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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.

With the Greeks, this Sunday—their eleventh of Saint Matthewis called the Parable of the King, who calls his servants to account.[1] In the western Church, it has gone under the name of Sunday of the deaf and dumb, ever since the Gospel of the pharisee and the publican has been assigned to the tenth. To-day's Mass, as we now have it, still gives evidence as to what was its ancient arrangement. Our commentary on to-day's liturgy will show us this very plainly.

In the years when Easter falls nearest to March 21 the Books of Kings are continued as lessons of Matins up to, but never beyond, this Sunday. The sickness of the good king Ezechias, and the miraculous cure he obtained by his prayers and tears, are then the subject of the first lessons of the night-Office.[2]

 

MASS

 

The learned and pious Abbot Rupert, writing on this Sunday's Mass previous to the change made in the order of the Gospel lessons, thus explains the Church's reason for selecting the following Introit : ‘The publican in the Gospel accuses himself, saying : “I am not worthy to lift up mine eyes to heaven.” St. Paul, in the Epistle, does in like manner, and says : I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God." As, then, this humility, which is set before us that we may practise it, is the guardian of the union between the servants of God, because it keeps them from being puffed up one against the other,[3] it is most appropriate that we should first sing the Introit, which tells us that God maketh men, in His house, abide together as though they were all but one soul.’[4]

Introit

Deus in loco sancto suo : Deus, qui inhabitare facit unanimes in domo : ipse dabit virtutem et fortitudinem plebi suæ.

Ps. Exsurgat Deus, et dissipentur inimici ejus; et fugiant, qui oderunt eum, a facie ejus. Gloria Patri. Deus.
God in his sanctuary : God, who maketh brethren abide together in the house : he will give might and strength to his people.

Ps. Let God arise, and his enemies shall be dispersed; and let those that hate him flee before his face. Glory, etc. God.

The Collect which follows is most touching, when we see it in the light of the Gospel formerly fixed for this Sunday. Though that connexion has now been broken, yet the appropriateness is still very striking; for the Epistle, as Abbot Rupert was just telling us, continues to urge us to humility by proposing to us the example of St. Paul; the humility of the repentant publican has been anticipated. Our mother the Church is all emotion at beholding this publican, this object of contempt to the Jew, striking his breast, and scarce able to put his sorrow into words : she, with motherly tenderness, comes and takes up his faltering prayer, and gives it her own eloquence. Nothing could exceed the delicate way in which she. asks of the Omnipotent that, in His infinite mercy, He would restore peace to troubled consciences, by pardoning them their sins, and granting them what they, poor sinners, are too afraid to presume to ask for.

Collect

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui abundantia pietatis tuæ et merita supplioum excedis et vota : effunde super nos misericordiam tuam; ut dimittas quæ conscientia metuit, et adjicias quod oratio non præsumit. Per Dominum.
O almighty and eternal God, who, by the abundance of thy goodness, exceedest both the merits and the requests of thy suppliants : pour forth thy mercy upon us : that thou mayst pardon what our conscience fears, and mayst grant what our prayer presumes not to ask Through, etc.

The other Collects, as on page 120.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.

1 Cap. xv.

Fratres, Notum vobis facio Evangelium, quod prædicavi vobis, quod et accepistis, in quo et statis, per quod et salvamini : qua ratione prædicaverim vobis, si tenetis, nisi frustra credidistis. Tradidi enim vobis, in primis quod et accepi : quoniam Christus mortuus est pro peccatis nostris secundum Scripturas : et quia sepultus est, et quia resurrexit tertia die secundum Scripturas : et quia visus est Cephæ, et post hoc undecim. Deinde visus est plus quam quingentis fratribus simul: ex quibus multi manent usque adhuc, quidam autem dormierunt. Deinde visus est Jacobo, deinde apostolis omnibus : novissime autem omnium tamquam abortivo visus est et mihi. Ego enim sum minimus apostolorum, qui non sum dignus vocari apostolus, quoniam persecutus sum Ecclesiam Dei. Gratia autem Dei sum id quod sum, et gratia ejus in me vacua non fuit.
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

1 Ch. xv.

Brethren : I make known unto you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand, by which also you are saved : if you hold fast after what manner I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received : how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures : and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures : and that he was seen by Cephas; and after that by the eleven. Then he was seen by more than five hundred brethren at once; of whom many remain until this present, and some are fallen asleep. After that he was seen by James, then by all the apostles; and last of all, he was seen also by me, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am; and his grace in me hath not been void.

Last Sunday the publican reminded us of the humility which should exist in the sinner; to-day the Doctor of the Gentiles shows us, by his own example, that this virtue is quite as suitable to a man who, though now justified, never forgets how, in the past, he offended his Maker. The sins of the now just man, even though long since forgiven, are always before him.[5] Having a tendency to be his own accuser,[6] he finds, in the fact that God has pardoned and forgotten his sins,[7]nothing but an additional motive for his own unceasing remembrance of them. Heavenly favours may sometimes be granted him as a recompense for the sincerity of his repentance; the manifestation of the secrets of eternal Wisdom may be accorded him;[8] he may, perhaps, be permitted to enter into the powers of the Lord, and obtain a keen insight into the rights of infinite justice;[9] yet all these favours do but help him to see more clearly the enormity of those voluntary sins of his, which added their own malice to the original stains with which he was born.[10] As he progresses in sanctity, humility becomes to him something more than a satisfaction paid to justice and truth, by a mind enlightened from on high : in proportion as he lives with God in closer and closer union, and, by contemplation, goes up higher[11] in light and love, divine charity, which is ever pressing him[12] on every side, turns the very remembrance of his past sins into what will make that charity more ardent. That burning charity fathoms the deep abyss whence grace has drawn him; and then she darts upwards from those depths of hell, more vehement, more imperious, more active, than ever. Gratitude for the priceless riches he now possesses by the munificence of his divine Benefactor does not satisfy that sinner of former days; the avowal of his past miseries must and does escape from his enraptured soul as a hymn to his God.

Like Augustine, who was but imitating Paul,[13] 'he glorifies the just and the good God by publishing both the good he has received and the evil of his own acts; and this in order to win over to the one sole Object of his praise and his love the minds and hearts of all who hear him.’[14] This illustrious convert of Monica and Ambrose headed the magnificent book of his 'Confessions' with these words of Psalm xlvii., which so admirably express the object he proposed to himself by thus telling all about himself : 'Great art Thou, O Lord, and exceedingly to be praised. Great is Thy power, and of Thy wisdom there is no number,'[15] 'And yet,’ says the saint, 'man wishes to praise Thee— man, a mere speck of Thy creation, who carries about him his own mortality, and the testimony of his sin, and the testimony that thou resistest the proud;[16] and yet this man wishes to praise Thee— man, a mere speck of Thy creation. Thou excitest him to take delight in praising Thee. Receive, then, the homage which is offered Thee by the tongue that was formed for the purpose of praising Thee. Let my flesh and all my bones, that have been healed by Thee, cry out : "Who, O Lord, is like unto Thee?”[17] Let my soul praise Thee, that she may love Thee; and, that she may praise Thee, let her confess Thy mercies. I wish now to go over in my mind all my long wanderings, and I will confess the things which fill me with shame, and will make of them a sacrifice of joy.[18] Not that I love my sins, but it is that I may love Thee, O my God, that I recall them to mind; it is out of love of Thy love that I now recur to those bitter things, that I may taste Thy delights, O Sweetness that never deceives! Blissful Sweetness, that has no dangers! O Thou that collectest all my powers, and recallest them from the painful scattering into which they had been thrown by my separation from Thee, O Thou one centre of all being! What am I to myself, when I have not Thee, but a guide that leads me to the abyss? Or what am I, when all is well with me, but a little one that is sucking in the milk which Thou providest, or enjoying Thee, the Food that knows not corruption? And what manner of man is any man, for he is but a man? Let them that are strong and mighty—them that have not as yet had the happiness of being laid low and cast downlet them laugh at me! I am a weak man, and poor, and I give Thee praise. For that I need neither voice nor words; the cries of the thought are what Thou hearest. For when I am wicked, my being displeased with myself is a real praise to Thee; but when I am pious, my not attributing it to myself is again a real praise to Thee; for if Thou, O Lord, bless the just man,[19] it is because Thou hast first justified[20] him when he was ungodly.'[21]

'By the grace of God, I am what I am.' The just man should make this language of the apostle be his own, and when this fundamental truth is thoroughly impressed upon his soul, then may he fearlessly add with him : 'His grace in me hath not been void.' For humility is based upon truth, as we said last Sunday; and, as it would be contrary to truth were one to refer to man what man has from God, so likewise would it be an injury to truth not to recognize, as the saints did, the works of grace where Goa has wrought them. In the former case justice, in the latter gratitude, would be offended, as well as truth. Now, humility, whose direct aim is to avoid these unjust infringements on the glory due to Goa, by repressing the risings of pride, is also the earnest prompter of gratitude—so truly so, indeed, that a proud man can never be a grateful one, or, to say it in other words, the greatest enemy to the generous virtue of gratitude is pride.

It is quite true that it is good, and prudent, and, generally speaking, necessary, for souls to dwell on the consideration of their faults rather than upon the favours they have received from God, and this more especially in the first beginning of their conversion; still, it is never lawful for any man to forget that, besides being grieved for his past sins and being vigilant as to present temptations, he has also the bounden duty of ceaselessly thanking the divine Benefactor, who gave him both the grace of a change of life and the subsequent progress in virtue.[22] When a Christian cannot see a grace or any good in himself without having immediately to struggle against self-complacency and a tendency to prefer himself to others, he must not be troubled, of course, for the sin of pride is not in the evil suggestions which may arise within him, but in the consent which is yielded to such suggestions; and yet this weakness which accompanies the thought of God's graces is not without its dangers in the spiritual life; and the Christian who is resolved on making any advance in perfection must gently endeavour to get altogether rid of such weakness. Aided by grace, he will gradually find the eye of his soul growing stronger by the infirmity of nature being cured, and by the removal of the involuntary remnants of sin, which, as so many vicious humours, falsify the beautiful light of God's gifts, or even sometimes distort it altogether by an unhappy refraction. 'If thine eye be single,' says our Lord, 'thy whole body will be lightsome, having no part of darkness; the whole shall be lightsome';[23] the light shall enlighten thee completely and surely, because it will come to thee without obstacle and without deviation.

It is holy simplicity, daughter and inseparable companion of humility, that will show us how, when a soul is what she should be, these two things coexist, and mutually tell on each other, viz., the close, deliberate consideration of the favours she has received from heaven, and the clear consciousness of her own miseries. This admirable simplicity will lead us to the school of the Scriptures and of the saints, there to teach us that the soul's being praised in the Lord,[24] and our glorying in the Lord,[25] is really a giving praise and glory to God Himself. When our Lady declared, in her canticle, that all generations would call her blessed, the divine enthusiasm which was inspiring her was quite as fully the ecstasy of her humility as of her love.[26] The lives of God's best servants are, at every turn, showing us these sublime transports, wherein they make the Magnificat of their Queen become their own hymn of praise to God, magnifying Him for all the great things which He, the mighty One, has vouchsafed to do through their instramentality.[27] When St. Paul, after having expressed the low estimation he had of himself compared with the other apostles, adds that grace had not been a failure in him, and that he had even laboured more abundantly than all of them,[28] we are not to suppose that he has changed his tone, or that the holy Spirit, who guides him, now wishes to recall his previous words. No; it is one and the same conviction, one and the same desire, which inspires these words, apparently so different and so contrary; the conviction and the desire that God must not, and shall not, be disappointed in His gifts, either by the self-appropriation of pride, or by the silence of ingratitude.

We have purposely limited our reflexions to the truths suggested by the concluding lines of our Epistle, because they complete what we had to say on humility, that indispensable virtue, on which depends, not only all progress, but even all security, in the Christian life. What St. Paul here says regarding the Resurrection of our Lord, which is the basis of the apostolic preaching and of the faith of mankind,[29] is a subject of quite equal importance; but this grand doctrine has been treated of during the Easter octave, with all the fullness it deserved; and even were we not compelled from want of space, we could not do better than refer our readers to the paschal volume.[30]

The Gradual, according to some of our most esteemed liturgists, expresses the thanksgiving of the humble, who are healed by God, according to the hope they had put in Him.[31]

Gradual

In Deo speravit cor meum, et adjutus sum : et refloruit caro mea : et ex voluntate mea confitebor illi. V. Ad te, Domine, clamavi : Deus meus, nesileas: ne discedas a me. Alleluia, alleluia.

V. Exsultate Deo, adiutori nostro : jubilate Deo Jacob, sumite psalmum jucundum cum cithara. Alleluia.
In God hath my heart confided, and I have been helped. And my flesh hath flourished again : and with my will I will give praise to him. V. To thee, O Lord, have I cried out : be not silent, O my God : nor depart from me. Alleluia, alleluia.

V. Exult in God, our helper : joyfully sing to the God of Jaco: sing a hymn of joy upon the harp. Alleluia.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum.

Cap. vii.

In illo tempore : Exiens Jesus de finibus Tyri, venit per Sidonem ad mare Galilææ inter medios fines Decapoleos. Et adducunt ei surdum et mutum, et deprecabantur eum, ut imponat illi manum. Et apprehendens eum de turba seorsum, misit digitos suos in auriculas ejus : et exspuens, tetigit linguam ejus : et suspiciens in cœlum, ingemuit, et ait illi : Ephpheta, quod est, adaperire. Et statim apertæ sunt aures ejus, et solutum est vinculum linguae ejus, et loquebatur recte. Et præcepit illis, ne cui dicerent. Quanto autem eis præcipiebat, tanto magis plus prædicabant : et eo amplius admirabantur, dicentes : Bene omnia fecit : et surdos fecit audire, et mutos loqui.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Mark.

Ch. vii.

At that time : Jesus going out of the coasts of Tyre, came by Sidon to the sea of Galilee through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring to him one deaf and dumb : and they besought him that he would lay his hand upon him. And taking him from the multitude apart, he put his fingers into his ears, and spitting, he touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he groaned and said to him : Ephpheta, which is, Be thou opened. And immediately his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke right. And he charged them that theyshould tell no man. But the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal did they publish it. And so much the more did they wonder, saying : He hath done all things well; he hath made both the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak.

Jesus is no longer in Judea; the names of the places mentioned in the beginning of to-day’s Gospel tell us that the Gentile world has become the scene of the divine operations for man's salvation. What manner of man, then, is this who is led to the Saviour, and the sight of whose miseries makes the Incarnate Word heave a sigh? And what is the meaning of the extraordinary circumstances which produce the cure? A single word of Jesus could have done it all, and His power would have shone forth all the more brightly. But the miracle which is here related contains a great mystery; and the Man-God, who aims mainly at giving us a lesson by this His mercy, makes the exercise of His power subordinate to the teaching which He desires to convey to us.

The holy fathers tell us that this man represents the entire human race,[32] exclusive of the Jewish people. Abandoned for four thousand years in the sides, that is, in the countries of the north, where the prince of this world was ruling as absolute master,[33]it has been experiencing the terrible effects of the seeming forgetfulness on the part of its Creator and Father, which was the consequence of original sin. Satan, whose perfidious craftiness caused man to be driven out of Paradise, has made him his own prey, and nothing could exceed the artifice he has employed for keeping him in his grasp. Wisely oppressing[34] his slave, he adopted the plan of making him deaf and dumb, for this would hold him faster than chains of adamant could ever do. Dumb, he could not ask God to deliver him; deaf, he could not hear the divine voice; and thus the two ways for obtaining his liberty were shut against him. The adversary of God and man, satan, may boast of his tyranny. The grandest of all God’s creations looks like a failure; the human race, in all its branches, and in all nations, seems ruined; for even that people which God had chosen for His own, and which was to be faithful to Him when every other had gone astray,[35] has made no other use of its privileges than to deny its Lord and its King, more cruelly than all the rest of mankind.

What, then? Is the bride, whom the Son of God came to seek upon the earth—is the society of saints, to be limited to those few who declared themselves His disciples during the years of His mortal life? Not so; the zeal of the newly formed Church, and the ineffable goodness of God, produced a far grander result. Driven from Jerusalem, as her divine Spouse had been, the Church met the poor captive of satan beyond the boundaries of Judea; she would fain bring him into the kingdom of God: and, through the apostles and their disciples, she brings him to Jesus, beseeching Him to lay His divine hand upon him. No human power could effect his cure. Deafened by the noise of his passions, it is only in a confused way that he can hear even the voice of his own conscience; and, as to the sounds of tradition, or the speakings of the prophets, they are to him but as an echo, very distant and faint. Worst of all, as his hearing, that most precious of our senses, is gone, so, likewise, is gone the power of making good his losses; for, as the apostle teaches, the one thing that could save him is faith, and faith cometh by hearing.[36]

Our Jesus groans when they have brought this poor creature before Him. He is grieved at seeing the cruelties the enemy has inflicted on this His own privileged being, this beautiful work, of which He Himself served as model and type to the blessed Trinity, at the beginning of the world.[37] Raising up to heaven those eyes of His sacred Humanity —those eyes whose language has such resistless power—He sees the eternal Father acquiescing in the intentions of His own merciful compassion.[38] Then, resuming the exercise of that creative omnipotence which, in the beginning, had made all things to be very good,[39] and all His works to be perfect,[40] He, as God and as the Word,[41] utters the mighty word of restoration: Ephpheta! Be thou opened!Nothingness, or rather (in this instance) ruin, which is worse than nothingness, obeys the well-known voice; the ears of the poor sufferer are opened, joyfully opened to the teachings, which his delighted mother the Church pours into them. She is all the gladder, because it is her prayers that have won this deliverance; and he, to whom faith comes now through hearing, finding that his tongue can speak, speaks, or rather sings, a canticle of praise to his God.

And yet, as we were observing, our merciful Lord, by this cure, aims not so much at showing the power of His divine word as at giving a glorious teaching to His followers; He wishes to reveal to them, under certain visible symbols, the invisible realities produced by His grace in the secret of the sacraments. It is for the sake of such teaching that the Gospel has mentioned such an apparently trifling detail as this—that when the deaf and dumb man was brought before Him, He took him apartapart, so to say, from the multitude of the noisy passions and the vain thoughts[42] which had made him deaf to heavenly truths. After all, would there be much good in curing him if the occasion of his malady were not removed, and he were to relapse perhaps that same day? So, then, having by this separation taken precautions for the future, Jesus inserts into the man’s ears His own divine fingers which bring the Holy Ghost,[43] and make to penetrate right to the ears of his heart the restorative power of this Spirit of love. And finally, more mysteriously, because the truth which was to be expressed is more profound, He touches with the saliva of His sacred mouth that tongue which had become incapable of giving glory and praise; and Wisdom (for it is she that is here mystically signified)—Wisdom, ‘that cometh forth from the mouth of the Most High,’[44] and flows for us from the Saviour’s fountains[45]as a life-giving drink[46]— openeth the mouth of the dumb man, just as she maketh eloquent the tongues of speechless infants.[47]

Therefore it is that the Church—in order to show us that the event recorded in to-day’s Gospel is figurative, and regards not merely one individual man, but all of us—has prescribed that the circumstances which accompanied the cure of this deaf and dumb sufferer shall be expressed in the ceremonies of holy Baptism. The priest, before pouring the water of the sacred font on the person who is presented for Baptism, puts on the catechumen’s tongue the salt of wisdom, and touches his ears, saying : Ephpheta! that is, Be opened![48]

There is an instruction of another kind included in our Gospel, and worthy of our notice, as closely bearing on what we have been saying regarding humility. Our Lord imposed silence on those who had been witnesses of the miraculous cure, although He knew that their praiseworthy enthusiasm could never allow them to obey Him. By this injunction, He wished to give a lesson to His followers, that if, at times, it is impossible to keep men from being in admiration at the works they achieve—if, sometimes, the holy Spirit, in opposition to their wishes, forces them to undergo public applause for the greater glory of the God whose instruments they are—yet must they always do all in their power to avoid being noticed; they must prefer to be despised,[49] or, at least, not talked of; they must love to be hidden in the secret of the face of God;[50] and, after the most brilliant, just as truly as they would after the most menial, duties, they must say from the heartiest conviction: 'We are unprofitable servants, we have but done what we ought to do.’[51]

It is again the hymn of the humble, whether delivered, or healed, or glorified, by God, which is sung in the Offertory.

Offertory

Exaltabo te, Domine, quoniam suscepisti me : neo delectasti inimicos meos super me : Domine, clamavi ad te, et sanasti me.
I will extol thee, O Lord, because thou hast upholden me, and hast not gratified the desire of mine enemies against me. Lord, I cried out to thee, and thou healedst me.

The assembly of God’s servants beseech Him, in the following Secret, graciously to accept their gifts; and, in this holy sacrifice, to turn them into the homage of their delighted service, and the support of their weakness.

Secret

Respice, Domine, quæsumus, nostram propitius servitutem : ut quod offerimus, sit tibi munus acceptum, et sit nostræ fragilitatis subsidium. Per Dominum.
Look down, O Lord, we beseech thee, on our homage: that the gifts we offer thee may be acceptable to thee, and a help to our weakness. Through, etc.

The other Secrets, as on page 130.


No more appropriate anthem than the following could have been selected as the Communion for the season which finds men busy in harvesting the fruits of the earth. We should make it our first thought to give to God, through His Church and the poor, the first fruits of these blessings which He has bestowed upon us. But, in order becomingly to honour the Lord in this, we must take care not to boast, as the pharisee did, of fulfilling a duty so imperative, and yet so very profitable to ourselves who obey it.

Communion

Honora Dominum de tua substantia, et de primitiis frugum tuarum : et implebuntur horrea tua saturitate, et vino torcularia redundabunt.
Honour the Lord out of thy substance, and with the first fruits of thy crops; and thy barns shall be filled abundantly, and thy wine presses shall overflow.

The heavenly remedy of these sacred mysteries acts upon our body and soul: it is for the salvation of both, and, therefore, we should love these mysteries as our best glory on earth. In the Postcommunion, the Church prays that her children may be blessed with the whole fullness of these blessings.

Postcommunion

Sentiamus, quæsumus Domine, tui perceptione sacramenti, subsidium mentis et corporis : ut in utroque salvati, cœlestis remedii plenitudine gloriemur. Per Dominum.
May we experience, by the participation of these thy mysteries, we beseech thee, O Lord, help in body and mind : that, in the salvation of both, we may enjoy the full effect of this heavenly remedy. Through, etc.

The other Postcommunion, as on page 131.


 

VESPERS

 


The psalms, capitulum, hymn and versicle, as above, pages 71-81.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Bene omnia fecit, et surdos fecit audire, et mutos loqui.

Oremus.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui abundantia pietatis tuæ et merita suppli cum excedis et vota : effunde super nos misericordiam tuam, ut dimittas quæ conscientia metuit, et adjicias quod oratio non præsumit. Per Dominum.
He hath done all things well: he hath made both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Let us Pray.

O almighty and eternal God, who, by the abundance of thy goodness, exceedest both the merits and the requests of thy suppliants : pour forth thy mercy upon us: that thou mayst pardon what our conscience fears, and mayst grant what our prayer presumes not to ask. Through, etc.

[1] St. Matt. xviii 23-85.
[2] 4 Kings xx.
[3] 1 Cor. iv. 6.
[4] Rup., De Div. Off., xii.11.
[5] Ps. 1. 5.
[6] Prov. xviii. 17.
[7] Ezech. xviii. 22.
[8] Ps. 1. 8.
[9] Ps. lxx.16.
[10] Ps. l. 6, 7.
[11] St. Luke xiv. 10.
[12] 2 Cor. v. 14.
[13] 1 Cor. xv. 8-10.
[14] St. Aug., Retract, ii. 6.
[15] Ps. xlvii. 2; cxlvi. 5.
[16] St. Jas. iv. 6.
[17] Ps. xxxiv. 10.
[18] Ps. cxv. 17.
[19] Ps. v. 13.
[20] Rom. iv. 5.
[21] St. Aug., Confessions, i. 1, ii. 1, iv. 1, v.1, x. 2.
[22] Ps. 1. 16, 17.
[23] St. Luke. xi. 34-36.
[24] Ps. xxxii. 3.
[25] 1 Cor. i. 31.
[26] St. Luke. i. 48.
[27] St. Luke. i. 49.
[28] 1 Cor. xv. 10.
[29] Ibid. 14.
[30] ‘Paschal Time,’ vol. i.
[31] Rup., ubi supra; Durand., Ration., vi. 125.
[32] Ludolph. Carth., Vita J. Chr., i. 90.
[33] Isa. xiv.13.
[34] Exod. i. 10.
[35] Deut. xxxii. 9.
[36] Rom. x. 17.
[37] Gen. i. 26.
[38] St. John. xi. 42.
[39] Gen. i. 31.
[40] Deut. xxxii. 4.
[41] St. John. i. 1.
[42] V. Bed., in Marc., ii.
[43] Cf. St. Luke. xi. 20; St. Matt. xii. 28.
[44] Ecclus. xxiv. 5.
[45] Isa. xii. 3.
[46] Ecclus. xv. 3.
[47] Wisd. x. 21.
[48] Rit. rom., Ordo baptism.
[49] Ps. lxxxiii. 11.
[50] Ps. xxx. 21.
[51] St. Luke xvii. 10.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year

On this Sunday, which is their twelfth of Saint Matthew, the Greeks read in the Mass the episode of the young rich man who questions Jesus, given in the nineteenth chapter of the Saint’s Gospel. In the west, it is the Gospel of the Good Samaritan which gives its name to this twelfth Sunday after Pentecost.

The Introit begins with that beautiful verse of Psalm lxix. : 'Come to mine assistance, O God! O Lord, make haste to help me!’ Cassian, in his tenth Conference, has admirably drawn out the beauty of these words, and shows how they are appropriate for every circumstance of life, and how fully they respond to every sentiment of the Christian soul.[1]Durandus applies this Introit to Job, because the lessons for the Divine Office, which are taken from that Book of Scripture, sometimes, though not often, coincide with this Sunday.[2] Rupert looks on this Introit as the fitting prayer of the deaf and dumb man, whose cure was the subject of our reflexions this day last week. He says : 'The human race, in the person of our first parents, had become deaf to the commandments of God, and dumb in His praise; the first use he makes of his untied tongue, is to call upon the God who has healed him.'[3] The same words are the Church’s first address, each morning, to her Creator, and her opening of each of the canonical hours, both day and night.

Introit

Deus, in adjutorium meum intende : Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina : confundantur, et revereantur inimici mei, qui quærunt animam meam.

Ps. Avertantur retrorsum, et erubescant, qui cogitant mihi mala. Gloria Patri. Deus.
Incline unto mine aid, O God! O Lord, make haste to help me! Let mine enemies be confounded and ashamed that seek my soul.

Ps. Let them be turned backward, and blush for shame, that desire evils to me. Glory, etc. Incline.

It frequently happens (and we have already explained the reason), that the Collect of the Masses for the Time after Pentecost contains an allusion to the Gospel of the foregoing Sunday. The one for to-day evidently does so. Eight days back, we were taught how man, who had rendered himself incapable of serving his Creator, finds by divine mercy, that his supernatural faculties are restored to him; and then, he gives forth the voice of praise, and that, too, rightly (loquebatur recte). The Church, taking up the idea here suggested, prays thus:

Collect

Omnipotens et misericors Deus, de cujus munere venit, ut tibi a fidelibus tuis digne, et laudabiliter serviatur: tribue, quæsumus, nobis; ut ad promissiones tuas sine offensione curramus. Per Dominum.
O almighty and merciful God, from whose gift it cometh, that thy faithful worthily and laudably serve thee: grant us, we beseech thee, that we may run on, without stumbling, to the things thou hast promised us. Through, etc.

The other Collects, as on page 120.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.

2 Cap. iii.

Fratres, Fiduciam talem habemus per Christum ad Deum : non quod sufficientes simus cogitare aliquid a nobis, quasi ex nobis : sed sufficientia nostra ex Deo est : qui et idoneos nos fecit ministros novi testamenti, non littera, sed spiritu : litter a enim occidit, spiritus autem vivificat. Quod si ministratio mortis litteris deformata in lapidibus, fuit in gloria, ita ut non possent intendere filii Israel in faciem Moysi, propter gloriam vultus ejus, quæ evacuatur : quomodo non magis ministratio spiritus erit in gloria? Nam si ministratio damnationis gloria est: multo magis abundat ministerium justitiæ in gloria.
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

2 Ch. iii.

Brethren: We have confidence through Christ towards God: not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves as of ourselves : but our sufficiency is from God. Who also hath made us fit ministers of the new Testament, not in the letter but in the spirit. For the letter killeth; but the spirit quickeneth. Now if the ministration of death, engraven with letters upon stones, was glorious, sc that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which is made void: how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather in glory? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more the ministration of justice aboundeth in glory.

The glorious promises mentioned in the concluding words of our Collect are described to us in the Epistle, which seems, at first sight, to be entirely in praise of the apostolic ministry; but the glory of the apostles is the glory of Him whom they announce; and this one glory, which is His, Christ, the Head, communicates to all His members, making it also their one glory. This divine glory flows, together with the divine life, from that sacred Head; and they both flow copiously through all the channels of holy Church.[4] If they do not come to all Christians in the same proportions, such difference in no wise denotes that the glory and the life themselves are of a different kind for some from what they are for others. Each member of Christ's mystical Body is called upon to form his own degree of capacity for glory; not, of course, as the apostle says, that we are, of ourselves, sufficient even to think anything as of ourselves— but, what diversity there is in the way in which men turn to profit the divine capital allotted to each by grace!

Oh! if we did but know the gift of God![5] if we did but understand the supereminent dignity reserved, under the law of love, to every man of good will![6] Then, perhaps, our cowardice and sluggishness would, at last, go; then, perhaps, our souls would get fired with the noble ambition which turns men into saints. At all events, we should then come to realize that Christian humility, of which we were speaking on the last two Sundays, is not the vulgar grovelling of a low-minded man, but the glorious entrance upon the way which leads, by divine union, to the only true greatness. Are not those men inconsistent and senseless who, longing by the very law of their nature for glory, go seeking it in the phantoms of pride, and allow themselves to be diverted, by the baubles of vanity, from the pursuit of those real honours which eternal Wisdom[7] had destined for them! And those grand honours were to have been heaped upon them, not only in their future heaven, but even here in their earthly habitation; and God and His saints were to have been admiring and applauding spectators!

In the name, then, of our dearest and truest interests, let us give ear to our apostle, and share his heavenly enthusiasm. We shall understand his exquisite teaching all the better, if we read the sequel to the few lines assigned for to-day’s Epistle. It is but fully carrying out the wishes of the Church, when her children, after or before assisting at her liturgical services, take the sacred Scriptures, and read for themselves the continuation of passages, which are necessarily abridged during the public celebrations. It were well, if they did this all through the year. What a fund of instruction they would thus acquire! To-day, however, there is an additional motive for the suggestion, inasmuch as this second Epistle to the Corinthians is brought before us for the first and only time during this season of the liturgy.

But let us examine what is this glory of the new Testament, which so fills the apostle with ecstasy, and, in his mind, almost entirely eclipses the splendour of the old. Splendour there undoubtedly was in the covenant of Sinai. Never had there been such a manifestation of God’s majesty, and omnipotence, and holiness, as on that day, when, gathering together, at the foot of the mount, the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob, He mercifully renewed, with this immense family, the covenant formerly made with their fathers,[8] and gave them His Law in the extraordinarily solemn manner described in the Book of Exodus. And yet, that Law, engraven as it was on stone by God’s own hand, was not, for all that, in the hearts of the receivers; neither did its holiness prevent, though it condemned, sin—sin which reigns in man’s heart.1[9] Moses, who carried the divine writing, came down from the mount, having the rays of God’s glory glittering on his face;[10] but this glory was not to be shared in by the people of whom he was the head; it was for himself alone, as was likewise the privilege he had enjoyed of speaking with God face to face;[11] it ceased with him, thus signifying, by its short duration, the character of that ministration, which was to cease on the coming of the Messiah, just as the night’s borrowed light vanishes when the day appears. And, as it were, the better to show that the time was not as yet come, when God would manifest His glory—the children of Israel were not able to gaze steadfastly on the face of Moses; so that, when he had to speak to the people, he had need to put on a veil. Though a mere borrowed light, the brightness of Moses’ face represented the glory of the future Covenant, whose splendour was to shine, not, of course, externally, but in the hearts of us all, by giving us 'the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus.'[12] Light, living and life-giving, which is none other than the divine Word,[13] the Wisdom of the Father,[14] and which the energy of the sacraments, seconded by contemplation and love, makes to pass from the Humanity of our divine Head to the very recesses of our souls.

We shall find our Sunday giving us a second reminder of Moses; but the true and enduring greatness of the Hebrew leader lies in what we have been stating. In the same way that Abraham was grander by the spiritual progeny which was the issue of his faith, than he was by the posterity that was his in the flesh—so the glory of Moses consisted not so much in his having been at the head of the ancient Israelites for forty long years, as in his having represented, in his own person, both the office of the Messiah King, and the prerogatives of the new people. The Gentile is set free from the law of fear and sin[15] by the law of grace, which not only declares justice, but gives it; the Gentile, having been made a son of God,[16] communes with Him in that liberty which comes of the Spirit of love.[17] But, this privileged Gentile has no type which so perfectly represents him, in the first Covenant, as this the very lawgiver of Israel, this Moses who finds such favour with the Most High as to be admitted to behold His glory,[18] and converse with Him with all the intimacy of friend to friend.[19] Whereas God showed Himself to this His servant —as far, that is, as mortal man is capable of such sight[20]—and as He was seen by him without the intermediation of figures or images,[21] so, when he approached thus to God, Moses took from his face the veil he wore at other times. The Jew persists, even to this very day, in keeping this veil between himself and Christ.[22] The Christian, on the contrary, with the holy daring of which the apostle speaks,[23]removes all intermediaries between God and himself, and draws aside the veil of all figures. ‘Beholding the glory of the Lord with face uncovered, we are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord,’[24]for we become other christs, and are made like to God the Father, as is His Son Christ Jesus.

Thus is fulfilled the will of the almighty Father for the sanctification of the elect. God sees Himself reflected in these predestinated, who are become, in the beautiful light divine, conformable to the image of His Son.[25] He could say of each one of them what He spoke at the Jordan and on Thabor: ‘This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.’[26]He makes them His true temple,[27] verifying the word He spoke of old : ‘I will set my tabernacle in the midst of you: I will walk among you, and will be your God;[28] I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north : “Give up!” and to the south: “Keep not back!” Bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth!’[29]

Such are the promises, for whose realization we should, as the apostle says, be all earnestness in working out our sanctification, by cleansing ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, in the fear of God,[30] and in His love. Such is that glory of the new Testament, that glory of the Church and of every Christian soul, which so immensely surpasses the glory of the old, and the brightness which lit up the face of Moses. As to our carrying this treasure in frail vessels, we must not, on that account, lose heart, but rather rejoice in this weakness, which makes God's power all the more evident; we must take our miseries, and even death itself, and turn them into profit, by giving the stronger manifestation of our Lord Jesus’ life in this our mortal flesh. What matters it to our faith and our hope, if our outward man is gradually falling to decay, when the inner is being renewed day by day? The light and transitory suffering of the present is producing within us an eternal weight of glory. Let us, then, fix our gaze, not on what is seen, but on what is unseen; the visible passes, the invisible is eternal.[31]

The human race, delivered from its long ages of dumbness, and blessed at the same time with God’s gifts, sings, in the Gradual, the hymn of its warmest gratitude.

Gradual

Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore : semper laus ejus in ore meo.

V. In Domino laudabitur anima mea : audiant mansueti, et lætentur.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. Domine Deus salutis meæ, in die clamavi et nocte coram te. Alleluia.
I will bless the Lord at all times : his praise shall be always in my mouth.

V. In the Lord shall my soul be praised : let the meek hear and rejoice. 

Alleluia, alleluia. V. O Lord, the God of my salvation, I have cried, in the day and in the night, before thee. Alleluia.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.

Cap. x.

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis suis : Beati oculi, qui vident quæ vos videtis. Dico enim vobis, quod multi prophetæ, et reges voluerunt videre quæ vos videtis, et non viderunt : et audire quæ auditis, et non audierunt. Et ecce quidam legisperitus surrexit tentans illuni, et dicens: Magister, quid faciendo vitam æternam possidebo? At ille dixit ad eum : In lege quid scriptum est? quomodo legis? Ille respondens dixit : Diliges Domimim Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, et ex tota anima tua, et ex omnibus viribus tuis, et ex omni mente tua : et proximum tuum sicut teipsum. Dixitque illi : Recte respondisti : hoc fac, et vives. Ille autem volens justificare seipsum, dixit ad Jesum: Et quis est meus proximus? Suscipiens autem Jesus, dixit: Homo quidam descendebat ab Jerusalem in Jericho, et incidit in latrones, qui etiam despoliaverunt eum : et plagis impositis abierunt, semivivo relicto. Accidit autem ut sacerdos quidam descenderet eadem via : et viso illo, præterivit. Similiter et Levita, cum esset secus locum, et videret eum, pertransiit. Samaritanus autem quidam iter faciens, venit secus eum : et videns eum, misericordia motus est. Et appropians, alligavit vulnera ejus, infundens oleum, et vinum : et imponens illum in jumentum suum, duxit in stabulum, et curam ejus egit. Et altera die protulit duos denarios, et dedit stabulario, et ait : Curam illius habe : et quodeumque supererogaveris, ego cum rediero, reddam tibi. Quia horum trium videtur tibi proximus fuisse illi, qui incidit in latrones? At ille dixit: Qui fecit misericordiam in ilium. Et ait illi Jesus: Vade, et tu fac similiter.

 

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.

Ch. x.

At that time : Jesus said to his disciples : Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see. For I say to you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them : and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them. And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, tempting him, and saying: Master, what must I do to possess eternal life? But he said to him : What is written in the law? how readest thou? He answering said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind : and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said to him : Thou hast answered right: this do and thou shalt live. But he willing to justify himself, said to Jesus : And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him, and having wounded him, went away, leaving him half dead. And it chanced that a certain priest went down the same way: and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a levite, when he was near the place, and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan, being on his journey, came near him; and seeing him, was moved with compassion. And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine; and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day, he took out two pence, and gave to the host, and said: Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I at my return will repay thee. Which of these three in thy opinion was neighbour to him that fell among the robbers? But he said: He that showed mercy to him. And Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner.

The doctor and apostle of the Gentiles was speaking to us, in the Epistle, of the glory of the new Testament: Jesus, the Man-God, of whom Paul was but the servant, reveals to us, in the Gospel, the perfection of that Law, which He came to give to the world. And as though He would, in a certain way, unite His own divine teachings with those of His apostle, and justify that apostle’s enthusiasm, it is from the very depth of His own most holy soul, and in the Holy Ghost,[32] that, having thanked His eternal Father for these great things, He cries out, turning to His disciples: Blessed are the eyes that see the things which ye see!

The same idea was expressed by the prince of the apostolic college, alluding to the unspeakable and glorious joy,[33]which resulted from the new Alliance, wherein figures were to be replaced by realities. In his first Epistle to the elect of the holy Spirit,[34] Peter speaks, in the same strain as his divine Master[35] had done, of the unfulfilled aspirations of the saints of the old Testament,— those admirable men, whom St. Paul describes [36] as being so grand in faith, as to be both heroic in combat and sublime in virtue. St. Peter then expresses, in inspired language, how the elect of the Church of expectation were continually looking forward to the grace of the time that was to come; how they were ever counting the years which were to intervene; how they were carefully searching (scrutinizing, as our Vulgate words it) the long ages, to find out when that happy time would be realized; although they were well aware, that the longed-for sight of the mysteries of salvation was never to be theirs, and that their mission was limited to prophesying those grandeurs to future generations.[37]

But, who are those kings spoken of in our Gospel, as uniting with the prophets in the desire to see the things we see? To say nothing of those holy ones who thought less of the throne they sat on, than of the divine Object of the world’s expectation,—may we not say, with the holy fathers,[38]that those well deserved to be called kings, whom St. Paul describes as, by their faith, conquering kingdoms, vanquishing armies, stopping the mouths of lions, masters of the very elements, yea, what is more, masters of themselves? Heedless of the mockeries, as well as of the persecutions, of the world that was not worthy to possess such men, these champions of the faith were seen wandering in the deserts, sheltering in dens and caves, and yet happy in the love of One whom they knew they were not to see until long ages after their death.[39]

Do we, then, who are their descendants,—we for whom they were obliged to wait, in order to enjoy a share of those blessings which their sighs and vehement desires did so much to hasten,—appreciate the immense favour bestowed on us by our Lord? Our virtue scarcely bears comparison with that of the fathers of our faith; and nevertheless, by the descent of the holy Spirit of love, we have been more enlightened than ever were the prophets, for, by that holy Spirit, we have been put in possession of the mysteries which they only foretold. How is it, then, that we are so sadly slow to feel the obligation we are under of responding, by holiness of life,[40] and by an ardent and generous love, to the liberality of that God, who has gratuitously called us from darkness to His admirable light?[41] Having so great a cloud of witnesses over our heads, let us lay aside the burden of sin which impedes us, and run, by patience, in the fight proposed to us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who, having joy set before Him, preferred to endure the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God.[42] We know Him with greater certainty than we do the events which are happening under our eyes, for He Himself, by His holy Spirit, is ever within us, incorporating His mysteries into us.

The illumination of holy Baptism has produced within our souls that revelation of Christ Jesus which constitutes the basis of the Christian life, and on which the Man-God congratulated His disciples. It was of that revelation or knowledge that He spoke, rather than of the exterior sight of His human Nature, a sight which was common not only to His devoted followers, but to every enemy that chose to stare at Him. The apostle of the Gentiles makes this very clear, when, after the change produced in the disciples by the Holy Ghost’s coming upon them, he thus spoke : ‘If we once knew Christ according to the flesh, now we know Him so no longer.’[43] It is literally in us, and no longer in the cities of Judea, that the kingdom of God is to be found.[44] It is faith that shows us the Christ, who is dwelling in our hearts, that He may establish us in charity, and grow in us, by transforming us into Himself, and fill us with all the fullness of God.[45] It is by fixing his eye on the divine image which silently lights up the soul that has been purified by Baptism that, as we were just now saying, the inner man is renewed from day to day, by incessant contemplation, and growing love, and persevering and, at last, perfect imitation, of his Creator and Saviour.[46]

How important it is, then, to let the supernatural light have such free scope and expansion within us, that not one of our acts or thoughts, not even the deepest recess of our hearts, may escape its sovereign influence and guidance! It is on this point, that the Holy Ghost works prodigies in faithful souls: the unrestrained development of His highest gifts, understanding and wisdom, gives such a predominance to the divine light, that the brightness of the sun’s rays pales before it. Breathing, in His omnipotent freedom, when and as He willeth, this holy Spirit does not always wait for the regular development of those gifts which He bestows upon all: the soul, drawn up to heights unreached by the ordinary paths of the Christian life, finds herself plunged in the deepest abyss of Wisdom;[47] there she delightedly imbibes the rays which come to her from the eternal summits, and, in their tranquil and radiant simplicity which holds all in itself, she feels that she has the secret of all things. There are moments, when, raised up still higher,— above the region of the senses and the domain of human reasoning, or, as St. Denis the Areopagite words it, above all the intelligible,[48]—she is permitted to rest her wings on the summit, where dwells the uncreated light in its essence, and whence it streams down even to the furthest limits of creation, lending something of its divine splendour to every creature. Then it is, that mercifully acting on the soul, which cannot yet bear the direct infinite glory, the blessed Trinity shrouds her in that mysterious darkness, of which the saints speak as belonging to these highest degrees of mystical ascension. The darkness, beyond which is the very God of Majesty,[49] is an obscurity which penetrates the soul with higher bliss than does light itself; it is a sacred night, whose silence is more eloquent than any sound that this earth could hear; it is a holy of holies, where adoration absorbs the soul; vision is not there, still less is science, and yet, it is in this sanctuary, that understanding and love, acting together in ineffable unison, take hold of the sublimest mysteries of theology.

It is quite true that such favours as these are imparted to but few; and no man can lay the slightest claim to them, be his virtue ever so great, or his fidelity ever so tried. Neither does perfection depend upon them. Faith, which guides the just man, is enough to make him estimate the life of the senses for what it really is,—miserable and grovelling. With the aid of ordinary grace, he easily lives in that intimate retirement of the soul, wherein he knows that the holy Trinity resides; he knows it, because he has it from the teaching of the Scripture.[50] His heart is a kind of heaven, where his life is hidden in God, together with that Jesus upon whom are fixed all his thoughts:[51] there he gives to his beloved Lord the only proof of love which is to be trusted, the only one that this Lord asks at our hands,—the keeping of the commandments.[52] In spite of the ardent longings of his hope, he waits patiently and calmly for that final revelation of Christ, which, on the last day, will give him to appear together with Him in glory :[53] for, as without seeing Him he believes in Him, so without seeing Him he knows that he loves Him.[54] The ever-advancing growth in virtue, which men observe in such a man, is a more unmistakable proof of the power of faith, than can be those extraordinary manifestations of which we were just speaking, and in which the soul is so irresistibly subdued, that she has scarcely the power to refuse her love.

Hence, it is not without a reason and a connexion that the Gospel chosen for to-day passes at once, after the opening verses which we have been commenting, to the new promulgation of the great commandment, which includes the whole Law and the Prophets.[55] Faith assures man that he may and must love the Lord his God with his whole heart, and with his whole soul, and his whole strength, and his whole mind, and his neighbour as himself. In the homily on the sacred text,[56] the Church gives us the interpretation as far only as the question proposed by the Jewish lawyer: by this she insinuates that the latter portion of the Gospel, though by far the longer, is but the practical conclusion of the former, according to the saying of the apostle, that faith worketh by charity.[57] The parable of the good Samaritan, though containing materials for the sublimest symbolic teaching, is spoken here in its literal sense by our Lord, for the one purpose of removing the restrictions put by the Jews on the great precept of love.

If all perfection be included in love,—if, without love, no virtue produces fruit for heaven,—it is important for us to remember, that love is not of the right kind unless it include our neighbour; and it is only after stating this particular, that St. Paul affirms that love fulfilleth the whole law,[58] and that love is the plenitude of the law.[59] Thus we find that the greater number of the precepts of the Decalogue concern our duties to our neighbour;[60] and we are told, that the love we have for God is only then what it ought to be, when we love not only Him, but also what He loves, that is, when we love man whom He made to His own likeness.[61] Hence, the apostle St. Paul does not explicitly distinguish, as the Gospel does, between the two precepts of love. He says:' All the law is fulfilled in one sentence: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.'[62]

Such being the importance of this love, it is necessary to have a clear understanding as to the meaning and extent of the word neighbour. In the mind of the Jews, it comprised only their own race; and in this they were following the custom of the pagan nations, to whom every stranger was an enemy. But, here in our Gospel, we have a representative of this Jewish diminishedlaw[63] eliciting, from Him who is the author of the law, an answer which declares the precept in all its fullness. This time, He does not make His voice heard amidst thunder and fire, as on Mount Sinaï. He, as Man living and conversing with men,[64]reveals to them, and in the most intelligible way possible, the whole import of the eternal commandment which leads to life.[65]In a parable (wherein, as many think, He is relating a fact which has really happened, and is known to those to whom He is addressing it), our Jesus describes how there was a man who went forth from the holy city, and how he fell in with a Samaritan, that is, with a stranger the most despised and the most disliked of all those whom an inhabitant of Jerusalem looked on as his enemies.[66] And yet, the shrewd lawyer who questions Jesus, and, no doubt, all those who have been listening to the answer, are obliged to own that the neighbour, for the poor fellow who had fallen into the hands of robbers, was not so truly the priest, or the levite (though both of them were of his own race), as this stranger, this Samaritan, who forgets all national grudges as soon as he sees a suffering creature, and cannot look on him in any other light than as a fellow-man. Our Jesus made Himself thoroughly understood; and everyone present must have well learnt the lesson, that the greatest of all laws, the law of love, admits of no exception, either here or in heaven.

The Offertory is taken from the Book of Exodus, where Moses is described as striving with God, striving, that is, to induce Him to spare His people, after their crime of worshipping the golden calf. Moses was permitted to triumph, and God’s anger was appeased. It may sometimes happen that this Sunday falls close upon, or even on, the very day when the Church, in her Martyrology (September 4), makes a commemoration of the Jewish leader; and Honorius of Autun[67] tells us, that this is the reason for such frequent mention being made in to-day’s liturgy of this glorious lawgiver of Israel.

Offertory

Precatus est Moyses in conspectu Domini Dei sui, et dixit: Quare, Domine, irasceris populo tuo? Parce iræ animæ tuæ: memento Abraham, Isaac, et Jacob, quibus jurasti dare terram fluentem lac et mel. Et placatus factus est Dominus de malignitate, quam dixit facere populo suo.
Moses prayed in the presence of the Lord his God, and said: Why, O Lord, art thou angry at thy people? Spare the wrath of thy soul: remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom thou didst swear to give a land flowing with milk and honey. And the Lord was appeased, and did not do the evil he had threatened his people.

The Secret prays our Lord to accept graciously the offerings of the Sacrifice— offerings which are made for the purpose of winning pardon for us, and giving honour to His divine majesty.

Secret

Hostias, quæsumus Domine, propitius intende, quas sacris altaribus exhibemus; ut, nobis indulgentiam largiendo, tuo nomini dent honorem. Per Dominum.
Mercifully look down, O Lord, on the offerings we lay on thy holy altar; that they may be to the honour of thy name, by obtaining pardon for us. Through, etc.

The other Secrets, as on page 130.


As on last Sunday, so again to-day, the Communion-anthem evidently alludes to harvest-time and vintage. Bread, wine, and oil, are not only the supports of our material life; they are, also, the matter of the most august of our Sacraments. No moment is so suitable for speaking their praise as that of our having been made sharers in the sacred banquet.

Communion

De fructu operum tuorum, Domine, satiabitur terra: ut educas panem de terra, et vinum lætificet cor hominis: ut exhilaret faciem in oleo, et panis cor hominis confirmet.
The earth, O Lord, shall be filled with the fruit of thy works: that thou mayst bring forth bread from the earth, and that wine may cheer the heart of man: that he may make the face cheerful with oil, and that bread may strengthen man’s heart.

The life imparted to us by the sacred mysteries, finds in them its perfection, and also its protection; for they are continually removing from us, gradually more and more, those remnants of the evil which had first brought death upon us. Such is the teaching expressed in the Postcommunion.

Postcommunion

Vivificet nos, quæsumus Domine, hujus participatio sancta mysterii: et partier nobis expiationem tribuat et munimen. Per Dominum.
May the sacred participation of these thy mysteries, O Lord, we beseech thee, give us life; and be to us both an expiation and a protection. Through, etc.

The other Postcommunions, as on page 181.


 

VESPERS

 


The psalms, capitulum, hymn, and versicle, as above, pages 71-81.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Homo quidam descendebat ab Jerusalem in Jericho, et incidit in latrones, qui etiam despoliaverunt eum, et plagis impositis abierunt, semivivo relicto.

Oremus.

Omnipotens et misericors Deus, de cujus munere venit, ut tibi a fidelibus tuis digne et laudabiliter serviatur: tribue, quæsumus, nobis; ut ad promissiones tuas sine offensione curramus. Per Dominum.
A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him; and, having wounded him, went away, leaving him half dead.

Let us Pray.

O almighty and merciful God, from whose gift it cometh, that thy faithful worthily and laudably serve thee: grant us, we beseech thee, that we may run on, without stumbling, to the things thou hast promised us. Through, etc.

 

[1] Cass., Collat., x. 10.
[2] Dur., Rat., vi. 126.
[3] Rup., De div. off., xii. 12.
[4] Eph. iv. 15, 16.
[5] St. John iv. 10.
[6] St. Luke ii. 14.
[7] Ecclus vi. 29-32.
[8] Gen. xv. 18.
[9] Rom. vii 12, 13.
[10] Exod. xxxiv. 29-35.
[11] Ibid. xxxiii. 11.
[12] 2 Cor. iv. 6.
[13] St. John i. 4-9.
[14] Wisd. vii. 25, 26
[15] Rom. vii. 2.
[16] Ibid. 15.
[17] 2 Cor. iii. 17.
[18] Exod xxxiii. 17-19.
[19] Ibid. 11.
[20] Ibid. 20.
[21] Num. xii. 8.
[22] 2 Cor. iii. 14.
[23] Ibid. 12.
[24] 2 Cor. iii. 18.
[25] Rom. viii. 29.
[26] St. Matt. iii. 17, xvii. 5.
[27] 2 Cor. vi. 16.
[28] Lev. xxvi. 12.
[29] Isa. xliii. 5-7.
[30] 2. Cor. vii. 1.
[31] 2 Cor. iv. 7-18, etc.
[32] St. Luke x. 21-23.
[33] 1 St. Pet. i. 8.
[34] Ibid. 1, 2.
[35] St. Amb., in Luc., x.
[36] Heb. xi.
[37] 1 St. Pet. i. 10-12.
[38] V. Beda, in Luc., iii. Homily for the day.
[39] Heb. xi. 33-39.
[40] 11 St. Pet. i. 13-16.
[41] Ibid. ii. 9.
[42] Heb. xii. 1, 2.
[43] 2 Cor. v. 16.
[44] St. Luke xvii. 21.
[45] Eph. iii. 16-19.
[46] Col. iii. 10.
[47] St. Denis Areop., De div. nom., vii. 3.
[48] De myst. theol., i. 1.
[49] Ps. xvii. 12.
[50] St. John xiv. 23.
[51] Col. iii. 3.
[52] St. John. xiv. 21.
[53] Col. iii. 4.
[54] 1 St. Pet. i. 8.
[55] St. Matt. xxii. 36-40.
[56] The Office of Matins.
[57] Gal. v. 6.
[58] Rom. xiii. 8.
[59] Ibid. 10.
[60] Ibid. 9
[61] 1 St. John iv. 20.
[62] Gal. v. 14.
[63] Ps. xi. 2.
[64] Baruch iii. 38.
[65] Ibid. iv. 1.
[66] St. John iv. 9.
[67] Gemm. anim., iv. 69.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year:

The dominical series—which formerly counted from the feast of Saint Peter, or of the apostles—never went beyond this Sunday. The feast of Saint Laurence gave its name to those which follow; though that name began with even the ninth Sunday, for the years when Easter was further from the Spring equinox. And when that solemnity was kept at its latest date, the weeks began from to-day to be counted as the weeks of the seventh month (September).

The Ember-days of the autumn quarter sometimes occur even this week; whilst, other years, they may be as late as the eighteenth. We will speak of them when we come to the seventeenth Sunday, for it is in the week following that, that the Roman missal inserts them.

In the western Church, the thirteenth Sunday takes its name from the Gospel of the ten lepers, which is read in the Mass; the Greeks, who count it as the thirteenth of Saint Matthew, read on it the parable of the vineyard, whose labourers, though called at different hours of the day, all receive the same pay.[1]

 

MASS

 

Now that she is in possession of the promises so long waited for by the world, the Church loves to repeat the words wherewith the just men of the old law used to express their sentiments. Those just men were living during the gloomy period, when the human race was seated in the shadow of death. We are under incomparably happier circumstances; we are blessed with graces in abundance : eternal Wisdom has spared us the trials our forefathers had to contend with, by giving us to live in the period which has been enriched by all the mysteries of salvation. There is a danger, however, and our mother the Church does her utmost to avert us from falling into it; it is the danger of forgetting all these blessings. Ingratitude is the necessary outcome of forgetfulness, and to-day’s Gospel justly condemns it. On this account, the Epistle, and here our Introit, remind us of the time when man had nothing to cheer him but hope: a promise had, indeed, been made to him of a sublime covenant which was, at some distant future, to be realized; but, meanwhile, he was very poor, was a prey to the wiles of satan, his cause was to be tried by divine justice, and yet he prayed for loving mercy.

Introit

Respice, Domine, in testamentum tuum, et animas pauperum tuorum ne derelinquas in finem : exsurge, Domine, et judica causam tuam : et ne obliviscaris voces quærentium te.

Ps. Ut quid. Deus, repulisti in finem, iratus est furor tuus super oves pascuæ tuæ? Gloria Patri. Respice. 
Have regard to thy cove nant, O Lord, and abandon not the souls of thy poor to the end. Arise, O Lord, and judge thine own cause; and forget not the cries of them that seek thee.

Ps. Why, O God, hast thou cast us off, unto the end? why is thy wrath kindled against the sheep of thy pasture? Glory, etc. Have regard.

This day last week we were considering how important are faith and charity to a Christian who is living under the Law of grace. There is another virtue of equal necessity: it is hope; for, although he already have the substantial possession of the good things which will constitute his future happiness, the Christian is prevented by the gloom of this land of exile from seeing them. Moreover, this mortal life being essentially a period of trial, wherein each one is to win his crown,[2] the struggle makes even the very best feel, and that right to the end, the weight of incertitude and anguish. Let us, therefore, pray with the Church, in her Collect, for an increase of the three fundamental virtues of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may deserve to reach the perfection of the good which is promised us in heaven, let us sue for the grace of devotedness to the commandments of God, which lead us to our eternal home. Let us remember how the Gospel of Sunday last included them all in love.

Collect

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, da nobis fidei, spei, et charitatis augmentum : et ut mereamur assequi quod promittis, fac nos amare quod præcipis. Per Dominum.
O almighty and eternal God, grant unto us an increase of faith, hope, and charity : and, that we may deserve what thou promisest, make us to love what thou commandest. Through, etc.

The other Collects, as on page 120.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Galatas.

Cap. iii.

Fratres, Abrahæ dietæ sunt promissiones, et semini ejus. Non dicit : Et seminibus, quasi in multis, sed quasi in uno : Et semini tuo, qui est Christus. Hoc autem dico, testamentum confirmatum a Deo : quæ post quadringentos et triginta annos facta est lex, non irritum facit ad evacuandam promissionem. Nam si ex lege hæreditas, jam non ex promissione. Abrahæautem per repromissionem donavit Deus. Quid igitur lex? Propter transgressiones posita est, donee veniret semen, cui promiserat, ordinata per angelos in manu mediatoris. Mediator autem unius non est : Deus autem unus est. Lex ergo adversus promissa Dei? Absit. Si enim data esset lex, quæposset vivificare, vere ex lege esset justitia. Sed conclusit Scriptura omnia Bub peccato, ut promissio ex fide Jesu Christi daretur credentibus.
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Galatians. 

Ch. iii.

Brethren: To Abraham were the promises made and to his seed. He saith not, and to his seeds as of many: but as of one, and to thy seed which is Christ. Now this I say, that the testament which was confirmed by God, the law which was made after four hundred and thirty years, doth not disannul, or make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise, But God gave it to Abraham by promise. Why then was the law? It was set because of transgressions, until the seed should come, to whom he made the promise, being ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not of one : but God is one. Was the law then against the promises of God? God forbid! For if there had been a law given which could give life, verily justice should have been by the law. But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by the faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

‘Look up to heaven, and number the stars, if thou canst! So shall thy seed be!’[3] Abraham was almost a hundred years old,[4]and Sara’s barrenness deprived him of all natural hope of posterity, when these words were spoken to him by God, Abraham, nevertheless, believed God, says the Scripture, and it was reputed to him unto justice.[5] And when, later on, that same faith[6]would have led him to sacrifice, on the mount, that son of the promise, his one only hope, God renewed His promise, and added: ‘In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.’[7]

It is now that the promise is fulfilled; the event justifies Abraham’s faith. He believed against all hope, trusting to that God who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things that are not, as those that are;[8] and, according to the expression of John the Baptist, from the very stones of the gentile world there rise up, in all places, children to Abraham.[9]

His faith, firm and, at the same time, so simple, gave to God the glory[10] which He looks for from His creatures. Man can add nothing to the divine perfections; but—agreeably to God’s own words— though he sees them not directly here below, he acknowledges those perfections by adoring and loving them; he makes his faith tell upon his whole life; and this use which he freely makes of his faculties—this voluntary devotedness of an intelligent being—magnifies God, by adding to His extrinsic glory.

Following in Abraham’s steps,[11] there have come those multitudes, born for heaven, the children of his faith. They live by faith;[12] and thereby in all their acts they give to God the homage of confession and praise, through His Son Christ Jesus; and, like Abraham, they receive in return the blessing of an ever-increasing justice.[13] The magnificent development of the Church, which gives this new posterity to Abraham, is greater and more visible since the fall of Israel. In countries the remotest, in the midst of cities that once were all pagan, we see crowds of men, women, and children imitating Abraham,[14] that is, leaving at heaven’s call, if not their country, at least everything that once made earth dear to them; and like him, trusting in the fidelity and power of God to fulfil His promises,[15] they live as strangers amidst their neighbours, yea, and in their very homes, using this world as though they did not use it. In the tumult of cities as in the desert, in the midst of the vain pleasures of the world, whose fashion and figure passeth away,[16] they have no other thought than that of the unseen realities,[17] no other care than that of pleasing God.[18] They take to themselves the word that was spoken to their father: ‘Walk before me, and be perfect!’[19] In truth, it was spoken to all of them; it was the condition in the alliance, concluded by God with those His faithful servants of all ages, in the person of the grand patriarch, who was not only their progenitor, but their model too. And God responds also to their faith, either by private manifestations, or by the still surer voice of His Scriptures,[20] saying: ‘Fear not! I am thy protector, and thy reward exceeding great!'[21]

Truly, then, the benediction of Abraham has been poured forth on the Gentiles.[22] Christ Jesus, the true Son of the promise, the only seed of salvation, has, by faith in His Rsurrection,[23] assembled from every nation[24] them that are of a good will,[25]making them all one in Him, making them, like Himself, children of Abraham,[26] and, what is better still, children of God.[27]For the benediction that was promised, at the beginning of the alliance, was the Holy Ghost Himself,[28] the Spirit of adoption of children that came down into our hearts, to make us all heirs of God and joint-heirs of Christ.[29] O mighty power of faith, which breaks down the former walls of division, unites nations together,[30] and substitutes the love and freedom of children of the Most High for the law of bondage and fear![31]

And yet, grand as was this spectacle of the Gentiles becoming incorporated into the chosen race, and being made sharers, in Christ, of the holy promises,[32] it did not please all people. The carnal Jew, who boasts of having Abraham for his father, though he cares little about imitating his works[33]—the circumcised who vaunts the bearing in his flesh the sign of a faith which dwells not in his heart[34]— these men who have rejected Christ now reject His members, and would fain destroy His Church, or, at least, trammel it. They are enraged at seeing crowding in, from every portion of the globe,[35]that immense concourse, which their vile jealousy has vainly sought to keep back. Whilst their wounded pride kept them from going in,[36] the Gentiles were sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets, at the banquet of God’s kingdom;[37] the last became the first.[38]Even to the end of time, Israel—who, by his own obstinacy, has forfeited his ancient glory—will continue to be the enemy of this spiritual posterity of Abraham, which has supplanted him[39]; but his persecutions against the children of the promise and of the lawful Bride will but result in showing that he is, as St. Paul says, the son of Agar, the son of the bondwoman, who, together with her child, is excluded from the inheritance and from the kingdom.[40]

He prefers to refuse the liberty offered him by the Lord, rather than acknowledge the definitive abrogation of his now dead Law. Be it so! His hatred will not induce the children of the Church (who are prefigured by Sara, the freewoman) to reject the grace of their God, for the sake of pleasing their enemy; it will not induce them to abandon the justice of faith, and the riches of the Spirit, and the life in Christ, in order to go back again to the yoke of slavery,[41] which, let the Jew do what he will, was broken into pieces by the cross he himself set up on Calvary.[42] Up to the last, the true Jerusalem, the free city, our mother—she that was once the barren woman, but now is so glad a bride with her children around her—will meet the superannuated, yet ever busy, pretensions of the Synagogue by reading to her assembled sons and daughters the Epistle we are having to-day. Up to the last St. Paul, in her name—speaking of the law of Sinai, which was made known to its subjects through the mediation of Moses and the angels—will prove its inferiority as compared to the covenant made by Abraham directly with God; each year, as emphatically as on the day he wrote his Epistle, Paul will declare the transient character of that legislation, which came four hundred and thirty years after a promise which could not be changed; neither was such legislation to continue, when the time should come for that Son of Abraham to appear, from whom the world was waiting to receive the promised benediction.

But what is to be said of the incapability of the Mosaic ministration to give man strength, and enable him to rise up from his fall? The Gospel on which we were meditating eight days back, and which formerly was assigned to this present Sunday, gave a symbolical and striking commentary on the uselessness of the old Law in regard to this; at the same time, it showed us the remedial power which resided in Christ, and was by Him transmitted to the ministers of the new Law. ‘Every portion of the Office of the thirteenth Sunday,' says Abbot Rupert, 'bears on the history of that Samaritan, whose name signifies keeper; it is our Lord Jesus Christ who, by His Incarnation, comes to the rescue of man, whom the old Law was not able to keep from harm; and when Jesus leaves the world, He consigns the poor sufferer to the care of the apostles and apostolic men, in the house of the Church. The intentional selection of this Gospel for to-day throws a great light on our Epistle, as also on the whole letter to the Galatians, from which it is taken. Thus, the priest and the levite of the parable are a figure of the Law; and their passing by the half-dead man, seeing him, indeed, but without making an attempt to heal him, is expressive of what that Law did. True, it did not go counter to God’s promises; but, of itself, it could justify no man. A physician who does not himself intend to visit a patient will sometimes send a servant who is expert in the knowledge of the causes of the malady, yet who has not the skill needed for mixing the remedy required, but can merely tell the sick man what diet and what drinks he must avoid, if he would prevent his ailment from causing death. Such was the law, set, as the Epistle tells us, because of transgressions, as a simple safeguard, until such time as there should come the good Samaritan, the heavenly physician. Having, from his very first coming into this world, fallen among robbers, man is stripped of his supernatural goods, and is covered with the wounds inflicted on him by original sin; if he did not abstain from actual sins, from those transgressions against which the law was set as a monitor, he runs the risk of dying altogether.’[43]

It is on this account that the Gradual repeats the supplication of the Introit: Respice Domine, in testamentum tuum; for, as Rupert observes, it was the cry of the ancient people, who, sighing at the weakness of the powerless Law of Sinaï, besought God to fulfil the covenant He had promised to Abraham's faith. They cried out to Christ, as the poor creature might have done to the good Samaritan, after he had seen the priest and the levite pass him by, without an effort made to save him.

Gradual

Respice, Domine, in testamentum tuum : et animas pauperum tuorum ne obliviscaris in finem.

V. Exsurge, Domine, et judica causam tuam: memor esto opprobrii servo rum tuorum.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. Domine, refugium factus es nobis, a generation, et progenie. Alleluia.
Look down, O Lord, upon thy covenant; and forget not for ever the souls of thy poor.

V. Arise, O Lord, and judge thine own cause: remember how thy servants are upbraided.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. Thou, O Lord, art our refuge, from generation to generation. Alleluia.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.

Cap. xvii.

In illo tempore : Dum iret Jesus in Jerusalem, transibat per mediam Samariam et Galilæam. Et cum ingrederetur quoddam castellum, occurrerunt ei decem viri leprosi, qui steterunt a longe : et levaverunt vocem, dicentes : Jesu præceptor, miserere nostri. Quos ut vidit, dixit : Ite, ostendite vos sacerdotibus. Et factum est dum irent, mundati sunt. Unus autem ex illis, ut vidit quia mundatus est, regressus est, cum magna voce magnificans Deum, et cecidit in faciem ante pedes ejus, gratias agens : et hic erat Samaritanus. Respondens autem Jesus, dixit : Nonne decem mundati sunt? et novem ubi sunt? Non est inventus qui redir et, et daret gloriam Deo, nisi hic alienigena. Et ait illi : Surge, vade : quia fides tua te salvum fecit.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.

Ch. xvii.

At that time: As Jesus was going to Jerusalem, he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain town, there met him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off; and lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. Whom when he saw, he said; Go, show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, that as they went they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God. And he fell on his face, before his feet, giving thanks: and this was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering, said: Were not ten made clean, and where are the nine? There is no one found to return and give glory to God, but this stranger. And he said to him: Arise, go thy way; for thy faith hath made thee whole.

The Samaritan leper, cured of that hideous malady which is an apt figure of sin, in company with nine lepers of Jewish nationality, represents the despised race of Gentiles, who were at first admitted, by stealth, so to say, and by extraordinary privilege, into a share of the graces belonging to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.[44] The conduct of these ten men, on occasion of their miraculous cure, is in keeping with the attitude assumed by the two peoples they typify, regarding the salvation offered to the world by the Son of God. It is a fresh demonstration of what the apostle says: ‘All are not Israelites that are of Israel; neither are all they who are the seed of Abraham, children; “but,” says the Scripture,[45] “ in Isaac shall thy seed be called ”; that is to say, not they who are the children of the flesh are the children of God : but they that are the children of the promise are counted for the seed;'[46] they are born of the faith of Abraham, and are, in the eyes of the Lord, His true progeny.

Our holy mother the Church is never tired of this subject, the comparison of the two Testaments, and the contrast there is between the two peoples. We deem it our duty, before proceeding further, to explain how this is; for there are many persons who cannot understand what benefit can come to us Christians from hearing this subject preached to us. The kind of spirituality which, with many of us, has nowadays been substituted for the liturgical life so thoroughly lived by, and so precious to, our Catholic ancestors, gives a certain disrelish for the ideas which the Church perseveringly brings before them during so many of her Sundays. They have become habituated to live in an atmosphere of very limited truth; it is all subjective, as well as little; and they consider it a very excellent thing, to forget all other teaching, except what they happen to possess, and beyond which it is a trouble to go. It is not surprising that Christians of this class feel puzzled at finding the Church continually urging them to take an interest in a long past, which they consider of ho practical utility to them! But the interior life, truly worthy of the name, is not what these good people imagine. No school of spirituality either now makes, or ever made, the ideal of virtue consist in indifference for those great historic facts which are evidently so precious in the eyes of the Church, and of God Himself. And what is the usual result of thus isolating themselves from their mother’s most cherished appreciations? It is, that by thus determinedly shutting themselves up in their own private prayers, they, by a just punishment, lose sight of the true end of prayer, which is union with, and love of, God. Their meditation is deprived of that element of intimate and fruitful converse with God, which is assigned it by all the masters of the spiritual life; it soon becomes an unproductive exercise of analysis and reasoning, in which there is nothing but abstract conclusions.

Now, when God mercifully invited men to the divine nuptials by manifesting to them His Word, it was not by abstraction that He gave to our earth this the Son of His own eternal Substance. As to His Divinity, men could not, in their present state, see it in a direct way. Had God shown us, in this pretended abstract way, that eternal Son of His, in whom are found all beauty, and warmth, and life, the revelation would have been imperfect and cold. This He did not do; but, as St. Paul tells us, He manifested the great mystery of godliness in the flesh;[47] the Word became a living soul;[48] eternal Truth assumed to Himself a Body, that so He might converse with men,[49] and grow up like one of themselves.[50] And when that Body, which eternal Truth was to hold as His own for ever, was taken up in glory,[51] the Church, the bride of this Man-God, continued in the world this manifestation of God, by the members of Christ; she continued that historic development[52] of the Word, which is only to cease when time is no more. This manifestation, this development, surpasses all human calculations, and reveals fresh aspects of the Wisdom of God even to the angels themselves.[53] Let due respect be paid to the axioms of learned men, who have arranged the principles of science in logical order, independently of history and of facts: but this lifeless reasoning has nothing in common with substantial truth which is ever fruitful and necessarily active. In the Church, as in God, truth is life and light,[54] not a mere collection of formulæ. If our Credo rings out so triumphantly through the aisles of our churches, and seems to force the very gates of heaven, it is because each of its articles is presented before God steeped in the blood of martyrs; from age to age it has gathered ever fresh lustre from the labours and struggles of so many holy confessors, chosen out of the human race to complete the body of Christ on earth.[55]

The subject is too full to be treated of here; but this we must say: after the master-fact of the Incarnation of the Word, who came upon our earth to manifest God, through the ages of time, by Christ and His members,[56] there is not one which is more important, not one which has been and still is so dear to God, as the vocation of the two peoples whom He successively called to the blessing of an alliance with Him. The gifts and vocations of God are, as the apostle expresses it, without repentance or regret on His part. Those Jews, who are now His enemies because they reject the Gospel, are still called charissimi; they are still the beloved and dearly beloved, because of their fathers.[57] For the same reason, a time will come —and the whole world is waiting for it—when the denial of Juda being revoked and his iniquities blotted out, the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, will be literally fulfilled.[58] Then the divine unity of the two Testaments will be made evident; and the two peoples themselves will be made one, under their one Head, Christ Jesus.[59] The covenant of God with man being then fully realized, such as He had designed it in His eternal wisdom—the earth having yielded its fruit,[60] the world having done its work, the sepulchres will give back their dead,[61] and history will cease here on earth, leaving glorified human nature to bloom in unreserved fullness of life, under God's complacent eye.

The truths, then, which are again brought before our notice by to-day’s Gospel, are anything but dry or old-fashioned; nothing is so grand; and, we must add—though superficial minds will wonder at it—there is nothing more practical in this season of the year, for it is the season consecrated to the mysteries of the unitive life. After all, in what, primarily, does union between God and man consist, but in unanimity of the divine and the human minds? Now, we know that the divine mind has manifested all its designs in the respective histories of the two Testaments and the two peoples; and that the final result which is to bring these two histories to their close, is the one only end which infinite love was in the beginning, and is now, and will for ever be, proposing to fulfil. The Church, therefore, far from showing herself to be behind the age by recurring continually to truths such as these, is but clearly proving herself to be the most intelligent bride of Jesus, and evincing the changeless lovely youthfulness of a heart, which ever beats in unison with that of her Spouse.

Let us now resume the literal explanation of our Gospel. As we were observing on a previous Sunday, our Jesus here, again, wishes rather to give us a useful teaching, than to manifest His divine power. It is for this purpose that He does not cure at once these ten lepers who beseech Him to have mercy on them, as, on another occasion, He cured one who was suffering from the same misery. To this latter, who besought Him, He restored cleanliness by a few words. He said: 'Be thou made clean!' and forthwith the leprosy was cleansed.[62] This was at the beginning of His public life. But the event of our Gospel took place in the latter portion of our Lord’s sojourn amongst men. The lepers are made clean only while on their way to show themselves to the priests. Jesus sends them to the priests, just as He had done in the previous case; and thus, from the beginning to the close of His mortal life, He gave an example of the respect which was to be paid to the old Law, so long as it was not abrogated. That Law gave to the sons of Aaron the power, not of curing, but of discerning leprosy, and passing judgment on its being cured or not.[63]

The time, however, has now come for a Law far above that of Sinai. It has a priesthood, whose judgments are not to concern the state of the body, but, by pronouncing the sentence of absolution, are to effectually remove the leprosy of souls. The cure which the ten lepers felt coming upon them before they had reached the priests, ought to have sufficed to show them, in Jesus, the power of the new priesthood, which had been foretold by the prophets;[64] the power which thus forestalls and surpasses the authority of the ancient ministration is sufficient evidence of the superior dignity of Him who exercises it. If only they were in suitable dispositions for the sacred rites, which are going to be used in the ceremony of their purification,[65] the Holy Ghost, who heretofore had inspired the prophetic details of the mysterious function, would enable them to understand the signification of the expiatory sparrow, whose blood, being sprinkled upon the living water, sets free, by the wood, its fellow sparrow. That first bird typifies our Lord Jesus Christ, who likens Himself, in the psalm, to the lonely sparrow;[66] His immolation on the cross, which gives to water the power of cleansing souls, communicates to the other sparrows, His brethren,[67] the purity of the divine Blood.

But the Jew is far from being ready to understand these great mysteries. And yet the Law had. been given to him that it might serve him as a hand leading him to Christ, and without exposing him to err.[68] It was a signal favour granted him, not from any merits of his own, but because of his fathers.[69] The favour was all the more precious, inasmuch as it was bestowed at a time when the tradition regarding a future Redeemer was almost entirely lost by the bulk of mankind. Gratitude should have been uppermost in the heart of Juda; but pride took its place. He was so taken up with the honour that had been put on him, that it made him lose all desire for the Messiah. He could not endure the thought that a time would come, when the Sun of justice having risen for the whole earth, the limited advantage which was given to a few during the hours of night was to be eclipsed by the bright noon of a light which all might enjoy. He, therefore, proclaimed that the old Law was definitive, though the Law declared itself to be but transitory; he, therefore, insisted on the perpetuity of the reign of types and shadows. He laid it down as a dogma that no divine intervention can ever equal that made on Sinai; that every future prophet, everyone sent by God, must be inferior to Moses; that all possible salvation is in the Law, and that from it alone flows every grace.

This explains to us how it was, that of the ten men cured of leprosy by Jesus, nine have not even the remotest thought of coming to their Deliverer to thank Him: these nine are Jews. Jesus, to their minds, is a mere disciple of Moses, a bare instrument of favours, holding His commission from Sinaï, and as soon as they have gone through the legal formality of their purification they take it that all their obligations to God are paid. The Samaritan, the despised Gentile, whose sufferings have given him that humility which makes the sinner clear-sighted, is the only one who recognizes God by His divine works, and gives Him thanks for His favours. How many ages of apparent abandonment, of humiliation and suffering, must pass over Juda too, before he will recognize and adore His God, and confess to Him his sins, and give Him his devoted love, and, like this stranger, hear Jesus pronounce his pardon, and say: Arise! Go thy way! thy faith hath made thee whole and saved thee!

Let us, by our fervent prayers, hasten the time which will be so glorious for the two peoples, when, united in the same faith by the consciousness of the same hopes then realized, they will cry out to our Redeemer these words of our Offertory:

Offertory

In te speravi, Domine; dixi: Tu es Deus meus, in manibus tuis tempora mea.

In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust; I said : Thou art my God; my times are in thy hands.


It is the oblation now on the altar that is to obtain for us from God the pardon of our past offences, and the graces we hope for, for the time to come. Let us, in the Secret, beseech Him to accept for the sacrifice these gifts which the Church, in the name of us all, has presented to Him.

Secret

Propitiare, Domine, populo tuo, propitiare muneribus : ut hac oblatione placatus, et indulgentiam nobis tribuas, et postulata concedas. Per Dominum.

Be thou propitious, O Lord, to thy people, and mercifully receive their offerings; that, being appeased thereby, thou mayst grant us pardon, and bestow upon us what we ask. Through, etc.


The other Secrets, as on page 180.


Oh! when will the children of Juda come and experience for themselves the superiority of the Bread of the new Testament over the manna of the old? Let us Gentiles, the last-comers, but who have preceded our elder brethren at the banquet of love, sing all the more fervently in our Communion-anthem the divine sweetness of this true Bread of heaven.

Communion

Panem de cœlo dedisti nobis, Domine, habentem omne delectamentum, et omnem saporem suavitatis.

Thou hast given us bread from heaven, O Lord, containing whatsoever is delicious and sweet.


As the Postcommunion expresses it, the work of our redemption by Jesus our Lord is confirmed and grows within us as often as we assist at these sacred mysteries. The Church prays that her children may be blessed with the grace of this fruitful frequentation of the mysteries of salvation.

Postcommunion

Sumptis, Domine, cœlestibus sacramentis, ad redemptionis æternæ, quæsumus, proficiamus augmentum. Per Dominum.

May these heavenly mysteries, O Lord, which we have received, advance our eternal redemption. Through, etc.


The other Postcommunions, as on page 131.


 

VESPERS

 


The psalms, capitulum, hymn, and versicle, as above, pages 71-81.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Unus autem ex illis, ut vidit quod mundatus est, regressus est, cum magna voce magnificans Deum. Alleluia.

Oremus.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, da nobis fidei, spei, et charitatis augmentum : et ut mereamur assequi quod promittis, fac nos amare quod præcipis. Per Dominum nostrum.

But one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, glorifying God with a loud voice. Alleluia.

Let us Pray.

O almighty and eternal God, grant unto us an increase of faith, hope, and charity: and, that we may deserve what thou promisest, make us to love what thou commandest. Through, etc.


[1] Matt. xx.
[2] 1 Cor. ix. 25.
[3] Gen. xv. 5.
[4] Rom. iv. 19.
[5] Gen. xv. 6.
[6] Heb. xi. 17-19.
[7] Gen. xxii. 18.
[8] Rom. iv. 17, 18.
[9] S. Matt. iii. 9.
[10] Rom. iv. 20.
[11] Rom. iv. 12.
[12] Ibid. i. 17.
[13] Ibid. iv. 23, 24; Gal. iii. 9.
[14] Gen. xii. 1.
[15] Rom. iv. 20, 21.
[16] 1 Cor. vii. 31.
[17] Heb. xi. 1.
[18] 1 Cor. vii. 32.
[19] Gen. xvii. 1.
[20] 2 St. Pet. i. 19.
[21] Gen. xv. 1.
[22] Gal. iii. 14.
[23] Rom. iv. 24.
[24] Gal. iii. 28.
[25] St. Luke ii. 14.
[26] Gal. iii. 29.
[27] Ibid. iv. 5-7.
[28] Ibid. iii. 14.
[29] Rom. viii. 15-17.
[30] Eph. ii. 14-18.
[31] Rom. viii. 2.
[32] Eph. iii. 6.
[33] St. John viii. 39.
[34] Rom. iv. 11.
[35] St. Luke xiii. 29.
[36] St. Luke xv. 28.
[37] Ibid. xiii. 28.
[38] Ibid. 30.
[39] Gen. xxvii. 36.
[40] Gal. iv. 22-31.
[41] Ibid. v. 1.
[42] Ibid. ii. 19-21.
[43] Rup., De Div. Off., xii. 13.
[44] St. Matt. xv. 24.
[45] Gen. xxi. 12.
[46] Rom. ix. 6-8.
[47] 1 Tim. iii. 16.
[48] Gen. ii. 7.
[49] Baruch iii. 38.
[50] St Luke ii. 52.
[51] 1 Tim. iii 16.
[52] Eph. i. 23.
[53] Ibid. iii. 10.
[54] St. John i. 4.
[55] Col. i. 24, ii. 19.
[56] 2 Cor. iv. 10, 11.
[57] Rom. xi. 28, 20.
[58] Ibid. 25-27.
[59] Eph. ii. 14.
[60] Ps. lxvi. 7.
[61] Rom. xi. 15.
[62] St Matt. viii. 3.
[63] Lev. xiii.
[64] Isa. lxvi. 21-23.
[65] Lev. xiv. 1-32.
[66] Ps. ci. 8.
[67] Ps. lxxxiii. 4.
[68] Gal. iii. 24.
[69] Deut. iv. 37, ix. 4-6.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

In the western Church this Sunday is called that of the two masters, because of the Gospel which is read upon it.

The Greeks give it the name of the Sunday of the invited to the marriage-feast,[1] or, the fourteenth of St. Matthew, unless the feast of the Exaltation of the holy Cross (September 14) happen to fall during the ensuing week. In this latter case this and the following Sunday are called ‘of the Exaltation,' and take for their Gospels the first from St. John, the second from St. Mark. After this, follow the Sundays called ‘of St. Luke,’which go on till Lent, in the manner already described for St. Matthew.

 

MASS

 

Behold, O God, our protector! and look on the face of thy Christ! Thus begins the Church, as she advances towards the altar, whereon the holy sacrifice is going to be offered up. The Church is the bride of the Man-God; she is, as the apostle says, His glory; but the Spouse, according to the same St. Paul, is both the image and the glory of God,[2] and the head of His bride.[3] In all truth, then, and with full confidence that she will be graciously heard, the Church, in presenting her petitions to the Most High, begs of Him to look on the face of His Christ, who is also hers.

Introit

Protector noster, aspice, Deus, et respice in faciem Christi tui: quia melior est dies una in atriis tuis super millia.

Ps. Quam dilecta tabernacula tua, Domine virtutum! concupiscit, et deficit anima mea in atria Domini. Gloria Patri. Protector.
Behold, O God, our protector, and look on the face of thy Christ; for better is one day in thy courts above thousands.

Ps. How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. Glory, etc. Behold.

The thought of the future glories which fills the Church with gladness, and the dignity of the divine union which, even in this present life, makes her truly bride, do not prevent her from always feeling the need she has of help from on high. Were she to be deprived one single moment of God’s assistance, she would see her children, through their innate human frailty, hurrying into the abyss of vice, such as the apostle describes in to-day's Epistle. Let us join with our mother in her Collect, and beseech God to grant us that uninterrupted, that constant mercy, which is absolutely necessary for us.

Collect

Custodi, Domine, quæsumus, Ecclesiam tuam propitiatione perpetua : et quia sine te labitur humana mortalitas, tuis semper auxiliis et abstrahatur a noxiis, et ad salutaria dirigatur. Per Dominum.

Preserve, O Lord, we beseech thee, thy Church by thy constant mercy; and whereas, without thee, human mortality fails, may it, by thine aid, be ever delivered from what things are hurtful, and be directed towards such as are salutary. Through, etc.


The other Collects, as on page 120.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Galatas.

Cap. v.

Fratres, Spiritu ambulate, et desideria carnis non perficietis. Caro enim concupiscit adversus spiritum : spiritus autem adversus carnem: hæc enim sibi invicem adversantur : ut non quacumque vultis, illa faciatis. Quod si spiritu ducimini, non estis sub lege. Manifesta sunt autem opera carnis : quæsunt fornicatio, immunditia, impudicitia, luxuria, idolorum servitus, veneficia, inimicitiæ, contentiones, æmulationes, iræ, rixæ, dissensiones, sectæ, invidiæ, homicidia, ebrietates, comessationes, et his similia; quæprædico vobis, sicut prædixi: quoniam qui talia agunt, regnum Dei non consequentur. Fructus autem Spiritus est : charitas, gaudium, pax, patientia, benignitas, bonitas, longanimitas, mansuetudo, fides, modestia, continentia, castitas. Adversus hujusmodi non est lex. Qui autem sunt Christi, carnem suam crucifixerunt cum vitiis et concupiscentiis.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Galatians.

Ch. v.

Brethren: Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit; and the spirit against the flesh: for these are contrary one to another: so that you do not the things that you would. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are, fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences.

The bride, who came from the top of Sanir and Hermon that she might be crowned,[4] knows not the servitude of Sinaï;[5]still less is she under the slavery of the senses. On the mountain, where her tent is fixed for ever,[6] her Spouse has broken the fetters of the Jewish Law, and that more galling chain which tied all people down—the network of sin that covered all the nations of the earth.[7] She, the bride, is queen; her sons are kings;[8] the milk whereon she feeds them[9]infuses liberty within them.[10]Filled with the holy Spirit, who is their glory and their strength,[11] they have the Lord of hosts looking on them, as they bravely engage in battles such as princes should fight.[12] Satan, too, has beheld their glorious struggles, and his kingdom has been shaken to its foundations.[13] Two cities now divide the world between them;[14] and the holy city, made up of vanquishers over the devil, the world, and the flesh, is full of admiration and joy at seeing that the noblest of the nations flock to her.[15] The law which reigns supreme within her walls is love, for the holy Spirit, who rules her happy citizens, takes them far beyond the injunctions or prohibitions of any law. Together with charity, there spring up joy, peace, and those other fruits, here enumerated by the apostle; they grow spontaneously from a soil which is saturated with the glad waters[16] of a stream, which is no other than the sanctifying Spirit, who inundates the city of God.[17] We are not astonished at this new Sion’s being loved by the Lord above all the tabernacles of Jacob,[18] beautiful as those once were.[19] Now that the blessing has taken on earth the place once held by the Law, the servants of God have become sons and daughters. Even while living in the flesh, they bear evidence of their heavenly origin, by going on from virtue unto virtue. Though sojourning in this vale of tears, they are ever on the ascent, approaching gradually nigher to the high summits of holiness; they reflect in their lives the perfection of their heavenly Father,[20] who, surrounded as He thus is in Sion by this noble family, is seen to be, in all truth, the God of gods.[21]

Flesh and blood have had no share in their divine birth;[22] flesh and blood have no hand in their regenerated life.[23]Their first birth being in the flesh, they were flesh, and did the works of death and ignominy mentioned in the Epistle, showing at every turn that they were from slime of earth;[24] but, born of the Spirit, they are spirit,[25] and do the works of the spirit, in spite of the flesh which is always part of their being.[26] For, by giving them of His own life, the Spirit has emancipated them, by the power of love, from the tyranny of sin,[27] which held dominion over their members;[28] and, having been grafted on Christ, they bring forth fruit unto God.[29]

Man, therefore, who was once a slave to concupiscence, has regained on the cross of Christ that equilibrium of his existence[30] which is true liberty. The supremacy, which the soul had forfeited in punishment for her revolt against God,[31] has been restored to her by the laver of the water of Baptism, and now that she is once more queen, it is but just that she chastise the slave who so long lorded it over her, his rightful sovereign. Man owes nothing to the flesh,[32] especially after the miseries it has brought upon him; but further than this, God, too, has been insulted by the sensual abominations committed in His sacred presence; and He, too, demands atonement. For this purpose He mercifully takes man, now that he is enfranchised, and confides to him the task of sharing with His divine Majesty in taking revenge on their common enemy and usurper. Then again, this mortifying the flesh and keeping it in subjection is a necessary means for retaining the good position already obtained. It is true that the rebel has been made incapable of damaging those who are in Christ Jesus, and who walk not according to the flesh and its vile suggestions;[33] but it is equally true that the rebel is rebel still, and is ever watching for opportunities to assail the spirit. If there be exceptions, they are exceedingly rare. The rule of the flesh is, to attack the spirit all through life, and try to make it yield. If one were an Antony in the desert, the flesh would be fierce in its assaults even there. If the saint were a Paul, just fresh from the third heaven of his sublime revelations, the flesh would have impudence enough to buffet even him.[34] So that, had we no past sins to atone for, the commonest prudence would urge us to take severe measures of precaution against an enemy who is so fearfully untiring in his hatred of us, and, what is worse, lives always in our own home. St. Paul, of whom we were just speaking, says of himself: ‘I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection, lest, perhaps ... I should become reprobate!’[35]

Penance and mortification differ in this: that penance is a debt of justice, incumbent on the sinner; mortification is a duty commanded by prudence; which duty becomes that of every Christian who is not foolish enough to pretend to be out of the reach of concupiscence. Is there anyone living who could honestly say that he has fully acquitted himself of these two duties, that he has satisfied the claims of God’s justice, and that he has stifled every germ of his evil passions? All spiritual masters, without exception, teach that no man who is desirous either of perfection or of salvation should limit himself to the rules of simple temperance, that cardinal virtue which forbids excess in pleasures of any kind. This, they tell us, is not enough; and that the Christian, taking up another virtue, namely fortitude, must from time to time refuse himself even lawful gratifications; must impose privations on himself which are not otherwise of obligation; must even inflict punishment on himself in the manner and measure permitted him by a discreet director. Amidst the thousands of holy writers who treat of this point of asceticism, let us listen to the amiable and gentle St. Francis of Sales. ‘If,'says he, in his Introduction to a Devout Life—’if you can bear fasting you would do well to fast on certain days, beyond those fasts which the Church commands us to observe...; even when one does not fast much, yet does the enemy fear us all the more when he sees that we know how to impose a fast on ourselves. Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays were the days whereon the Christians of former times most practised abstinence. Therefore, do you choose out of these for your fasts, as far as your devotion and the discretion of your director will counsel you to do.... The discipline, when taken with moderation, possesses a marvellous power for awakening the desire for devotion. The hair-shirt is efficacious in reducing the body to subjection . . .; on days which are especially devoted to penance, one may wear it, the advice of a discreet confessor having been previously taken.'[36] Thus speaks the learned Doctor of the Church, the saintly Bishop of Geneva, whose sweet prudence is almost proverbial; and they to whom he addresses these instructions are persons living in the world. In the world, quite as much as in the cloister, the Christian life, if seriously taken up, imperatively requires this incessant war of the spirit against the flesh. Let that war cease, and the flesh speedily usurps the sway, and reduces the soul to a state of torpor, by either seizing her very first attempts at virtue and chilling them into apathy, or by plunging her, at a single throw, deep into the filth of sin.

Neither is it to be feared that affability in the Christian’s social intercourse will be in any way impaired by this energy of self-mortification. That virtue which is based on such forgetfulness of oneself, as to make him love discomfort and suffering for God’s sake, does not render such a man one whit less pleasing in company, or rob the friendly circle he frequents of one single charm. But will it not interfere somewhat with an article which the world is very jealous about? No. When dress is what Christian reserve would have it be, in other and plainer words, when it is the love of Jesus that regulates the arrangements, there is no toilet where the jewels of penance may not find their place, without in the least intruding upon those of the world. The day of judgment will give a strange lesson to those many good-for-nothing and cowardly Christians who feel sure that everyone of their acquaintance is as fond of easy-going softness as they themselves are! Then will be revealed to them the pious schemes of penance, which Christian love of the cross suggested, as means for crucifying their flesh even amidst pleasures, and to those very persons who were the most admired in the worldling’s earthly paradise of gay saloons.

And ought it not to be thus? Ought not the cross to be most dear to men? Yes, unless we hold that Christianity and divine love have entirely disappeared from this world. How is it possible to love Jesus, the Man of sorrows,[37] and not love His sufferings? Can we say that we are walking in His footsteps if we are not on the road to Calvary? ‘If any man will come after Me,’ says Jesus, 'let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me!’[38] And the Church, who is one with her divine Spouse—the Church who completes Him in all things,[39] and, therefore, continues through all ages His life of expiation and atonement—puts on her children the sublime task which the apostle thus expresses: 'I fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, by suffering in my flesh for His body, which is the Church.'[40]

Sublime task indeed! Filial, as far as the Church is concerned, but divine, also, and deifying, if we consider the union it produces between the Word and the soul. The Word gives to the soul what He has not given to the angels; He invites her to a share of that chalice, which the eternal Father reserved to Jesus’ sacred Humanity.[41] Here we have the intimacy of the bride: the one same cup for the two, and it unites their two lives into one. It is a cup of sorrow’s holy inebriation; they both drink it with avidity; and that avidity gives such vehemence to their union that the creature at times leaves her ecstasy all stigmatized in soul, yea, it may be in her body too, with the wounds of her crucified Lord. But whether our Lord communicate or not, either invisibly or visibly, the stigmata of His love to the soul that is devoted to Him, there is always, under one form or other, the royal seal, which gives the surest sign of authenticity to the contract of divine union here below; that seal is suffering. Many, who on hearing or reading the favours gratuitously granted to certain saintly souls are excited to a feeling of holy envy, would shrink back with dismay if they were told of the trials they had to go through before gaining such mystic ascensions. Even when the trials of purification (of which we were speaking on a former occasion[42]) are all over, the place of meeting is invariably that which the inspired Canticle calls the Mount of myrrh,[43] which is but another name for suffering. Myrrh is the first fragrant herb culled by the divine Word in the mystic garden; nay, it is the only one He expressly mentions.[44] Myrrh distils from the bride’s hands, and her fingers are full of it;[45] her Spouse is the bouquet she clasps to her heart, but that bouquet is one of myrrh;[46] and His lips are as lilies dropping choice myrrh.[47]

Of course, we are too miserable ever to aspire to be raised up by the holy Spirit to those heights of the mystic life, where divine union produces such marvellous results as those we have already mentioned; but let us remember that neither the intensity, nor the merit of love, nor even the reality of effective union depends on those exterior manifestations. It should suffice to make us love, and even go in quest of suffering, to remember how faith teaches us that it was life-long with Him, who wishes, and infinitely deserves, to be the one object of our thoughts and affections. We are members of a Head who was crowned with thorns; can we pretend to have nothing but pleasures and flowers? Let us not forget that all the saints must, when in heaven, be likenesses of the new Adam;[48] and that the eternal Father admits no one into His house, who is not conformable to the image of His Son.[49]

In the Gradual, the Church sings the happy confidence she has put in her divine Spouse. The Alleluia-verse invites us to rejoice, as she, our mother, does in God our Saviour.

Gradual

Bonum est confidere in Domino, quam confidere in homine.
V. Bonum est sperare in Domino, quam sperare in principibus.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. Venite, exsultemus Domino: jubilemus Deo salutari nostro. Alleluia.

It is better to trust in the Lord than to trust in man.
V. It is better to hope in the Lord than to hope in princes.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. Come, let us praise the Lord with joy; let us joyfully sing to God our Saviour. Alleluia.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. vi.


In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis suis : Nemo potest duobus dominis servire : aut enim unum odio habebit, et alterum diliget : aut unum sustinebit, et alterum contemnet. Non potestis Deo servire, et mammonse. Ideo dico vobis, ne solliciti sitis animæ vestræ quid manducetis, neque corpori vostro quid induamini. Nonne anima plus est quam esca : et corpus plus quam vestimentum? Respicite volatilia cœli, quoniam non serunt, neque metunt, neque congregant in horrea : et Pa ter vester cœlestis pascit illa. Nonne vos magia pluris estis illis? Quis autem vestrum cogitans, potest adjicere ad staturam suam cubitum unum? Et de vestimento quid solliciti estis? Considerate lilia agri, quomodo crescunt: non laborant, neque nent. Dico autem vobis, quoniam nec Salomon in omni gloria sua coopertus est sicut unum ex istis. Si autem fœnum agri, quod hodie est, et cras in clibanum mittitur, Deus sic vestii : quanto magia vos modicæ fidei? Nolite ergo solliciti esse, dicentes : Quid manducabimus, aut quid bibemus, aut quo operiemur? Hæc enim omnia gentes inquirunt. Scit enim Pater vester, quia his omnibus indigetis. Quærite ergo primum regnum Dei, et justitiam ejus: et hæc omnia adjicientur vobis.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. vi.

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples : No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other : or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat, and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns, and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you, by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And if the grass of the field, which is to-day, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe; how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not solicitous therefore, saying, what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.

The supernatural life can never be healthy in men’s souls, unless it triumph over the three enemies, which St. John calls concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life.[50] As to the first of these, our Epistle has been instructing us upon the obstacle it raises against the action of the holy Spirit, and on the means we are to adopt for surmounting it. Pride of life is overcome by humility, on which the Church has several times spoken to us during the previous Sundays. The Gospel which has just been read to us is the condemnation of the concupiscence of the eyes—that is, attachment to the goods of this world which, of themselves, are goods but in name and appearance.

No man, says our Lord, can serve two masters; and these two masters are, God and mammon. Mammon means riches.[51]Riches are not, of their own nature, bad. When lawfully acquired, and used agreeably to the designs of God, riches help the possessor to gain true goods for his soul; he stores up for himself, in the kingdom of his eternal home, treasures, which neither thieves nor rust can reach.[52] Ever since the Incarnation, wherein the divine Word espoused poverty to Himself, it is the poor that are heaven’s nobility. And yet, the mission of the rich man is a grand one: he is permitted to be rich in order that he may be God’s minister to make all the several portions of material creation turn to their Creator’s glory. God graciously vouchsafes to entrust into his hands the feeding and supporting of the dearest of His children, that is, the poor, the indigent and suffering members of His Christ. He calls him to uphold the interests of His Church, and be the promoter of works connected with the salvation of men. He confides to him the keeping up of the beauty of His temples. Happy that man, and worthy of all praise, who thus directly brings back to the glory of their Maker the fruits of the earth, and the precious metals she yields from her bosom! Let not such a man fear: it is not of him that Jesus speaks those anathemas uttered so frequently by Him against the rich ones of this world. He has but one Master—the Father who is in heaven, whose steward he humbly and gladly acknowledges himself to be. Mammon does not domineer over him; on the contrary, he makes her his servant, and obliges her to minister to his zeal in all good works. The solicitude he takes in spending his wealth in acts of justice and charity, is not that which our Gospel here blames; for, in all such solicitude, he is but following our Lord's precept, of seeking first the kingdom of God; and the riches which pass through his hands in the furtherance of good works, do not distract his thoughts from that heaven where his heart is, because his true treasure is there.[53]

It is quite otherwise when riches, instead of being regarded as a simple means, become the very end of a man's existence, and that to such an extent as to make him neglect, yea, and sometimes forget, his last end. ‘The ways of every covetous man,' says the Scripture, 'destroy the souls of the possessors.'[54] The apostle explains this by saying that the love of money drives a man into temptation and the snares of the devil, by the countless unprofitable and hurtful desires it excites within him; it drowns men in destruction and perdition, making them even barter away their faith.[55] And yet, the more an avaricious man gets, the less he spends. To nurse his treasure, to gaze upon it,[56] to be thinking of it all day and night long, when obliged to go from home—that is what he lives for; and his money becomes at last his idol.[57] Yes, mammon is not merely his master, whose commands are obeyed before all others, but it is his god, before which he sacrifices friends, relatives, country, and himself, for he devotes, and, as it is said in Ecclesiasticus, throws away his whole soul and body to his idol.[58] Let us not be astonished at our Gospel declaring that God and mammon are irreconcilable enemies; for, who was it but mammon that had our Lord Jesus sacrificed on its hateful altar, for thirty pieces of silver? Of all the devils in hell, is there one whose hideous guilt is deeper than the fallen angel who prompted Judas to sell the Son of God to His executioners? It is the avaricious who alone can boast of deicide! The vile love of money, which the apostle defines as the root of all evils,[59] can lay claim to having produced the greatest crime that was ever perpetrated!

But, without going into such crimes as made the authors of the inspired Books of even the old Testament say that 'nothing is more wicked than the covetous man . . .; there is not a more wicked thing than to love money’[60]—it is easy to allow oneself to be led, as regards this world's goods, into an excessive solicitude, which prudence condemns. What ineffable truth and clearness in the reasoning of our Jesus, as put before us in to-day's Gospel! To attempt to add any human words to these of His, would be an insult offered to both their charm and their energy. The exquisitely beautiful comparisons of the birds of the air, and the lilies of the field, by which our divine Master shows how such solicitude is the very opposite of the confidence we should have in our heavenly Father, are beyond all comment We may add, however, that solicitudeof this sort would prove the existence of an attachment to earthly things, which is incompatible with anything approaching to Christian perfection, or to the desire of making progress in the paths of divine union. The unitive way is possible in every state of life; only, there must be one condition observed, and that is, the soul must be detached from every tie that could keep her from going to God. The religious breaks these ties by his three vows, which are in direct opposition to the triple concupiscence of fallen nature; the layman, who, though he is living in the world, desires to be what his Creator would have him be, must, without the aid of the real separation which the religious makes, be quite as completely detached from his own will, and sensuality, and riches, in order that all his intentions and aspirations may be fixed on the eternal home, where his one infinite, loved treasure is. If he does not bring himself, even in the midst of his riches, to be as poor in spirit as the religious is in deed, his progress will be checked at the very first step he takes in the contemplative life; and, if he allow the obstacle to block up the way, he must give up all idea of rising, in light and love, above the lowly paths of the majority of Christians.

Like the other portions of to-day’s liturgy, the Offertory is all confidence and joy. The prince of the heavenly hosts—the Archangel St. Michael, whose feast is at hand, and whom the Church always invokes in the blessing of the incense at this part of the Mass—is he not ever ready to protect and watch over those who fear the Lord?

Offertory

Immittet angelus Domini in circuitu timentium eum et eripiet eos : gustate et videte, quoniam suavis est Dominus.

The angel of the Lord shall encamp round about them that fear him; taste and see, that the Lord is sweet.


Let us, in the Secret, pray that the saving Host, offered on the altar, may, by its virtue, purify our soul, and draw the divine power to our assistance.

Secret

Concede nobis, Domine, quæsumus : ut hæc Hostia salutaris et nostrorum fiat purgatio delictorum, et tuæ propitiatio potestatis. Per Dominum.

Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that this saving Host may both cleanse us from our sins, and render thy majesty propitious to us. Through, etc.


The other Secrets, as on page 130.


The Communion-anthem, taken from the Gospel which now is assigned to this Sunday, was not the one primitively used; the ancient liturgists make no mention of it in its present position, nor is it to be found there in any of the manuscripts consulted by Blessed Thomasi, when he was preparing the publication of his Antiphonary. The composition of this and some other Masses shows some few variations of this kind; but these are details, which, whatever may be their interest in other respects, savour too much of erudition, and the nature of this work necessarily excludes them.

Communion

Primum quærite regnum Dei, et omnia adjicientur vobis, dicit Dominus.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all things snail be added unto you, saith the Lord.


An ever-growing love of purity, heaven's protection, and final perseverance—these are the precious fruits of our frequent assistance at these sacred mysteries. Let us secure them, by joining our mother in her Postcommunion prayer.

Postcommunion

Purificent semper et muniant tua sacramenta nos, Deus : et ad perpetuæducant salvationis effectum. Per Dominum.

May these thy mysteries, O God, continually purify and strengthen us, and procure us eternal salvation. Through, etc.


The other Postcommunions as on page 181.


 

VESPERS

 


The psalms, capitulum, hymn, and versicle, as above, pages 71-81.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Quærite primum regnum Dei, et justitiam ejus, et hæc omnia adjicientur vobis. Alleluia.

Oremus.

Custodi, Domine, quæsumus, Ecclesiam tuam propitiatione perpetua : et quia sine te labitur humana mortalitas, tuis semper auxiliis et abstrahatur a noxiis, et ad salutarla dirigatur. Per Dominum nostrum. 

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. Alleluia.

Let us Pray.

Preserve, O Lord, we beseech thee, thy Church by thy constant mercy; and whereas, without thee, human mortality fails, may it, by thine aid, be ever delivered from what things are hurtful, and be directed towards such as are salutary. Through, etc.


[1] St. Matt. xxii.
[2] 1 Cor. xi. 7.
[3] Ibid. 3; Eph. v. 28.
[4] Cant. iv. 8.
[5] Gal. iv. 24-26.
[6] Isa. ii. 2.
[7] Ibid. xxv. 7.
[8] 1 St. Pet. ii. 9.
[9] Isa. lxvi. 8-12.
[10] Gal, iv. 31.
[11] Rom. viii. 14, 26.
[12] Eph. iv. 8, vi. 12.
[13] St. John xii. 31.
[14] St. Aug., De Civit. Dei.
[15] Isa. lx. 5.
[16] Ps. lxiv. 11.
[17] Ibid. xlv. 5.
[18] Ibid, lxxxvi. 2.
[19] Num. xxiv. 5.
[20] St. Matt. v. 48.
[21] Ps. lxxxiii. 6-8.
[22] St. John i. 12.
[23] 1 Cor. xv. 60.
[24] Gen. ii. 7.
[25] St. John iii. 6.
[26] 2 Cor. x. 3.
[27] Rom. viii. 2.
[28] Ibid. vii. 23.
[29] Ibid. 4.
[30] Ibid. viii. 3.
[31] Ibid. i. 28.
[32] Ibid. viii. 12.
[33] Ibid. 1.
[34] 2 Cor. xii. 7.
[35] 1 Cor. ix. 27.
[36] Introduction to a Devout Life, Part III., ch. xxiii
[37] Isa. liii. 8.
[38] St. Matt. xvi. 24.
[39] Eph. i. 23.
[40] Col. i. 24.
[41] St. John xviii. 11.
[42] The sixth Sunday after Pentecost.
[43] Cant. iv. 6.
[44] Ibid. v. 1.
[45] Cant. v. 5.
[46] Ibid. i. 12.
[47] Ibid. v. 13.
[48] 1 Cor. xv. 45-49.
[49] Rom. viii. 29, 30.
[50] 1 St. John ii. 16.
[51] Homil. diei.
[52] St. Matt vi. 19, 20.
[53] St. Matt, vi. 21.
[54] Prov. i. 19.
[55] 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10.
[56] Eccles. v. 9, 10.
[57] Eph. v. 5; Col. iii. 5.
[58] Ecclus. x. 10.
[59] 1 Tim. vi. 10.
[60] Ecclus. x. 9, 10.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Introit for this Sunday, which now goes under the name of the Sunday of the widow of Naim, because of the Gospel read on it, gives us a sample of the prayers we should address to our Lord in our necessities. Last Sunday we heard our Jesus promising to provide for all our wants, on the condition that we would serve Him faithfully, by seeking His kingdom. When we present our petitions to Him, let us show Him the confidence He so well deserves from us; and we shall be graciously heard.

Introit

Inclina, Domine, aurem tuam ad me, et exaudi me : salvum fac servum tuum, Deus meus, sperantem in te : miserere mihi, Domine, quoniam ad te clamavi tota die.

Ps. Lætifica animam servi tui: quia ad te, Domine, animam meam levavi. Gloria Patri. Inclina.

Incline thine ear, O Lord, unto me, and hear me : save thy servant, O my God, who hopeth in thee; have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried to thee all the day.

Ps. Give joy to the soul of thy servant: for to thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul. Glory, etc. Incline.


The humility wherewith our holy mother the Church presents her supplications to God should serve as a model to us. If the bride herself thus treats with God, what ought not to be our sentiments of lowliness, when we appear in the presence of sovereign Majesty? We may well say to this tender mother of ours what the disciples said to Jesus: ‘Teach us how to pray!’[1] Let us unite with her in this Collect.

Collect

Ecclesiam tuam, Domine, miseratio continuata mundet et muniat : et, quia sine te non potest salva consistere, tuo semper munere gubernetur. Per Dominum.

May thy continued mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend thy Church; and because, without thee, she cannot keep safe, may she always be governed by thy gift. Through, etc.


The other Collects, as on page 120.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Galatas.

Cap. v. et vi.

Fratres, Si spiritu vivimus, spiritu et ambulemus. Non efficiamur inanis gloriæ cupidi, invicem provocantes, invicem invidentes. Fratres, et si præoccupatus fuerit homo in aliquo delicto, vos, qui spirituales estis, hujusmodi instruite in spiritu lenitatis, considerans teipsum, ne et tu tenteris. Alter alterius onera portate, et sic adimplebitis legem Christi. Nam si quis existimat se aliquid esse, cum nihil sit, ipse se seducit. Opus autem suum probet unusquisque, et sic in semetipso tantum gloriam habebit, et non in altero. Unusquisque enim onus suum portabit. Communicet autem is, qui catechizatur verbo, ei, qui se catechizat, in omnibus bonis. Nolite errare : Deus non irridetur. Quæ enim seminaverit homo, hæc et metet. Quoniam qui seminat in carne sua, de carne et metet corruptionem : qui autem seminat in spiritu, de spiritu metet vitam æternam. Bonum autem facientes, non deficiamus: tempore enim suo metemus, non deficientes. Ergo dum tempus habemus, operemur bonum ad omnes, maxime autem ad domesticos fidei.

Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul, the Apostle, to the Galatians.

Ch. v. and vi.

Brethren: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be made desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in any fault, you who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens: and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ; For if any man think himself to be something, whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every one prove his own work, and so he shall have glory in himself only, and not in another. For every one shall bear his own burden. And let him that is instructed in the word, communicate to him, that instructeth him, in all good things. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in the flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting. And in doing good, let us not fail. For in due time we shall reap not failing. Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith.


Holy Church resumes the lesson of St. Paul, where she left it last Sunday. The spiritual life— the life produced in our souls by the holy Spirit, in place of the former life of the flesh—is still the subject of the apostle’s teaching. When the flesh has been subdued, we must beware of supposing that the structure of our perfection is completed. Not only must the combat be kept up after the victory, under penalty of losing all we have won, but we must also be on the watch, lest one or other of the heads of the triple concupiscence take advantage of the soul's efforts being elsewhere directed, to raise itself against us, and sting us all the more terribly, because it is left to do just as it pleases. The apostle warns us here of vain-glory, and well he may; for vain-glory is, more than other enemies, always in a menacing attitude, ready to infuse its subtle poison even into acts of humility and penance; hence the Christian, who is desirous to serve God, and not his own gratification, by the virtues he practises, must keep up a specially active vigilance over this passion.

Let us think for a moment of the madness that culprit would be guilty of, who having his sentence of death commuted for a severe flogging, should take pride in the stripes left on his body by the whip! May this madness never be ours! It would seem, however, as though it were far from being impossible, seeing how the apostle, immediately after telling us to mortify our flesh, bids us take heed of vain-glory. In fact, we are not safe on this subject, excepting inasmuch as the outward humiliation, inflicted by us on our body, has this for its principle, that our soul should voluntarily humble herself at the sight of her miseries. The ancient philosophers, too, had their maxims about the restraint of the senses; but those among them who practised those admirably worded maxims found them a stepping-stone for their pride to mount up mountains high in self-conceit. It could not be otherwise; for they were totally devoid of anything like the sentiments which actuated our fathers in the faith, who, when they clad themselves in sackcloth and prostrated on the ground,[2] cried out from the heartfelt conviction of the miseries of human nature: 'Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy! for I was conceived in iniquities, and my sin is ever before me!’[3]

To practise bodily mortification, with a view to get the reputation of being saints, is it not doing what St. Paul here calls sowing in the flesh, that in due time—that is, on the day when the intentions of our hearts will be made manifest[4]—we may reap, not life and glory everlasting, but endless disgrace and shame? Among the works of the flesh mentioned in last Sunday’s Epistle, we found contentions, dissensions, jealousies,[5] all of which are the ordinary outcome of this vain-glory, against which the apostle is now warning us. The production of such rotten fruits would be an unmistakable sign that the heavenly sap of grace had gone from our souls, and that in its stead there had been brought the fermentation of sin; and that now, having made ourselves slaves as of old, we must tremble because of the penalties threatened by God’s law. God is not mocked; and as to the confidence which generous fidelity of love imparts to those who live by the Spirit, it would, in the case we are now supposing, be but a hypocritical counterfeit of the holy liberty of the children of God. They alone are His children, whom the holy Spirit leads [6] in charity; those others are led on by the flesh, and such cannot please God.[7]

If, on the contrary, we would have an equally unmistakable sign which is quite compatible with the obscurities of faith, that we are really in possession of divine union, let us not take occasion from the sight of others' defects and faults to be puffed up with pride, but rather from the consideration of our own miseries, be indulgent to everyone else. If others fall, let us give them a helping and prudent hand. Let us bear one another's burdens along the road of life, and then, having thus fulfilled the law of Christ, we shall know (and oh! the joy there is in such knowing!) that we abide in Him, and He in us.[8] These most thrilling words were made use of by our Lord to express the future intimacy He would have with those who should eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood in holy Communion[9]; and St. John, who has recorded them in his Gospel, takes them and uses them in his Epistles, and (let us mark the deep mystery of the application) applies them to all who, in the Holy Ghost, observe the great commandment of loving their neighbours.[10]

Would to God we could ever have ringing in our ears the saying of the apostle: Whilst we have time, let us work good to all men! For the day will come (and it is not so very far off) when the angel, carrying the mysterious book, and having one foot on the earth and the other on the sea, shall make his mighty voice as that of a lion heard through the universe, and, with his hand lifted up towards heaven, shall swear by Him that liveth for ever and ever, that time shall be no more.[11]Then will man reap with joy what he shall have sown in tears[12]; he failed not, he grew not weary of doing good while in the dreary land of his exile; still less will he ever tire of the everlasting harvest, which is to be in the living light of the eternal day.

As we sing the Gradual, let us remember that the only praise which gives God pleasure is that which goes up to Him from a soul where reigns the harmony of the several virtues. The Christian life, which is regulated by the ten commandments, is the ten-stringed psaltery,[13] on which the Finger of God, the Holy Ghost,[14] plays to the Spouse the music that He loves to hear.

Gradual

Bonum est confiteri Domino : et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.

It is good to give praise to the Lord : and to sing to thy name, O Most High!


V. Ad annuntiandum mane misericordiam tuam, et veritatem tuam per noctem.

Alleluia, alleluia.

V. Quoniam Deus magnus Dominus, et rex magnus super omnem terram. Alleluia.

V. To show forth thy mercy in the morning, and thy truth in the night.

Alleluia, alleluia.

V. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King over all the earth. Alleluia.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.

Cap. vii.

In illo tempore : Ibat Jesus in civitatem quæ vocatur Naim : et ibant cum eo discipuli ejus, et turba copiosa. Cum autem appropinquaret portæcivitatis, ecce defunctus efferebatur, filius unicus matris suæ : et hæc vidua erat: et turba civitatis multa cum illa. Quam cum vidisset Dominus, misericordia motus super eam, dixit illi: Noli flere. Et accessit, et tetigit loculum (hi autem qui portabant steterunt). Et ait: Adolescens, tibi dico, surge. Et resedit qui erat mortuus, et cœpit loqui. Et dedit illum matri suæ. Accepit autem omnes timor: et magnificabant Deum, dicentes : Quia Propheta magnus surrexit in nobis: et quia Deus visitavit plebem suam.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.

Ch. vii.

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


This is the second time during the year that holy Church offers this Gospel to our consideration; we cannot be surprised at this, for the fathers selected by her as its interpreters[15] tell us, on both of these occasions, that the afflicted mother who follows her son to the grave is the Church herself.

The first time we saw her under this symbol, of a mother mourning for her child, was in the penitential season of Lent.[16]She was then, by her fasting and prayer (united as those were with her Jesus’ sufferings), preparing the resurrection of such of our brethren as were dead in sin. Their resurrection was realized, and we had them, in all the fullness of their new life, seated side by side with us at the Paschal Table. What exquisite joy, on that feast of feasts, inundated the mother'sheart, as she thus shared in the triumphant gladness of her divine Spouse! Jesus was, by His one Resurrection, twice over the conqueror of death—He rose from the grave, and He gave back the child to the mother. The disciples of this risen Lord, who follow Him closely by their observance of the evangelical counsels, they, and the whole multitude that associated themselves with the Church, glorified Jesus for His wonderful works, and sang the praises of God who thus vouchsafed to visit His people.

The mother ceased to weep. But since then the Spouse has again left her, to return to His Father; she has resumed her widow’s weeds, and her sufferings are continually adding to the already wellnigh insupportable torture of her exile. And whence these sufferings? From the relapses of so many of those ungrateful children of hers, to whom she had given a second birth,[17] and at the cost of such pains and tears! The countless cares she then spent over her sinners, and that new life she gave them in the presence of her dying Jesus—all this made each of the penitents, during the Great Week, as though he were the only son of thatmother. What an intense grief, says St. John Chrysostom, that so loving a mothershould see them relapsing, after the communion of such mysteries, into sin which kills them! 'Spare me,’ as she may well say, in the words which the holy doctor puts into the apostle’s mouth. 'Spare me! No other child, once born into this world, ever made his mother suffer the pangs of child-birth over again!’ To repair the relapse of a sinner costs her no less travail than to give birth to such as have never believed.[18]

And if we compare these times of ours with the period when sainted pastors made her words respected all over the world, is there a single Christian still faithful to the Church, who does not feel impelled by such contrast to be more and more devoted to a mother so abandoned as she now is? Let us listen to the eloquent words of St. Laurence Justinian on this subject. 'Then,' says he, 'all resplendent with the mystic jewels wherewith the Bridegroom had beautified her on the wedding-day, she thrilled with joy at the increase of her children, both in merit and in number; she urged them to ascend to ever greater heights; she offered them to God; she raised them in her arms up towards heaven. Obeyed by them, she was, in all truth, the mother of fair love and of fear[19]; she was beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array.[20] She stretched out her branches as the turpentine tree, and beneath their shadow she sheltered those whom she had begotten against the heat, and the tempest, and the rain. So long, then, as she could she laboured, feeding at her breasts all those she was able to assemble. But her zeal, great as it was, has redoubled from the time she perceived that many, yea very many, had lost their first fervour. Now for many years she is mourning at the sight of how, each day, her Creator is offended, how great are the losses she sustains, and how many of her children suffer death. She that was once robed in scarlet has put on mourning garments; her fragrance is no longer perceived by the world; instead of a golden girdle, she has but a cord, and instead of the rich ornament of her breast, she is vested in haircloth.[21] Her lamentations and tears are ceaseless. Ceaseless is her prayer, striving if, by some way, she may make the present as beautiful as times past; and yet, as though it were impossible for her to call back that lovely past, she seems wearied with such supplication. The word of the prophet has come true: " They are all gone aside, they are become unprofitable together; there is none that doth good, no, not one!”[22] . . . The manifold sins committed by the Church’s children against the divine precepts show that they who so sin are rotten members, members alien to the body of Christ. Nevertheless the Church forgets not that she gave them birth in the laver of salvation; she forgets not the promises they then made to renounce the devil, and the pomps of the world, and all sin. Therefore does she weep over their fall, being their true mother, and never losing the hope of winning their resurrection by her tears. Oh what a flood of tears is thus every day shed before God! What fervent prayers does this spotless virgin send, by the ministry of the holy angels, up to Christ, who is the salvation of sinners! In the secret of hearts, in lonely retreats, as well as in her public temples, she cries out to the divine mercy, that they, who are now buried in the filth of vice, may be restored to life. Who shall tell the joy of her heart, when she receives back living, the children she mourned over as dead? If the conversion of sinners is such joy to heaven,[23] what must it be to such a mother? According to the multitude of the sorrows of her heart,[24] so will be the consolations, giving joy to her soul.’[25]

It is the duty of us Christians, who by God’s mercy have been preserved from the general decay, to share in the anguish of our mother, the Church; we should humbly but fervently co-operate with her in all her zealous endeavours to reclaim our fallen brethren. We surely can never be satisfied with not being of the number of those senseless sons who are a sorrow to their mother,[26] and despise the labour of her that bore them.[27] Had we not the holy Spirit to tell us how he that honoureth his mother is as one that layeth up to himself a treasure,[28] the thought of what our birth cost her[29] would force us to do everything that lies in our power to comfort her. She is the dear bride of the Incarnate Word; and our souls, too, aspire to union with Him. Let us prove that such union is really ours by doing as the Church does; that is, by showing in our acts the one thought, the one love which the divine Spouse always imparts to souls that enjoy holy intimacy with Him, because there is nothing He Himself has so much at heart; the thought of bringing the whole world to give glory to His eternal Father, and the love of procuring salvation for sinners.

Let us unite with the Church, our mother, in singing now in the Offertory the realization, in part at least, of her expectations; let not our lips ever be shut up in senseless silence when we have our God bestowing favours on us.

Offertory

Exspectans exspectavi Dominum, et respexit me: et exaudivit deprecationem meam, et immisit in os meum canticum novum, hymnum Deo nostro.

With expectation, I have waited for the Lord, and he was attentive to me: and he heard my prayer; and he put a new canticle into my mouth, a song to our God.


In the Secret let us put ourselves, and everything that belongs to us, under the all-powerful custody of the divine mysteries.

Secret

Tua nos, Domine, sacramenta custodiant: et contra diabolicos semper tueantur incursus. Per Dominum.

May thy mysteries, O Lord, be custody unto us : and always defend us against the attacks of the devil. Through, etc.


The other Secrets, as on page 130.


Jesus’ word called back from death the son of the widow of Naim; His Flesh is the life of the world, for it is the Bread, whose praise we are now to celebrate in our Communion-anthem.

Communion

Panis, quem ego dedero, caro mea est pro sæculi vita.

The bread, which I will give, is my flesh for the life of the world.


Divine union is not perfect in us unless the mystery of love so predominates over both our minds and bodies, as that they be fully possessed by it, as our mother here words its efficacy; we must be influenced and directed by it, and not by nature, that is, by the dictates of flesh and blood and human sense.

Postcommunion

Mentes nostras et corpora possideat, quæsumus Domine, doni cœlestis operatio: ut non noster sensus in nobis, sed jugiter ejus præveniat effectus. Per Dominum.

May the operation of the heavenly gift possess our minds and bodies, we beseech thee, O Lord: that our own sense may not rule us, but may the efficiency of that gift ever take the lead in us. Through, etc.


The other Postcommunions, as on page 131.


 

VESPERS

 


The psalms, capitulum, hymn, and versicle, as above, pages 71-81.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Propheta magnus surrexit in nobis, et quia Deus visitavit plebem suam.

Oremus.

Ecclesiam tuam, Domine, miseratio continuata mundet et muniat; et quia sine te non potest salva consistere, tuo semper munere gubernetur. Per Dominum.

A great Prophet hath risen up among us, and God hath visited his people.

Let us Pray.

May thy continued mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because without thee she cannot keep safe, may she always be governed by thy gift. Through, etc.


[1] St. Luke xi. 1.
[2] 1 Paralip. xxi. 16, etc.
[3] Ps. 1
[4] 1 Cor, iv. 5.
[5] Gal v. 19-21.
[6] Rom. viii. 14.
[7] Ibid. 8.
[8] 1 St. John iv. 13.
[9] St. John vi. 57.
[10] 1 St. John iii. 23, 24; iv. 12, 13.
[11] Apoc. x. 1-6.
[12] Ps. cxxv. 5.
[13] Ps. cxliii. 9.
[14] Cf. St. Luke xi. 20; St. Matt. xii. 28.
[15] St. Amb., in Luc., v.; St. Aug., Serm. 44, de Verb. Dom
[16] Thursday of the fourth week of Lent.
[17] Gal. iv. 19.
[18] St. Chrys., De pænit., Hom. I.
[19] Ecclus. xxiv. 24.
[20] Cant. vi. 9.
[21] Isa. iii. 24.
[22] Ps. xiii. 3.
[23] St. Luke xv. 7.
[24] Ps. xciii. 19.
[25] S. Lour. Just., De Compunct. et Planctu Christ. Perfect.
[26] Prov. xvii. 25.
[27] Prov. xxx. 17.
[28] Ecclus. iii. 5.
[29] Tob. iv. 4.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The resuscitation of the son of the widow of Naim, on which our thoughts were fixed last Sunday, has reanimated the confidence of our beloved mother, the Church; her prayer goes up all the more earnestly to her Spouse, who leaves her on earth, for a time, that she may grow dearer to Him by sufferings and tears. Let us, of course, enter into the sentiments which guided her in the choice of to-day’s Introit.

Introit

Miserere mihi, Domine, quoniam ad te clamavi tota die : quia tu, Domine, suavis ac mitis es, et copiosus in misericordia omnibus invocantibus te.
Ps. Inclina, Domine, aurem tuam mihi, et exaudi me : quoniam inops et pauper sum ego. Gloria Patri. Miserere.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried unto thee all the day; for thou, Lord, art sweet and mild, and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon thee.
Ps. Incline thine ear unto me, O Lord, and hear me : for I am needy and poor. Glory, etc. Have mercy.

Such is our inability in the work of salvation, that, unless grace prevent, that is, anticipate, us, we cannot have so much as the thought of doing what is holy; and again, unless it follow up the inspirations it has given us, and lead them to a happy termination, we shall never be able to pass from the simple thought to the act of any virtue whatsoever. If, on the other hand, we be faithful to grace, our life will be one uninterrupted tissue of good works. Let us, in our Collect, ask, both for ourselves and for all our neighbours, the persevering continuity of this most precious aid.

Collect

Tua nos, quæsumus Domine, gratia semper et præveniat et sequatur: ac bonis operibus jugiter præstet esse intentos. Per Dominum.

May thy grace, we beseech thee, O Lord, ever go before us, and follow us; and may it ever make us intent upon good works. Through, etc.


The other Collects, as on page 120.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Ephesios.

Cap. iii.

Fratres, Obsecro vos, ne deficiatis in tribulationibus meis pro vobis, quæ est gloria vostra. Hujus rei gratia flecto genua mea ad Patrem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, ex quo omnis patemitas in cœlis, et in terra nominatur, ut det vobis secundum divitias gloria sua, virtute corroborali per Spiritum ejus in interiorem hominem, Christum habitare per fidem in cordibus vestris : in charitate radicati, et fundati, ut possitis comprehendere cum omnibus sanctis, quæ sit latitudo, et longitudo, et sublimitas, et profundum: scire etiam supereminentem scientiæ charitatem Christi, ut impleamini in omnem plenitudinem Dei. Ei autem, qui potens est omnia facere superabundanter quam petimus, aut intelligimus, secundum virtutem, quæ operatur in nobis : ipsi gloria in Ecclesia, et in Christo Jesu in omnes generationes sæculi sæculorum. Amen.
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians.

Ch. iii.

Brethren: I pray you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened by his Spirit with might unto the inward man. That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts: that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth: to know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us : to him be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations, world without end. Amen.

‘My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King.’[1] The enthusiasm of the royal psalmist, when singing the glorious nuptial song, has taken possession of our apostle’s whole soul, and inspires him with this marvellous Epistle, which seems to put into music, into a song of love, the sublime teachings of all his other letters. When he wrote this to his Ephesians he was Nero’s prisoner; but it shows that the word of God is anything but hampered by the chains that make an apostle a captive.[2]

Although the Epistle to the Ephesians is far from being the longest of his letters, yet it is from it that the Church borrows most during these Sundays after Pentecost; and we may argue from such choice that it gives, more than any other of St. Paul’s Epistles, that leading subject, upon which the Church is particularly anxious to direct her children’s thoughts during this season of the liturgical year. Let us, therefore, thoroughly master the mystery of the Gospel,[3] by hearkening to the herald who received it as his special mission to make known to the Gentiles the treasure that had been hidden from eternity in God.[4] It is as ambassador that he comes to us;[5] and the chains which bind him, far from weakening the authority of his message, are but the glorious badges which accredit him with the disciples of the Christ who died on Calvary.

For, God alone, as he tells us in the music we have just heard, can strengthen in us the inward man enough to make us understand, as the saints do, the dimensions (breadth, length, height, and depth) of the great mystery of Christ dwelling in man, and dwelling in him for the purpose of filling him with the plenitude of God. Therefore is it, that falling on his knees before Him from whom flows every perfect gift, and who has begotten us in the truth by His love,[6] our apostle asks God to open, by faith and charity, the eyes of our heart, that so we may be able to understand the splendid riches of the inheritance He reserves to His children, and the exceeding greatness of the divine power used in our favour, even in this life.[7]

But, if holiness is requisite in order to obtain the full development of the divine life spoken of by the apostle, let us also take notice how the desire and the prayer of St. Paul are for all men; and how, therefore, no one is excluded from that divine vocation. Indeed, as St. John Chrysostom observes,[8] the Christians, to whom he sends his Epistle, are people living in the world, married, having children and servants, for he gives them rules of conduct with regard to each point.[9] The saints of Ephesus, as of all other places, are no others than the faithful of Christ Jesus,[10] that is to say, they are those who faithfully follow the divine precepts, in the condition of life proper to each. Now, it depends on us to follow God's grace; nothing else but our own resistance prevents the Holy Ghost from making saints of us. Those sublime heights, to which the progressive movement of the sacred liturgy has, since Pentecost, been leading the Church, are open to all of us. If the new order of ideas introduced by this movement strike us, at times, as being beyond our practical attainment, the probable reason of such cowardice is—and a short examination of conscience will bear witness against us—that we have neglected, ever since Advent and Christmas, to profit, as we should have done, by the teachings and graces of every kind, which were given us as means for advancing in light and in Christian virtue. The Church, at the commencement of the cycle, offered her aid to every one of us, and that aid she adapted to each one’s capabilities; but she could never remain stationary, because some of us were too lazy to move onwards; she could never consent, out of a regard for our laggings and sluggishness, to neglect leading men of good will to that divine union, which they were told ‘crowns both the year of the Church, and the faithful soul that has spent the year under the Church’s guidance.’[11] But on no account must we lose courage. The cycle of the liturgy runs its full course in the heavens of the Church each year. It will soon be starting afresh, again adapting the power of its graces to each one’s necessities and weaknesses. If, with that new year of grace, we learn a lesson from our past deficiencies; if we do not content ourselves with a mere theoretical admiration of the exquisite poetry, and loveliness, and charms of its opening seasons; if we seriously set ourselves to grow with the growth of that light which is no other than Christ Himself,[12]—if, that is, we profit by the graces of progress which that light will again infuse into our souls—then the work of our sanctification, having been this time prepared, has a cheering and 'a new chance of receiving that completeness, which had been retarded by the weakness of human nature.’[13]

Even now, though our dispositions may not be all they should be, yet the Holy Ghost, that Spirit of loving mercy who reigns over this portion of the cycle, will not refuse the humble prayer we make to Him, and will supply, at least in some measure, our sad shortcomings. Great, after all, has been our gain in this, that the eye of our faith has had new supernatural horizons opened out to it, and that it has reached those peaceful regions which the dull vision of the animal man[14] fails to discover. It is there that divine Wisdom reveals to the perfect that great secret of love, which is not known by the wise and the princes of this world— secret which the eye had not before seen, nor the ear heard, nor the heart even suspected as possible.[15] From this time forward, we shall better understand the divine realities, which fill up the life of the servants of God; they will seem to us, as they truly are, a thousand times preferable, both in importance and in greatness, to those vain frivolities and occupations, in the midst of which is spent the existence of so-called practical men. Let us take delight in thinking upon that divine choice, which, before time was, selected us for the fullness of all spiritual benedictions,[16] of which the temporal blessings of the people of old[17] were but a shadow. The world was not as yet existing, and already God saw us in His Word;[18] to each one among us, He assigned the place he was to hold in the body of His Christ;[19] already, His fatherly eye beheld us clad with that grace[20] which made Him well pleased with the Man-God; and He predestinated us,[21] as being members of this His beloved Son, to sit with Him, on His right hand, in the highest heavens.[22]

Oh! how immense are our obligations to the eternal Father, whose good pleasure[23] has decreed to grant such wondrous gifts to our earth! His will is His counsel,[24] it is the one rule of all His acts; and His will is all love. It is from the voluntary and culpable death of sin[25] that He calls us to that life which is His own life. It is from the deep disgrace of every vice that, after having cleansed us in the Blood of His Son,[26] He has exalted us to a glory, which is the astonishment of the angels, and makes them tremble with adoring admiration.[27] Let us then be holy for the sake of giving praise to the glory of such grace.[28] Christ, in His Divinity, is the substantial brightness and eternal glory of His Father;[29] if He has taken to Himself a Body, if He has made Himself our Head, it was for no other purpose than that He might sing the heavenly canticle in a new way. Not satisfied with presenting in His sacred Humanity, a sight most pleasing to His Father— that is, the sight of the created reflex of divine, and therefore infinite, perfections — He wished, moreover, that the whole of creation should give back to the adorable Trinity an echo of the divine harmonies. It is on this account that He, in His own Flesh, broke down the old enmities existing between Gentile and Jew;[30] and then, bringing together these that were once enemies, He made of them all one spirit and one body, so that their countless human voices might, through Him, blend in unison of love with the angelic choirs, and thus, standing around God’s throne, might attune the one universal song of their praise to that of the infinite Word Himself. Thus shall we become for ever to God, like this divine Word, the praise of His glory, as the apostle thrice loves to express himself in the beginning of this his Epistle to the Ephesians.[31] Thus, too, is to be wrought that mystery which, from all eternity, was the object of God’s eternal designs: the mystery, that is, of divine union, realized by our Lord Jesus uniting, in His own Person, in infinite love, both earth and heaven.[32]

The Church, which is showing herself in the midst of the Gentiles, bears on herself the mark of her divine Architect; God shows Himself, in her, in all majesty; and, by her, the kings of the earth are made to fear Him.

Gradual

Timebunt gentes nomen tuum, Domine, et omnes reges terræ gloriam tuam.

V. Quoniam ædificavit Dominus Sion : et videbitur in majestate sua. Alleluia, alleluia.

V. Cantate Domino canticum novum : quia mirabilia fecit Dominus. Alleluia.
The Gentiles, O Lord, shall fear thy name, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.

V. For the Lord hath built up Sion; and he shall be seen in his glory. Alleluia, alleluia.

V. Sing to the Lord a new canticle: for the Lord hath done wonderful things. Alleluia.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.

Cap. xiv.

In illo tempore : Cum intraret Jesus in domum cujusdam principis pharisæorum sabbato manducare panem, et ipsi observabant eum. Et ecce homo quidam hydropicus erat ante illum. Et respondens Jesus, dixit ad legisperitos, et pharisæos, dicens : Si licet sabbato curare? At illi tacuerunt. Ipse vero apprehensum sanavit eum, ac dimisit. Et respondens ad illos, dixit : Cujus vestrum asinus, aut bos in puteum cadet, et non continuo extrahet illum die sabbati? Et non poterant ad hæc respondere illi. Dicebat autem et ad invitatos parabolani, intendens quomodo primos accubitus eligerent, dicens ad illos : Cum invitatus fueris ad nuptias, non discumbas in primo loco, ne forte honoratior te sit invitatus ab illo, et veniens is, qui te et illum vocavit, dicat tibi : Da huic locum : et tunc incipias cum rubore novissimum locum tenere. Sed cum vocatus fueris, vade, recumbe in novissimo loco : ut, cum venerit qui te invitavit, dicat tibi : Amice, ascende superius. Tune erit tibi gloria coram simul discumbentibus : quia omnis qui se exaltat, humiliabitur: et qui se humiliat, exaltabitur.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.

Ch. xiv.

At that time : When Jesus went into the house of one of the chief of the pharisees on the Sabbath-day to eat bread, they watched him. And behold there was a certain man before him that had the dropsy. And Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and pharisees saying: Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day? But they held their peace. But he taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, he said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit; and will not immediately draw him out on the Sabbathday? And they could not answer him to these things. And he spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than thou be invited by him: and he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee: Give this man place; and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place, that when he who invited thee cometh, he may say to thee : Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee; because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Holy Church here tells us, and in a most unmistakable way, what has been her chief aim for her children ever since the feast of Pentecost. The wedding spoken of in to-day’s Gospel is that of heaven, of which there is a prelude given here below, by the union effected in the sacred banquet of holy Communion. The divine invitation is made to all; and the invitation is not like that which is given on occasion of earthly weddings, to which the bridegroom and bride invite their friends and relatives as simple witnesses to the union contracted between two individuals. In the Gospel wedding, Christ is the Bridegroom, and the Church is the bride.[33] These nuptials are ours, inasmuch as we are members of the Church; and the banquet-hall, in this case, is something far superior to that of a commonplace marriage.

But, that this union be as fruitful as it ought to be, the soul, in the sanctuary of her own conscience, must bring with her a fidelity which is to be an enduring one, and a love which is to be active, even when the feast of the sacred mysteries is past. Divine union, when it is genuine, masters one’s entire being. It fixes one in the untiring contemplation of the beloved Object, in the earnest attention to His interests, in the continual aspiration of the heart towards Him, even when He seems to have absented Himself from the soul. The bride of the divine nuptials should be no less intent on her God, than those of earth are on their earthly spouse.[34] It is on this condition alone, that the Christian soul can be said to have entered on the unitive life, or can yield its precious fruits.

But, for the attainment of all this—that is, that our Lord Jesus Christ may have that full control over the soul and its powers which makes her to be truly His, and subjects her to Him as the bride to her Spouse[35]—it is necessary that all alien competition be entirely and definitively put aside. Now, there is one sad fact, which everyone knows : the divinely noble Son of the eternal Father, the Incarnate Word whose beauty enraptures the heavenly citizens,[36] the immortal King, whose exploits and power and riches are beyond all that the children of men can imagine[37]—has rivals, human rivals, who pretend to have stronger claims than He to creatures whom He has redeemed from slavery, and invited to share with Him the honours of His throne. Even in the case of those whom His loving mercy succeeds in winning over wholly to Himself, is He not frequently kept waiting, for perhaps years, before they can make up their minds to be wise enough to take Him? During that long period of unworthy wavering, He loses not His patience, He does not turn elsewhere as He might in all justice do, but He keeps on asking them to be wholly His,[38] mercifully waiting for some secret touch of one of His graces, joined with the unwearied labour of the Holy Ghost, to get the better of all this inconceivable resistance.

Let us not be surprised at the Church bringing the whole influence of her liturgy to bear on the winning of souls to Christ; for every such conquest she makes for Him is a fresh and closer bond of union between herself and her Lord. This explains how, on some of these previous Sundays, she has given us such admirable instructions regarding the efforts of the triple concupiscence. Earthly pleasures, pride, and covetousness, are really the treacherous advisers, who excite within us, against God’s claims, those impertinent rivals of whom we were just now speaking. Having now reached the sixteenth week of this season of the reign of the Holy Ghost, and taking it for granted that her sons and daughters are in right good earnest about their Christian perfection, the Church hopes that they have fairly unmasked the enemy. To-day, therefore, hoping that her teaching will not fail to impress us, and that we shall no longer put off our most loving Jesus, she proposes to us, in the allegory of our Gospel, the great mystery of love of which He Himself has said : ‘The kingdom of heaven is likened to a King, who made a marriage for His Son.’[39] But, after all, her anxiety as mother and bride never allows her to make quite sure of even her best and dearest children, so long as they are in this world. In order to keep them on their guard against falling into sin, she bids them listen to St. Ambrose, whom she has selected as her homilist for this Sunday. He addresses himself to the Christian who has become a veteran in the spiritual combat, and tells him that concupiscence has snares without end, even for him! Alas! he may trip, any day; he has gone far, perhaps very far, on the road to the kingdom of God, but, even so, he may go wrong, and be for ever shut out from the marriage feast, together with heretics, pagans, and Jews. Let him be on the watch, then, or he may become tainted with those sins, from which, hitherto, thanks to God’s grace, he has kept clear. Let him take heed, or he may become like the man mentioned in to-day’s Gospel, who had the dropsy; and dropsy, says our saintly preacher of Milan, is a morbid exuberance of humours, which stupefy the soul, and induce a total extinction of spiritual ardour. And yet, even if he were to have such a fall as that, let him not forget that the heavenly physician is ever ready to cure him. The saint, in this short homily, condenses the whole of St. Luke’s fourteenth chapter, of which we have been reading but a portion; and he shows, a little farther on, that attachment to the goods of this life is opposed to the ardour which should carry us on the wings of the spirit, towards the heaven where lives and reigns our loved One.’[40] But, above all, it is to the constant attitude and exercise of humility that he must especially direct his attention who would secure a prominent place in the divine feast of the nuptials. All saints are ambitious for future glory of this best kind; but they are well aware that, in order to win it, they must go low down, during the present life, into their own nothingness; the higher in the world to come, the lower in this. Until the great day dawn, when each one is to receive according to his works,[41] we shall lose nothing by putting ourselves, meanwhile, below everybody. The position reserved for us in the kingdom of heaven depends not, in the least, either upon our own thoughts about ourselves, or upon the judgment passed on us by other people; it depends solely on the will of God, who exalteth the humble, and bringeth down the mighty from their seat.[42] Let us hearken to Ecclesiasticus. ‘The greater thou art, the more humble thyself in all things, and thou shalt find grace before God; for great is the power of God alone, and He is honoured by the humble.'[43] Were it only, then, from a motive of self-interest, let us follow the advice of the Gospel, and, in all things, claim, as our own, the last place. Humility is not sterling, and cannot please God, unless, to the lowly estimation we have of ourselves, we join an esteem for others, preventing everyone with honour,[44] gladly yielding to all in matters which do not affect our conscience; and all this, from a deep-rooted conviction of our own misery and worthlessness in the sight of Him who searches the reins and heart.[45] The surest test of our humility before God, is that practical charity for our neighbour, which, in the several circumstances of everyday life, induces us, and without affectation, to give him the precedence over ourselves.

On the contrary, one of the most unequivocal proofs of the falseness of certain so-called spiritual ways, into which the enemy sometimes leads incautious souls, is the lurking contempt wherewith he inspires them for one or more of their acquaintance; it is dormant, perhaps, habitually, but when occasion offers—and it frequently offers—they allow it to influence their thoughts, and words, and actions. To a greater or less extent, and, it may be, with more or less unconsciousness, self-esteem is the basis of the structure of their virtues; but, as for the illuminations, and mystical sweetnesses, which these people sometimes tell their intimate friends they enjoy, they may be quite sure that such favours do not come to them from the holy Spirit. When the substantial light of the Sun of justice shall appear in the valley of the judgment, all counterfeits of this kind will be made evident,[46] and they that trusted to them, and spent their lives in petting such phantoms, will find them all vanishing in smoke. Having then to take a much lower place than the one they dreamt of, they may reckon it a solace, that some place is still given them at the divine banquet. They will have to thank God that their chastisement goes no farther than the shame of seeing those very people passing high up in honour above them, for whom, during life, they had such utter contempt.

The greater the conquests made by the Church, the greater are the efforts of hell to destroy the souls of her dear children. This fearful danger calls for her fervent prayers; and our Offertory-anthem is one of these.

Offertory

Domine, in auxilium meum respice : confundantur et revereantur, qui quærunt animam meam, ut auferant eam : Domine, in auxilium meum respice.

Look down, O Lord, to help me : let them be put to confusion and shame, that seek after my soul, to take it away : look down, O Lord, to help me.


The Secret reminds us, how the Sacrifice, at which we are present, and which is to be consummated, in a few moments, by the words of Consecration, is the most direct and efficacious of all the immediate preparations that we can make for the Communion of the Body and Blood, which that Sacrifice produces on the altar.

Secret

Munda nos, quæsumus, Domine, sacrificii præsentis effectu, et perfice miseratus in nobis, ut ejus mereamur esse participes. Per Dominum.

Cleanse us, O Lord, we beseech thee, by the efficacy of this present Sacrifice : and, by thy mercy, make us worthy to partake thereof. Through, etc.


The other Secrets, as on page 180.


Now that the Church is filled, by the holy Communion just received, with the true substantial Wisdom of the Father, she promises God, as her thank-offering, that she will keep His justice, which is His law, and that she will labour to make His divine teaching produce its fruits.

Communion

Domine, memorabor justitiæ tuæ solius : Deus, docuisti me a juventute mea, et usque in senectam et senium : Deus, ne derelinquas me.

I will remember thy justice alone, O Lord : O God, thou hast instructed me from my youth, and unto old age and grey hairs : O God, forsake me not.


In the Postcommunion, let us pray, with the Church, that we may be renewed by the purity, which these heavenly mysteriesbring to us, who are well prepared for the gift: the effect of such a gift tells upon our bodies, both in this and in the next life.

Postcommunion

Purifica, quæsumus Domine, mentes nostras benignus, et renova cœlestibus sacramentis: ut consequenter et corporum præsens pariter, et futurum capiamus auxilium. Per Dominum.

Mercifully, O Lord, we beseech thee, purify our souls, and renew them by these heavenly mysteries; that we may receive help thereby, both while we are in these mortal bodies, and hereafter. Through, etc.


The other Postcommunions, as on page 131.


 

VESPERS

 


The psalms, capitulum, hymn, and versicle, as above, pages 71-81.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Cum vocatus fueris ad nuptias, recumbe in novissimo loco, ut dicat tibi qui te invitavit : Amice, ascende superius; et erit tibi gloria coram simul discumbentibus. Alleluia.

Oremus.

Tua nos, quæsumus Domine, gratia semper et præveniat et sequatur: ac bonis operibus jugiter præstet esse intentos. Per Dominum.
When thou art invited to a wedding, sit down in the lowest place, that he who invited thee may say unto thee : Friend! go up higher: and thou shalt have glory before them that sit at table with thee. Alleluia.

Let us Pray.

May thy grace, we beseech thee, O Lord, ever go before us, and follow us; and may it ever make us intent upon good works. Through, etc.

[1] Ps. xliv. 2.
[2] 2 Tim. ii. 9.
[3] Eph. vi. 19.
[4] Eph. iii. 8, 9.
[5] Ibid. vi. 20.
[6] St. Jas. i. 17, 18.
[7] Eph. i. 18, 19.
[8] In ep. ad Eph., Hom. 1.
[9] Eph. v. 22; vi. 1, 5.
[10] Eph. i. 1.
[11] Our Volume for Christmas, p. 23.
[12] St. John i. 5.
[13] See above, p. 11.
[14] 1 Cor. ii. 14.
[15] Ibid. 6-9.
[16] Eph. i. 3.
[17] Deut. xxviii. 1-14.
[18] Eph. i. 4.
[19] 1 Cor. xii. 12-31; Eph. iv. 12-16.
[20] Ibid. i. 6.
[21] Ibid 4, 5.
[22] Ibid. i. 20, 23; ii. 6.
[23] Ibid. i. 9.
[24] Ibid. 11.
[25] Ibid. 7; ii. 1-5.
[26] Ibid. i. 7.
[27] Hymn for the Ascension; Matins.
[28] Eph. i. 4, 6.
[29] Heb. i. 3.
[30] Eph. ii. 14-18.
[31] Ibid. i. 6, 12, 14.
[32] Ibid. 9, 10.
[33] Apoc. xix. 7.
[34] 1 Cor. vii. 34.
[35] 1 Cor. xi. 8-10.
[36] Acta S. Agnetis.
[37] Ps. xliv.
[38] Apoc. iii. 20.
[39] St. Matt. xxii. 2.
[40] S. Amb., in Luc., vii., Homil. Diei.
[41] St. Matt. xvi. 27.
[42] St. Luke i. 52.
[43] Ecclus. iii. 20, 21.
[44] Rom. xii. 10.
[45] Apoc. ii. 23.
[46] 1 Cor. iv. 5.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Gospel, which is now assigned to the Mass of the seventeenth Sunday, has given it the name of the Sunday of the love of God, dating, that is, from the time when the Gospel of the cure of the dropsy and of the invitation to the wedding-feast was anticipated by eight days. Previously even to that change, and from the very first, there used to be read, on this seventeenth Sunday, another passage from the new Testament, which is no longer found in this series of Sundays: it was the Gospel which mentions the difficulty regarding the resurrection of the dead, which the Sadducees proposed to our Lord.[1]

 

MASS

 

The judgments of God are always just, whether it be, in His justice, humbling the proud, or, in His mercy, exalting the humble. This day last week we saw this sovereign disposer of all things, allotting to each his place at the divine banquet. Let us recall to mind the behaviour of the guests, and the respective treatment shown to the humble and the proud. Adoring these judgments of our Lord, let us sing our Introit; and, as far as regards ourselves, let us throw ourselves entirely upon His mercy.

Introit

Justus es, Domine, et rectum judicium tuum : fac cum servo tuo secundum misericordiam tuam.

Ps. Beati immaculati in via : qui ambulant in lege Domini. Gloria Patri. Justus es.
Thou art just, O Lord, and thy judgment is right; deal with thy servant according to thy mercy.

Ps. Blessed are the undefiled in the way : who walk in the law of the Lord. Glory, etc. Thou.

The most hateful of all the obstacles which divine love has to encounter upon earth is the jealousy of satan, who endeavours, by an impious usurpation, to rob God of the possession of our souls—souls, that is, which were created by and for Him alone. Let us unite with holy Church in praying, in the Collect, for the supernatural assistance we require for avoiding the foul contact of the hideous serpent.

Collect

Da, quæsumus Domine, populo tuo diabolica vitare contagia : et te solum Deum pura mente sectari. Per Dominum.

Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that thy people may avoid all the contagions of the devil; and, with a pure mind, follow thee, who alone art God. Through, etc.


The other Collects, as on page 120.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Ephesios.

Cap. iv.

Fratres, Obsecro vos ego vinctus in Domino, ut digne ambuletis vocatione, qua vocati estis, cum omni humilitate, et mansuetudine, cum patientia, supportantes invicem in charitate, solliciti servare unitatem spiritus in vinculo pacis. Unum corpus, et unus Spiritus, sicut vocati estis in una spe vocationis vestræ. Unus Dominus, una fides, unum baptisma. Unus Deus et Pater omnium, qui est super omnes, et per omnia, et in omnibus nobis. Qui est benedictus in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul, the Apostle, to the Ephesians.

Ch. iv.

Brethren: I, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, with all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity. Careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all, who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen.


The Church, by thus giving these words from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, again takes up the subject so dear to her, viz., the dignity of her children. She beseeches them to correspond, in a becoming manner, to their high vocation. This vocation, this call, which God gives us is, as we have been so often told, the call, or invitation, made to the human family to come to the sacred nuptials of divine union; it is the vocation given to us to reign in heaven with the Word, who has made Himself our Spouse, and our Head.[2] The Gospel read to us last week was formerly the one appointed for this present Sunday, and was thus brought into close connexion with our Epistle. These words of St. Paul to the Ephesians are an admirable commentary on that Gospel, and it, in turn, throws light on the apostle’s words about the vocation. ‘When thou art invited to a wedding (cum vocatus fueris) sit down in the lowest place!’ These were our Lord’s words to us last Sunday; and now we have the apostle saying to us : Walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, yes, walk in that vocation with all humility!

Let us now attentively hearken to our apostle, telling us what we must do, in order to prove ourselves worthy of the high honour offered to us by the Son of God. We must practise, among other virtues, these three—humility, mildness, and patience. These are the means for gaining the end that is so generously proposed to us. And what is this end? It is the unity of that immense body, which the Son of God makes His own, by the mystic nuptials He vouchsafes to celebrate with our human nature. This Man-God asks one condition from those whom He calls, whom He invites, to become, through the Church, His bride, bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh.[3] This one condition is, that they maintain such harmony among them, that it will make one bodyand one spirit of them all, in the bond of peace. ‘Bond most glorious!’ cries out St. John Chrysostom—‘bond most admirable, which unites us all with one another, and then, thus united, unites us with God.’[4] The strength of this bond is the strength of the holy Spirit Himself, who is all holiness and love; for it is that holy Spirit who forms these spiritual and divine ties; He it is who, with the countless multitude of the baptized, does the work which the soul does in the human body— that is, gives it life, and unites all the members into oneness of person. It is by the Holy Ghost that young and old, poor and rich, men and women, distinct as all these are in other respects, are made one, fused, so to say, in the fire which eternally burns in the blessed Trinity. But, in order that the flame of infinite love may thus draw into its embrace our regenerated humanity, we must get rid of selfish rivalries, and grudges, and dissensions, which, so long as they exist among us, prove us to be carnal,[5] and, therefore, to be unfit material either for the divine flame to touch, or for the union which that flame produces. According to the beautiful comparison of St. John

Chrysostom,[6] when the fire lays hold of various species of wood which have been thrown into it, if it find the fuel properly dry, it makes one burning pile of all the several woods; but, if they are damp and wet, it cannot act on them separately, nor reduce the whole to one common blaze. So is it in the spiritual order; the unhealthy humidity of the passions neutralizes the action of the sanctifying Spirit; and union, which is both the means and the end of love, becomes an impossibility.

Let us, therefore, bind ourselves to our brethren by that blessed link of charity, which, if it fetters at all, fetters only our bad tempers; but, in all other respects, it dilates our hearts, by the very fact of its giving free scope to the Holy Ghost to lead them safely to the realization of that one hope of our common vocation and calling, which is to unite us to God by love. Of course, charity, even with the saints, is, so long as they are on this earth, a laborious virtue; because, even with the best, grace seldom restores to a perfect equilibrium the faculties of man, which were put out of order by original sin. From this it follows that the weaknesses of human nature will sometimes show themselves, either by excess or by deficiency; and when these weaknesses do appear, not only the saint himself is humbled by their getting the better of him, but, as he is well aware, those who live with him have to practise kindness and patience towards him. God permits all this, in order to increase the merit of us all, and make us long more and more for heaven. For it is there alone that we shall find ourselves, not only totally, but without any effort, in perfect harmony with our fellow-men; and this because of the perfect peaceful submissiveness of our entire being under the absolute sway of the thrice holy God, who will then be all in all.[7]In that happy land God Himself will wipe away the tears of His elect, for their miseries will all be gone; and their miseries will be gone because their whole being will be renovated, because united with Him, who is its infinite source.[8] The eternal Son of God, having then conquered in each member of His mystical body the hostile powers and death itself,[9]will appear, in the fullness of the mystery of His Incarnation, as the true Head of humanity, sanctified, restored,[10] and developed in Him. He will rejoice at seeing how, by the workings of the sanctifying Spirit, there has been wrought the destined degree of perfection in each of the several parts of that marvellous body,[11] which He vouchsafed to aggregate to Himself by the bond of love; and all this in order that He might Himself eternally celebrate, in concert with all creation, the glory of the ever adorable Trinity. How will the sweetest music of earth be then surpassed! How will our most perfect choirs seem to us then to have been almost like the noise of children singing out of tune, compared with the concord and harmony of that eternal song! Let us make ourselves ready for that heavenly concert. Let us put our voices in order, by now attuning our hearts to that plenitude of love, which, alas! is not often enjoyed here below, but which we should ever be trying to realize, by patiently supporting the faults of our brethren and ourselves, as the Epistle so earnestly impresses upon us.

In the ecstasy of her delight at hearing these few sounds of heaven’s music brought to her by such a singer as her apostle, our mother the Church seems to feel herself carried away far beyond time, and boldly joins a short song of her own to that of Jesus and His apostle; for by way of a conclusion to the text of our Epistle, she adds an ardent expression of praise, which is not in the original; and thus she forms a kind of doxology to the inspired words of her apostolic cantor.

We now know the priceless gifts brought to our earth by the Man-God. [12] Thanks to the prodigies of power and love achieved by the divine Word and the sanctifying Spirit, the soul of the just man is a little heaven on earth. Let us sing in our Gradual and Alleluia the happiness of the Christian people, chosen by God for His own inheritance.

Gradual

Beata gens, cujus est Dominus Deus eorum : populus, quem elegit Dominus in hæreditatem sibi.

V. Verbo Domini cœli firmati sunt : et spiritu oris ejus omnis virtus eorum. Alleluia, alleluia.

V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam : et clamor meus ad te perveniat. Alleluia.

Blessed is the nation that hath the Lord for its God : the people whom he hath chosen for his inheritance.

V. By the word of the Lord, and the breath of his mouth, were the heavens formed, and the whole host thereof. Alleluia, alleluia.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee. Alleluia.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xxii. 

In illo tempore : Accesserunt ad Jesum Pharisæi, et interrogavit eum unus ex eis legis doctor, tentans eum : Magister, quod est mandatum magnum in lege? Ait illi Jesus : Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, et in tota anima tua, et in tota mente tua. Hoc est maximum, et primum mandatum. Secundum autem simile est huic : Diliges proximum tuum sicut teipsum. In his duobus mandatis universa lex pendet, et prophetæ. Congregatia autem Pharisæis, interrogavit eos Jesus, dicens : Quid vobis videtur de Christo? cujus filius est? Dicunt ei : David. Ait illis: Quomodo ergo David in spiritu vocat eum Dominum, dicens : Dixit Dominus Domino meo : Sede a dextris meis, donec ponam inimicos tuos scabellum pedum tuorum? Si ergo David vocat eum Dominum, quomodo filius ejus est? Et nemo poterat ei responded verbum; neque ausus fuit quisquam ex illa die eum amplius interrogare.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xxii.

At that time : The Pharisees came to Jesus: and one of them, a doctor of the law, asked him, tempting him: Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him : Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets. And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them saying: What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say to him: David’s. He saith to them : How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying : The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool? If David then called him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word; neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.


The Man-God allowed temptation to approach His sacred Person in the desert;[13] He disdained not to sustain the attacks, which the devil’s spiteful cunning has, from the world’s beginning, been inventing, as the surest means of working man’s perdition. Our Jesus permitted the demon thus to tempt Him, in order that He might show His faithful servants how they are to repel the assaults of the wicked spirit. To-day, our adorable Master, who would be a model to His children in all their trials,[14] is represented to us as having to contend, not with satan’s perfidy, but with the hypocrisy of His bitterest enemies, the pharisees. They seek to ensnare Him in His speech,[15] just as the representatives of the world, which He has condemned,[16] will do to His Church, and that in all ages, right to the end of time. But as her divine Spouse triumphed, so will she; for He will enable her to continue His work upon earth, and amidst the same temptations and the same snares. She is ever to obtain the victory, by maintaining a most inviolable fidelity to God’s law and truth. The tools of satan, who are the heretics and the princes of the world, chafing at the restraint put by Christianity on their ambition and lust, will always be studying how best to outwit the guardian of the divine oracles, by their captious propositions or questions. When necessity requires her to speak, she is quite ready; for, as bride of that divine Word, who is His Father’s eternal and substantial utterance, what can she be but a voice, either to announce Him on earth, or to sing Him in heaven? That word of hers, endowed as it is with the power and penetration of God Himself, will not only never be conquered by surprise, but, like a two-edged sword, it will generally go much deeper than the crafty questioners of the Church anticipated; it will not only refute their sophistry, it will also expose the hypocrisy and wickedness of their intentions.[17] By their sacrilegious attempts, they will have gained nothing but disgrace and shame, and the mortification of having occasioned a fresh lustre to truth by the new light in which it has been put, and of having procured a clearer knowledge of dogma or morals for the devoted children of the Church.

It was thus with the pharisees of to-day’s Gospel. As the homily upon it tells us, they wanted to see if Jesus, who had declared Himself to be God, would not, consequently, make some addition to the commandment of divine love; and if He did they would be justified in condemning Him as having tried to change the letter of the law in its greatest commandment.[18] Our Lord disappointed them. He met their question by giving it a longer answer than they had asked for. Having first recited the text of the great commandment as given in the Scripture, he continued the quotation, and, by so doing, showed them that He was not ignorant of the intention which had induced them to question Him. He reminded them of the second commandment, like unto the first, the commandment of love of our neighbour, which condemned their intended crime of deicide. Thus were they convicted of loving neither their neighbour, nor God Himself, for the firstcommandment cannot be observed if the second, which flows from and completes it, be broken.

But our Lord does not stop there; He obliges them to acknowledge, at least implicitly, the Divinity of the Messiah. He puts a question, in His turn, to them, and they answer it by saying, as they were obliged to do, that the Christ was to be of the family of David; but if He be his Son, how comes it that David calls Him his Lord, just as he calls God Himself, as we have it in Psalm cix., where he celebrates the glories of the Messiah? The only possible explanation is, that the Messiah, who in due time, and as Man, was to be born of David’s house, was God, and Son of God, even before time existed, according to the same psalm: ‘From my womb, before the day-star, I begot thee.’[19] This answer would have condemned the pharisees, so they refused to give it; but their silence was an avowal; and, before very long, the eternal Father’s vengeance upon these vile enemies of His Son will fulfil the prophecy of making them His footstool in blood and shame: that time is to be the terrible day when the justice of God will fall upon the deicide city.

Let us Christians, out of contempt for satan, who stirred up the expiring Synagogue thus to lay snares for the Son of God, turn these efforts of hatred into an instruction which will warm up our love. The Jews, by rejecting Christ Jesus, sinned against both of the commandments which constitute charity, and embody the whole law; and we, on the contrary, by loving that same Jesus, fulfil the whole law.

Jesus is the brightness of eternal glory,[20] one, by nature, with the Father and the Holy Ghost; He is the God whom the first commandment bids us love, and it is in Him also that the second has its truest and adequate application. For not only is He as truly Man as He is truly God, but He is the Man par excellence,[21] the perfect Man, on whose type, and for whom, all other men were formed;[22] He is the model and the brother of all of them;[23] He is at the same time the leader who governs them as their King,[24] and offers them to God as their High Priest;[25] He is the Head who communicates to all the members of the human family beauty, and life, and movement, and light; He is the Redeemer of that human family since it has fallen, and on that account He is twice over the source of all right, and the ultimate and highest motive, even when not the direct object, of every love that deserves to be called love here below. Nothing counts with God, excepting so far as it has reference to Jesus. As St. Augustine says,[26]God loves men only inasmuch as they either are, or may one day become, members of His Son; it is His Son that He loves in them; thus He loves, with one same love though not equally, His Word, and the Flesh of His Word, and the members of His Incarnate Word. Now, charity is love—love such as it is in God, communicated to us creatures by the Holy Ghost. Therefore, what we should love, by charity, both in ourselves, and in others, is the divine Word, either as being, or, according to another expression of the same St. Augustine, ‘that He may be,’ in others and in ourselves.[27]

Let us take care, also, as a consequence of this same truth, not to exclude any human being from our love, excepting the damned, who are absolutely and eternally cut off from the body of the Man-God. Who can boast that he has the charity of Christ if he do not embrace His unity? The question is St. Augustine’s again.[28] Who can love Christ, without loving, with Him, the Church, which is His body? without loving all His members? What we do—be it to the least, or be it to the worthiest, be it of evil, or of good—it is to Him we do it, for He tells us so.[29] Then, let us love our neighbour as ourselves, because of Christ, who is in each of us, and who gives to us all union and increase in charity.[30]

That same apostle who says, 'The end of the law is charity,’[31] says also: ‘The end of the law is Christ;’[32] and we now see the harmony existing between these two distinct propositions. We understand, also, the connexion there is between the word of the Gospel: On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets, and that other saying of our Lord: Search the Scriptures, for the same are they that give testimony of Me.[33] The fullness of the law, which is the rule of men’s conduct, is in charity,[34] of which Christ is the end; just as the object of the revealed Scriptures is no other than the Man-God, who embodies in His own adorable unity, for us His followers, all moral teaching, and all dogma. He is our faith and our love, ‘the end of all our resolutions,’ says St. Augustine; 'for all our efforts tend but to this—to perfect ourselves in Him; and this is our perfection —to reach Him: having reached Him, seek no farther, for He is your End.’[35]The holy Doctor gives us, when we have reached this point, the best instruction as to how we are to live in the divine union: 'Let us cling to One, let us enjoy One, let us all be one in Him; hcereamus Uni, fruamur Uno, permaneamus unum'[36]

The beautiful anthem for to-day’s Offertory, separated, as we now have it, from the verses which formerly accompanied it, does not suggest why, in the earliest ages, it was assigned to this Sunday. We subjoin these verses to the anthem, which has been retained. The second concludes with the announcement of the arrival of the prince of the heavenly hosts, who is coming to the aid of God’s people. This gives the desired explanation; and it becomes all the clearer, when we remember that this Sunday begins the week of the great archangel in the antiphonary published, from the most ancient manuscripts, by the blessed Thomasi; and that the following Sunday is there designated as the first Sunday after Saint Michael (post Sancti Angeli).

Offertory

Oravi Deum meum ego Daniel, dicens : Exaudi, Domine, preces servi tui : illumina faciem tuam super sanctuarium tuum : et propitius intende populum istum, super quem invocatum est nomen tuum, Deus.

V. I. Adhuc me loquente et orante, et narrante peccata mea, et delicta populi mei Israel. Super quem.

V. II. Audivi vocem dicentem mihi : Daniel, intellige verba quæ loquor Ubi; quia ego missus sum ad te; nam et Michael venit in adjutorium meum.

Et propitius intende.

I Daniel prayed unto my God, saying : Graciously hear, O Lord, the prayers of thy servant : show thy face upon thy sanctuary : and mercifully look upon this people, upon which is invocated thy name, O God.

V. I. Whilst I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sins, and the sins of my people of Israel. Upon which.

V. II. I heard a voice saying unto me : Daniel! understand the words that I speak unto thee; for I am sent unto thee; for Michael likewise cometh to help me.

And mercifully look.


Forgiveness of our past sins, and preservation from future ones, these are the effects produced by the holy sacrifice. Let us pray for them, in the Secret, together with the Church.

Secret

Majestatem tuam, Domine, suppliciter deprecamur : ut hæc sancta, quægerimus, et a præteritis nos delictis exuant, et futuris. Per Dominum.
We humbly beseech thy majesty, O Lord: that the sacred mysteries we are celebrating may rid us of our past sins, and preserve us from sin for the future. Through, etc.

The other Secrets, as on page 130.


It is while assisting at these great mysteries that the Christian soul, in the enthusiasm of her love, presents to her God her promises and her engagements. Let her, then, give herself unreservedly to God, who overwhelms her with His favours; but, while thus giving free vent to the holy emotions which she so justly feels, let her not forget, that He who hides Himself, out of consideration for our weakness, under the eucharistic veil, is the Most High, who is terrible to the kings of the earth, and an avenger of infidelity to what is vowed.

Communion

Vovete, et reddite Domino Deo vestro omnes, qui in circuitu ejus affertis munera : terribili et ei, qui aufert spiritum principum : terribili apud omnes reges terræ.

Vow ye, and pay to the Lord your God, all ye that, round about him, bring gifts : to him that is terrible; even to him, who taketh away the spirit of princes : to the terrible with the kings of the earth.


It is the very holiness of God that in this divine Sacrament comes for the purpose of curing our vices, and fortifying our faltering steps on the road which leads to eternity. In the prayer of the Postcommunion, let us yield our souls to His almighty influence.

Postcommunion

Sanctificationibus tuis, omnipotens Deus, et vitia nostra curentur, et remedia nobis æterna proveniant. Per Dominum.

May our vices be cured, O almighty God, and eternal remedies procured for us, by these thy holy mysteries. Through, etc.


The other Postcommunions, as on page 131.


 

VESPERS

 


The psalms, capitulum, hymn, and versicle, as above, pages 71-81.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Quid vobis videtur de Christo? cujus filius est? Dicunt ei omnes : David. Dicit eis Jesus : Quomodo David in spiritu vocat eum Dominum, dicens: Dixit Dominus Domino meo: Sede a dextris meis?

Oremus.

Da, quæsumus Domine, populo tuo diabolica vitare contagia : et te solum Deum pura mente sectari. Per Dominum. 

What think ye of Christ? whose Son is he? They all say to him: David’s. Jesus saith unto them : How doth David, in spirit, call him Lord, saying: the Lord said unto my Lord, sit on my right hand?

Let us Pray.

Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that thy people may avoid all the contagions of the devil; and, with a pure mind, follow thee, who alone art God. Through, etc.


[1] St. Matt. xxii. 23-33.
[2] Eph. ii. 5.
[3] Eph. v. 30.
[4] St. Chrys., in Ep. ad Eph., Hom. ix. 3.
[5] 1 Cor. iii. 3.
[6] St. Chrys., ubi supra.
[7] 1 Cor. xv. 28.
[8] Apoc. xxi. 4, 5
[9] 1 Cor. xv. 24-28.
[10] Eph. i. 10.
[11] Ibid. iv. 13-16.
[12] Eph. iv. 8.
[13] St. Matt. iv. 1-11.
[14] Heb. ii. 17, 18; iv. 15.
[15] St. Matt. xxii. 15.
[16] St. John xvi. 8-11.
[17] Heb. iv. 12.
[18] St. Chrys., Hom, lxxvii. in Matt.
[19] Ps. cix. 3.
[20] Heb. i. 3.
[21] St. John xix. 5.
[22] Rom. viii. 29.
[23] Heb. ii. 17.
[24] St. John xviii. 37.
[25] Heb. x. 14.
[26] S. Aug., in Joan. Tract cx.
[27] Serm. cclv., in dieb pasch.
[28] Epist. lxi.
[29] St. Matt. xxv. 40-45.
[30] Eph. iv. 15, 16.
[31] 1 Tim. i 5
[32] Rom. x. 4.
[33] St. John v. 39.
[34] Rom. xiii. 10.
[35] St. Aug., in Ps. Ivi.
[36] De Trinit., L. iv. 11.

 

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