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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.

Including descriptions of the following:

Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
Come, O holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

The great day, which consummates the work that God had undertaken for the human race, has at last shone upon the world. The days of Pentecost, as St. Luke says, are accomplished.[1] We have had seven weeks since the Pasch; and now comes the day that opens the mysterious number of fifty. This day is the Sunday, already made holy by the creation of the light, and by the Resurrection of Jesus: it is about to receive its final consecration, and bring us the fullness of God.[2]

In the old and figurative Law, God foreshadowed the glory that was to belong, at a future period, to the fiftieth day. Israel had passed the waters of the Red Sea, thanks to the protecting power of his Paschal Lamb! Seven weeks were spent in the desert, which was to lead to the promised land; and the very morrow of those seven weeks was the day whereon was made the alliance between God and His people. The Pentecost (the fiftieth day) was honoured by the promulgation of the ten commandments of the divine law; and every following year, the Israelites celebrated the great event by a solemn festival. But their Pentecost was figurative, like their Pasch: there was to be a second Pentecost for all people, as there was to be a second Pasch, for the Redemption of the whole world. The Pasch, with all its triumphant joys, belongs to the Son of God, the Conqueror of death: Pentecost belongs to the Holy Ghost, for it is the day whereon He began His mission into this world, which, henceforward, was to be under His Law.

But how different are the two Pentecosts! The one, on the rugged rocks of Arabia, amidst thunder and lightning, promulgates a Law that is written on tablets of stone; the second is in Jerusalem, on which God’s anger has not as yet been manifested, because it still contains within its walls the first fruits of that new people, over whom the Spirit of love is to reign. In this second Pentecost, the heavens are not overcast, nor is the roar of thunder heard; the hearts of men are not stricken with fear, as when God spake on Sinai; repentance and gratitude are the sentiments now uppermost. A divine fire burns within their souls, and will spread throughout the whole world. Our Lord Jesus had said:’I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I, but that it be kindled?’[3] The hour for the fulfilment of this word has come: the Spirit of love, the Holy Ghost, the eternal uncreated Flame, is about to descend from heaven, and realize the merciful design of our Redeemer.

Jerusalem is filled with pilgrims, who have flocked thither from every country of the Gentile world. They feel a strange mysterious expectation working in their souls. They are Jews, and have come from every foreign land where Israel has founded a synagogue; they have come to keep the feasts of Pasch and Pentecost. Asia, Africa, and even Rome, have here their representatives. Amidst these Jews properly so called, are to be seen many Gentiles, who, from a desire to serve God more faithfully, have embraced the Mosaic law and observances; they are called proselytes. This influx of strangers, who have come to Jerusalem out of a desire to observe the Law, gives the city a Babel-like appearance, for each nation has its own language. They are not, however, under the influence of pride and prejudice, as are the inhabitants of Judea; neither have they, like these latter, known and rejected the Messias, nor blasphemed His works whereby He gave testimony of His divine character. It may be that they took part with the other Jews in clamouring for Jesus’ death; but they were led to it by the chief priests and magistrates of the Jerusalem which they reverenced as the holy city of God, and to which nothing but religious motives have brought them.

It is the hour of Tierce, the third hour of the day,[4] fixed from all eternity for the accomplishment of a divine decree. It was at the hour of midnight that the Father sent into this world, that He might take flesh in Mary’s womb, the Son eternally begotten of Himself: so now, at this hour of Tierce, the Father and the Son send upon the earth the holy Spirit who proceeds from Them both. He is sent to form the Church, the bride and the kingdom of Christ: He is to assist and maintain her; He is to save and sanctify the souls of men; and this His mission is to continue to the end of time.

Suddenly is heard, coming from heaven, the sound of a violent wind; it startles the people in the city, it fills the cenacle with its mighty breath. A crowd is soon round the house that stands on Mount Sion; the hundred and twenty disciples that are within the building feel that mysterious emotion within them, of which their Master once said: ‘The Spirit breatheth where He will, and thou hearest His voice’.[5] Like that strange invisible creature, which probes the very depth of the sea and makes the waves heave mountains high, this Breath from heaven will traverse the world from end to end, breaking down every barrier that would stay its course.

The holy assembly have been days in fervent expectation; the divine Spirit gives them this warning of His coming, and they in the passiveness of ecstatic longing, await His will. As to those who are outside the cenacle, and who have responded to the appeal thus given, let us, for the moment, forget them. A silent shower falls in the house; it is a shower of fire, which, as holy Church says ‘burns not but enlightens, consumes not but shines.’[6] Flakes of fire, in the shape of tongues, rest on the heads of the hundred and twenty disciples; it is the Holy Ghost taking possession of all and each. The Church is now not only in Mary, but also in these hundred and twenty disciples. All belong now to the Spirit that has descended upon them; His kingdom is begun, it is manifested, its conquests will be speedy and glorious.

But let us consider the symbol chosen to designate this divine change. He who showed Himself under the endearing form of a dove, on the occasion of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan, now appears under that of fire. He is the Spirit of love; and love is not only gentle and tender, it is also ardent as fire. Now, therefore, that the world is under the influence of the Holy Ghost, it must needs be on fire, and the fire shall not be checked. And why this form of tongues? To show that the heavenly fire is to be spread by the word, by speech. These hundred and twenty disciples need but to speak of the Son of God, made Man, and our Redeemer; of the Holy Ghost, who renews our souls; of the heavenly Father, who loves and adopts us as His children: their word will find thousands to believe and welcome it. Those that receive it shall all be united in one faith; they shall be called the Catholic Church, that is, universal, existing in all places and times. Josus had said:’Go, teach all nations!’[7] The Holy Ghost brings from heaven both the tongue that is to teach, and the fire (the love of God and of man kind), which is to give warmth and efficacy to the teaching. The tongue and the fire are now given to these first disciples, who, by the assistance of the holy Spirit, will transmit them to others. So will it be to the end of time.

An obstacle, however, opposes the mission at the very outset. Since the confusion at Babel, there have been as many languages as countries; communication by word has been interrupted. How, then, is the word to become the instrument of the world’s conquest, and to make one family out of all these nations that cannot understand each other? Fear not: the holy Spirit is all-powerful, and has provided for this difficulty. With the other gifts, wherewith He has enriched the hundred and twenty disciples, He has given them that of understanding all languages, and of making themselves understood in every language. In a transport of holy enthusiasm, they attempt to speak the languages of all nations; their tongue and their ear take in, not only without effort, but even with charm and joy, this plenitude of word and speech which is to reunite mankind together. The Spirit of love has annulled the separation of Babel; men are once more made brethren by the unity of language.

How beautiful art thou, dear Church of our God! Heretofore, the workings of the Holy Ghost have been limited; but now, He breatheth freely where He willeth; He brings thee forth to the eyes of men by this stupendous prodigy. Thou art the image of what this earth was, when all its inhabitants spoke the same language. The prodigy is not to cease with the day of Pentecost, nor with the disciples who are its first receivers. When the apostles have terminated their lives and preaching, the gift of tongues, at least in its miraculous form, will cease, because no longer needed: but thou O Church of Christ! wilt continue to speak all languages, even to the end of time, for thou art to dwell in every clime. The one same faith is to be expressed in the language of every country; and thus transformed, the miracle of Pentecost is to be kept up for ever within thee, as one of thy characteristic marks.

The great St. Augustine alluded to this, when he spoke the following admirable words: ‘The whole body of Christ, the Church, now speaks in all tongues. Nay, I myself speak all tongues, for I am in the body of Christ, I am in the Church of Christ. If the body of Christ now speaks all languages, then am I in all languages. Greek is mine, Syriac is mine, Hebrew is mine, and all are mine, for I am one with all the several nations that speak them.’[8] During the ages of faith, the Church (which is the only source of all true progress), succeeded in giving one common language to all the nations that were in union with her. For centuries, the Latin language was the bond of union between civilized countries. However distant these might be from one another, there was this link of connexion between them; it was the medium of communication for political negotiations, for the spread of science, or for friendly epistolary correspondence. No one was a stranger, in any part of the west, or even beyond it, who could speak this language. The great heresy of the sixteenth century robbed us of this as of so many other blessings; it dismembered that Europe which the Church had united, not only by her faith, but by her language. But let us return to the cenacle, and continue our contemplation of the wondrous workings of the holy Spirit within this still closed sanctuary.

First of all, we look for Mary; for her who now, more than ever, is full of grace. After those measureless gifts lavished upon her in her Immaculate Conception; after the treasures of holiness infused into her by the Incarnate Word during the nine months she bore Him in her womb; after the special graces granted her for acting and suffering in union with her Son, in the work of the world’s Redemption; after the favours wherewith this same Jesus loaded her when in the glory of His Resurrection: we should have thought that heaven had given all it could to a mere creature, however sublime the destiny of that creature might be. But no. Here is a new mission opened for Mary. The Church is born; she is born of Mary. Mary has given birth to the bride of her Son; new duties fall upon the Mother of the Church. Jesus has ascended into heaven, leaving Mary upon the earth, that she may nurse the infant Church. Oh! how lovely and yet how dignified, is this infancy of our dear Church, cherished as she is, fed, and strengthened by Mary! But this second Eve, this true Mother of the living,[9] must receive a fresh infusion of grace to fit her for this her new office: therefore it is that she has the first claim to, and the richest portion of, the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Heretofore, He overshadowed her and made her Mother of the Son of God; now He makes her the Mother of the Christian people. It is the verification of those words of the royal prophet: ‘The stream (literally, the impetuosity) of the river maketh the city of God joyful: the Most High hath sanctified His own tabernaole.’[10] The Spirit of love here fulfils the intention expressed by our Redeemer when dying on the cross. ‘Woman!’ said Jesus to her, ‘behold thy son!’ St. John was this son, and he represented all mankind. The Holy Ghost now infuses into Mary the plenitude of the grace needful for her maternal mission. From this day forward, she acts as Mother of the infant Church; and when, at length, the Church no longer needs her visible presence, this Mother quits the earth for heaven, where she is crowned Queen; but there, too, she exercises her glorious title and office of Mother of men.

Let us contemplate this master-piece of Pentecost, and admire the new loveliness that beams in Mary from this new maternity. She is inflamed by the fire of divine love, and this in a way not felt before. She is all devoted to the office put upon her, and for which she has been left on earth. The grace of the apostolate is granted to her. She has received the tongue of fire; and although her voice is not to make itself heard in public preaching, yet will she speak to the apostles, directing and consoling them in their labours. She will speak, too, to the faithful, but with a force, a sweetness, and a persuasiveness, becoming one whom God has made the most exalted of His creatures. The primitive Christians, with such a training as this, will have vigour and energy enough to resist all the attacks of hell, and, like Stephen who had often listened to her inspiring words, to die martyrs for the faith.

Let us next look at the apostolic college. The frequent instructions they have been receiving from their Lord, during the forty days after His Resurrection, have changed them into quite other men; hut now that they have received the Holy Ghost, the change and conversion is complete. They are filled with the enthusiasm of faith; their souls are on fire with divine love; the conquest of the whole world, this is their ambition, and they know it is their mission. What their Master had told them is fulfilled: they are endued with power from on high,[11] and are ready for the battle. Who would suppose that these are the men who crouched with fear, when their Jesus was in the hands of His enemies? Who would take these to be the men that doubted of His Resurrection? All that this beloved Master has taught them is now so clear to them! They see it all, they understand it all. The Holy Ghost has infused into them, and in a sublime degree, the gift of faith; they are impatient to spread this faith throughout the whole earth. Far from fearing, they even long to suffer persecution in the discharge of the office entrusted to them by Jesus, that of preaching His name and His glory unto all nations.

Look at Peter. You easily recognize him by that majestio bearing, which, though sweetly tempered by deep humility, bespeaks his pre-eminent dignity. A few hours ago, it was the tranquil gravity of the head of the apostolic college; now, his whole face gleams with the flash of enthusiasm, for the Holy Ghost is now sovereign possessor of this vicar of Christ, this prince of the word, this master-teacher of truth. Near him are seated the other apostles: Andrew, his elder brother, who now conceives that ardent passion for the cross, which is to be his grand characteristic; John, whose meek and gentle eye now glistens with the fire of inspiration, betokening the prophet of Patmos; James, the brother of John, and called, like him, the son of thunder,[12] bears in his whole attitude the appearance of the future chivalrous conqueror of Iberia. The other James, known and loved under the name of the brother of Jesus, feels a fresh and deeper transport of joyousness as the power of the Spirit thrills through his being. Matthew is encircled with a glowing light, which points him out to us as the first writer of the new Testament. Thomas, whose faith was the fruit he took from Jesus’ wounds, feels that faith now made perfect; it is generous, free, unreserved, worthy of the brave apostle of the far east. In a word, all twelve are a living hymn to the glory of the almighty Spirit, whose power is thus magnificently evinced even at the outset of His reign.

The disciples, too, are sharers, though in a less degree than the apostles, of the divine gift; they receive the same Spirit, the same sacred fire, for they too, are to go forth, conquer the world, and found Churches. The holy women, also, who form part of the assembly of the cenacle, have received the graces of this wondrous descent of the Holy Ghost. It was love that emboldened them to stand near the cross of Jesus, and be the first to visit His sepulchre on Easter morning; this love is now redoubled. A tongue of fire has stood over each of them, and the time will come when they will speak, with fervid eloquence, of Jesus, to both Jews and Gentiles. The Synagogue will banish Magdalene and her companions: the Gentiles of our western Europe will receive them, and the word of these holy exiles will produce a hundredfold of fruit.

Meanwhile, a large crowd of Jews has collected round the mysterious cenacle. Not only has the ‘mighty wind’ excited their curiosity, hut, moreover, that same divine Spirit, who is working such wonders upon the holy assembly within, is impelling them to visit the house, wherein is the new-born Church of Christ. They clamour for the apostles, and these are burning with zeal to begin their work; so, too, are all. At once, then, the crowd sees these men standing in its midst, and relating the prodigy that has been wrought by the God of Israel.

What is the surprise of this multitude, composed as it is of people of so many different nations, when these poor uneducated Galileans address them, each in the language of his own country? They have heard them speak before this, and they expected a repetition of the jargon now; when lo! there is the correct accent and diction of every country, and with such eloquence! The symbol of unity is here shown in all its magnificence. Here is the Christian Church; it is one, though consisting of such varied elements: the walls of division, which divine justice had set up between nation and nation, are now removed. Here, also, are the heralds of the faith of Christ; they are ready for their grand mission; they long to traverse the earth, and to save it by the word of their preaching.

But in the crowd there are some who are shocked at witnessing this heavenly enthusiasm of the apostles. ‘These men,’ say they, ‘are full of new wine!’ It is the language of rationalism, explaining away mystery by reason. These Galileans, these’ drunken men, are, however, to conquer the whole world to Christ, and to give the Holy Ghost, with His enebriating unction, to all mankind. The holy apostles feel that it is time to proclaim the new Pentecost; yes, this anniversary of the old is a fitting day for the new to be declared. But in this proclamation of the law of mercy and love, which is to supersede the law of justice and fear, who is to be the Moses? Our Emmanuel, before ascending into heaven, had selected one of the twelve for the glorious office: it is Peter, the rock on whom is built the Church. It is time for the shepherd to show himself and speak, for the flock is now to be formed. Let us hearken to the Holy Ghost, who is about to speak by His chief organ to this wondering and attentive multitude. The apostle, though he speaks in one tongue, is understood by each of his audience, no matter what his country and language may be. The discourse is, of itself, a guarantee of the truth and divine origin of the new law.

The fisherman of Genesareth thus pours forth his wondrous eloquence: ‘Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and, with your ears, receive my words! For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith the Lord, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And upon my servants indeed, and upon my handmaids, will I pour out, in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.” Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you, by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as you also know. This same being delivered up, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you, by the hands of wicked men, have crucified and slain. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the sorrows of hell (the tomb), as it was impossible that He should be holden by it. For David saith concerning Him: “My flesh shall rest in hope, because Thou wilt not leave my soul in the tomb, nor suffer Thy holy One to see corruption.” Ye men, brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David: that he died and was buried, and his sepulchre is with us to this day. Whereas, therefore, he was a prophet, he spoke of the Resurrection of Christ; for neither was He left in the tomb, neither did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised again, whereof all we are witnesses. Being exalted by the right hand of God, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath poured forth this which you see and hear. Therefore, let all the house of Israel know most certainly, that God hath made both Lord and Christ this same Jesus, whom you have crucified.’[13]

Thus did the second Moses promulgate the new Law. How must his hearers have welcomed the stupendous gift of this new Pentecost, which put them in possession of the divine realities foreshadowed by that figurative one of old! Here again, it was God revealing Himself to His creatures, and, as usual, by miracles. Peter alludes to the wonders wrought by Jesus, who thus bore testimony to His being the Messias. He tells his audience that the Holy Ghost has been sent from heaven, according to the promise made to this Jesus by His Father: they have proof enough of the great fact, in the gift of tongues of which they themselves are witnesses.

The holy Spirit makes His presence and influence to be felt in the hearts of these favoured listeners. A few moments previously they were disciples of Sinai, who had come from distant lands to celebrate the by-gone Pasch and Pentecost; now they have faith, simple and full faith, in Christ. They repent of the awful crime of His death, of which they have been accomplices; they confess His Resurrection and Ascension; they beseech Peter and the rest of the apostles to put them in the way of salvation: ‘Men and brethren!’ say they, ‘what shall we do?’[14] Better dispositions could not be: they desire to know their duty, and are determined to do it. Peter resumes his discourse, saying: ‘Do penance, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call.’[15]

The Jewish Pentecost pales at each word of the new Moses; the Christian Pentecost manifests itself with clearer light. The reign of the Holy Ghost is inaugurated in Jerusalem, and under the very shadow of that temple which is doomed to destruction. Peter continued his instructions; but the sacred Volume has left us only these few words, wherewith, probably, the apostle made his final appeal to his hearers: ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation!’[16]

These children of Israel had to make this sacrifice, or they never could have shared in the graces of the new Pentecost: they had to cut themselves off from their own people; they had to leave the Synagogue for the Church. There was a struggle in many a heart at that moment; but the holy Spirit triumphed; three thousand declared themselves disciples of Christ, and received the mark of adoption in holy Baptism. Church of the living God! how lovely art thou in thy first reception of the divine Spirit! how admirable is thy early progress! Thy first abode was in the Immaculate Mary, the Virgin full of grace, the Mother of God; thy second victory gave thee the hundred and twenty disciples of the cenacle; and now, three thousand elect proclaim thee as their mother, and, leaving the unhappy Jerusalem, will carry thy name and kingdom to their own countries. To-morrow, Peter is to preach in the temple, and five thousand men will enroll themselves as disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. Hail! then, dear creation of the Holy Ghost! Militant on earth; triumphant in heaven; beautiful, noble, immortal Church, all hail! And thou, bright Pentecost! day of our truest birth! how fair, how glorious, thou makest these first hours of Jesus’ bride on earth! The divine Spirit thou givest us, has written, not upon stone, but upon our hearts, the Law that is to govern us. In thee, O Pentecost! we find realized the hopes foreshadowed in the mystery of the Epiphany; for though thou thyself art promulgated in Jerusalem, yet thy graces are to be extended to all that are afar off, that is, to us Gentiles. The Magi came from the east; we watched them as they visited the crib of the divine Babe, for we knew that we, too, were to have our season of grace. It was thou, O holy Spirit! that didst attract them to Bethlehem: and now, in this Pentecost of Thy power, Thou callest all men; the star is changed into tongues of fire, and the face of the earth is to be renewed. Oh! grant that we may be ever faithful to the graces thou offerest us, and carefully treasure the gifts sent us, with Thee and through Thee, by the Father and the Son!

The mystery of Pentecost holds so important a place in the Christian dispensation, that we cannot be surprised at the Church’s ranking it, in her liturgy, on an equality with her paschal solemnity. The Pasch is the redemption of man by the victory of Christ; Pentecost is the Holy Ghost taking possession of man redeemed. The Ascension is the intermediate mystery; it consummates the Pasch, by placing the Man-God, the Conqueror of death, and our Head, at the right hand of the Father; it prepares the mission of the Holy Ghost to our earth. This mission could not take place until Jesus had been glorified, as St. John tells us;[17] and several reasons are assigned for this fact by the holy fathers. It was necessary that the Son of God, who, together with the Father, is the principle of the procession of the Holy Ghost in the divine essence, should also personally send this divine Spirit upon the earth. The exterior mission of one of the Three Persons is but the sequel and manifestation of the mysterious and eternal production which is ever going on within the Divinity. Thus the Father is not sent, either by the Son or by the Holy Ghost, because He does not proceed from them. The Son is sent to men by the Father, of whom He is eternally begotten. The Holy Ghost is sent by the Father and the Son, because He proceeds from both. But, in order that the mission of the Holy Ghost might give greater glory to the Son, there was a congruity in its not taking place until such time as the Incarnate Word should be enthroned at the right hand of the Father. How immense the glory of human nature, that it was hypostatically united to the Person of the Son of God when this mission of the Holy Ghost was achieved! and that we can say, in strict truth, the Holy Ghost was sent by the Man-God!

This divine mission was not to be given to the Third Person, until men were deprived of the visible presence of Jesus. As we have already said, the hearts of the faithful were henceforward to follow their absent Redeemer by a purer and wholly spiritual love. Now, who was to bring us this new love, if not He who is the link of the eternal love of the Father and the Son? This holy Spirit of love and union is called, in the sacred Scriptures, the ‘Gift of God’; and it is on the day of Pentecost that the Father and Son send us this ineffable Gift. Let us call to mind the words spoken by our Emmanuel to the Samaritan woman at the well of Sichar: ‘If thou didst know the Gift of God!’[18] He had not yet been given, He had not yet been manifested, otherwise than in a partial way. From this day forward, He inundates the whole earth with His fire, He gives spiritual life to all, He makes His influence felt in every place. We know the Gift of God; so that we have but to open our hearts to receive Him, as did the three thousand who listened to St. Peter’s sermon.

Observe, too, the season of the year, in which the Holy Ghost comes to take possession of His earthly kingdom. Our Jesus, the Sun of justice, arose in Bethlehem in the very depth of winter; humble and gradual was His ascent to the zenith of His glory. But the Spirit of the Father and the Son came in the season that harmonizes with His own divine characteristic. He is a consuming Fire;[19] He comes into the world when summer is in its pride, and sunshine decks our earth with loveliest flowers. Let us welcome the life-giving heat of the Holy Ghost, and earnestly beseech Him that it may ever abide within us. The liturgical year has brought us to the full possession of truth by the Incarnate Word; let us carefully cherish the love, which the Holy Ghost has now enkindled within our hearts.

The Christian Pentecost, prefigured by the ancient one of the Jews, is of the number of the feasts that were instituted by the apostles. As we have already remarked, it formerly shared with Easter the honour of the solemn administration of Baptism. Its octave, like that of Easter, and for the same reason, ended with the Saturday following the feast. The catechumens received Baptism on the night between Saturday and Sunday. So that the Pentecost solemnity began on the vigil, for the neophytes at once put on their white garments: on the eighth day, the Saturday, they laid them aside.

In the middle-ages, the feast of Pentecost was called by the beautiful name of ‘The Pasch of roses,’ just as the Sunday within the octave of the Ascension was termed the ‘Sunday of roses’. The colour and fragrance of this lovely flower were considered by our Catholic forefathers as emblems of the tongues of fire, which rested on the heads of the hundred and twenty disciples, and poured forth the sweet gifts of love and grace on the infant Church. The same idea suggested the red-coloured vestments for the liturgical services during the whole octave. In his Rational (a work which abounds in most interesting information regarding the mediæval liturgical usages), Durandus tells us that, in the thirteenth century, a dove was allowed to fly about in the church, and flowers and lighted tow were thrown down from the roof, during the Mass on Whit Sunday; these were allusions to the two mysteries of Jesus’ baptism, and of the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost.

At Rome, the station is in the basilica of St. Peter. It was but just that special honour should be paid to the prince of the apostles, for it was on this day that his preaching won three thousand converts to the Church. Though the station, and the indulgences attached to it, are at St. Peter’s, yet the sovereign Pontiff and the sacred college of Cardinals solemnize to-day’s service in the Lateran basilica, which is the mother-church of the city and of the world.


TIERCE

To-day holy Church celebrates the Hour of Tierce with unusual solemnity, and this in order to honour more markedly the mystery of Pentecost. During the whole year, indeed, she chooses this Hour as the most propitious for the celebration of the holy Sacrifice, wherein the Third Person of the Trinity manifests His almighty power. The Hour of Tierce, which corresponds to our nine o’clock in the morning, begins with a hymn to the Holy Ghost, composed by St. Ambrose; but to-day she uses in its stead the sublime and mystic Veni Creator, which was written in the ninth century, and, as tradition says, by Charlemagne.

It was St. Hugh, Abbot of Cluny, in the eleventh century, who conceived the happy thought of introducing it into the Tierce of Whitsuntide; and the Roman Church showed her approbation of the practice, by adopting it in her liturgy. Thence has come the custom of singing the Veni Creator before the Mass of Whit Sunday, in churches where Tierce is not sung.

At this solemn Hour, then, and during the chant of this soul-stirring hymn, the faithful should fervently adore the holy Spirit, and invite Him to enter into their hearts. At this very hour, He is filling our churches with His invisible presence, and, if there be no obstacle on our part, He will take possession of our souls. Let us acknowledge to Him the need we have of His visit; let us importune Him to take up His new abode within us, now and for ever. Showing Him how our souls are sealed with Himself, by the indelible characters of Baptism and Confirmation, let us beseech Him to defend His own work. We are His own possession; may He bestow upon us the graces we are now going to pray for! Let us be sincere in our petition: let us remember that, in order to receive the Holy Ghost and keep Him within us, we must renounce the spirit of the world, for our Saviour has said:’No man can serve two masters.’[20]

After the Pater Noster and Ave have been said in secret, the celebrant intones the usual invocation as follows:

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

Gloria Patri, &c.
℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father, &c.

Then follows the Veni Creator. The first stanza is always sung kneeling; after which the clergy and people rise, and continue the rest of the hymn standing.

Hymn

Veni, Creator Spiritus, Mentes tuorum visita, Imple superna gratia Quæ tu creasti pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus, Altissimi donum Dei, Fons vivus, ignis, caritas, Et spiritalis unctio.
Tu septiformis munere, Digitus Paternae dexterae, Tu rite promissum Patris, Sermone ditans guttura.
Accende lumen sensibus, Infunde amorem cordibus, Infirma nostri corporis Virtute firmans perpeti.
Hostem repellas longius, Pacemque dones protinus: Ductore sic te praevio Vitemus omne noxium.

Per te sciamus da Patrem, Noscamus atque Filium, Teque utriusque Spiritum Credamus omni tempore.
Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis Surrexit, ac Paraclito In saeculorum saecula. Amen.
ANT. Spiritus Domini.
O come, Creator Spirit, visit our souls; and with thy heavenly grace fill the hearts that were made by thee.

Thou art called the Paraclete, the Gift of the most high God, the living Fountain, Fire, Love, and spiritual Unction.
Thou art sevenfold in thy gifts: the Finger of the Father’s hand; the Father’s solemn Promise, that enrichest men with the gift of tongues.
Enkindle thy light in our minds; infuse thy love into our hearts; and strengthen the weakness of our flesh by thine unfailing power.
Repel the enemy far from us, and delay not to give us peace; be thou our guide, that we may shun all that could bring us harm.

Grant that, through thee, we may know the Father and the Son; and that we may evermore confess thee the Spirit of them both.
Glory be to God the Father, and to the Son who rose from the dead, and to the Paraclete, for everlasting ages I Amen.
ANT. The Spirit of the Lord.

 

Division Of Psalm 118

Legem pone mihi, Domine, viam justificationum tuarum: et exquiram eam semper.
Da mihi intellectum, et scrutabor legem tuam: et custodiam illam in toto corde meo.
Deduc me in semitam mandatorum tuorum: quia ipsam volui.
Inclina cor meum in testimonia tua: et non in avaritiam.
Averte oculos meos ne videant vanitatem: in via tua vivifica me.
Statue servo tuo eloquium tuum: in timore tuo.
Amputa opprobrium meum quod suspicatus sum: quia judicia tua jucunda.
Ecce concupivi mandata tua: in aequitate tua vivifica me.
Et veniat super me misericordia tua, Domine: salutare tuum, secundum eloquium tuum.

Et respondebo exprobrantibus mihi verbum: quia speravi in sermonibus tuis.
Et ne auferas de ore meo verbum veritatis usquequaque: quia in judiciis tuis supersperavi.
Et custodiam legem tuam semper: in saeculum et in saeculum saeculi.
Et ambulabam in latitudine: quia mandata tua exquisivi.
Et loquebar de testimoniis tuis in conspectu regum: et non confundebar.
Et meditabar in mandatis tuis: quæ dilexi.
Et levavi manus meas ad mandata tua, quae dilexi: et exercebar in justificationibus tuis.
Gloria Patri, &c.
MEMOR esto verbi tui servo tuo: in quo mihi spem dedisti.
Haec me consolata est in humilitate mea: quia eloquium tuum vivificavit me.
Superbi inique agebant usquequaque: a lege autem tua non declinavi.
Memor fui judiciorum tuorum a saeculo, Domine: et consolatus sum.
Defectio tenuit me: pro peccatoribus derelinquentibus legem tuam.
Cantabiles mihi erant justificationes tuæ: in loco peregrinationis meæ.

Memor fui nocte nominis tui, Domine: et custodivi legem tuam.
Hæc facta est mihi: quia justificationes tuas exquisivi.
Portio mea, Domine: dixi custodire legem tuam.
Deprecatus sum faciem tuam in toto corde meo: miserere mei secundum eloquium tuum.
Cogitavi vias meas: et converti pedes meos in testimonia tua.
Paratus sum, et non sum turbatus: ut custodiam mandata tua.
Funes peccatorum circumplexi sunt me: et legem tuam non sum oblitus.
Media nocte surgebam ad confitendum tibi: super judicia justificationis tuæ.
Particeps ego sum omnium timentium te: et custodientium mandata tua.
Misericordia tua, Domine, plena est terra: justificationes tuas doce me.
Gloria Patri, &c.
BONITATEM fecisti cum servo tuo, Domine: secundum verbum tuum.
Bonitatem et disciplinam et scientiam doce me: quia mandatis tuis credidi.
Priusquam humiliarer ego deliqui: propterea eloquium tuum custodivi.

Bonus es tu: et in bonitate tua doce me justificationes tuas.
Multiplicata est super me iniquitas superborum: ego autem in toto corde meo scrutabor mandata tua.
Coagulatum est sicut lac cor eorum: ego vero legem tuam meditatus sum.
Bonum mihi quia humiliasti me: ut discam justificationes tuas.
Bonum mihi lex oris tui: super millia auri et argenti.
Manus tuae fecerunt me, et plasmaverunt me: da mihi intellectum, et discam mandata tua.
Qui timent te, videbunt me et laetabuntur: quia in verba tua supersperavi.
Cognovi Domine, quia aequitas judicia tua: et in veritate tua humiliasti me.
Fiat misericordia tua ut consoletur me: secundum eloquium tuum servo tuo.
Veniant mihi miserationes tuae, et vivam: quia lex tua meditatio mea est.
Confundantur superbi, quia injuste iniquitatem fecerunt in me: ego autem exercebor in mandatis tuis.
Convertantur mihi timentes te: et qui noverunt testimonia tua.
Fiat cor meum immaculatum in justificationibus tuia: ut non confundar.
ANT. Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum, alleluia.
Set before me for a law the way of thy justifications, O Lord: and I will always seek after it.
Give me understanding, and I will search thy law: and I will keep it with my whole heart.
Lead me into the path of thy commandments: for this same I have desired.
Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
Turn away my eyes that they may not behold vanity: quicken me in thy way.
Establish thy word to thy servant, in thy fear.
Turn away my reproach, which I have apprehended: for thy judgments are delightful.
Behold I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy justice.
And let thy mercy also come upon me, O Lord: thy salvation, according to thy word.

And I will answer the enemies of my soul who reproach me in any thing, that I have trusted in thy words.
And take not thou the word of truth utterly out of my mouth: for in thy words I have hoped exceedingly.
And I will always keep thy law, for ever and ever.
And I walked at large, and joyously, because I have sought after thy commandments.
And I spoke of thy testimonies before kings: and I was not ashamed.
And I meditated on thy commandments, which I loved.
And I lifted up my hands to thy commandments, which I loved: and I was exercised in thy justifications.
Glory be to the Father, &c.
BE thou mindful of thy word to thy servant, in which thou hast given me hope.
This hath comforted me in my humiliation: because thy word hath enlivened me.
The proud did iniquitously altogether: but I declined not from thy law.
I remembered, O Lord, thy judgments of old: and I was comforted.
A fainting hath taken hold of me, because of the wicked that forsake thy law.
Thy justifications were the subject of my song, in the place of my pilgrimage.

In the night I have remembered thy name, O Lord: and have kept thy law.
This happened to me, because I sought after thy justifications.
O Lord, my portion, I have said I would keep thy law.
I entreated thy face with all my heart: have mercy on me according to thy word.
I have thought on my ways: and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
I am ready, and am not troubled: that I may keep thy commandments.
The cords of the wicked have encompassed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.
I rose at midnight to give praise to thee, for the judgements of thy justifications.
I am a partaker with all them that fear thee, and that keep thy commandments.
The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy justifications.
Glory be to the Father, &c.
THOU hast done well with thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word.
Teach me goodness, and discipline, and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.
Before I was humbled, I offended: therefore, now that I, am enlightened, have I kept thy word.

Thou art good: and, in thy goodness, teach me thy justifications.
The iniquity of the proud hath been multiplied over me: but I will seek thy commandments with my whole heart.
Their heart is curdled like milk: but I have meditated on thy law.
It is good for me that thou hast humbled me, that I may learn thy justifications.
Thy word, which is the law of thy mouth, O heavenly Father, is good to me above thousands of gold and silver.
Thy hands have made me, and formed me: give me understanding, and I will learn thy commandments.
They that fear thee, shall see me and shall be glad: because I have greatly hoped in thy words.
I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are equity: and in thy truth thou hast humbled me.
Oh! let thy mercy be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.
Let thy tender mercies come unto me and I shall live: for thy law is my meditation.
Let the proud be ashamed, because they have done unjustly towards me: but I will be employed in thy commandments.
Let them that fear thee turn to me: and they that know thy testimonies,
Let my heart be undefiled in thy justifications, that I may not be confounded, on the day when thou comest to judge me
ANT. The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole world, alleluia.

Capitulum
(Actsii.)

Quum complerentur dies Pentecostes, erant omnes discipuli pariter in eodem loco: et factus est repente de cœlo sonus tamquam advenientis spiritus vehementis, et replevit totam domum ubi erant sedentes.

℟. breve. Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum, * Alleluia, alleluia. Spiritus.
℣. Et hoc quod continet omnia scientiam habet vocis, * Alleluia, alleluia. Gloria. Spiritus Domini.

℣. Spiritus Paraclitus, alleluia.
℟. Docebit vos omnia, alleluia.
When the days of Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

℟. breve. The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole world, ° Alleluia, alleluia. The Spirit.
℣. And that which containeth all things, hath knowledge of the voice. * Alleluia, alleluia. Glory, &c. The Spirit &c.

℣. The Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, alleluia.
℟. Will teach you all things, alleluia.

The prayer is the Collect of the Mass, and is given on the next page.


MASS

The holy Sacrifice is now to be celebrated. Filled with the Holy Ghost, the Church is about to pay the solemn tribute of her gratitude, by offering the divine Victim, who, by His immolation, merited for us the great Gift, the Spirit. The Introit has been begun by the choir, and with an unusual joy and enthusiasm. The Gregorian chant has few finer pieces than this. As to the words, they give us a prophecy, which receives its fulfilment to-day: it is taken from the Book of Wisdom. The holy Spirit fills the whole earth with His presence; and as a pledge of His being with us, He gives to the apostles the gift of tongues.

Introit

Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum, alleluia: et hoc quod continet omnia, scientiam habet vocis. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Exsurgat Deus, et dissipentur inimici ejus: et fugiant qui oderunt eum a facie ejus. Gloria Patri. Spiritus Domini.

The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole world, alleluia: and that which containeth all things hath knowledge of the voice. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Let God arise, and his enemies be dispersed: and let them that hate him flee before his face. Glory, &c. The Spirit, &c.

The Collect tells us what favours we should petition for from our heavenly Father on such a day as this. It also tells us that the Holy Ghost brings us two principal graces: a relish for the things of God, and consolation of heart. Let us pray that we may receive both the one and the other, that we may thus become perfect Christians. 

Collect

Deus, qui hodierna die corda fidelium sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti; da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere, et de ejus semper consolatione gaudere. Per Dominum.
O God, who, by the light of the Holy Ghost, didst this day instruct the hearts of the faithful: grant that, by the same Spirit, we may relish what is right, and ever rejoice in his consolation. Through, &c.

Epistle

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.

Cap. ii.

Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes, erant omnes discipuli pariter in eodem loco: et factus est repente de cœlo sonus, tamquam advenientis spiritus vehementis, et replevit totam domum ubi erant sedentes. Et apparuerunt illis dispertitæ linguae tamquam ignis, seditque supra singulos eorum: et repleti sunt omnes Spiritu Sancto, et coeperunt loqui variis linguis, prout Spiritus Sanctus dabat eloqui illis. Erant autem in Jerusalem habitantes Judæi, viri religiosi ex omni natione, quae sub cœlo est. Facta autem hac voce, convenit multitudo, et mente confusa est, quoniam audiebat unusquisque lingua sua illos loquentes. Stupebant autem omnes, et mirabantur dicentes: Nonne ecce omnes isti, qui loquuntur, Galilaei sunt? et quomodo nos audivimus unusquisque linguam nostram, in qua nati sumus? Parthi et Medi, et Ælamitæ, et qui habitant Mesopotamiam, Judaeam et Cappadociam, Pontum et Asiam, Phrygiam et Pamphyliam, Ægyptum, et partes Libyae quae est circa Cyrenen, et advenae Romani, Judaei, quoque, et Proselyti, Cretes et Arabes: audivimus eos loquentes nostris linguis magnalia Dei.
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.

Ch. ii.

When the days of Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men out of every nation under heaven. And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue. And they were all amazed and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these, that speak, Galileans? and how have we heard, every man our own tongue wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Paraphilia, Egypt and the parts of Lybia about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews also, and Proselytes, Cretes and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.

Four greats event mark the sojourn of man on earth; and each of them is a proof of God’s infinite goodness towards us. The first is the creation of man and his vocation to a supernatural state, which gives him, as his last end, the eternal vision and possession of God. The second is the Incarnation of the divine Word, who, by uniting the human to the divine Nature, raises a created being to a participation of the Divinity, and, at the same time, provides the Victim needed for redeeming Adam and his race from the state of perdition into which they fell by sin. The third event is that which we celebrate today, the descent of the Holy Ghost. The fourth is the second coming of the Son of God, when He will free His bride, the Church, from the shackles of mortality, and lead her to heaven, there to celebrate His eternal nuptials with her. In these four divine acts, the last of which has not yet been accomplished, is included the whole history of mankind; all other events bear, more or less, upon them. Of course, ‘the sensual man perceiveth not these things;’[21] he never gives them a thought. The light shineth in darkness, and darkness doth not comprehend it.[22]

Blessed, then, be the God of mercy, who hath called us out of darkness, into His marvellous light, the light of faith![23] He has made us children of that generation, which is not of flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God.[24] It is by this grace that we are now all attention to the third of God’s great works, the descent of the Holy Ghost. We have been listening to the thrilling account given us of His coming. That mysterious storm, that fire, those tongues, that sacred enthusiasm of the disciples, have told us so much of God’s plans upon this our world! We could not but say within ourselves: ‘Has God loved the world so much as this? ‘When our Redeemer was living with us on the earth, He said to one of His disciples: ‘God hath so loved the world as to give it His only-begotten Son.’[25] The mystery achieved to-day forces us to complete these words, and say:.‘The Father and the Son have so loved the world, as to give it their own divine Spirit!’ Let us gratefully accept the Gift, and learn what man is. Rationalism and naturalism will have it that man’s true happiness consists in following their principles, which are principles of pride and sensuality. Faith, on the contrary, teaches us humility and mortification, and these bring us to union with our infinite Good.

The first Alleluia-versicle is formed from the words of one of the psalms, where David shows us the Holy Ghost as the Author of a new creation; as the renewer of the earth. The second is the fervent prayer, whereby the Church invokes the Spirit of love upon her children: it is always said kneeling.

Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Emitte Spiritum tuum, et creabuntur: et renovabis faciem terræ.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Send forth thy Spirit, and they shall be created: and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Here all kneel.

Alleluia. 

℣. Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium: et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
Alleluia.

℣. Come, O holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and kindle within them the fire of thy love.

Then is immediately added the sequence. It was composed about the end of the twelfth century; its authorship has been ascribed, and not without reasonable probability, to the great Pope Innocent III. It is a hymn of exquisite beauty, and is replete with tenderest love for Him who is coequal God with the Father and the Son, and who is now about to establish His empire in our hearts.

Sequence

Veni, sancte Spiritus,
Et emitte cœlitus
Lucis tuæ radium.

Veni pater pauperum,
Veni dator munerum,
Veni lumen cordium.

Consolator optime,
Dulcis hospes animæ,
Dulce refrigerium.

In labore requies,
In æstu temperies,
In fletu solatium.

O Lux beatissima,
Reple cordis intima
Tuorum fidelium.

Sine tuo numine,
Nihil est in homine,
Nihil est innoxium.

Lava quod est sordidum,
Riga quod est aridum,
Sana quod est saucium.

Flecte quod est rigidum,
Fove quod est frigidum,
Rege quod est devium.

Da tuis fidelibus,
In te confidentibus,
Sacrum septenarium.

Da virtutis meritum,
Da salutis exitum,
Da perenne gaudium.

Amen. Alleluia.
Come, O holy Spirit!
and send from heaven
a ray of thy light.

Come, Father of the poor!
Come, giver of gifts!
Come, thou light of our hearts!

Thou best of comforters!
The soul’s sweet guest
and refreshment!

Her rest in toil;
her shelter in heat:
her solace in her woe!

O most blessed Light!
fill the inmost soul
of thy faithful.

Without the divine assistance,
there is nought in man,
there is nought but evil.

Cleanse our defilements;
water our dryness;
heal our wounds.

Bend our stubborn will;
warm up our cold hearts:
guide our straying steps.

Give to thy faithful,
who hope in thee,
thy holy seven gifts.

Give them the merit of virtue;
give them the happy issue of salvation;
give them endless joy.

Amen. Alleluia.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. xiv.

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus discipulis suis: Si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit, et Pater meus diliget eum, et ad eum veniemus, et mansionem apud eum faciemus: qui non diligit me, sermones meos non servat. Et sermonem quem audistis, non est meus: sed ejus qui misit me, Patris. Haec locutus sum vobis, apud vos mauens. Paraclitus autem Spiritus Sanctus, quem mittet Pater in nomine meo, ille vos docebit omnia, et suggeret vobis omnia quaecumque dixero vobis. Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis: non quomodo mundus dat ego do vobis. Non turbetur cor vestrum, neque formidet. Audistis quia ego dixi vobis: Vado et venio ad vos. Si diligeretis me, gauderetis utique, quia vado ad Patrem: quia Pater major me est. Et nunc dixi vobis priusquam fiat: ut quum factum fuerit, credatis. Jam non multa loquar vobiscum. Venit enim princeps mundi hujus, et in me non habet quidquam. Sed ut cognoscat mundus quia diligo Patrem, et sicut mandatum dedit mihi Pater, sic facio.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. xiv.

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him: he that loveth me not, keepeth not my words. And the word which you have heard, is not mine: but the Father’s who sent me. These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said 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. You have heard that I said to you: I go away, and I come unto you. If you loved me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass: that when it shall come to pass, you may believe. 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.

The coming of the Holy Ghost is not only an event, which concerns mankind at large: each individual of the human race is invited to receive this same visit, which to-day renews the face of the earth.[26] The merciful design of the sovereign Lord of all things is to contract a close alliance with each one of us. Jesus asks but one thing of us: that we love Him and keep His word. If we do this, He promises us that the Father will love us, and will take up His abode in our soul. He tells us that the Holy Ghost is to come; and He is coming that He may, by His presence, complete the habitation of God within us. The sacred Trinity will turn this poor dwelling into a new heaven, until such time as we shall be taken, after this life, to the abode where we shall see our infinitely dear Guest, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whose love of us is so incomprehensibly great.

In this same passage of the Gospel, which is taken from His sermon at the last Supper, Jesus teaches us that the holy Spirit, who this day descends upon us, is sent, indeed, by the Father, but sent in the name of the Son. A little further on, in the same sermon, Jesus says that it is He Himself who sends the Paraclete.[27] These modes of expression show us the relations which exist, in the Trinity, between the first two Persons and the Holy Ghost. This divine Spirit is the Spirit of the Father, but He is also the Spirit of the Son; it is the Father who sends Him, but the Son also sends Him; for He proceeds from the Two as from one principle. On this great day of Pentecost, our gratitude should, therefore, be the same to the Son who is Wisdom, as to the Father who is Power; for the Gift that is sent to us from heaven, comes from both. From all eternity, the Father has begotten His Son; and, when the fulness of time came, He gave Him to men, that He might assume our human nature, and be our Mediator and Saviour. From all eternity, the Father and the Son have produced the Holy Ghost; and, when the time marked in the divine decree came, they sent Him here upon our earth, that He might be to us, as He is between the Father and the Son, the principle of love. Jesus teaches us that the mission of the Holy Ghost followed His own, because men required to be initiated into truth by Him who is Wisdom; for how could they love what they did not know? But no sooner had Jesus consummated His work, and exalted His human Nature to the throne of God His Father, than He, together with the Father, sends the Holy Ghost, in order that He may maintain within us that word which is spirit and life,[28] and which leads us on to love.

The Offertory is taken from Psalm lxvii, where David foretells the coming of the divine Spirit, whose mission it is to confirmwhat Jesus has wrought. The cenacle is grander than the temple of Jerusalem. Henceforth, the Church is to take the place of the Synagogue, and kings and people will become her submissive children.

Offertory

Confirma hoc Deus, quod operatus es in nobis: a templo tuo, quod est in Jerusalem, tibi offerent reges munera, alleluia.
Confirm, O Cod, what thou hast wrought in us, from thy temple which is in Jerusalem kings shall offer presents to thee, alleluia.

Having before her, on the altar, the sacred gifts which have been presented to the divine Majesty, the Church prays, in the Secret, that the coming of Holy Ghost may be to the faithful a fire which may consume all their dross, and a light which may give them a more perfect understanding of the teachings of the Son of God. 

Secret

Munera, quæsumus Domine, oblata sanctifica: et corda nostra Sancti Spiritus illustratione emunda. Per Dominum.
Sanctify, we beseech thee, O Lord, these oblations, and purify our hearts by the light of the Holy Ghost. Through, &c.

Preface

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: per Christum Dominum nostrum, qui ascendens super omnes cœlos, sedensque ad dexteram tuam, promissum Spiritum Sanctum hodierna die in filios adoptionis effudit. Quapropter profusis gaudiis, totus in orbe terrarum mundus exsultat. Sed et supernæ Virtutes, atque angelicæ Potestates, hymnum gloriæ tuæ concinunt, sine fine dicentes: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God, through Christ our Lord: who ascending above all the heavens, and sitting at thy right hand, sent down the promised holy Spirit, this day, upon the children of adoption. Wherefore the whole world displays its exceeding great joy. The heavenly Virtues, also, and the angelic Powers, sing in concert a hymn to thy glory, saying unceasingly: Holy, Holy, Holy!

The words of the Communion-anthem are from the Epistle; they celebrate the solemn moment of the descent of the Holy Ghost. Jesus has given Himself to the faithful in the blessed Sacrament: but it was the holy Spirit who prepared them for such a favour; who changed the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of the divine Victim; and who will assist the faithful to co-operate with the grace of this holy Communion, which nourishes and strengthens their souls unto life everlasting.

Communion

Factus est repente de cœlo sonus, tamquam advenientis spiritus vehementis, ubi erant sedentes, alleluia: et repleti sunt omnes Spiritu Sancto, loquentes magnalia Dei, alleluia, alleluia.
Suddenly there came a noise from heaven, as of a strong rushing wind, where they were sitting, alleluia: and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and published the wonderful works of God, alleluia, alleluia.

Put, by the sacred mysteries, in possession of her Spouse, the Church prays, in the Postcommunion, that the Holy Ghost may abide for ever in our souls. She also speaks of that prerogative of the divine Spirit, whereby He turns our hearts from being dry and barren of good, into very Edens of fruitfulness. How consoling the thought, that our hearts are to be sprinkled with the dew ofthe Paraclete! 

Postcommunion

Sancti Spiritus, Domine, corda nostra mundet infusio: et sui rorisintima aspersione fœcundet. Per Dominum.
May the pouring forth of the Holy Ghost into our hearts cleanse them, O Lord, and render them fruitful by the inward sprinkling of the dew of his grace. Through &c.


VESPERS

The great day is far spent: but the holy Spirit, whom we received this morning at the hour of Tierce, gives us the irresistible desire to prolong our study of the sublime mystery. Let us, then, return to Jerusalem. The flame enkindled in the hearts of the apostles has spread among the admiring crowd. The Jewish pride of these men, who, but a few weeks back, had followed the divine Victim up the hill of Calvary, hooting Him with their blasphemies, is now changed into contrition; they are heart-broken at the thought of having crucified the Lord of glory.[29] They only require to know the truth, to believe it, and to be baptized, and they will be true Christians. Whilst the holy Spirit is working within them, Peter and his fellow-apostles continue their instructions: He that died upon the cross, and rose again from the grave, is the very Son of God, born of the Father from all eternity; the Spirit, that is now sent among them, is the Third Person, one with the Father and Son in the unity of the divine Nature. The Trinity, the Incarnation, the Redemption, are revealed, in all their magnificence, to these disciples of Moses; the shadows of the ancient figures give place to the light and realities of the new Covenant. The time has come for the fulfilment of the prophecy uttered by St. John the Baptist on the banks of the Jordan, a prophecy which many of the present audience heard him speak: ‘There hath stood One in the midst of you whom ye know not. The same is He that shall come after me, who is preferred before me; the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. I baptize with water, but He shall baptize with the Holy Ghost.’[30]

And yet, this Baptism of fire is to be administered by water. The Spirit who is fire, works by water and and is called the ‘Fountain of living water.’ The Prophet Ezechiel foresaw this great day, when he spoke these words: ‘I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness, and I will cleanse you from all your idols. And I will give you a new heart, and put a new Spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in the midst of you, and I will cause you to walk in my commandments, and to keep my judgments, and do them. And you shall be my people, and I will be your God.’[31]

Nothing could be clearer than this prophecy; when the Spirit came, there was to be a fount of water poured out upon men. We have already seen this divine Spirit brooding over the waters at the creation. At the Epiphany, when celebrating the mystery of Jesus baptism in the Jordan, we saw the heavenly Dove uniting with the Word Incarnate in imparting a sanctifying power to the favoured element of water. On Holy Saturday, at the blessing of the font, the pontiff plunged the Paschal Candle (the symbol of Christ) into the water, and prayed thus: ‘May the virtue of the Holy Ghost descend into all the water of this font!’ And now, on this day of Pentecost, the cleansing stream is poured out in Jerusalem: Peter and his brethren plunge these children of Israel beneath the life-giving element, and lo! three thousand children are regenerated in Christ! How admirable are these ancestors of our faith, in whom were first fulfilled the prophecies! We rejoiced at seeing the Magi dismount from their camels, enter the stable, and offer their mystic gifts at the feet of the King of the Jews; but oh! how much gladder and grander is our summer day of Pentecost! for now the mysteries are complete; we are redeemed, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father, the Holy Ghost has been sent to us, and is to abide with us for ever. Those rich sources of grace, the Sacraments, which our Jesus instituted during His stay among us, must now be thrown open. Baptism is the first: the Spirit of the Father and the Son has opened it by His coming, nor will the sacred stream cease to flow, till time be swallowed up in eternity. But this same divine Spirit is the ‘Gift of the most high God’; the apostles have received it, but they have received it in order to impart it to mankind. A second source is therefore opened, and the Sacrament of Confirmation gives the Holy Ghost to the three thousand neophytes. It is administered by Peter and his fellow-apostles, the bishops of the new Law: by the power that is in them, they communicate to the newly-baptized the heavenly strength they will henceforth need for confessing the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

Even this is not dignity enough for these favoured Christians: they have been regenerated to a life of grace, they are doubly crowned by a twofold character, and now they are to have union with Christ, the Institutor of the Sacraments, the Mediator and Redeemer of mankind. A third source must be opened: the new priesthood, exercised for the first time by the apostles, must produce the Bread of life, that is, Jesus Himself, and feed the neophytes with this manna, which giveth life to the world.[32] The upper chamber, still fragrant with the sweet institution of the Eucharist, is the scene of its second celebration. Peter, surrounded by his brethren, consecrates the bread and wine; and, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, the Body and Blood of Jesus are on the altar. The new Sacrifice is inaugurated, and henceforth it shall be daily offered up to the end of time. The neophytes approach, and receive from the hands of the apostles the heavenly food which consummates their union with God, through Jesus, the Priest for ever, according to the order of Melehisedech.[33]

But among those who communicate at this first celebration of the holy Sacrifice, there is the blessed Mother of Jesus, in whose virginal womb He took Flesh. The Holy Ghost has, by His coming, given a new consecration to the office entrusted to her by Jesus, when, dying upon the cross, He made her Mother of men; and now she is united, by the mystery of love, to that same dearest Jesus of hers, who has ascended into heaven, leaving her to foster His infant Church. Henceforward, the Bread of life will daily give her this her beloved Son, until, at length, she herself shall be assumed into heaven, there to see and embrace Him for endless ages.

What a happiness for those neophytes who were privileged, above the rest, in being brought to the Queen of heaven, the Virgin-Mother of Him who was the hope of Israel! They saw this second Eve, they conversed with her, they felt for her that filial affection wherewith she inspired all the disciples of Jesus. The liturgy will speak to us, at another season, of these favoured ones; we only allude to the incident now, to show how full and complete was the great day, on which began our holy mother Church. The sacred hierarchy was seen in Peter, the vicar of Christ, in the other apostles, and in the disciples chosen by Jesus Himself. The seed of the word was sown in good soil, Baptism was administered to three thousand Israelites, the Holy Ghost was given to them to make them perfect Christians, the Son of God fed them with His own Flesh and Blood, and Mary adopted them as her spiritual children.

Let us now unite our voices with that of the Church; let us sing, with her, the praises of that holy Spirit, who made this first day of His mission to be so rich in grace.

The Office of Vespers begins with the proclamation of the number fifty, the same for both the Jewish and the Christian solemnity. The same antiphon describes the disciples as being in the cenacle, awaiting the arrival of the promised Gift.

Ant. Quum complerentur dies Pentecostes, erant omnes pariter in eodem loco, alleluia.
Ant. When the days of Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place, alleluia.

The psalm which the Church sings under this antiphon represents the triumph of Christ in His Ascension. He is seated at His Father’s right hand; it is from that high throne, that He, God and Man, consolidates His kingdom on earth by sending us, this day, His holy Spirit, who is to dwell with us, until He Himself comes a second time; then will He avenge His Church, set her free from her enemies, and lead her in triumph to eternal glory.


Ps. Dixit Dominus, page 92.


The expectation of the disciples has been fulfilled, the holy Spirit has come down upon them; but He did more than visit the souls of these His loving servants: He, on this very day, began His conquest of the whole earth.

Ant. Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum, alleluia.
Ant. The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole earth, alleluia.

The second psalm commemorates the mercies of God to His people; the promised Covenant, which is fulfilled to-day; the Redemption; His fidelity to His word. The mission of the Holy Ghost had been foretold by the prophets, and by Jesus Himself: God executes His promise on this day.


Ps. Confitebor tibi, page 93.


The divine Spirit takes possession of the disciples; He gives them the power of the word, for it is by that they are to conquer the world.

Ant. Repleti sunt omnes Spiritu Sancto, et coeperunt loqui. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak. Alleluia, alleluia.

The third psalm sings the happiness and hopes of the just man. The light that rises up in the darkness, is Jesus, the Son of God; it is also the Holy Ghost, who this day bursts upon the world. The sinner who sees the gifts of God, and is angry, is the unbelieving Jew, who shuts his eyes to the light, and rejects the holy Spirit, as he rejected the Son of the eternal Father.


PsBeatus vir, page 94.


Joyful at the thought of the three thousand converts made to-day, holy Church sings of the fountains of living water, wherein the divine Spirit gave them regeneration; she speaks of these happy neophytes as of the fishes of Christ, who move in the waters of Baptism.

Ant. Fontes et omnia, quae moventur in aquis, hymnum dicite Deo, alleluia.
Ant. O ye fountains, and all ye that move in the waters, sing a hymn to God, alleluia.

The fourth psalm is a canticle of praise to our Creator, who, from His high heaven has looked with pity on our fallen nature; and who, that He might raise us from our misery, sent us first His own Son, and afterwards, that is, to-day, has given us His divine Spirit.


Ps. Laudate pueri, page 95.


On this glorious day, the Holy Ghost began His conquest of the world. It was by the word of the apostles that He made Himself its Master; but it was He that gave them to speak; He gave them a miraculous eloquence, and made it partake of His own omnipotence.

Ant. Loquebantur variis linguis apostoli magnalia Dei. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. The apostles spoke, with divers tongues, the wondrous works of God. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

The fifth psalm of our Vespers begins with commemorating the first Pasch, the Exodus from Egypt and the prodigies that accompanied and followed it. The psalmist then goes on to tell us how the Gentiles became the slaves of their idols; but to-day the Holy Ghost raises up men who are to destroy these false gods. The houses of Israel and Aaron are not to be the only ones to serve the true God. All nations are to be taught by the apostles, whose tongues of fire are to lead them to fear and hope in the Lord. We are no longer of the number of the dead who praise not their God; we are made to live the supernatural life, which the Son of the eternal Father merited for us by His Passion and Resurrection, and which the Holy Ghost infuses into us by the divine mystery of this day.


Ps. In exitu Israel, page 96.


Capitulum
(Actsii.)

Quum complerentur dies Pentecostes, erant omnes discipuli pariter in eodem loco: et factus est repente de cœlo sonus tamquam advenientis spiritus vehementis, et replevit totam domum ubi erant sedentes.
When the days of Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

The hymn is the one we sang at Tierce, that is, at the very hour when the Holy Ghost descended upon the cenacle. Sublimity and unction are the characteristics of this beautiful hymn, which is ever new and inexhaustible.

Hymn *

Veni, Creator Spiritus, Mentes tuorum visita, Imple superna gratia Quæ tu creasti pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus, Altissimi donum Dei, Fons vivus, ignis, caritas, Et spiritalis unctio.
Tu septiformis munere, Digitus Paternae dexterae, Tu rite promissum Patris, Sermone ditans guttura.
Accende lumen sensibus, Infunde amorem cordibus, Infirma nostri corporis Virtute firmans perpeti.
Hostem repellas longius, Pacemque dones protinus: Ductore sic te praevio Vitemus omne noxium.

Per te sciamus da Patrem, Noscamus atque Filium, Teque utriusque Spiritum Credamus omni tempore.
Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis Surrexit, ac Paraclito In saeculorum saecula. Amen.
ANT. Spiritus Domini.
O come, Creator Spirit, visit our souls; and with thy heavenly grace fill the hearts that were made by thee.

Thou art called the Paraclete, the Gift of the most high God, the living Fountain, Fire, Love, and spiritual Unction.
Thou art sevenfold in thy gifts: the Finger of the Father’s hand; the Father’s solemn Promise, that enrichest men with the gift of tongues.
Enkindle thy light in our minds; infuse thy love into our hearts; and strengthen the weakness of our flesh by thine unfailing power.
Repel the enemy far from us, and delay not to give us peace; be thou our guide, that we may shun all that could bring us harm.

Grant that, through thee, we may know the Father and the Son; and that we may evermore confess thee the Spirit of them both.
Glory be to God the Father, and to the Son who rose from the dead, and to the Paraclete, for everlasting ages I Amen.
ANT. The Spirit of the Lord.

Then follows the canticle of our blessed Lady, which is an essential part of the evening Office; and while it is being chanted the celebrant censes the altar. The mystery of this great day lends an additional meaning to this exquisite canticle. It is not only the Virgin thanking and magnifying the Lord for having made her the Mother of His own Son; it is the same blessed Mother of God now filled with the Holy Ghost, and prepared by His visit for the new ministry that awaits her. The following beautiful antiphon is sung before and after the canticle, and thus puts it into harmony with our glorious solemnity.

Ant. Hodie completi sunt dies Pentecostes, alleluia: hodie Spiritus Sanctus in igne discipulis apparuit, et tribuit eis charismatum do na: misit eos in universum mundum prædicare et testi ficari: qui crediderit etbaptizatus fuerit, salvus erit, alleluia.
Ant. To-day were the days of Pentecost accomplished. alleluia: to-day the Holy Ghost appeared, in the form of fire, to the disciples, and gave them the gifts of his graces: he sent them throughout the whole world to preach and testify, that he who shall believe and be baptized shall be saved, alleluia.

Cant. Magnificat, page 100.


Collect

Deus, qui hodierna die corda fidelium sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti; da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere, et de ejus semper consolatione gaudere. Per Dominum.
O God, who, by the light of the Holy Ghost, didst this day instruct the hearts of the faithful: grant that, by the same Spirit, we may relish what is right, and ever rejoice in his consolation. Through, &c.

Agreeably to our usual practice, we will conclude the festival with a selection of liturgical pieces taken from the several Churches. We have been joining in the prayers of the holy Roman Church; now let us listen to the Greek Church. The following hymn, which was composed by St. John Damascene, is taken from the Pentecostarion.

Hymn

Divina tectus tardilinguis nebula, Eloquutus a Deo scriptam legem: Materia enim abjecta, oculis mentis Videre eum qui est discit, Spiritus Cognitionem laudans divinis cantibus.

Dixit severum et venerandum os: Divisio vobis non fiet, o amici: Ego enim ad paternum excelsum thronum Considens, effundam Spiritus Splendere desiderantibus gratiam infinitam.

Terminus perfectus verissimum Verbum Tranquillæ formæ implet cor: Opere enim expleto, laetificavit amicos Flatu violento, et ignis glossematis Dato Spiritu, Christus ut pollicitus est.

Incomprehensibilis est divinissimus principatus. Rhetores enim demonstravit illitteratos, Satis sophistas mutire faciendo sermone, Et a profunda nocte extrahendo Populos infinitos fulgur Spiritus.

Erat procedens ex ingenita luce Omnipotenter lucificus incorruptusque splendor, Cujus per Filii paternam substantiam, Nunc manifestat cognatam facem Ignita vox in Sion gentibus.

Balneum divinum regenerationis Verbo miscens compositæ naturæ, Suppeditas mihi aquam ex incorrupto Vulnerato tuo latere, o Dei Verbum, Sigillans fervore Spiritus.

Servitis omnes divinissimo principatui, Quot servi estis triluminis substantiae: Supernaturaliter enim perficit ut benefactor, Et igneam formam Christus dat in salutem, Totam porrigens gratiam Spiritus.

Solubilem purgationem criminum, Ignitum accipite Spiritus rorem, O filii luciformes Ecclesiæ: Nunc enim ex Sion exivit lex, Igneae linguae forma, Spiritus gratia.

Concors clamavit instrumentorum cantus, Adorare auream inanimam imaginem: Paracliti autem lucifera gratia Dignos facit ut clament: O Trinitas sola, Æquipotens, sine principio, benedicta es.

Vocem a Propheta dictam qui ignorarunt, Dicebant stulti, factam a vino ebrietatem, Loquelæ peregrinæ auditae sunt ut apostolorum, Pii autem tibi clamamus divinitus: Novifice universi, benedictus es.

Tertia quidem nacta est horarum gratiam, Ut demonstraret, tres substantias Adorare in simplicitate potestatis: Sed in prima nunc dierum Dominica Filius, Pater et Spiritus, benedictus es.
Coming forth from the mysterious cloud that covered him, the tongue-tied Moses promulgated the Law written by God; for, closing his eyes to material things, he learned to see Him WHO IS: and praised, in sacred songs the Spirit he had been taught to know.

The venerable lips, whose words were ever grave, said to his apostles: ‘Depart not from Jerusalem, my friends! for when I shall be seated on my Father’s high throne, I will pour forth, on you who desire the light, the infinite grace of the Spirit.’

Having consummated his course, the Word, ever faithful to his promise, fills their hearts with sweet peace; for, having accomplished his work, Christ, as he had promised, gladdened his dear disciples, filling the cenacle with a mighty wind, and giving them the Spirit in the form of fiery tongues.

How incomprehensible is the power of our most holy God! Of illiterate men he made orators, whose words silenced philosophers, and, by the bright Spirit that was within them, rescued countless people from the thick night of error.

This almighty Spirit, the illuminating and incorruptible brigheness, proceeds from the uncreated Light, from the Father and the Son. To the whole earth, this day, and on Mount Sion, is he made known in all his effulgence, by a voice of fire.

And thou, O Son of God, one Person in two Natures, hast prepared the divine laver of regeneration; whose water flowed from the wound of thy divine side, O Word of God! The Holy Ghost gives fruitfulness to the font by his own glowing flame.

You who adore the triple-lighted Essence, you are the true servants of the sovereign God! This day did Christ, our benefactor, accomplish his divine work: he gave us, for our salvation’s sake, the whole grace of the Spirit, and he gave it in the form of fire.

O children of the Church! children of light! receive the dew of the holy Spirit, the dew that burns away the dross of sin. Now hath a law gone forth from Sion, the grace of the Spirit, in the form of a fiery tongue.

There was a time, when the shrill voice of many instruments bade the multitude adore a lifeless statue of gold: but now, by the life-giving grace of the Paraclete, men are made worthy to sing: ‘O one, coequal, and unbeginning Trinity! we bless thee!’

The senseless crowd, when they heard the apostles speaking in divers tongues, forgot the prophecy of Joel, and said: ‘These men are drunk with wine!’ But we, instructed by our God, cry out with fervent hearts: ‘O thou, the Renewer of the world! we bless thee!’

The hour of Tierce was chosen for this effusion of grace, showing us that we should adore three Persons in the oneness of power. Blessed art thou, Father, Son, and Spirit, on this the now first of days, the Sunday.

The Armenian Church offers us the following stanzas, which are well worthy of our admiration. They were written about the fifth century, and their authorship has been assigned, by some, to Moses of Khorene; by others, to John Matagouni.

Missa columba descendens magnæ vocis sonitu de excelsis ad similitudinem lucis, fulgoris igne armavit sine combustura discipulos, dum adhuc sederent in sacro cœnaculo.

Immaterialis columba, inscrutabilis, quæ scrutatur profunda Dei, quæ accipiens a Patre, renunciat terribilem alterum adventum, quamque prædicarunt consubstantialem.

Laus in altissimis procedenti a Patre Spiritui Sancto, per quem apostoli inebriati sunt immortali calice, et invitarunt terram ad cælum.

Vivifìcator Deus, humane Spiritus, congregatos unanimi amore illuminasti igneis linguis; quapropter nos quoque hodie celebramus adventum tuum sanctum.

Delectati sunt tuo adventu sancti apostoli, accersitis insimul dispersis ab invicem multisonis linguis; quapropter nos quoque hodie celebramus adventum tuum sanctum.

Spiritali sancto baptismate, exornasti per eos terrarum orbem in vestibus pellucidis ac in novis amictibus; quapropter nos quoque hodie celebramus adventum tuum sanctum.

Qui in cherubico curru quiescis, hodie descendisti de cœlis in chorum apostolorum, sancte Spiritus: benedictus es, rex immortalis.

Qui graderis super pennas ventorum, hodie in igneis linguis divisus quievisti in apostolis, sancte Spiritus: benedictus es, rex immortalis.

Qui curam habes in providentia tuarum creaturarum, hodie venisti ad firmandam Ecclesiam tuam, sancte Spiritus: benedictus es, rex immortalis.
The Dove, sent unto men, has descended from heaven, amidst a mighty sound; it came in the form of light, which, with its bright fire, burned not but strengthened the disciples, as they sat in the sacred cenacle.

The dove is the Spirit, the Unsearchable that searcheth the deep things of God. He proceeds from the Father: he announces the second and dread coming. We are taught to believe him consubstantial with the Father.

Praise in the highest heavens to him that proceeds from the Father—the Holy Ghost! The apostles were inebriated with his immortal chalice, and they invited earth to heaven.

O divine and life-giving Spirit! O Lover of mankind! thou didst illumine, with tongues of fire, the apostles who were assembled together in the bond of love. Wherefore do we also, this day, celebrate thy holy coming.

The holy apostles were gladdened by thy coming, and people of divers tongues were united together, who before were strangers to each other. Wherefore do we also, this day, celebrate thy holy coming.

By them thou didst, by holy and spiritual baptism, beautify the whole earth with a bright and new garment. Wherefore do we also, this day, celebrate thy holy coming.

Thou, O holy Spirit, who sittest on the chariot of the Cherubim, didst this day descend upon the choir of the apostles. Be thou blessed, O immortal King!

Thou, O holy Spirit, that walkest on the wings of the winds, didst this day rest, in divided tongues of fire, on the apostles. Be thou blessed O immortal King!

Thou, O holy Spirit, that carest, in thy providence, for thy creatures, didst this day come to strengthen thy Church. Be thou blessed, O immortal King!

The Ambrosian liturgy contains this fine Preface, which, though short, expresses the whole mystery of Pentecost. 

Preface

Æquum et salutare, nos in hac præcipua festivitate gaudere, qua sacratissimum Pascha quinquaginta dierum mysteriis tegitur, et mysticus numerus adimpletur, et dispersio linguarum, quae dudum per superbiam in confusione facta fuerat, nunc per Spiritum sanctum adunatur. Hodie enim de cœlis repente sonum audientes apostoli unius fidei symbolum exceperunt, et linguis variis Evangelii tui gloriam cunctis gentibus tradiderunt. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
It is just and available to salvation, that we rejoice on this great solemnity, whereon the most holy Pasch is veiled with the mystery of the fifty days, and the mystic number is completed, and the division of tongues, caused in times long past by pride, is now remedied by the unity produced by the Holy Ghost. For, on this day, a sound was suddenly heard by the apostles, and, receiving the symbol of one faith, they, in divers tongues, taught all nations the glory of thy Gospel. Through Christ our Lord.

Illation

The Gothic Church of Spain celebrates the glorious mystery of Pentecost with its wonted eloquence and enthusiasm. The Mozarabic missal gives us this magnificent Illation or Preface.

Dignum et justum est, omnipotens Deus, pro possibilitate carnali munerum tuorum beneficia confiteri, et indultum hodierno die donum salutis æternæ anniversaria semper commemoratione celebrare. Etenim pro adventu Spiritus tui sancti tacere quis audeat? cum omnis per apostolos tuos etiam gentium barbararum lingua non taceat. Quis enim enarrare valet hujus hodierno die ignis illapsum, sic distributa discipulis genera universa linguarum; ut nec Latinus Hebræo, nec Græcus Ægyptio, nec Scytha Indo, propria dum quisque et peregrina audiens loquitur lingua, detrimentum vel alienigeni fecerit, vel sui senserit intellectus? Quaque virtute sit actum, quod dicentis veritatis præconibus per spatia immensa terrarum unius atque indivisibilis donum doctrinae cœlestis pro potestate voluntaria partiretur? Nihil agens unitati fidei dissonum, quamvis multiplicis scientiæ distributione pulcherrimum, et multimoda mirificum exstiterit varietate sermonum. Ostendens quod confessioni dominicae non impedit diversitas linguae, nec interest quod vario quis sermone fateatur, dummodo unus sit ille qui creditur.

Obsecramus, igitur, Domine, ut haec nostra confessio de cordibus filiorum promissionis emissa, tibi Pater gloriæ, semper accepta sit, et ad speranda ac promerenda ea quae tuis fidelibus promisisti, sensus nostros divini Spiritus infusione benedicas atque sanctifices. Effusa etenim ad nostram indulgentiam tuæ gloriae largitate inter innumera dona atque opera sancti Spiritus, nihil sublimius Ecclesiæ exordiis collatum fuisse cognoscimus, quam ut praeconium Evangelii tui ora linguis universarum gentium loquerentur. Et hoc non nisi sancti Spiritus tui gratia revelante, qui nobis post resurrectionis Filii tui gloriam, transactis septem hebdomadibus venit: ostendens quod’ etsi septiformis est, tamen in uno gradu omnium concordantium sibi virtutum summa consistit. Ac sicut septem unum in numeris est, sic septem inveniuntur in singulis. Hi sunt sine dubio septem gradus templi tui, per quos ad cœlorum regna conscenditur. Hic est quinquagesimus remissionis annus olim in legis tropologiis praedicatus. Hic est fructus messis novae, qui hodie mandatur offerri. Qui licet ante omnia sæcula semper aeternus sit: tamen nobis quum innotuit, tunc novus effectus est.

Nec illud sine mysterio esse significans, quod post Ascensionem Filii tui decima nobis die hoc munus infunditur, ostendens quod cultoribus vineæ hic esset a patrefamilias denarius repromissus. Magnum autem et præ omnibus necessarium fuit hoc tibi divini muneris signum, quod quum super capita discipulorum ignea conscendisset forma linguarum, de cordibus credentium nec dissonum aliquid faceret prodire nec tepidum; sed prædicatores Verbi tui et intelligentia essent unanimes, et charitate ferventes. O ignis exurendo fœcundans! Hunc igitur omnipotentem esse Dominum omnis intellectualis creatura vivificatione fatetur, cujus etiam Cherubin et Seraphin, ferventes copiosius igne, speciali ejus vocabulo sanctitatis divinæ magnificantes æqualitatem atque omnipotentiam Trinitatis, requiem non habentes, nec tali unquam officio lassescentes, cœlestium exercituum præcinentibus choris, perenni jubilatione decantant, adorant atque magnificant, ita dicentes: Sanctus! Sanctus! Sanctus!

It is meet and just, O almighty God, that we acknowledge, to the best of human power, the blessing of thy gifts, and celebrate, by a yearly commemoration, the eternal salvation that was this day granted to mankind. For which of us would dare to be silent concerning the coming of thy holy Spirit, when, through thine apostles, not a tongue of even barbarous nations was silent? But who can narrate the descent of the fire which this day fell, giving to the disciples the divers tongues of all nations, in such wise that, when the Latin spoke to the Hebrew, or Greek to the Egyptian, or the Scythian to the Indian, and used his own language or heard the foreigner’s, neither he that listened nor he that spoke failed to understand? Who could describe the power, that by its own free strength, imparted the gift of one and the same heavenly doctrine to them that were to preach the word of truth throughout the whole world? And though the distribution of manifold knowledge was beautiful beyond measure, and the gift of tongues was made admirable by its multiplied variety, yet was there nothing in all this that jarred with the unity of faith. From this we learn that diversity of tongues is no hindrance to men’s praising their Lord, and that it matters not that different men profess their faith in different languages provided all believe in the same God.

We therefore beseech thee, O Lord, to accept this our homage of praise, which comes from the hearts of the children of promise. By the infusion of thy divine Spirit, bless and sanctify our souls, that thus we may hope for and receive the favours thou hast promised to thy faithful people. Among the numberless gifts and operations of the Holy Ghost, which were the generous outpouring of thy glory for our salvation’s sake, nothing was grander at the beginning of the Church, than that a few men should speak the languages of all nations, and in the same preach thy Gospel. Such a prodigy as this could only have been by the inspiring grace of the Holy Ghost, who came to us after the seven weeks of thy Son’s glorious Resurrection; hereby showing us, that although he be sevenfold in his gifts, yet that he is the perfection of all the virtues blended into one whole; just as seven is a separate number in itself, yet is it found in each of the other numbers. These, without doubt, are the seven steps of thy temple, whereby man is to mount to the kingdom of heaven. This is the fiftieth year of remission, that celebrated mysterious type of the old Law. This is the harvest of the first-fruits, which we are commanded to offer up on this day: they are fruits which, though eternal and existing before all ages, yet are new because now first made known to us.

Neither was it without a mysterious meaning, that this Gift was poured out upon us on the tenth day after the Ascension of thy Son; it showed us that this was the coin of ten, (the denarius) promised by the Father of the family to the labourers in the vineyard. Great, indeed, and exceedingly necessary was this sign of thy divine Gift, that when the fiery tongues rested on the heads of the disciples, there should be produced nothing in the hearts of believers that was discordant or tepid, but that the preachers of thy Word should be unanimous in the truth, and fervent in charity. O blessed Fire, that bums yet gives fruitfulness! Every intellectual being confesses, by the principle of life that is in it, that this Fire is the omnipotent God. The Cherubim and Seraphim,—thus called because of their burning more ardently with this Fire—praise the blessed Three, confessing them to be coequal in holiness and almighty power. Together with the hymning choirs of the heavenly hosts, they rest not nor grow tired of their office, but with unceasing jubilation, sing, adore, and praise; saying: Holy! Holy! Holy!

The mystery of Pentecost was celebrated, by the Latin Churches of the middle-ages, in the most admirable sequences. We will offer some of these to our readers during the octave. The one we select for to-day, was composed by the good king Robert of France.

Sequence

Sancti Spiritus
Adsit nobis gratia.
Quæ corda nostra
Sibi faciat Habitaculum.

Expulsis inde
Cunctis vitiis Spiritalibus.

Spiritus alme,
Illustrator hominum.

Horridas Nostræ mentis
Purga tenebras.

Amator sancte
Sensatorum Semper cogitatuum.

Infunde unctionem tuam
Clemens nostris sensibus.

Tu purificator
Omnium flagitiorum, Spiritus.

Purifica nostri oculum
Interioris hominis.

Ut videri
Supremus Genitor
Possit a nobis.

Mundi cordis,
Quem soli cernere
Possunt oculi.

Prophetas tu inspirasti,
Ut præconia Christi
Praecinuissent inclyta.

Apostolos confortasti,
Uti tropaeum Christi
Per totum orbem veherent.

Quando machinam
Per Verbum suum
Fecit Deus
Cœli, terræ, marium.

Tu super aquas,
Foturus eas,
Numen tuum expandisti,
Spiritus.

Tu animabus
Vivificandis
Aquas fœcundas.

Tu aspirando,
Das spiritales
Esse homines.

Tu divisum
Per linguas mundum et ritus
Adunasti, Domine.

Idololatras
Ad cultum Dei revocas,
Magistrorum optime.

Ergo nos
Supplicantes tibi
Exaudi propitius,
Sancte Spiritus.

Sine quo preces omnes
Cassae creduntur,
Et indignae Dei auribus.

Tu qui Omnium saeculorum sanctos
Tui numinis docuisti instinctu
Amplectendo, Spiritus.

Ipse hodie
Apostolos Christi
Donans munere insolito,
Et cunctis inaudito Sæculis,

Hunc diem
Gloriosum fecisti.

Amen.
May the grace of the holy Spirit
descend upon us,
And make our hearts
a dwelling for himself,

By driving away from them
all their spiritual vices.

O dear Spirit,
thou enlightener of man!

Dispel from our souls
the horrid darkness that is in them.

O divine lover
of holy thoughts!

Mercifully infuse
thine unction into our minds.

O Spirit,
purifier of all our sins!

Purify the eye
of our inward man,

That we may be
enabled to see
the sovereign Father,

Whom none can see,
save them that are
clean of heart.

‘Twas thou that inspiredst the prophets,
and gavest them to foretell
the grand glories of Christ.

‘Twas thou that strengthenedst the apostles,
that they might carry the trophy of Christ
throughout the whole world.

When God,
by his Word,
created the heavens,
earth, and seas,

Thou, O holy Spirit,
didst stretch thy divine
and fostering influence
upon the waters,

Making them
fruitful
with living beings.

By thine inspiration,
thou makest men
to be spiritual.

Thou, O Lord, didst give unity to the world,
which heretofore,
was divided in language and religion.

O best of masters!
thou bringest idolaters
to the worship of the true God.

Therefore, mercifully
hear us who
offer thee our prayers,
O holy Spirit.

Without whom, all our prayers
are vain, and unworthy
to be presented to God.

‘Twas thou, O divine Spirit! that,
by thy divine attractive instinct,
didst teach the saints of every age.

‘Twas thou,
that by enriching the apostles of Christ
with the incomparable gift,
the gift unheard of in previous ages,

Didst make this day
so glorious.

Amen.


Gifts of the Holy Ghost

It is our intention to explain, during this week, the workings of the Holy Ghost, both in the Church, and in the faithful soul. These seven days are given to us, that we may know and appreciate the great Gift sent us by the Father and the Son. Moreover the Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son, has seven different ways whereby He manifests His presence in our souls. It behoves us, therefore, to devote this happy week to the study and love of the sevenfold gift, whereby are to be wrought our salvation and sanctification.

The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are seven energies, which He graciously infuses into the soul, when He enters there by sanctifying grace. Actual graces put these divinely infused powers into motion, either all at once or separately; and hereby, acts supernatural and meritorious of life everlasting are produced by the free consent of our will.

The prophet Isaias, guided by divine inspiration, has told us of these seven gifts. He is foretelling the workings of the Holy Ghost upon the Soul of the Son of God made Man, whom he calls the Flower of a virginal root of Jesse. He says: ‘And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him: the Spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of fortitude, the Spirit of knowledge, and of godliness, and He shall be filled with the Spirit of the fear of the Lord.’[34] These mysterious words not only express the qualities of the Holy Ghost; they also describe the effects He produces in the soul of man; and it is in this sense that they have been interpreted by the holy fathers and theologians.

The sacred Humanity of the Incarnate Son of God is the supernatural type of our own; and what the Holy Ghost operated in the former for its sanctification , that same, in proportion, He wills to do in the latter. He infused into the Son of Mary the seven energies mentioned by the prophet; the same seven gifts are prepared for regenerated man. But let us notice the order in which they come. Isaias begins with the Spirit of wisdom, and ends with the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. Wisdom, as we shall see further on, is the noblest prerogative of which man is capable; whereas the fear of the Lord is but the beginning of wisdom, as the royal psalmist assures us.[35] The soul of Jesus was created for a personal union with the divine Word, and was therefore treated with exceptional honour; the first and foremost gift infused into it was that of wisdom, and the gift of the fear of the Lord followed, necessarily indeed (because a creature is not perfect unless it have this quality), but still as a sequel and completion. With us, on the contrary, frail and inconstant as we are, the fear of God is the foundation of our whole spiritual building, and by it we raise ourselves gradually to that wisdom which brings union with tad. It is by means of the gifts of the Holy Ghost that man attains to perfection; but they are bestowed upon him in the order inverse of that wherein Isaias names them when speaking of the Son of God. We receive them at the time of our Baptism; and, when we have the misfortune to lose them (as we do when we lose sanctifying grace, that is, when we commit a mortal sin), they are restored to us by the sacrament of Penance.

Let us respectfully consider how the whole work of our salvation and sanctification is marked with the mysterious number seven. There are seven principal virtues which render us dear to our Maker; it is by seven gifts that the Holy Ghost leads us to our last end; the seven sacraments apply to us the merits of the Incarnation and redemption; it is after seven weeks from the Pasch, that the holy Spirit is sent upon the earth, there to establish and maintain the kingdom of God. Can we wonder, after this, that satan should have sacrilegiously mimicked the work of God, striving to destroy, by the seven deadly sins, the creatures whom God would save?


[1] Acts, li. 1.
[2] Eph. iii. 19.—See the chapter on the ‘Mystery of Easter’, pages 19 and 20.
[3] St. Luke, xii. 49.
[4] Our nine o’clock. Acts, ii. 15.
[5] St. John, iii. 8.
[6] Responsory for the Thursday within the Octave.
[7] St. Matth. xxviii. 19.
[8] Enarratio in Psalmum cxlvii., verse 14.
[9] Gen. iii. 20.
[10] Ps. xlv. 5.
[11] St. Luke, xxiv. 49.
[12] St. Mark, iii. 17.
[13] Acts, ii. 14—36.
[14] Acts, ii. 37.
[15] Ibid. 38, 39.
[16] Ibid. 40.
[17] St. John, vii. 39.
[18] St. John, iv. 10.
[19] Deut. iv. 24.
[20] St. Matth. vi. 24.
[21] 1 Cor. ii. 14.
[22] St. John, i. 5.
[23] 1 St. Pet. ii 9.
[24] St. John, i. 13.
[25] Ibid. iii. 16.
[26] Ps. ciii. 30.
[27] St. John, xvi. 7.
[28] St. John, vi. 64.
[29] 1 Cor. ii. 8.
[30] St. John. i. 26, 27, 33.
[31] Ezechiel, xxxvi. 25-28.
[32] St. John, vi. 33.
[33] Ps. cix. 4; Heb. v. 6; vii. 17.
[34] Is. xi. 2, 3.
[35] Ps. cx. 10.

* In the monastic rite, it is preceded by this responsory: ℟. breve. Spiritus Paraclitus, Alleluia, alleluia, ℣. Docebit vos omnia. * Alleluia. Gloria Patri. Spiritus.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Pride is the obstacle to man’s virtue and wellbeing. It is pride that leads us to resist God, to make self our last end, in a word, to work our own ruin. Humility alone can save us from this terrible danger. Who will give us humility? The Holy Ghost; and this by infusing into us the gift of the fear of God.

This holy sentiment is based on the following truths, which are taught us by faith: the sovereign majesty of God, in comparison with whom we are mere nothingness; the infinite sanctity of that God, in whose presence we are but unworthiness and sin; the severe and just judgment we are to go through after death; the danger of falling into sin, which may be our misfortune at any time, if we do not correspond to grace, for although grace be never wanting, yet we have it in our power to resist it.

Man, as the apostle tells us, must work out his salvation with fear and trembling;[1] but this fear, which is a gift of the Holy Ghost, is not the base sentiment which goes no further than the dread of eternal punishments. It keeps alive within us an abiding compunction of heart, even though we hope that our sins have long ago been forgiven. It prevents our forgetting that we are sinners, that we are wholly dependent upon God’s mercy, and that we are not as yet safe, except in hope.[2]

This fear of God, therefore, is not a servile fear; on the contrary, it is the source of the noblest sentiments. Inasmuch as it is a filial dread of offending God by sin, it may go hand-in-hand with love. Arising as it does from a reverence for God’s infinite majesty and holiness, it puts the creature in his right place, and, as St. Paul says, it contributes to the perfecting of sanctification.[3] Hence this great apostle, who had been rapt up to the third heaven, assures us that he was severe in his treatment of himself, lest he should become a cast-away.[4]

The spirit of independence and of false liberty, which is nowadays so rife amongst us, is a great enemy to the fear of God; and one of the miseries of our age is, that there is little fear of God. Familiarity with God but too frequently usurps the place of that essential basis of the Christian life. The result is, that there is no progress in virtue, such people are a prey to illusion; and the sacraments, which previously worked so powerfully in their souls, are now well-nigh unproductive. The reason is, that the gift of fear has been superseded by a conceited self-complacency. Humility has no further sway; a secret and habitual pride has paralysed the soul; and seeing that these people scout the very idea of their ever trembling before the great God of heaven, we may well ask them if they know who God is.

Therefore we beseech thee, O holy Spirit! keep up within us the fear of God, which Thou didst infuse into our hearts at our Baptism. This saving fear will ensure our perseverance in virtue, for it will oppose the growth of pride. Let it pierce our soul through and through, and ever abide with us as our safeguard. Let it bring down our haughtiness, and rouse us from tepidity, by ceaselessly reminding us of the greatness and holiness of Him who is our Creator and our Judge.

This holy fear does not stifle the sentiment of love; on the contrary, it removes what would be a hindrance to its growth. The heavenly Powers see and ardently love their God, their infinite and eternal good; and yet, they tremble before His dread Majesty: Tremunt Potestates. And shall we, covered as we are with the wounds of our sins, disfigured by countless imperfections, exposed on every side to snares, obliged to fight with so many enemies—shall we flatter ourselves that we can do without this strong and filial fear P and that we need nothing to stimulate us, when we are in those frequent trials—a want of fervour in our will, or of light in our mind? O holy Spirit! watch over us! Preserve within us Thy precious gift! Teach us how to combine peace and joy of heart with the fear of our Lord and God, according to those words of the psalmist: Serve ye the Lord with fear, and rejoice unto Him with trembling![5]


[1] Philipp, ii. 12.
[2] Rom. viii. 24.
[3] II. Cor. vii. 1.
[4] 1. Cor. ix. 27.
[5] Ps. ii. 11.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
Come, O holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

YESTERDAY, the Holy Ghost took possession of the world: His commencement of the mission given Him by the Father and the Son was such as to indicate His power over the human heart, and prepare us for His future triumphs. The days of this solemn octave are a fitting occasion for our respectfully considering the progress of His workings in the Church and in the souls of men.

Jesus, our Emmanuel, is the King of the whole earth; His Father gave Him all nations for His inheritance.  He Himself tells us that all power is given to Him in heaven and in earth.  But He ascended into heaven before establishing His kingdom here below. The very Israelites—to whom He preached His Gospel, and under whose eyes He wrought such stupendous miracles in attestation of His being the Messias—have refused to acknowledge Him, and have ceased to be His people.  A few have been faithful, and others will follow their example: but the mass of the people of Israel have impiously resolved not to have this Man to reign over them. 

As to the Gentiles, what likelihood is there of their accepting the Son of Mary for their Master? They know nothing whatsoever of Him, of His teaching, or His mission. They have lost all their primitive religious traditions. Materialism reigns supreme in every country, whether civilized or barbarian; and every creature is made an object for adoration. The very first principles of morality have been corrupted. The insignificant minority, who proudly call themselves philosophers, have the strangest theories: they became vain in their thoughts, as St. Paul says of them, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Races, once distinct, have been gradually fused into each other by conquest. Revolution after revolution has habituated mankind to respect no power but that of might. The colossal Roman empire, with despotic Cæsars at its head, crushes the whole earth beneath its sway. And this is the time chosen by the heavenly Father for sending His Son into the world! Jesus is to reign over men, and His reign must be accepted: but there seems to be little chance of any welcome being given to a King who claims to rule the minds and hearts of His subjects.

During these long sad ages, another master has presented himself to the nations, and they have enthusiastically hailed him as their king. It is satan. So firmly, indeed, has he established his rule, that our Lord calls him the prince of this world. He must be cast out;  that is, he must be driven from the temples men have built to him, from society, from the soul, from literature, from art, from political life, all of which are under his sway. There will be resistance from the world he has corrupted; nay, he himself the strong armed one  will resist, and so powerfully that no mere created power shall ever make him yield.

So, then, everything is against the kingdom of Christ, and nothing is favourable. And yet, if we are to believe certain modern writers, the world was in a fit state for a total and complete reformation! Impious and absurd assertion! Are we to deny the evidence of facts? Or must we admit that error and vice are the best preparation for truth and virtue? Man may know that he is in a state of wretchedness, and yet not know that his wretchedness comes from sin, still less be resolved to become, at once, and at every sacrifice, a hero in virtue.

No: in order that Jesus might reign over a world such as ours was, there was need of a miracle; nay, of a miracle, as Bossuet observes, comparable to that of creation, whereby God draws being out of nothingness. Now, it was the Holy Ghost who worked this miracle. He willed that we, who have never seen the Lord Jesus, should be as certain of His being our Messias and God, as though we had witnessed His wonderful works, and heard His divine teachings. For this end, He achieved the master-miracle of the conversion of the world, wherein God chose the weak things of the world, that He might confound the strong; and the things that are not, that He might bring to nought the things that are.  By this stupendous fact, which was evident to men as the noon-day sun, the Holy Ghost made His presence known and felt by the world.

Let us consider the means He took for establishing the kingdom of Jesus upon the earth. And first, let us return to the cenacle. Look at these men now ‘endued with power from on high’ : what were they a while ago? Men without influence, poor, ignorant, and, as we all know, easily intimidated. But now, the Holy Ghost has changed them into other men: they have an eloquence which it is hard to resist; they are heedless of every threat or peril; they are soon to stand before the world, yea, and conquer it with a victory such as no monarch ever won or fancied. The fact is too evident for the blindest incredulity to deny: the world has been transformed, and transformed by these poor Jews of the cenacle. They received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, and He has done through them the work He came to do.

He gave them three things on that day: the power to preach the word, which was signified by the tongues that sat upon them; the ardour of love, expressed by the fire; and the gift of miracles, which they exercised that very morning. The word is the sword wherewith they are armed; love is the source of their dauntless courage; miracles win man’s attention to their teachings. These are the means used for driving satan from the world, and for establishing the kingdom of Jesus; and these means are all provided by the Holy Ghost.

But He does not confine His action to this. It is not enough for men to hear the word, and admire the courage, and witness the miracles, of the apostles. Neither is it sufficient that they should see the force of truth and the beauty of virtue, or acknowledge the disgrace and sinfulness of their own manner of life. In order to a conversion of heart—to confess that the Jesus who is preached to them is God, to love Him, be baptized, promise fidelity to Him, even to martyrdom if required—for all this there is need of the grace of the Holy Ghost. He alone can take away the stony heart, as the prophet expresses it, and give a heart of flesh,  filled with supernatural faith and love. Hence, He will accompany His ministers wheresoever they preach the Gospel; the visible working is theirs, the invisible is His; man’s salvation is to be the result of the two united. They must be applied to each individual, and each individual must freely yield his assent to the exterior preaching of the apostle, and to the interior action of the holy Spirit. Truly it is an undertaking of extreme difficulty, to bring mankind to receive Jesus as its Lord and King: but after three centuries of contest, the cross of our Redeemer will be the standard round which the whole civilized world will be rallied.

It was just that the holy Spirit and the apostles should first turn to the Israelites. They were the people to whom were committed the words of God;  and the Messias was born of their race. Jesus had said that He was not sent but to the sheep that were lost of the house of Israel.  Peter, His vicar, inherited the glory of being the apostle of the Jews;  although it was also by his ministry that the Gentiles, in the person of Cornelius the centurion, were first admitted into the Church; and again, it was by him, at the Council of Jerusalem, that the baptized Gentiles were declared emancipated from the Jewish Law. We repeat it: the first preaching of the Christian Law was an honour due to the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: hence, our first Pentecost is a Jewish one, and the first to celebrate it are Jews. It is upon the people of Israel that the holy Spirit first pours forth His divine gifts.

As soon as the solemnity was over, these men, who have received the faith, and are now truly children of Abraham by holy Baptism, return to the several provinces of the Gentile world whence they came; they return, bearing in their hearts that Jesus whom they have acknowledged to be the Messias, their God and their Saviour. Let us honour these first-fruits of holy Church, these trophies of the Paraclete Spirit, these messengers of the good tidings. They will soon be followed by the disciples of the cenacle, who, after using in vain every means that zeal could devise for the conversion of the proud and ungrateful Jerusalem, will turn to the Gentiles.

So that, of the Jewish nation a very small minority has acknowledged the Son of David as the heir of the Father of the family; the body of the people has rebelled against Him, and is running headlong to destruction. By what name are we to call their crime? The Protomartyr St. Stephen, speaking to these unworthy children of Abraham, says: ‘O stiffnecked and uncircumcized in heart and ears! ye always resist the Holy Ghost!’  Resistance, then, to the Spirit of God is their crime; and the apostles, finding the favoured people determined to refuse the truth, turn to them that are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.  These are the Gentiles; and upon them the apostles are henceforward to lavish the torrents of grace, which Jesus has merited for mankind by His sacrifice on the cross.

These messengers of the word of life carry the treasure to pagan lands. Every opposition in man’s power is made against them, but they triumph over all. The holy Spirit gives efficacy to His own indwelling within them; He acts Himself on the souls of their hearers; and rapid is the spread of faith in Jesus. A Christian colony is soon formed at Antioch, then at Rome, and then at Alexandria. The tongue of fire runs through the world, beyond even the farthest limits of the Roman empire, which, as the prophets had foretold, was to serve as an instrument for establishing the kingdom of Christ. India, China, Ethiopia, and a hundred other distant countries, hear the word of the heralds of the Gospel of peace.

But they have another testimony, besides their word, to give to Jesus, their King: they owe Him the testimony of their blood, and they give it. The fire that was enkindled within them on the day of Pente- cost, consumes them in the holocaust of martyrdom.

And yet, observe the power and fruitfulness of the holy Spirit! To these first apostles He raises up successors, in whom He continues His influence and work. So will it be to the end of time; for Jesus is to be acknowledged as Lord and Saviour by all generations, and the Holy Ghost has been sent into the world in order to effect this.

The prince of this world, the old serpent,  makes use of the most violent means for staying the conquests of these messengers of the holy Spirit. He has had Peter crucified, and Paul beheaded: he spared not one of the glorious chieftains. They are gone, and yet his defeat is terrible to his pride. The mystery of Pentecost has created a new people; the seed sown by the apostles has produced an immense harvest. Nero’s persecution has swept away the Jewish leaders of the Christian host; but they had done their grand work, they had established the Church among the Gentiles. We sang their triumph in our yesterday’s Introit: ‘The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole earth! Alleluia! ’ Towards the close of the first century, Domitian finds Christians even in the imperial family; he makes them martyrs. Trajan, Adrian, Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius, all are jealous of the growing power of Jesus of Nazareth; they persecute His flock, and yet they see it multiply. Their master, the prince of this world, gives them political influence and philosophy; but the Holy Ghost brings both to nought, and the truth spreads through the universe. Other emperors, such as Severus, Decius, Gallus, Valerian, and Maximian, with the sterner course of cruelty unrefined by sophistry, order a universal massacre of the Christians, for the empire is filled with them. And when this, too, fails, satan brings all his power to bear in the last persecution, which is decreed by Dioclesian and his fellow- Cæsars. It is to be the extermination of the Christian name. It deluges the empire with the blood of martyrs; but the victory is for the Church, and her enemies die, despairing and baffled.

How magnificent, O holy Spirit, is Thy triumph! How divine is this kingdom of Jesus, which Thou thus foundest in spite of human folly and malice, or of satan’s power, strong as it then was upon the earth! Thou infusest into millions of souls the love of a religion which demands the most heroic sacrifices from its followers. Thou answerest the specious objections of man’s reason by the eloquence of miracles: and hearts, that once were slaves to concupiscence and pride, are inflamed by Thee with such a love of Jesus, that they cheerfully suffer every torture, yea and death itself, for His dear sake!

Then was fulfilled the promise made by our Saviour to His disciples: ‘When they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak, for it shall be given to you, in that hour, what to speak; for it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.’  We have a proof of it in the ‘Acts of the martyrs’, where we read their simple and sublime answers, when questioned by their persecutors, and this frequently in the midst of the most excruciating torments. It is the word of the Spirit, combating and conquering the world. The bystanders would frequently exclaim: ‘Great is the God of the Christians!’ At times, the executioners, incited by the heavenly eloquence of the victims they were torturing, cried out that they too would he disciples of such a God. We are told by authors who lived in those times, that the arena of martyrdom was the forum of faith, and that the blood and testimony of the martyrs was the seed of Christians.

For three centuries did these prodigies of the holy Spirit continue, and then the victory was complete. Jesus was acknowledged as the King and Saviour of the world, as the Teacher and Redeemer of mankind; satan was driven from the kingdom he had usurped; and idolatry was either abolished by the faith in the one true God, or they that still kept it up were looked upon as ignorant and depraved beings. Now, this viotory—which was gained first over the Roman empire, and since then over so many other infidel nations—is the work of the Holy Ghost. The miraculous manner of its accomplishment, is one of the chief arguments whereon our faith rests. We have not seen or heard Jesus; and yet we confess Him to be our God, because of the evident testimony given of Him by the Spirit whom He sent to us. May all creatures, then, give glory, thanks, and love to this holy Paraclete, who has thus put us in possession of the salvation brought us by our Emmanuel! 


Mass

 

The Station for to-day is in the basilica of Saint Peter ad vincula. This church, which is also called, after the name of the empress who built it, the basilica of Eudoxia, possesses the precious relic of the chains (vincula) wherewith St. Peter was bound at Jerusalem by order of Herod, and at Rome by order of Nero. The faithful would be reminded, on being assembled in this church, of the fortitude wherewith the apostles were endowed by the Holy Ghost, on the day of Pentecost. Peter was bound with chains, because he laboured in the service of his divine Master; he felt it an honour to be thus fettered. He that once trembled at being questioned about Jesus by a woman, rejoices, now that he has received the gift of the Holy Ghost, at being loaded with chains for Jesus’ sake. The prince of this world thought he might enchain the word of God; but no, this word is free, even under the shackles forged by a Nero.

The Introit is taken from the Psalms, and is an allusion to the newly baptized, who are present at the holy Sacrifice, vested in their white garments. After their Baptism, they were fed with the fat of wheats the Bread of life. They received honey out of the rock: the rock is Christ, as St. Paul tells us,  and Christ permitted Simon, the son of Jonas, to share with Him the honour; He made him the rock, when He said to him: Thou art PETER! Would we have a proof of Simon’s staunch fidelity to his Master? Look at these chains! Now, the same holy Spirit who manned Peter for the combat, is now resting on the neophytes of Pentecost. 

Introit

Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti, alleluia; et de petra melle saturavit eos. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Exsultate Deo adjutori nostro: jubilate Deo Jacob. ℣. Gloria Patri. Cibavit. 
He fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia; and filled them with honey out of the rock. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Rejoice in God, our helper; sing aloud to the God of Jacob. ℣. Glory, &c. He fed them, &c.

In the Collect, holy Church commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles; and whilst thanking God for the gift of faith, which He has bestowed on the newly baptized, she beseeches Him to bless them with that peace which our risen Jesus gave His disciples.

Collect

Deus, qui apostolis tuis sanctum dedisti Spiritum: concede plebi tuae piae petitionis effectum; ut quibus dedisti fidem largiaris et pacem. Per Dominum.
O God, who didst give the Holy Ghost to thine apostles, hear the prayers of thy people, that they may enjoy a happy peace, who, by thy grace, have received the gift of faith. Through, &c.

Epistle

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.

Cap. x.

In diebus illis: Aperiens Petrus os suum dixit: Viri fratres, nobis praecepit Dominus praedicare populo, et testificari quia ipse est, qui constitutus est a Deo judex vivorum et mortuorum. Huic omnes prophetae testimonium perhibent, remissionem peccatorum accipere per nomen ejus omnes qui credunt in eum. Adhuc loquente Petro verba haec, cecidit Spiritus sanctus super omnes qui audiebant verbum. Et obstupuerunt ex circumcisione fideles qui venerant cum Petro: quia et in nationes gratia Spiritus sancti effusa est. Audiebant enim illos loquentes linguis, et magnificantes Deum. Tunc respondit Petrus: Numquid aquam quis prohibere potest, ut non baptizentur hi, qui Spiritum sanctum acceperunt sicut et nos? Et jussit eos baptizari in nomine Domini Jesu Christi.
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.

Ch. x.

In those days: Peter opening his mouth, said: Brethren, the Lord commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead. To him all the prophets give testimony, that by his name all receive remission of sins, who believe in him. While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word. And the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished, for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they heard them speaking with tongues, and magnifying God. Then Peter answered: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This passage from the Acts of the Apostles, read on such a day as this, and in such a place, is most appropriate. Peter, the vicar of Christ, is accompanied by 6ome Jews, who have been converted to the Christian faith. In their presence, several Gentiles, who have been touched by grace, on hearing Peter preaching profess themselves believers in Jesus, the Son of God: the moment has come for the apostle to throw the Church open to the Gentile world. Knowing that the Jewish converts would be tempted to jealousy, he appeals to the prophets. What say these prophets? That all without distinction, who shall believe in Jesus, shall receive forgiveness of their sins in His name. While Peter is thus arguing with his audience, the Holy Ghost removes every objection, by falling, as He did at Pentecost, on these humble and believing Gentiles. As soon as the Jewish converts perceive the miracle, they are astonished, and exclaim: ‘What! is the grace of the Holy Ghost poured out on the Gentiles also?’ Peter replies: ‘Who dares to refuse Baptism to these men, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?’ And without waiting for an answer, he gives the order, as head of the Church, that Baptism be immediately conferred upon these privileged catechumens.

Nothing, then, could be more appropriate than this passage of sacred Scripture, read in Rome, the centre of the Gentile world, in a basilica dedicated to St. Peter, and in the presence of the newly baptized, who had so recently received the gifts of the Holy Ghost. We, also, have our lesson to learn from this Epistle: we must fervently thank our heavenly Father for having vouchsafed to call our ancestors to the true faith, and make us also partakers of the graces of the Holy Ghost.

Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Loquebantur variis linguis apostoli magnalia Dei.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. The apostles spoke in divers tongues, the wondrous works of God.

Here all kneel.

Alleluia.

℣. Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium: et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
Alleluia.

℣. Come, O holy Spirit! fill the hearts of thy faithful, and kindle within them the fire of thy love.

Then follows the Sequence, Veni, sancte Spiritus; page 305.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. iii.

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus Nicodemo: Sic Deus dilexit mundum, ut Filium suum unigenitum daret: ut omnis qui credit in eum, non pereat, sed habeat vitam æternam. Non enim misit Deus Filium suum in mundum, ut judicet mundum, sed ut salvetur mundus per ipsum. Qui credit in eum, non judicatur: qui autem non credit, jam judicatus est: quia non credit in nomine unigeniti Filii Dei. Hoc est autem judicium: quia lux venit in mundum, et dilexerunt homines magis tenebras quam lucem: erant enim eorum mala opera. Omnis enim qui male agit, odit lucem, et non venit ad lucem, ut non arguantur opera ejus: qui autem facit veritatem, venit ad lucem, ut manifestentur opera ejus, quia in Deo sunt facta.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. iii.

At that time, Jesus said to Nicodemus: God so loved the world, as to give his only- begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.

The Holy Ghost creates faith within our souls, and by faith we obtain life everlasting; for faith is not the intellect’s assent to a proposition logically demonstrated, but a virtue which proceeds from the will vivified by grace. Nowadays, faith is rare. Pride of intellect is at its height, and docility to the Church’s teachings is far from being general. A man calls himself a Christian and a Catholic, and yet he has his own views upon certain subjects, which he would very reluctantly give up, were they to be condemned by the only authority on earth which has power to guide us in what we are to hold or reject in matters pertaining to faith. He reads dangerous, sometimes even bad, books, without thinking of inquiring if the laws of the Church forbid such books. His religious instruction has been of a very meagre kind, and he seems to wish it to remain so, for he takes no pains to come to a solid and perfect knowledge of his religion; the result is, that his mind is filled with the fashionable prejudices of the world he lives in, and, on more than one point, he may depend upon his having imbibed heretical notions. He is looked upon as a Catholic; he satisfies the exterior obligations of his religion, either because of his early training, or because the rest of his family do so, or because he feels more satisfied to do than to omit them: and yet—how sad it is to say it!—he is not a Catholic, for his faith is gone.

Faith is the first link that unites us to God; for, as the apostle says, he that cometh to God, must believe.  It brings us to God, and keeps us there. Our Saviour here tells us that he who believeth is not judged: and the reason is, that he, whose faith is what our Gospel implies it to be, does not only assent to a doctrine, but he embraces it with his whole heart and mind; he believes it, because he wishes to love what he believes. Faith works, and is perfected, by charity; but it is itself a foretaste of charity. Therefore does our Lord promise salvation to him that believeth. This faith meets with obstacles, because of our fallen nature. As we have just been told, light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light. In this our age, darkness is prevalent. Even false lights are seen to rise up, and mislead thousands. We repeat it: faith—that faith which brings us to God and saves us from His judg- ments—is now rare. O divine Spirit! deliver us from the darkness of the times in which our lot has been cast. Humble the pride of our minds. Save us from that false religious liberty, which is one of the idols of our generation, and which keeps men from the true faith. We wish to love, and possess, and keep up within us, the glorious light: we wish to merit, by the docility and child-like simplicity of our faith, to enjoy the full cloudless vision of this divine light in heaven.

The Offertory is taken from one of the sublimest of the psalms. It speaks of the tempest, which heralded the coming of the holy Spirit; and of the fountains of the living waters of Baptism, which sprang up and covered the earth with spiritual verdure.

Offertory

Intonuit de cœlo Dominus, et Altissimus dedit vocem suam: et apparuerunt fontes aquarum, alleluia.
The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High gave forth his voice: then the fountains of waters appeared, alleluia.

In the Secret the Church prays that, by the operation of the holy Spirit, our hearts, as well as the sacred elements on the altar, may be an offering well pleasing to God.

Secret

Propitius, Domine quaesumus, hæc dona sanctifica: et hostiæ spiritalis oblatione suscepta, nosmetipsos tibi perfice munus aeternum. Per Dominum.
Mercifully sanctify, we beseech thee, O Lord, these offerings; and having accepted the oblation of our spiritual victim, make us also an offering pleasing to thee. Through &c.

The Preface is given page 310.


The Communion-anthem is formed of the words spoken by Jesus to His disciples, wherein He explains to them the ministry which the Holy Ghost has come to fulfil: He will provide for the teaching of the truths which Jesus has revealed. 

Communion

Spiritus sanctus docebit vos, alleluia: quæcumque dixero vobis. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Holy Ghost shall teach you, alleluia, whatever I shall say to you. Alleluia, alleluia.

In the Postcommunion, the Church prays for us all, but in a special manner for her dear neophytes. They have just been receiving the sacred mysteries; but their virtue and constancy will soon be put to the test: Satan, the world, and persecution, await them. The holy mother asks of God that He would have pity on these tender plants, and shelter them under the cover of His fostering care.

Postcommunion

Adesto, quæsumus Domine, populo tuo: et quem mysteriis cœlestibus imbuisti, ab hostium furore defende. Per Dominum.
Help, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy people, and defend from the fury of their enemies those whom thou hast fed with thy sacred mysteries. Through &c. 

VESPERS

 

They are the same as yesterday’s, on page 311, with the exception of the Magnificat antiphon and the Prayer. 

Antiphon Of The Magnificat

Si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit: et Pater meus diliget eum, et ad eum veniemus, et mansionem apud eum faciemus, alleluia.
If anyone love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him, alleluia.

The Prayer is the Collect of the Mass, given above, page 346.


The Armenian Church gives us, for the Monday within the octave, the following beautiful hymn, wherein is celebrated the mission of the Holy Ghost.

Hymn
(Canon secundæ diei)

Idem ac similis Patri et Filio, Spiritus tu non facte, et coexistens, procedens a Patre inscrutabiliter, accipiens a Filio inenarrabiliter, in cœnaculum hodie descendisti, spiritu gratiæ tuæ potasti: pota nos quoque per misericordiam calice sapientiæ.

Exstantium Creator effectorum, qui ferebaris super aquas, pariter in aquis lavacri concessi nobis a tibi coexistente, blandiris amore columbæ instar, homines generas Deiformes: pota nos quoque per misericordiam calice sapientiae.

Magister supernorum intellectualium, ac imorum horum sensibilium; qui prophetas das de pastoribus, et apostolos de piscatoribus, evangelistas publicanos, praedicatores verbi tui persecutores: pota nos quoque per misericordiam calice sapientiae.

Formidabilis venti instar, horrisono vehementi sonitu, apparuisti in cœnaculo, Spiritus tu, choro duodecim, qui a te baptizati, velut aurum igne purgati sunt, expurga a nobis caliginem peccati, et indue nos lumine gloriae.

O Amor ex amore te amorem misit, sibi membra sua junxit, Ecclesiam suam quam aedificavit, septem columnis tuis firmavit, oeconomos in ea posuit apostolos septem charismatibus tuis exornatos: expurga a nobis caliginem peccati, et indue nos lumine gloriae.
O uncreated Spirit! one and the same and coexisting with the Father and the Son; who proceedest inscrutably from the Father, and receivest of the Son ineffably; thou this day descendedst into the cenacle, and gavest the disciples to drink of the spirit of grace. Oh! give us also in thy mercy, to drink of the chalice of wisdom.

Creator of all things, who movedst over the waters I thou, in the form of a Dove, lovingly broodest over the water of the font given to us by him who is God together with thee; and thus thou givest birth to a race of God-like men. Oh! give us also, in thy mercy, to drink of the chalice of wisdom.

O Master of the heavenly spirits, and of us men who live on earth: who turnest shepherds into prophets, and fishermen into apostles, and publicans into evangelists, and persecutors into preachers of thy word; oh! give us also, in thy mercy, to drink of the chalice of wisdom.

O divine Spirit, who, as a mighty wind, whose rushing sound fills men with fear, ap- pearedst in the cenacle to the choir of the twelve apostles, baptizing them with fire, as gold is cleansed of its dross; oh! drive from us the darkness of sin, and clothe us with the light of glory.

He that is love, out of love for man, sent thee that art love; by thee he united his members (that is, his Church), to himself; he, by thee, built this Church, and set it upon seven pillars, and entrusted her to the stewardship of the apostles, who were adorned with thy seven gifts; oh! drive from us the darkness of sin, and clothe us with the light of glory.


The following sequence was composed in the eleventh century, by the pious and learned Hildebert, bishop of Le Mans, and afterwards archbishop of Tours. It will show us what an enlightened appreciation of the mystery of the Holy Ghost was possessed by the Christians of the ages of faith, and how fervently they celebrated it.

Sequence 

Spiritus sancte, Pie Paraclite,
Amor Patris et Filii,
Nexus Gignentis et Geniti.

Utriusque bonitas et charitas,
Et amborum essentiæ puritas;
Benignitas, suavitas, Jocunditas.

Vinculum nectens
Deum homini,
Virtus adunans
Hominem Numini.

Tibi soli digno coli
Cum Patre Filioque Jugis cultus,
Honor multus Sit semper
Procedenti ab utroque.

Tu mitis et hilaris,
Amabilis, laudabilis,
Vanitatis mundator,
Munditiæ amator.

Vox suavis exsulum Mœrentium,
Melodiæ civium Gaudentium. 
Istis solamen, Ne desperent de te,
Istis juvamen, Ut suspirent ad te.

Consolator piorum,
Inspirator bonorum,
Consiliator mœstorum,

Purificator errorum,
Eruditor ignotorum,
Declarator perplexorum.

Debilem erigens,
Devium colligens,
Errantem corrigens,
Sustines labantem.

Promoves conantem,
Perficis amantem.
Perfectum educis
De lacu fæcis, Et miseriæ.

Deducis per semitam
Pacis et lætitiæ:
Inducis sub nube
In aulam sapientiæ.

Fundamentum sanctitatis,
Alimentum castitatis,
Ornamentum lenitatis,
Lenimentum paupertatis,
Supplementum largitatis,
Munimentum probitatis.
Miserorum refugium,
Captivorum suffragium.

Illis aptissimus,
Istis promptissimus.
Spiritus veritatis,
Nodus fraternitatis,
Ab eodem missus
A quo et promissus.

Tu crederis
Omnium judex,
Qui crederis
Omnium opifex.

Honestans bene meritos Præmio,
Onustans immeritos Supplicio.
Spiras ubi vis
Et quando vis;
Doces quos vis
Et quantum vis.

Imples et instruis
Certos in dubiis,
Firmas in subitis,
Regis in licitis.

Tu ordo decorans Omnia,
Decor ordinans et ornans Omnia,
Dicta, facta, cogitata,
Dicta veritate,
Facta honestate,
Cogitata puritate.

Donum bonum,
Bonum perfectum,
Dans intellectum,
Dans et affectum.

Dirigens rectum,
Formans affectum,
Firmans provectum,
Et ad portas Paradisi
Coronans dilectum.

Amen.
O holy Spirit! merciful Paraclete!
Love of the Father and Son!
Link of the Begetting and the Begotten!

Their goodness and charity:
the purity of their essence;
benignity, sweetness, joy!

The bond that joinest
God to man;
the power that unitest
man to God!

To thee, who,
with the Father and the Son, art alone worthy
of adoration; to thee that proceedest from both,
be worship and honour for ever!

Thou art gentle and joyous,
worthy of love and praise.
Thou cleansest the soul from vanity.
Thou art the lover of purity.

Thou art music to them who mourn in exile;
thou art the melody of them that are in joy.
To the former thou art a comforter, lest they should despair of thy help;
to the latter, a helper, that they may long to behold thee.

The consoler of the pious,
the inspirer of the good,
the counsellor of the afflicted!

The remover of errors,
the teacher of the ignorant,
the solver of doubts!

Thou supportest the weak,
guidest the wanderer,
bringest back him that is astray,
holdest him that is falling,

encouragest him that strives,
perfectest him that loves.
‘Twas thou that broughtest from the pit of corruption
and misery him that is now perfect.

‘Tis thou that leadest him through the path
of peace and joy,
and admittest him, under the cloud (of faith),
into the sanctuary of wisdom.

Thou art the foundation of sanctity,
the nourishment of chastity,
the beauty of meekness,
the solace of poverty,
the treasury of munificence,
the bulwark of honesty.
Thou art the refuge of the miserable,
and the deliverer of captives;

To the first, most seasonable;
to the second, most prompt.
Thou art the Spirit of truth,
and the bond of brotherly love.
He that sent thee,
is the same that gave us the promise.

We believe thee
to be the Judge of all men,
as we believe thee
to be their Creator.

Thou givest reward to them that merit it;
thou inflictest chastisement on them that have no merit.
Thou breathest where and when thou wilt;
thou teachest whom thou wilt,
and as much as thou wilt.

Thou givest light and knowledge
to thy faithful servants when in doubt;
thou strengthenest them when taken unawares;
thou guidest them when doing what is right.

Thou art order that beautifiest all things;
thou art beauty, that ordainest all things,
said, done, or thought;
giving truth to what is said,
honesty to what is done,
purity to what is thought.

Thou art the good
and perfect Gift,
giving both understanding
and love.

Thou guidest man to truth,
thou formest his love.
Thou confirmest him in good, and,
having made him deserving of thy love,
thou crownest him at heaven’s gate.

Amen.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The gift of the fear of God is intended as a cure for our pride; the gift of godliness is infused into our souls by the Holy Ghost, in order that we may resist self-love, which is one of the passions of our fallen nature, and the second hindrance to our union with God. The heart of a Christian is not made to be either cold or indifferent; it must be affectionate and devoted; otherwise, it can never attain the perfection for which God, who is love, has graciously created it.

The Holy Ghost, therefore, puts the gift of godliness into the soul, by inspiring her with a filial affeotion for her Creator. ‘You have received’, says the apostle, ‘the Spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry to our God, Abba! Father!’[1] This disposition makes the soul alive to whatsoever regards God’s honour. It enables man to nourish within him a sorrow for his sins, in consideration of the divine mercy which has borne with and forgiven him, and of the sufferings and death of his Redeemer. It makes him thirst for God’s glory to be ever spreading; he would, if he could, bring all his fellow- creatures to adore this God; he feels most keenly every insult that is offered to so dear a King. His greatest joy is to see others growing in their love and devotedness in the service of the sovereign Good. He is filled with filial submission to his heavenly Father, whose every will he is most ready to do, cheerfully resigned to whatsoever He may appoint.

His faith is unhesitating and fervent. Affectionately docile to the Church, he is always in the disposition of mind to abandon his most cherished ideas the moment he discovers them to be, in any way, out of harmony with her teaching or practice; for he has an instinctive horror of novelties and insubordination.

This devotedness to God, which results from the gift of godliness, and unites the soul to her Creator by filial love, makes her love all God’s creatures, inasmuch as they are the work of His hands, and belong to Him.

The blessed in heaven hold the first place in the fraternal affection of such a Christian, He has a most tender love for the holy Mother of God, and is zealous for her honour; he venerates the saints; he is a warm admirer of the courage of the martyrs, and of the heroic actions of the servants of God; he delights in reading of their miracles, and has a devotion to their sacred relics.

B ut his love is not limited to the citizens of heaven; it is extended also to his fellow-creatures here on earth, for the gift of godliness makes him find Jesus in them. He is kind to every one, without exception. He forgives injuries, hears with the imperfections of others, and, where an excuse is possible for his neighbour, he makes it. He has compassion on the poor, and is attentive to the sick. His whole conduct is the index of a sterling warm-heartedness, that weeps with them that weep, and rejoices with them that rejoice.

All this is found in those, who use Thy gift of godliness, O holy Spirit! By infusing it into our souls, Thou enablest us to withstand the workings of our self-love, which would corrupt the heart; Thou pre- servest us from that odious indifference to every one around us, which dries up all feeling; Thou drivest from us the sentiments of jealousy and hatred. Yes, godliness inspired us with a filial love for our Creator, that softened the heart; and every creature of God became dear to us. O blessed Paraclete, grant that this gift may produce its rich fruits in us! Never permit us to stifle it by the love of self. Our Jesus has told us that His heavenly Father maketh His sun to rise upon the good and bad:[2] He would have us take this divine generosity as our model: do Thou, therefore, foster within us that germ of devotedness, kindness, and sympathy, which we received from Thee on the day of our Baptism, when Thou first tookest possession of our souls!

[1] Rom. viii, 15.
[2] St. Matth. v. 45.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
Come, O holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindlo within them the fire of thy love.

Yesterday, we were admiring the work of the Holy Ghost, whereby He drew mankind to the faith and the name of Jesus, to whom ‘all power was given in heaven and in earth.’[1] The instruments used for this conquest were the apostles and their immediate successors. The tongue of fire was victorious, and the prince of this world was defeated, Let us continue our reflections, and see the further workings of the holy Spirit for the glory of the Son of God, who had sent Him into this world.

Our Emmanuel came down from heaven, that He might effect the union He had desired from all eternity. He began it by uniting our human nature to His own divine Person; but this personal union did not satisfy His love. He mercifully deigned to invite the whole human race to a spiritual union with Himself, by giving her to become His Church, His own dearest one,[2] as He calls her; His ‘glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish.’[3] But how could mankind, deformed as it was by sin, be worthy of such an honour? His love would make it worthy. He tells us that this Church is His bride.[4] Having chosen her, He beautified her in the laver of His own precious Blood, and gave her, in dowry, the infinite merits He had acquired.

Thus prepared, her union with Him was to be of the closest. Jesus and His Church are one body; He is the Head, she is the aggregate of the members united together under this one Head. Such is the teaching of the apostle: ‘Christ is the Head of the Church; we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones’.[5] This body is to be formed of all who shall, in each successive age, be faithful to the call of divine grace, and enroll themselves as children of the Church. The world we inhabit is to be preserved, till the last elect required to complete the mystic body of Jesus, be added to the Church triumphant: then all will be consummated; the divine mystery of the Incarnation will have achieved its whole work.

But as in the Incarnate Word there was the invisible Soul and the visible Body, so also the Church was to have a soul and a body: a soul, whose hidden beauty no eye but God’s can fully see, at least during her earthly sojourn; and a body, which is to be visible to men: an ever-living proof of God’s power, and of His love for the human race. Up to the day of Pentecost, the just, who had been united under Jesus, their Head, had belonged only to the soul of the Church, for the body was not then in existence. The heavenly Father had adopted them as His children; the Son of God had accepted them as His members; and the Holy Ghost, who is now about to work exteriorly, had interiorly wrought their election and sanctification. The new order of things is to begin in Mary’s person. As we have already explained, the Church in its entirety, that is both soul and body, resided first in her. It was but fitting that she who was as truly the Mother of the Son of God, according to His human Nature, as the heavenly Father was His Father according to the divine Nature, should be superior to all other members of the Church, and this not only in the high degree of grace, but also in the precedence of time.

When our Saviour gave His Church an existence outside the loved sanctuary of His Mother’s heart, He, with His own hands, set the foundation stone, Peter, the rock; He raised up the pillars, and we have seen how He spent the forty days before His Ascension in organizing this Church, which was then so small, but which was afterwards to cover the whole earth. He told His apostles that He would be with them all days even to the consummation of the world;[6] it was the same as telling them that, even after His Ascension into heaven, His Church was to continue on earth, even to the end of time.

He left the plan, thus begun by Himself, to be perfected by the Holy Ghost. It was necessary that this holy Spirit should come down from heaven, in order to strengthen those whom Jesus had chosen as His apostles. He was to be their Paraclete; their comforter, in the absence of their Master; He was to be the power from on high, who was to serve them as armour in their future combats; He was to remind them of all the words spoken to them by Christ; He was to give fruitfulness, by His own action, to the Sacraments, which Jesus had instituted, and over which the apostles had power because of the character impressed upon them by this holy Spirit. It is on this account that Jesus said to His apostles: ‘It is expedient to you that I go; for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you’.[7] We have seen this divine Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, producing His effects on the apostles and disciples; let us now see His action in the creation, maintenance, and perfecting of this Church, which Jesus has promised to assist, by His mysterious presence, even to the consummation of the world.

The first operation of the Holy Ghost in the Church is the election of its members. This right of election is so especially Hisprerogative, that, as we learn from the Scriptures, it was by the Holy Ghost[8] that Jesus chose the apostles, who were to be the pillars of His Church. We have seen how this holy Spirit began His mission on the day of Pentecost, by the election of three thousand Jews. A few days after, five thousand were added to the number, being converted by the preaching of Peter and John.[9]The Gentiles, also, were called to the Church; and the Holy Ghost, having led Peter to Cornelius the centurion, descended upon this Roman and his household, thus declaring them to be elected as candidates for holy Baptism. The liturgy put this history before us, in the Mass of yesterday.

We seem able to keep pace with these first workings of the holy Spirit; but the sequel is all impetuosity, divine rapidity of action, irresistible conquest. He sends forth His messengers: their sound goeth forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.[10] He goes before them; He goes with them; He works the victory, while they speak. We come to the commencement of the third century, and we find a Christian writer addressing the magistrates of the Roman empire in these words: ‘We are but of yesterday, and we abound everywhere; in your cities, in your towns, in your camps; in the palace, the senate, the forum.’[11] Nothing can withstand the Spirit of God; and in less than three hundred years from the day of His first manifestation, He calls the very emperors of Rome to be members of the Church.

Thus does the bride of Jesus advance in her beauty and strength; He looks upon her from His throne in heaven, and tenderly loves her. In the early part of the fourth century, she exceeds the limits of the Roman empire. Here and there, within this vast empire, there are men who still cling to paganism; but they all know what the Church is, and the very hatred they bear her is a proof that they are aware of her progress.

But let us not suppose that the mission of the Holy Ghost is limited to founding the Church on the ruins of the great pagan empire. No; the bride of Jesus is to be immortal; she is to exist in every place and age; she is to be superior, both by the extent of her dominions and the number of her subjects, to every other human power.

The divine Spirit could not, therefore, suspend His mission. The Roman empire has merited, by her crimes, to be swept away by the inundation of barbarous nations: it is the preparation of a new triumph for the Spirit. He comes and works, invisibly and silently, amidst this huge mass: He has His elect there, and by millions. He has renewed the face of the pagan world; He renews the face of the World, now that the barbarians rule it. He chooses His co-operators, and right faithful are they. He creates new apostles, and He selects them from all classes, for He is Master to do as He wills. Queens such as Clotilda, Bertha, Theodolind, or Hedwiges, are ready to do His biddings; they deck the bride of Jesus with their royal hands, and she comes forth to the world once more, younger and lovelier than ever.

There are, indeed, immense tracts of country in Europe not yet in the Church; it was necessary first to give stability to the work in those that had pre viously been Christian, and had been well-nigh submerged beneath the deluge of invasion. But, at the close of the sixth century, the holy Spirit visits Britain, Germany, Scandinavia and Sclavonia; He sends them apostles, such as Augustine, Boniface, Anscharius, Adalbert, Cyril, Methodius, Otho. By the labours of missioners like these, the bride is compensated for the losses she has sustained in the east, where schism and heresy have encroached upon her primitive inheritance. That holy Spirit, who is God together with the Father and the Son, and has been sent by Them to defend the honour of the bride, is ever faithful to His trust.

Thus, when the so-called Reformation was preparing for Europe the great apostasy of the sixteenth century, the Paraclete was extending the glories of the Church in other continents. The East Indies became the conquest of the most faithful nation; and, in the west, a new world was discovered by and made subject to the Catholic kingdom. The divine Spirit, who is ever jealous to maintain the honour and entirety of the deposit entrusted to Him by the Incarnate Word, then raised up new apostles to go and carry the name of Jesus to these immense tracts of country, which were to be added to the kingdom of His bride. St. Francis Xavier was sent to the East Indies; his brethren, together with the sons of St. Dominio and St. Francis of Assisi, laboured most perseveringly in preaching the Gospel to the people of the West Indies.

If, later on again, our Europe be misled by false theories and break with the Church; if this beloved bride of Jesus be betrayed and pillaged, calumniated and deprived of her rights, by those very nations which she had protected for so many ages, as the most loving of mothers—fear not; the Holy Ghost will add to her glories in some other way. Look at His present workings in the Church. Whence, if not from Him, are those ever increasing vocations to the apostolic ministry? Moreover, whilst conversions from heresy are more numerous than at any previous period, there is not an infidel country where the Gospel is not being preached. Our century has had its martyrs for the faith; it has heard the authorities of China and Cochin China, like the proconsuls of old, putting the Christians through an examination; it has heard the sublime answers, suggested by the Holy Ghost to these brave confessors, as Christ had promised.[12] The farthest east produces its elect; the negroes of Africa are evangelized; and the most recently discovered portion of the world already counts its faithful by thousands, flourishing under a hierarchy of lawfully appointed pastors.

Be Thou blessed, then, O holy Spirit! who thus watchest over the dear bride of Jesus! Thanks to Thy ceaseless and untiring action, she has never once failed. In every age, Thou hast raised up apostles to enrich her by their conquests: Thy grace has been uninterruptedly inviting men to give themselves to her; in every nation and period, Thou Thyself hast chosen the members of her happy and countless family. She is our mother and we are her children; she is the bride of our divine Master, to whom we hope to be united through her: so that, by working for the glory of the Son of God who sent Thee, O holy Spirit! Thou hast deigned to work for us poor sinful creatures. We offer Thee our feeble tribute of thanks for all these Thy benefits to us.

Our Emmanuel has revealed to us that Thou art to abide with us to the end of the world; and we now understand how necessary is Thy presence. It is Thou that presidest over the formation of the bride; that maintainest her; that renderest her victorious over her enemies; that carriest her from one country to another, when a people becomes unworthy to possess her; that avengest her when she is insulted; and all this Thou wilt continue to do to the end of time.

But this noble bride of our God is not to remain for ever an exile from her Lord. As Mary was left for several years upon the earth, in order that she might labour for the glory of her Son, and was then taken up to heaven, there to reign eternally with Him; so likewise the Church is to remain militant here below as long as God sees her to be needed for completing the number of His elect. But the time will come of which it is written: ‘The marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath prepared herself. And it is granted to her that she should clothe herself with fine linen glittering and white; for the fine linen are the justifications of the saints.’[13] that is, the virtues of the saints she has formed. In those days, the bride ever comely and worthy of her Jesus, will grow no more, nay, she will decrease on earth in proportion as her triumphant glory is perfect in heaven. The revolt, spoken of by St. Paul,[14] will show itself; men will abandon her, side with the prince of this world, who is to be let loose for a little while,[15]and serve the beast, to whom it shall be given to make war with the saints, yea, and to overcome them.[16] The bride herself will not be degenerate, during these her last days on earth, for Thou O holy Spirit! wilt still be with her, supporting her. But as soon as the last of the elect shall have been born, the Spirit and the bride will say ‘Come!’[17] Then will Jesus appear upon the clouds of heaven; the mission of the Spirit will be accomplished; and the bride leaning upon her Beloved,[18] will ascend from this ungrateful barren earth to heaven, where the eternal nuptials with the Lamb await her.


MASS

The station for to-day is in the church of Saint Anastasia, where we assisted at the Mass of the Aurora on the birthday of our Emmanuel. We revisit it now that we have celebrated all the grand mysteries of our Redemption. Let us bless our God for having so magnificently completed what He began so humbly and so sweetly. The neophytes, clothed in their white garments, are present, bearing testimony both to the love of the Son of God who has cleansed them by His Blood, and to the power of the Holy Ghost who has rescued them from the tyranny of satan, the prince of this world.

The Introit is addressed to the neophytes, inviting them to appreciate the glory they have received, and to give thanks to the God who has called them to a heavenly kingdom. The words of this Introit, which has been used almost from the very commencement of the Church, are taken from the fourth Book of Esdras, which, although not received by the Church as part of the sacred Scriptures, was frequently read by the early Christians on account of the admirable instructions it contains.

Introit

Accipite jucunditatem gloriæ vestræ, alleluia: gratias agentes Deo, alleluia: qui vos ad cœlestia regna vocavit. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Attendite, popule meus, legem meam: inclinate aurem vestram in verba oris mei. ℣. Gloria Patri. Accipite.
Receive your glory with joy, alleluia: giving thanks to God, alleluia: who hath called you to a heavenly kingdom. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Attend, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. ℣. Glory, &c. Receive, &c.

In the Collect, the Church teaches us that the action of the Holy Ghost in our souls is one of mercy and power combined. This divine action purifies our souls from all their stains, and defends them from the attacks of the crafty and jealous enemy, who is ever lying in wait for us. 

Collect

Adsit nobis, quæsumus Domine, virtus Spiritus sancti, quæ et corda nostra clementer expurget, et ab omnibus tueatur adversis. Per Dominum.
Assist us, O Lord, we beseech thee, with the power of thy holy Spirit, that our hearts may be purified, according to thy mercy, and we may be defended from all adversities. Through, &c.

Epistle

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.

Cap. viii.

In diebus illis: Quum au- dissent apostoli, qui erant Jerosolymis, quod recepisset Samaria verbum Dei, miserunt ad eos Petrum et Joannem, qui quum venissent, oraverunt pro ipsis ut acciperent Spiritum sanctum; nondum enim in quemquam illorum venerat, sed baptizati tantum erant in nomine Domini Jesu. Tunc imponebant manus super illos, et accipiebant Spiritum sanctum. 
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles

Ch. viii.

In those days: When the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. For he was not as yet come upon any of them; but they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

The inhabitants of Samaria had received the word of God through the preaching of Philip the deacon. They had received, at his hands, the Sacrament of Baptism, which made them Christians. This reminds us of the dialogue between Jesus and the woman at Jacob’s well, and of the three days that He spent in the city. Their faith is rewarded: Baptism has made them children of God and members of Christ their Redeemer. But they must also receive the Holy Ghost, in the Sacrament that gives perfection to the Christian character. The deacon Philip has not power to confer it upon them: Peter and John, who are invested with episcopal authority, visit them, and complete their happiness. This event makes us think of the grace bestowed on us by the Holy Ghost, when He strengthened our souls by the Sarcrament of Confirmation. Let us thank Him for this favour, which brought us into closer union with Himself, and gave us the courage needed for confessing our faith before heretics or tyrants.

Allelùia, alleluia.

℣. Spiritus sanctus docebit vos quæcumque dixero vobis.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. The Holy Ghost will teach you all things whatsoever I have said to you.

Here all kneel.

Alleluia.

℣. Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium: et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
Alleluia.

℣. Come, O holy Spirit! fill the hearts of thy faithful, and kindle within them the fire of thy love.

Then follows the Sequence, Veni, sancte Spiritus; page 305.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. x.

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus Pharisæis: Amen, amen dico vobis, qui non intrat per ostium in ovile ovium, sed ascendit aliunde, ille fur est, et latro. Qui autem intrat per ostium, pastor est ovium. Huic ostiarius aperit, et oves vocem ejus audiunt, et proprias oves vocat nominatim, et educit eas. Et quum proprias oves emiserit, ante eas vadit: et oves illum sequuntur, quia sciunt vocem ejus. Alienum autem non sequuntur, sed fugiunt ab eo: quia non noverunt vocem alienorum. Hoc proverbium dixit eis Jesus. Illi autem non cognoverunt quid loqueretur eis. Dixit ergo eis iterum Jesus: Amen, amen dico vobis, quia ego sum ostium ovium. Omnes quotquot venerunt, fures sunt et latrones, et non audierunt eos oves. Ego sum ostium. Per me si quis introierit, salvabitur: et ingredietur, et egredietur, et pascua inveniet. Fur non venit nisi ut furetur, et mactet et perdat. Ego veni ut vitam habeant, et abundantius habeant.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. x.

At that time: Jesus said to the Pharisees: Amen, amen, I say to you: he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door, is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own. sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he hath let out his own sheep, he goeth before them: and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers. This proverb Jesus spoke to them. But they understood not what he spoke to them. Jesus therefore said to them again: Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers: and the sheep heard them not. I am the door. By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved; and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.

The Church’s motive for putting this passage of the Gospel before the neophytes of Pentecost was, to put them on their guard against a danger which might probably occur in after years. At present, they are the favoured sheep of the good Shepherd Jesus, represented by men to whom He Himself has given the charge to feed His lambs. These men have received their mission from Peter; and he who is with Peter, is with Jesus. But it has not unfrequently happened that false shepherds have got into the fold; our Saviour calls them thieves and robbers. He tells us that He Himself is the door, through which they must pass who can claim the right to feed His sheep. Every shepherd, if he would avoid the imputation of being a robber, must have received his mission from Jesus; and this mission cannot be given save by him whom Jesus has appointed to be His vicar and representative until He Himself return.

The Holy Ghost has poured forth His divine gifts upon these new Christians; but the virtues that are in them cannot be meritorious of eternal life, unless they continue to be members of the true Church. If, instead of following the lawful pastor, they were to be so unhappy as to go after false pastors, all these virtues would become barren. They should, therefore, flee, as they would from a stranger, from any guide who has not received his mission from the Master, who alone can lead them to the pastures of life. During the past centuries, schismatical pastors have risen up from time to time: the faithful were bound to shun them. We, who are living now, should take seriously to heart the admonition here given us by our Redeemer. The Church He has founded, and which He guides by His holy Spirit, is apostolic. The mission of those pastors alone is lawful who are sent by apostolic authority; and whereas Peter lives in his successors, the successor of Peter is the source whence alone can come pastoral power. He who is with Peter, is with Christ.

In the Offertory, the Church excites our devotion to the holy Sacrifice at which we are assisting, by speaking to us, in the words of the psalmist, the praises of the sacred nourishment which is to be given to us; it is a manna from heaven, it is the very Bread of the angels.

Offertory

Portas cœli aperuit Dominus, et pluit illis manna, ut ederent: panem cœli dedit eis, panem angelorum manducavit homo, alleluia.
The Lord opened for them the gates of heaven, and rained down manna for them to eat: he gave them the bread of heaven; men eat the bread of angels, alleluia.

The Victim that is about to be offered, has the power to purify, by His immolation, those who are to feed upon His sacred Flesh. The Church prays in the Secret, that it may be thus with them that are assisting at this holy sacrifice.

Secret 

Purificet nos, quæsumus Domine, muneris præsentis oblatio: et dignos sacra participatione efficiat. Per Dominum.
May the oblation of this sacrifice purify us, O Lord, we beseech thee, and make us worthy to partake thereof. Through &c.

The Preface is given page 310.


In the Communion-anthem, the Church puts before us the words wherein Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Ghost would glorify Him. We, who have seen the workings of this holy Spirit throughout the whole earth, can testify to the most perfect fulfilment of the prophecy. 

Communion

Spiritus, qui a Patre procedit, alleluia: ille me clarificabit. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit who proceedeth from the Father, alleluia, shall glorify me. Alleluia, alleluia.

The faithful people have partaken of the sacred mysteries; and the Church comes immediately after, telling them that the Holy Ghost has actively co-operated in what has taken place. It is He that achieved the change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of our Redeemer; it is He also that prepared our souls for their union with the Son of God, by purifying them from their sins.

Postcommunion 

Mentes nostras, quæsumus Domine, Spiritus sanctus divinis reparet sacramentis, quia ipse est remissio omnium peccatorum. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that the Holy Ghost may renew our souls by these divine mysteries, since he is the remission of sin. Through &c.

 

VESPERS

 


They are the same as on Sunday page 311, with the exception of the Magnificat antiphon and the Prayer.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis; non quomodo mundus dat, ego do vobis. Alleluia.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth do I give unto you. Alleluia.

The Prayer is the Collect of the Mass, given above, page 368.


Again let us give ear to the Armenian Church celebrating the coming of the Holy Ghost, and that with all the dignity of sentiment and diction which characterizes its hymnarium. 

Hymn
(Canon tertiæ diei)

Hodie cœlestes lætati sunt de terrestrium renovatione: namque innovator existen- tium Spiritus descendit ad sacrum cœnaculum, quo renovati sunt chori apostolorum.

Hodie humea natura nostra exsultat reconciliatione cum Patre; quia qui abstulit spiritum ab hominibus caro effectis, iterum donat.

Hodie pueri Ecclesiæ celebrant in exsultatione adventum sancti Spiritus, per quem exornati sunt vestibus pellucidis et clarissimis, cantantes cum Seraphim trisagium.

Qui unitos turris, divisione linguarum sejunxit, hodie divisas linguas nationum univit rursum in sacro cœnaculo: omnes spiritus, benedicite Spiritum Dei.

Qui descendit, Spiritus Domini, et ductor fuit duodecim tribuum Israel in deserto, hodie duodecim apostolos perducit ad Evangelium; omnes spiritus, benedicite Spiritum Dei.

Qui implevit, Spiritus Domini, Beseleel archite- ctorem tabernaculi, hodie efficit homines tabernanaculum sanctæ Trinitati; omnes spiritus, benedicite Spiritum Dei.
To-day, the heavenly hosts rejoiced at the earth’s being renewed; for the Spirit, the renewer of all things, descended into the sacred cenacle, and the apostolic choir was renewed.

To-day, our lowly nature rejoices at her reconciliation with the Father; for he that took away his Spirit from men when they became carnal, now restores it to them.

To-day, the children of the Church celebrate in gladness the coming of the Holy Ghost, by whom they were clothed in garments of exquisite beauty and richness: and uniting their voices with the Seraphim, they sing the HolyHolyHoly.

To-day, he that scattered the people of the tower by the division of tongues, again united the divided tongues of nations, in the sacred cenacle. O all ye spirits, bless the Spirit of God!

To-day the Spirit of the Lord, who came down and led the twelve tribes of Israel through the desert, led the twelve apostles to the Gospel. O all ye spirits, bless the Spirit of God!

To-day, the Spirit of the Lord, who filled Beseleel with wisdom as architect of the tabernacle, made men become the tabernacle of the holy Trinity. O all ye spirits, bless the Spirit of God!

Sequence

Amor Patris et Filii,
Veri splendor auxilii,
Totius spes solatii.

O indeficiens piorum lux,
Et præmium justorum:
Sublevator perditorum.

Omnis fortitudinis,
Ac omnis sanctitudinis
Ac beatitudinis Donator,
Omnis rectitudinis amator.

Omnipotens, propitius;
Omnitenens, innoxius.
Justius, carius

Honestius, Sanctius, fortius, Subtilius:
Quo nihil est potentius,
Quo nihil est vel melius.

Illuminator cordium,
Per quem ad Patrem omnium
Venitur, et ad Filium.

Fons ingenii,
Dator gaudii:
Medicina vitii,
Spiritus consilii.

Humilis, docilis,
Et invariabilis;
Habilis, nobilis,
Et insuperabilis,
Promptus et amabilis.

Donum electum,
Dans intellectum,
Dans et affectum,
Diligens rectum.

Patris ac Nati Spiritus,
Vivificans Paraclitus:
Divinæ dextræ digitus.

Sublimitas, jucunditas,
Pietas et bonitas,
Benignitas et largitas:

Qui prout vult,
Quando vult,
Et ubi vult,
Quousque vult,
Et quantum vult,
Spirat et erudit,
Replet et erigit,
Ditat et instruit.

Spiritus scientiæ,
Ad consolandum hodie
Apostolis donatur:
Et eis plenarie
Fons verae sapientiae
Per hunc administratur.

Amen.
O Love of the Father and the Son!
thou art our true and brightest aid,
in whom alone we hope for solace.

O never-failing light of the good!
the reward of the just,
the resuscitator of sinners!

Giver of all strength,
and holiness,
and blessing!
Lover of all righteousness.

Almighty, and so bounteous!
All-governing,
and so merciful!

Infinitely just, and dear, and glorious, and holy,
and strong, and spiritual!
No, nothing is so mighty, nothing so good!

Thou enlightener of hearts!
by whom we come to the Father of all,
and to the Son.

Fount of knowledge;
giver of joy;
remedy for sin;
Spirit of counsel!

Humble, docile,
and unchangeable;
prudent, noble,
and invincible;
prompt and endearing!

Choicest of gifts!
‘tis thou that givest us understanding
and love,
and that lovest what is right.

Thou art the Spirit of the Father and Son;
the lifegiving Paraclete;
the Finger of God’s right hand!

He is grandeur and joy,
mercy and goodness,
benignity and munificence;

Who, as he wills,
and when he wills,
and where he wills,
and as long as he wills,
and as much as he wills,
inspires and teaches,
fills and exalts,
enriches and guides.

He, the Spirit of knowledge,
is given to the apostles,
on this day,
that he may console them.
By him is opened to them, in all its fullness,
the fount of true wisdom.

Amen.

[1] St. Matth. xxviii. 18.
[2] Cant. vi. 8.
[3] Eph. v. 27.
[4] St. Matth, ix. 15; xxv. 6. St. Mark, ii. 19. St. Luke, v. 34. St. John, iii. 29.
[5] Eph. v. 23, 30.
[6] St. Matth, xxviii. 20.
[7] St. John, xvi. 7.
[8] Acts, i. 2.
[9] Ibid. iii. & iv. 4
[10] Ps. xviii. 5.
[11] Tertullian, Apologet. xxxvii.
[12] St. Matth. x. 20.
[13] Apoc. xix.7, 8.
[14] II Thess. ii. 3.
[15] Apoc. xx. 3.
[16] Ibid. xiii. 7.
[17] Ibid. xxii. 17.
[18] Cant. viii. 5.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Detached from evil by the fear of the Lord, and ennobled with holy love by the gift of godliness, the soul feels the want of knowing how she is to avoid what she must fear, and how to find what she must love. The Holy Ghost comes to her assistance, and brings her what she needs, by infusing into her the gift of knowledge. By means of this precious gift, truth is made evident to her; she knows what God asks of her and what He condemns, she knows what to seek and what to shun. Without this holy knowledge, we are in danger of going astray, because of the frequent darkness which, more or less, clouds our understanding. This darkness arises, in the first place, from our own nature, which bears upon itself the hut too visible proofs of the fall. It is added to by the false maxims and judgments of the world, which so often warp even those whose upright minds seemed to make them safe. And lastly, the action of satan, who is the prince of darkness, has this for one of its chief aims: to obscure our mind, or to mislead it by false lights.

The light of our soul is faith, which was infused into us at our Baptism. By the gift of knowledge, the Holy Ghost empowers our faith to elicit rays of light strong enough to dispel all darkness. Doubts are then cleared up, error is exposed and put to flight, truth beams upon us in all its beauty. Everything is viewed in its true light, the light of faith. We see how false are the principles which sway the world, which ruin so many souls, and of which we ourselves were once, perhaps, victims.

The gift of knowledge reveals to us the end which God had in creation, and out of which creatures can never find either happiness or rest. It teaches us what use we are to make of creatures, for they were not given us to be a hindrance, but a help whereby to reach our God. The secret of life thus possessed, we walk on in safety, we halt not, and we are resolved to shun every path which would not lead us to our end.

The apostle had this gift in view, when, speaking to the converts of Ephesus, he said: ‘Ye were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord: walk then as children of the light.’[1] Hence comes that unhesitatingness, that confidence of the Christian life. There may be a want of experience now and then; so much so, indeed, that the little world around talks feelingly about the indiscretions and scandals which are almost sure to arise; but they forget that there is the gift of knowledge, of which the sacred Scripture thus speaks: ‘She conducted the just through the right ways, and gave him the knowledge of holy things,’ or, as some render it, ‘the science of the saints.’[2] We have daily proofs of this truth: a Christian, by means of supernatural light, is found to escape every danger; he has no experience of his own, but he has the experience of God.

We give thee thanks, O holy Paraclete! for this Thy gift of light, which Thou so lovingly maintainest within us! Oh! never permit us to seek any other. It alone is sufficient; without it, there is nought but darkness. Preserve us from those sad inconsistencies, of which so many are guilty, who follow Thy guidance to-day, and the maxims of the world to-morrow; wretched double-dealing, which displeases Thee, and does not please the world! Make us love that knowledge, which Thou gavest us in order to our salvation. The enemy of our souls is jealous of our having such a gift, and is ever studying to make us exchange it for his lying principles. O divine Spirit! suffer not his treachery to triumph. Be Thou ever within us, aiding us to distinguish truth from falsity, and right from wrong. May our eye be single and simple, as our Jesus bids it be; that so our body, that is, our actions, desires, and thoughts, may be lightsome; and preserve us from that evil eye, which makes the whole body to be darkness.[3]


[1] Eph. v. 8.
[2] Wisd. x. 10.
[3] St. Matth. vi. 22, 23.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
Come, O holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

We have seen with what fidelity the Holy Ghost has fulfilled, during all these past ages, the mission He received from our Emmanuel, of forming, protecting, and maintaining His bride the Church. This trust given by a God has been executed with all the power of a God, and it is the sublimest and most wonderful spectacle the world has witnessed during the eighteen hundred years of the new Covenant. This continuance of a social body, the same in all times and places; promulgating a precise Symbol of faith which each of its members is bound to accept; producing by its decisions the strictest unity of religious belief throughout the countless individuals who compose the society: this, and the wonderful propagation of Christianity, are the master facts of history. These two facts are not, as certain modern writers would have it, results of the ordinary laws of Providence; but miracles of the highest order, worked directly by the Holy Ghost, and intended to serve as the basis of our faith in the truth of the Christian religion. The Holy Ghost was not, in the exercise of His mission, to assume a visible form; but He has made His presence visible to the understanding of man, and thereby He has sufficiently proved His own personal action in the work of man’s salvation.

Let us now follow this divine action, not in its carrying out the merciful designs of the Son of God, who deigned to take to Himself a bride here below, but in the relations of this bride with mankind. Our Emmanuel willed that she should be the mother of men; and that all, whom He calls to the honour of becoming His own members, should acknowledge that it is she who gives them this glorious birth. The Holy Ghost, therefore, was to secure to this bride of Jesus what would make her evident and known to the world, leaving it, however, in the power of each individual to disown and reject her.

It was necessary that this Church should last for all ages, and that she should traverse the earth in such wise that her name and mission might be known to all nations; in a word, she was to be Catholic, that is, universal, taking in all times and all places. Accordingly, the Holy Ghost made her Catholic. He began by showing her, on the day of Pentecost, to the Jews who had flocked to Jerusalem from the various nations; and when these returned to their respective countries, they took the good tidings with them. He then sent the apostles and disciples into the whole world; and we learn from the writers of those early times, that a century had scarcely elapsed before there were Christians in every portion of the known earth. Since then, the visibility of this holy Church has gone on increasing gradually more and more. If the divine Spirit, in the designs of His justice, permitted her to lose her influence in a nation that had made itself unworthy of the grace, He transferred her to another where she would be obeyed. If, at times, there have been whole countries where she had no footing, it was either because she had previously offered herself to them and they had rejected her, or because the time marked by Providence for her reigning there had not yet come. The history of the Church’s propagation is one long proof of her perpetuity, and of her frequent migrations. Times and places, all are hers; if there be one wherein she is not acknowledged as supreme, she is at least represented by her members; and this prerogative, which has given her the name of Catholic, is one of the grandest of the workings of the Holy Ghost.

But His action does not stop here: the mission given Him by the Emmanuel in reference to His bride obliges Him to something beyond this; and here we enter into the whole mystery of the Holy Ghost in the Church. We have seen His outward influence, whereby He gives her perpetuity and increase; now we must attentively consider the inward direction she receives from Him, which gives her unity, infallibility, and holiness—prerogatives which, together with Catholicity, designate the true bride of Christ.

The union of the Holy Ghost with the Humanity of Jesus is one of the fundamental truths of the mystery of the Incarnation. Our divine mediator is called Christ because of the anointing which He received;[1] and His anointing results from the union of His Humanity with the Holy Ghost.[2] This union is indissoluble; eternally will the Word be united to His Humanity; eternally, also, will the holy Spirit give to this Humanity the anointing which makes Christ. Hence it follows, that the Church, being the body of Christ, shares in the union existing between its divine Head and the Holy Ghost. The Christian, too, receives in Baptism an anointing by the Holy Ghost, who, from that time forward, dwells in him as the pledge of his eternal inheritance:[3] but, whilst the Christian may by sin forfeit this union, which is the principle of his supernatural life, the Church herself never can lose it. The Holy Ghost is united to the Church for ever; it is by Him she exists, acts, and triumphs over all those difficulties, to which by the divine permission she is exposed while militant on earth.

St. Augustine thus admirably expresses this doctrine in one of his sermons for the feast of Pentecost: ‘The spirit, by which every man lives, is called the soul. Now, observe what it is that our soul does in the body. It is the soul that gives life to all the members; it sees by the eye, it hears by the ear, it smells by the nose, it speaks by the tongue, it works by the hands, it walks by the feet. It is present to each member, giving life to them all, and to each one its office. It is not the eye that hears, nor the ear and tongue that see, nor the ear and eye that speak; and yet they all live; their functions are varied, their life is one and the same. So it is in the Church of God. In some saints she works miracles; in other saints she teaches the truth; in others she practises virginity; in others she maintains conjugal chastity. She does one thing in one class, and another in another: each individual has his distinct work to do; but there is one and the same life in them all. Now, what the soul is to the body of man, that the Holy Ghost is to the body of Christ, which is the Church: the Holy Ghost does in the whole Church what the soul does in all the members of one body.’[4]

Here we have a clear exposition, by means of which we can fully understand the life and workings of the Church. The Church is the body of Christ, and the Holy Ghost is the principle which gives her life. He is her soul—not only in that limited sense in which we have already spoken of the soul of the Church, that is, of her inward existence, and which, after all, is the result of the holy Spirit’s action within her—but He is also her soul, in that her whole interior and exterior life, and all her workings, proceed from Him. The Church is undying, because the love, which has led the Holy Ghost to dwell within her, will last for ever: and here we have the reason of that perpetuity of the Church, which is the most wonderful spectacle witnessed by the world.

Let us now pass on, and consider that other marvel, which consists in the preservation of unity in the Church. It is said of her in the Canticle: 1 One is my dove; my perfect one is One.’[5] Jesus would have but one, and not many, to be His Church, His bride: the Holy Ghost will, therefore, see to the accomplishment of His wish. Let us respectfully follow Him in His workings here also. And firstly, is it possible, viewing the thing humanly, that a society should exist for eighteen hundred years, and never change? Nay, could it have continued all that time, even allowing it to have changed as often as you will? And during these long ages, this society has necessarily had to encounter, and from its own members, the tempests of human passions, which are ever showing themselves, and which not un frequently play havoc with the grandest institutions. It has always been composed of nations differing from each other in language, character, and customs; either so far apart as not to know each other, or, when neighbours, estranged one from the other by national jealousies and antipathies. And yet, notwithstanding all this—notwithstanding, too, the political revolutions which have made up the history of the world—the Catholic Church has maintained her changeless unity: one faith, one visible head, one worship (at least in the essentials), one mode of deciding every question, namely, by tradition and authority. Sects have risen up in every age, each sect giving itself out as the true Church: they lasted for a while, short or long according to circumstances, and then were forgotten. Where are now the Arians with their strong political party? Where are the Nestorians, and Eutychians, and Monothelites, with their interminable cavillings? Could anything be imagined more powerless and effete than the Greek schism, slave either to Sultan or Czar? What is there left of Jausenism, which wore itself away in striving to keep in the Church in spite of the Church? As to Protestantism, the produce of the principle of negation, was it not broken up into sections from its very beginning, so as never to be able to form one society? And is it not now reduced to such straits, that it can with difficulty retain dogmas, which, at first, it looked upon as fundamental, such as the inspiration of the Scriptures, or the Divinity of Christ?

Whilst all else is change and ruin, our mother the holy Catholic Church, the one bride of the Emmanuel, stands forth grand and beautiful in her unity. But how are we to account for it? Is it, that Catholics are of one nature, and sectarians of another? Orthodox or heterodox, are we not all members of the same human race, subject to the same passions and errors? Whence do the children of the Catholic Church derive that stability, which is not affected by time, nor influenced by the variety of national character, nor shaken by those revolutions that have changed dynasties and countries? Only one reasonable explanation can be given: there is a divine element in all this. The Holy Ghost, who is the soul of the Church, acts upon all the members; and as He Himself is One, He produces unity in the body He animates. He cannot contradict Himself: nothing, therefore, subsists by Him, which is not in union with Him.

To-morrow, we will speak of what the Holy Ghost does for maintaining faith, one and unvarying, in the whole body of the Church; let us, to-day, limit our considerations to this single point, namely, that the holy Spirit is the source of external union by voluntary submissson to one centre of unity. Jesus had said: ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church:’[6] now, Peter was to die; the promise, therefore, could not refer to his person alone, but to the whole line of his successors, even to the end of the world. How stupendous is the action of the Holy Ghost, who thus produces a dynasty of spiritual princes, which has reached its two hundred and fiftieth Pontiff, and is to continue to the last day! No violence is offered to man’s free will; the holy Spirit permits him to attempt what opposition he lists; but the work of God must go forward. A Decius may succeed in causing a four years’ vacancy in the See of Rome; antipopes may arise, supported by popular favour, or upheld by the policy of emperors; a long schism may render it difficult to know the real Pontiff among the several who claim it: the holy Spirit will allow the trial to have its course, and, while it lasts, will keep up the faith of His children; the day will come when He will declare the lawful Pastor of the flock, and the whole Church will enthusiastically acknowledge him as such.

In order to understand the whole marvel of this supernatural influence, it is not enough to know the extrinsic results as told us by history; we must study it in its own divine reality. The unity of the Church is not like that which a conqueror forces upon a people that has become tributary to him. The members of the Church are united in oneness of faith and submission, because they love the yoke she imposes on their freedom and their reason. But who is it, that thus brings human pride to obey? Who is it, that makes joy and contentment be felt in a life-long practice of subordination? Who is it that brings man to put his security and happiness in having no individual views of his own, and in conforming his judgment to one supreme teaching, even in matters where the world chafes at control? It is the Holy Ghost who works this manifold and permanent miracle, for He it is who gives soul and harmony to the vast aggregate of the Church, and sweetly infuses into all these millions a union of heart and mind which forms for our Lord Jesus Christ His one dear bride.

During the days of His mortal life, Jesus prayed His eternal Father to bless us with unity: ‘May they be one, as we also are.’[7] He prepares us for it, when He calls us to become His members; but, in order to achieve this union, He sends His Spirit into the world, that Spirit, who is the eternal link between the Father and the Son, and who deigns to accept a temporal mission among men, in order to create on the earth a union formed after the type of the union which is in God Himself.

We give Thee thanks, O blessed Spirit! who, by dwelling thus within the Church of Christ, inspirest us to love and practise unity, and suffer every evil rather than break it. Strengthen it within us, and never permit us to deviate from it by even the slightest want of submission. Thou art the soul of the Church; oh! give us to be members ever docile to Thy inspirations, for we could not belong to Jesus who sent Thee, unless we belong to the Church, His bride and our mother, whom He redeemed with His Blood, and gave to Thee to form and guide.

Next Saturday, the ordination of priests and sacred ministers is to take place throughout the whole Church. The Sacrament of Orders is one of the principal workings of the Holy Ghost, who comes into the souls of those who are presented for ordination, and impresses upon them, by the bishop’s hands, the character of priesthood or deaconship. The Church prescribes a three days’ fast and abstinence; with the intention of obtaining from God’s mercy, that the grace thus given may fructify in those who receive it, and bring a blessing upon the faithful. This is the first of the three days.

At Rome, the station is in the basilica of Saint Mary Major. It was but right that on one of the days of this great octave the faithful should meet together under the protection of the Mother of God, whose participation in the mystery of Pentecost, was a glory and a blessing to the infant Church.

We will close this day with one of the finest of Adam of Saint Victor’s sequences on the mystery of the Holy Ghost. 

 

Sequence

Lux jocunda, lux insignis,
Qua de throno missus ignis
In Christi discipulos
Corda replet, linguas ditat,
Ad concordes nos invitat
Linguæ cordis modulos.

Christus misit quod promisit
Pignus sponsae, quam revisit
Die quinquagesima;
Post dulcorem melleum
Petra fudit oleum,
Petra jam firmissima.

In tabellis saxeis,
Non in linguis igneis,
Lex de monte populo;
Paucis cordis novitas
Et linguarum unitas,
Datur in cœnaculo.

O quam felix, quam festiva
Dies, in qua primitiva
Fundatur Ecclesia!
Vivæ sunt primitiæ
Nascentis Ecclesiae,
Tria primum millia.

Panes legis primitivi,
Sub una sunt adoptivi
Fide duo populi:
Se duobus interjecit
Sicque duos unum fecit
Lapis, caput anguli.

Utres novi, non vetusti,
Sunt capaces novi musti:
Vasa parat vidua:
Liquorem dat Eliseus:
Nobis sacrum rorem
Deus, Si corda sint congrua.

Non hoc musto vel liquore,
Non hoc sumus digni rore,
Si discordes moribus.
In obscuris vel divisis,
Non potest haec
Paradisis Habitare cordibus.

Consolator alme veni:
Linguas rege, corda leni:
Nihil fellis aut veneni
Sub tua praesentia.
Nil jocundum, nil amoenum,
Nil salubre, nil serenum,
Nihil dulce, nihil plenum,
Sine tua gratia.

Tu lumen es et unguentum,
Tu cœleste condimentum,
Aquæ ditans elementum
Virtute mysterii.
Nova facti creatura,
Te laudamus mente pura,
Gratiæ nunc, sed natura
Prius irae filii.

Tu qui dator es et donum,
Nostri cordis omne bonum,
Cor ad laudem redde pronum,
Nostræ linguæ formans sonum,
In tua præconia.

Tu nos purga a peccatis,
Auctor ipse puritatis,
Et in Christo renovatis
Da perfectae novitatis
Plena nobis gaudia!

Amen.
The glad and glorious light
—wherewith the heaven-sent Fire
filled the hearts of Jesus’ disciples
and gave them to speak in divers tongues
—invites us now to sing our hymns
with hearts in concord with the voice.

On the fiftieth day,
Christ revisited his bride,
by sending her the pledge he had promised.
After tasting the honeyed sweetness,
Peter, now the firmest of rocks,
pours forth the unction of his preaching.

The Law, of old,
was given on the mount to the people,
but it was written on tablets of stone,
and not on fiery tongues: but in the cenacle,
there was given to a chosen few
newness of heart and knowledge of all tongues.

O happy, O festive day,
whereon was founded
the primitive Church!
Three thousand souls!
Oh! how vigorous the first fruits
of the new born Church!

The two loaves commanded
to be offered in the ancient Law
prefigured the two adopted
people now made one; the stone,
the head of the corner,
set himself between the two, and made both one.

New wine may not be put
into old bottles, but into new:
the widow prepares her vessels,
and Eliseus fills them with oil:
so, too, our God gives us his heavenly dew,
if our hearts be ready.

If our lives be disorderly,
we are not fit to receive the wine,
or the oil,
or the dew.
The Paraclete can never dwell
in dark or divided hearts.

O dear Comforter, come!
govern our tongues, soften our hearts:
where thou art, must be no gall or poison.
Nothing is joyous, nothing pleasant,
nothing wholesome,
nothing peaceful,
nothing sweet, nothing full,
save by thy grace.

Thou art light and unction;
thou the heavenly Saviour
that enrichest the element of water
with mysterious power.
We praise thee with hearts made pure;
we that have been made a new creature;
we that once, by nature, were children of wrath,
but now children of grace.

O thou, the Giver and the Gift.
O thou, the only good of our hearts!
make our hearts eager to praise thee,
and teach our tongues
to sound forth thy glory.

Do thou, O Author of purity,
purify us from sin!
Renew us in Christ;
and then, give us the full joy
of perfect newness!

Amen.

[1] Ps. xliv. 8.
[2] Acts, x. 38.
[3] Eph. i. 14.
[4] Serm. cclxvii. In die Pentecostes.
[5] Cant. vi. 8.
[6] St. Matth. xvi. 18.
[7] St. John, xvii. 11.

 

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