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Holy Week

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including descriptions of the following:

 


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

Early in the morning of this day, Jesus sets out for Jerusalem, leaving Mary His Mother, and the two sisters Martha and Mary Magdalene, and Lazarus, at Bethania. The Mother of sorrows trembles at seeing her Son thus expose Himself to danger, for His enemies are bent upon His destruction; but it is not death, it is triumph, that Jesus is to receive to-day in Jerusalem. The Messias, before being nailed to the cross, is to be proclaimed King by the people of the great city; the little children are to make her streets echo with their Hosannas to the Son of David; and this in presence of the soldiers of Rome’s emperor, and of the high priests and pharisees: the first standing under the banner of their eagles; the second, dumb with rage.

The prophet Zachary had foretold this triumph which the Son of Man was to receive a few days before His Passion, and which had been prepared for Him from all eternity, ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion! Shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold thy King will come to thee; the Just and the Saviour. He is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.’[1] Jesus, knowing that the hour has come for the fulfilment of this prophecy, singles out two from the rest of His disciples, and bids them lead to Him an ass and her colt, which they would find not far off. He has reached Bethphage, on Mount Olivet. The two disciples lose no time in executing the order given them by their divine Master; and the ass and the colt are soon brought to the place where He stands.

The holy fathers have explained to us the mystery of these two animals. The ass represents the Jewish people, which had been long under the yoke of the Law; the colt, upon which, as the evangelist says, no man yet hath sat,[2] is a figure of the Gentile world, which no one had ever yet brought into subjection. The future of these two peoples is to be decided a few days hence: the Jews will be rejected, for having refused to acknowledge Jesus as the Messias; the Gentiles will take their place, to be adopted as God’s people, and become docile and faithful.

The disciples spread their garments upon the colt; and our Saviour, that the prophetic figure might be fulfilled, sits upon him,[3] and advances towards Jerusalem. As soon as it is known that Jesus is near the city, the holy Spirit works in the hearts of those Jews, who have come from all parts to celebrate the feast of the Passover. They go out to meet our Lord, holding palm branches in their hands, and loudly proclaiming Him to be King.[4] They that have accompanied Jesus from Bethania, join the enthusiastic crowd. Whilst some spread their garments on the way, others cut down boughs from the palm-trees, and strew them along the road. Hosanna is the triumphant cry, proclaiming to the whole city that Jesus, the Son of David, has made His entrance as her King.

Thus did God, in His power over men’s hearts, procure a triumph for His Son, and in the very city which, a few days later, was to clamour for His Blood. This day was one of glory to our Jesus, and the holy Church would have us renew, each year, the memory of this triumph of the Man-God. Shortly after the birth of our Emmanuel, we saw the Magi coming from the extreme east, and looking in Jerusalem for the King of the Jews, to whom they intended offering their gifts and their adorations: but it is Jerusalem herself that now goes forth to meet this King. Each of these events is an acknowledgment of the kingship of Jesus; the first, from the Gentiles; the second, from the Jews. Both were to pay Him this regal homage, before He suffered His Passion. The inscription to be put upon the cross, by Pilate’s order, will express the kingly character of the Crucified: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Pilate, the Roman governor, the pagan, the base coward, has been unwittingly the fulfiller of a prophecy; and when the enemies of Jesus insist on the inscription being altered, Pilate will not deign to give them any answer but this: ‘What I have written, I have written.’ To-day, it is the Jews themselves that proclaim Jesus to be their King: they will soon be dispersed, in punishment for their revolt against the Son of David; but Jesus is King, and will be so for ever. Thus were literally verified the words spoken by the Archangel to Mary, when he announced to her the glories of the Child that was to be born of her: ‘The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David, His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.’[5] Jesus begins His reign upon the earth this very day; and though the first Israel is soon to disclaim His rule, a new Israel, formed from the faithful few of the old, shall rise up in every nation of the earth, and become the kingdom of Christ, a kingdom such as no mere earthly monarch ever coveted in his wildest fancies of ambition.

This is the glorious mystery which ushers in the great week, the week of dolours. Holy Church would have us give this momentary consolation to our heart, and hail our Jesus as our King. She has so arranged the service of to-day, that it should express both joy and sorrow; joy, by uniting herself with the loyal hosannas of the city of David; and sorrow, by compassionating the Passion of her divine Spouse. The whole function is divided into three parts, which we will now proceed to explain.

The first is the blessing of the palms; and we may have an idea of its importance from the solemnity used by the Church in this sacred rite. One would suppose that the holy Sacrifice has begun, and is going to be offered up in honour of Jesus, entry into Jerusalem. Introit, Collect, Epistle, Gradual, Gospel, even a Preface, are said, as though we were, as usual, preparing for the immolation of the spotless Lamb; but, after the triple Sanctus! Sanctus! Sanctus! the Church suspends these sacrificial formulas, and turns to the blessing of the palms. The prayers she uses for this blessing are eloquent and full of instruction; and, together with the sprinkling with holy water and the incensation, impart a virtue to these branches, which elevates them to the supernatural order, and makes them means for the sanctification of our souls and the protection of our persons and dwellings. The faithful should hold these palms in their hands during the procession, and during the reading of the Passion at Mass, and keep them in their homes as an outward expression of their faith, and as a pledge of God’s watchful love.

It is scarcely necessary to tell our reader that the palms or olive branches, thus blessed, are carried in memory of those wherewith the people of Jerusalem strewed the road, as our Saviour made His triumphant entry; but a word on the antiquity of our ceremony will not be superfluous. It began very early in the east. It is probable that, as far as Jerusalem itself is concerned, the custom was established immediately after the ages of persecution. St. Cyril, who was bishop of that city in the fourth century, tells us that the palm-tree, from which the people cut the branches when they went out to meet our Saviour, was still to be seen in the vale of Cedron.[6] Such a circumstance would naturally suggest an annual commemoration of the great event. In the following century, we find this ceremony established, not only in the churches of the east, but also in the monasteries of Egypt and Syria. At the beginning of Lent, many of the holy monks obtained permission from their abbots to retire into the desert, that they might spend the sacred season in strict seclusion; but they were obliged to return to their monasteries for Palm Sunday, as we learn from the life of Saint Euthymius, written by his disciple Cyril.[7] In the west, the introduction of this ceremony was more gradual; the first trace we find of it is in the sacramentary of St. Gregory, that is, at the end of the sixth, or the beginning of the seventh, century. When the faith had penetrated into the north, it was not possible to have palms or olive branches; they were supplied by branches from other trees. The beautiful prayers used in the blessing, and based on the mysteries expressed by the palm and olive trees, are still employed in the blessing of our willow, box, or other branches; and rightly, for these represent the symbolical ones which nature has denied us.

The second of to-day’s ceremonies is the procession, which comes immediately after the blessing of the palms. It represents our Saviour’s journey to Jerusalem, and His entry into the city. To make it the more expressive, the branches that have just been blessed are held in the hand during it. With the Jews, to hold a branch in one’s hand was a sign of joy. The divine law had sanctioned this practice, as we read in the following passage from Leviticus, where God commands His people to keep the feast of tabernacles: 'And you shall take to you, on the first day, the fruits of the fairest tree, and branches of palm-trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God.'[8] It was, therefore, to testify their delight at seeing Jesus enter within their walls, that the inhabitants, even the little children, of Jerusalem, went forth to meet Him with palms in their hands. Let us, also, go before our King, singing our hosannas to Him as the conqueror of death, and the liberator of His people.

During the middle ages, it was the custom, in many churches, to carry the book of the holy Gospels in this procession. The Gospel contains the words of Jesus Christ, and was considered to represent Him. The procession halted at an appointed place, or station: the deacon then opened the sacred volume, and sang from it the passage which describes our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. This done, the cross which, up to this moment, was veiled, was uncovered; each of the clergy advanced towards it, venerated it, and placed at its foot a small portion of the palm he held in his hand. The procession then returned, preceded by the cross, which was left unveiled until all had re-entered the church. In England and Normandy, as far back as the eleventh century, there was practised a holy ceremony which represented, even more vividly than the one we have just been describing, the scene that was witnessed on this day at Jerusalem: the blessed Sacrament was carried in procession. The heresy of Berengarius, against the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, had been broached about that time; and the tribute of triumphant joy here shown to the sacred Host was a distant preparation for the feast and procession which were to be instituted at a later period.

A touching ceremony was also practised in Jerusalem during to-day’s procession, and, like those just mentioned, was intended to commemorate the event related by the Gospel. The whole community of the Franciscans (to whose keeping the holy places are entrusted) went in the morning to Bethphage. There, the father guardian of the holy Land, being vested in pontifical robes, mounted upon an ass, on which garments were laid. Accompanied by the friars and the Catholics of Jerusalem, all holding palms in their hands, he entered the city, and alighted at the church of the holy sepulchre where Mass was celebrated with all possible solemnity.

This beautiful ceremony, which dated from the period of the Latin kingdom in Jerusalem, has been forbidden, for now almost two hundred years, by the Turkish authorities of the city.

We have mentioned these different usages, as we have done others on similar occasions, in order to aid the faithful to the better understanding of the several mysteries of the liturgy. In the present instance, they will learn that, in to-day’s procession, the Church wishes us to honour Jesus Christ as though He were really among us, and were receiving the humble tribute of our loyalty. Let us lovingly go forth to meet this our King, our Saviour, who comes to visit the daughter of Sion, as the prophet has just told us. He is in our midst; it is to Him that we pay honour with our palms: let us give Him our hearts too. He comes that He may be our King; let us welcome Him as such, and fervently cry out to Him: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!'

At the close of the procession a ceremony takes place, which is full of the sublimest symbolism. On returning to the church, the doors are found to be shut. The triumphant procession is stopped; but the songs of joy are continued. A hymn in honour of Christ our King is sung with its joyous chorus; and at length the subdeacon strikes the door with the staff of the cross; the door opens, and the people, preceded by the clergy, enter the church, proclaiming the praise of Him, who is our resurrection and our life.

This ceremony is intended to represent the entry of Jesus into that Jerusalem of which the earthly one was but the figure—the Jerusalem of heaven, which has been opened for us by our Saviour. The sin of our first parents had shut it against us; but Jesus, the King of glory, opened its gates by His cross, to which every resistance yields. Let us, then, continue to follow in the footsteps of the Son of David, for He is also the Son of God, and He invites us to share His kingdom with Him. Thus, by the procession, which is commemorative of what happened on this day, the Church raises up our thoughts to the glorious mystery of the Ascension, whereby heaven was made the close of Jesus’ mission on earth. Alas! the interval between these two triumphs of our Redeemer are not all days of joy; and no sooner is our procession over, than the Church, who had laid aside for a moment the weight of her grief, falls back into sorrow and mourning.

The third part of to-day’s service is the offering of the holy Sacrifice. The portions that are sung by the choir are expressive of the deepest desolation; and the history of our Lord’s Passion, which is now to be read by anticipation, gives to the rest of the day that character of sacred gloom, which we all know so well. For the last five or six centuries, the Church has adopted a special chant for this narrative of the holy Gospel. The historian, or the evangelist, relates the events in a tone that is at once grave and pathetic; the words of our Saviour are sung to a solemn yet sweet melody, which strikingly contrasts with the high dominant of the several other interlocutors and the Jewish populace. During the singing of the Passion, the faithful should hold their palms in their hands, and, by this emblem of triumph, protest against the insults offered to Jesus by His enemies. As we listen to each humiliation and suffering, all of which were endured out of love for us, let us offer Him our palm as to our dearest Lord and King. When should we be more adoring, than when He is most suffering?

These are the leading features of this great day. According to our usual plan, we will add to the prayers and lessons any instructions that seem to be needed.

This Sunday, besides its liturgical and popular appellation of Palm Sunday, has had several other names. Thus it was called Hosanna Sunday, in allusion to the acclamation wherewith the Jews greeted Jesus on His entry into Jerusalem. Our forefathers used also to call it Pascha Floridum, because the feast of the Pasch (or Easter), which is but eight days off, is to-day in bud, so to speak, and the faithful could begin from this Sunday to fulfil the precept of Easter Communion. It was in allusion to this name, that the Spaniards, having on the Palm Sunday of 1513, discovered the peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico, called it Florida. We also find the name of Capitilavium given to this Sunday, because, during those times when it was the custom to defer till Holy Saturday the baptism of infants born during the preceding months (where such a delay entailed no danger), the parents used, on this day, to wash the heads of these children, out of respect to the holy chrism wherewith they were to be anointed. Later on, this Sunday was, at least in some churches, called the Pasch of the competents, that is, of the catechumens, who were admitted to Baptism; they assembled to-day in the church, and received a special instruction on the symbol, which had been given to them in the previous scrutiny. In the Gothic Church of Spain, the symbol was not given till to-day. The Greeks call this Sunday Baïphoros, that is, Palmbearing.

 

THE BLESSING OF THE PALMS

 

It begins with the chanting of the following antiphon, which serves as an Introit.

Antiphon

Hosanna filio David! Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. O Rex Israel! Hosanna in excelsis!
Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. O King of Israel! Hosanna in the highest!

The priest then sums up, in the following prayer, the petitions of the faithful. This is what he asks for his people: that after this short life is over, they may come to that eternal kingdom, which has been prepared for them by the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.

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

Oremus

Deus quem diligere et amare, justitia est, ineffabilis gratiæ tuæ in nobis dona multiplica; et qui fecisti nos in morte Filii tui sperare quæ credimus, fac nos eodem resurgente pervenire quo tendimus. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

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

Let us Pray

O God, whom to love is true righteousness, multiply in our hearts the gifts of thy holy grace; and since, by the death of thy only Son, thou hast made us to hope for those things which we believe, grant that, by his resurrection, we may arrive at the happy end of our journey. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.

℟. Amen.

After this prayer, the subdeacon chants a passage from the Book of Exodus, which relates how the people of God, after they had gone forth from Egypt, pitched their tents at Elim, beneath the shade of seventy palm-trees, where also were twelve fountains. While here, they were told by Moses that God was about to send them manna from heaven, and that, on the very next morning, their hunger would be appeased. These were figures of what is now given to the Christian people. The faithful, by a sincere conversion, have separated themselves from the Egypt of a sinful world. They are offering the palms of their loyalty and love to Jesus, their King. The fountains typify the Baptism, which, a few days hence, is to be administered to our catechumens. These fountains are twelve in number; the twelve articles of the symbol of our faith were preached to the world by the twelve apostles. And finally, on the morning of Easter day, Jesus, the Bread of life, the heavenly Manna, will arise from the tomb, and manifest His glory to us.

Lectio libri Exodi.

Cap. xv.

In diebus illis: Venerunt filii Israel in Elim, ubi erant duodecim fontes aquarum, et Septuaginta palmæ: et castrametati sunt juxta aquas. Profectique sunt de Elim: et venit omnis multitudo filiorum Israel in desertum Sin, quod est inter Elim et Sinai: quintodecimo die mensis secundi, postquam egressi sunt de terra Ægypti. Et murmuravit omnis congregatio filiorum Israel contra Moysen et Aaron in solitudine. Dixeruntque filii Israel ad eos: Utinam mortui essemus per manum Domini in terra Ægypti, quando sedebamus super ollas carnium: et comedebamus panem in saturitate. Cur induxistis nos in desertum istud, ut occideretis omnem multitudinem fame? Dixit autem Dominus ad Moysen: Ecce ego pluam vobis panes de cœlo. Egrediatur populus, et colligat quæ sufficiunt per singulos dies: ut tentem eum, utrum ambulet in lege mea, an non. Die autem sexto parent quod inferant: et sit duplum, quam colligere solebant per singulos dies. Dixeruntque Moyses et Aaron ad omnes filios Israel: Vespere scietis, quod Dominus eduxerit vos de terra Ægypti: et mane videbitis gloriam Domini.
Lesson from the book of Exodus.

Ch. xv.

In those days, the children of Israel came into Elim, where there were twelve fountains of water, and seventy palm-trees; and they encamped by the waters. And they set forward from Elim; and all the multitude of the children of Israel came into the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, the fifteenth day of the second month after they came out of the land of Egypt. And all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them: Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat over the flesh pots, and ate bread to the full. Why have you brought us into this desert, that you might destroy all the multitude with famine? And the Lord said to Moses: Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you; let the people go forth, and gather what is sufficient for every day, that I may prove them whether they will walk in my law, or no. But the sixth day let them provide for to bring in, and let it be double to that they were wont to gather every day. And Moses and Aaron said to the children of Israel: In the evening you shall know that the Lord hath brought you forth out of the land of Egypt: and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord.

After this lesson, the choir sings one of the two following responsories, which commemorate the Passion of our Lord.

Responsory

℟. Collegerunt pontifices et pharisæi concilium, et dixerunt: Quid facimus, quia hic homo multa signa facit? Si dimittimus eum sic, omnes credent in eum:
* Et venient Romani, et tollent nostrum locum et gentem.
℣. Unus autem ex illis, Caiphas nomine, cum esset pontifex anni illius, prophetavit dicens: Expedit vobis, ut unus moriatur homo pro populo, et non tota gens pereat. Ab illo ergo die cogitaverunt interficere eum dicentes:
* Et venient Romani, et tollent nostrum locum et gentem.

℟. In monte Oliveti oravit ad Patrem: Pater, si fieri potest, transeat a me calix iste.
* Spiritus quidem promptus est: caro autem infirma: fiat voluntas tua.
℣. Vigilate et orate, ut non intretis in tentationem.
* Spiritus quidem promptus est: caro autem infirma: fiat voluntas tua.
℟. The chief priests therefore and the pharisees gathered a council, and said: What are we doing, for this man performeth many wonders? If we let him go on thus, all will believe in him.
* And the Romans will come and destroy both our country and people.
℣. But one of them, named Caiphas, being the high priest of that year, said to them: It is for your interest that one man should die for the people, and not the whole nation perish. Therefore from that day they devised to kill him, saying:
* And the Romans will come and destroy both our country and people.

℟. Jesus prayed unto his Father on Mount Olivet: O Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.
* The spirit indeed is ready, but the flesh is weak. Thy will be done.
℣. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.
* The spirit indeed is ready, but the flesh is weak. Thy will be done.

The deacon then chants, from the Gospel of Saint Matthew, the history of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The palms of the new Testament entwine with those of the old, in honour of the Man-God, who is the connecting link of both.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xxi.

In illo tempore: Cum appropinquasset Jesus Jerosolymis et venisset Bethphage, ad montern Oliveti; tunc misit duos discipulos, dicens eis: Ite in castellum, quod contra vos est: et statini invenietis asinam alligatam et pullum cum ea: solvite, et adducite mihi. Et si quis vobis aliquid dixerit, dicite quia Dominus his opus habet: et confestim dimittet eos. Hoc autem totum factum est, ut adimpleretur quod dictum est per prophetam dicentem: Dicite filiæ Sion: Ecce Rex tuus venit tibi mansuetus, sedens super asinam, et pullum filiura subjugalis. Euntes autem discipuli, fecerunt sicut præcepit illis Jesus. Et adduxerunt asinam, et pullum: et imposuerunt super eos vestimenta sua, et eum desuper sedere fecerunt. Plurima autem turba straverunt vestimenta sua in via. Alii autem cædebant ramos de arboribus, et sternebant in via. Turbæ autem quæ præcedebant, et quæ sequebantur, clamabant, dicentes: Hosanna filio David! benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini!
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xxi.

At that time: When Jesus drew nigh to Jerusalem, and was come to Bethphage, unto mount Olivet, he sent two disciples, saying to them: Go ye into the village that is over against you, and immediately you shall find an ass tied and a colt with her; loose them and bring them to me. And if any man shall say anything to you, say ye, that the Lord hath need of them; and forthwith he will let them go. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: Tell ye the daughter of Sion: Behold, thy King cometh to thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt, the foal of her that is used to the yoke. And the disciples going, did as Jesus commanded them: and they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way, and others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way; and the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!

And now the mystery-speaking palms are to receive the Church’s blessing. The priest begins by two scriptural allusions: the first is to Noah, who received an olive-branch, when the waters of the deluge had subsided; the second is to Moses, whose people, after quitting Egypt, encamped under the seventy palm-trees. Then in the solemn tone of the Preface, he calls upon all creatures to give praise to the adorable name of Jesus, for whom we are preparing the homage of our devoted love. Let us respond to the invitation, and sing with all our hearts: Holy! Holy! Holy!—Hosanna in excelsis!

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

Oremus

Auge fidem in te sperantium, Deus, et supplicum preces dementer exaudi: veniat super nos multiplex misericordia tua; benedicantur et hi palmites palmarum, seu olivarum: et sicut in figura Ecclesiæ multiplicasti Noe egredientem de arca, et Moysen exeuntem de Ægypto cum filiis Israel: ita nos portantes palmos, et ramos olivarum bonis actibus occurramus obviam Christo, et per ipsum in gaudium introeamus æternum. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus,

℣. Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.

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

℣. Sursum corda.
℟. Habemus ad Dominum.

℣. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
℟. Dignum et justum est.

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus. Qui gloriaris in consilio sanctorum tuorum. Tibi enim serviunt creaturæ tuæ: quia te solum auctorem et Deum cognoscunt: et omnis factura tua te collaudat, et benedicunt te sancti tui. Quia illud magnum Unigeniti tui nomen, coram regibus et potestatibus hujus sæculi, libera voce confitentur. Cui assistunt Angeli et Archangeli, Throni et Dominationes: cumque omni militia cœlestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tuæ concinunt, sine fine dicentes:

Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.

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

Let us Pray

Increase, O God, the faith of them that hope in thee, and mercifully hear the prayers of thy suppliants; let thy manifold mercy come upon us, and let these branches of palmtrees, or olive-trees be blessed; and as in a figure of the Church thou didst multiply Noah going out of the ark, and Moses going out of Egypt with the children of Israel, so let us, carrying palms and branches of olive-trees, go and meet Christ with good works, and enter through him into eternal joys. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God,

℣. For ever and ever.
℟. Amen.

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

℣. Lift up your hearts.
℟. We have fixed them on God.

℣. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
℟. It is meet and just.

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, always and in all places to give thee thanks, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, who art glorious in the assembly of thy saints. For thy creatures serve thee, because they acknowledge thee for their only Creator and God. And the whole creation praiseth thee, and thy saints bless thee, because they confess with freedom, before the kings and powers of this world, the great name of thy only-begotten Son. Before whom the Angels and Archangels, the Thrones and Dominations, stand, and with all the troops of the heavenly host, sing a hymn to thy glory, saying without ceasing:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!


The prayers which now follow, explain the mystery of the palms, and draw down the blessing of God both upon them and upon the faithful who receive and keep them with proper dispositions.

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

Oremus

Petimus, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: ut hanc creaturam olivæ, quam ex ligni materia prodire jussisti, quamque columba rediens ad arcam, proprio pertulit ore: benedicere et sanctificare digneris: ut quicumque ex ea receperint, accipiant sibi protectionem animæ et corporis, fiatque, Domine, nostræ salutis remedium, tuæ gratiæ sacramentum. Per Dominum nostrum.
℟.. Amen.

Oremus

Deus, qui dispersa congregas, et congregata conservas: qui populis obviam Jesu ramos portantibus benedixisti: benedic etiam hos ramos palmæ et olivæ, quos tui famuli ad honorem nominis tui fideliter suscipiunt: ut in quemcumque locum introducti fuerint, tuam benedictionem habitatores loci illius consequantur: et omni adversitate effugata, dextera tua protegat quos redemit Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster. Qui tecum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus

Deus, qui miro dispositionia ordine, ex rebus etiam insensibilibus, dispensationem nostræ salutis ostendere voluisti: da quæsumus, ut devota tuorum corda fidelium salubriter intelligant, quid mystice designet in facto, quod hodie cœlesti lumine afflata, Redemptori obviam procedens, palmarum atque olivarum ramos vestigiis ejus turba substravit. Palmarum igitur rami de mortis principe triumphos exspectant: surculi vero olivarum spiritualem unctionem advenisse quodammodo clamant. Intellexit enim jam tunc illa hominum beata multitudo præfigurali: quia Redemptor noster humanis condolens miseriis, pro totius mundi vita cum mortis principe esset pugnaturus, ac moriendo triumphaturus. Et ideo talia obsequens administravit, quæ in illo et triumphos victoriæ, et misericordiæ pinguedinem declararent. Quod nos quoque plena fide, et factum et significatum retinentes, te Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum suppliciter exoramus: ut in ipso atque per ipsum, cujus nos membra fieri voluisti, de mortis imperio victoriam reportantes, ipsius gloriosæ resurrectionis participes esse mereamur. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus

Deus, qui per olivæ ramum, pacem terris columbam nuntiare jussisti: præsta quæsumus: ut hos olivæ cæterarumque arborum ramos, cœlesti benedictione sanctifices: ut cuncto populo tuo proficiant ad salutem. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus

Benedic, quæsumus, Domine, hos palmarum, seu olivarum ramos: et præsta ut quod populus tuus in tui venerationem hodierna die corporaliter agit, hoc spiritualiter summa devotione perficiat, de hoste victoriam reportando, et opus misericordiæ summopere diligendo. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray

We beseech thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, that thou wouldst be pleased to bless and sanctify this creature of the olive tree, which thou madest to shoot out of the substance of the wood, and which the dove, returning to the ark, brought in its bill; that whoever receiveth it, may find protection of soul and body, and that it may prove, O Lord, a saving remedy, and a sacred sign of thy grace. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray

O God, who gatherest what is dispersed, and preservest what is gathered; who didst bless the people that carried boughs to meet Jesus; bless also these branches of the palmtree and olive-tree which thy servants take with faith in honour of thy name; that into whatever place they may be carried, the inhabitants of that place may obtain thy blessing, and thy right hand may preserve from all adversity, and protect those that have been redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son. Who liveth, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray

O God, who by the wonderful order of thy providence wouldst, even in insensible things, show us the manner of our salvation; grant, we beseech thee, that the devout hearts of thy faithful may understand to their benefit the mystical meaning of that ceremony, when the multitude, by direction from heaven, going this day to meet our Redeemer, strewed under his feet palms and olive-branches. The palms represent his triumph over the prince of death; and the olive-branches proclaim, in some manner, the coming of a spiritual unction. For that pious multitude then knew, what was by them signified, that our Redeemer, compassionating the misery of mankind, was to fight for the life of the whole world with the prince of death; and to triumph over him by his own death. And therefore in that action they made use of such things as might declare both the triumph of his victory, and the riches of his mercy. We also with a firm faith, retaining both the ceremony and its signification, humbly beseech thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, through the same Lord Jesus Christ, that we, whom thou hast made his members, gaining by him, and in him, a victory over the empire of death, may deserve to be partakers of his glorious resurrection. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray

O God, who by an olive-branch didst command the dove to proclaim peace to the world; sanctify, we beseech thee, by thy heavenly benediction, these branches of olives and other trees; that they may be serviceable to all thy people unto salvation. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray

Bless, O Lord, we beseech thee, these branches of the palm-tree, or olive-tree; and grant that what thy people this day act corporally for thy honour, they may perform the same spiritually with the greatest devotion, by gaining a victory over their enemy, and ardently loving the work of thy mercy. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

The priest completes the blessing of the palms by sprinkling them with holy water and thurifying them with incense. After which, he adds the following prayer.

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

Oremus

Deus, qui Filium tuum Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum, pro salute nostra in hunc mundum misisti, ut se humiliaret ad nos, et nos revocaret ad te: cui etiam dum Jerusalem veniret, ut adimpleret Scripturas, credentium populorum turba, fidelissima devotione, vestimenta sua cum ramis palmarum in via sternebant: præsta, quæsumus, ut illi fidei viam præparemus: de qua remoto lapide offensionis, et petra scandali, frondeant apud te opera nostra justitiæ ramis: ut ejus vestigia sequi mereamur. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray

O God, who, for our salvation, didst send into this world thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord that he might humble himself to our condition, and call us back to thee: for whom also, as he was coming to Jerusalem, to fulfil the Scriptures, a multitude of faithful people, with a zealous devotion, spread their garments together with palm branches in the way: grant, we beseech thee, that we may prepare him the way of faith, out of which the stone of offence and the rock of scandal being removed, our actions may flourish with branches of righteousness, so that we may be worthy to follow his steps. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.
℟. Amen.

After this prayer, the priest distributes the palms to the faithful.[9] During the distribution, the choir reminds us, by the two following antiphons, of the enthusiasm of the little children of Jerusalem, who, with their palms in their hands, sang their loud: Hosanna to the Son of David!

Antiphon

Pueri Hebræorum portantes ramos olivarurm obviaverunt Domino, clamantes, et dicentes: Hosanna in excelsis!
The Hebrew children carrying olive-branches met the Lord, crying out, and saying: Hosanna in the highest!

Antiphon

Pueri Hebræorum vestimenta prosternebant in via, et clamabant dicentes: Hosanna filio David; benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini!
The Hebrew children spread their garments in the way, and cried out saying: Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!

As soon as the distribution is over, the priest concludes this first part of the service by the following prayer.

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

Oremus

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum super pullum asinæ sedere fecisti: et turbas populorum vestimenta, vel ramos arborum in via sternere, et Hosanna decantare in laudem ipsius docuisti: da quæsumus, ut illorum innocentiam imitari possimus, et eorum meritum consequi mereamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.
℟. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray

O almighty and eternal God, who wouldst have our Lord Jesus Christ ride on the colt of an ass, and didst inspire the crowds of people to spread their garments, and branches of trees in the way, and to sing Hosanna to his praise: grant, we beseech thee, that we may imitate their innocence, and deserve to partake in their merits. Through the same Christ our Lord.
℟. Amen.

 

THE PROCESSION

 

The priest having blessed the incense—which, according to the custom of the Church, always heads a procession and sheds its perfume along the path that is to be taken—the deacon turns towards the people, and gives the signal for departure, with these words:

Procedamus in pace.
Let us proceed in peace.

The choir answers:

In nomine Christi. Amen.
In the name of Christ. Amen.

The procession then advances, the clergy and people holding the palms in their hands. The choir chants the following antiphons, in honour of Jesus, the King of Israel.

Antiphon

Cum appropinquaret Dominus Jerosolymam, misit duos ex dicipulis suis, dicens: Ite in castellum, quod contra vos est: et invenietis pullum asinæ alligatum, super quem nullus hominum sedit: solvite, et adducite mihi. Si quis vos interrogaverit, dicite: Opus Domino est. Solventes adduxerunt ad Jesum: et imposuerunt illi vestimenta sua, et sedit super eum: alii expandebant vestimenta sua in via: alii ramos de arboribus sternebant, et qui sequebantur, clamabant: Hosanna! benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini, et benedictum regnum patris nostri David! Hosanna in excelsis! Miserere nobis, fili David!
When the Lord drew nigh to Jerusalem, he sent two of his disciples, saying: Go ye into the village that is over against you: and you will find the colt of an ass tied, loose it, and bring it to me. If any one ask you any questions, say: The Lord wanteth it. They untied, and brought it to Jesus, and laid their garments upon it; and he seated himself on it. Others spread their garments in the way; others cut branches from the trees; and those who followed, cried out, Hosanna! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; and blessed be the reign of our father David! Hosanna in the highest! 0 Son of David, have mercy on us!

Antiphon

Cum audisset populus, quia Jesus venit Jerosolymam, acceperunt ramos palmarum, et exierunt ei obviam, et clamabant pueri dicentes: Hic est, qui venturus est in salutem populi: Hic est salus nostra, et redemptio Israel. Quantus est iste, cui Throni et Dominationes occurrunt! Noli timere, filia Sion! ecce Rex tuus venit tibi sedens super pullum asinæ sicut scriptum est. Salve Rex fabricator mundi, qui venisti redemire nos!
When the people heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm-branches and went out to meet him; and the children cried out, saying: This is he, who is come for the salvation of the people. He is our salvation, and the redemption of Israel. How great is he, whom the Thrones and Dominations go out to meet! Fear not, O daughter of Sion: behold thy King cometh to thee sitting on an ass’s colt, as it is written. Hail, O King, the Creator of the world, who art come to redeem us!

Antiphon

Ante sex dies solemnis Paschæ, quando venit Dominus in civitatem Jerusalem, occurrerunt ei pueri: et in manibus portabant ramos palmarum: et clamabant voce magna dicentes: Hosanna in excelsis! Benedictus qui venisti in multitudine misericordiæ tuse; Hosanna in excelsis!
Six days before the solemnity of the Passover, when the Lord was coming into the city of Jerusalem, the children met him, and carried palm-branches in their hands; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying: Hosanna in the highest: blessed art thou who art come in the multitude of thy mercy: Hosanna in the highest!

Antiphon

Occurrunt turbæ cum floribus et palmis Redemptori obviam: et victori triumphanti digna dant obsequia. Filium Dei ore gentes prædicant: et in laudem Christi voces tonant per nubila: Hosanna in excelsis!
The multitude goeth out to meet their Redeemer with flowers and palms, and payeth the homage due to a triumphant conqueror: the Gentiles proclaim the Son of God: and their voices rend the skies in the praise of Christ: Hosanna in the highest!

Antiphon

Cum angelis et pueris fideles inveniamur, triumphatori mortis clamantes: Hosanna in excelsis!
Let us faithfully join with the angels and children, singing to the Conqueror of death: Hosanna in the highest!

Antiphon

Turba multa quæ convenerat ad diem festum, clamabat Domino: Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini! Hosanna in excelsis!
A great multitude that was met together at the festival cried out to the Lord: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

The procession is now on its return to the church: but it cannot enter, for the doors are shut. We have already explained the meaning of this part of the ceremony. Immediately there are heard voices within the holy place; they are singing the praises of Christ, our King and Saviour. These cantors represent the holy angels in heaven, who are greeting the entry of Jesus into the eternal Jerusalem. Outside the church, there stands the choir, re-echoing the hymn of triumph; but it is man celebrating the entry of the Son of David into the earthly Jerusalem. The two choirs are thus kept separated from each other, until at length the victorious cross throws open the door, which represents the gate of heaven, and unites the Church militant with the Church triumphant. The hymn which is sung during this ceremony, was composed by Theodulf bishop of Orleans, when prisoner at Angers, by order of Louis the Good. The Church of Rome, by using the first six stanzas of this short poem, has immortalized it throughout the world.

The cantors within the church begin the first stanza, which is repeated by the choir without, not only after this, but also after each of the following five stanzas.

Hymn

Gloria, laus et honor, tibi sit, Rex Christe, Redemptor!
Cui puerile decus prompsit Hosanna pium.
℟. Gloria, laus.

Israel es tu Rex, Davidis et inclyta proles:
Nomine qui in Domini, rex benedicte, venis.
℟. Gloria, laus.

Cœtus in excelsis, te laudat cœlicus omnis,
Et mortalis homo, et cuncta creata simul.
℟. Gloria, laus.

Plebs Hebræa tibi cum palmis obvia venit:
Cum prece, voto, hymnis, adsumus ecce tibi.
℟. Gloria, laus.

Hi tibi passuro solvebant munia laudis;
Nos tibi regnanti pangimus ecce melos.
℟. Gloria, laus.

Hi placuere tibi, placeat devotio nostra,
Rex bone, rex clemens, cui bona cuncta placent.
℟. Gloria, laus.
Glory, praise, and honour be to thee, O Christ, our King, our Saviour;
to whom the innocent children sang their fervent Hosanna.
℟. Glory, praise, &c.

Thou art the King of Israel, the glorious Son of David!
Blessed art thou our King! that comest in the name of the Lord.
℟. Glory, praise, &c.

The whole heavenly host, in the highest heavens above,
and men on earth, and all created things praise thee.
℟. Glory, praise, &c.

The Hebrew people, with palms, went forth to meet thee:
behold, we, too, present ourselves before thee, with our prayers, desires, and hymns.
℟.Glory, praise, &c.

They offered the tribute of their praise to thee, when thou wast about to suffer;
we sing our hymn to thee seated on thy throne.
℟. Glory, praise, &c.

They were pleasing to thee; grant that our devotion may also please thee,
O dear and merciful King! to whom all is pleasing that is good.
℟. Glory, praise, &c.

As soon as the choir has sung its response to the last stanza, the subdeacon knocks with the cross at the door, which is immediately opened. In some places, it is the celebrant himself who performs this ceremony, and while doing it he recites the words of Psalm xxiii, in which David celebrates the entrance of our Redeemer into heaven on the day of His Ascension.

The procession then enters the church, singing the following responsory:

Responsory

℟. Ingrediente Domino in sanctam civitatem, Hebræorum pueri resurrectionem vitæ pronuntiantes;
* Cum ramis palmarum, Hosanna clamabant in excelsis.
℣. Cum audisset populus, quod Jesus veniret Jerosolymam, exierunt obviam ei.
* Cum ramis palmarum, Hosanna clamabant in excelsis.
℟.. As our Lord entered the holy city, the Hebrew children declaring the resurrection of life,
* With palmbranches, cried out: Hosanna in the highest!
℣. When the people heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they went out to meet him.
* With palm-branches, cried out: Hosanna in the highest!

 

MASS

 

The Station at Rome is in the basilica of St. John Lateran, the mother and mistress of all Churches. The papal function, however, now takes place at St. Peter’s; but the usual indulgences are still granted to those who visit the archbasilica.

The Mass of this Sunday retains no vestige of the joy, which characterized the ceremony of the palms. The Introit is taken from Psalm xxi, in which the royal prophet expresses the anguish of soul suffered by Jesus on the cross.

Introit

Domine, ne longe facias auxilium tuum a me, ad defensionem meam adspice; libera me de ore leonis, et a cornibus unicornium humilitatem meam.
Ps. Deus, Deus meus, respice in me, quare me dereliquisti? Longe a salute mea verba delictorum meorum.
Domine, ne longe.
O Lord, keep not thy help far from me; look to my defence; save me from the lion’s mouth, and rescue me in my distress, from the horns of unicorns.
Ps. O God, my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me? It is the cry of my sins that keeps salvation far from me.
O Lord, keep not, &c.

In the Collect the Church prays that we may have grace to imitate the patience and humility of our Saviour. Jesus suffers and humbles Himself for us; it is but just that we should work out our salvation by following His example, that we should suffer, and be humble.

Collect

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui humano generi ad imitandum humilitatis ex-emplum, Salvatorem nostrum carnem sumere, et crucem subire fecisti: concede propitius: ut et patientiæ ipsius habere documenta, et resurrectionis consortia mereamur. Per eumdem.
O almighty and eternal God, who wouldst have our Saviour become man, and suffer on a cross, to give mankind an example of humility; mercifully grant that we may improve by the example of his patience, and partake of his resurrection. Through the same, &c.

 

Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ B. Pauli Apostoli ad Philippenses.

Cap. ii.

Fratres: Hoc enim sentite in vobis, quod et in Christo Jesu. Qui cum in forma Dei esset, non rapinam arbitratus est, esse se æqualem Deo: sed semetipsum exinanivit, formam servi accipiens, in similitudinem hominum factus, et habitu inventus ut homo. Humiliavit semetipsum, factus obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis. Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum: et donavit illi nomen, quod est super omne nomen: ut in nomine Jesu (here, all kneel,) omne genu flectatur, cœlestium, terrestrium, et infernorum: et omnis lingua confiteatur, quia Dominus Jesus Christus in gloria est Dei Patris.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Philippians.

Ch. ii.

Brethren: For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him and hath given him a name which is above all names; that in the name of Jesus (here, all kneel,) every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

In obedience to the wishes of the Church, we have knelt down at those words of the apostle, where he says that every knee should bow at the holy name of Jesus. If there be one time of the year rather than another, when the Son of God has a right to our fervent adorations, it is this week, when we see Him insulted in His Passion. Not only should His sufferings excite us to tender compassion; we should also keenly resent the insults that are heaped upon our Jesus, the God of infinite majesty. Let us strive, by our humble homage, to make Him amends for the indignities He suffered in atonement for our pride. Let us unite with the holy angels, who, witnessing what He has gone through for the love of man, prostrate themselves, in profoundest adoration, at the sight of His humiliations.

In the Gradual, the Church makes use of the words of the royal prophet, who foretells the future glories of the Victim that dies on Calvary; but he also confesses that the success permitted to the enemies of Jesus had well nigh shaken his confidence.

Gradual

Tenuisti manum dexteram meam: et in voluntate tua deduxisti me: et cum gloria assumpsisti me.
℣. Quam bonus Israel Deus rectis corde! Mei autem pene moti sunt pedes, pene effusi sunt gressus mei: quia zelavi in peccatoribus, pacem peccatorum videns.
Thou hast held me by my right hand, and by thy will thou hast conducted me; and with glory thou hast received me.
℣. How good is the God of Israel to them that are of a right heart! But my feet were almost moved, my steps had well nigh slipped, because I had a zeal on sinners, seeing the prosperity of sinners.

The Tract consists of several verses taken from Psalm xxi, the first words of which were spoken by our Redeemer on the cross. So clear and explicit are the words of this psalm, that it might almost be called a history, as well as a prophecy, of the Passion.

Tract

Deus, Deus meus, respice in me: quare me dereliquisti?
℣. Longe a salute mea verba delictorum meorum.
℣. Deus meus, clamabo per diem, nec exaudies; in nocte, et non ad insipientiam mihi.
℣. Tu autem in sancto habitas, laus Israel.
℣. In te speraverunt patres nostri: speraverunt et liberasti eos.
℣. Ad te clamaverunt, et salvi facti sunt: in te speraverunt, et non sunt confusi.
℣. Ego autem sum vermis, et non homo: opprobrium hominum, et abjectio plebis.
℣. Omnes qui videbant me, aspernabantur me: locuti sunt labiis, et moverunt caput.
℣. Speravit in Domino, eripiat eum: salvum faciat eum, quoniam vult eum.
℣. Ipsi vero consideraverunt et conspexerunt me: diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
℣. Libera me de ore leonis: et a cornibus unicornium humilitatem meam.
℣. Qui timetis Dominum laudate eum: universum semen Jacob magnificate eum.
℣. Annuntiabitur Domino generatio ventura: et annuntiabunt cœli justitiam ejus.
℣. Populo qui nascetur, quem fecit Dominus.
O God, my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me?
℣. Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.
℣. O my God, I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear; and by night, and it shall not be imputed as folly in me.
℣. But thou dwellest in the holy place, O thou the praise of Israel!
℣. In thee have our fathers hoped: they hoped, and thou hast delivered them.
℣. They cried out to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
℣. But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.
℣. All they that saw me, have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.
℣. He hoped in the Lord, (say they) let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighted in him.
℣. They considered me, and viewed me attentively: they divided my garments among them, and cast lots for my vesture.
℣. Deliver me from the lion’s mouth: and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns.
℣. Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: O all ye of the seed of Jacob magnify him.
℣. A people that is to come shall be declared the Lord’s: and the heavens shall publish his justice.
℣. To a people to be born, whom the Lord hath made.

It is now time that we should hear the history of our Saviour’s Passion: but, in order that we may show both heaven and earth that we are not scandalized, as were the disciples, at the sight of His apparent weakness and the triumph of His enemies, we hold in our hands the palms, wherewith we have been proclaiming Him as our King.

The Church reads, on four different days of this week, the four evangelists’ narration of the Passion. She begins with that of St. Matthew, who was the first to write the Gospel. To express the sorrow which fills the hearts of the faithful, the acolytes do not carry the lights, nor is the book incensed. Omitting the customary salutation, the deacon, who is to take the part of the evangelist, at once begins the mournful history of our Lord’s sufferings and death.

The Passion and Gospel

Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xxvi. et xxvii
.

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus discipulis suis: Scitis, quia post biduum Pascha fiet: et Filius hominis tradetur, ut crucifigatur. Tunc congregati sunt principes sacerdotum et seniores populi in atrium principis sacerdotum, qui dicebatur Caiphas: et consilium fecerunt, ut Jesum dolo tenerent, et occiderent. Dicebant autem: Non in die festo, ne forte tumultus fieret in populo.

Cum autem Jesus esset in Bethania, in domo Simonis leprosi, accessit ad eum mulier habens alabastrum unguenti pretiosi: et effudit super caput ipsius recumbentis. Videntes autem discipuli, indignati sunt, dicentes: ut quid perditio hæc? Potuit enim istud venundari multo, et dari pauperibus. Sciens autem Jesus, ait illis: Quid molesti estis huic mulieri? Opus enim bonum operata est in me. Nam semper pauperes habetis vobiscum: me autem non semper habetis. Mittens enim hæc unguentum hoc in corpus meum, ad sepeliendum me fecit. Amen dico vobis, ubicumque prædicatum fuerit hoc Evangelium in toto mundo, dicetur et quod hæc fecit in memoriam ejus.

Tunc abiit unus de duodecim, qui dicebatur Judas Iscariotes, ad principes sacerdotum; et ait illis: Quid vultis mihi dare, et ego vobis eum tradam? At illi constituerunt ei triginta argenteos. Et exinde quærebat opportunitatem, ut eum traderet. Prima autem die Azymorum accesserunt discipuli ad Jesum dicentes: Ubi vis paremus tibi comedere Pascha? At Jesus dixit: Ite in civitatem ad quemdam, et dicite ei: Magister dicit: Tempus meum prope est; apud te facio Pascha cum discipulis meis. Et fecerunt discipuli sicut constituit illis Jesus: et paraverunt Pascha.

Vespere autem facto, discumbebat cum duodecim discipulis suis. Et edentibus illis, dixit: Amen dico vobis: quia unus vestrum me traditurus est. Et contristati valde, cœperunt singuli dicere: Numquid ego sum, Domine? At ipse respondens, ait: Qui intingit mecum manum in paropside, hic me tradet. Filius quidem hominis vadit, sicut scriptum est de illo. Væ autem homini illi, per quem Filius hominis tradetur! Bonum erat ei, si natus non fuisset homo ille. Respondens autem Judas qui tradidit eum dixit: Numquid ego sum, Rabbi? Ait illi: Tu dixisti.

Cœnantibus autem eis, accepit Jesus panem: et benedixit, ac fregit, deditque dicipulis suis, et ait: Accipite, et comedite: Hoc est corpus meum. Et accipiens calicem, gratias egit: et dedit illis dicens: Bibite ex hoc omnes. Hic est enim sanguis meus novi testamenti, qui pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. Dico autem vobis: Non bibam amodo de hoc genimine vitis usque in diem ilium, cum illud bibam vobiscum novum in regno Patris mei.

Et hymno dicto, exierunt in montem Oliveti. Tunc dicit illis Jesus: Omnes vos scandalum patiemini in me, in ista nocte. Scriptum est enim: Percutiam pastorem, et dispergentur oves gregis: postquam autem resurrexero, præcedam vos in Galilæam. Respondens autem Petrus, ait illi: Etsi omnes scandalizati fuerint in te, ego nunquam scandalizabor. Ait illi Jesus: Amen dico tibi quia in hac nocte, antequam gallus cantet, ter me negabis. Ait illi Petrus: Etiam si oportuerit me mori tecum, non te negabo. Similiter et omnes dixerunt.

Tunc venit Jesus cum illis in villam, quæ dicitur Gethsemani: et dixit discipulis suis: Sedete hic donee vadam illuc, et orem. Et assumpto Petro, et duobus filiis Zebedæi, cœpit contristari, et mœstus esse. Tunc ait illis: Tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem Sustinete hic et vigilate mecum. Et progressus pusillum, procidit in faciem suam, orans et dicens: Pater mi, si possibile est, transeat a me calix iste. Verumtamen non sicut ego volo, sed sicut tu. Et venit ad discipulos suos, et invenit eos dormientes: et dicto Petro: Sic non potuistis una hora vigilare mecum? Vigilate, et orate: ut non intretis in tentationem. Spiritus quidem promptus est, caro autem infirma. Iterum secundo abito, et oravit dicens: Pater mi, si non potest hic calix transire, nisi bibam illum: fiat voluntas tua. Et venit iterum, et invenit eos dormientes. Erant enim oculi eorum gravati. Et relictis illis, iterum abiit: et oravit tertio eumdem sermonem dicens. Tunc venit ad discipulos suos, et dicit illis: Dormite jam, et requiescite. Ecce appropinquavit hora: et Filius hominis tradetur in manus peccatorum. Surgite, eamus: ecce appropinquavit qui me tradet.

Adhuc eo loquente, ecce Judas unus de duodecim venit, et cum eo turba multa cum gladiis et fustibus, missi a principibus sacerdotal, et senioribus populi. Qui antem tradidit eum, dedit illis signum dicens: Quemcumque osculatus fuero, ipse est, tenete eum. Et confeatim accedens ad Jesum, dixit: Ave, Rabbi. Et osculatus est eum. Dixitque illi Jesus: Amice, ad quid venisti? Tunc accesserunt, et manus injecerunt in Jesum: et tenuerunt eum. Et ecce unus ex his qui erant cum Jesu, extendens manum, exemit gladium suum: et percutiens servum principis sacerdotum, amputavit auriculam ejus. Tune ait illi Jesus: Converte gladium tuum in locum suum. Omnes enim,qui acceperint gladium, gladio peribunt. An putas, quia non possum rogare Patrem meum: et exhibebit mihi modo plusquam duodecim legiones angelorum? Quomodo ergo implebuntur Scripturæ, quia sic oportet fieri? In illa hora dixit Jesus turbis: Tamquam ad latronem existis cum gladiis et fustibus comprehendere me: quotidie apud vos sedebam docens in templo: et non me tenuistis. Hoc autem totum factum est, ut adimplerentur Scripturæ prophetarum. Tunc discipuli omnes, relieto eo, fugerunt.

At illi tenentes Jesum, duxerunt ad Caipham principem sacerdotum, ubi scribæ et seniores convenerant. Petrus autem sequebatur eum a longe, usque in atrium principis sacerdotum. Et ingressus intro, sedebat cum ministris, ut videret finem. Principes autem sacerdotum, et omne concilium, quærebant falsum testimonium contra Jesum, ut eum morti traderent: et non invenerunt, cum multi falsi testes accessissent. Novissime autem venerunt duo falsi testes, et dixerunt: Hic dixit: Possum destruere templum Dei, et post triduum reædificare illud. Et surgens princeps sacerdotum, ait illi: Nihil respondes ad ea, quæ isti adversum te testificantur? Jesus autem tacebat. Et princeps sacerdotum ait illi: Adjuro te per Deum vivum, ut dicas nobis, si tu es Christus Filius Dei. Dicit illi Jesus: Tu dixisti. Verumtamen dico vobis, amodo videbitis Filium hominis sedentem a dextris virtutis Dei, et venientem in nubibus cœli. Tunc princeps sacerdotum scidit vestimenta sua, dicens: Blasphemavit. Quid adhuc egemus testibus? Ecce: nunc audistis blasphemiam. Quid vobis videtur? At illi respondentes, dixerunt: Reus est mortis. Tunc expuerunt in faciem ejus: et colaphis eum cæciderunt. Alii autem palmas in faciem ejus dederunt dicentes: Prophetiza nobis, Christe, quis est, qui te percussit?

Petrus vero sedebat foris in atrio. Et accessit ad eum una ancilla dicens: Et tu cum Jesu Galilæo eras. At ille negavit coram omnibus, dicens: Nescio quid dicis. Exeunte autem illo januam, vidit eum alia ancilla: et ait bis, qui erant ibi: Et hic erat cum Jesu Nazareno. Et iterum negavit cum juramento: Quia non novi hominem. Et post pusillum accesserunt qui stabant, et dixerunt Petro: Vere et tu ex illis es; nam et loquela tua manifestum te facit. Tunc cœpit detestari et jurare quia non novisset hominem. Et continuo gallus cantavit. Et recordatus est Petrus verbi Jesu quod dixerat: Priusquam gallus cantet, ter me negabis. Et egressus foras, flevit amare.

Mane autem facto, consilium inierunt omnes principes sacerdotum, et seniores populi adversus Jesum, ut eum morti traderent. Et vinctum adduxerunt eum, et tradiderunt Pontio Pilato, præsidi. Tunc videns Judas, qui eum tradidit, quod damnatus esset, pœnitentia ductus, retulit triginta argenteos principibus sacerdotum et senioribus, dicens: Peccavi tradens sanguinem justum. At illi dixerunt: Quid ad nos? Tu videris. Et projectis argenteis in tempio, recessit: et abiens laqueo se suspendit. Principes autem sacerdotum, acceptis argenteis dixerunt: Non licet eos mittere in corbonam, quia pretium sanguinis est. Consilio autem inito, emerunt ex illis agrum figuli, in sepulturam peregrinorum. Propter hoc vocatus est ager ille Haceldama, hoc est, ager sanguinis, usque in hodiernum diem. Tunc impletum est quod dictum est per Jeremiam prophetam dicentem: Et acceperunt triginta argenteos, pretium appretiati quem appretiaverunt a filiis Israel; et dederunt eos in agrum figuli, sicut constituit mihi Dominus.

Jesus autem stetit ante præsidem. Et interrogavit eum præses dicens: Tu es Rex Judæorum? Dicit illi Jesus: Tu dicis. Et cum accusaretur a principibus sacerdotum et senioribus, nihil respondit. Tunc dicit illi Pilatus: Non audis, quanta adversum te dicunt testimonia? Et non respondit ei ad ullum verbum: ita ut miraretur præses vehementer.

Per diem autem solemnem consueverat præses populo dimittere unum vinctum, quem voluissent. Habebat autem tunc vinctum insignem, qui dicebatur Barabbas. Congregatis ergo illis, dixit Pilatus: Quem vultis dimittam vobis, Barabbam an Jesum qui dicitur Christus? Sciebat enim, quod per invidiam tradidissent eum. Sedente autem illo pro tribunali, misit ad eum uxor ejus dicens: Nihil tibi et justo illi: multa enim passa sum hodie per visum propter eum. Principes autem sacerdotum et seniores persuaserunt populis, ut peterent Barabbam: Jesum vero perderent. Respondens autem præses, ait illis: Quem vultis vobis de duobus dim itti? At illi dixerunt: Barabbam. Dicit illis Pilatus: Quid igitur faciam de Jesu, qui dicitur Christus? Dicunt omnes: Crucifigatur. Ait illis præses: Quid enim mali fecit? At illi magis clamabant dicentes: Crucifigatur.

Videns autem Pilatus, quia nihil proficeret, sed magis tumultus fieret: accepta aqua, lavit manus coram populo, dicens: Innocens ego sum a sanguine justi hujus, vos videritis. Et respondens universus populus, dixit: Sanguis ejus super nos, et super filios nostros. Tunc dimisit illis Barabbam: Jesum autem flagellatum tradidit eis, ut crucifigeretur.

Tunc milites præsidis suscipientes Jesum in prætorium, congregaverunt ad eum universam cohortem. Et exuentes eum, chlamydem coccineam circumdederunt ei. Et plectentes coronam de spinis, posuerunt super caput ejus, et arundinem in dextera ejus. Et genu flexo ante eum, illudebant ei, dicentes: Ave Rex Judæorum! Et exspuentes in eum, acceperunt arundinem, et percutiebant caput ejus. Et postquam illuserunt ei, exuerunt eum chlamyde: et induerunt eum vestimentis ejus, et duxerunt eum ut crucifigerent.

Exeuntes autem, invenerunt hominem Cyrenæum, nomine Simonem. Hunc angariaverunt, ut tolleret crucem ejus. Et venerunt in locum, qui dicitur Golgotha: quod est, Calvariæ locus. Et dederunt ei vinum bibere cum felle mixtum. Et cum gustasset, noluit bibere. Postquam autem crucifixerunt eum, diviserunt vestimenta ejus sortem mittentes: ut impleretur quod dictum est per prophetam dicentem: Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem. Et sedentes servabant eum. Et imposuerunt super caput ejus causam ipsius scriptam: Hic est Jesus Rex Judæorum. Tunc crucifixi sunt cum eo duo latrones, unus a dextris, et unus a sinistris.

Prætereuntes autem blasphemabant eum, moventes capita sua, et dicentes: Vah! qui destruis templum Dei, et in triduo illud reædificas. Salva temetipsum. Si Filius Dei es, descende de cruce. Similiter et principes sacerdotum illudentes cum scribis et senioribus, dicebant: Alios salvos fecit: seipsum non potest salvum facere. Si Rex Israël est, descendat nunc de cruce, et credimus ei. Confidit in Deo: liberet nunc si vult eum: dixit enim, quia Filius Dei sum. Idipsum autem et latrones, qui crucifixi erant cum eo, improperabant ei.

A sexta autem hora, tenebræ factæ sunt super universam terram, usque ad horam nonam. Et circa horam nonam clamavit Jesus voce magna, dicens: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? Hoc est: Deus meus, Deus meus, ut quid dereliquisti me? Quidam autem illic stantes, et audientes dicebant: Eliam vocat iste. Et continuo currens unus ex eis acceptam spongiam implevit aceto, et imposuit arundini, et dabat ei bibere. Cæteri vero dicebant: Sine, videamus, an veniat Elias liberans eum. Jesus autem iterum clamans voce magna, emisit spiritum.
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Matthew.

Ch. xxvi. and xxvii.

At that time: Jesus said to his discip!es: You know that after two days shall be the Pasch, and the Son of man shall be delivered up to be crucified. Then were gathered together the chief priests and ancients of the people into the court of the high priest, who was called Caiphas; and they consulted together, that by subtility they might apprehend Jesus, and put him to death. But they said: Not on the festival day, lest perhaps there should be a tumult among the people.

And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, there came to him a woman having an alabasterbox of precious ointment, and poured it on his head as he was at table. And the disciples seeing it had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste? For this might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon me. For the poor you have always with you, but me you have not always. For she, in pouring this ointment upon my body, hath done it for my burial. Amen, I say to you, wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done, shall be told for a memory of her.

Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests and said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? But they appointed him thirty pieces of silver. And from thenceforth he sought opportunity to betray him. And on the first day of the Azymes, the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Pasch? But Jesus said: Go ye into the city, to a certain man, and say to him, The Master saith, my time is near at hand; with thee I make the Pasch with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus appointed to them, and they prepared the Pasch.

But when it was evening, he sat down with his twelve disciples; and whilst they were eating, he said: Amen, I say to you, that one of you is about to betray me. And they being very much troubled, began every one to say: Is it I, Lord? But he answering said: he that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, he shall betray me. The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him; but woe to that man, by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed. It were better for him, if that man had not been born. And Judas, that betrayed him, answering said: Is it I, Rabbi? He saith to him: Thou hast said it.

And while they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke, and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat; this is my body. And taking the chalice he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this; for this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins. And I say to you, I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.

And a hymn being said, they went out unto mount Olivet. Then Jesus saith to them: All you shall be scandalized in me this night. For it is written: '1 will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed.’ But after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. And Peter answering said to him: Although all shall be scandalized in thee, I will never be scandalized. Jesus said to him: Amen, I say to thee, that in this night, before the cock crow, thou wilt deny me thrice. Peter saith to him: Yea, though I should die with thee, I will not deny thee. And in like manner said all the disciples.

Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani; and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray. And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to grow sorrowful, and to be sad. Then he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death; stay you here and watch with me. And going a little further he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What! could you not watch one hour with me? watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Again the second time he went and prayed, saying: My Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, thy will be done. And he cometh again, and findeth them sleeping: for their eyes were heavy. And leaving them he went again; and he prayed the third time, saying the selfsame word. Then he cometh to his disciples, and saith to them: Sleep ye now, and take your rest: behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go: behold he is at hand that will betray me.

As he yet spoke, behold Judas, one of the twelve came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the ancients ef the people. And he that betrayed him, gave them a sign, saying: Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he, hold him fast. And forthwith coming to Jesus, he said: Hail, Rabbi! And he kissed him. And Jesus said to him: Friend, whereto art thou come? Then they came up, and laid hands on Jesus, and held him. And behold one of them that were with Jesus, stretching forth his hand, drew out his sword, and striking the servant of the high priest, cut off his ear. Then Jesus saith to him: Put up again thy sword into its place; for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot ask my Father, and he will give me presently more than twelve legions of angels? How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that so it must be done? In that same hour Jesus said to the multitudes: You are come out as it were to a robber, with swords and clubs, to apprehend me. I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and you laid not hands on me. Now all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then the disciples all leaving him, fled.

But they holding Jesus, led him to Caiphas the high priest, where the scribes and the ancients were assembled. And Peter followed him afar off, even to the court of the high priest; and going in, he sat with the servants, that he might see the end. And the chief priests and the whole council sought false witness against Jesus, that they might put him to death; and they found not, whereas many false witnesses had come in. And last of all there came two false witnesses; and they said: This man said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and after three days to rebuild it. And the high priest rising up said to him: Answerest thou nothing to the things which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest said to him: I adjure thee, by the living God, that thou tell us if thou be the Christ the Son of God. Jesus saith to him: Thou hast said it. Nevertheless I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his garments, saying: He hath blasphemed, what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now you have heard the blasphemy: what think you? But they answering, said: He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him, and others struck his face with the palms of their hands, saying: Prophesy unto us, O Christ, who is he that struck thee?

But Peter sat without in the court; and there came to him a servant-maid, saying: Thou also wast with Jesus the Galilean. But he denied before them all, saying: I know not what thou sayest. And as he went out of the gate, another maid saw him, and she saith to them that were there: This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath: That I know not the man. And after a little while they came that stood by, and said to Peter: Surely thou also art one of them; for even thy speech doth discover thee. Then he began to curse and to swear that he knew not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus which he had said: Before the cock crow, thou wilt deny me thrice. And going forth, he wept bitterly.

And when morning was come, all the chief priests and ancients of the people took counsel against Jesus, that they might put him to death. And they brought him bound, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. Then Judas, who betrayed him, seeing that he was condemned, repenting himself, brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and ancients, saying: I have sinned in betraying innocent blood. But they said: What is that to us? look thou to it. And casting down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed, and went and hanged himself with an halter. But the chief priests having taken the pieces of silver, said: It is not lawful to put them into the corbona, because it is the price of blood. And after they had consulted together, they bought with them the potter’s field, to be a burying-place for strangers. For this cause that field was called Haceldama, that is the field of blood, even to this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was prized, whom they prized of the children of Israel. And they gave them unto the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed to me.

And Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him saying: Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus saith to him: Thou sayest it. And when he was accused by the chief priests and ancients, he answered nothing. Then Pilate saith to him: Dost thou not hear how great testimonies they allege against thee? And he answered him to never a word; so that the governor wondered exceedingly.

Now upon the solemn day the governor was accustomed to release to the people one prisoner, whom they would. And he had then a notorious prisoner, that was called Barabbas. They therefore being gathered together, Pilate said: Whom will you that I release to you, Barabbas or Jesus, that is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. And as he was sitting in the place of judgment, his wife sent to him, saying: Have thou nothing to do with that just man. For I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. But the chief priests and ancients persuaded the people, that they should ask Barabbas, and make Jesus away. And the governor answering, said to them: Whether will you of the two to be released unto you? But they said, Barabbas. Pilate saith to them: What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ? They say all: Let him be crucified. The governor said to them: Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying: Let him be crucified.

And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made; taking water washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man: look you to it. And the whole people answering, said; His blood be upon us and upon our children. Then he released to them Barabbas: and having scourged Jesus delivered him unto them to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor taking Jesus into the hall, gathered together unto him the whole band; and stripping him, they put a scarlet cloak about him. And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand. And bowing the knee before him, they mocked him, saying: Hail, king of the Jews. And spitting upon him, they took the reed, and struck his head. And after they had mocked him, they took off the cloak from him, and put on him his own garments, and led him away to crucify him.

And going out they met a man of Cyrene, named Simon: him they forced to take up the cross. And they came to the place that is called Golgotha, which is the place of Calvary. And they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall. And when he had tasted, he would not drink. And after they had crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: 'They divided my garments among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.’ And they sat and watched him. And they put over his head his cause written: This is Jesus the King of the Jews. Then were crucified with him two thieves; one on the right hand, and one on the left.

And they that passed by, blasphemed him, wagging their heads, and saying: Yah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days dost rebuild it, save thy own self: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. In like manner also the chief priests, with the scribes and ancients, mocking, said: He saved others; himself he cannot save: if he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God: let him now deliver him if he will have him: for he said: I am the Son of God. And the self same thing the thieves also that were crucified with him reproached him with.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over the whole earth, until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some that stood there and heard, said: This man calleth Elias. And immediately one of them running, book a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. And the others said: Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to deliver him. And Jesus again crying with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

Here the deacon pauses, and honours the Death of our Lord and Saviour by a solemn act of adoration. All the faithful kneel down, and remain for some time in that position. In many places, it is the custom to prostrate, and kiss the ground. The deacon then resumes his narration.

Et ecce velum templi scissum est in duas partes, a summo usque deorsum. Et terra mota est, et petræ scissæ sunt, et monumenta aperta sunt: et multa corpora sanctorum, qui dormierant, surrexerunt. Et exeuntes de monumentis post resurrectionem ejus, venerunt in sanctam civitatem, et apparuerunt multis. Centurio autem, et qui cum eo erant, custodientes Jesum, viso terræ motu, et his quæ fiebant, timuerunt valde, dicentes: Vere Filius Dei erat iste. Erant autem ibi mulieres multæ a longe, quæ secutæ erant Jesum a Galilæa ministrantes ei: inter quas erat Maria Magdalene, et Maria Jacobi et Joseph mater, et mater filiorum Zebedæi. Cum autem sero factum esset, venit quidam homo dives ab Arimathæa, nomine Joseph, qui et ipse discipulus erat Jesu. Hic accessit ad Pilatum, et petiit corpus Jesu. Tunc Pilatus jussit reddi corpus. Et accepto corpore, Joseph involvit illud in sindone munda: et posuit illud in monumento suo novo, quod exciderat in petra. Et advolvit saxum magnum ad ostium monumenti, et abiit. Erat autem ibi Maria Magdalene, et altera Maria, sedentes contra sepulchrum.
And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose; and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus, having seen the earthquake and the things that were done, were sore afraid, saying: Indeed this was the Son of God. And there were there many women afar off who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. And when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was adisciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate, and asked the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded that the body should be delivered. And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new monument, which he had hewn out in a rock. And he rolled a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way. And there was there Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary sitting over against the sepulchre.

That the Mass of this Sunday may not be deprived of that essential rite which we call the Gospel, the deacon reserves a portion of the narrative; and going to the altar, he asks the priest to bless the incense. Which done, the deacon, himself also having received the priest’s blessing, goes to the place appointed for chanting the Gospel; but the acolytes do not carry their lights. After having thurified the book, he thus closes the history of the Passion.

Altera autem die, quæ est post Parasceven, convenerunt principes sacerdotum, et pharisæi ad Pilatum, dicentes: Domine, recordati sumus, quia seductor ille dixit adhuc vivens: Post tres dies resurgam. Jube ergo custodiri sepulchrum usque in diem tertium; ne forte veniant discipuli ejus et furentur eum: et dicant plebi: Surrexit a mortuis. Et erit novissimus error pejor priore. Ait illis Pilatus: Habetis custodiam; ite, custodite sicut scitis. Illi autem abeuntes, munierunt sepulchrum, signantes lapidem, cum custodibus.
And the next day, which followed the day of preparation, the chief priests and the pharisees came together to Pilate, saying: Sir, we have remembered, that that seducer said, while he was yet alive: After three days I will rise again. Command therefore the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day: lest perhaps his disciples come and steal him away, and say to the people, he is risen from the dead: and the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said to them: You have a guard; go, guard it as you know. And they, departing, made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting guards.

The Offertory is again a prophecy of David. It foretells the state of abandonment to which our Saviour was to be reduced in the midst of all His sufferings, and the cruelty of His enemies, who would feed Him with gall and vinegar. Thus is He treated who is preparing to give us His Body for our food, and His Blood for our drink.

Offertory

Improperium exspectavit cor meum, et miseriam: et sustinui qui simul mecum contristaretur et non fuit: consolantem me quæsivi, et non inveni: et dederunt in escam meam fel, et in siti mea potaverunt me aceto.
My heart hath expected reproach and misery; and I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none: they gave me gall for my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

The Secret asks of God that He would impart to His servants the twofold fruit of Jesus’ Passion: grace in this life, and glory in the next.

Secret

Concede, quæsumus, Domine, ut oculis tuæ majestatis munus oblatum, et gratiam nobis devotionis obtineat, et effectum beatæperennitatis acquirat. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that what hath been offered in the presence of thy divine Majesty may procure us the grace of devotion, and effectually obtain a blessed eternity. Through, &c.

In the Communion-anthem, the Church, after receiving into herself the life of Christ by the chalice of salvation, calls to our minds that other chalice which Jesus was to drink in order that He might gift us with immortality.

Communion

Pater, si non potest hic calix transire, nisi bibam illum: fiat voluntas tua.
Father, if this cup cannot pass away, but I must drink it, thy will be done.

The Church concludes the prayers of the Sacrifice she has just been offering, by asking the remission of sin for all her children, that they may see fulfilled that longing of their souls—a share in the glorious Resurrection of Jesus.

Postcommunion

Per hujus, Domine, operationem mysterii, et vitia nostra purgentur, et justa desideria compleantur. Per Dominum.
May our vices, O Lord, be destroyed, and our righteous desires fulfilled by the efficacy of these mysteries. Through, &c.

 

VESPERS

 


The psalms and antiphons are given on page 81.


Capitulum
(Phil. ii.)

Fratres: Hoc enim sentite in vobis, quod et in Christo Jesu: qui cum in forma Dei esset, non rapinam arbitratus est esse se sequalem Deo: sed semetipsum exinanivit, formam servi accipiens, in similitudinem hominum factus, et habitu inventus ut homo.
Brethren: For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man.

For the hymn and versicle, see page 89.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Scriptum est enim: Percutiam pastorem, et dispergentur oves gregis: postquam autem resurrexero, præcedam vos in Galilæam: ibi me videbitis, dicit Dominus.

Oremus.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui humano generi ad imitandum humilitatis exemplum, Salvatorem nostrum carnem sumere et crucem subire fecisti, concede propitius; ut et patientiæ ipsius habere documenta, et resurrectionis consortia mereamur. Per eumdem.
For it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed: but after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee: there ye shall see me, saith the Lord.

Let us Pray.

O almighty and eternal God, who wouldst have our Saviour become man, and suffer on a cross, to give mankind an example of humility; mercifully grant that we may improve by the example of his patience, and partake of his resurrection. Through the same, &c.

Let us now go over in our minds the other events which happened to our divine Lord on this day of His solemn entry into Jerusalem. St. Luke tells us that it was on His approach to the city, that Jesus wept over it, and spoke these touching words: ‘If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace! But now they are hidden from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, and thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side, and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee; and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone; because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.’[10]

A few days ago, we were reading in the holy Gospel how Jesus wept over the tomb of Lazarus; to-day He sheds tears over Jerusalem. At Bethania His weeping was caused by the sight of bodily death, the consequence and punishment of sin; but this death is not irremediable: Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and he that believeth in Him shall live.[11] Whereas, the state of the unfaithful Jerusalem is a figure of the death of the soul, and from this there is no resurrection, unless the soul, while time is given to her, return to the Author of life. Hence it is, that the tears shed by Jesus over Jerusalem are so bitter. Amidst the acclamations which greet His entry into the city of David, His heart is sad; for He sees that many of her inhabitants will not profit of the time of her visitation. Let us console the Heart of our Jesus, and be to Him a faithful Jerusalem.

The sacred historian tells us that Jesus, immediately upon His entrance into the city, went to the temple, and cast out all them that sold and bought there.[12] This was the second time that He had shown His authority in His Father’s house, and no one had dared to resist Him. The chief priests and pharisees found fault with Him, and accused Him to His face, of causing confusion by His entry into the city; but our Lord confounded them by the reply He made. It is thus that in after ages, when it has pleased God to glorify His Son and the Church of His Son, the enemies of both have given vent to their rage; they protested against the triumph, but they could not stop it. But when God, in the unsearchable ways of His wisdom, allowed persecution and trial to follow these periods of triumph, then did these bitter enemies redouble their efforts to induce the very people, that had cried Hosanna to the Son of David, to clamour for His being delivered up and crucified. They succeeded in fomenting persecution, but not in destroying the kingdom of Christ and His Church. The kingdom seemed, at times, to be interrupted in its progress; but the time for another triumph came. Thus will it be to the end; and then, after all these changes from glory to humiliation, and from humiliation to glory, the kingdom of Jesus and of His bride will gain the last and eternal triumph over this world, which would not know the time of its visitation.

We learn from St. Matthew[13] that our Saviour spent the remainder of this day at Bethania. His blessed Mother and the house of Lazarus were comforted by His return. There was not a single offer of hospitality made to Him in Jerusalem, at least there is no mention in the Gospel of any such offer. We cannot help making the reflection, as we meditate upon this event of our Lord’s life:—an enthusiastic reception is given to Him in the morning, He is proclaimed by the people as their King; but when the evening of that day comes on, there is not one of all those thousands to offer Him food or lodging. In the Carmelite monasteries of St. Teresa’s reform, there is a custom, which has been suggested by this thought, and is intended as a reparation for this ingratitude shown to our Redeemer. A table is placed in the middle of the refectory; and after the community have finished their dinner, the food which was placed upon that table is distributed among the poor, and Jesus is honoured in them.

We give, as a conclusion to this day, a selection from the hymn used by the Greek Church on Palm Sunday. It was written by the celebrated hymnographer, Cosmas of Jerusalem.

Hymn
(In Dominica Palmarum)

Qui in altissimis sedet super Cherubim Deus, et humilia respicit, ecce venit in gloria cum potestate, et replebuntur omnia divina laude ipsius. Pax super Israel, et salutare gentibus.

Clamaverunt in lætitia justorum animæ: Nunc mundo testamentum novum disponitur, et aspersione innovatur populus divini sanguinis.

Genu flexo populi et cum discipulis gaudentes, cum palmis Hosanna filio David clamabant: Superlaudabilis Domine Deus patrum, benedictus es.

Simplex multitudo, adhuc infantilis ætas, ut Deum decet, te rex Israel et angelorum laudavit: Superlaudabilis Domine Deus patrum, benedictus es.

Juvenem pullum ascendens rex tuus Sion adstitit Christus. Irrationabilem enim idolorum errorem solvere, effrænum impetum compescere omnium gentium advenit, ut cantent: Benedicite, opera, Dominum, et superexaltate in omnia sæcula.

Deus tuus regnavit in sæcula Christus. Iste, ut scriptum est, mitis et salvator, justus redemptor noster venit super pullo equitans, ut audaciam perderet inimicorum non clamantium: Benedicite, opera, Dominum, et superexaltate in omnia sæcula.

Dissipatur sacri templi iniquum Synedrium contumacium; orationis enim Dei domum speluncam effecerant latronum, a corde Redemptorem excludentes, cui clamamus: Benedicite, opera, Dominum, et superexaltate in omnia sæcula.

Deus Dominus, et apparuit nobis; constituite diem solemnem, et exsultantes venite, magnificemus Christum, cum palmis et ramis laudibus clamantes: Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini Salvatoris nostri.

Gentes, ut quid fremuistis? Scribæ et sacerdotes, ut quid inania meditati estis, dicentes: Quis est iste cui pueri cum palmis et ramis laudibus clamant: Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini Salvatoris nostri?

Scandala semitas occupantia quid vos ponitis immorigeri? Veloces pedes vestri ad effundendum sanguinem Domini. Sed resurget ut salvet omnes qui
clamant: Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini Salvatoris nostri.
Lo! the God that sitteth, in the highest heavens, upon the Cherubim, and looketh down on lowly things, cometh in glory and power, all creatures are full of his divine praise. Peace upon Israel, and salvation to the Gentiles!

The souls of the just cried out with joy: Now is prepared a new Covenant for the world, and mankind is renewed by the sprinkling of the divine Blood!

The people fell upon their knees, and, rejoicing with the disciples, sang, with palms in their hands: Hosanna to the Son of David! Praiseworthy and blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

The simple-hearted people, yea, and little children, (the fittest to adore God) praised him as King of Israel and of the angels: Praiseworthy and blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

O Sion! there came to thee Christ, thy King, seated on a young colt: for he came that he might loose mankind from the senseless error of idolatry, and tame the wild passions of all nations; that thus they might praise thee, singing: Bless the Lord, all ye his works, and extol him above all for ever!

Christ thy Lord hath reigned for ever. He, as it is written, the meek one, the Saviour, our just Redeemer, came riding on an ass's colt, that he might destroy the pride of his enemies, who would not sing these words: Bless the Lord, all ye his works, and extol him above all for ever!

The unjust and obstinate Sanhedrim, the usurpers of the holy temple, are put to flight; for they had made God’s house of prayer a den of thieves, and shut their hearts against the Redeemer, to whom we cry: Bless the Lord, all ye his works, and extol him above all for ever!

God is our Lord, he hath appeared unto us. Appoint a solemn feast, and come, let us rejoice and magnify the Christ, praising him, with palms and branches in our hands: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord our Saviour!

Why, O ye Gentiles, have ye raged? Why, O ye scribes and priests, have ye devised vain things, saying: Who is this, unto whom children, with palms and branches in their hands, cry aloud this praise: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord our Saviour?

Why, O ye perverse of heart, have ye thrown stumblingblocks in the way? Your feet are swift to shed the Blood of the Lord. But he will rise again, that he may save all
that cry to him: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord our Saviour!


[1] Zach. ix. 9.
[2] St. Mark xi. 2.
[3] Ibid. 7, and St. Luke xix. 35.
[4] St. Luke xix. 38.
[5] St. Luke i. 32.
[6] Cateches. x. versus fin.
[7] Act. SS. Jan. 20.
[8] Lev. xxiii. 40.
[9] In receiving the palm, the faithful should kiss first the palm itself, and then the priest's hand.
[10] St. Matt. xxi.17.
[11] St. John xi. 25.
[12] St. Matt. xxi. 12.
[13] St. Matt. xxi. 17.

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

This morning, also, Jesus goes with His disciples to Jerusalem. He is fasting, for the Gospel tells us that He was hungry,[1] He approaches a fig-tree, which is by the way-side; but finds nothing on it, save leaves only. Jesus, wishing to give us an instruction, curses the fig-tree, which immediately withers away. He would hereby teach us what they are to expect, who have nothing but good desires, and never produce in themselves the fruit of a real conversion. Nor is the allusion to Jerusalem less evident. This city is zealous for the exterior of divine worship; but her heart is hard and obstinate, and she is plotting, at this very hour, the death of the Son of God.

The greater portion of the day is spent in the temple, where Jesus holds long conversations with the chief priests and ancients of the people. His language to them is stronger than ever, and triumphs over all their captious questions. It is principally in the Gospel of St. Matthew[2] that we shall find these answers of our Redeemer, which so energetically accuse the Jews of their sin of rejecting the Messias, and so plainly foretell the punishment their sin is to bring after it.

At length, Jesus leaves the temple, and takes the road that leads to Bethania. Having come as far as Mount Olivet, which commands a view of Jerusalem, He sits down and rests awhile. The disciples take this opportunity of asking Him how soon the chastisements He has been speaking of in the temple will come upon the city. His answer comprises two events: the destruction of Jerusalem, and the final destruction of the world. He thus teaches them that the first is the figure of the second. The time when each is to happen, is to be when the measure of iniquity is filled up. But, with regard to the chas tisement that is to befall Jerusalem, He gives this more definite answer: ‘Amen I say to you: this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’[3] History tells us how this prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled: forty years had scarcely elapsed after His Ascension, when the Roman army encamped on this very place where He is now speaking to His disciples, and laid siege to the ungrateful and wicked city. After giving a prophetic description of that last judgment, which is to rectify all the unjust judgments of men, He leaves Mount Olivet, returns to Bethania, and consoles the anxious heart of His most holy Mother.

The Station, at Rome, is in the church of Saint Praxedes. It is in this church that Pope Paschal I, in the ninth century, placed two thousand three hundred bodies of holy martyrs, which he had ordered to be taken out of the catacombs. The pillar to which our Saviour was tied during His scourging is also here.

 

MASS

 

The Introit is taken from Psalm xxxiv. Jesus, by these words of the royal prophet, prays to His eternal Father to defend Him against His enemies.

Introit

Judica, Domine, nocentes me, expugna impugnantes me:apprehende arma et scutum, et exsurge in adjutorium meum, Domine virtus salutis meæ.

Ps. Effunde frameam, et conclude adversus eos qui persequuntur me: dic animæ meæ: Salus tua ego sum. Judica, Domine.
Judge thou, O Lord, them that wrong me; overthrow them that fight against me: take hold of arms and shield, and rise up to help me, O Lord, my mighty deliverer.

Ps. Bring out the sword, and shut up the way against them that persecute me; say to my soul, I am thy salvation. Judge thou, &c.

In the Collect, the Church teaches us to have recourse to the merits of our Saviour’s Passion, in order that we may obtain from God the help we stand in need of amidst our many miseries.

Collect

Da, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, qui in tot adversis ex nostra infirmitate deficimus, intercedente unigeniti Filii tui Passione respiremus. Qui tecum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we who through our weakness, faint under so many adversities, may recover by the Passion of thy only-begotten Son. Who liveth, &c.

Then is added one of the Collects given on p. 108.


Epistle

Lectio Isaiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. l.

In diebus illis: Dixit Isaias: Dominus Deus aperuit mihi aurem: ego autem non contradico: retrorsum non abii. Corpus meum dedi percutientibus, et genas meas vellentibus; faciem meam non averti ab increpantibus et conspuentibus in me. Dominus Deus auxiliator meus, ideo non sum confusus. Ideo posui faciem meam ut petram durissimam: et scio quoniam non confundar. Juxta est qui justificat me: quis contradicet mihi? Stemus simul: quis est adversarius meus? Accedat ad me. Ecce Dominus Deus, auxiliator meus: quis est qui condemnet me? Ecce, omnes quasi vestimentum conterentur: tinea comedet eos. Quis ex vobis timens Dominum, audiens vocem servi sui? Qui ambulavit in tenebris, et non est lumen ei, speret in nomine Domini, et innitatur super Deum suum. 
Lesson from Isaias the Prophet.

Ch. l.

In those days, Isaias said: The Lord God hath opened my ear, making known his will to mey and I do not resist: I have not gone back. I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me. The Lord God is my helper, therefore am I not confounded. Therefore have I set my face as a most hard rock, and I know that I shall not be confounded. He is near that justifieth me, who will contend with me? let us stand together. Who is my adversary? let him come near to me. Behold the Lord God is my helper: who is he that shall condemn me? Lo, they shall all be destroyed as a garment, the moth shall eat them up. Who is there among you that feareth the Lord, that heareth the voice of his servant, that hath walked in darkness and hath no light? Let him hope in the name of the Lord, and lean upon his God.

The sufferings of our Redeemer, and the patience wherewith He is to bear them, are thus prophesied by Isaias, who is always so explicit on the Passion. Jesus has accepted the office of victim for the world’s salvation; He shrinks from no pain or humiliation: He turns not His Face from them that strike Him and spit upon Him. What reparation can we make to this infinite Majesty, who, that He might save us, submitted to such outrages as these P Observe these vile and cruel enemies of our divine Lord: now that they have Him in their power, they fear Him not. When they came to seize Him in the garden, He had but to speak, and they fell back upon the ground; but He has now permitted them to bind His hands and lead Him to the high priest. They accuse Him; they cry out against Him; and He answers but a few words. Jesus of Nazareth, the great teacher, the wonder-worker, has seemingly lost all His influence; they can do what they will with Him. It is thus with the sinner; when the thunder-storm is over, and the lightning has not struck him, he regains his courage. The holy angels look on with amazement at the treatment shown by the Jews to Jesus, and falling down, they adore the holy Face, which they see thus bruised and defiled: let us, also, prostrate and ask pardon, for our sins have outraged that same Face.

But let us hearken to the last words of our Epistle: He that hath walked in darknessand hath no lightlet him hope in the name of the Lord and lean upon his God. Who is this but the Gentile, abandoned to sin and idolatry? He knows not what is happening at this very hour in Jerusalem; he knows not that the earth possesses its Saviour, and that this Saviour is being trampled beneath the feet of His own chosen people: but, in a very short time, the light of the Gospel will shine upon this poor Gentile; he will believe; he will obey; he will love his Redeemer, even to laying down his life for Him. Then will be fulfilled the prophecy of the unworthy pontiff, who prophesied against his will that the death of Jesus would bring salvation to the Gentiles, by gathering into one family the children of God, that hitherto had been dispersed.[4]

In the Gradual, the royal prophet again calls down on the executioners of our Lord the chastisements they have deserved by their ingratitude and their obstinacy in sin.

The Tract is the one used by the Church on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, during Lent. It is a prayer, begging God to bless the works of penance done during this holy season.

Gradual

Exsurge, Domine, et intende judicio meo, Deus meus et Dominus meus, in causam meam.

℣. Effunde frameam, et conclude adversus eos qui me persequuntur.
Arise, O Lord, and be attentive to my trial; my God and my Lord, undertake my cause.

℣. Draw thy sword, and stop those that are in pursuit of me.

Tract

℣. Domine, non secundum peccata nostra, quæ fecimus nos: neque secundum iniquitates nostras retribuas nobis.

℣. Domine, ne memineris iniquitatum nostrarum antiquarum: cito anticipent nos misericordiæ tuæ, quia pauperes facti sumus nimis.

℣. Adjuva nos, Deus salutaris noster: et propter gloriam nominis tui, Domine, libera nos: et propitius esto peccatis nostris propter nomen tuum.
℣. O Lord, deal not with us according to our sins, which we have done, nor reward us according to our iniquities.

℣. O Lord, remember not our former iniquities: let thy mercies speedily prevent us, for we are become exceeding poor.

℣. Help us, O God, our Saviour, and for the glory of thy name,.O Lord, deliver us: and forgive us our sins, for thy name’s sake.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Capxii.

Ante sex dies Paschæ venit Jesus Bethaniam, ubi Lazarus fuerat mortuus, quem suscitavit Jesus. Fecerunt autem ei cœnam ibi: et Martha ministrabat; Lazarus vero unus erat ex discumbentibus cum eo. Maria ergo accepit libram unguenti nardi pistici pretiosi: et unxit pedes Jesu, et extersit pedes ejus capillis suis; et domus impleta est ex odore unguenti. Dixit ergo unus ex discipulis ejus, Judas Iscariotes, qui erat eum traditurus: Quare hoc unguentum non væniit trecentis denariis, et datum est egenis? Dixit autem hoc non quia de egenis pertinebat ad eum: sed quia fur erat, et loculos habens, ea quæ mittebantur, portabat. Dixit ergo Jesus: Sinite illam, ut in diem sepulturæ meæ servet illud. Pauperes enim semper habetis vobiscum: me autem non semper habetis. Cognovit ergo turba multa ex Judæis, quia illic est: et venerunt, non propter Jesum tantum, sed ut Lazarum viderent, quem suscitavit a mortuis.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. xii.

Jesus, six days before the Pasch, came to Bethania, where Lazarus had been dead, whom Jesus raised to life. And they made him a supper there; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of them that were at table with him. Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and, having the purse, carried the things that were put therein. Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial; for the poor you have always with you, but me you have not always. A great multitude therefore of the Jews knew that he was there; and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.

As we have already said, the event related in this passage of the Gospel took place on Saturday, the eve of Palm Sunday; but, as formerly there was no Station for that day, the reading of this Gospel was deferred till the following Monday. The Church brings this episode of the last days of our Saviour before us, because it enables us to have a clearer understanding of the history of the Passion.

Mary Magdalene, whose conversion was the subject of our meditation a few days ago, is a prominent figure in the Passion and Resurrection of her divine Master. She is the type of a soul that has been purified by grace, and then admitted to the enjoyment of God’s choicest favours. It is important that we should study her in each of the several phases through which divine grace led her. We have already seen how she keeps close to her Saviour and supplies His sacred wants; elsewhere, we shall find Jesus giving the preference to her over her sister Martha, and this because Mary chose a better part than Martha; but now during these days of Passiontide, it is her tender love of Jesus that makes her dear to us. She knows that the Jews are plotting Jesus’ death; the Holy Ghost, who guides her through the different degrees of perfection, inspires her, on the occasion mentioned in to-day’s Gospel, with the performance of an action which prophesies what she most dreads.

One of the three gifts offered by the Magi to the divine Infant, was myrrh; it is an emblem of death, and the Gospel tells us that it was used at the burial of our Lord. Magdalene, on the day of her conversion, testified the earnestness of her change of heart by pouring on the feet of Jesus the most precious of her perfumes. She gives Him to-day the same proof of her love. Her divine Master is invited by Simon the leper to a feast: His blessed Mother and His disciples are among the guests: Martha is busy, looking after the service. Outwardly, there is no disturbance; but inwardly there are sad forebodings. During the repast, Magdalene is seen entering the room, holding in her hand a vase of precious spikenard. She advances towards Jesus, kneels at His feet, anoints them with the perfume, and wipes them with her hair, as on the previous occasion.

Jesus lay on one of those couches, which were used by the eastern people during their repasts. Magdalene, therefore, could easily take her favourite place at His feet, and give Him the same proof of her love as she had already done in the pharisee’s house. The evangelist does not say that this time she shed tears. St. Matthew[5] and St. Mark[6] add that she poured the ointment on His head also. Whether or no Magdalene herself understood the full import of what the Holy Ghost inspired her to do, the Gospel does not say; but Jesus Himself revealed the mystery to His disciples, and we gather from His words that this action of Magdalene was, in a certain manner, the commencement of His Passion: 'She, in pouring this ointment upon My body, hath done it for My burial.’[7] The fragrance of the ointment fills the whole house. One of the disciples, Judas Iscariot, dares to protest against this waste, as he calls it. His base avarice deprives him of feeling and respect for his divine Master. His opinion is shared in by several of the other disciples, for they are still carnal-minded. For several reasons Jesus permits Magdalene’s generosity to be thus blamed. And firstly, He wishes to announce His approaching death, which is mystically expressed by the pouring of this ointment upon His body. Then, too, He would glorify Magdalene; and He therefore tells those who are present, that her tender and ardent love shall be rewarded, and that her name shall be celebrated in every country, wheresoever the Gospel shall be preached.[8] And lastly, He would console those whose generous love prompts them to be liberal in their gifts to His altars; for what He here says of Magdalene is, in reality, a defence for them, when they are accused of spending too much over the beauty of God’s house.

Let us prize each of these divine teachings. Let us love to honour Jesus, both in His own person, and in His poor. Let us honour Magdalene, and imitate her devotion to the Passion and death of our Lord. In fine, let us prepare our perfumes for our divine Master: there must be the myrrh of the Magi, which signifies penance, and the precious spikenard of Magdalene, which is the emblem of generous and compassionating love.

In the Offertory, our Redeemer implores His eternal Father to deliver Him from His enemies, and to fulfil the decrees regarding the salvation of mankind.

Offertory

Eripe me de inimicis meis, Domine: ad te confugi, doce me facere voluntatem tuam: quia Deus meus es tu.
Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord; to thee have I fled, teach me to do thy will, because thou art my God.

The Secret tells us the wonderful power of the sacred mysteries. Not only does this Sacrifice purify our souls; it also raises them to perfect union with Him who is their Creator.

Secret

Hæc sacrificia nos, omnipotens Deus, potenti virtute mundatos, ad suum faciant puriores venire principium. Per Dominum.
Grant, O almighty God, that being purified by the powerful virtue of this sacrifice, we may arrive with greater purity to the author and institutorthereof. Through, &c.

Then is added one of the Secrets given on p. 116.


After the faithful have partaken of the divine mystery, there is read, in the Communion-anthem, a malediction against the enemies of our Saviour. Thus does God act in His government of the world: they that refuse His mercy, cannot escape His justice.

Communion

Erubescant, et revereantur simul, qui gratulantur malis meis: induantur pudore et reverentia, qui maligna loquuntur adversus me.
Let them blush and be ashamed, who rejoice at my misfortunes; let them be covered with shame and confusion, who speak maliciously against me.

The Church concludes her prayers of this morning’s Sacrifice, by begging that her children may persevere in the holy fervour, which they have received at its very source.

Postcommunion

Præbeant nobis, Domine, divinum tua sancta fervorem; quo eorum pariter et actu delectemur et fructu. Per Dominum.
Let thy holy mysteries, O Lord, inspire us with divine fervour; that we may delight both in their effect and celebration. Through, &c.

Then is added one of the Postcommunions given on page 117.


Oremus

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Adjuva nos, Deus salutaris noster; et ad beneficia recolenda, quibus nos instaurare dignatus es, tribue venire gaudentes. Per Dominum.
Let us Pray

Bow down your heads to God.

Help us, O God, our salvation; and grant that we may celebrate with joy the memory of those benefits, by which thou hast been pleased to redeem us. Through, &c.

As an appropriate conclusion to this day, we may use the following beautiful prayer, taken from the ancient Gallican liturgy:

Prayer
(Oratio ad Sextam)

Christe Deus, Adonaï magne, nos tecum quasi huic mundo crucifige; ut vita tua in nobis sit: nostraque peccata super te pone, ut ea crucifigas: nos quoque ad teipsum trahe, cum pro nobis exaltatus es a terra, ut nos eripias ab adultero tyranno: quia licet carne et vitiis diabolo noxii sumus; tibi tamen, non illi optamus servire: et sub tuo jure vivere desideramus, et a te gubernari rogamus; qui nos mortales et a morte invasos, per mortem crucis liberare voluisti. Pro quo singulari beneficio hodierna tibi nostra famulatur devotio: teque nunc hodie supplices adoramus, imploramus, invocamus, ut ad nos properes, virtus æterna Deus: quod nobis proficiat tua crux, triumphal)s scilicet de mundo in nobis per crucis virtutem: at que tua pietas nobis illud antiquum restituat beneficium, virtute scilicet et gratia; qui per potentiam futura præterita; per præsentiam facis similiter præterita præsentia: redde, ut nobis tua Passio salutaris sit, quasi præsens et hodierna: et sic nobis hodie, illa gutta sancti sanguinis super terram olim de cruce stillantis, sit salus: ut omnia terræ nosbræ delicta la vans, et corporis nostri humo quodam modo immixta, nos de terra tuos efficiat; nos quoque tibi quasi corpus idem reconciliati capitis. Qui regnas cum Patre semper et Spiritu sancto; nunc nobis regnare incipe, Homo Deus, Christe Jesu, Rex in sæcula sæculorum.
O great and sovereign Lord! Adonaï! Christ our God! crucify us, with thyself, to this world, that so thy life may be in us. Take upon thee our sins, that thou mayst crucify them. Draw us unto thyself, since it is for our sake that thou wast raised up from the earth; and thus snatch us from the power of the unclean tyrant: for though, by flesh and our sins, we be exposed to the insults of the devil, yet do we desire to serve, not him, but thee. We would be thy subjects; we ask to be governed by thee; for, by thy death on the cross, thou didst deliver us, who are mortals and surrounded by death. It is to bless thee for this wonderful favour, that we this day offer thee our devoted service; and humbly adoring thee, we now implore and beseech thee, to hasten to our assistance, O thou our God, the eternal and almighty! Let thy cross thus profit us unto good, that thou, by its power, mayst triumph over the world in us, and thine own mercy may restore us, by thy might and grace, to the ancient blessing. O thou, whose power hath turned the future into the past, and whose presence maketh the past to be present, grant that thy Passion may avail us to salvation, as though it were accomplished now on this very day. May the drops of thy holy Blood, which heretofore fell upon the earth from the cross, be our present salvation: may it wash away all the sins of our earthly nature, and be. so to say, commingled with the earth of our body, rendering it all thine; since we, by our reconciliation with thee, our Head, have been made one body with thee. Thou that ever reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, now begin to reign over us, O God-Man, Christ Jesus, King for ever and ever!

 


[1] St. Matt. xxi. 18.
[2] Chapters xxi. xxi. and xxiii.
[3] St. Matt. xxiv. 34.
[4] St. John xi. 52.
[5] St. Matt. xxvi. 7
[6] St. Mark, xiv. 3.
[7] St. Matt. xxvi.12.
[8] Ibid. 13.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

To-day, again, our Saviour sets out in the morning for Jerusalem. His intention is to repair to the temple, and continue His yesterday’s teachings. It is evident that His mission on earth is fast drawing to its close. He says to His disciples: ‘You know that after two days shall be the Pasch, and the Son of Man shall be delivered up to be crucified.’[1]

On the road from Bethania to Jerusalem, the disciples are surprised at seeing the fig-tree, which their divine Master had yesterday cursed, now dead. Addressing himself to Jesus, Peter says: ‘Rabbi, behold, the fig-tree, which Thou didst curse, is withered away.’[2] In order to teach us that the whole of material nature is subservient to the spiritual element when this last is united to God by faith, Jesus replies: ‘Have the faith of God. Amen I say to you, that whosoever shall say to this mountain: Be thou removed and oast into the sea! and shall not stagger in his heart, but believe that whatsoever he saith shall be done, it shall be done unto him.’[3]

Having entered the city, Jesus directs His steps towards the temple. No sooner has He entered, than the chief priests, the scribes, and the ancients of the people, accost Him with these words: ‘By what authority dost Thou these things? and who has given Thee this authority, that Thou shouldst do these things?’[4] We shall find our Lord’s answer given in the Gospel. Our object is to mention the leading events of the last days of our Redeemer on earth; the holy volume will supply the details.

As on the two preceding days, Jesus leaves the city towards evening: He passes over Mount Olivet, and returns to Bethania, where He finds His blessed Mother and His devoted friends.

In to-day’s Mass, the Church reads the history of the Passion according to St. Mark, who wrote his Gospel the next after St. Matthew; hence it is that the second place is assigned to him. His account of the Passion is shorter than St. Matthew’s, of which it would often seem to be a summary; and yet certain details peculiar to this evangelist were evidently furnished by an eye-witness. Our readers are aware that St. Mark was a disciple of St. Peter, and that his Gospel was written under the very eye of the prince of the apostles.

In Rome, the Station for to-day is in the church of St. Prisma, which is said to have been the house of Alula and his wife Prisma, to whom St. Paul sends his salutations in his Epistle to the Romans. In the third century, Pope St. Eustachian had translated thither, on account of the sameness of the name, the body of St. Prisca, a virgin and martyr of Rome.

 

MASS

 

Three days hence, the cross will be lifted up on Calvary bearing upon itself the Author of our salvation. The Church, in the Introit of to-day’s Mass, bids us at once pay our homage to this trophy of our victory, and glory in it.

Introit

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

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

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

In the Collect, the Church prays that the sacred anniversaries of our Saviour’s Passion may be to us a source of pardon; and that they may work in us a full reconciliation with the divine justice.

Collect

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, da nobis ita Dominicæ Passionissacramenta peragere, ut indulgentiam percipere mereamur. Per eumdem.
O almighty and everlasting God, grant that we may so celebrate the mysteries of our Lord’s Passion, as to obtain thy pardon. Through the same, &c.

For the other Collect, see page 108.


Epistle

Lectio Jeremiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. xi.

In diebus illis: dixit Jeremias: Domine, demonstrasti mihi et cognovi; tunc ostendisti mihi studia eorum. Et ego quasi agnus mansuetus, qui portatur ad victimam: et non cognovi quia cogitaverunt super me consilia, dicentes: Mittamus lignum in panem ejus, et eradamus eum de terra viventium, et nomen ejus non memoretur amplius. Tu autem, Domine Sabaoth, qui judicas juste, et probas renes et corda, videam ultionem tuam ex eis: tibi enim revelavi causam meam, Domine Deus meus.
Lesson from Jeremias the Prophet.

Ch. xi.

In those days: Jeremias said: Thou, O Lord, hast shown me, and I have known: then thou shewedst me their doings. And I was as a meek lamb, that is carried to be a victim; and I knew not that they had devised counsels against me, saying: Let us put wood on his bread, and cut him off from the land of the living, and let his name be remembered no more. But thou, O Lord of Sabaoth, who judgest justly, and triest the reins and the hearts, let me see thy revenge on them; for to thee have I revealed my cause, O Lord, my God!

Again we have the plaintive words of Jeremias: he gives us the very words used by his enemies, when they conspired his death. It is evident, however, that the prophet is here the figure of one greater than himself. Let us, say these enemies, put wood upon his bread: that is, let us put poisonous wood into what he eats, that so we may cause his death. This is the literal sense of these words, as applied to the prophet; but how much more truly were they fulfilled in our Redeemer! He tells us that His divine Flesh is the true Bread that came down from heaven. This Bread, this Body of the Man-God, is bruised, torn, and wounded; the Jews nail it to the wood; so that, it is, in a manner, made one with the woody and the wood is all covered with Jesus’ Blood. This Lamb of God was immolated on the wood of the cross: it is by His immolation, that we have had given to us a Sacrifice which is worthy of God; and it is by this Sacrifice that we participate in the Bread of heaven, the Flesh of the Lamb, our true Pasch.

The Gradual, which is taken from Psalm xxxiv, shows us the humility and meekness of Jesus under His sufferings. How they contrast with the haughty pride of his enemies!

Gradual

Ego autem, dum mihi molesti essent, induebam me cilicio, et humiliabam in jejunio animam meam; et oratio mea in sinu meo convertetur.

V. Judica, Domine, nocentes me, expugna impugnantes me; apprehende arma et scutum, et exsurge in adjutorium mihi.
When they were troublesome to me, I clothed myself with hair-cloth, and I humbled my soul with fasting; and I will yet continue to pour forth my prayer in my bosom.

V. Judge thou, O Lord, them that wrong me, overthrow them that fight against me; take hold of arms and shield, and rise to help me.

After the Gradual, is sung the Passion according to St. Mark. The same ceremonies are observed as during the Passion which was read to us on Sunday, excepting only what regarded the palms.

THE PASSION AND GOSPEL

 

Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Marcum.

Cap. xiv. et xv.

In illo tempore: Erat Pascha, et Azyma post biduum: et quærebant summi sacerdotes et scribæ quomodo Jesum dolo tenerent, et occiderent. Dicebant autem: Non in die festo ne forte tumultus fieret in populo.

Et cum esset Jesus Bethaniæ in domo Simonis leprosi, et recumberet: venit mulier habens alabastrum unguenti nardi spicati pretiosi, et fracto alabastro, effudit super caput ejus. Erant autem quidam indigne ferentes intra semetipsos, et dicentes: Ut quid perditio ista unguenti facta est? Poterat enim unguentum istud venundari plus quam trecentis denariis, et dari pauperibus. Et fremebant in eam. Jesus autem dixit: Sinite eam: quid illi molesti estis? Bonum opus operata est in me. Semper enim pauperes habetis vobiscum, et cum volueritis, potestis illis benefacere: me autem non semper habetis. Quod habuit hæc, fecit: prævenit ungere corpus meum in sepulturam. Amen dico vobis: Ubicumque prædicatum fuerit evangelium istud in universo mundo, et quod fecit hæc, narrabitur in memoriam ejus.

Et Judas Iscariotes unus de duodecim abiit ad summos sacerdotes, ut proderet eum illis. Qui audientes, gavisi sunt: et promiserunt ei pecuniam se daturos. Et quærebat, quomodo illum opportune traderet.

Et primo die Azymorum, quando Pascha immolabant, dicunt ei discipuli: Quo vis eamus, et paremus tibi, ut manduces Pascha? Et mittit duos ex discipulis suis, et dicit eis: Ite in civitatem: et occurret vobis homo lagenam aquæ bajulans; sequimini eum: et quocumque introierit, dicite domino domus, quia Magister dicit: Ubi est refectio mea, ubi Pascha cum discipulis meis manducem? Et ipse vobis demonstrabit cœnaculum grande, stratum, et illic parate nobis. Et abierunt discipuli ejus, et venerunt in civitatem: et invenerunt sicut dixerat illis, et paraverunt Pascha.

Vespere autem facto, venit cum duodecim. Et discumbentibus eis, et manducantibus ait Jesus: Amen dico vobis, quia unus ex vobis tradet me, qui manducat mecum. At illi cœperunt contristari, et dicere ei singulatim: numquid ego? Qui ait illis: unus ex duodecim, qui intingit mecum manum in catino. Et Filius quidem hominis vadit, sicut scriptum est de eo; væ autem homini illi, per quem Filius hominis tradetur. Bonum erat ei, si non esset natus homo ille. Et manducantibus illis, accepit Jesus panem: et benedicens fregit, et dedit eis, et ait: Sumite: hoc est corpus meum. Et accepto calice, gratias agens dedit eis: et biberunt ex illo omnes. Et ait illis: Hic est sanguis meus novi testamenti, qui promultis effundetur. Amen dico vobis: quia jam non bibam de hoc genimine vitis, usque in diem ilium, cum illud bibam novum in regno Dei.

Et hymno dicto, exierunt in montem Olivarum. Et ait eis Jesus: Omnes scandalizabimini in me, in nocte ista, quia scriptum est: Percutiam pastorem, et dispergentur oves: sed postquam resurrexero, præcedam vos in Galilæam. Petrus autem ait illi: Et si omnes scandalizati fuerint in te, sed non ego. Et ait illi Jesus: Amen dico tibi, quia tu hodie in nocte hac, priusquam gallus vocem bis dedcrit, ter me es negaturus. At ille amplius loquebatur: Et si opportuerit me simul commori tibi, non te negabo. Similiter autem et omnes dicebant.

Et veniunt in prædium, cui nomen Gethsemani, et ait discipulis suis: Sedete hic donec orem. Et assumit Petrum, et Jacobum et Joannem secum: et cœpit pavere, et tædere. Et ait illis: Tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem. Sustinete hic, et vigilate. Et cum processisset paululum, procidit super terram: et orabat, ut si fieri posset, transiret ab eo hora: et dixit: Abba Pater, omnia tibi possibilia sunt: transfer calicem hunc a me. Sed non quod ego volo: sed quod tu. Et venit, et invenit eos dormientes. Et ait Petro: Simon dormis? Non potuisti una hora vigilare? Vigilate, et orate, ut non intretis in tentationem. Spiritus quidem promptus est, caro vero infirma. Et iterum abiens oravit, eumdem sermonem dicens. Et re versus, denuo invenit eos dormientes (erant enim oculi eorum gravati), et ignorabant quid responderent ei. Et venit tertio, et ait illis: Dormite jam, et requiescite. Sufficit: venit hora: ecce Filius hominis tradetur in manus peccatorum. Surgite, eamus: ecce, qui me tradet, prope est.

Et adhuc eo loquente venit Judas Iscariotes unus de duodecim, et cum eo turba multa cum gladiis et lignis a summis sacerdotibus, et scribis et senioribus. Dederat antem traditor ejus signum eis, dicens: Quemcumque osculatus fuero, ipse est: tenete eum, et ducite caute. Et cum venisset, statini accedens ad eum ait: Ave Rabbi! Et osculatus est eum. At illi manus injecerunt in eum et tenuerunt eum. Unus autem quidam de circumstantibus educens gladium, percussit servum summi sacerdotis: et amputavit illi auriculam. Et respondens Jesus ait illis: Tanquam ad latronem existis cum gladiis et lignis comprehendere me? Quotidie eram apud vos in tempio docens, et non me tenuistis. Sed ut impleantur Scripturæ. Tunc discipuli ejus relinquentes eum, omnes fugerunt. Adolescens autem quidam sequebatur eum amictus sindone super nudo: et tenuerunt eum. At ille rejecta sindone, nudus profugit ab eis.

Et adduxerunt Jesum ad summum sacerdotem: et convenerunt omnes sacerdotes, et scribæ et seniores. Petrus autem a longe secutus est eum, usque intro in atrium summi sacerdotis: et sedebat cum ministris ad ignem, et calefaciebat se. Summi vero sacerdotes et omne concilium quærebant adversus Jesum testimonium, ut eum morti traderent; nec inveniebant.

Multi enim testimonium falsum dicebant adversus eum: et convenientia testimonia non erant. Et quidam surgentes, falsum testimonium ferebant adversus eum, dicentes: Quoniam nos audivimus eum dicentem: Ego dissolvam templum hoc manufactum: et per triduum, aliud non manufactum ædificabo. Et non erat conveniens testimonium illorum.

Et exsurgens summus sacerdos in medium, interrogavit Jesum, dicens: Non respondes quidquam ad ea, quæ tibi objiciuntur ab his? Ille autem tacebat, et nihil respondit. Rursum summus sacerdos interrogabat eum, et dixit ei: Tu es Christus Filius Dei benedicti? Jesus autem dixit illi: Ego sum. Et videbitis Filium hominis sedentem a dextris virtutis Dei, et venientem cum nubibus cœli. Summus autem sacerdos scindens vestimenta sua, ait: Quid adhuc desideramus testes? Audistis blasphemiam. Quid vobis videtur? Qui omnes condemnaverunt eum esse reum mortis. Et cœperunt quidam conspuere eum, et velare faciem ejus, et colaphis eum cædere, et dicere ei: Prophetiza. Et ministri alapis eum cædebant.

Et cum esset Petrus in atrio deorsum, venit una ex ancillis summi sacerdotis: et cum vidisset Petrum calefacientem se, aspiciens illum, ait: Et tu cum Jesu Nazareno eras. At ille negavit, dicens: Neque scio, neque novi quid dicas. Et exiit foras ante atrium: et gallus cantavit. Rursus autem, cum vidisset illum ancilla, cœpit dicere circumstantibus: Quia hic ex illis est. At ille iterum negavit. Et post pusillum, rursus qui astabant, dicebant Petro: Vere ex illis es: nam et Galilæus es. Ille autem cœpit anathematizare et jurare: quia nescio hominem istum quem dicitis. Et statim gallus iterum cantavit. Et recordatus est Petrus verbi, quod dixerat ei Jesus: Priusquam gallus cantet bis, ter me negabis. Et cœpit fiere.

Et confestim mane consilium facientes summi sacerdotes cum senioribus, et scribis, et universo concilio, vincientes Jesum, duxerunt, et tradiderunt Pilato. Et interrogavit eum Pilatus: Tu es Rex Judæorum? At ille respondens, ait illi: Tu dicis. Et accusabant eum summi sacerdotes in multis. Pilatus autem rursum interrogavit eum, dicens: Non respondes quidquam? Vide, in quantis te accusant. Jesus autem amplius nihil respondit: ita ut miraretur Pilatus.

Per diem autem festum solebat dimittere illis unum ex vinctis quemcumque petiissent. Erat autem qui dicebatur Barabbas, qui cum seditiosis erat vinctus, qui in seditione fecerat homicidium. Et cum ascendisset turba, cœpit rogare, sicut semper faciebat illis. Pilatus autem respondit eis, et dixit: Vultis dimittam vobis Regem Judæorum? Sciebat enim quod per invidiam tradidissent eum summi sacerdotes. Pontifices autem concitaverunt turbam ut magis Barabbam dimitteret eis. Pilatus autem iterum respondens, ait illis: Quid ergo vultis faciam Regi Judæorum? At illi iterum clamaverunt: Crucifige eum. Pilatus vero dicebat illis: Quid enim mali fecit? At illi magis clamabant: Crucifige eum.

Pilatus autem volens populo satisfacere, dimisit illis Barabbam, et tradidit Jesum flagellis cæsum, ut crucifigeretur. Milites autem duxerunt eum in atrium prætorii, et convocant totam cohortem: et induunt eum purpura, et imponunt ei plectentes spineam coronam, Et coeperunt salutare eum: Ave, Rex Judæorum. Et percutiebant caput ejus arundine: et conspuebant eum, et ponentes genua, adorabant eum.

Et postquam illuserunt ei, exuerunt ilium purpura, et induerunt eum vestimentis suis, et educunt illum, ut crucifigerent eum. Et angariaverunt præteruntem quempiam Simonem Cyrenæum venientem de villa, patrem Alexandri et Rufi, ut tolleret crucem ejus. Et perducunt illum in Golgotha locum: quod est interpretatum, Calvariæ locus. Et dabant ei bibere myrrhatum vinum: et non accepit. Et crucifigentes eum diviserunt vestimenta ejus, mittentes sortem super eis, quis quid tolleret. Erat autem hora tertia: et crucifixerunt eum. Et erat titulus causæ ejus inscriptus: Rex Judæorum. Et cum eo crucifigunt duos latrones: unum a dextris, et alium a sinistris ejus. Et impleta est Scriptura, quæ dicit: et cum iniquis reputatus est.

Et prætereuntes blasphemabant eum, moventes capita sua, et dicentes: Vah, qui destruis templum Dei et in tribus diebus reædificas: salvum fac temetipsum, descendens de cruce. Similiter

et summi sacerdotes illudentes, ad alterutrum cum scribis dicebant: Alios salvos fecit, seipsum non potest salvum facere. Christus Rex Israel descendat nunc de cruce, ut videamus, et credamus. Et qui cum eo crucifixi erant, conviciabantur ei.

Et facta hora sexta, tenebræ factæ sunt per totam terram, usque in horam nonam. Et hora nona exclamavit Jesus voce magna, dicens: Eloï, Eloï, lamma sabacthani? Quod est interpretatum: Deus meus, Deus meus, ut quid dereliquisti me? Et quidam de circumstantibus audientes dicebant: Ecce Eliam vocat. Currens autem unus, et implens spongiam aceto, circumponensque calamo, potum dabat ei, dicens: Sinite, videamus si veniat Elias ad deponendum eum. Jesus autem emissa voce magna, expiravit.
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Mark.

Ch. xiv. and xv.

At that time, the feast of the Pasch and of Azymes was after two days; and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might by some wile lay hold on Jesus, and kill him. But they said: Not on the festival day, lest there should be a tumult among the people.

And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, and was at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of precious spikenard; and breaking the alabaster box, she poured it out upon his head. Now there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said: Why was this waste of the ointment made? For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and given to the poor. And they murmured against her. But Jesus said: Let her alone, why do you molest her? She hath wrought a good work upon me. For the poor you have always with you, and whensoever you will, you may do them good; but me you have not always. What she had, she hath done; she is come beforehand to anoint my body for the burial. Amen I say to you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done shall be told for a memorial of her.

And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests, to betray him to them. Who hearing it were glad; and they promised him they would give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

Now on the first day of the unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the Pasch, the disciples say to him: Whither wilt thou that we go and prepare for thee to eat the Pasch? And he sendeth two of his disciples and saith to them: Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water; follow him; and whithersoever he shall go in, say to the master of the house: The Master saith: Where is my refectory, where I may eat the Pasch with my disciples? And he will show you a large dining-room furnished; and there prepare ye for us. And his disciples went their way, and came into the city; and they found as he had told them, and they prepared the Pasch.

And when evening was come, he cometh with the twelve. And when they were at table and eating, Jesus saith: Amen I say to you, one of you that eateth with me shall betray me. But they began to be sorrowful, and to say to him one by one: Is it I? Who saith to them: One of the twelve who dippeth with me his hand in the dish. And the Son of Man indeed goeth, as it is written of him; but wo to that man by whom the Son of Man shall be betrayed. It were better for him, if that man had not been born. And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread: and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye, this is my body. And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank of it; and he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many. Amen I say to you, that I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it new in the kingdom of God.

And when they had said an hymn, they went forth to the mount of Olives. And Jesus saith to them: You will all be scandalized in my regard this night, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be dispersed. But after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. But Peter saith to him: Although all shall be scandalized in thee, yet not I. And Jesus saith to him: Amen I say to thee, to-day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spoke the more vehemently: Although I should die together with thee, I will not deny thee. And in like manner also said they all.

And they came to a farm called Gethsemani. And he saith to his disciples: Sit you here, while I pray. And he taketh Peter, and James, and John with him; and he began to fear and to be heavy. And he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death, stay you here, and watch. And when he had gone forward a little, he fell flat on the ground; and he prayed that, if it might be, the hour might pass from him: and he saith: Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee, remove this chalice from me; but not what I will but what thou wilt. And he cometh and findeth them sleeping. And he saith to Peter: Simon, sleepest thou? couldst thou not watch one hour? Watch ye, and pray, that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. And going away again, he prayed saying the same words. And when he returned, he found them again asleep (for their eyes were heavy), and they knew not what to answer him. And he cometh the third time, and saith to them: Sleep ye now, and take your rest. It is enough, the hour is come; behold the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go. Behold he that will betray me is at hand.

And while he was yet speaking, cometh Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests, and the scribes, and the ancients. And he that betrayed him had given them a sign, saying: Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he, lay hold on him, and lead him away carefully. And when he was come, immediately going up to him, he saith: Hail Rabbi; and he kissed him. But they laid hands on him and held him. And one of them that stood by, drawing a sword, struck a servant of the chief priest, and cut off his ear. And Jesus answering, said to them: Are you come out as to a robber with swords and staves to apprehend me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not lay hands on me. But, that the scriptures may be fulfilled. Then his disciples leaving him, all fled away. And a certain young man followed him, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and they laid hold on him. But he casting off the linen cloth, fled from them naked.

And they brought Jesus to the high priest; and all the priests and the scribes and the ancients assembled together. And Peter followed him afar off even into the court of the high priest; and he sat with the servants at the fire and warmed himself. And the chief priests and all the council sought for evidence against Jesus that they might put him to death, and found none,

For many bore false witness against him, and their evidences were not agreeing, And some rising up, bore false witness against him, saying: We heard him say: I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another not made with hands. And their witness did not agree.

And the high priest rising up in the midst, asked Jesus, saying: Answerest thou nothing to the things that are laid to thy charge by these men? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said to him: Art thou the Christ the Son of the blessed God? And Jesus said to him: I am. And you shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming with the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rending his garments saith: What need we any further witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What think you? Who all condemned him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him: Prophesy! And the servants struck him with the palms of their hands.

Now when Peter was in the court below, there cometh one of the maid servants of the high priest; and when she had seen Peter warming himself, looking on him, she saith: Thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying: I neither know nor understand what thou sayest. And he went forth before the court, and the cock crew. And again a maidservant seeing him, began to say to the standers-by: This is one of them. But he denied again. And after a while, they that stood by said again to Peter: Surely thou art one of them, for thou art also a Galilean. But he began to curse and to swear, saying: I know not this man of whom you speak. And immediately the cock crew again. And Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said unto him: Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt thrice deny me. And he began to weep.

And straightway in the morning, the chief priests holding a consultation with the ancients and the scribes, and the whole council, binding Jesus, led him away, and delivered him to Pilate. And Pilate asked him: Art thou the king of the Jews? But he answering, saith to him: Thou sayest it. And the chief priests accused him in many things. And Pilate again asked him, saying: Answerest thou nothing? Behold in how many things they accuse thee. But Jesus still answered nothing: so that Pilate wondered.

Now on the festival day he was wont to release unto them one of the prisoners, whomsoever they demanded. And there was one called Barabbas, who was put in prison with some seditious men, who in the sedition had committed murder. And when the multitude was come up, they began to desire that he would do as he had ever done unto them. And Pilate answered them and said: Will you that I release to you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him up out of envy. But the chief priests moved the people that he should rather release Barabbas to them. And Pilate again answering, saith to them: What will you then that I do to the King of the Jews? But they again cried out: Crucify him. And Pilate saith to them: Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more: Crucify him.

And so Pilate being willing to satisfy the people, released to them Barabbas, and delivered up Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. And the soldiers led him away into the court of the palace, and they called together the whole band; and they clothed him with purple, and platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon him. And they began to salute him: Hail, king of the Jews. And they struck his head with a reed, and they did spit on him; and bowing their knees, they adored him.

And after they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own garments on him, and they led him out to crucify him. And they forced one Simon, a Cyrenean, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and of Rufus, to take up his cross. And they bring him into the place called Golgotha, which being interpreted is, The place of Calvary. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh; but he took it not. And crucifying him, they divided his garments casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. And the inscription of his cause was written over, The King of the Jews. And with him they crucify two thieves, the one on his right hand and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith: And with the wicked he was reputed.

And they that passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads, and saying: Vah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days buildest it up again; save thyself, coming down from the cross,

In like manner also the chief priests mocking, said with the scribes one to another: He saved others, himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour; and at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying; Eloï, Eloï, lamma sabacthani? which is, being interpreted: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of the standers-by hearing, said: Behold, he calleth Elias. And one running and filling a sponge with vinegar, and putting it upon a reed, gave him to drink, saying: Stay, let us see if Elias will come to take him down. And Jesus having cried out with a loud voice, gave up the ghost.


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

Et velum templi scissum est in duo, a summo usque deorsum. Videns autem centuno, qui ex adverso stabat, quia sic clamans expirasset, ait: Vere hic homo Filius Dei erat. Erant autem et mulieres de longe aspicientes: inter quas erat Maria Magdalene, et Maria Jacobi minoris et Joseph mater, et Salome: et cum esset in Galilæa, sequebantur eum, et ministrabant ei: et aliæ multæ, quaæ simul cum eo ascenderant Jerosolymam.
And the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the centurion who stood over against him, seeing that crying out in this manner he had given up the ghost, said: Indeed this man was the Son of God. And there were also women looking on afar off, among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joseph, and Salome; who also when he was in Galilee followed him, and ministered to him; and many other women that came up with him to Jerusalem.

 

Here the deacon presents the incense to the priest, that it may be blessed; and, after having himself received a blessing, he terminates the Passion, observing the ceremonies which are used at the singing of the Gospel in a High Mass.

Et quum jam sero esset factum (quia erat Parasceve, quod est ante Sabbatum) venit Joseph ab Arimathæa, nobilis decurio, qui et ipse erat exspectans regnum Dei. Et audacter introivit ad Pilatum, et petiit corpusJesu. Pilatus autem mirabatur si jam obiisset. Et accersito centurione, interrogavit eum, si jam mortuus esset. Et cum cognovisset a centurione, donavit corpus Joseph. Joseph autem mercatus sindonem, et deponens eum, involvit sindone: et posuit eum in monumento, quod erat excisum de petra, et advolvit lapidem ad ostium monumenti..
And when evening was now come, (because it was the Parasceve, that is, the day before the Sabbath,) Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counsellor, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. But Pilate wondered that he should be already dead; and sending for the centurion, he asked him if he were already dead. And when he had understood it by the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking him down, wrapped him up in the fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and he rolled a stone to the door of the sepulchre.

At the Offertory, the Messias asks His eternal Father to defend Him from the enemies that are preparing His destruction.

Offertory

Custodi me Domine, de manu peccatoris: et ab hominibusiniquis eripe me.
Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the sinful man; and from unjust men deliver me.

In the Secret, the Church offers to the Majesty of God the tribute of our fasts, in union with the holy Host on our altar, from which they derive all their merit and efficacy.

Secret

Sacrificia nos quæsumus Domine, propensius ista restaurent: quæ medicinalibus sunt instituta jejuniis. Per Dominum.
May these sacrifices, O Lord, we beseech thee, which are accompanied with healing fasts, mercifully repair us. Through, &c.

For the other Secret, see page 116.


The words of the psalmist, used by the Church in her Communion-anthem, show us the blasphemous daring of our Saviour’s enemies, as also the dispositions in which this dear Jesus Himself was during His sacred Passion.

Communion

Adversum me exercebantur, qui sedebant in porta: et in me psallebant, qui bibebant vinum: ego vero orationem meam ad te, Domine: tempus beneplaciti Deus, in multitudine misericordiæ tuæ.
The judges in the gate spoke against me, and they that drank wine made songs against me. But I poured forth my prayer to thee, O Lord: it is time, O God, to show thy good will to me, according to the multitude of thy mercies.

In the Postcommunion the Church prays that by the merits of the Sacrifice she has just offered, we may obtain the perfect cure of our spiritual infirmities; for the Blood of the Lamb takes away the sins of the world.

Postcommunion

Sanctificationibus tuis, omnipotens Deus, et vitia nostra curentur: et remedia nobis sempiterna proveniant. Per Dominum.
May these thy holy mysteries, O almighty God, both cure our vices and become an eternal remedy to us. Through, &c.

See the other Postcommunion on page 117.


Oremus

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Tua nos misericordia, Deus, et ab omni subreptione vetustatis expurget, et capaces sanctæ novitatis efficiat. Per Dominum.
Let us Pray

Bow down your heads to God.

May thy mercy, O God, purify us from the corruption of the old man, and enable us to put on the new. Through, &c.

We may close this day by saying these few verses taken from a hymn of the Greek Church on the Passion of our Lord.

Hymn
(In Parasceve)

Vitale latus tuum, tanquam fons ex Eden scaturiens, Ecclesiam tuam, Christe, tanquam rationalem hortum adaquat: inde tanquam in quædam initia se dividens in quatuor Evangelia: mundum irrigans, creaturam lætificans, gentesque fideliter docens venerari regnum tuum.

Crucifixus es propter me; ut velut ex fonte mihi effunderes remissionem. Punctus es in latere, ut mihi vitæ scaturigines aperires; clavis confixus es, ut ego in passionum tuarum profundo altitudinem tuæ potentiæ confessus, clamem ad te, vitæ largitor Christe: Gloria cruci tuæ Salvator, ac Passioni tuæ.

Chirographum nostrum in cruce dirupisti, Christe: et inter mortuos reputatus, tyrannum illic ligasti, liberatis omnibus ex vinculis mortis resurrectione tua. Per quam illuminati sumus, o amans hominum Domine! tibique clamamus: Memento et nostri Salvator in regno tuo.

Tuam, Christe, Matrem, quæ te in carne sine virili semine peperit, et vere virgo etiam post partum incorrapta permansit; hanc tibi adducimus ad intercessionem, Domine multum misericors: ut offensarum condonationem jugiter largiaris iis qui clamant: Memento et nostri Domine in regno tuo.
The life-giving wound of thy side, O Jesus! like the fountain that sprang from Eden, waters the spiritual garden of thy Church. Thence, dividing itself into the four Gospels, as into so many master-streams, it freshens the world, gladdens creation, and teaches all nations to bow down in faith, and venerate thy kingdom.

Thou wast crucified for me. that thou mightest be to me as a fountain pouring out forgiveness upon me. Thou wast wounded in thy side, that thou mightest open to me the sources of life. Thou wast nailed to the cross, that I, confessing the greatness of thy power in the depth of thy Passion, might sing to thee, O Christ, thou giver of life: Glory be to thy cross and Passion, O Saviour!

Thou, O Christ, didst, on thy cross, tear the hand-writing that was against us. Thou wast numbered among the dead, and there didst bind down the tyrant, and, by thy Resurrection, didst set us all free from the chains of death. It is thy Resurrection that has given us light, O God, thou lover of mankind! To thee do we sing: Remember us, also, O Saviour, in thy kingdom!

To thee, most merciful Lord, we bring thy Mother, that she may intercede for us, she that conceived thee and was a Virgin, she that gave thee birth and was a spotless Virgin. May her prayers obtain from thee the unceasing pardon of sin to all that cry out to thee: Remember us, also, O Lord, in thy kingdom.

 


[1] St. Matt. xxvi. 2.
[2] St. Mark xi. 21.
[3] St. Mark xi. 22, 23.
[4] Ibid. 28.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MASS

 

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

Introit

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

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

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

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

Oremus

. Flectamus genua.
℟. Levate.

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

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

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

Lectio Isaiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. lxii. et lxiii.

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

Ch. lxii. and lxiii.

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

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

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

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

Gradual

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

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

Collect

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

For the other Collect, page see 108.


Epistle

Lectio Isaiæ Prophetæ.

Capliii.

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

Ch. liii.

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

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

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

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

Tract

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE PASSION AND GOSPEL

 

Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Lucam.

Cap. xxii. et xxiii.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ch. xxii. and xxiii.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Offertory

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

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

Secret

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

For the other Secret, see page 116.


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

Communion

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

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

Postcommunion

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

See the other Postcommunion on page 117.


Oremus

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

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

 


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

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

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

Hymn
(In Parasceve)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preface

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

 

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

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

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

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

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

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

 

MATINS

 

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

 

THE FIRST NOCTURN

 

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

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

Psalm 68

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 69

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 70

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Lesson

Incipit Lamentatio Jeremiæ Prophetæ.
(Cap. i.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Lesson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Third Lesson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is repeated: Lo! we have seen.

 

THE SECOND NOCTURN

 

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

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

Psalm 71

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 72

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 73

 

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

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

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

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

Here is said, in secret, the Pater noster.

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

Fourth Lesson

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifth Lesson

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

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

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

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

Sixth Lesson

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

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

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

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

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

Here is repeated: One of my disciples.

 

THE THIRD NOCTURN

 

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

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

Psalm 74

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 75

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 76

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

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

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

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

Here is said the Pater noster in secret.

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

Seventh Lesson

De Epistola prima Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.

Cap. xi.

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

Ch. xi.

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

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

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

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

Eighth Lesson

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

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

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

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

Ninth Lesson

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

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

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

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

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

Here is repeated: The ancients.

 

LAUDS

 

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

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

Psalm 50

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 89

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

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

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

 


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

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

Psalm 85

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

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

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

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

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

Canticle of Moses
(Exod. xv.)

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 146

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canticle of Zachary
(St. Luke, i.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(then the rest in secret:)

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

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


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

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including descriptions of the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE RECONCILIATION OF PENITENTS

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE BLESSING OF THE HOLY OILS

 

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

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

Oil of the Sick

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

Chrism

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

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

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

Oil of the Catechumens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hymn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE MASS OF MAUNDY THURSDAY

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MASS

 

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

Introit

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

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

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

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

Collect

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

Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.

I. Cap. xi.

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

I. Ch. xi.

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

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

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

Gradual

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

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

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

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. xiii.

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

Ch. xiii.

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

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

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

Offertory

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

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

Secret

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

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

Communion

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

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

Postcommunion

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

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

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

Hymn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.

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

 

VESPERS

 

Pater and Ave are said in secret.

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

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

Psalm 115

 

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 119

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 139

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

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

Ant. From unjust men deliver me, O Lord!

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

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

Psalm 140

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 141

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

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

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

Antiphon of the Magnificat

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

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


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

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

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

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

(then the rest in secret:)

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

 

THE STRIPPING OF THE ALTARS

 

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

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

Psalm 21

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE WASHING OF THE FEET

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canticle

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.

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

Pater noster.
Our Father.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oremus.

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

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

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

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

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

Let us Pray.

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

 

THE OFFICE OF TENEBRÆ

 

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

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


 

THE EVENING

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Illation

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

 


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

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

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

Pater noster, Ave, and Credo, in secret.

 

THE FIRST NOCTURN

 

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

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

Psalm 2

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 21

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 26

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

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


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

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

 


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

Here is said, in secret, the Pater noster.

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

First Lesson

De Lamentatione Jeremiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. ii.

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

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

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

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

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

Ch. ii.


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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Lesson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Third Lesson

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

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

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

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

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

Beth. In tenebrosis collocavit me, quasi mortuos sempiternos.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE SECOND NOCTURN

 

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

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

Psalm 37

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

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

Ant. They used violence that sought my soul.

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

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

Psalm 39

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 53

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

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

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

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

Here is said, in secret, the Pater noster.


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

Fourth Lesson

Ex tractatu Sancti Augustini Episeopi, super Psalmos.

Ps. lxiii.

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

Ps. lxiii.

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

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

Fifth Lesson

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

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

Sixth Lesson

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

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

The Third Nocturn

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

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

Psalm 58

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 87

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 93

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

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

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

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

Here is said the Pater noster in secret.

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

Seventh Lesson

De Epistola Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Hebræos.

Cap. iv. et v.

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

Ch. iv. and v.

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

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

Eighth Lesson

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

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

Ninth Lesson

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

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

 

LAUDS

 

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

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

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

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

Psalm 142

[...]


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

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

Psalm 84

[...]


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

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

Canticle of Habacuc

 

[...]


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

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

Psalm 147

[...]


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(then the rest in secret:)

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

 

 

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