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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.

MASS

Introit

Adorate Deum omnes Angeli ejus: audivit et lætata est Sion: et exsultaverunt filiæ Judæ. Ps. Dominus regnavit; exsultet terra, lætentur insulæ multæ. ℣. Gloria Patri. Adorate.
Adore God, all ye his Angels: Sion heard and was glad, and the daughters of Juda rejoiced. Ps. The Lord hath reigned; let the earth rejoice, let many islands be glad. ℣. Glory, etc. Adore.

Collect

Deus, qui nos in tantis periculis constitutos, pro humana scis fragilitate non posse subsistere: da nobis salutem mentis et corporis; ut ea quæ pro peccatis nostris patimur, te adjuvante, vincamus. Per Dominum.
O God, who knowest that through human frailty we are not able to subsist amidst such great dangers, grant us health of soul and body, that whatsoever things we suffer because of our sins, we may overcome by thine assistance. Through, etc.

Then are added the Collects special to the season of Christmas, in honour of our Lady, against the persecutors of the Church, or for the Pope; which are given above, page 251.

Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos.

Cap. XIII.

Fratres, nemini quidquam debeatis, nisi ut invicem diligatis: qui enim diligit proximum, legem implevit. Nam: Non adulterabis; Non occides; Non furaberis; Non falsum testimonium dices; Non concupisces, et si quod est aliud mandatum, in hoc verbo instauratur: Diliges proximum tuum sicut teipsum. Dilectio proximi malum non operatur. Plenitudo ergo legis est dilectio.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans.

Ch. XIII.

Brethren, owe no man any thing, but to love one another; for he that loveth his neighbour hath fulfilled the law. For, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery: Thou shalt not kill: Thou shalt not steal: Thou shalt not bear false witness: Thou shalt not covet': and if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word: 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ The love of our neighbour worketh no evil. Love, therefore, is the fulfilling of the law.

During this holy season, when the very Son of God is giving so great a proof of his love for man, whose nature he has assumed, the Church is continually exhorting the Faithful, in the words of the Apostle, to practise charity towards each other. Emmanuel comes to us as our Lawgiver: now he has resumed his whole Law in the precept of Love; he is come in order to unite what sin had divided. Let us comply with his divine intentions, and accomplish with earnestness the Law he has imposed upon us.

Gradual

Timebunt gentes Nomen tuum, Domine, et omnes reges terræ gloriam tuam.
. Quoniam ædificavit Dominus Sion, et videbitur in majestate sua.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Dominus regnavit: exsultet terra, lætentur insulæ multæ. Alleluia.
The Gentiles shall fear thy Name, O Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
℣. For the Lord hath built up Sion, and he shall be seen in his glory.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. The Lord hath reigned; let the earth rejoice: let many islands be glad. Alleluia.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. VIII.

In illo tempore, Ascendente Jesu in naviculam, secuti sunt eum discipuli ejus. Et ecce motus magnus factus est in mari, ita ut navicula operiretur fluctibus; ipse vero dormiebat. Et accesserunt ad eum discipuli ejus, et suscitaverunt eum dicentes: Domine, salva nos. perimus. Et dicit eis Jesus: Quid timidi estis, modicæ fidei? Tunc surgens, imperavit ventis et mari, et facta est tranquillitas magna. Porro homines mirati sunt, dicentes: Qualis est hic, quia venti et mare obediunt ei?
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew. Ch. VIII.

At that time, when Jesus entered into the boat, his disciples followed him; and behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves; but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awakened him, saying: Lord, save us, we perish. And Jesus saith to them: Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up, he commanded the winds and the sea, and there came a great calm. But the men wondered, saying: What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey him!

Let us adore the power of our Emmanuel, who is come to calm the tempest which threatened the human race with death. In the midst of their danger, the successive generations of men had cried out: Lord! save us; we perish. When the fulness of time had come, he awoke from his rest; he had but to command, and the power of our enemies was destroyed. The malice of the devils, the darkness of idolatry, the corruption of paganism—all yielded. Nation after nation was converted to Jesus. They had said, when in their misery and blindness: 'Who is this Jesus, whom no power can resist?' and then they embraced his Law. This power of Jesus to break down every obstacle, and that, too, at the very time when men were disquieted at his apparent slumbering, has often shown itself in the past ages of the Church. How many times has he not chosen for saving the world that period which seemed the least likely for rescue! The same happens in the life of each one among us. Oftentimes we are tossed to and fro by violent temptations; it would seem as though the billows must sink us; and yet our will is firmly anchored to God! And what is all this, if not Jesus sleeping in the storm-tossed boat, protecting us by this his sleeping? And if our cry for help at length awaken him, it is only to proclaim his own and our victory; for he has already conquered, and we have conquered in him.

Offertory

Dextera Domini fecit virtutem, dextera Domini exaltavit me: non moriar, sed vivam, et narrabo opera Domini.
The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength, the right hand of the Lord hath exalted me: I shall not die, but live, and shall declare the works of the Lord.

Secret

Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus; ut hujus sacrincii munus oblatum, fragilitatem nostram ab omni malo purget semper et muniat. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that the offering of this sacrifice may always cleanse our frailty from all evil, and be a protection to us. Through, etc.

To this are added the other Secrets, as given on page 255. The Preface is that of the Blessed Trinity, page 256.

Communion

Mirabantur omnes de his quæ procedebant de ore Dei.
All wondered at the words that came from the mouth of God.

Postcommunion

Munera tua nos, Deus, a delectationibus terrenis expediant, et cœlestibus semper instaurent alimentis. Per Dominum.
May thy gifts, of which we have partaken, O God, detach us from all earthly pleasures, and ever refresh and strengthen us with heavenly food. Through, etc.

Then are added the other Postcommunions, as given on page 257.



VESPERS


The Psalms, Antiphons, Capitulum, Hymn and Versicle are given on pages 89-96.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Ant. Domine, salva nos, perimus: impera, et fac, Deus, tranquillitatem.
Ant. Save us, O Lord, we perish: command, O God, and make the sea calm.

Oremus

Deus qui nos in tantis periculis constitutos, pro humana scis fragilitate non posse subsistere: da nobis salutem mentis et corporis; ut ea quæ pro peccatis nostris patimur, te adjuvante vincamus. Per Dominum.
Let Us Pray

O God, who knowest that through human frailty we are not able to subsist amidst so many dangers, grant us health of soul and body; that whatsoever we suffer for our sins, we may overcome by thy assistance. Through, etc.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Mass

Introit

Adorate Deum omnes angeli ejus: audivit et lætata est Sion: et exsultaverunt filiæ Judæ.

Ps. Dominus regnavit: exsultet terra, lætentur insulæ multæ. V. Gloria Patri. Adorate.
Adore God, all ye his angels: Sion heard and was glad, and the daughters of Juda rejoiced.

Ps. The Lord hath reigned: let the earth rejoice, let many islands be glad. V. Glory, etc. Adore.

Collect

Familiam tuam, quæsumus Domine, continua pietate custodi: ut quæ in sola spe gratiæ cœlestis innititur, tua semper protectione muniatur. Per Dominum.
Preserve, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy family by thy constant mercy; that, as it leans solely on the hope of heavenly grace, it may always be defended by thy protection. Through, etc.

Second Collect

A cunctis nos, quæsumus Domine, mentis et corporis defende periculis: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, beatis apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo atque beato N. et omnibus sanctis, salutem nobis tribue benignus et pacem; ut destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, Ecclesia tua secura tibi serviat libertate.
Preserve us, O Lord, we beseech thee, from all dangers of soul and body: and by the intercession of the glorious and blessed Mary, the ever Virgin Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, of blessed N. (here is mentioned the titular saint of the church), and of all the saints, grant us in thy mercy, health and peace; that all adversities and errors being removed, thy Church may serve thee with undisturbed liberty.

A third Collect is added, at the choice of the priest.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Colossenses.

Cap. iii.

Fratres, induite vos, sicut electi Dei, sancti, et dilecti, viscera misericordiæ, benignitatem, humilitatem, modestiam, patientiam, supportantes invicem, et donantes vobismetipsis, si quis adversus aliquem habet querelam: sicut et Dominus donavit vobis, ita et vos. Super omnia autem liæc, charitatem habete, quod est vinculum perfections: et pax Christi exsultet in cordibus vestris, in qua et vocati estis in uno corpore: et grati estote. Verbum Christi habitet in vobis abundanter, in omni sapientia, docentes, et commonentes vosmetipsos, psalmis, hymnis, et canticis spiritualibus, in gratia cantantes in cordibus vestris Deo. Omne quodcumque facitis, in verbo aut in opere, omnia in nomine Domini nostri Jesu Christi, gratias agentes Deo et Patri per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum.
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Colossians.

Ch. iii.

Brethren, put ye on therefore as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another; even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection; and let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God. All whatsoever you do in word, or in work, all things do ye in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Christian, trained as he has been in the school of the Man-God who deigned to dwell upon this earth, should ever show mercy towards his fellow-men. This world which has been purified by the presence of the Incarnate Word, would become an abode of peace, if we were but to live in such manner as to merit the titles, given us by the apostle, of elect of God, holy, and beloved. The peace here spoken of should, first of all, fill the heart of every Christian, and give it an uninterrupted joy, which would be ever pouring itself forth in singing the praises of God. But it is mainly on the Sundays, that the faithful, by taking part with the Church in her psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, fulfil this duty so dear to their hearts. Let us, moreover, in our every-day life, practise the advice given us by the apostle, of doing all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in order that we may, in all things, find favour with our heavenly Father.

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. Dominus regnavit, exsultet terra: lætentur insulæ multæ. Alleluia.

The Gentiles shall fear thy name, O Lord, 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. The Lord hath reigned, let the earth rejoice: let many islands be glad. Alleluia.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.


Cap. xiii.

In illo tempore; Dixit Jesus turbis parabolani hanc: Simile factum est regnum cœlorum homini, qui seminavit bonum semen in agro suo. Cum autem dormirent homines, venit inimicus ejus, et superseminavit zizania in medio tritici, et abiit. Cum autem crevisset herba, et fructum fecisset, tunc apparuerunt et zizania. Accedentes autem servi patrisfamilias, dixerunt ei: Domine, nonne bonum semen seminasti in agro tuo? Unde ergo habet zizania? Et ait illis: Inimicus homo hoc fecit. Servi autem dixerunt ei: Vis, imus, et colligimus ea? Et ait: Non; ne forte colligentes zizania, eradicetis simul cum eis et triticum. Sinite utraque crescere usque ad messem, et in tempore messis dicam messoribus: Colligite primum zizania, et alligate ea in fasciculos ad comburendum, triticum autem congregate in horreum meum.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xiii.

At that time: Jesus spoke this parable to the multitude, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his field. But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat and went his way. And when the blade was sprung up, and had brought forth fruit, then appeared also the cockle. Then the servants of the goodman of the house, coming said unto him: Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it cockle? And he said to them: An enemy hath done this. And the servants said to him: Wilt thou that we go and gather it up? And he said: No, lest perhaps gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it. Suffer both to grow until the harvest, and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn, but the wheat gather ye into my barn.


The kingdom of heaven, here spoken of by our Lord, is the Church militant, the society of them that believe in Him. And yet, the field He has tilled with so much care is oversown with cockle; heresies have crept in, scandals have abounded; are we, on that account, to have misgivings about the foresight of the Master, who knows all things, and without whose permission nothing happens? Far from us be such a thought! He Himself tells us that these things must needs be. Man has been gifted with free-will; it is for him to choose between good and evil; but God will turn all to His own greater glory, Heresies, then, like weeds in a field, may spring up in the Church; but the day must come when they will be uprooted; some of them will wither on the parent stems, but the whole cockle shall be gathered into bundles to burn. Where are now the heresies that sprang up in the first ages of the Church? And in another hundred years, what will have become of the heresy, which, under the pretentious name of ‘the reformation,’ has caused incalculable evil? It is the same with the scandals which rise up within the pale of the Church: they are a hard trial; but trials must come. The divine Husbandman wills not that this cockle be torn up, lest the wheat should suffer injury. First of all, the mixture of good and bad is an advantage; it teaches the good not to put their hopes in man, but in God. Then, too, the mercy of our Lord is so great, that at times the very cockle is converted, by divine grace, into wheat. We must therefore have patience. But, whereas it is while the men are asleep that the enemy oversows the field with cockle, it behoves us to pray for pastors, and ask their divine Master to bless them with that vigilance, which is the primary condition of the flock being safe, and is so essential a quality in every bishop, that his very name is ‘one who watches.’

Offertory

Dextera Domini fecit virtutem, dextera Domini exaltavit me: non moriar, sed vivam, et narrabo opera Domini.
The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength, the right hand of the Lord hath exalted me: I shall not die, but live, and shall declare the works of the Lord.

Secret

Hostias tibi, Domine, placationis offerimus, ut et delicta nostra miseratus absolvas, et nutantia corda tu dirigas. Per Dominum.
We offer thee, O Lord, this sacrifice of propitiation, that thou wouldst mercifully forgive us our sins, and guide our faltering hearts. Through, etc.

Second Secret

Exaudi nos, Deus salutaris noster, ut per hujus Sacramenti virtutem, a cunetis nos mentis et corporis hostibus tuearis, gratiam tribuens in præsenti, et gloriam in futuro.
Graciously grant us, O God our Saviour, that by virtue of this Sacrament, thou mayst defend us from all enemies, both of soul and body; giving us grace in this life, and glory in the next.

A third Secret, at the choice of the priest, is added.


Communion

Mirabantur omnes de his, quæ procedebant de ore Dei.
All wondered at the words that came from the mouth of God.

Postcommunion

Quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut illius salutaris capiamus effectum, cujus per hæc mysteria pignus accepimus. Per Dominum.
We beseech thee, O almighty God, that we may one day receive the effects of that salvation, of which we have received the pledge in these mysteries. Through, etc.

Second Postcommunion

Mundet et muniat nos, quæsumus, Domine, divini Sacramenti munus oblatum: et intercedente beata Virgine Dei genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, beatis apostolis tuis Petro. et Paulo, atque beato N. et omnibus sanctis, a cunctis nos reddat et perversitatibus expiatos, et adversitatibus expeditos.
May the oblation of this divine Sacrament, we beseech thee, O Lord, both cleanse and defend us; and, by the intercession of blessed Mary, the Virgin-Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, of blessed N. and of all the saints, free us from all sin, and deliver us from all adversity.

The third Postcommunion is at the choice of the priest.


Vespers

The psalms and antiphons as on page 72.


Capitulum
(2 Cor. i.)

Benedictus Deus et Pater Domini nostri Jesu Christi, Pater misericordiarum et Deus totius consolationis, qui consolatur nos in omni tribulatione nostra.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all consolation, who comforteth us in all our tribulations.

The hymn and versicle, page 79.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Colligite primum zizania, et alligate ea in fasciculos ad comburendum triticum autem congregate in horreum meum, dicit Dominus.

Oremus.

Familiam tuam, quæsumus Domine, continua pietate custodi: ut quæ in sola spe gratiæ cœlestis innititur, tua semper protectione muniatur. Per Dominum.
Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn: but gather the wheat into my barn, saith the Lord.

Let us Pray.

Preserve, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy family by thy constant mercy; that, as it leans solely on the hope of heavenly grace, it may always be defended by thy protection. Through, etc.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

MASS

Introit

Adorate Deum omnes angeli ejus: audivit et laetata est Sion: et exsu.ltaverunt filiæ Judæ.

Ps. Dominus regnavit: exsultet terra, lætentur insulæ multæ. V. Gloria Patri. Adorate.
Adore God, all ye his angels: Sion heard and was glad, and the daughters of Juda rejoiced.

Ps. The Lord hath reigned: let the earth rejoice, let many islands be glad. V. Glory, etc. Adore.

Collect

Præsta quæsumus omnipotens Deus: ut semper rationabilia meditantes, quæ tibi sunt placita et dictis exsequamur et factis. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that, ever meditating on such things as are reasonable, we may, both in word and deed, carry out the things which are pleasing unto thee. Through, etc.

For the other Collects, see page 94.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Thessalonicenses.

1 Cap. i.

Fratres, gratias agimus Deo semper pro omnibus vobis, memoriam vestri facientes in orationibus nostris sine intermissione, memores operis fidei vestræ, et laboris, et charitatis, et sustinentiæ spei Domini nostri Jesu Christi, ante Deum et Patrem nostrum: scientes, fratres dilecti a Deo, electionem vestram: quia Evangelium nostrum non fuit ad vos in sermone tantum, sed et in virtute, et in Spiritu sancto, et in plenitudine multa, sicut scitis quales fuerimus in vobis propter vos. Et vos imitatores nostri facti estis et Domini, excipientes verbum in tribulatione multa, cum gaudio Spiritus sancti: ita ut facti sitis forma omnibus credentibus in Macedonia, et in Achaia. A vobis enim diffamatus est sermo Domini, non solum in Macedonia, et in Achaïa, sed et in omni loco fides vestra, quæ est ad Deum, profecta est, ita ut non sit nobis necesse quidquam loqui. Ipsi enim de nobis annuntiant qualem introitum habuerimus ad vos: et quomodo conversi estis ad Deum a simnlacris, servire Deo vivo, et vero, et exspectare Filium ejus de cœlis (quem suscitavit ex mortuis) Jesum, qui eripuit nos ab ira ventura.
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians.

1 Ch. i.

Brethren, we give thanks to God always for you all: making a remembrance of you in our prayers without ceasing: being mindful of the work of your faith, and labour, and charity, and of the enduring of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before God and our Father; knowing, brethren beloved of God, your election. For our Gospel hath not been to you in word only, but in power also, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much fullness, as you know what manner of men we have been among you for your sakes. And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, receiving the word in much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Ghost; so that you were made a pattern to all that believe, in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you was spread abroad the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and in Achaia, but also in every place your faith, which is towards God, is gone forth, bo that we need not to speak anything. For they themselves relate of us, what manner of entering in we had unto you; and how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven (whom he raised up from the dead) Jesus, who hath delivered us from the wrath to come.

The praise which the apostle here gives to the Thessalonians for their fervour in the faith they had embraced, conveys a reproach to the Christians of our own times. These neophytes of Thessalonica, who, a short time before, were worshippers of idols, had become so earnest in the practice of the Christian religion, that even the apostle is filled with admiration. We are the descendants of countless Christian ancestors; we received our regeneration by Baptism at our first coming into the world; we were taught the doctrine of Jesus Christ from our earliest childhood: and yet, our faith is not so strong, or our lives so holy, as were those of the early Christians. Their main occupation was serving the living and true God, and waiting for the coming of their Saviour. Our hope is precisely the same as that which made their hearts so fervent; how comes it that our faith is not like theirs in its generosity? We love this present life, as though we had not the firm conviction that it is to pass away.

As far as depends upon us, we are handing down to future generations a Christianity very different from that which our Saviour established, which the apostles preached, and which the pagans of the first ages thought they were bound to purchase at any price or sacrifice.

Gradual

Timebunt gentes nomen tuum, Domine, et omnes reges terræ gloriam tuam. V. Quoniam sedificavit Dominus Sion, et videbitur in majestate sua.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. Dominus regnavit, exsultet terra: lætentur insulæ multæ. Alleluia.
The Gentiles shall fear thy name, O Lord, 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. The Lord hath reigned, let the earth rejoice: let many islands be glad. Alleluia.

 


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xiii.

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus turbis parabolam hanc: Simile est regnum cœlorum grano sinapis, quod accipiens homo seminavit in agro suo, quod minimum quidem est omnibus seminibus: cum autem creverit, majus est omnibus oleribus, et fit arbor, ita ut volucres cœli veniant, et habitent in ramisejus. Aliam parabolani locutus est eis. Simile est regnum cœlorumfermento, quod acceptum mulier abscondit in farinæ satis tribus, donec fermentatum est totum. Hæc omnia locutus est Jesus in parabolis ad turbas: et sine parabolis non loquebatur eis: ut impleretur quod dictum erat per prophetam dicentem: Aperiam in parabolis os meum, eructabo abscondita a constitutione mundi.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xiii.

At that time: Jesus spoke to the multitude this parable: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and dwell in the branches thereof. Another parable he spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened. All these things Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes, and without parables he did not speak to them; that the word might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.

Our Lord here teaches us, under the symbolism of two parables, what we are to believe concerning His Church, which is His kingdom, a kingdom that rises indeed here on the earth, but is to be perfected in heaven. What is this grain of mustard-seed, which is hidden under ground, is unseen by man’s eye, then appears as the least of herbs, but, finally, becomes a tree? It is the Word of God, at first hidden in Judea, trampled on by man’s malice even so as to be buried in a tomb, but, at length, rising triumphantly and reaching rapidly to every part of the world. Scarcely had a hundred years elapsed since Jesus was put to death, when His Church was vigorous even far beyond the limits of the Roman empire. During the past nineteen centuries, every possible effort has been made to uproot the tree of God; persecution, diplomacy, human wisdom, all have tried, and all have but wasted their time. True, they succeeded, from time to time, in severing a branch; but another grew in its place, for the sap of the tree is vigorous beyond measure. The birds that come and dwell upon it, are, as the holy fathers interpret it, the souls of men aspiring to the eternal goods of the better world. If we are worthy of our name of Christians, we shall love this tree, and find our rest and safety nowhere but beneath its shade. The woman, of whom the second parable speaks, is the Church, our mother. It was she that, from the commencement of Christianity, took the teaching of her divine Master, and hid it in the very hearts of men, making it the leaven of their salvation. The three measures of meal which she leavened into bread, are the three great families of mankind, the three that came from the children of Noah, who are the three fathers of the whole human race. Let us love this mother; and let us bless that heavenly leaven, which made us become children of God, by making us children of the Church.

Offertory

Dextera Domini fecit virtutem, dextera Domini exaltavit me: non moriar, sed vivam, et narrabo opera Domini.
The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength, the right hand of the Lord hath exalted me: I shall not die, but live, and shall declare the works of the Lord.

Secret

Hæc nos oblatio, Deus, mundet, quæsumus, et renovet, gubernet, et protegat. Per Dominum.
May this oblation, O God, we beseech thee, cleanse, renew, govern, and protect us. Through, etc.

The other Secrets are given on page 98.


Communion

Mirabantur omnes de his, quæ procedebant de ore Dei.
All wondered at the words that came from the mouth of God.

Postcommunion

Cœlestibus, Domine, pasti deliciis, quæsumus, ut semper eadem, per quæ veraciter vivimus, appetamus. Per Dominum.
Being fed, O Lord, with heavenly dainties, we beseech thee, that we may always hunger after them, for by them we have true life. Through, etc.

The other Postcommunions are given on page 99.


VESPERS

The psalms and antiphons as on page 72.


Capitulum
(2 Cor. i.)

Benedictus Deus et Pater Domini nostri Jesus Christi, Pater misericordiarum et Deus totius consolationis, qui consolatur nos in omni tribulatione nostra.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all consolation, who comforteth us in all our tribulations.

The hymn and versicle, page 79.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Simile est regnum cœlorum fermento, quod acceptum mulier abscondit in farinæ satis tribus, donec fermentatum est totum.

Oremus

Præsta, quæsumus omnipotens Deus: ut semper rationabilia meditantes, quæ tibi sunt placita, et dictis exsequamur, et factis. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that ever meditating on such things as are reasonable, we may, both in word and deed, carry out the things which are pleasing unto thee. Through, etc.

Let us Pray

The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened.

 


 

 

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Suspension of the Alleluia

The calendar of the liturgical year will soon bring us to the commemoration of the Passion and Resurrection of our Redeemer; we are but nine weeks from these great solemnities. It is time for the Christian to be preparing his soul for a fresh visit from his Saviour; a visit even more sacred and more important than that He so mercifully paid us at His Birth.

Our holy mother the Church knows how necessary it is for her to rouse our hearts from their lethargy, and give them an active tendency towards the things of God. On this day, the eve of Septuagesima, she uses a powerful means for infusing her own spirit into the minds of her children. She takes the song of heaven away from us: she forbids our further uttering that Alleluia, which is so dear to us, as giving us a fellowship with the choirs of angels, who are for ever repeating it. How is it that we poor mortals, sinners, and exiles on earth, have dared to become so familiar with this hymn of a better land? It is true, our Emmanuel, who established peace between God and men, brought it us from heaven on the glad night of His Birth; and we have had the courage to repeat it after the angels, and shall chant it with renewed enthusiasm when we reach our Easter. But to sing the Alleluia worthily, we must have our hearts set on the country whence it came. It is not a mere word, nor a profane unmeaning melody; it is the song that recalls the land we are banished from, it is the sweet sigh of the soul longing to be at home.

The word Alleluia signifies praise God: but it says much more than this, and says it as no other word or words could. The Church is not going to interrupt her giving praise to God during these nine weeks. She will replace this heaven-lent word by a formula also expressive of praise: Laus tibi, Domine, Rex æternæ gloriæ! Praise be to Thee, O Lord, King of eternal glory! But this is the language of earth; whereas Alleluia was sent us from heaven. Alleluia,’ says the devout Abbot Rupert, ‘is like a stranger amidst our other words. Its mysterious beauty is as though a drop of heaven’s overflowing joy had fallen down on our earth. The patriarchs and prophets relished it, and then the Holy Ghost put it on the lips of the apostles, from whom it flowed even to us. It signifies the eternal feast of the angels and saints, which consists in their endless praise of God, and in ceaselessly singing their ever new admiration of the beauty of the God on whose Face they are to gaze for everlasting ages. This mortal life of ours can in no wise attain such bliss as this. But, to know where it is to be found, and to have a foretaste of it by the happiness of hope, and to hunger and thirst for what we thus taste, this is the perfection of saints here below. For this reason, the word Alleluia has not been translated; it has been left in its original Hebrew, as a stranger to tell us that there is a joy in his native land, which could not dwell in ours: he has come among us to signify, rather than to express that joy.'[1]

During this season of Septuagesima, we have to gain a clear knowledge of the miseries of our banishment, under pain of being left for ever in this tyrant Babylon. It was, therefore, necessary that we should be put on our guard against the allurements of our place of exile. It is with this view that the Church, taking pity on our blindness and our dangers, gives us this solemn warning. By taking from us our Alleluia, she virtually tells us that our lips must first be cleansed, before they again be permitted to utter this word of angels and saints; and that our hearts, defiled as they are by sin and attachment to earthly things, must be purified by repentance. She is going to put before our eyes the sad spectacle of the fall of our first parents, that dire event whence came all our woes, and our need of Redemption. This tender mother weeps over us, and would have us weep with her.

Let us, then, comply with the law she thus imposes upon us. If spiritual joy is thus taken away from us, what are we to think of the frivolous amusements of the world? And if vanities and follies are insults to the spirit of Septuagesima, would not sin be an intolerable outrage on that same spirit? We have been too long the slaves of this tyrant. Our Saviour is soon to appear, bearing His cross; and His sacrifice is to restore fallen man to all his rights. Surely, we can never allow that precious Blood to fall uselessly on our souls, as the morning dew that rains on the parched sands of a desert! Let us with humble hearts confess that we are sinners, and, like the publican of the Gospel, who dared not so much as to raise up his eyes, let us acknowledge that it is only right that we should be forbidden, at least for a few weeks, those divine songs of joy, with which our guilty lips had become too familiar; and that we should interrupt those sentiments of presumptuous confidence which prevented our hearts from having the holy fear of God.

That indifference for the liturgy of the Church, which is the strongest indication of a weak faith, and which now reigns so universally in the world, is the reason why so many, even practical Catholics, can witness this yearly suspension of the Alleluia, without profiting by the lesson it conveys. A passing remark, or a chance thought, is the most they give to it, for they care for no other devotions but such as are private; the spirit of the Church, in her various seasons, is quite beneath their notice. If these lines should meet their eye, we would beg of them to reflect for a moment that the Church is their mother; that her authority is the highest on earth; that her wisdom enables her to know what is best for her children. Why, then, keep aloof from her spirit, as though there were some other to be found, that could better lead them to their God? Why be indifferent in this present instance? Why deem of no interest to piety this suspension of the Alleluia, which she, the Church, considers as one of the principal and most solemn incidents in her liturgical year? Perhaps we shall be doing them a service, by showing them how keenly this interruption of the word of heavenly joy was felt by the Christians of those ages, when faith was the grand ruling principle, not only with society at large, but with each individual.

The farewell to Alleluia, in the Middle Ages, varied in the different Churches. Here, it was an affectionate enthusiasm, speaking the beauty of the celestial word; there, it was a heart-felt regret at the departure of the much-loved companion of all their prayers.

We begin with two antiphons, which would seem to be of Roman origin. We find them in the Antiphonarium of Saint Cornelius of Compiègne, published by Dom Denys de Sainte Marthe. They are a farewell to Alleluia made by our Catholic forefathers in the ninth century; they express, too, the hope of its coming back, as soon as the Resurrection of Jesus shall have brightened up the firmament of the Church.

Ant. Angelus Domini bonus comitetur tecum, Alleluia, et bene disponat itineri tuo, ut iterum cum gaudio revertaris ad nos, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Ant. Alleluia, mane apud nos hodie, et crastina proficisceris, Alleluia; et dum ortus fuerit dies, ambulabis vias tuas, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
Ant. May the good angel of the Lord accompany thee, Alleluia, and give thee a good journey, that thou mayst come back to us in joy, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Ant. Alleluia, abide with us to-day, and to-morrow thou shalt set forth, Alleluia; and when the day shall have risen, thou shalt proceed on thy way, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Gothic Church of Spain thus saluted the Alleluia, on the eve of its interruption. We merely make a selection from what is almost a complete Office.

Hymn

Alleluia piis edite laudibus,
Cives ætherei, psallite unanimiter
Alleluia perenne.

Hinc vos perpetui luminis accolæ,
Ad summum resonate hymniferis choris
Alleluia perenne.

Vos urbs eximia suscipiet Dei,
Quæ lætis resonans cantibus, excitat
Alleluia perenne.

Almum sideræ jam patriæ decus
Victores capite, quo canere possitis
Alleluia perenne.

Illic Regis honor vocibus inclytis
Jocundum reboat carmine perpetim
Alleluia perenne.

Hoc fessis requies, hoc cibus, hoc potus
Oblectans reduces, haustibus affluens
Alleluia perenne.

Te suavisonis Conditor affatim
Rerum carminibus, laudeque pangimus
Alleluia perenne.

Te Christe celebrat gloria vocibus
Nostris, omnipotens, ac tibi dicimus
Alleluia perenne: Alleluia perenne.

Amen.

Felici reditu gaudi a surnite,
Reddentes Domino gloriticum melos,
Alleluia perenne.
Citizens of heaven!
give forth Alleluia in your holy canticles;
sing with one voice your eternal Alleluia.

Inhabitants of light everlasting! make heaven resound,
as ye sing to the great God, in your hymning choirs,
the eternal Alleluia,

The glorious city of God will receive you,
the city which echoes with songs of joy,
and awakens the eternal Alleluia.

Ye have conquered; go, take the fair beauty of the starry land,
wherein ye may chant
the eternal Alleluia.

’Tis there the glory of the King is proclaimed
with sweetest voices singing ever their joyous,
their eternal Alleluia.

This is the rest to the wearied; this is the food and drink giving delight
to exiles reaching home; and this is their cup of overflowing nectar:
the eternal Alleluia.

We, too, O God, Creator of all things!
in sweetest hymns we praise thee, singing
our eternal Alleluia.

To thee, Jesus almighty! our voices give glory:
to thee we say:
Eternal Alleluia! Eternal Alleluia!

Amen.

Be glad on the day of its happy return;
and return to your Lord with your melody of glory,
the eternal Alleluia.

Capitulum

Alleluia in cœlo, et in terra: in cœlo perpetuatur, et in terra cantatur. Ibi sonat jugiter; hic fideliter. Illic perenniter, hic suaviter. Illic feliciter, hic concorditer: illic ineffabiliter, hic instanter. Illic sine syllabis: hic modulis. Illic ab angelis, hic a populis, quam Christo Domino nascente in laude et confessione nimis ejus, non solum in cœlo, sed et in terra cœlicolæcecinerunt: dum gloriam in excelsis Deo, et pacem in terra bonæ voluntatis hominibus nuntiaverunt. Quæsumus ergo, Domine, ut quorum ministeria nitimur imitari laudando, eorum mereamur consortium beatæ vitæ vivendo.
Alleluia is in heaven and on earth: it is eternal in heaven, and is even sung on earth. There, unceasingly; here, faithfully. There, everlastingly; here, sweetly. There, happily; here, concordantly. There, ineffably; here, heartily. There, it needs no syllables; here, it needs our melodies. There, it has angels for its chanters; here, it has men. When Christ our Lord was born, the heavenly host gave him exceeding praise and honour, singing Alleluia both in heaven and on earth, and proclaiming glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will. Therefore do we beseech thee, O Lord, that as we strive to imitate the angels in their ministry of praise, we may live in such manner as to deserve to be their companions in eternal life.

Anthem

Ibis, Alleluia. Prosperimi iter habebis Alleluia; et Herum cum gaudio revertaris ad nos, Alleluia. In manibus enim suis portabunt te; ne unquam offendas ad lapidem pedem tuum. Et Herum cum gaudio revertaris ad nos, Alleluia.
Thou shalt go, Alleluia; thy journey shall be prosperous, Alleluia; and again come back to us with joy, Alleluia. For they shall bear thee up in their hands, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And again come back to us with joy, Alleluia.

Benediction

Alleluia, nomen pium, atque jocundum, dilatetur ad laudem Dei in ora omnium populorum.
R. Amen.

Sit in vocibus credentium clara, quæ in angelorum ostenditur concentibus gloriosa.
R. Amen.

Et, quæ in æternis civibus sine sonorum strepitii enitet, in vestris cordibus effectu planiore fructificet.
R. Amen.

Angelus Domini bonus comitetur tecum, Alleluia; et omnia bona præparet itineri tuo. Et iterum cum gaudio revertaris ad nos. Alleluia.
May Alleluia, that sacred and joyful word, resound to God's praise from the lips of all people.
R. Amen.

May this word, which expresses glory as chanted by the choirs of angels, be sweet as Sung by the voices of believers.
R. Amen.

And may that which noiselessly gleams in the citizens of heaven, yield fruit in your hearts by ever growing love.
R. Amen.

May the Lord’s good angel go with thee, Alleluia; and prepare all good things for thy journey. And again come back to us with joy. Alleluia.

The Churches of Germany, in the Middle Ages, expressed their farewell to the Alleluia in the following fine sequence, which is to be found in all their missals up to the fifteenth century.

Sequence

 

Cantemus cuncti melodum nunc Alleluia.
In laudibus æterni regis, hæc plebs resultet Alleluia.
Hoc denique cœlestos chori cantent in altum Alleluia.
Hoc beatorum per prata Paradisiaca psallat concentus Alleluia.
Quin et astrorum micantia luminaria jubilent altum Alleluia.
Nubium cursus, ventorum volatus, fulgurum coruscatio et tonitruum sonitus, dulce consonent simul Alleluia.
Fluctus et undæ, imber et procellæ, tempestas et serenitas, cauma, gelu, nix, pruinæ, saltus, nemora, pangant Alleluia.
Hinc variæ volucres Creatorem laudibus concinite cum Alleluia.
Ast illic respondeant voces altæ diversarum bestiarum Alleluia.
Istinc montium celsi vertices sonent Alleluia.
Hinc vallium profunditates saltent Alleluia.
Tu quoque maris jubilans abysse, dic Alleluia.
Necnon terrarum molis immensitates: Alleluia.
Nunc omne genus humanum laudans exsultet Alleluia.
Et Creatori grates frequentans consonet Alleluia.
Hoc deniqua nomen audire jugiter delecfcatur Alleluia.
Hoc etiam carmen cœleste comprobat ipse Christus Alleluia.
Nunc vos socii cantate lætantes: Alleluia.
Et vos pueruli respóndete semper: Alleluia.
Nunc omnes canite simul, Alleluia Domino, Alleluia Christo, Pneumatique Alleluia.
Laus Trinitati æternæ. in baptismo Domini quæ clarificatur: hinc canamus Alleluia.
Let us all now sing the melodious Alleluia.
In praise of the eternal King, let this assembly give forth Alleluia.
And let the heavenly choirs loudly chant Alleluia.
Let the choir of the blessed sing in the land of paradise, Alleluia.
Nay, let the bright stars hymn one loud Alleluia.
Fleet clouds, swift winds, flashing lightning, and pealing thunder, let all unite in a sweet Alleluia.
Waves and billows, showers and storms, tempest and calm, heat, cold, snow, frost, woods and groves, let them tell their Alleluia.
And ye countless birds, sing the praises of your Maker with an Alleluia.
To which let the loud-voiced beasts respond another Alleluia.
Let the high mountain-tops ring with Alleluia.
And the deep valleys echo Alleluia.
Thou, too, deep jubilant sea, say Alleluia;
And thou, boundless earth, Alleluia!
Now let the whole race of men say its praiseful Alleluia,
And oft to its Creator give this canticle of thanks, Alleluia!
He loves to hear this word eternally repeated, Alleluia;
And Jesus too applauds the song, the heavenly Alleluia.
Do you, then, brethren, be glad, and sing: Alleluia!
And you, little children, never fail to respond: Alleluia!
Let all, then, sing together: Alleluia to the Lord; Alleluia to Christ; and to the Holy Ghost, Alleluia!
Praise be to the eternal Trinity, whose glory was declared at the baptism of our Lord! Sing we, then, Alleluia!

The Churches of France, in the thirteenth century, and long even after that, used to sing at Vespers of the Saturday before Septuagesima the following beautiful hymn:

Hymn

Alleluia dulce carmen, Vox perennis gaudii,
Alleluia laus suavis Est choris cœlestibus,
Quam canunt Dei manentes In domo per sæcula.

Alleluia læta mater Concivis Jerusalem:
Alleluia vox tuorum Civium gaudentium:
Exsules nos flere cogunt Babylonis flumina.

Alleluia non meremur In perenne psallere;
Alleluia vox reatus Cogit intermittere;
Tempus instat quo peracta Lugeamus crimina.

Unde laudando precamur Te beata Trinitas,
Ut tuum nobis videre Pascha des in æthere,
Quo tibi læti canamus Alleluia perpetim.

Amen.
The sweet Alleluia-song, the word of endless joy,
is the melody of heaven’s choir,
chanted by them that dwell for ever in the house of God.

O joyful mother, O Jerusalem our city,
Alleluia is the language of thy happy citizens.
The rivers of Babylon, where we poor exiles live, force us to weep.

We are unworthy to sing a ceaseless Alleluia.
Our sins bid us interrupt our Alleluia.
The time is at hand when it behoves us to bewail our crimes.

We, therefore, beseech thee whilst we praise thee, O blessed Trinity!
that thou grant us to come to that Easter of heaven,
where we shall sing to thee our joyful everlasting Alleluia.

Amen.

In the present form of the liturgy, the farewell to Alleluia is more simple. The Church, at the conclusion of to-day’s Vespers, repeats the mysterious word four times:

Benedicamus Domino, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Deo gratias, Alleluia, Alleluia
Let us bless the Lord, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Thanks be to God, Alleluia, Alleluia.

This song of heaven, then, is taken from us. It will return, when the triumph of Jesus’ Resurrection is proclaimed upon our earth.


 

[1] De divinis Officiis, lib. i., cap. xxxv.

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The holy Church calls us together to-day in order that we may hear from her lips the sad history of the fall of our first parents. This awful event implies the Passion and cruel Death of the Son of God made Man, who has mercifully taken upon Himself to expiate this and every subsequent sin committed by Adam and us his children. It is of the utmost importance that we should understand the greatness of the remedy; we must, therefore, consider the grievousness of the wound inflicted. For this purpose, we will spend the present week in meditating on the nature and consequences of the sin of our first parents.

Formerly, the Church used to read in her Matins of to-day that passage of the Book of Genesis, where Moses relates to all future generations, but in words of most impressive and sublime simplicity, how the first sin was brought into the world. In the present form of the liturgy, the reading of this history of the fall is deferred till Wednesday, and the preceding days give us the account of the six days of creation. We will anticipate the great instruction, and begin it at once, inasmuch as it forms the basis of the whole week’s teaching.

De Libro Genesis.

Cap. iii.

Sed et serpens erat callidior cunctis animantibus terræ, quæ fecerat Dominus Deus. Qui dixit ad mulierem: Cur præcepit vobis Deus ut non comederetis de omni ligno paradisi? Cui respondit mulier: De fructu lignorum quæ sunt in paradiso vescimur: de fructu vero ligni, quod est in medio paradisi, præcepit nobis Deus ne comederemus, et ne tangeremus illud, ne forte moriamur. Dixit autem serpens ad mulierem: Nequaquam morte moriemini; seit enim Deus quod in quocumque die comederitis ex eo, aperientur oculi vestri, et critis sicut dii, scientes bonum et malum. Vidit igitur mulier, quod bonum esset lignum ad vescendum, et pulchrum oculis, aspectuque delectabile: et tulit de fructu illius, et comedit: deditque viro suo, qui comedit. Et aperti sunt oculi amborum.

Cumque cognovissent se esse nudos, consuerunt folia ficus, et fecerunt sibi perizomata. Et cum audissent vocem Domini Dei deambulantis in paradiso, ad auram post meridiem, abscondit se Adam et uxor ejus a facie Domini Dei, in medio ligni paradisi. Vocavitque Dominus Deus Adam, et dixit ei: Ubi es? Qui ait: Vocem tuam audivi in paradiso, et timui, eo quod nudus essem et abscondi me. Cui dixit: Quis enim indicavit tibi quod nudus esses, nisi quod ex ligno de quo præceperam tibi ne comederes, comedisti? Dixitque Adam: Mulier, quam dedisti mihi sociam dedit mihi de ligno, et comedi. Et dixit Dominus Deus ad mulierem: Quare hoc feristi? Quæ respondit: Serpens decepit me, et comedi.

Et ait Dominus Deus ad serpentem: Quia fecisti hoc, maiedictus es inter omnia animantia, et bestias terrae: super pectus tuum gradieris, et terram comedes cunctis diebus vitæ tuæ. Inimicitias ponam inter te et mulierem, et semen tuum et semen illius; ipsa conteret caput tuum, et tu insidiaberis calcaneo ejus. Mulieri quoque dixit: Multiplicabo ærumnas tuas, et conceptus tuos: in dolore paries filios, et sub viri potestate eris, et ipse dominabitur tui. Adæ vero dixit: Quia audisti vocem uxoris tuæ, et comedisti de ligno, ex quo præceperam tibi ne comederes, maledicta terra in opere tuo: in laboribus comedes ex ea cunctis diebus vitæ tuæ. Spinas et tribulos germinabit tibi, et comedes herbam terræ. In sudore vultus tui vesceris pane, donec revertaris in terram, de qua sumptus es: quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.
From the Book of Genesis.

Ch. iii.

Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth, which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise? And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat, and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death; for God doth know, that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat: and gave to her husband, who did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened.

And when they perceived themselves to be naked, they sewed together fig-leaves, and made themselves aprons. And when they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in paradise, at the afternoon air, Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God, amidst the trees of paradise. And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him: Where art thou? And he said: I heard thy voice in paradise, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself. And he said to him: And who hath told thee that thou wast naked, but that thou hast eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? And Adam said: The woman, whom thou gavest me, to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said to the woman: Why hast thou done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I did eat.

And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. To the woman, also, he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee. And to Adam he said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work: with labour and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herbs of the earth. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the earth, out of which thou was taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.

Oh! terrible page of man’s history! It alone explains to us our present position on the earth. It tells us what we are in the eyes of God, and how humbly we should comport ourselves before His divine Majesty. We will make it the subject of this week’s meditation. And now, let us prepare to profit by the liturgy of this Sunday, which we call Septuagesima.

In the Greek Church, it is called Prophoné (Proclamation), because on this day they announce to the people the coming fast of Lent, and the precise day of Easter. It is also called the Sunday of the prodigal son, because that parable is read in their liturgy for this Sunday, as an invitation to sinners to draw nigh to the God of mercy. But it is the last day of the week Prophoné, which, by a strange custom, begins with the preceding Monday, as do also the two following weeks.

MASS

The Station, at Rome, is in the church of Saint Lawrence outside the walls. The ancient liturgists observe the relation between the just Abel (whose being murdered by Cain is the subject of one of the responsories of to-day’s Matins), and the courageous martyr, over whose tomb the Church of Rome commences her Septuagesima.

The Introit describes the fears of death, wherewith Adam and his whole posterity are tormented, in consequence of sin. But in the midst of all this misery there is heard a cry of hope, for man is still permitted to ask mercy from his God. God gave man a promise, on the very day of his condemnation: the sinner needs but to confess his miseries, and the very Lord against whom he sinned will become his deliverer.

Introit

Circumdederunt me gemitus mortis, dolores inferni circumdederunt me: et in tribulatione mea invocavi Dominum, et exaudivit de templo sancto suo vocem meam.

Ps. Diligara te, Domine, fortitudo mea: Dominus firmamentum meum, et refugium meum, et liberator meus. V. Gloria Patri. Circumdederunt.
The groans of death surrounded me, and the sorrows of hell encompassed me; and in my affliction I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice from his holy temple.

Ps. I will love thee, O Lord, my strength: the Lord is my firmament, my refuge, and my deliverer. V. Glory. The groans.

In the Collect, the Church acknowledges that her children justly suffer the chastisements which are the consequences of sin; but she beseeches her divine Lord to send them that mercy which will deliver them.

Collect

Preces populi tui, quæsumus, Domine, dementer exaudi: ut qui juste pro peccatis nostris affligimur, pro tui nominis gloria misericorditer liberemur. Per Dominum.
Mercifully hear, we beseech thee, O Lord, the prayers of thy people; that we who are justly afflicted for our sins, may be mercifully delivered for the glory of thy name. Through, etc.

Second Collect

A cunctis nos, quæsumus, Domine, mentis et corporis defende periculis: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semperque Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, beatis apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque beato N., et omnibus sanctis, salutem nobis tribue benignus et pacem: ut destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, Ecclesia tua secura tibi serviat libertate.
Preserve us, O Lord, we beseech thee, from all dangers of soul and body: and by the intercession of the glorious and blessed Mary, the ever Virgin Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, of blessed N. (here is mentioned the titular saint of the church), and of all the saints, grant us, in thy mercy, health and peace; that, all adversities and errors being removed, thy Church may serve thee with undisturbed liberty.

The priest adds a third Collect, which is left to his own choice.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.

Cap. ix., x.

Fratres, nescitis quod ii qui in stadio currunt, omnes quidem currunt, sed unus accipit bravium? Sic currite, ut comprehendatis. Omnis autem, qui in agone contendit, ab omnibus se abstinet: et illi quidem ut corruptibilem coronam accipiant, nos autem incorruptam. Ego igitur sic curro, non quasi in incertum: sic pugno, non quasi aerem verberans: sed castigo corpus meum et in servitutem redigo: ne forte cum aliis prædicaverim, ipse reprobus efficiar. Nolo enim vos ignorare, fratres, quoniam patres nostri omnes sub nube fuerunt, et omnes mare transierunt, et omnes in Moyse baptizati sunt, in nube et in mari; et omnes eamdem escam spiritalem manducaverunt, et omnes eumdem potum spiritalem biberunt (bibebant autem de spiritali, consequenteeos petra; petra autem erat Christus). Sed non in pluribus eorum beneplacitum est Deo.
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

Ch. ix., x.

Brethren, know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things; and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air: but I chastise my body and bring it into subjection: lest, perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway. For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all in Moses were baptized in the cloud, and in the sea: and did all eat the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ). But with the most of them God was not well pleased.

These stirring words of the apostle deepen the sentiments already produced in us by the sad recollections of which we are this day reminded. He tells us that this world is a race, wherein all must run; but that they alone win the prize, who run well. Let us, therefore, rid ourselves of everything that could impede us, and make us lose our crown. Let us not deceive ourselves: we are never sure, until we reach the goal. Is our conversion more solid than was St. Paul's? Are our good works better done, or more meritorious, than were his? Yet he assures us that he was not without the fear that he might perhaps be lost; for which cause he chastised his body, and kept it in subjection to the spirit. Man, in his present state, has not the same will for all that is right and just, which Adam had before he sinned, and which, notwithstanding, he abused to his own ruin. We have a bias which inclines us to evil; so that our only means of keeping our ground is to sacrifice the flesh to the spirit. To many this is very harsh doctrine; hence, they are sure to fail; they never can win the prize. Like the Israelites spoken of by our apostle, they will be left behind to die in the desert, and so lose the promised land. Yet they saw the same miracles that Josue and Caleb saw! So true is it that nothing can make a salutary impression on a heart which is obstinately bent on fixing all its happiness in the things of this present life; and though it is forced, each day, to own that they are vain, yet each day it returns to them, vainly but determinedly loving them.

The heart, on the contrary, that puts its trust in God, and mans itself to energy by the thought of the divine assistance being abundantly given to him that asks it, will not flag or faint in the race, and will win the heavenly prize. God’s eye is unceasingly on all them that toil and suffer. These are the truths expressed in the Gradual.

Gradual

Adjutor in opportunitatibus, in tribulatione: sperent in te qui noverunt te, quoniam non derclinquis quærentes te, Domine.

V. Quoniam non in finem oblivio erit pauperis; patientia paupcrum non peribit in æternum: exsurge, Domine, non prævaleat homo.
A helper in due time, in tribulation: let them trust in thee, who know thee, for thou dost not forsake them that seek thee, O Lord.

V. For the poor man shall not be forgotten to the end; the patience of the poor man shall not perish for ever: arise, O Lord, let not man prevail.

The Tract sends forth our cry to God, and the cry is from the very depths of our misery. Man is humbled exceedingly by the fall; but he knows that God is full of mercy, and that, in His goodness, He punishes our iniquities less than they deserve: were it not so, none of us could hope for pardon.

Tract

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: Domine, exaudi vocem meam.
V. Fiant aures tuæ intendentes in orationem servi tui.
V. Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine: Domine, quia sustinebit?
V. Quia apud te propitiatio est, et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.
From the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice.
V. Let thine ears be attentive to the prayer of thy servant.
V. If thou shalt observe iniquities, O Lord, Lord, who shall endure it?
V. For with thee is propitiation, and by reason of thy law I have expected thee, O Lord.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xx.

In illo tempore, dixit Jesus discipulis suis parabolani hanc: Simile est regnum cælorum homini patrifamilias, qui exiit primo mane Conducere operarios in vineam suam. Conventione autcm facta cum operariis ex denario diurno, misit eos in vineam suam. Et egressus circa horam tertiam, vidit aliosstantes in foro otiosos, et dixit illis: Ite et vos in vineam meam, et quod justum fuerit, dabo vobis. Illi autem abierunt. Iterum autem exiit circa sextam et nonam horam, et fecit similiter. Circa undecimam vero exiit; et invenit alios stantes, et dicit illis: Quid hic statis tota die otiosi? Dicunt ei: Quia nemo nos conduxit. Dicit illis: Ite et vos in vineam meam. Cum sero autem factum esset, dicit dominus vineæ procuratori suo: Voca operarios, et redde illis mercedem, incipiens a novissimis usque ad primos. Cum venissent ergo qui circa undecimam horam venerant, acceperunt singulos denarios. Venientes autem et primi, arbitrati sunt quod plus essent accepturi: acceperunt autem et ipsi singulos denarios. Et accipientes murmurabant adversus patremfamilias, dicentes: Hi novissimi una hora fecerunt, et pares illos nobis fecisti qui portavimus pondus diei et æstus? At ille respondens uni eorum, dixit: Amice, non facio tibi injuriam; nonne ex denario convenisti mecum? Tolle quod tuum est, et vade: volo autem et huic novissimo dare sicut et tibi. Aut non licet mihi quod volo facere? An oculus tuus nequam est, quia ego bonus sum? Sic erunt novissimi primi, et primi novissimi. Multi enim sunt vocati, pauci vero electi.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xx.

At that time, Jesus spoke to his disciples this parable; The kingdom of heaven is like to a householder who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour, he saw others standing in the market place idle. And he said to them: Go you also into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just. And they went their way. And again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did in like manner. But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing, and he saith to them: Why stand you here all the day idle? They say to him: Because no man hath hired us. He saith to them: Go you also into my vineyard. And when evening was come, the lord of the vineyard saith to his steward: Call the labourers and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first. When, therefore, they were come that came about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more: and they also received every man a penny. And receiving it they murmured against the master of the house, saying: These last have worked but one hour, and thou hast made them equal to us that have borne the burden of the day, and the heats. But he answering said to one of them: Friend, I do thee no wrong: Didst thou not agree with me for a penny? Take what is thine, and go thy way: I will also give to this last even as to thee. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? Is thy eye evil, because I am good? So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.

It is of importance that we should well understand this parable of the Gospel, and why the Church inserts it in to-day’s liturgy. Firstly, then, let us recall to mind on what occasion our Saviour spoke this parable, and what instruction He intended to convey by it to the Jews. He wishes to warn them of the fast approach of the day when their Law is to give way to the Christian Law; and He would prepare their minds against the jealousy and prejudice which might arise in them, at the thought that God was about to form a Covenant with the Gentiles. The vineyard is the Church in its several periods, from the beginning of the world to the time when God Himself dwelt among men, and formed all true believers into one visible and permanent society. The morning is the time from Adam to Noah; the third hour begins with Noah and ends with Abraham; the sixth hour includes the period which elapsed between Abraham and Moses; and lastly, the ninth hour opens with the age of the prophets, and closes with the birth of the Saviour. The Messias came at the eleventh hour, when the world seemed to be at the decline of its day. Mercies unprecedented were reserved for this last period, during which salvation was to be given to the Gentiles by the preaching of the apostles. It is by this mystery of mercy that our Saviour rebukes the Jewish pride. By the selfish murmurings made against the master of the house by the early labourers, our Lord signifies the indignation which the scribes and pharisees would show at the Gentiles being adopted as God’s children. Then He shows them how their jealousy would be chastised: Israel, that had laboured before us, shall be rejected for their obduracy of heart, and we Gentiles, the last comers, shall be made for we shall be made members of that Catholic Church, which is the bride of the Son of God.

This is the interpretation of our parable given by St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great, and by the generality of the holy fathers. But it conveys a second instruction, as we are assured by the two holy doctors just named. It signifies the calling given by God to each of us individually, pressing us to labour, during this life, for the kingdom prepared for us. The morning is our childhood. The third hour, according to the division used by the ancients in counting their day, is sunrise; it is our youth. The sixth hour, by which name they called our midday, is manhood. The eleventh hour, which immediately preceded sunset, is old age. The Master of the house calls His labourers at all these various hours. They must go that very hour. They that are called in the morning may not put off their starting for the vineyard, under pretext of going afterwards, when the Master shall call them later on. Who has told them that they shall live to the eleventh hour? They that are called at the third hour may be dead at the sixth. God will call to the labours of the last hour such as shall be living when that hour comes; but, if we should die at midday, that last call will not avail us. Besides, God has not promised us a second call, if we excuse ourselves from the first.

At the Offertory, the Church invites us to celebrate the praises of God. God has mercifully granted us, that the hymns we sing to the glory of His name should be our consolation in this vale of tears.

Offertory

Bonum est confiteli Domino, et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.
It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to thy name, O Most High.

Secret

Muneribus nostris, quæsumus, Domine, precibusque susceptis: et cœlestibus nos munda mysteriis, et dementer exaudi. Per Dominum.
Having received, O Lord, our offerings and prayers, cleanse us, we beseech thee, by these heavenly mysteries, and mercifully hear us. Through, etc.

Second Secret

Exaudi nos, Deus salutaris noster: ut per hujus Sacramenti virtutem, a cunctis nos mentis et corporis hostibus tuearis, gratiam tribuens in præsenti, et gloriam in futuro.
Graciously grant us, O God, our Saviour, that by virtue of this Sacrament, thou mayst defend us from all enemies, both of soul and body; giving us grace in this life, and glory in the next.

The third Secret is left to the priest’s own choice.


In the Communion antiphon, the Church prays that man, having now been regenerated by the Bread of heaven, may regain that likeness to his God which Adam received at his creation. The greater our misery, the stronger should be our hope in Him, who descended to us that we might ascend to Him.

Communion

Illumina faciem tuam super servum tuum, et salvum me fac in tua misericordia: Domine, non confundar, quoniam invocavi te.
Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; save me in thy mercy. Let me not be confounded, O Lord, for I have called upon thee.

Postcommunion

Fideles tui, Deus, per tua dona firmentur: ut eadem et perciplendo requirant, et quærendo sine fine percipiant. Per Dominum.
May thy faithful, O God, be strengthened by thy gifts; that by receiving them, they may ever hunger after them, and hungering after them, they may have their desires satisfied in the everlasting possession of them. Through, etc.

Second Postcommunion

Mundet et muniat nos, quæsumus Domine, divini Sacramenti munus oblatum, et intercedente beata Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, beatis apostolis Petro et Paulo, atque beato N. et omnibus sanctis, a cunctis nos reddat et perversitatibus expiatos, et adversitatibus expeditos.
May the oblation of this divine Sacrament, we beseech thee, O Lord, both cleanse and defend us; and by the intercession of blessed Mary, the Virgin-Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, of blessed N., and of all the saints, free us from all sin, and deliver us from all adversity.

The third Postcommunion is left to the priest’s own choice.


 

VESPERS

 


The psalms and antiphons as on page 72.


Capitulum
(1 Cor. ix.)

Fratres, nescitis quod ii, qui in stadio currunt, omnes quidem currunt, sed unus accipit bravium? Sic currite, ut comprehendatis.
Brethren, know you not, that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that you may obtain.

The hymn and versicle, page 79.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Dixit paterfamilias operariis suis; Quid hic statis tota die otiosi? At illi respondentes, dixerunt: Quia nemo nos conduxit. Ite et vos in vineam meam: et quod justum fuerit, dabo vobis.

Oremus

Preces populi tui, quæsumus Domine, dementer exaudi, ut qui juste pro peccatis nostris affligimur, pro tui nominis gloria misericorditer liberemur. Per Dominum.
The householder said to the labourers: Why stand you here all the day idle? But they answering said to him: Because no man hath hired us. Go ye, also, into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.

Let us Pray

Mercifully hear, we beseech thee, O Lord, the prayers of thy people; that we who are justly afflicted for our sins, may be mercifully delivered for the glory of thy name. Through, etc.

For each day of this week we select a few stanzas from the hymn, which the Greek liturgy uses in the Office for the Sunday preceding the fast of Lent. It is a lamentation over Adam's fall.

In Dominica Tyrophagi

Excidit e paradiso voluptatis Adamus, Domini prseceptum, amaro cibo intemperanter degustato, transgressus, damnatusque fuit terræ unde desumptus fuerat colendæ, suoque pani per sudorem multum comedendo; nos igitur temperantiam appetamus, ne velut ille extra paradisum ploremus, sed intus admittamur.

Conditor meus Dominus, pulvere e terra accepto, me vivifico spiritu animavit, atque visibilium omnium super terram dominatione, angelorumque consortio dignatus est; dolosus autem Satan, serpentis instrumento usua, esca decepit, et a Dei gloria procul amandavit, mortique in infimis terræ addixit: tu vero, utpote Dominus, atque benignus, ab exilio me revoca,

Stola divinitus texta spoliatus fui miser ego, divino præcepto tuo, Domine, ex inimici fraude violato, foliisque ficulneis et pelliceis tunicis modo circumdor; panem laboris in sudore manducandi sententiam excepi, utque spinas et tribuios tellus mihi ferat, diris devota est; sed qui postremis temporibus e Virgine incarnatus es, revocatum me in paradisum restitue.

Paradise, omni honore dignissime, pulcherrima species, tabernaculum divinitus structum, perenne gaudium et oblectamentum, gloria justorum, prophetarum lætitia, sanctorumque domicilium, foliorumtuorum sonitu Conditorem universorum deprecare, ut fores, quas prævaricatone clausi, mihi adaperiat, utque dignusefficiar ligni vitæ participatione, eoque gaudio quod dulcissime prius in temetipso degustavi.
Because he broke the commandment of his Lord, and was led by intemperance to taste a food which was to be one of bitterness to him, Adam was banished from the paradise of delight, and condemned to till the earth whence he himself was taken, and to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow. Let us, therefore, covet temperance, lest, like him, we may have to weep out of paradise; let us be temperate and enter heaven.

God, my Creator, took dust from the earth, quickened me with a living soul, graciously made me the king of all visible things on earth, and gave me fellowship with the angels; but crafty Satan, making the serpent his instrument, allured me with food, banished me far from the glory of God, and made me a slave to death in the bowels of the earth: but thou, O God, art my Lord, and full of mercy: recall me from exile.

Being deceived by the craft of the enemy, I, miserable man, violated thy commandment, O Lord; and being stripped of the garment which thy divine hand had woven for me, I am now clad with leaves of the fig-tree, and with a skin garment; I am condemned to eat a bread for which I must toil with the sweat of my brow, and the earth is cursed, so that it may yield me thorns and thistles: but do thou, that in after times tookest flesh from the Virgin, recall and restore me to paradise.

O paradise! most worthy of all our reverence, beautiful beyond measure, tabernacle built by God, joy and delight without end, glory of the just, joy of the prophets, and dwelling of the saints; may thy prayers, the sound of thy leaves, obtain for me from the Creator of all things, that thy gates, which my sin hath shut against me, may be thrown open to me, and that I may be made worthy to partake of the tree of life, and of that joy which I once so sweetly tasted in thy bosom.

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The serpent said to the woman: 'Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise?'[1] Thus opened the conversation, which our mother Eve so rashly consents to hold with God’s enemy. She ought to refuse all intercourse with Satan; she does not; and thereby she imperils the salvation of the whole human race.

Let us recall to mind the events that have happened up to this fatal hour. God, in His omnipotence and love, has created two beings, upon whom He has lavished all the riches of His goodness. He has destined them for immortality; and this undying life is to have everything that can make it perfectly happy. The whole of nature is made subject to them. A countless posterity is to come from them, and love them with all the tenderness of grateful children. Nay, this God of goodness who has created them, deigns to be on terms of intimacy with them; and such is their simple innocence, that this adorable condescension does not seem strange to them. But there is something far beyond all this. He, whom they have hitherto known by favours of an inferior order, prepares for them a happiness which surpasses all they could picture with every effort of thought. They must first go through a trial; and if faithful, they will receive the great gift as a recompense they have merited. And this is the gift: God will give them to know Him in Himself, make them partakers of His own glory, and make their happiness infinite and eternal. Yes, this is what God has done, and is preparing to do for these two beings, who but a while ago were nothing.

In return for all these gratuitous and magnificent gifts, God asks of them but one thing: that they acknowledge His dominion over them. Nothing, surely, can be sweeter to them than to make such a return; nothing could be more just All they are, and all they have, and all the lovely creation around them, has been produced out of nothing by the lavish munificence of this God; they must, then, live for Him, faithful, loving, and grateful. He asks them to give Him one only proof of this fidelity, love, and gratitude: He bids them not to eat of the fruit of one single tree. The only return He asks for all the favours He has bestowed upon them, is the observance of this easy commandment. His sovereign justice will be satisfied by this act of obedience. They ought to accept such terms with hearty readiness, and comply with them with a holy pride, as being not only the tie which will unite them with their God, but the sole means in their power of paying Him what He asks of them.

But there comes another voice, the voice of a creature, and it speaks to the woman: 'Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree?’ And Eve dares, and has the heart, to listen to him that asks why her divine Benefactor has put a command upon her! She can bear to hear the justice of God’s will called in question! Instead of protesting against the sacrilegious words, she tamely answers them! Her God is blasphemed, and she is not indignant! How dearly we shall have to pay for this ungrateful indifference, this indiscretion! 'And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat, and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die.’[2] Thus Eve not only listens to the serpent’s question, she answers him; she converses with the wicked spirit that tempts her. She exposes herself to danger; her fidelity to her Maker is compromised. True, the words she uses show that she has not forgotten His command; but they imply a certain hesitation, which savours of pride and ingratitude.

The spirit of evil finds that he has excited, in this heart, a love of independence; and that, if he can but persuade her that she will not suffer from her disobedience, she is his victim. He, therefore, further addresses her with these blasphemous and lying words: 'No, you shall not die the death; for God knoweth, that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.'[3] What he proposes to Eve is open rebellion. He has enkindled within her that perfidious love of self which is man’s worst evil, and which, if it be indulged, breaks the tie between him and his Creator. Thus the blessings God has bestowed, the obligation of gratitude, personal interest, all are to be disregarded and forgotten. Ungrateful man would become a god; he would imitate the rebel angels: he shall fall as they did.

In Dominica Tyrophagi

Adesdum anima mea infelix, actus tuos hodie defle, memoria recolens priorem in Eden nuditatem, propter quam deliciis et perenni gaudio excidisti.


Pro multa pietate atque miserationibus, Conditor creaturæ et factor universorum, me pulvere prius animatum una cum angelis tuis te collaudare præcepisti.

Propter bonitatis divitias, plantas tu, Condi tor et Domine, paradisi delicias in Eden, jubens me speciosis jucundisque minimeque caducis fructibus oblectari.

Hei mihi! anima mea misera, fruendarum Eden voluptatum facultatem a Deo acceperas, vetitumque tibi ne scientise lignum manducares: qua de causa Dei legem violasti?

(Virgo Dei Genitrix, utpote Adami ex genere filia, per gratiam vero Christi Dei Mater, nunc me revoca ex Eden ejectum.)

Serpens dolosus honorem meum quondam mihi invidens, in Evæ auribus dolum insusurravit, unde ego deceptus, hei mihi! e vitæ sede exsulavi.

Manu temere extensa, scientiæ lignum degustavi, quod ne contingerem mihi Deus omnino præscripserat, et cum acerbo doloris sensu divinam gloriam exsul amisi.

Hei mihi! misera anima mea, quomodo dolum non nosti? Quomodo fraudem et inimici invidiam minime sensisti? Sed mente obtonebrata Conditoris tui mandatum neglexisti.

(Spes et protectio mea, O veneranda, quæ sola olim lapsi Adami nuditatem cooperuisti puerperio tuo, rursus, O pura, me incorruptionis veste circumda.)

Come, my poor soul! bewail this day thy deeds. Think within thyself of that sin which made thee naked in Eden, and robbed thee of delight and joy eternal.

Creator of me and of all things! in thy great goodness and mercy, thou, having made me out of dust, and given me a soul, didst command me to unite with the angels in praising thee.

My Maker and Lord! in the riches of thy goodness, thou plantest a paradise of delights in Eden, and biddest me feast on its lovely, sweet, and incorruptible fruits.


Woe is me, O my wretched soul! Thy God permitted thee that thou shouldst enjoy the Eden of delights, if thou wouldst obey him and not eat of the tree of knowledge. Wherefore didst thou violate his law?

(O Virgin-Mother of God! Daughter of Adam by nature, but Mother of Christ by grace! recall me now the exile from Eden.)

The crafty serpent envying me such honour, whispered his guile into Eve’s ear; and I, alas! deceived by her, was banished from the land of life.

Rashly stretching forth my hand, I tasted of the tree of knowledge, which God forbade me even to touch: and then, with keen sense of grief, I, an exile, lost the glory of God.

Alas, miserable man! How came I not to know the snare? How was it that I suspected not the enemy’s craft and envy? My soul was darkened and I set at nought my Creator’s command.

(O most venerable one! my hope and refuge! who by giving birth to thy Jesus, didst cover the nakedness of fallen Adam, clothe me too, O Virgin, with this incorruptible garb!)


[1] Gen. iii. 1.
[2] Gen iii. 2, 3.
[3] Gen. iii. 4, 5.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The serpent’s promises had stifled, in Eve’s heart, every sentiment of love for the God that had created her and loaded her with blessings: she is ambitious to be God like Him! Her faith, too, is wavering; she is not sure that God may not have deceived her, by threatening her with death should she disobey His command. Flushed by pride, she looks up to the forbidden fruit; it seems good to eat, and it is fair to her eyes.[1] So that her senses too conspire against God, and against her own happiness. The sin is already committed in her heart; it needs but a formal act to make it complete. She cares for nothing but self; God is no more heeded than if He did not exist. She stretches forth her daring hand; she plucks the fruit; she puts it to her mouth, and eats!

God had said that if she broke His commandment she should die; she has eaten, she has sinned, and yet she lives as before! Her pride exults at this triumph, and, convinced that she is too strong for God’s anger to reach her, she resolves on making Adam a partner in her victory. Boldly she hands him the fruit, which she herself has eaten without any evil coming to her. Whether he was emboldened by the impunity of his wife’s sin, or, from a feeling of blind affection, wished to share the lot of her who was the 'flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones,’ our first father, also, forgets all he owes to his Creator, and, as though there had never been aught of love between him and his God, he basely does as Eve suggests: he eats of the fruit, and by that act ruins himself and all his posterity.

No sooner have they broken the tie which united them with God, than they sink into themselves. As long as God dwells in the creature, whom He has raised to the supernatural state, his being is complete; but, let that creature drive his God away from himself by sin, and he finds himself in a state worse than nothing—the state of evil. That soul which, a moment before, was so beautiful and pure, is a hideous wreck. Thus is it with our first parents: they stand alone; creatures without God; and an intolerable shame seizes them. They thought to become gods, they aspired at infinite being; see them now:—sinners, the prey of concupiscence. Hitherto, their innocence was their allsufficient garb; the world was obedient to them; they knew not how to blush, and there was nothing to make them fear; but now, they tremble at their nakedness, and must needs seek a place wherein to hide!

The same self-love that had worked their ruin, had made them forget the greatness and goodness of God, and despise His commandment. Now that they have committed the great sin, the same blindness prevents them from even thinking of confessing it, or asking the forgiveness of the Master they have offended. A sullen fear possesses them. They can think of nothing but how and where to hide!

In Dominica Tyrophagi

Miser ego, honore a te, Domine, in Eden affectus fui: hei mihi! quomodo in errorem inductus, et diabolica invidia appetitus, depulsus sum e facie tua?

Angelorum ordines, paradisi ornamenta, et plantarum quæ illic sunt decus, me fraude misera abductum et a Deo longius digressum lugete.

Pratum beatum, piantatæ a Deo arbores, paradisi deliciæ, e follis velut ex oculis lacrymas nunc effundite super me, nudum et a Dei gloria abdicatum.

(Domina sancta, quæ fidelibus omnibus paradisi januas ab Adam per inobedicntiam quondam clausas ape misti, misericordiæ mihi fores expande.)

Invidens mihi olim inimicus, hominum osor, beatum paradisi domicilium me specie serpentis supplantavit, atque ab æterna gloria submovit.

Lugeo et animo discrucior, oculisque lacrymarum multitudinem adjungere exopto, respiciens et intelligens partam mihi ex transgressione nuditatem.

Dei manus me e terra plasmavit; at in terrain rursus revertendi miser legem accepi; quisnam me ejectum a Deo, et inferos pro Eden assecutum, non defleat?

(Te, labis omnis expers Dei Genitrix, fideles universi mystieum gloriæ thalainum annunciamus, unde lapsum me, precor, o pura, aptum fac paradisi thalamum.)
Unhappy me! thou hadst laden me, O Lord, with honours in Eden. But, alas! I was led into sin; I became a victim to the envy of the devil; I have been driven from thy face.

O ye choirs of angels! ye that give paradise such beauty, and to its flowers their loveliness; weep over me the dupe of wretched craft, now far from your God.

O fair garden laud! O ye trees, charm of paradise, planted by God’s own hand, let your leaves be turned into eyes, and shed your tears over me, for I am a naked king, dethroned of God’s glory.

(O holy Mother! thou that didst throw open to the faithful those gates of heaven that had been shut by Adam’s disobedience, open now to me the gates of God’s mercy.)

The enemy, the hater of mankind, envied me my blissful home in Eden; under the form of a serpent he supplanted me, and robbed me of eternal glory.

My soul weeps and is racked, and I fain would give floods of tears to mine eyes, when I see and understand the nakedness that has come to me by my transgression.

The hand of God formed me out of the earth; but I have miserably brought on myself the sentence: I must return into the earth. Who is there that will not weep over me, that have lost my God, and have given up Eden for hell?

(Sinless Mother of God! the faithful throughout the world proclaim thee to be the mystic throne of glory. I, then, that am fallen, beseech thee, spotless Virgin! prepare me for a throne in heaven!)

 

[1] Gen. iii. 6.

 

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