a testimony against thee. For I know thy obstinacy, and thy most stiff neck. While I am yet living, and going in with you, you have always been rebellious against the Lord: how much more when I shall be dead? Gather unto me all the ancients of your tribes, and your doctors, and I will speak these words in their hearing, and will call heaven and earth to witness against them. For I know that, after my death, you will do wickedly, and will quickly turn aside from the way that I have commanded you: and evils shall come upon you in the latter times, when you shall do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him by the works of your hands. Moses therefore spoke, in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel, the words of this canticle, and finished it even to the end.

This lesson is followed by a Tract, which is taken from the sublime canticle sung by Moses, before quitting this earth. The whole assembly of Israel was present, and he put before them, in words of earnest zeal, the chastisements which God exercises against them that break the Covenant He vouchsafes to make with them,

Tract

Attende coelum, et loquar: et audiat terra verba ex ore meo.
℣.Exspectetur sicut pluvia eloquium meum: et descendant sicut ros verba mea.
℣.Sicut imber super gramen, et sicut nix super fœnum: quia nomen Domini invocabo.
℣.Date magnitudinem Deo nostro; Deus, vera opera ejus, et omnes viæ ejus judicia.
℣.Deus fidelis, in quo non est iniquitas: justus et sanctus Dominus.
Hear, O ye heavens, and I will speak: and let the earth give ear to the words of my mouth.
℣.Let what I say be looked for like rain: and let my words drop down like dew.
℣.Like the shower upon the grass, and the snow upon the dry herb: for I will call upon the name of the Lord.
℣.Publish the greatness of our God; he is God; his works are true and all his ways are justice.
℣.God is faithful, in whom there is no iniquity: the Lord is just and holy.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus celsitudo humilium et fortitudo rectorum: qui per sanctum Moysen puerum tuum, ita erudire populum tuum sacri carminis tui decantatione voluisti, ut illa legis iteratio fieret etiam nostra directio: excita in omnem justificatarum gentium plenitudinem potentiam tuam, et da læætitiam, mitigando terrorem: ut omnium peccatis tua remissione deletis, quod denuntiatum est in ultionem, transeat in salutem. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, who raisest the humble, and givest strength to the righteous: and who, by thy holy servant Moses, wast pleased so to instruct thy people by the singing of the sacred canticle, that the repetition of the law might be also our direction: show thy power to all the multitude of Gentiles justified by thee, and by mitigating thy terrors, grant them joy: that all their sins being pardoned by thee, the threatened vengeance may contribute to their salvation. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


Twelfth Prophecy
(Daniel, Chap. iii.)

Here is the last instruction given to our oatechumens, before they descend into the font of salvation. It is requisite that they should have a clear knowledge of what the Christian warfare will demand of them. Perhaps they will one day have to confess their God before the potentates of earth. Are they resolved to suffer every torture, even death itself, rather than deny His holy name? Have there not been apostates among those whose Baptism was once a source of joy to the Church? It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that they should know the trials that await them. Our holy mother the Church tells them .the history of the three young Jews, who refused to adore the statue of the king of Babylon, though their refusal was to be punished by their being cast into a fiery furnace. Since the promulgation of the Christian law, millions of martyrs have followed their example. The representation of these three heroes of the true God is a favourite subject among the paintings of of the catacombs. It is true, peace has been given to the Church; but the world is ever the enemy of Christ, and who knows but that Julian the apostate may succeed Constantine?

In diebus illis: Nabuchodonosor rex fecit statuam auream, altitudine cubitorum sexaginta, latitudine cubitorum sex: et statuit eam in campo Dura prov inciæ Babylonis. Itaque Nabuchodonosor rex misit ad congregandos satrapas, magistratus et judices, duces et tyrannos, et præfectos omnesque principes regionum: ut convenirent ad dedicationem statuæ, quam erexerat Nabuchodonosor rex. Tunc congregati sunt satrapæ, magistratus, et judices, duces et tyranni, et optimates, qui erant in potestatibus constituti, et universi principes regionum: ut convenirent ad dedicationem statuæ, quam erexerat Nabuchodonosor rex. Stabant autem in conspectu statuæ, quam posuerat Nabuchodonosor rex, et præco clamabat valenter: Yobis dicitur populis, tribubus et linguis: In hora qua audieritis sonitum tubæ et fistulæ, et citharae, sambucæ et psalterii, et symphoniæ, et universi generis musicorum, cadentes adorate statuam auream, quam constituit Nabuchodonosor rex. Si quis autem non prostratus adora ver i t, eadem hora mittetur in fornacem ignis ardentis.

Post hæc igitur statim ut audierunt omnes populi sonitum tubæ, fistulæ et citharæ, sambucæ, et psalterii, et symphoniæ, et omnis generis musicorum, cadentes omnes populi, tribus, et linguae, adoraverunt statuam auream, quam constituerat Nabuchodonosor rex. Statimque in ipso tempore accedentes viri Chaldæi accusaverunt Judæos, dixeruntque Nabuchodonosor regi: Rex in æternum vive. Tu rex posuisti decretum: ut omnis homo, qui audierit sonitum tubæ, fistulæ, et citharæ, sambucæ, et psalterii, et symphoniæ, et universi generis musicorum, prosternat se, et adoret statuam auream. Si quis autem non procidens adoraverit, mittatur in fornacem ignis ardentis. Sunt ergo viri Judæi, quos constituisti super opera regionis Babylonis, Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago: viri isti contempserunt, rex, decretum tuum: deos tuos non colunt, et statuam auream quam erexisti non adorant.

Tunc Nabuchodonosor in furore et in ira, præcepit ut adducerentur Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago. Qui confestim adducti sunt in conspectu regis. Pronuntiansque Nabuchodonosorrex, ait eis: Verene, Sidrach, Mieach, et Abdenago, deos meos non colitis, et statuam auream quam constitui, non adoratis? Nunc ergo, si estisparati, quacumque hora audieritis sonitum tubæ, fistulæ, citharæ, sambucæ, et psalterii, et symphoniæ, omnisque generis musicorum, prosternite vos, et adorate statuam quam feci. Quod si non adoraveritis, eadem hora mittemini in fornacem ignis ardentis: et quis est Deus, qui eripiet vos de manu mea?

Respondentes Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago, dixerunt regi Nabuchodonosor: Non oportet nos de hac re respondere tibi. Ecce enim Deu3 noster quem colimus, potest eripere nos de camino ignis ardentis, et de manibus tuis, o rex, liberare. Quod si noluerit, notum sit tibi rex: quia deos tuos non colimus, et statuam auream quam erexisti, non adoramus. Tunc Nabuchodonosor repletus est furore; et aspectus faciei illius immutatus est super Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago. Et præcepit, ut succenderetur fornax septuplum, quam succendi consueverat. Et viris fortissimis de exercitu suo jussit, ut ligatis pedibus Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago, mitterent eos in fornacem ignis ardentis. Et confestim viri illi vincti, cum braccis suis, et tiaris, et calceamentis, et vestibus, missi sunt in medium fornacis ignis ardentis; nam jussio regis urgebat. Fornax autem succensa erat nimis. Porro viros illos, qui miserant Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago, interfecit flamma ignis. Viri autem hi tres, id est Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago, ceciderunt in medio camino ignis ardentis, colligati. Et ambulabant in medio flammæ laudantes Deum, et benedicentes Domino.
In those days: King Nabuchodonosor made a statue of gold, of sixty cubits high, and six cubits broad, and he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then Nabuchodonosor the king sent to call together the nobles, the magistrates, and the judges, the captains, the rulers, and governors, and all the chief men of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the statue which king Nabuchodonosor had set up. Then the nobles, the magistrates, and the judges, the captains and rulers, and the great men that were placed in authority, and all the princes of the provinces were gathered together to come to the dedication of the statue which king Nabuchodonosor had set up. And they stood before the statue which king Nabuchodonosor had set up. Then a herald cried with a strong voice: To you it is commanded, O nations, tribes, and languages: that in the hour that you shall hear the sound of the trumpet, and of the flute, and of the harp, of the sackbut, and of the psaltery, and of the symphony, and of all kind of music; ye fall down and adore the golden statue which king Nabuchodonosor hath set up. But if any man should not fall down and adore, he shall the same hour be cast into a furnace of burning fire.

Upon this, therefore, at the time when all the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the flute, and the harp, of the sackbut, and the psaltery, of the symphony, and of all kind of music; all the nations, tribes and languages, fell down and adored the golden statue which king Nabuchodonosor had set up. And presently, at that very time, some Chaldeans came and accused the Jews: and said to king Nabuchodonosor: O king, live for ever! Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the trumpet, the flute, and the harp, of the sackbut. and the psaltery, of the symphony, and of all kind of music, shall prostrate himself, and adore the golden statue: and that if any man shall not fall down and adore, he should be cast into a furnace of burning fire. Now there are certain Jews, whom thou hast set over the works of the province of Babylon, Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago: these men, O king, have slighted thy decree: they worship not thy gods, nor do they adore the golden statue which thou hast set up.

Then Nabuchodonosor, in fury and in wrath, commanded that Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago should be brought: who immediately were brought before the king. And Nabuchodonosor the king spoke to them and said: Is it true, O Sidrach, Mieach, and Abdenago, that you do not worship my gods, nor adore the golden statue that I have set up? Now therefore if you be ready, at what hour soever you shall hear the sound of the trumpet, flute, harp, sackbut, and psaltery, and symphony, and of all kind of music, prostrate yourselves, and adore the statue which I have made: but if you do not adore, you shall be cast the same hour into the furnace of burning fire: and who is the God that shall deliver you out of my hand?

Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, answered and said to king Nabuchodonosor: We have no occasion to answer thee concerning this matter. Forbehold our God, whom we worship, is able to save us from the furnace of burning tire, and to deliver us out of thy hands, O king. But if he will not, be it known to thee, O king, that we will not worship thy gods, nor adore the golden statue which thou hast set up. Then was Nabuchodonosor filled with fury: and the countenance of his face was changed against Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, and he commanded that the furnace should be heated seven times more than it had been accustomed to be heated. And he commanded the strongest men that were in his army, to bind the feet of Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, and to cast them into the furnace of burning fire. And immediately these men were bound, and were cast into the furnace of burning fire, with their coats and their caps, and their shoes, and their garments. For the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace was heated exceedingly. And the flame of the fire slew those men that had cast in Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago. But these three men, that is, Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, fell down bound in the midst of the furnace of burning fire. And they walked in the midst of the flame, praising God and blessing the Lord.

The bishop says a prayer after this, as well as after the other prophecies: but the deacon gives not his invitation to kneel. The Church omits the genuflexion, in order to inspire the catechumens with a horror for the idolatry of the Babylonians, who bend their knee before the statue of Nabuchodonosor.

Oremus.

 Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, spes unica mundi, qui prophetarum tuorum præconio, præsentium temporum declarasti mysteria: auge populi tui vota placatus: quia in nullo fidelium, nisi ex tua inspiratione, proveniunt quarumlibet incrementa virtutum. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
Let us Pray.

O almighty and eternal God, the only hope of the world, who by the voice of thy prophets, hast manifested the mysteries of this present time: graciously increase the desires of thy people: since none of the faithful can advance in any virtue, without thy inspiration. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 

THE BLESSING OF THE FONT

 

These lessons, and prayers, and chants, have taken up a considerable portion of time: the sun has long since set, and the night is far advanced. All the preparatory exercises are over, and it is time to repair to the baptistery. During the prophecies, seven subdeacons went thither, and there they have thrice recited the litany; in the first recitation, they repeated each invocation seven times; in the second, five times; and in the third, three times. A procession is formed towards this building, which is detached from the church, and is either circular, or octagonal, in form. In the centre is a large font, with several steps leading down to it. A stream of clear water flows into it from the mouth of a metal stag. Over the font is suspended a canopy or cupola, in the centre of which is a dove with extended wings, which represents the Holy Ghost giving virtue to the water beneath. Round the font is a railing, within which none may enter but those who are to be baptized, the sponsors, the bishop, and the priests. Two pavilions—one for the men, the other for the women—have been put up; they are for the baptized, wherein, after they come from the font, they may change their garments.

The procession moves from the church to the baptistery in the following order. The Paschal candle (which represents the pillar of fire that guided the Israelites, by night, to the Red Sea, in whose waters they found salvation) goes first, leading on the catechumens. These follow, having their sponsors on their right hand, for each candidate for Baptism is to be presented by a Christian. Then come two acolytes; one carries the holy chrism, the other the oil of catechumens. Next, the clergy; and lastly, the bishop and his assistant ministers. The procession is by torch-light. The stars are brightly shining in the canopy of heaven, and the air resounds with the melodious chanting. They are singing those verses of the psalm, in which David compares his soul’s pining after her God to the panting of a stag that thirsts for a fount of water. The stag, an image of which is in the font, is a figure of the catechumen who longs for Baptism.

Tract

Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum: ita desiderat anima mea ad te Deus.
℣.Sitivit anima mea ad Deum vivum: quando veniam, et apparebo ante faciem Dei?
℣.Fuerunt mihi lacrymæ meæ panes die ac nocte, dum dicitur mihi per singulos dies: Ubi est Deus tuus?
As the stag panteth after the fountains of water, so my soul panteth after thee, O God.
℣.My soul hath thirsted after the living God: when shall I come and appear before the face of God?
℣.My tears have been my bread day and night, while it is said to me daily: Where is thy God?

They soon reach the baptistery. The bishop, having come within sight of the font, prefaces his blessing by a prayer, in which he again uses the comparison of a panting stag, to express to God the longing of this people after the new life of which Christ is the source.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus.

Omnipotens sempiterno Deus, respice propitius ad devotionem populirenascentis, qui, sicut cervus, aquarum tuarum expetit fontem: et concede propitius ut fidei ipsius sitis, baptismatis mysterio, animam corpusque sanctificet. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, look mercifully on the devotion of the people desiring a new birth, who pant, as the hart, after the fountain of thy waters: and mercifully grant that the thirst of their faith may, by the sacrament of Baptism, sanctify their souls and bodies. Through, etc.
℟. Amen.

The blessing of water for Baptism is of apostolic institution, as we learn from many of the holy fathers, among whom we may mention St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, and St. Basil. It is just, that the instrument of so divine a work should receive every mark of honour, that could secure to it the respeot of mankind: and, after all, does not this honour and respect redound to God, who chose this creature to be, as it were, the co-operator of His mercies to us? It is from water that we came forth Christians. The early fathers allude to this, when they call Christians the fish of Christ. We cannot be surprised, after this, that the sight of the element that gave us our spiritual life should excite us to joy, or that we should pay to this element an honour, which is referred to the Author of all the graces about to be bestowed.

The prayer used by the bishop for blessing the water, is so full of elevation of thought, energy of diction, and authority of doctrine, that we may, without hesitation, attribute it to the earliest ages of the Church. The ceremonies which accompany it bespeak its venerable antiquity. It is sung to the solemn tone of the Preface, which imparts such a lyric effect. The pontiff first recites a preliminary prayer, and then begins his magnificent blessing. He is filled with the holy enthusiasm of the Church. He turns to the faithful, and they respond. He is going to lead them to such grand mysteries: Sursum corda!

℣.Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, adesto magnæ pie ta tis tuæ mysteriie, adesto sacramentis; et ad recreandos novos populos, quos tibi fons Baptismatis parturit, Spiritum adoptionis emitte: ut quod nostræ humilitatis gerendum est ministerio, virtutie tuæ impleatur effectu. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate ejusdem Spiritus sancti Deus,
Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

℟. Amen.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℣. Sursum corda.
℟. Habemus ad Domi num

℣. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
℟. Dignum et justum est.

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare; nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine sanete, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, qui invisibili potentia, sacramentorum tuorum mirabiliter operaris effectum; et licet nos tantis mysteriis exsequendis simus indigni: tu tamen gratiæ tuæ dona non deserens, etiam ad nostras preces, aures tuæ pietatis inclinas. Deus, cujus Spiritus super aquas, inter ipsa mundi primordia, ferebatur: ut jam tunc virtutem sanctificationis aquarum natura conciperet. Deus, qui nocentis mundi crimina per aquas abluens, regenerationis speciem in ipsa diluvii effusione signasti; ut unius ejusdemque elementi mysterio, et finis esset vitiis, et origo virtutibus; respice, Domine, in faciem Ecclesiæ tuæ; et multiplica in ea regenerationes tuas, qui gratiæ tuæ affluentis impetu lætificas civitatem tuam, fontemque Baptismatis aperis toto orbe terrarum gentibus innovandis: ut tuæ majestatie imperio, sumat Unigeniti tui gratiam de Spiritu sancto.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, be present at these mysteries, be present at these sacraments of thy great goodness: and send forth the Spirit of adoption to regenerate the new people, whom the font of Baptism brings forth: that what is to be done by our weak ministry, may be accomplished by the effect of thy power. Through our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, who liveth and reign eth with thee, in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, God,
For ever and ever.

℟. Amen.

℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

℣. Lift up your hearts.
℟. We have them fixed on God.

℣. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
℟. It is meet and just.

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, who by thy invisible power dost wonderfully produce the effect of thy sacraments: and though we are unworthy to administer so great mysteries: yet as thou dost not forsake the gifts of thy grace, so thou inclinest the ears of thy goodness, even to our prayers. O God, whose Spirit, in the very beginning of the world, moved over the waters, that even then the nature of water might receive the virtue of sanctification. O God, who by water didst wash away the crimes of the guilty world, and by the overflowing of the deluge didst give a figure of regeneration, that one and the same element might, in a mystery, be the end of vice and the origin of virtue. Look, O Lord, on the face of thy Church, and multiply in her thy regenerations, who by the streams of thy abundant grace fillest thy city with joy: and openest the font of baptism all over the world, for the renovation of the Gentiles: that by the command of thy Majesty she may receive the grace of thy only Son from the Holy Ghost.

Here the pontiff pauses a moment, and putting his hand into the water divides it in the form of a cross, to signify that it is by the cross that this element receives the power of regenerating the souls of men. This wonderful power had been promised to water; but the promise was not fulfilled until Christ had shed His Blood upon the cross. It is this Blood which operates by the water on the souls of men; and with the action of this precious Blood is joined that of the Holy Ghost, as the pontiff tells us in his prayer, which he thus continues.

Qui hanc aquam regenerandis hominibus præparatam, arcana sui numinis admixtione fœcundet: ut sanctificati one concepta, ab immaculato divini fontis utero, in novam renata creaturam, progenies cœlestis emergat: et quos aut sexus in corpore, aut ætas discernit in tempore, omnes in unam pariat gratia mater infantiam. Procul ergo hinc, jubente te Domine, omnis spiritus immundus abscedat: procul tota nequitia diaboliæ fraudis absistat. Nihil hic loci habeat contrariæ virtu tis admixtio: non insidiando circumvolet, non latendo subrepat, non inficiendo corrumpat.
Who, by a secret mixture of his divine virtue, may render this water fruitful for the regeneration of men, to the end that those who have been sanctified in the immaculate womb of this divine font, being born again a new creature, may come forth a heavenly offspring: and that all that are distinguished either by sex in body, or by age in time, may be brought forth to the same infancy by grace, their spiritual mother. Therefore may all unclean spirits, by thy command, O Lord, depart far from hence: may the whole malice of diabolical deceit be entirely banished: may no power of the enemy prevail here: may he not fly about to lay his snares: may he not creep in by his secret artifice: may he not corrupt with his infection.

After having thus besought God to protect the water of the font from the influence which satan seeks to exercise over every creature, the bishop puts his hand upon it. The august character of a pontiff or priest is a source of sanctification: the mere contaot of his consecrated hand produces a salutary effect, as often as he acts in virtue of the priesthood of Christ, which dwells within him.

Sit hæc sancta et innocens creatura libera ab omni impugnatoris incursu, et totius nequitiæ purgata discessu. Sit fons vivus, aqua regenerans, unda purificans: ut omnes hoc lavacro salutifero diluendi, operante in eis Spiritu sancto, perfectæ purgationis indulgentiam con-sequantur.
May this holy and innocent creature be free from all the assaults of the enemy, and purified by the destruction of all his malice. May it be a living fountain, a regenerating water, a purifying stream: that all those that are to be washed in this saving bath, may obtain, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, the grace of a perfect purification.

While pronouncing the following words, the bishop blesses the water, thrice making over it the sign of the cross.

Unde benedico te, crea tura aquae, per Deum vivum, per Deum verum, per Deum sanctum: per Deum qui te, in principio, verbo separavit ab arida: cu jus Spiritus super te ferebatur.
Therefore I bless thee, O creature of water, by the living God, by the true God, by the holy God: by that God who in the beginning separated thee by his word from the dry land, whose Spirit moved over thee.

The bishop next makes an allusion to the four rivers which watered the earthly paradise. He again divides the water with his hand, and sprinkles it towards the north, south, east and west, for the four parts of the world received the preaching of Baptism. While performing this expressive ceremony, he continues his prayer as follows:

Qui te de paradisi fonte manare fecit, et in quatuor fluminibus totam terram rigare præcepit; qui te in deserto amaram, suavitate indita fecit esse potabilem, et sitienti populo de petra produxit. Benedico te, et per Jesum Christum Filium ejus unicum Dominum nostrum: qui te in Cana Galilææ, signo admirabili, sua potentia convertit in vinum. Qui pedibus super te ambulavit: et a Joanne in Jordane in te baptizatus est. Qui te una cum sanguine de latere suo produxit: et discipulis suis jussit, ut credentes baptizaren tur in te, dicens: Ite, docete omnes gentes, baptizantes eos in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti.
Who made thee flow from the fountain of paradise, and commanded thee to water the whole earth with thy four rivers. Who, changing thy bitterness in the desert into sweetness, made thee fit to drink, and produced thee out of a rock to quench the thirst of the people. I bless thee also by our Lord Jesus Christ, his only Son, who in Cana of Galilee changed thee into wine, by a wonderful miracle of his power. Who walked upon thee dry-foot, and was baptized in thee by John in the Jordan. Who made thee flow out of his side together with his Blood, and commanded his disciples, that such as believed should be baptized in thee, saying: Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Here the bishop interrupts the solemn and triumphant tone of the Preface, and simply reads the following words. He has signed the water with the sign of the cross; he now invokes upon it the vivifying action of the Holy Ghost.

Hæc nobis præcepta servantibus, tu, Deus omnipotens, demens adesto: tu benignus adspira.
Do thou, almighty God, mercifully assist us who observe this command: do thou graciously inspire us.

The Holy Ghost is called Spirit, which means a breath: He is the divine Breathing, that mighty Wind, which was heard in the cenacle. The pontiff to express this character of the Third Person of the blessed Trinity, thrice breathes, in the form of a cross, over the water of the font, and then continues in the same reading tone:

Tu has simplices aquas tuo ore benedicito: ut præter naturalem emundationem, quam lavandis possunt adhibere corporibus, sint etiam purificandis mentibus eficaces.
Do thou with thy mouth bless these clear waters: that besides their natural virtue of cleansing the body, they may also be effectual for the purifying of the soul.

Then taking the Paschal candle, he dips the lower end of it into the font. This rite signifies the mystery of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan, whereby the element of water received the pledge of its future sanctifying power. The Son of God went down into the stream, and the Holy Ghost came upon Him in the form of a Dove. But now, it is something more than a promise: the water receives the reality, the virtue; and it receives it by the action of these two divine Persons. The bishop, therefore resuming the tone of the Preface, chants these words, while plunging into the font the Paschal candle, the symbol of Christ, over whom hovers the celestial Dove:

Descendat in hanc plenitudinem fontis virtus Spiritus sancti.
May the virtue of the Holy Ghost descend into all the water of this font.

After these words, the pontiff takes the candle out of the water, and then plunges it in again still deeper, singing the same words, but on a higher note:

Descendat in hanc plenitudinem fontis virtus Spiritus sancti.
May the virtue of the Holy Ghost descend into all the water of this font.

Having again withdrawn the candle, he plunges it a third time into the water, even to the bottom of the font: he sings the same words to a still higher note:

Descendat in hanc plenitud inem fontis virtus Spiritus sancti.
May the virtue of the Holy Ghost descend into all the water of this font.

Before taking the candle from the water the third time, the bishop leans forward over the font: and that he may signify the union of the power of the Holy Ghost with that of Christ, he breathes again upon the water, not, this time, in the form of a cross, but in that of the Greek letter ψ, which is the initial of the Greek word for Spirit. This done, he resumes his prayer by the following words:

Totamque hujue aquæ substantiam, regenerandi fœcundet effectu.
And make the whole substance of this water fruitful and capable of regenerating.

The Paschal candle is then raised out of the font, and the bishop thus continues:

Hic omnium peccatorum maculæ deleantur: hic natura ad imaginem tuam condita, et ad honorem sui reformata principii, cunctis vetustatis squaloribus emundetur: ut omnis homo sacramentum hoe regenerationisingressus, in veræ innocentiæ novam infantiam renascatur.
Here may the stains of all sins be washed out: here may human nature, created to thy image, and reformed to the honour of its author, be cleansed from all the filth of the old man: that all who receive this sacrament of regeneration, may be born again new children of true innocence.

The bishop recites the rest in the simple reading tone:

Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum: qui venturus est judieare vivos et mortuos, et sæculum per ignem.

℟. Amen.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son: who shall come to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.

℟. Amen.

As soon as the people have answered Amen, one of the priests sprinkles them with the water, that has thus been blessed; and an acolyte fills a large vessel with it, that it may be used in the service of the Church, and in sprinkling the houses of the faithful.

But the Church is not satisfied with having given her blessing to the water. On Thursday, she was put in possession of the graces of the Holy Ghost by receiving the holy oils: with these she would now honour the font, mingling a portion of them with the water. The faithful—seeing how every symbol expressive of divine adoption is made to bear upon the water, whence men receive salvation—will learn what is the reverence they should have for the font. The bishop, taking the oil of catechumens, pours it into the water, saying:

Sanctificetur et foecundetur fons iste oleo salutis renascentibus ex eo, in vitam ætemam.

℟. Amen.
May this font be sanctified and made fruitful by the oil of salvation, for such as are regenerated therein unto life everlasting.

℟. Amen.

Then, taking the holy chrism, he pours it into the font, saying:

Infusio chrismatis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et Spiritus sancti Paracliti, fiat in nomine sanctæ Trinitatis.

℟. Amen.
May this infusion of the chrism of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost the Comforter, be made in the name of the holy Trinity.

℟. Amen.

Finally, taking the chrism in his right hand, and the oil of catechumens in his left, he pours from the two phials at once. This sacred rite signifies the superabundant grace of Baptism. While pouring in the two oils together, the bishop says:

Commixtio chrismatis sanctificationis, et olei unctionis, et aquæ baptismatis, pariter fiat, in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti.

℟. Amen.
May this mixture of the chrism of sanctification, and of the oil of unction, and of the water of Baptism, be made in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

℟. Amen.

After these words, the bishop puts his hand into the font, and mixes the holy oils with the water, that thus every portion of it may come into contact with this additional source of sanctification. Having wiped his hand, he takes off such of his vestments as would inconvenienoe him in the administration of Baptism.

 

BAPTISM

 

The pontiff returns to the font, and the catechumens are called in turns. They come one by one, led by their sponsors. The bishop stands upon a platform, that reaches over the font. The catechumen dentes baptizaren tur in te, dicens: Ite, docete omnes gentes, baptizantes eos in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti.off all garments as far as the waist, descends the stepsand goes into the water, within reach of the bishop’s hand. The bishop then asks the catechumen: ‘Dost thou believe in God the Father almighty. Creator of heaven and earth?’ The catechumen answers: ‘I do believe.’— Dost thou believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was born and suffered for us?’—‘I do believe.’—‘Dost thou believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?’—‘I do believe.’ And having thus received the oonfession of the catechumen’s faith, the bishop asks him or her: ‘Wilt thou be baptized?’—‘I will,’ answers the catechumen. Then the bishop places his hand upon the catechumen’s head, and thrice immerges him, or her, under the water, saying: ‘I baptize thee, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’

Thrice, then, has the catechumen entirely disappeared under the water: it has closed over and shrouded him. We have the explanation of this given us by the great apostle: the water of Baptism is the tomb, in which we are buried together with Christ; and, together with Him, we rise again to life: the death we had suffered, was the death of sin; the life we are henceforth to live, is the life of grace.[13] Thus is the mystery of Jesus’ Resurrection repeated, with all its fulness, in them that are baptized. But before the baptized comes from the font, a sacred rite is performed over him, which completes his resemblance with Christ. While Jesus was yet standing in the waters of the Jordan, the Holy Ghost descended upon Him in the form of a Dove: and before the neophyte comes forth from the font, a priest anoints his head with the chrism, which is a gift received from the holy Spirit. This anointing expresses the kingly and priestly character that resides in the Christian, for by his union with Jesus Christ, his Head, he partakes, in some degree, of the royalty and the priesthood of this divine Mediator. Thus loaded with honours by the divine Word and the Holy Ghost, and adopted by the eternal Father, who sees in him a member of His own Son, the neophyte comes up from the font by the steps of the side opposite to that by which he descended, beautiful in grace and spotless as the flocks of which the Canticle speaks such praises.[14] The sponsor is ready to receive him from the font: he stretches out his hand to help him to mount the steps, and covers his shoulders with a cloth.

Thus goes on the divine work of the holy font: each Baptism is a resurrection from sin to justification. But the pontiff has to administer to the neophytes another sacrament, which is to confirm them by the gift of the Holy Ghost, and which he alone can confer. Were he to wait till all are baptized, Easterday would dawn upon them, before the whole of tonight’s service is over. He therefore baptizes a few himself—men, women, and children—and leaves his priests to administer Baptism to all the rest. In the baptistery, there is a part which is called the chrismarium, because the Sacrament of chrism, or Confirmation, is given there. Thither the pontiff now repairs, and sits upon the throne prepared for him. He resumes the vestments he had laid aside when descending to the font; and immediately they bring to him the neophytes he has baptized, and after them, those baptized by the priests. He gives to each a white robe, which they must wear till the following Saturday; and as he gives it, he says: ‘Receive this white garment, which is holy and unspotted: and see thou carry it before the judgment-seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, that thou mayst have eternal life!’ As soon as the neophytes have received it, they retire to the pavilions prepared in the baptistery. There they change their wet clothes for others, and, aided by their sponsors, they vest themselves with the white robes. They then repair to the chrismarium, where they are to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

 

CONFIRMATION

 

On Thursday last, when consecrating the chrism, the pontiff told us how, when the waters of the deluge had fulfilled their office of purifying the earth, the dove appeared, bearing an olive-branch in her beak; it was a symbol of peace, and of the reign of Him, whose sacred name signifies the Anointed: His name is Christ. Our neophytes have been purified from their sins by the water of Baptism: they are now kneeling before the pontiff, awaiting the gift of the Dove, and longing for the pledge of peace whereof the olive is the symbol. The holy chrism has been already marked upon their heads; but then it was only a sign of the dignity to which they had been raised. Now, it does more than signify grace, it works it in the soul. Neither is it in the power of a priest to give this anointing, which confirms the Christian; it requires the hand of a bishop, for he alone can consecrate the chrism.

The neophytes are arranged before him; on one side the men, on the other the women; the infants are in their sponsors’ arms. The adults place their right foot on the right foot of their godfather or godmother, showing, by this sign of union, their spiritual filiation in the Church.

The sight of this innocent flock gladdens the heart of the pontiff. He rises from his throne, and thus addresses them: ‘May the Holy Ghost come down upon you, and may the power of the Most High kecp you from sin!' Then stretching forth his hands, he invokes upon them the seven gifts of the holy Spirit, whose action is to confirm, in our neophytes, the graces they have reoeived in the font of baptism.

Led by their sponsors, they come, one by one, before the bishop. Their faces express the eagerness, wherewith they long to receive what will make them perfect Christians. The pontiff signs the forehead of each of them with the holy chrism; and by this he imprints an indelible character on the soul. The words he uses are these: ‘I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’ Then giving a slight blow on the cheek (which, with the ancients, was the sign of emancipating a slave), he signifies that the neophyte is admitted into the liberty of the children of God; and he says: ‘Peace be with thee!’ The assistant ministers tie a bandlet round the forehead, so that nothing may touch the part which has been anointed with holy chrism. The neophytes have to wear this bandlet until the Saturday following, when they will lay aside the white garments received at their Baptism.

The night has passed away during the solemnization of these sublime mysteries: the hour has come for the glad celebration of the holy Sacrifice in honour of our Lord’s Resurrection from the tomb. It is time for the pastor to lead back to the temple his happy flock, which has received such a glorious addition. It is time for him to give to his dear sheep the divine nourishment, to which they have henceforth a claim. The gates of the baptistery are thrown open, and all return in procession to the church. The Paschal candle, the pillar of fire, goes before the troop of neophytes, whose white robes glitter in the daydawn of Easter. The faithful people follow after the bishop and clergy, and all enter, with an air of triumph, into the church. During the procession, they again chant the canticle that was sung by Moses and the children of Israel after the passage through the Red Sea. The bishop repairs to the secretariurm, where he is robed in the richest vestments of the treasury. During this interval, the cantors recommence the litany, repeating each invocation thrice over. According to the present arrangement of the liturgy, it is sung but once during the whole of to-day’s Service—that is, as soon as the clergy return to the choir after the blessing of the font—and each invocation is sung twice. In churches where there is no font, the litany is sung after the prayer which follows the twelfth prophecy; and as far as the words, Peccatores, te rogamus audi nos, the celebrant and ministers lie prostrate on the altar steps, praying for the neophytes who are this day added to the Church, throughout the world. We here give the litany as it is now sung, with the additions that have been made to it at various times.

 

THE LITANY

 

Kyrie, eleison.
Christe, eleïson.
Kyrie, eleïson.
Christe, audi nos.
Christe, exaudi nos.
Pater de cœlis, Deus, miserere nobis.
Fili,Redemptor mundi Deus, miserere nobis.
Spiritus sancte, Deus, miserere nobis.
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, miserere nobis.
Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis.
Sancta Dei Genitrix, ora pro nobis.
Sancta Virgo virginum, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Michael, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Gabriel,
Sancte Raphael,
Omnes sancti Angeli et Archangeli, orate pro nobis.
Omnes sancti beatorum spirituum ordines, orate pro nobis.
Sancte Joannes Baptista, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Joseph,
Omnes sancti patriarchæ et prophetæ, orate pro nobis
Sancte Petre, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Paule,
Sancte Andrea,
Sancte Joannes,
Omnes sancti apostoli et evangelistæ, orate pro nobis.
Omnes sancti discipuli Domini, orate pro nobis
Sancte Stephane, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Laurenti,
Sancte Vincenti,
Omnes sancti martyres, orate pro nobis.
Sancte Sylvester, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Gregori,
Sancte Augustine,
Omnes sancti pontifices et confessores, orate.
Omnes sancti doctores, orate pro nobis.
Sancte Antoni, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Benedicte,
Sancte Dominice,
Sancte Francisce,
Omnes sancti sacerdotes et levitæ, orate pro nobis.
Omnes sancti monachi et eremitae.
Sancta Maria Magdalena, ora pro nobis.
Sancta Agnes,
Sancta Cæcilia,
Sancta Catharina,
Sancta Agatha,
Sancta Anastasia,
Omnes sanctae virgines et viduæ, orate pro nobis.
Omnes sancti et sanctæ Dei, intercedite pro nobis.
Propitius esto, parce nobis Domine.
Propitius esto, exaudi nos Domine.
Ab omni malo, libera nos Domine.
Ab omni peccato, libera nos Domine.
A morte perpetua, libera nos Domine.
Per mysterium sanctæ Incarnationis tuæ, libera nos Domine.
Per adventum tuum, libera nos Domine.
Per nativitatem tuam, libera nos Domine.
Per baptismum et sanctum jejunium tuum, libera nos Domine.
Per crucem et Passionem tuam, libera nos Domine.
Per mortem et sepulturam tuam, libera nos Domine.
Per sanctam Resurrectionem tuam, libera nos Domine.
Per admirabilem Ascensionem tuam, libera nos Domine.
Per adventum Spiritus Sancti Paracliti, libera nos Domine.
In die judicii, libera nos Domine.
Peccatores, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut nobis parcas, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut Ecclesiam tuam sanctam regere et conservare digneris, te rogamus audi nös.
Ut domnum apostolicum, et omnes ecclesiasticos Ordines, in sancta religione conservare digneris, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut inimicos sanctæ Ecclesiæ humillare digneris, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut regibus et principibus Christiania pacem et veram concordiam donare digneris, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut nosmetipaos in tuo sancto servitio confortare et conservare digneris, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut omnibus benefactoribus nostris sempiterna bona retribuas, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut frac tus terræ dare et conservare digneris, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut omnibus fidelibus defunctis requiem æternam do nare digneris, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut nos exaudire digneris, terogamus audi nos.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, parce nobis Domine.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, exaudi nos Domine.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Christe, audi nos.
Christe, exaudi nos.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father, of heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
Saint Michael, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel,
Saint Raphael,
All ye holy Angels and Archangels,
All ye holy orders of blessed spirits,
Saint John Baptist,
Saint Joseph,
All ye holy patriarchs and prophets,
Saint Peter,
Saint Paul,
Saint Andrew,
Saint John,
All ye holy apostles and evangelists,
All ye holy disciples of our Lord,
Saint Stephen,
Saint Lawrence,
Saint Vincent,
All ye holy martyrs,
Saint Sylvester,
Saint Gregory,
Saint Augustine,
All ye holy bishops and confessors,
All ye holy doctors,
Saint Antony,
Saint Benedict,
Saint Dominic,
Saint Francis,
All ye holy priests and levites,
All ye holy monks and hermits,
Saint Mary Magdalene,
Saint Agnes,
Saint Cecily,
Saint Catharine,
Saint Agatha,
Saint Anastasia,
All ye holy virgins and widows.
All ye saints of God, make intercession for us.
Be merciful to us, spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful to us, graciously hear us, O Lord.
From all evil, deliver us, O Lord.
From all sin, deliver us, O Lord.
From everlasting death,
Through the mystery of thy holy Incarnation,
Through thy coming,
Through thy nativity,
Through thy baptism and holy fasting,
Through thy cross and Passion,
Through thy death and burial,
Through thy holy Resurrection,
Through thy admirable Ascension,
Through the coming of the Holy Ghost the Comforter,
In the day of judgment,
We sinners, beseech thee, hear us.
That thou spare us, we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou vouchsafe to govern and preserve thy holy Church,
That thou vouchsafe to preserve our apostolic Prelate, and ail ecclesiastical Orders, in holy religion,
That thou vouchsafe to humble the enemies of thy holy Church,
That thou vouchsafe to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes.
That thou vouchsafe to strengthen and preserve us in thy holy service,
That thou render eternal good things to all our benefactors,
That thou vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth,
That thou vouchsafe to give eternal rest to ail the faithful departed,
That thou vouchsafe graciously to hear us,
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

 

MASS

 

The solemn litany is drawing to its end, and the choir has already begun its closing invocation, the Kyrie eleison! The pontiff comes forth from the secretarium, with all the pomp that marks the principal feasts of the Church. The chant becomes more majestic, and lingers on the brief words of supplication. Kyrie eleison! thrice to the Father: Christe eleison! thrice to the Son: Kyrie eleison! thrice to the Holy Ghost. During this time, the bishop is reciting, at the foot of the altar, the usual psalm and prayers; and then, ascending to the altar, he offers the homage of incense to the Most High. Hence, an Introit, which on other occasions, is sung by the choir during the procession from the secretarium to the altar, is not needed.

The morning-star has blended its rays with those of our Paschal candle, as the deacon prayed might be; but now, the morning-star itself begins to pale, for the star of day—the figure of our Jesus, the Sun of justice—is soon to rise. The assembly of the faithful people—the men on the right, the women on the left—is now greater than it was at first. The space near the doors, for catechumens, is vacant. In a prominent part of the aisles, we see the neo-phytes, in their white robes and bandlets, and with lighted tapers in their hands.

The censing of the altar is finished: and then— Oh glorious triumph of our risen Jesus!—the pontiff sings forth, in a transport of joy: Gloria in excelsis Deo! The hitherto silent bells peal to the glad angelic hymn. The enthusiasm of our holy faith has mastered every heart, making it beat with emotion. The people take up the heavenly canticle, and continue it to the end; and then the bishop sings the following prayer for the newly baptized:

Collect

Deus, qui hanc sacratiseimam noctem gloria Dominicæ Resurrectionis illustras: conserva in nova familiæ tuæ progenie adoptionis Spiriitum quem dedisti: ut corpore et mente renovad, puram tibi exhibeant servitutem. Per eumdem Dominum.
O God, who enlightenest this most sacred night, by the glory of the Resurrection of the Lord; preserve in the new offspring of thy family the spirit of adoption thou hast given them: that being renewed in body and soul, they may serve thee with purity of heart. Through the same, &c.

After the Collect, the subdeacon ascends the Epistle ambo, and chants these impressive words addressed by the great apostle to the neophytes who have just risen, by Baptism, with Christ.

Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ bead Pauli A postoli ad Colossenses.

Cap. iii.

Fratres: si consurrexistis cum Christo, quæ sursum sunt quærite, ubi Christus est in dextera Dei sedens; quæ sursum sunt sapite, non quæ super terrain. Mortui enim estis: et vita vestra est abscondita cum Christo in Deo. Cum autem Christus apparuerit vita vestra: tunc et vos apparebitis cum ipso in gloria.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Colossians.

Ch. iii.

Brethren: if you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God: mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. For you are dead; and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, who is your life; then you also shall appear with him in glory.

Having chanted these few, but telling, words, the subdeacon comes down from the ambo, and goes to the bishop’s throne. He bows before the pontiff, and thus addresses him; and as’ he speaks, the souls of the faithful, yea, the very walls of the church echo with the joyful tidings: ‘Venerable Father! I bring you tidings of great joy: it is the Alleluia!' The bishop rises and, filled with holy ardour, intones the Alleluia to the well known melody. The choir repeats it after him. Thrice (and each time with an increase of joy) is the heavenly word interchanged between the pontiff and the choir. At this moment all mournfulness is at an end. One feels that God has accepted the expiatory works of our Lent; and that, by the merits of His Son now risen from the grave, He pardons our earth, since He permits us to hear once more the song of heaven. The choir subjoins this verse of the psalm, which celebrates the mercy of Jehovah.

Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus: quoniam in saeculum misericordia ejus.
Praise the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

But something is still wanting to the joy of our Easter. Jesue has risen from the tomb; but, so far, He has not shown Himself to all. His blessed Mother, Magdalene, and the other holy women, are the only ones who have as yet seen Him: it is not till the evening, that He will appear to His apostles. We have but just begun the day. Therefore it is that the Church once more offers her praise to her God, under the lenten formula of the Tract.

Tract

Laudate Dominum omnes gentes: et collaudate eum omnes populi.

℣. Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia ejus: et veritas Domini manet in æternum.
Praise the Lord all ye nations; join in his praise, all ye people.

℣. For his mercy is confirmed upon us; and the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever.

While the choir is singing this psalm to a melody which has something of mournfulness about it, the deacon goes to the ambo, from which he is to chant the Gospel. The acolytes do not accompany him with their torches, but the thurifer goes with him, as usual, with the incense. Here again we have an allusion to the events which took place on this great morning: the women went to the sepulchre, carrying sweet spices with them, but the light of faith in the Resurrection was not as yet in their hearts. The incense signifies their spices, the absence of light signifies their want of faith.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xxvii.

Vespere autem Sabbati quae lucescit in prima Sabbati: venit Maria Magdalene, et altera Maria videre sepulchrum. Et ecce terræ mo tus factus est magnus. Angelus enim Domini descendit de cœlo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et sedebat super eum. Erat autem aspectus ejus, sicut fulgur: et vestimentum ejus, sicut nix. Præ timore autem ejus, exterriti sunt custodes: et facti sunt velut mortui. Respondens autem angelus, dixit mulieribus: Nolite timere vos. Scio enim quod Jesum, qui crucifixus est, quæritis. Non est hic: surrexit enim, sicut dixit. Venite, etvidete locum, ubi positus erat Dominus. Et cito euntes, dicite discipulis ejus, quia surrexit. Etecce præcedit vos in Galilæam; ibi eum videbitis: ecce prædixi vobis.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xxviii.

In the end of the Sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to the sepulchre. And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven: and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it; and his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come and see the place where the Lord was laid. And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen: and behold he will go before you into Galilee: there you shall see him. Lo, I have foretold it to you.

The bishop does not intone the glorious Symbol of faith: it is reserved for the second Mass, which is to be sung at a later hour in the morning. By this omission of the Creed, the Church would remind us of the hours which elapsed before the apostles, who were to preach to the world the mystery of the Resurrection, had themselves honoured it by their faith.

After having saluted the people with the usual Dominus vobiscum, the pontiff at once proceeds to offer to the divine Majesty the bread and wine, which are to be used in the Sacrifice; and the choir omits the antiphon, called the Offertory, which is sung or recited in every other Mass. The Offertory is intended as a chant to be sung while the people go up to the sanotuary to offer the bread and wine for the holy Sacrifice, which they are to receive, at the Communion, changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. But the Service of Holy Saturday is so long that this ceremony of the offering is omitted. The spirit is as prompt and fervent as ever, but the body begins to feel exhausted; and the little children, who are kept fasting, on account of having to go to holy Communion, show by their cries that they, too, are suffering from want of food. To save time, therefore, the bread and wine, the matter of the Sacrifice, are provided this morning by the Church. The neophytes will, nevertheless, approach to holy Communion, although they themselves have not brought bread and wine to the sanctuary.

After having made an offering, and censed, first the bread and the wine, then the altar, the pontiff recites the Secret, which is followed by the Easter Preface.

Secret

Suscipe quæsumus. Domine, preces populi tui cum oblationibus hostiarum: ut Paschalibus initiata mysteriis, ad æternitatis nobis medelam, te operante, proficiant. Per Dominum.
Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℣. Sursum corda.
℟. Habemus ad Dominum.

℣. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
℟. Dignum et justum est.
Receive, O Lord, we beseech thee, the prayers of thy people, together with the offering of these hosts, that what is consecrated by these Paschal mysteries, may, by the help of thy grace, avail us to eternal life. Through, &c.
For ever and ever.
℟. Amen.

℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

℣. Lift up your hearts!
℟. We have them fixed on God.

℣. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
℟. It is meet and just.

Preface

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, te quidem Domine, omni tempore, sed in hac potissimum nocte gloriosius prædicare, cum Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus. Ipse euim verus est Agnus, qui abstulit peccata mundi: qui mortem nostram moriendo destruxit, et vitam resurgendo reparavit. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militia cœlestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tuæcanimus, sine fine dicentes: Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, to publish thy praise, O Lord, at all times; but chiefly and more gloriously on this night, when Christ our Pasch is sacrificed. For he is the true Lamb, that has taken away the sins of the world. Who, by dying, destroyed our death, and by rising again, restored us to life. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly host, we sing a hymn to thy glory, saying unceasingly: Holy, holy, holy!

The Canon commences, and the divine mystery is effected. Nothing in the sacred rites is changed, until close upon the Communion. It is a custom, which has come down from the times of the apostles, that, before receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord in Communion, the faithful should give to each other the kiss of peace, saying: ‘Peace be with thee!’ This ceremony is omitted in this first Mass. It was not till the evening of the day of His Resurrection, that Jesus spoke these words to His disciples. Holy Church, reverencing as she does every detail of her Jesus’ life, loves to imitate them in her own practice. For the same reason, she omits the Agnus Dei,[15] which, in its third repetition, has these words: ‘Give us peace.’

And now the moment has come, when our neophytes are to receive, for the first time, the Bread of life and the heavenly Chalice, which were instituted by Jesus at the last Supper. Baptized in water and the Holy Ghost, they have a right to approach the holy Table; and their white robes are the outward expression of their souls’ possessing the wedding garment, which all must have on, who would partake of the Banquet of the Lamb. They go up to the altar with joy and reverence. The deacon gives them the Body of our Lord, and then the Chalice of His precious Blood. The infants are also admitted to Communion: the deacon dips his finger into the Chalice, and then puts it into their innocent mouths. Lastly, to signify that all are now, by their Baptism, those new-born babes of whom St. Peter speaks,[16] they receive after holy Communion a little milk and honey; it is a symbol of infancy, and at the same time, an allusion to the promised land.

The Communion over, the bishop ends the holy Sacrifice with a prayer, in which he beseeches God to unite us all to each other in a spirit of fraternal charity, seeing that we all participate in the celebration of the Pasch. We have all the same mother, the Church; the same font of Baptism has given to us all the same life of grace; we are all members of Jesus, our Head; the same holy Spirit has signed us all with His seal, and the Father has made us all one family by adopting us as His children. The signal for departure being given by the deacon, in the bishop’s name, the faithful leave the church, and return to their homes, there to remain till they reassemble for the holy Sacrifice, which is again to be offered up in a still more solemn celebration of this the Feast of feasts, the Pasch of the Resurrection.

 

VESPERS

 

During the centuries, when the Church celebrated the vigil of Easter in the manner we have been describing, Holy Saturday had no Vespers. The vigil began towards the hour of None, and continued, as we have seen, till the early morning of the Sunday. It was not till later—when custom had authorized the anticipation of the Easter mid-night Mass on the morning of Holy Saturday—that this last day of Holy Week was provided with the Office of Vespers. In consequence of the service being so long, the Church made these Vespers as short as possible, and gave them a joyous character, in keeping with the return of the Alleluia. They are drawn up so as to form part of the Mass. They begin immediately aftethe Communion, and the Postcommunion serves as a conclusion both to them and to the Mass itself· This Postcommunion prayer is the one of which we have just been speaking, as terminating the ancient celebration of the Easter vigil.

After the Communion, then, the choir sings the following antiphon and psalm:

Ant. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Psalm 116

Laudate Dominum omnes gentes: laudate eum omnes populi.
Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia ejus: et veritas Domini manet in æternum.
Gloria Patri, &c.

Ant. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him all ye people.
For his mercy is confirmed upon us: and the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever.
Glory, &c.

Ant. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Antiphon of the Magnificat

Vespere autem Sabbati quæ lucescit in prima Sabbati, venit Maria Magdalene, et altera Maria videre sepulchrum, alleluia.
In the evening of the Sabbath which dawns on the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre, alleluia.

During the Magnificat (see page 90), the celebrant censes the altar; and as soon as the antiphon has been repeated, he sings, at the altar, the following prayer:

Postcommunion

Spiritum nobis, Domine, tuas chari tat is infunde: ut quos sacramentis Paschalibue satiasti, tua facias pietate concordes. Per Dominum.
Pour forth on us, O Lord, the spirit of thy love; that those whom thou hast filled with the Paschal sacrament, may, by thy goodness, live in perfect concord. Through, &c.

When the deacon turns to the people, to give them the signal for departure, he adds two Allelus to the usual formula. The same is observed in every Mass till the following Saturday inclusively.

℣. Ite missa est, alleluia, alleluia.
℟. Deo gratias, alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Go, the Mass is finished, alleluia, alleluia.
℟. Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia.

The Mass concludes, as usual, with the blessing of the celebrant, and the Gospel of St. John.

Such is the Service of this great Saturday. The prayers and ceremonies are precisely the same as in former times: but its being celebrated so early in the day, and the Baptism of catechumens having ceased to be a part of the function, rendered it almost a necessity that we should have embodied in our explanation the ancient ceremonial, otherwise the faithful would lose much of the meaning and grandeur of to-day’s Service.

During the day, the priest visits the houses of his parishioners, and sprinkles them with the baptismal water, taken from the font before the holy oils were put into it. This pious practice is an allusion to the command given by God to His people, on occasion of the first Passover, that they should mark their houses with the blood of the lamb, as a protection against the destroying angel. In a country like our own, it may be difficult to observe this holy custom; but where it can be done, the faithful should eagerly avail themselves of it, as it brings a special blessing upon our houses.

 

THE EVENING

 

The description we have been giving of the magnificent ceremonies of Baptism, has made us forget the sepulchre wherein reposes the Body of our crucified Jesus. Let us return thither in thought, for the hour of His Resurrection has not yet come. Let us devote a few moments to meditating on the mystery of the three days, during which the Soul of our Redeemer was separated from His Body. We went, this morning, to visit the tomb, where lies our buried Jesus; we adored that sacred Body, which Magdalene and her companions are preparing to honour, by anointing it early on the morrow. Now let us offer the tribute of our profound adoration to the Soul of our divine Master. It is not in the tomb, where His Body is: let us follow it to the place where it lives during these hours of separation.

In the centre of the earth there are four immense regions, into which no one living can ever enter: it it is only by divine revelation that we know of their existence. The farthest from us is the hell of the damned, the frightful abode where satan and his angels and the reprobate are suffering eternal torments. It is here that the prince of darkness is ever forming his plots against God and His creatures. Nearer to us, is the limbo wherein are detained the souls of children, who departed this world before being regenerated. The opinion which has met most favour from the Church is that these souls suffer no torment; and that, although they can never enjoy the beatific vision, yet are they enjoying a natural happiness, and one that is proportionate to their desires. Above the abode of these children, is the place of expiation, where souls that have departed this life in the state of grace cleanse themselves from any stains of lesser sins, or satisfy for the debt of temporal punishment still due to divine justice. And lastly, still nearer to us, is the limbo where are kept from heaven the saints who died under the old Law. Here are our first parents, Abel, Noe, Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets; the just Gentiles, such as that great saint of Arabia, Job; and those holy personages who were closely connected with our Lord, such as Joachim and Anne, the parents of His blessed Mother, Joseph her spouse and His own foster-father, and John His precursor, together with his holy parents Zachary and Elizabeth.

Until such time as the gate of heaven shall have been opened by the Blood of the Redeemer, none of the just can ascend thither. How holy soever they might have been during this life, they must descend into limbo after death. We meet with innumerable passages of the old Testament, where mention is made of hell (that is, that portion of the regions in the centre of the earth which we call limbo) as being the abode of even the holiest of God’s servants: it is only in the new Testament that heaven is spoken of as being the abode of men. The limbo of the just is not one of torment, beyond that of expectation and captivity. The souls that dwell there are confirmed in grace, and are sure of enjoying, at some future period, an infinite happiness; they resignedly bear this long banishment, which is a consequence of Adam’s sin; and, as they see the time drawing nigh for their deliverance, their joy is beyond all we can imagine.

The Son of God has subjected Himself to every thing, save sin, that our human nature has to suffer or undergo: it is by His Resurrection that He is to triumph, it is by His Ascension alone that He is to open the gates of heaven: hence, His Soul, having been separated from His Body by death, was to descend into the depths of the earth, and become a companion with the holy exiles there. He had said of Himself: ‘The Son of Man shall be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.'[17] What must have been the joy of these countless saints! And how majestic must have been the entrance of our Emmanuel into their abode! No sooner did our Jesus breathe His last upon the cross, than the limbo of the saints was illumined with heavenly splendour. The Soul of the Redeemer, united to the Divinity of the Word, descended thither, and changed it from a place of banishment into a very paradise. Thus did He fulfil the promise He had made to the good thief: ‘This day shalt thou be with Me in paradise'

The happy hour, so long expected by these saints, has come! What tongue could tell their joy, their admiration, and their love, as they behold the Soul of Jesus, who thus comes among them to share and close their exile! He looks complacently on this countless number of His elect, this fruit of four thousand years of His grace, this portion of His Church purchased by His Blood, and to which the merits of His Blood were applied by the mercy of His eternal Father even before it was shed on Calvary! Let us who hope, on our departure from this world, to ascend to Him, who has gone to prepare a place for us in heaven,[18] joyfully congratulate these our holy ancestors. Let us also adore the condescension of our Emmanuel, who deigns to spend these three days in the heart of the earth, that so He might sanctify every condition of our nature, and take upon Himself even what was but a transient state of our existence.

But the Son of God would have this His visit to the regions beneath our earth to be a manifestation of His sovereign power. His soul does not, it is true, descend into the hell of satan, but He makes His power felt there. The prince of this world is now forced to bend his knee and humble himself.[19] In this Jesus, whom he has instigated the Jews to crucify, he now recognizes the Son of God. Man is saved, death is conquered, sin is effaced. Henceforth, it is not to the ‘bosom of Abraham', but to heaven itself, that the souls of the just made perfect shall ascend, there to reign, together with the faithful angels, with Christ their divine Head. The reign of idolatry is to be at an end: the altars, whereon men have offered incense to satan, are to be destroyed. The house of the strong one is to be entered by his divine Adversary, and his goods are to be rifled.[20] The hand-writing of our condemnation is snatched from the serpent.[21] The cross, which he had so exultingly prepared for the Just One, has been his overthrow; or, as St. Anthony so forcibly expresses it, it is the bait thrown out to the leviathan, which he took, and taking it, was conquered.

The Soul of our Jesus makes its presence felt also by the just who dwell in the abode of expiation. It mercifully alleviates their sufferings, and shortens their purgatory. Many of them are delivered altogether, and numbered with the saints in limbo, where they spend the forty days, between this and the Ascension, in the happy expectation of ascending to heaven with their Deliverer. It is not contrary to the principles of faith to suppose, as several learned theologians have taught, that the visit of the Man-God to limbo was a source of blessing and consolation to the abode of unregenerated children, and that they then received a promise that the time would come, when they should be reunited to their bodies, and, after the day of judgment, be placed in a happier land than that in which divine justice now holds them captives.

We adore Thee, O holy Soul of our Redeemer, for having deigned to pass these hours with Thy saints, our fathers, in the heart of the earth. We extol Thy goodness and love shown towards these Thy elect, whom Thou hast made to be Thine own brethren. We give Thee thanks for that Thou didst humble our enemy: oh, give us grace to conquer him! But now, dearest Jesus, it is time for Thee to rise from Thy tomb, and reunite Thy Soul to Thy Body. Heaven and earth await Thy Resurrection; the Church, Thy bride, has already sung the Alleluia of her glad expectation: rise, then, from Thy grave, O Jesus, our Life! Triumph over death, and reign our King for ever!

Let us close our day and our volume with the following Preface, taken from the Ambrosian missal. It is one of the finest pieces of this venerable liturgy, and is the blessing of the Paschal candle. The mystery of this great night is here treated with an eloquenoe and poetry worthy of the subject.

Preface

Vere quia dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare nos tibi semper hic et ubique gratias agere, Domine sanete, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus. Qui populorum Pascha cunctorum, non pecudum cruore, nec adipe, sed Unigeniti tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi sanguine, corporeque dedicasti; ut supploso ritu gentis ingratæ legi gratia succederet, et una victima, per semetipsam tuæ Majestati semel oblata, mundi totius expiaret offensam.

Hic est Agnus lapideis præfiguratus in tabulis: non abductus e gregibus, sed evectus e cœlo: non pastore indigene, sed Pastor bonus ipse tantummodo: qui animam suam pro suis posuit ovibus, et rursus assumpsit; ut nobis et humilitatem divina dignatio, et spem resurrectio corporalis ostenderet. Qui coram tondente se non vocem queruli balatus emisit, sed evangelico proclamavit oraculo, dicens: Amodo videbitis Filium hominie sedentem ad dexteram Majestatis. Ipse nobis et te reconciliet, Pater omnipotens, et pari tecum maj estate fultus indulgeat.

Nam quæ patribus in figura contingebant, nobis in veritate proveniunt. Ecce jam ignis columna resplendet, quæ plebem Domini beatæ noctis tempore ad salutaria fluenta præibat: in quibus persecutor mergitur, et Christi populus liberatus emergit. Nam sancti Spiritus unda conceptus, per Adam natus ad mortem, per Christum regignitur ad vitam. Solvamus igitur voluntarle celebrata jejunia, quia Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus: nec solum corpore epulemur Agni, sed etiam inebriemur et sanguine. Hujus enim tantummodo cruor non creat piaculum bibentibue, sed salutem. Ipso quoque vescamur et Azymo, quoniam non de solo pane vivit homo, sed de omni verbo Dei.Siquidem hic est Panis, qui descendit e cœlo, longe præstantior illo quondam mannæ imbre frugifluo, quo tunc Israël epulatus interiit. Hoc vero qui vescitur corpore, vitæ perennis possessor existit.

Ecce vetera transierunt: facta sunt omnia nova. Nam circumcisionis Mosaicæ muero jam scabruit, et Jesu Nave acuta lapidum obsolevit asperitas: Christi vero populus insignitur in fronte, non inguine: lavacro, non vulnere: chrismate, non cruore.

Decet ergo in hoc Domini Salvatoris nostri vespertinæResurrectionis adventu ceream nos adolere pinguedinem, cui suppetit candor in specie, suavitas in odore, splendor in lumine: quæ nec marcescenti liquore defluit, nec offensam tetri nidoris exhalat. Quid enim magis accomodum, magis festivum, quam ut Jesseico flori floreis excubemus et tædie? Præsertim cum et Sapientia de semetipsa cecinerit: Ego sum flos agri, et lilium convallium. Ceras igitur nec pinus exusta desudat, nec crebris sauciata bipennibus cedrus illacrymat; sed est illis arcana de virginitate creatio; et ipsæ transfiguratione nivei candoris albescunt. Eamdem vero papyrum liquida fontis unda producit: quæ instar insontis animæ nullis articulatur sinuata compagibus; sed virginali circumsepta materie fit hospitalis ignibus alumna rivorum.

Decet ergo adventum Sponsi dulcatis Ecclesiam luminaribus opperiri: et largitatem sanctitatis acceptam quanta valet devotionis dote, pensare: nec sanctas interpolare tenebris excubiae; sed tædam sapienter perpetuis præparare luminibus: ne, dum oleum candelis adjungitur, adventum Domini tardo prosequamur obsequio: qui certe in ictu oculi, ut coruscus, adveniet.

Igitur in hujus diei veepere cuneta venerabilis sacramenti plenitudo colligitur: et, quæ diversis sunt præfigurata, vel gesta temporibus, hujus noctis curriculo devoluta supplentur. Nam primum hoc vespertinum lumen, sicut ilia dux Magorum stella, præcedit. Deinde mysticæ regenerationis unda subeequitur, velut, dignante Domino, fluenta Jordanis. Tertio resurrectionem Christi vox apostolica sacerdotis annuntiat. Tum ad totius myeterii supplementum, Christo vescitur turba fidelium. Quæ summi sacerdotis, et antistitis tui Ambrosii oratione sanctificata et meritis, resurrectionis Dominicæ diem, Christo in omnibus prosperante, suscipiat.
Truly it is meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should here and in all places give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God! Thou hast consecrated the Pasch, unto which thou invitest all mankind, not by the gore and fat of sheep, but by the Blood and Flesh of thine only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord: that thus the rite of an ungrateful people being abolished, grace should succeed the law, and the sins of the whole world be expiated by one Victim, offered up once, and by himself, to thy Majesty.

This is the Lamb that was prefigured on tablets of stone. He was not taken from the flock, but was brought from heaven. He needed not a shepherd, but was himself the one Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep, and again assumed it, that his divine condescension might show us how to be humble, and his body’s Resurrection teach us to hope. No plaintive voice came from him when under his shearer, but thus spake he the prophecy of his Gospel: 'Hereafter, ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of Majesty.’ May he, O almighty Father! reconcile us with thee, and, by the majesty wherewith he is coequal with thee, may he be merciful unto us.

For those things which happened in figure to our fathers, have become realities to us. Lo! now shineth that pillar of fire, which on that blessed night, went before the people of God, leading to waters that saved them: for in them was the persecutor drowned, and from the same came liberated the people of Christ. Conceived in the stream made fruitful by the Holy Ghost, man, that was born of Adam unto death, is regenerated by Christ unto life. Let us, therefore, bid farewell to the fast we have been voluntarily keeping, for Christ, our Pasch, is slain. Let us not only feast on the Flesh of the Lamb, but let us also be enebriated with his Blood. Yes, let us also eat the Unleavened, for not by bread alone doth man live, but by every word of God. For Christ is the Bread that came down from heaven, more excellent far than that manna of old which fell in abundant showers and of which the Israelites, who then were, ate, yet died. Whereas he that eats of this Body, is made a possessor of everlasting life.

Lo! the old things have passed away: all things are made new. The knife of the Mosaic circumcision has become blunted, and the cruel sharp stone of Josue has gone out of use: but the people of Christ is signed on the forehead, and not secretly; by a Baptism, not by a wound; by chrism, not by blood.

Rightly, therefore, during this night—when we are awaiting the Resurrection of the Lord our Saviour—do we burn a rich waxen torch, whose properties are fair whiteness, sweet fragrance and bright light: which flows not down as it melts, nor sends forth an offensive smell as it burns. For what could be more appropriate, what more festive, than that we should keep watch for the Flower of Jesse with torches that are the juice of flowers? The more so as Wisdom thus sang in her own praise: I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valley.’ Wax is not the sweat that oozes from a burnt pine, nor the tear that trickles from the cedar when wounded with many blows of the axe: it is a mysterious virginal production; and one that is transfigured into the whiteness of snow. Its fount-like melted stream feeds the (wick of) papyrus, which, as a guileless soul, stands, with its unbent, unjointed oneness, surrounded by the virginal substance, and becomes, by the flame, the stream’s much cherished guest.

Therefore doth it behove the Church to await, with sweet lights, the coming of the Spouse, and with all possible devotion, to weigh the holy gift she has received. Holy vigils, such as this, should have no fellowship with darkness. We should be wise, and make the light of our lamp be unceasing; lest, while we are preparing to trim it with oil, our Lord should come, and we be too late to do him homage, for we are assured that he will come in the twinkling of the eye, as a flash of light.

Therefore, this day's evening is rich in the fulness of the most august mysteries, which, though prefigured or accomplished at various times, are all brought before us during the course of this night. For firstly, we have this evening torch, which leads the way, as did the star that guided the Magi. Then follows the font of spiritual regeneration, as it were the river of Jordan, in which our Lord vouchsafed to be baptized. Thirdly, we have the priest’s apostolic words announcing the Resurrection of Christ. Then, to complete the mysteries, the faithful flock feeds on the flesh of Christ. Being sanctified by the prayer and merits of thy high priest and pontiff Ambrose, and being prospered in all things by Christ, may this flock enjoy the day of our Lord’s Resurrection.

 

End of Passiontide and Holy Week


[1] Col. i. 20.
[2] Rom. v. 12.
[3] 2 Cor. v. 21.
[4] Phil. ii. 7.
[5] Prov. xxxi. 18.
[6] St. John viii. 12.
[7] 1 St. Peter ii. 6.
[8] Eph. ii. 20.
[9] Is. xxviii. 16.
[10] St. Matt. xi. 27.
[11] St. Matt. xi. 27.
[12] The words here put in parentheses are said only in those countries, which are subject to the emperor of Austria. See above, page 482.
[13] Rom. vi. 4.
[14] Cant. iv. 2.
[15] This formula does not date beyond the seventh century.
[16] 1 St. Peter ii. 2.
[17] St. Matt. xii. 40.
[18] St. John xiv. 2.
[19] Phil. ii. 10.
[20] St. Matt. xii. 29.
[21] Col. ii. 14.

 

 

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