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Paschal Tide

WITH this volume we begin the season of Easter, wherein are accomplished the mysteries prepared for, and looked forward to, since Advent. Such are the liturgical riches of this portion of the Christian year, that we have found it necessary to devote three volumes to it.

The present volume is wholly taken up with Easter Week. A week is indeed a short period; but such a week as this, with the importance of the events it brings before us, and the grandeur of the mysteries it celebrates, is, at least, equivalent to any other section of our Liturgical Year. We have abridged our explanations as much as possible; and yet we have exceeded two-thirds of one of our ordinary volumes. Hence, it was out of the question to add the remaining weeks; the more so, as the saints’ feasts recommence on the Monday following the Easter Octave, and their insertion would have obliged us to have made our volume considerably more bulky than even that of Passiontide. We have, therefore, been satisfied with giving the Mass and Office of the Annunciation, already given in our volume for Lent, but which are needed for the Monday after Low Sunday, when Easter falls between March 22 and April 2, which is frequently the case.

For more information on Paschal Tide, visit here.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including descriptions of the following:

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus; exsultemus et lætemur in ea!

This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us be glad and rejoice therein!

MORNING

THE night between Saturday and Sunday has well-nigh run its course, and the day-dawn is appearing. The Mother of sorrows is waiting, in courageous hope and patience, for the blissful moment of her Jesus’ return. Magdalen and the other holy women have spent the night in watching, and are preparing to start for the sepulchre. In limbo, the Soul of our crucified Lord is about to give the glad word of departure to the myriads of the long-imprisoned holy souls who cluster round him in adoring love. Death is still holding his silent sway over the sepulchre where rests the Body of Jesus. Since the day when he gained his first victim, Abel, he has swept off countless generations; but never has he held in his grasp a prey so noble as this that now lies in the tomb near Calvary. Never has the terrible sentence of God pronounced against our first parents received such a fulfilment as this; but never has death received such a defeat as the one that is now preparing. It is true, the power of God has at times brought back the dead to life: the son of the widow of Naim, and Lazarus, were reclaimed from the bondage of this tyrant death; but he regained his sway over them all. But his Victim of Calvary is to conquer him for ever, for this is he of whom it is written in the prophecy: ‘O death! I will be thy death!’[1] Yet a few brief moments and the battle will be begun, and life shall vanquish death.

As divine justice could not allow the Body that was united to the Word to see corruption, and there wait, like ours must, for the Archangel’s word to ‘rise and come to judgement,’ so neither could it permit the dominion of death to be long over such a Victim. Jesus had said to the Jews: ‘A wicked generation seeketh a sign; and a sign shall not be given it, but that of Jonas the prophet.’[2] Three days in the tomb—the afternoon and night of Friday, the whole of Saturday, and a few hours of the Sunday,—yes, these are enough: enough to satisfy divine justice; enough to certify the death of the Crucified, and make his triumph glorious; enough to complete the martyrdom of that most loving of mothers, the Queen of sorrows.

‘No man taketh away my life from me: I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.’[3] Thus spoke our Redeemer to the Jews before his Passion; now is the hour for the fulfilment of his words, and death shall feel their whole force. The day of light, Sunday, has begun, and its early dawn is struggling with the gloom. The Soul of Jesus immediately darts from the prison of limbo, followed by the whole multitude of the holy souls that are around him. In the twinkling of an eye, it reaches and enters the sepulchre, and reunites itself with that Body which, three days before, it had quitted amidst an agony of suffering. The sacred Body returns to life, raises itself up, and throws aside the winding-sheet, the spices, and the bands. The bruises have disappeared, the Blood has been brought back to the veins; and from these limbs that had been torn by the scourging, from this head that had been mangled by the thorns, from these hands and feet that had been pierced with nails, there darts forth a dazzling light that fills the cave. The holy angels had clustered round the stable and adored the Babe of Bethlehem; they are now around the sepulchre, adoring the conqueror of death. They take the shrouds, and reverently folding them up, place them on the slab whereon the Body had been laid by Joseph and Nicodemus.

But Jesus is not to tarry in the gloomy sepulchre. Quicker than a ray of light through a crystal, he passes through the stone that closes the entrance of the cave. Pilate had ordered his seal to be put upon this stone, and a guard of soldiers is there to see that no one touches it. Untouched it is, and unmoved; and yet Jesus is free! Thus, as the holy Fathers unanimously teach us, was it as his birth: he appeared to the gaze of Mary, without having offered the slightest violence to her maternal womb. The birth and the Resurrection, the commencement and the end of Jesus’ mission, these two mysteries bear on them the seal of resemblance: in the first, it is a Virgin Mother; in the last, it is a sealed tomb giving forth its captive God.

And while this Jesus, this Man-God, thus breaks the sceptre of death, the stillness of the night is undisturbed. His and our victory has cost him no effort. O death! where is now thy kingdom? Sin had made us thy slaves; thy victory was complete; and now, lo! thou thyself art defeated! Jesus, whom thou didst exultingly hold under thy law, has set himself free; and we, after thou hast domineered over us for a time, we too shall be free from thy grasp. The tomb thou makest for us will become to us the source of a new life, for he that now conquers thee is ‘the First-born among the dead’;[4] and to-day is the Pasch, the Passover, the deliverance, for Jesus and for us his brethren. He has led the way; we shall follow; and the day will come when thou, the enemy that destroyest all things, shalt thyself be destroyed by immortality.[5] Thy defeat dates from this moment of Jesus’ Resurrection, and with the great Apostle we say to thee: ‘O death! where is thy victory? O death! where is thy sting?’[6]

But the sepulchre is not to remain shut: it must be thrown open, and testify to men that he, whose lifeless Body lay there, is indeed risen from the dead. As when our Jesus expired upon the Cross, so now immediately after his Resurrection, an earthquake shook the foundations of the world; but this time it was for joy. ‘The angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him the guards were struck with terror,’ and fell on the ground ‘as dead men.’ God has mercy on them; they return to themselves, and quitting the dread sepulchre, they hasten to the city, and relate what they have seen.

Meanwhile, our risen Jesus, seen by no other mortal eye, has sped to his most holy Mother. He is the Son of God; he is the vanquisher of death; but he is likewise the Son of Mary. She stood near him to the last, uniting the sacrifice of her mother’s heart with that he made upon the Cross; it is just, therefore, that she should be the first to partake of the joy of his Resurrection. The Gospel does not relate the apparition thus made by Jesus to his Mother, whereas all the others are fully described. It is not difficult to assign the reason. The other apparitions were intended as proofs of the Resurrection; this to Mary was dictated by the tender love borne to her by her Son. Both nature and grace required that his first visit should be to such a Mother, and Christian hearts dwell with delight on the meditation of the mystery. There was no need of its being mentioned in the Gospel; the tradition of the holy Fathers, beginning with St Ambrose, bears sufficient testimony to it; and even had they been silent, our hearts would have told it us. And why was it that our Saviour rose from the tomb so early on the day he had fixed for his Resurrection? It was because his filial love was impatient to satisfy the vehement longings of his dearest and most afflicted Mother. Such is the teaching of many pious and learned writers; and who that knows aught of Jesus and Mary could refuse to accept it?

But who is there would attempt to describe the joy of such a meeting? Those eyes that had grown dim from wakefulness and tears now flash with delight at beholding the brightness which tells her Jesus is come. He calls her by her name; not with the tone of voice which pierced her soul when he addressed her from the Cross, but with an accent of joy and love, such as a son would take when telling a mother that he had triumphed. The Body which, three days ago, she had seen covered with Blood and dead, is now radiant with life, beaming with the reflections of divinity. He speaks to her words of tenderest affection, he embraces her, he kisses her. Who, we ask, would dare to describe this scene, which the devout Abbot Rupert says so inundated the soul of Mary with joy that it made her forget all the sorrow she had endured?

Nor must we suppose that the visit was a short one. In one of the revelations granted to the seraphic St Teresa, our Lord told her that when he appeared to his blessed Mother immediately after his Resurrection, he found her so overwhelmed with grief that she would soon have died; that it was not until several moments had passed that she was able to realize the immense joy of his presence; and that he remained a long time with her, in order to console her.[7]

Let us who love this blessed Mother, and have seen her offer up her Son on Calvary for our sake, let us affectionately rejoice in the happiness wherewith Jesus now repays her, and let us learn to compassionate her in her dolours. This is the first manifestation of our risen Jesus: it is a just reward for the unwavering faith which has dwelt in Mary’s soul during these three days, when all but she had lost it. But it is time for him to show himself to others, that so the glory of his Resurrection may be made known to the world. His first visit was to her who is the dearest to him of all creatures, and who well deserved the favour; now, in his goodness, he is about to console those devoted women, whose grief is, perhaps, too human, but their love is firm, and neither death nor the tomb have shaken it.

Yesterday, when sunset proclaimed to the Jews the end of the great Sabbath and the commencement of the Sunday, Magdalen and her companions went into the city and bought perfumes, wherewith this morning, at break of day, they purpose embalming the Body of their dear Master. They have spent a sleepless night. Before the dawn of day, Magdalen, Mary (the mother of James), and Salome, are on the road that leads to Calvary, for the sepulchre is there. So intent are they on the one object, that it never occurs to them until it is too late to provide for the removing of the heavy stone which closes the sepulchre. There is the seal, too, of the Governor, which must be broken before they can enter; there are the soldiers who are keeping guard: these difficulties are quite overlooked. It is early daybreak when they reach the tomb. The first thing that attracts their attention is, that the stone has been removed, so that one can see into the sepulchre. The angel of the Lord, who had received the mission to roll back the stone, is seated on it, as upon a throne; he thus addresses the three holy women, who are speechless from astonishment and fear: ‘Be not affrighted! Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen, he is not here.’ Then encouraging them to enter the sepulchre, he adds: ‘Behold the place where they laid him!’[8]

These words should fill them with joy: but no; their faith is weak, and, as the Evangelist says, ‘a trembling and fear seize them.’[9] The dear Remains they are in search of are gone: the angel tells them so: his saying that Jesus is risen fails to awaken their faith in the Resurrection: they had hoped to find the Body! While in the sepulchre, two other angels appear to them, and the place is filled with light. St Luke tells us that Magdalen and her companions ‘bowed down their heads’, for they were overpowered with fear and disappointment. Then the angels said to them: ‘Why seek ye the Living with the dead? Remember how he spake unto you, when he was yet in Galilee, saying: “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again!”‘1[10] These words make some impression upon the holy women, and they begin to remember something of what our Lord had said of his Resurrection. ‘Go!’ said one of the angels, ‘tell his disciples and Peter, that he is going before you into Galilee.’[11]

The three women leave the sepulchre and return with haste to the city; they are full of fear, and yet there is an irresistible feeling of joy mingled with their fear. They relate what they have seen: they have seen angels, and the sepulchre open, and Jesus’ Body was not there. All three agree in their account; but the Apostles, as the Evangelist tells us, set it down to womanish excitement: ‘Their words seem idle tales and they believe them not.’[12] The Resurrection, of which their divine Master had so clearly and so often spoken, never once crosses their mind. It is particularly to Peter and John that Magdalen relates the wonderful things she has seen and heard; but her own faith is still so weak! She went with the intention of embalming the Body of Jesus, and she found it not! She can speak of nothing but her disappointment: ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him!’[13]

Peter and John determine to go themselves to the sepulchre. They enter. They see the ‘linen cloths lying’[14] upon the slab whereon the Body of Jesus had been placed; but the angels who are now keeping guard in the holy cave appear not to them. St John tells us that this was the moment he received the faith in the Resurrection: he believes.[15] We are now merely giving the history of the events of this greatest of days in the order in which they occurred: we will afterwards meditate upon them more leisurely, when the holy Liturgy brings them before us.

So far, Jesus has appeared to no one save his blessed Mother; the holy women have only seen the angels who spoke to them. These heavenly spirits bade them go and announce the Resurrection of their Master to the disciples and Peter. They are not told to bear the message to Mary; the reason is obvious: Jesus has already appeared to his Mother, and is with her while all these events are happening. The sun is now shedding his beams upon the earth, and the hours of the grand morning are speeding onwards: the Man-God is about to proclaim the triumph he has won for us over death. Let us reverently follow him in each of these manifestations, and attentively study the lessons they teach us.

As soon as Peter and John have returned, Magdalen hastens once more to the tomb of her dear Master. A soul like hers, ever earnest, and now tormented with anxiety, cannot endure to rest. Where is the Body of Jesus? Perhaps being insulted by his enemies? Having reached the door of the sepulchre, she bursts into tears. Looking in, she sees two angels, seated at either end of the slab on which her Jesus had been laid. They speak to her, for she knows not what to say: ‘Woman! why weepest thou?’ ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.’ Without waiting for the angels to reply, she turns as though she would leave the sepulchre; when lo! she sees a man standing before her, and this man is Jesus.[16] She does not recognize him: she is in search of the dead Body of her Lord; she is absorbed in the resolution of giving it a second burial! Her love distracts her, for it is a love that is not guided by faith; her desire to find him as she thinks him to be blinds her from seeing him as he really is—living, and near her.

Jesus, with his wonted condescension, speaks to her: ‘Woman! why weepest thou? Whom sleekest thou?’ Magdalen recognizes not this voice; her heart is dulled by an excessive and blind sentiment of grief; her spirit does not as yet know Jesus. Her eyes are fixed upon him; but her imagination persuades her that this man is the gardener, who has care of the ground about the sepulchre. She thinks within herself, ‘This, perhaps, is he that has taken my Jesus!’ and thereupon she thus speaks to him: ‘Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.’[17] How is our loving Redeemer to withstand this? If he praised her for the love she showed him in the pharisee’s house, we may be sure he will now reward this affectionate simplicity. A single word, spoken to her with the tone of voice she so well understood, is enough: ‘Mary!’ ‘Master!’ exclaims the delighted and humble Magdalen.[18] All is now clear: she believes.

She rushes forward: she would kiss those sacred feet, as on the happy day when she received her pardon; but Jesus stays her; this is not the time for such a demonstration of her affection. Magdalen, the first witness of the Resurrection, is to be raised, in reward of her love, to the high honour of publishing the great mystery. It is not fitting that the blessed Mother should reveal the secret favour she has received from her Son: Magdalen is to proclaim what she has seen and heard at the sepulchre, and become, as the holy Fathers express it, the Apostle of the very Apostles. Jesus says to her: ‘Go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’[19]

The second apparition of Jesus, then, is to Mary Magdalen: it is the first in testimony of his Resurrection, for the one to his blessed Mother was for another object. The Church will bring it before us on the Thursday of this week, and we will then make it the subject of our meditation. At present, let us adore the infinite goodness of our Redeemer, who, before seeking to fix the faith of his Resurrection in them that are to preach it to all nations, deigns to recompense the love of this woman, who followed him even to the Cross, was faithful to him after his death, and loved him most, because most forgiven. By thus showing himself to Magdalen, Jesus teaches us that he is more anxious to satisfy the love he bears his faithful creature than to provide for his own glory.

Magdalen loses no time in doing her Master’s bidding. She hastens back to the city, and having come to the disciples, says to them: ‘I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.’[20] But as yet they have not faith; John alone has received that gift, although he has seen nothing more than the empty sepulchre. Let us remember that after having fled like the rest of the disciples, he followed Jesus to Calvary, was present at his death, and was made the adopted son of Mary.

Meanwhile, Magdalen’s two companions, Salome and Mary the mother of James, are following her, though slowly and at some distance, to Jerusalem. Jesus meets them, and greets them, saying: ‘All hail.’[21] Overcome with joy they fall down and adore him, and kiss his sacred feet. It is the third apparition; and they that are favoured with it are permitted to do what was denied to the more favoured and fervent Magdalen. Before the day is over, Jesus will show himself to them whom he has chosen as the heralds of his glory; but he first wishes to honour those generous women who, braving every danger, and triumphing over the weakness of their sex, were more faithful to him, in his Passion, than the men he had so highly honoured as to make them his Apostles. When he was born in the stable at Bethlehem, the first he called to worship him in his crib were some poor shepherds; he sent his angels to invite them to go to him, before he sent the star to call the magi. So now,—when he has reached the summit of his glory, put the finish to all his works by his Resurrection, and confirmed our faith in his divinity by the most indisputable miracle,—he does not begin by instructing and enlightening his Apostles, but by instructing, consoling, and most affectionately honouring these humble but courageous women. How admirable are the dispensations of our God! How sweet, and yet how strong![22] Well does he say to us by his prophet: ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts!’[23] Let us suppose, for a moment, that we had been permitted to arrange the order of these two mysteries. We should have summoned the whole world, kings and people, to go and pay homage at the crib. We should have trumpeted to all nations the miracle of miracles, the Resurrection of the Crucified, the victory over death, the restoration of mankind to immortality! But he who is ‘the power and wisdom of God,’[24] Christ Jesus our Lord, has followed a very different plan. When born in Bethlehem he would have for his first worshippers a few simple-minded shepherds, whose power to herald the great event was confined to their own village: and yet the birthday of this little Child is now the era of every civilized nation. For the first witnesses of his Resurrection he chose three weak women; and yet the whole earth is now, at this very moment, celebrating the anniversary of this Resurrection. There is in it a mysterious feeling of joy unlike that of any other day throughout the year: no one can resist it, not even the coldest heart. The infidel who scoffs at the believer knows at least that this is Easter Sunday. Yea, in the very countries where paganism and idolatry are still rife, there are Christians whose voices unite with ours in singing the glorious Alleluia to our risen Jesus. Let us then cry out as Moses did, when the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea, and were keeping their first Pasch: ‘Who, O Lord, is like unto thee, among the strong?’[25]

We will resume our history of the Resurrection when we come to the hour of each apparition. It is now time for us to unite with the Church in her Office of Matins. She has spent the greatest part of the night in administering that holy Sacrament of regeneration, which gives her a new people; and now she is about to offer to God the wonted tribute of her praise.

 

THE OFFICE OF MATINS

 

The Night-Office of every Sunday throughout the year consists of three portions, called Nocturns. Each Nocturn is composed of three Psalms with their Antiphons, followed by three Lessons and Responsories. These Nocturns are preceded by a Psalm, which is called the Invitatory, and end with the Ambrosian Hymn, the Te Deum; they begin after midnight, and are over by the aurora, when the still more solemn Office of Lauds is chanted. But this night has been almost wholly spent in the administration of Baptism, and when the holy Sacrifice is finished, it is close upon the hour of sunrise. It is necessary, therefore, to shorten the usual Night-Office, in order that the Canticles, wherewith the Church welcomes the return of light—the work and type of her divine Spouse—may be sung at the very time when the sun is shedding his first rays upon the earth. This is the reason of there being only one Nocturn for the Night-Office[26] of Easter Sunday.

After the secret recitation of the Pater, Ave, and Credo, the Church thus begins her Matins:

℣. Domine, labia mea aperies.
℟. Et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.

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

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto;
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum.

Amen.

Alleluia.
℣. O Lord! thou wilt open my lips.
℟. And my mouth shall declare thy praise.

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

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

Amen.

Alleluia.

Then follows, with the glad chorus announcing the Resurrection, the Invitatory Psalm, whereby the Church invites her children to come and adore the Lord their God. To-day, it is the angels who tell the mystery to Magdalen and her companions: let us listen to the glorious tidings, for they are addressed to us also.

Invitatory

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.
The Lord hath truly risen, Alleluia.

Psalm 94

 

Venite, exsultemus Domino, jubilemus Deo Salutari nostro, præoccupemus faciem ejus in confessione, et in psalmis jubilemus ei.

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.

Quoniam Deus magnus Dominus, et Rex magnus super omnes deos: quoniam non repellet Dominus plebem suam, quia in manu ejus sunt omnes fines terræ, et altitudines montium ipse conspicit.

Alleluia.

Quoniam ipsius est mare et ipse fecit illud, et aridam fundaverunt manus ejus. Venite, adoremus, et procidamus ante Deum: ploremus coram Domino qui fecit nos, quia ipse est Dominus Deus noster: nos autem populus ejus, et oves pascuæ ejus.

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.

Hodie si vocem ejus audieritis, nolite obdurare corda vestra, sicut in exacerbatione, secundum diem tentationis in deserto: ubi tentaverunt me patres vestri, probaverunt, et viderunt opera mea.

Alleluia.

Quadraginta annis proximus fui generationi huic, et dixi: Semper hi errant corde: ipsi vero non cognoverunt vias meas, quibus juravi in ira mea, si introibunt in requiem meam.

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto;
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Alleluia.
Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.
Come, let us praise the Lord with joy, let us joyfully sing to God our Saviour; let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.

The Lord hath truly risen, Alleluia.

For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods; for in his hand are all the ends of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are his.

Alleluia.

For the sea is his, and he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us adore and fall down before God: let us weep before the Lord that made us, for he is the Lord our God: and we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

The Lord hath truly risen. Alleluia.

To-day, if ye shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, me the Lord; they proved me, and saw my works.

Alleluia.

Forty years was I nigh unto this generation, and I said: These always err in heart: and these men have not known my ways; so I swore in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest.

The Lord hath truly risen, Alleluia.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Alleluia.
The Lord hath truly risen, Alleluia.

The Invitatory is always followed by a Hymn; but out of a motive of respect for this great Solemnity, the Church would observe the ancient form of her Offices, in which there were no Hymns, for they were not introduced till a comparatively later period. She observes this same exclusion of Hymns during the whole week. After the Invitatory, then, immediately follow the three Psalms.

The first speaks of the virtues and happiness of the just man, and as the holy Fathers have interpreted it, refers to Christ, who is the New Man that came down from heaven; he was the faithful observer of the divine law, which the first Adam transgressed; the eternal Father glorified him on this day of his Resurrection.

Ant. Ego sum qui sum, et consilium meum non est cum impiis: sed in lege Domini voluntas mea est, alleluia.
Ant. I am who am, and my counsel is not with the ungodly: but my will is in the law of the Lord, alleluia.

Psalm 1

Beatus vir qui non abiit in consilio impiorum, et in via peccatorum non stetit: et in cathedra pestilentiæ non sedit.
Sed in lege Domini voluntas ejus: et in lege ejus meditabitur die ac nocte.
Et erit tanquam lignum quod plantatum est secus decursus aquarum: quod fructum suum dabit in tempore suo.
Et folium ejus non defluet: et omnia quæcumque faciet, prosperabuntur.
Non sic impii, non sic: sed tanquam pulvis, quem projicit ventus a facie terræ.
Ideo non resurgent impii in judicio: neque peccatores in concilio justorum.
Quoniam novit Dominus viam justorum: et iter impiorum peribit.

Ant. Ego sum qui sum, et consilium meum non est cum impiis: sed in lege Domini voluntas mea est, alleluia.
Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence.
But his will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree, which is planted near the running waters; which shall bring forth its fruit in due season.
And his leaf shall not fall off; and all whatsoever he shall do shall prosper.
Not so the wicked, not so: but like the dust, which the wind driveth from the face of the earth.
Therefore the wicked shall notrise again in judgement: nor sinners in the council of the just.
For the Lord knoweth the way of the just: and the way of the wicked shall perish.

Ant. I am who am, and my counsel is not with the ungodly: but my will is in the law of the Lord, alleluia.


The second Psalm tells us how the Synagogue formed a plot against Christ. The Jews put to death the Messias who came to save them; but they could not prevent his Resurrection. He is the Son of Man, but he is also the Son of God: he begins his reign over the whole human race this very day. Woe to Israel that knew not the day of his visitation!

Ant. Postulavi Patrem meum, alleluia: dedit mihi gentes, alleluia, in hæreditatem, alleluia.
Ant. I have asked of my Father, alleluia: he hath given me the gentiles, alleluia, for an inheritance, alleluia.

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 tanquam vas figuli confringes eos.
Et nunc, reges, intelligite: erudimini qui judicatis terram.
Servite Domino in timore: et exultate 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. Postulavi Patrem meum, alleluia: dedit mihi gentes, alleluia, in hæreditatem, alleluia.
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 asunde6r: 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 Sod, this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I will give thee the gentiles for thine 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, ye 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 ye perish from the just way.
When his wrath shall be kindled in a short time, blessed are all they that trust in him.

Ant. I have asked of my Father, alleluia: he hath given me the gentiles, alleluia, for an inheritance, alleluia.

The third Psalm is a prophecy of the Resurrection of Christ. His enemies would have that he was abandoned by God. He slept in the tomb; but God protected him, and he arose, the conqueror of his adversaries.

Ant. Ego dormivi, et somnum cepi: et exsurrexi, quoniam Dominus suscepit me. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. I have slept, and taken my sleep: and I have risen up, because the Lord hath protected me. Alleluia, alleluia.

Psalm 3

Domine, quid multiplicati sunt qui tribulant me? multi insurgunt adversum me.
Multi dicunt animæ meæ: Non est salus ipsi in Deo ejus.
Tu autem, Domine, susceptor meus es: gloria mea, et exaltans caput meum.
Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi: et exaudivit me de monte sancto suo.
Ego dormivi, et soporatus sum: et exsurrexi, quia Dominus suscepit me.
Non timebo millia populi circumdantis me: exsurge Domine, salvum me fac, Deus meus.
Quoniam tu percussisti omnes adversantes mihi sine causa: dentes peccatorum contrivisti.
Domini est salus: et super populum tuum benedictio tua.

Ant. Ego dormivi, et somnum cepi: et exsurrexi, quoniam Dominus suscepit me. Alleluia, alleluia.
Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me? Many are they who rise up against me.
Many say to my soul: There is no salvation for him in his God.
But thou, O Lord, art my protector, my glory, and the lifter up of my head.
I have cried to the Lord with my voice: and he hath heard me from his holy hill.
I have slept, and have taken my rest: and I have risen up, because the Lord hath protected me.
I will not fear thousands of the people surrounding me: arise, O Lord, save me, O my God.
For thou hast struck all them who are my adversaries without cause: thou hast broken the teeth of sinners.
Salvation is of the Lord: and thy blessing is upon thy people.

Ant. I have slept, and taken my sleep: and I have risen up, because the Lord hath protected me. Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro, alleluia.
℟. Qui pro nobis pependit in ligno, alleluia.
℣. The Lord hath risen from the tomb, alleluia.
℟. Who for our sake was nailed to the Cross, alleluia.

The priest begins the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer:

Pater noster.
Our Father.

The rest is said in silence, as far as the last two petitions: when the priest says aloud:

℣. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.
℣. And lead us not into temptation.

The choir answers:

℟. Sed libera nos a malo.
℟. But deliver us from evil.

Then the priest:

Exaudi, Domine Jesu Christe, preces servorum tuorum, et miserere nobis, qui cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum.
Graciously hear, O Lord Jesus Christ, the prayers of thy servants, and have mercy upon us: who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest for ever and ever.

The choir answers:

Amen.
Amen.

Then one of the choir turns towards the priest, and, bowing down, says:

Jube, Domne, benedicere.
Pray, Father, give thy blessing.

Blessing

The priest gives his blessing in these words:

Evangelica lectio sit nobis salus et protectio.
℟. Amen.
May the reading of the Gospel bring us salvation and protection.
℟. Amen.

He who asked the blessing, then reads the first few words of the Gospel for the Mass of Easter Sunday: after this he opens the homilies of St Gregory the Great, from which he takes a few passages as a commentary upon the sacred text.

Lectio sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum.

Cap. xvi.

In illo tempore: Maria Magdalene, et Maria Jacobi, et Salome, emerunt aromata: ut venientes ungerent Jesum. Et reliqua.
Lesson from the holy Gospel according to Mark.

Ch. xvi.

At that time, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming they might anoint Jesus. And the rest.

Lesson I

Homilia sancti Gregorii Papæ.

Audistis, fratres charissimi, quod sanctæ mulieres, quæ Dominum fuerant secutæ, cum aromatibus ad monumentum venerunt, et ei quem viventem dilexerant, etiam mortuo studio humanitatis obsequuntur. Sed res gesta, aliquid in sancta Ecclesia signat gerendum. Sic quippe necesse est audiamus quæ facta sunt, quatenus cogitemus etiam quæ nobis sunt ex eorum imitatione facienda. Et nos ergo in eum, qui est mortuus, credentes, si odore virtutum referti, cum opinione bonorum operum Dominum quærimus, ad monumentum profecto illius cum aromatibus venimus. Illæ autem mulieres angelos vident, quæ cum aromatibus venerunt: quia videlicet illæ mentes supernos cives aspiciunt, quæ cum virtutum odoribus ad Dominum per sancta desideria proficiscuntur.
Homily of St Gregory, Pope.

You have heard, dearly beloved brethren, how the holy women, who had followed the Lord, came, with sweet spices, to the sepulchre, and how, having loved him while he lived, they would honour him, now that he is dead, with proofs of their affection. But this that they did, teaches what we, the members of the Church, should do: for we should so hearken to what was done, as that we may learn what we must do in order to imitate them. Now, we who believe in him who was dead, if laden with the fragrance of virtue, and with the reputation of good works, we seek the Lord, we may truly be said to come to the sepulchre with sweet spices. Moreover, the women, who came with sweet spices, saw angels; for those souls do come to the vision of the heavenly citizens, who, fragrant in virtue, tend to their Lord by holy desires.

℟. Angelus Domini descendit de cœlo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et super eum sedit, et dixit mulieribus:
* Nolite timere: scio enim quia crucifixum quæritis, jam surrexit: venite et videte locum, ubi positus erat Dominus, alleluia.
℣. Et introeuntes in monumentum, viderunt juvenem sedentem in dextris, coopertum stola candida, et obstupuerunt; qui dixit illis:
* Nolite timere, etc. Gloria Patri, etc. Repeat: Angelus Domini.
℟. The angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it, and said to the women:
* Fear not: for I know that ye seek the Crucified: he is risen: come and see the place where the Lord was laid, alleluia.
℣. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe; and they were astonished: who saith to them:
* Fear not, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. Repeat: The angel of the Lord.

Blessing

Divinum auxilium maneat semper nobiscum. ℟. Amen.
May the divine assistance remain always with us. ℟. Amen.

Lesson II

Notandum vero nobis est, quidnam sit, quod in dextris sedere angelus cernitur. Quid namque per sinistram nisi vita præsens: quid vero per dexteram, nisi perpetua vita designatur? Unde in Canticis canticorum scriptum est: Læva ejus sub capite meo, et dextera illius amplexabitur me. Quia ergo Redemptor noster jam præsentis vitae corruptionem transierat, recte angelus qui nuntiare perennem ejus vitam venerat, in dextera sedebat.Qui stola candida coopertus apparuit: quia festivitatis nostræ gaudia nuntiavit. Candor etenim vestis, splendorem nostræ denuntiat solemnitatis. Nostræ, dicamus an suae? Sed ut fateamur verius, et suae dicamus, et nostræ. Illa quippe Redemptoris nostri resurrectio et nostra festivitas fuit, quia nos ad immortalitatem reduxit: et angelorum festivitas exstitit, quia nos revocando ad cœlestia, eorum numerum implevit.
Let us also take notice, how the angel is seen to be seated on the right hand. What means this? This present life is signified by the left hand; eternal life by the right. Hence we have in the Canticle of Canticles: His left hand is under my head, and his right hand shall embrace me. Because, therefore, our Redeemer had passed from this present corruptible life, it was fitting that the angel, who came to announce his immortal life, should sit on the right side. The angel was clad in a white robe, because he came to herald the joy of our feast. The beauty of his robe tells us of the splendour of our solemnity. Ought I not to say his rather than ours? To speak correctly, the solemnity is both his and ours; for our Redeemer’s Resurrection was our feast, because it restored us to immortality; and it was the feast of the angels, because, by recalling us to heaven, it filled up their number.

℟. Cum transisset Sabbatum, Maria Magdalene, et Maria Jacobi, et Salome, emerunt aromata: Ut venientes ungerent Jesum, alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Et valde mane una sabbatorum veniunt ad monumentum, orto jam sole.

Ut venientes.
Gloria Patri.
Ut venientes.
℟. When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalen, and Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus, alleluia, alleluia.
℣. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen.

That coming.
Glory be to the Father.
That coming.

Blessing

Ad societatem civium supenorum perducat nos Rex angelorum. ℟. Amen.
May the King of angels lead us to the society of heavenly citizens. ℟. Amen.

Lesson III

In sua ergo ac nostra festivitate angelus in albis vestibus apparuit: quia dum nos per resurrectionem Dominicam ad superna reducimur, cœlestis patriae damna reparantur. Sed quid advenientes feminas affatur, audiamus. Nolite expavescere. Ac si aperte dicat: Paveant illi, qui non amant adventum supernorum civium: pertimescant, qui carnalibus desideriis pressi, ad eorum se societatem pertingere posse desperant. Vos autem cur pertimescitis quæ vestros concives videtis? Unde Matthæus angelum apparuisse describens, ait: Erat aspectus ejus sicut fulgur, et vestimenta ejus sicut nix. In fulgore etenim terror timoris est, in nive autem blandimentum candoris.
On this, then, both his and our feast, the angel appeared clad in white robes, because, when we were restored to heaven by Jesus’ Pesurrection, the celestial country recovered its losses. But let us listen to the words he addresses to the women on their coming to the sepulchre: Fear not! says he. It was as though he said: ‘Let them fear that love not the visit of heaven’s citizens: let them fear who, being weighed down by carnal desires, despair of ever being able to reach heaven. But why should you fear, who behold here your fellow-citizens?’ Hence, St Matthew, describing the angel’s apparition, says: His countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. The lightning expresses something that causes fear; the snow denotes the affability of a sincere friend.

Hymn of Thanksgiving

Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te æternum Patrem: omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes angeli: tibi cœli, et universæ potestates.
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim: incessabili voce proclamant.
Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth!
Pleni sunt cœli et terra majestatis gloriæ tuæ.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus.
Te prophetarum laudabilis numerus.
Te martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensæ majestatis,
Venerandum tuum verum, et unicum Filium,
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriæ, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna cœlorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes: in gloria Patris.
Judex crederis esse venturis.
We praise thee, O God! we acknowledge thee to be our Lord.
Thee, the Father everlasting, all the earth doth worship.
To thee the angels, to thee the heayens, and all the powers:
To thee the Cherubim and Seraphim cry out without ceasing:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth!
Full are the heavens and the earth of the majesty of thy glory.
Thee the glorious choir of the Apostles.
Thee the laudable company of the prophets.
Thee the white-robed army of martyrs doth praise.
Thee the holy Church throughout the world doth acknowledge,
The Father of incomprehensible majesty.
Thy adorable, true, and only Son,
And the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete.
Thou, O Christ, art the King of glory.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Thou being to take upon thee to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb.
Thou, having overcome the sting of death, hast opened to believers the kingdom of heaven.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Thee we believe to be the Judge to come.

All kneel at the following verse:

Te ergo quæsumus, tuis famulis subveni, quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Æterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine: et benedic hæreditati tuæ.
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in ætemum.
Per singulos dies benedicimus te.
Et laudamus nomen tuum in sæculum: et in sæculum sæculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto, sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri, Domine: miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in æternum.
We beseech thee, therefore, to help thy servants, whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious Blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy saints in eternal glory.
O Lord, save thy people, and bless thine inheritance.
And govern them, and exalt them for ever.
Every day, we magnify thee.
And we praise thy name for ever and ever.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have put our trust in thee.
In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust: let me not be confounded for ever.

In most of the churches in the West, during the Middle Ages, as soon as the third Lesson was read, and before the Te Deum,the clergy went in procession, singing a Responsory, to the chapel where the Blessed Sacrament had been kept since Maundy Thursday, which was called the Chapel of the Sepulchre. Three clerics were vested in albs, and represented Magdalen and her two companions. When the procession reached the chapel, two deacons, in white dalmatics, who were standing at either end of the tomb, thus addressed the three clerics:

Quem quæritis in sepulchro, o christicolæ?
Whom seek you in the sepulchre, friends of Christ?

The clerics answered:

Jesum Nazarenum, o cœlicolæ!
Jesus of Nazareth, O ye citizens of heaven!

Then the deacons:

Non est hic; surrexit sicut prædixerat: ite, nunciate quia surrexit.
He is not here; he hath risen as he foretold: go, say that he is risen.

The three clerics here went to the altar, and, raising up the cloths which covered it, they reverently kissed the stone. Then turning towards the bishop and the clergy, they sang these words:

Alleluia! Resurrexit Dominus hodie: resurrexit Leo fortis, Christus Filius Dei.
Alleluia! This day the Lord hath risen: the strong Lion, Christ the Son of God, hath risen.

Two cantors stepped forward towards the altar steps, on which the clerics were standing, and addressed them in these words of the Sequence:

Dic nobis, Maria, Quid vidistis in via?
Tell us, O Mary, what sawest thou on the way?

The first cleric, who represented Magdalen, answered:

Sepulchrum Christi viventis,
Et gloriam vidi resurgentis.
I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ:
I saw the glory of him that had risen.

The second cleric, who represented Mary, the mother of James, added:

Angelicos testes,
Sudarium et vestes.
I saw the angels that were the witnesses:
I saw the winding-sheet and the cloths.

The third cleric, who represented Salome, completed the reply thus:

Surrexit Christus spes mea.
Præcedet vos in Galilæam.
Christ, my hope, hath risen!
He shall go before you into Galilee.

The two cantors answered with this protest of faith:

Credendum est magis soli
Mariæ veraci,
Quam Judæorum
Pravæ cohorti.
It behoves us to believe the single testimony
of the truthful Mary,
rather than the whole host
of wicked Jews.

Then the whole of the clergy joined in this acclamation:

Scimus Christum surrexisse
A mortuis vere:
Tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
We know that Christ
hath truly risen from the dead.
Do thou, O conqueror and King! have mercy on us.

The two deacons then opened the tabernacle. Taking the pyx, in which was the Blessed Sacrament, they laid it upon a portable throne, or brancard, and the procession returned to the high altar. Clouds of incense perfumed the way, and the following beautiful Responsory was enthusiastically sung. The first part is composed of words from the Epistle of St Paul to the Romans; the Versicle is taken from the Greek Liturgy. The music is worthy of the words.

℟. Christus resurgens ex mortuis, jam non moritur: mors illi ultra non dominabitur; quod enim mortuus est peccato, mortuus est semel: Quod autem vivit, vivit Deo, alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Dicant nunc Judæi, quomodo milites custodientes sepulchrum perdiderunt Regem, ad lapidis positionem; quare non servabant Petram justitiæ? Aut sepultum reddant, aut resurgentem adorent nobiscum dicentes:
Quod autem vivit, vivit Deo, alleluia, alleluia.
℟. Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more; death shall no more have dominion over him; for in that he died, he died once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God, alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Let the Jews now tell us, how the soldiers, who guarded the sepulchre, lost the King, though they had placed a rock over him. Why kept they not the Rock of justice? Either let them restore the buried One, or adore with us the risen One, saying:
But in that he liveth, he liveth unto God, alleluia, alleluia.


The procession having reached the sanctuary, the deacons placed the blessed Sacrament upon the altar. The bishop, after offering the homage of incense, entoned the Te Deum, in thanksgiving for the Resurrection of our Redeemer.

This touching ceremony, which probably originated what were called The Mysteries, was not one of the traditions of the Roman Liturgy; still, it was an expression of the lively and simple faith of the Middle Ages. It gradually fell into disuse during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when men became absorbed in material things, and lost that appreciation of the supernatural which their forefathers loved to encourage by every possible means. The ceremony we have just described varied in the manner of its being carried out; but we have given its chief traits, such as we find them mentioned in the ancient Ordinaries of our cathedrals.

The Churches of Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland keep up, even to this day, the custom borrowed from the Orientals, of spending the night preceding Easter Sunday in prayer. At break of day, the hour of the Resurrection, the Blessed Sacrament is taken from the sepulchre, and a solemn Benediction is given. Up to quite a recent period, in certain towns of Spain, two processions started from the principal church: in one was borne a statue of the Blessed Virgin, which was covered with a veil; in the other, the Blessed Sacrament was carried under a canopy. The two separated, and marched in silence through the streets, until the sun appeared on the horizon, when they met at an appointed place. The veil that covered the statue of the holy Mother of God was then removed, and the whole people sang the Anthem, Regina cœli, lœtare! thus commemorating the joy experienced by Mary when she was visited by Jesus after his Resurrection, that same Jesus who was there really present in the adorable Sacrament. The two processions then returned together to the church.

Another demonstration of Paschal joy consisted in the kiss of peace given by the faithful in the church at the announcement of the Resurrection hour. This custom, which was taken from the Oriental Churches, was kept up in the west until the sixteenth century. In some places, it was at the beginning of Matins that this kiss of peace was given, and with these words: Surrexit Christus!—Christ is risen! In others, again, it was given after the ceremony we have been describing. In the Greek Liturgy, the following stanzas were sung during the time:

Pascha jucundissimum, Pascha Domini, Pascha, Pascha sacratissimum, illuxit nobis. Pascha! in gaudio nos invicem amplexemur. O Pascha, tristitiæ pretium! etenim ex sepulchro, tanquam ex thalamo, Christus hodie resplendens, mulieres læta dulcedine replevit dicens: Prædicate Apostolis.

Dies est Resurrectionis: splendescamus, diem festum agentes, et amplexemur nos invicem, fratres nuncupemus etiam odientes nos; omnia dimittamus propter Resurrectionem, et ita clamemus: Surrexit Christus a mortuis, mortem morte conterens, et jacentibus in monumentis vitam suppeditans.
The most joyous Pasch, the Pasch of the Lord, the Pasch, the most holy Pasch, has shone upon us! let us embrace each other with joy. O Pasch! thou recompense of our sorrow! for from his sepulchre, as from a bride-chamber, Christ hath this day risen resplendent, and hath filled the women with glad consolation, saying to them: Tell it to my Apostles!

It is the Resurrection day: let us be radiant with joy as we keep the feast, and let us embrace one another, and call even them that hate us, brethren. Let us forgive all offences for the Resurrection’s sake, and thus let us sing: Christ hath risen from the dead; he hath conquered death by death, and hath given life to them that lay in their graves.

We are all brethren: Jesus’ Resurrection has made us doubly so, for, as the Apostle says, he is ‘the Firstborn from the dead.’[27] He made us brethren by assuming our nature in his Incarnation; he renewed and made closer the fraternity by rising from the tomb, and opening to each of us the path to immortality. He is our elder Brother in that new life which dieth now no more. Whilst celebrating his victory, let us all be united together in mutual charity: it is his wish, it is the Pasch: it is the banquet-day of fraternal love!

 

LAUDS

 

Every day throughout the year, the Church offers a special service to God, which is intended as the Office of the aurora. It is called Lauds, because it is mainly composed of Psalms of praise. The mystery honoured by this Morning-Service is the Resurrection: how fervently, how joyously, ought we to sing our Lauds on the very day of that grand mystery! Let us, therefore, unite with our dear mother the Church: she is beaming with gladness; for her Jesus, her Sun of justice, whose light has been clouded for three long days, is now risen in all his splendour.

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

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen. Alleluia.
℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

The first Psalm of Lauds shows us our Jesus rising from his tomb like a King clothed with beauty, and like a conqueror girded with strength. By his Resurrection, he restores man to the immortality he had forfeited.’ Wonderful are the surges of the sea; but far more so is the power of the risen Jesus, our Lord. Let us, by the holiness of our lives, prove ourselves worthy of heaven—that House which he has now thrown open to us.

Ant. Angelus autem Domini descendit de cœlo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et sedebat super eum. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. And the angel of the Lord descended from heaven; and going to the stone, rolled it back, and sat on it. Alleluia, alleluia.

Psalm 92

Dominus regnavit, decorum indutus est: indutus est Dominus fortitudinem, et præcinxit se.
Etenim firmavit orbem terræ: qui non commovebitur.
Parata sedes tua ex tunc: a sæculo tu es.
Elevaverunt flumina Domine: elevaverunt flumina vocem suam.
Elevaverunt flumina fluctus suos: a vocibus aquarum multarum.
Mirabiles elationes maris: mirabilis in altis Dominus.
Testimonia tua credibilia facta sunt nimis: domum tuam decet sanctitudo, Domine, in longitudinem dierum.

Ant. Angelus autem Domini descendit de cœlo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et sedebat super eum. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord hath reigned, he is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded himself.
For to-day, by his Resurrection, he hath established the world, which shall not be moved.
Thy throne, O conqueror of death, is prepared from old: thou art from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice.
The floods have lifted up their waves, with the noise of many waters.
Wonderful are the surges of the sea: wonderful is the Lord on high.
Thy testimonies are become exceedingly credible: holiness becometh thy house, O Lord, which is thy Church, unto length of days.

Ant. And the angel of the Lord descended from heaven; and going to the stone, rolled it back, and sat on it. Alleluia, alleluia.

The following Psalm invites to the courts of the Lord all the inhabitants of the earth, there to celebrate this great solemnity, this Feast of feasts. Jesus is our divine Shepherd, and we are the sheep of his pasture. Though the mighty conqueror and God, yet is he sweet and compassionate. Let us celebrate his triumph in exceeding great joy, and with grateful gladness.

Ant. Et ecce terræmotus factus est magnus: Angelus enim Domini descendit de cœlo. Alleluia.
Ant. And behold! there was a great earthquake: for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, alleluia.

Psalm 99

Jubilate Deo omnis terra: servite Domino in lætitia.
Introite in conspectu ejus: in exsultatione.
Scitote quoniam Dominus ipse est Deus: ipse fecit nos, et non ipsi nos.
Populus ejus, et oves pascuæ ejus, introite portas ejus in confessione: atria ejus in hymnis, confitemini illi.
Laudate nomen ejus quoniam suavis est Dominus, in æternum misericordia ejus: et usque in generationem et generationem veritas ejus.

Ant. Et ecce terræmotus factus est magnus: Angelus enim Domini descendit de cœlo. Alleluia.
Sing joyfully to God, all the earth! serve ye the Lord with gladness.
Come in before his presence with exceeding great joy.
Know ye, that the Lord is God; he made us, and not we ourselves.
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture; go ye into his gates with praise: into his courts with hymns, and give glory to him.
Praise ye his name, for the Lord is sweet; his mercy endureth for ever: and his truth to generation and generation.

Ant. And behold! there was a great earthquake: for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, alleluia.

The following Psalm is the prayer of the faithful soul to her God at break of day. From the first waking, she thirsts after the great God, her Creator and Redeemer. But on this day of Easter, she delightedly contemplates him in all the magnificence of his glory, and the whole world is filled with it. All men are now one in unity of sentiment; all are keeping the Pasch; there is not a nation under heaven where the great mystery is not known. Let us pray that all may understand it, love it, and share in its joy.

Ant. Erat autem aspectus ejus sicut fulgur, vestimenta autem ejus sicut nix. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment was as snow. Alleluia, alleluia.

Psalm 62

Deus, Deus meus: ad te de luce vigilo.
Sitivit in te anima mea: quam multipliciter tibi caro mea.
In terra deserta, et invia, et inaquosa: sic in sancto apparui tibi, ut viderem virtutem tuam, et gloriam tuam.
Quoniam melior est misericordia tua super vitas: labia mea laudabunt te.
Sic benedicam te in vita mea: et in nomine tuo levabo manus meas.
Sicut adipe et pinguedine repleatur anima mea: et labiis exsultationis laudabit os meum.
Si memor fui tui super stratum meum, in matutinis meditabor in te: quia fuisti adjutor meus.
Et in velamento alarum tuarum exsultabo, adhæsit anima mea post te: me suscepit dextera tua.
Ipsi vero in vanum quæsierunt animam meam, introibunt in inferiora terræ: tradentur in manus gladii, partes vulpium erunt.
Rex vero lætabitur in Deo, laudabuntur omnes qui jurant in eo: quia obstructum est os loquentium iniqua.

Ant. Erat autem aspectus ejus sicut fulgur, vestimenta autem ejus sicut nix. Alleluia, alleluia.
O God, my God, to thee do I watch at break of day.
For thee my soul hath thirsted, for thee my flesh, oh I how many ways!
In a desert land, and where there is no way, and no water: so, in the sanctuary have I come before thee, to see thy power and thy glory.
For thy mercy is better than lives: thee my lips shall praise.
Thus will I bless thee all my life long: and in thy name I will lift up my hands.
Let my soul be filled as with marrow and fatness, O Bread of life! and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.
If I have remembered thee upon my bed, I will meditate on thee in the morning: because thou hast been my helper.
And I will rejoice under the covert of thy wings; my soul hath stuck close to thee: thy right hand hath received me.
But they have sought my soul in vain; they shall go into the lower parts of the earth: they shall be delivered into the hands of the sword, they shall be portions of foxes.
But man being set free shall, like a king, rejoice in God; all they shall be praised that swear by him: because the mouth is stopped of them that speak wicked things.

Ant. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment was as snow. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Canticle, in which the three children, in the fiery furnace of Babylon, bid all creatures of God bless his name, is sung by the Church in the Lauds of every great feast. It gives a voice to all creatures, and invites the whole universe to bless its divine author. How just it is, that on this day heaven and earth should unite in giving glory to the great God, who, by his Death and Resurrection, repairs the injury done to them by sin!

Ant. Præ timore autem ejus exterriti sunt custodes, et facti sunt velut mortui, alleluia.
Ant. The guards were terrified with fear of him, and became as men struck dead, alleluia.

Canticle of the Three Children
(Dan. iii)

Benedicite omnia opera Domini Domino: laudate et superexaltate eum in sæcula.
Benedicite angeli Domini Domino: benedicite cœli Domino.
Benedicite aquæ omnes quæ super cœlos sunt Domino: benedicite omnes virtutes Domini Domino.
Benedicite sol et luna Domino: benedicite stellæ cœli Domino.
Benedicite omnis imber et ros Domino: benedicite omnes spiritus Dei Domino.
Benedicite ignis et æstus Domino: benedicite frigus et æstus Domino.
Benedicite rores et pruina Domino: benedicite gelu et frigus Domino.
Benedicite glacies et nives Domino: benidicite noctes et dies Domino.
Benedicite lux et tenebræ Domino: benedicite fulgura et nubes Domino.
Benedicat terra Dominum: laudet et superexaltet eum in sæcula.
Benedicite montes et colles Domino: benedicite universa germinantia in terra Domino.
Benedicite fontes Domino: benedicite maria et flumina Domino.
Benedicite cete et omnia quæ moventur in aquis Domino: benedicite omnes volucres cœli Domino.
Benedicite omnes bestiæ et pecora Domino: benedicite filii hominum Domino.
Benedicat Israel Dominum: laudet et superexaltet eum in sæcula.
Benedicite sacerdotes Domini Domino: benedicite servi Domini Domino.
Benedicite spiritus et animæ justorum Domino: benedicite sancti et humiles corde Domino.
Benedicite Anania, Azaria, Misael Domino: laudate et superexaltate eum in sæcula.
Benedicamus Patrem et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu: laudemus, et superexaltemus eum in sæcula.
Benedictus es, Domine, in firmamento cœli: et laudabilis et gloriosus, et superexaltatus in sæcula.

Ant. Præ timore autem ejus exterriti sunt custodes, et facti sunt velut mortui, alleluia.
All ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye angels of the Lord, bless the Lord: O ye heavens, bless the Lord.
O all ye waters that are above the heavens, bless the Lord: O all ye powers of the Lord, bless the Lord.
O ye sun and moon, bless the Lord: O ye stars of heaven, bless the Lord.
O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: O all ye spirits of God, bless the Lord.
O ye fire and heat, bless the Lord: O ye cold and heat, bless the Lord.
O ye dews and hoar frosts, bless the Lord: O ye frost and cold, bless the Lord.
O ye ice and snow, bless the Lord: O ye nights and days, bless the Lord.
O ye light and darkness, bless the Lord: O ye lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord.
Oh! let the earth bless the Lord: let it praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye mountains and hills, bless the Lord: O all ye things that spring up in the earth, bless the Lord.
O ye fountains, bless the Lord: O ye seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
O ye whales, and all that move in the waters, bless the Lord: O all ye fowls of the air, bless the Lord.
O all ye beasts and cattle, bless the Lord: O ye sons of men, bless the Lord.
Oh! let Israel bless the Lord: let it praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye priests of the Lord, bless the Lord: O ye servants of the Lord, bless the Lord.
O ye spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord: O ye holy and humble of heart, bless the Lord.
O Ananias, Azarias, Misael, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Let us bless the Father and the Son, with the Holy Ghost; let us praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Blessed art thou, O Lord, in the firmament of heaven; and worthy of praise, and glorious, and exalted above all, for ever.

Ant. The guards were terrified with fear of him, and became as men struck dead, alleluia.

The last Psalm of Lauds sings the praise of the Lord, and urges all creatures to bless his holy name. It has a great resemblance with the Canticle of the three children.

Ant. Respondens autem angelus dixit mulieribus: Nolite timere: scio enim quod Jesum quæritis, alleluia.
Ant. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not: for I know that ye seek Jesus, alleluia.

Psalm 148

Laudate Dominum de cœlis: laudate eum in excelsis.
Laudate eum omnes angeli ejus: laudate eum omnes virtutes ejus.
Laudate eum sol et luna: laudate eum omnes stellæ et lumen.
Laudate eum cœli cœlorum: et aquæ omnes, quæ super cœlos sunt, laudent nomen Domini.
Quia ipse dixit, et facta sunt: ipse mandavit, et creata sunt.
Statuit ea in æternum, et in sæculum sæculi: præceptum posuit, et non præteribit.
Laudate Dominum de terra: dracones et omnes abyssi.
Ignis, grando, nix, glacies, spiritus procellarum: quæ faciunt verbum ejus.
Montes et omnes colles: ligna fructifera, et omnes cedri.
Bestiæ et universa pecora: serpentes, et volucres pennatæ.
Reges terræ et omnes populi: principes, et omnes judices terræ.
Juvenes, et virgines, senes cum junioribus, laudent nomen Domini: quia exaltatum est nomen ejus solius.
Confessio ejus super coelum et terram: et exaltavit cornu populi sui.
Hymnus omnibus sanctis ejus: filiis Israel, populo appropinquanti sibi.

Ant. Respondens autem angelus, dixit mulieribus: Nolite timere: scio enim quod Jesum quæritis, alleluia.
Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise ye him in the high places.
Praise ye him, all his angels, praise ye him, all his hosts.
Praise ye him, O sun and moon: praise ye him, all ye stars and light.
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens: and let all the waters, that are above the heavens, praise the name of the Lord.
For he spoke, and they were made: he commanded, and they were created.
He hath established them for ever, and for ages of ages: he hath made a decree, and it shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all ye deeps.
Fire, hail, snow, ice, stormy winds, which fulfil his word.
Mountains and all hills, fruitful trees, and all cedars.
Beasts and all cattle; serpents and feathered fowls.
Kings of the earth and all people; princes and all judges of the earth.
Young men and maidens; let the old with the younger praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is exalted.
His praise is above heaven and earth: and he hath, this day, exalted the horn of his people.
A hymn to all his saints: to the children of Israel, a people approaching to him.

Ant. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not: for I know that ye seek Jesus, alleluia.

Immediately after the Psalms is sung the Paschal Anthem:

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et lætemur in ea.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

Then follows the Canticle of Zachary: it is the Church’s daily welcome of the rising sun. It celebrates the coming of Jesus to his creatures, the fulfilment of the promises made by God, and the apparition of the divine Orient in the midst of our darkness.

Ant. Et valde mane una sabbatorum, veniunt ad monumentum orto jam sole, alleluia.
Ant. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen, alleluia.

Canticle of Zachary
(St Luke i)

Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel: quia visitavit, et fecit redemptionem plebis suae.
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 patribus nostris: et memoran 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. Et valde mane una sabbatorum, veniunt ad mo-numentum, orto jam sole, alleluia.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because he hath, this day, visited and wrought the redemption of his people.
And hath raised up an 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 testament.
The oath which he swore to Abraham our father; that he would grant to us,
That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, we may serve him without fear,
In holiness and justice before him all our days.
And thou, child, the Precursor of the Man-God, shalt be called the prophet of the Most High: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways,
To give to his people the knowledge of salvation, 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 into the way of peace.

Ant. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen, alleluia.


Oremus.

Deus, qui hodierna die per Unigenitum tuum æternitatis nobis aditum, devicta morte, reserasti: vota nostra quæ præveniendo aspiras,etiam adjuvando prosequere. Per eundem.

℣. Benedicamus Domino. Alleluia, alleluia.
℟. Deo gratias. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let us Pray.

O God, who, on this day, by thy only-begotten Son’s victory over death, didst open for us a passage to eternity; grant that our prayers, which thy preventing grace inspireth, may, by thy help, become effectual. Through the same, etc.

℣. Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
℟. Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Office of Lauds being over, the faithful retire from the church: but they will soon return, to assist at the solemn Sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb. In order the better to understand the holy Liturgy of our Easter, we will again imagine ourselves to be in one of the cathedral churches of the fourth or fifth century, where the sacred rites were carried out in all their magnificence.

The city is filled with strangers. The priests of the country churches have come to assist at the consecration of the oils, at the administration of Baptism, and at the grand functions of Easter. The inhabitants are not allowed to undertake any journey that would prevent them from assisting at the Offices of the Church; for we find several councils[28] forbidding even the nobles to go beyond the city walls until the Paschal solemnity is over. We shall not be surprised at these regulations if we remember what we have already stated with regard to Palm Sunday, how the monks of the East, who had obtained permission from their Abbots to leave their monasteries at the beginning of Lent, and retire into the desert, there to live with God alone, were obliged to return for the celebration of Easter. St Pachomius—who was the first to organize, in the desert of the east, a congregation or confederation of all the houses that had sprung from his celebrated monastery of Tabenna—insisted upon all his disciples convening every year in this central monastery, for the purpose of celebrating the Resurrection. On some of these occasions, there were to be seen encamped around Tabenna as many as fifty thousand monks.

Even now, notwithstanding all the deplorable injuries done to the spirit of Christianity by heresy, our churches are crowded on the great Paschal solemnity. Even they that never think of entering the house of God on any other day of the year make an exception for Easter Sunday, as though they could not resist the power of the great mystery of Jesus’ triumph. It is the last remnant of faith left in these men; it keeps them from total forgetfulness of their religion. When their last hour comes, their celebration of Easter, though so imperfect, may draw down upon them the mercy of their Saviour; but if their Easters have been but so many neglects of the Sacraments, what consolation, what hope, can they yield? Those slighted invitations to mercy will then cry out for vengeance, and give to the Resurrection the awful triumph of justice!—But these are thoughts far too sad for our festivity: let us turn them into a prayer to our risen Jesus, that he ‘break not the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax’;[29] let us delight in the thought of those bright days of the past when faith made Easter so glorious a sight for heaven and earth; let us exult in the reflection, that the same faith is still that of millions, and will be so till the end of time!

And before going to Mass, let us aid our enthusiasm by a remembrance of the martyrs of Easter. Yes, the grand solemnity was once consecrated by the blood of saints, and the Church chronicles the event in her Martyrology. In the year 459, Easter Sunday fell upon April 5. The Church in Africa was then suffering persecution from the Vandals; they were Arians, and had been brought into the country by their kings, Genseric and Hunneric. The Catholics of the city of Regia were assembled in the church for the celebration of the Resurrection, and, in order to keep out the heretics, they had closed the doors. The Arians, marshalled by one of their priests, forced an entrance, and rushed in, brandishing their swords. At that very moment a lector was in the ambo, singing the Alleluia; an arrow, shot by one of the barbarians, pierced his throat; he fell, and finished his song in heaven. The Vandals fell upon the faithful, and the church streamed with blood. They dragged others from the holy place, and executed them by order of their king. The little children were the only ones spared. Let us unite with the Church, who honours these noble victims of Easter on April 5.

 

MASS

 

It is the hour of Terce (9 o’clock), and the basilica is crowded with the faithful. The sun is pouring in his brightest beams; and who has not felt the charm of an Easter sun? The pavement is strewn with flowers. Above the glittering mosaics of the apse, the wall is covered with rich tapestry. Festoons hang from the sanctuary arch to the pillars of the nave and aisles. Lamps, fed with the purest oil, and suspended from the ciborium (or canopy), are burning around the altar. The Paschal candle, which has been ceaselessly burning since last night, stands on its marble pillar; its bright flame attracts every eye, and the perfumes, wherewith its wick is saturated, fill the sacred edifice with a delicious fragrance. It is the noble symbol of Jesus, our light, and seems to say: ‘Alleluia! Christ is risen!’

But by far the most interesting object is the group of the neophytes, clad in their white garments, like the angels that appeared at the sepulchre. They are the living expression of the mystery of our Lord’s Resurrection. Yesterday they were dead, by sin; now they are living, by that new life which is the fruit of Jesus’ victory over death. Oh! happy thought of our mother the Church, to choose for the day of their regeneration that on which the Man-God won immortality for us his creatures!

The Station at Rome was formerly in the basilica of St Mary Major, the principal church of all those that are dedicated to the Mother of God in the holy city. Was it not just to associate with the Paschal solemnity the memory of her, who, more than all other creatures, had merited its joys, not only because of the exceptional share she had had in all the sufferings of Jesus, but also because of the unshaken faith wherewith, during those long and cruel hours of his lying in the tomb, she had awaited his Resurrection? But now the papal Mass is celebrated in St Peter’s, as being more convenient, by its size and situation, to the immense concourse of the faithful, who flock to Rome, from every part of the Christian world, for the feast of Easter. The Roman Missal, however, still gives St Mary Major as the stational church of to-day; and the indulgences are gained, as formerly, by those who assist at the services celebrated there.

There is no water blessed for the Asperges to-day, as is the custom on all other Sundays throughout the year. We assisted, a few hours ago, at the imposing ceremony of the blessing of the water which was to be used for the Baptism of the catechumens. The water which is now going to be sprinkled upon the faithful was taken from the font of regeneration. During this ceremony, the choir sings the following Antiphon:

Antiphon

Vidi aquam egredientem de templo a latere dextro, alleluia: et omnes, ad quos pervenit aqua ista, salvi facti sunt, et dicent, Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus: quoniam in sæculum misericordia ejus.
Gloria Patri. Vidi aquam.

℣. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam, alleluia.
℟. Et salutare tuum da nobis, alleluia.

Oremus
.

Exaudi nos, Domine sanete, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: et mittere digneris sanctum angelum tuum de cœlis, qui custodiat, foveat, protegat, visitet atque defendat omnes habitantes in hoc habitaculo. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
I saw water flowing from the right side of the temple, alleluia; and all to whom that water came were saved, and they shall say, Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Praise the Lord, because he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.
Glory, etc. I saw.

℣. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy, alleluia.
℟. And grant us thy salvation, alleluia.

Let us Pray.

Graciously hear us, O holy Lord, Father almighty, Eternal God: and vouchsafe to send thy holy angel from heaven, who may keep, cherish, protect, visit, and defend all who are assembled in this place. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

In many of the western churches, the following stanzas, written by St Venantius Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers, used formerly to be sung during the procession before to-day’s Mass. We insert them here, feeling assured that they will interest our readers, and assist them to enter more fully into the spirit of the great solemnity, for which our forefathers made them serve as a preparation. We shall find them replete with the same enthusiasm that inspired the author when he composed the Vexilla Regis, and the hymn of the holy chrism: there is the same bold and energetic, almost harsh, diction, the same piety, the same richness of poetry and sentiment. The beautiful chant, to which this hymn was sung, is still extant.

Easter Song

Salve, festa dies, toto venerabilis ævo;
Qua Deus infernum vincit, et astra tenet.
Ecce renascentis testatur gratia mundi,
Omnia cum Domino dona redisse suo.

Repeat.
Salve, festa dies.

Namque triumphanti post tristia tartara Christo,
Undique fronde nemus, gramina flore favent.

Salve, festa dies.

Legibus inferni oppressis, super astra meantem,
Laudant rite Deum lux, polus, arva, fretum.

Salve, festa dies.

Qui crucifixus erat Deus, ecce per omnia regnat;
Dantque creatori cuncta creata precem.

Salve, festa dies.

Christe salus rerum, bone conditor, atque redemptor;
Unica progenies ex Deitate Patris.

Salve, festa dies.

Qui genus humanum cernens mersum esse profundo,
Ut hominem eriperes, es quoque factus homo.

Salve, festa dies.

Nec voluisti etenim tantum te corpore nasci,
Sed caro quæ nasci pertulit, atque mori.

Salve, festa dies.

Funeris exsequias pateris, vitæ auctor et orbis,
Intrans mortis iter, dando salutis opem.

Salve, festa dies.

Tristia cesserunt infernæ vincula legis,
Expavitque chaos luminis ore premi.

Salve, festa dies.

Depereunt tenebræ Christi fulgore fugatæ,
Æternæ noctis pallia crassa cadunt.

Salve, festa dies.

Pollicitam sed redde fidem, precor, alma potestas,
Tertia lux rediit, surge sepulte meus.

Salve, festa dies.

Non decet, ut vili tumulo tua membra tegantur,
Neu pretium mundi vilia saxa premant.

Salve, testa dies.

Lintea tolle, precor, sudaria linque sepulchro;
Tu satis es nobis, et sine te nihil est.

Salve, festa dies.

Solve catenatas inferni carcens umbras,
Et revoca sursum, quiquid ad ima ruit.

Salve, festa dies.

Redde tuam faciem, videant ut sæcula lumen,
Redde diem, qui nos, te moriente, fugit.

Salve, festa dies.

Sed plane implesti remeans, pie victor, ad orbem;
Tartara pressa jacent, nec sua jura tenent.

Salve, festa dies.

Inferus insaturabiliter cava guttura pandens,
Qui rapuit semper, fit tua præda, Deus.

Salve, festa dies.

Evomit absorptam trepide fera bellua plebem,
Et de fauce lupi subtrahit agnus oves.

Salve, festa dies.

Rex sacer, ecce tui radiat pars magna triumphi,
Cum puras animas sacra lavacra beant.

Salve, festa dies.

Candidus egreditur nitidis exercitus undis,
Atque vetus vitium purgat in amne novo.

Salve, festa dies.

Fulgentes animas vestis quoque candida signat,
Et grege de vineo gaudia pastor habet,

Salve, festa dies, toto venerabilis ævo;
Qua Deus infernum vincit et astra tenet.
Hail, thou festive, ever venerable day!
whereon hell is conquered and heaven is won by Christ.
Lo! our earth is in her spring; bearing, thus her witness that,
with her Lord, she has all her gifts restored.

Repeat.
Hail, thou festive.

For now the woods with their leaves, and the meadows with their flowers,
pay homage to Jesus’ triumph over the gloomy tomb.

Hail, thou festive.

Light, firmament, fields and sea, give justly praise to the God
that defeats the laws of death, and rises above the stars.

Hail, thou festive.

The crucified God now reigns over all things;
and every creature to its Creator tells a prayer.

Hail, thou festive.

O Jesus! Saviour of the world! Loving Creator and Redeemer!
Only-begotten Son of God the Father!

Hail, thou festive.

Seeing the human race was sunk in misery deep,
thou wast made Man, that thou mightest rescue man.

Hail, thou festive.

Nor wouldst thou be content to be born;
but being born in the flesh, in the same wouldst thou suffer death.

Hail, thou festive.

Thou, the author of life and of all creation, wast buried in the tomb;
treading the path of death, to give us salvation.

Hail, thou festive.

The gloomful bonds of hell were broken;
the abyss shook with fear, as the light shone upon its brink.

Hail, thou festive.

The brightness of Christ put darkness to flight,
and made to fall the thick veils of everlasting night.

Hail, thou festive.

But redeem thy promise, I beseech thee, merciful King!
This is the third day; arise, my buried Jesus!

Hail, thou festive.

‘Tis not meet that thy Body lie in the lowly tomb,
or that a sepulchral stone should keep imprisoned the ransom of the world.

Hail, thou festive.

Throw off thy shrouds, I pray thee! Leave thy windingsheet in the tomb.
Thou art our all; and all else, without thee, is nothing.

Hail, thou festive.

Set free the spirits that are shackled in limbo’s prison.
Raise up all fallen things.

Hail, thou festive.

Show us once more thy face, that all ages may see the light!
Bring back the day, which fled when thou didst die.

Hail, thou festive.

But thou hast done all this, O loving conqueror, by returning to our world:
death lies defeated, and its rights are gone.

Hail, thou festive.

The greedy monster, whose huge throat had swallowed all mankind,
is now thy prey, O God!

Hail, thou festive.

The savage beast now trembling vomits forth the victims he had made,
and the lamb tears the sheep from the jaw of the wolf.

Hail, thou festive.

O King divine! lo! here a bright ray of thy triumph
—the souls made pure by the holy font.

Hail, thou festive.

The white-robed troop comes from the limpid waters;
and the old iniquity is cleansed in the new stream.

Hail, thou festive.

The white garments symbolize unspotted souls;
and the Shepherd rejoices in his snowlike flock:

Hail, thou festive, ever venerable day!
whereon hell is conquered and heaven is won by Christ.

The preparations completed, the cantors intone the majestic melody of the Introit. Meanwhile, the pontiff, accompanied by the priests, deacons, and other ministers, advances in procession to the altar steps. This opening chant is the cry of the Man-God as he rises from the tomb: it is the hymn of Jesus’ gratitude to his eternal Father.

Introit

Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sum, alleluia: posuisti super me manum tuam, alleluia: mirabilis facta est scientia tua. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Domine, probasti me et cognovisti me: tu cognovisti sessionem meam et resurrectionem meam.

℣. Gloria Patri. Resurrexi.
I have risen, and am as yet with thee, alleluia: thou hast stretched forth thy hand to me, alleluia: thy knowledge is become wonderful. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Lord, thou hast tried me and known me: thou hast known my sitting down and my uprising.

℣. Glory, etc. I have risen, etc.

In the Collect, the Church proclaims the grace of immortality, which our Redeemer’s victory over death restored to mankind. She prays that her children may desire the glorious destiny thus won for them.

Collect

Deus, qui hodierna die per Unigenitum tuum, æternitatis nobis aditum, devicta morte, reserasti: vota nostra, quæ præveniendo aspiras, etiam adjuvando prosequere. Per eumdem.
O God, who, on this day, by thy only-begotten Son’s victory over death, didst open for us a passage to eternity; grant that our prayers, which thy preventing grace inspireth, may by thy help become effectual. Through the same, etc.

Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.

I Cor. v.

Fratres, expurgate vetus fermentum, ut sitis nova conspersio, sicut estis azymi. Etenim Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus. Itaqueepulemur, non in fermento veten, neque in fermento malitiæ et nequitiæ: sed in azymis sinceritatis et veritatis.
Lesson of the Epistle of St Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

I Cor. v.

Brethren: Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleavened. For Christ, our Pasch, is sacrificed. Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

God commanded the Israelites to use unleavened bread when they ate the Paschal Lamb; hereby teaching them that, before partaking of this mysterious food, they should abandon their sins, which are signified by leaven. We Christians, who are called to the new life which Jesus has created for us by his Resurrection, must henceforth be intent on good works, as the unleavened breadwherewith we must receive the Paschal Lamb, our Easter banquet.

The Gradual is formed of those joyous words, which the Church untiringly repeats in all her Offices of this solemnity of the Pasch. They are taken from the 117th Psalm. Joy, on such a day as this, is a duty incumbent on every Christian, both because of the triumph of our beloved Redeemer, and because of the blessings that triumph has won for us. Sadness would be a criminal protestation against the grand things wherewith God has graced us through his Son, who not only died, but also rose from the grave, for us.

Gradual

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et lætemur in ea.

℣. Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus: quoniam in sæculum misericordia ejus.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

℣. Praise ye the Lord, for he is good: and his mercy endureth for ever.

The Alleluia verse expresses one of the motives we have for rejoicing: a banquet is prepared for us! Jesus is our Lamb. He was slain; now he is living: slain, that we might be redeemed by his Blood; living, that we may share his immortality.

Alleluia, alleluia. ℣. Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus.
Alleluia, alleluia. ℣. Christ, our Pasch, is sacrificed.

The better to encourage her children to be glad, the Church adds to her ordinary chants a hymn full of enthusiastic admiration for her risen Jesus. It is called a Sequence, because it is a continuation of the Alleluia.

Sequence

Victimæ paschali laudes
Immolent christiani.

Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri
Reconciliavit peccatores.

Mors et vita duello
Conflixere mirando:
Dux vitae mortuus
Regnat vivus.

Dic nobis, Maria,
Quid vidisti in via?

Sepulchrum Christi viventis:
Et gloriam vidi resurgentis.
Angelicos testes,
Sudarium et vestes.

Surrexit Christus spes mea:
Præcedet vos in Galilæam.

Scimus Christum surrexisse
A mortuis vere;
Tu nobis victor Rex,
miserere.

Amen.

Alleluia.
Let Christians offer to the Paschal Victim
the sacrifice of praise.

The Lamb hath redeemed the sheep:
the innocent Jesus hath reconciled
sinners to his Father.

Death and life fought against each other,
and wondrous was the duel:
the King of life was put to death;
yet now he lives and reigns.

Tell us, O Mary!
what sawest thou on the way?

I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ;
I saw the glory of him that had risen.
I saw the angels that were the witnesses;
I saw the winding-sheet and the cloth.

Christ, my hope, hath risen!
He shall go before you into Galilee.

We know that Christ
hath truly risen from the dead.
Do thou, O conqueror and King!
have mercy upon us.

Amen.

Alleluia.

The Church gives her preference to-day to the Evangelist St Mark, who was a disciple of St Peter, and wrote his Gospel at Rome, under the eye of this prince of the Apostles. It was fitting that, on such a festival as Easter, we should, in some manner, hear him speaking to us, whom our divine Master appointed to be the Rock of his Church, and the supreme pastor of all, both sheep and lambs.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum.

Cap. xvi.

In illo tempore: Maria Magdalene, et Maria Jacobi, et Salome, emerunt aromata ut venientes ungerent Jesum. Et valde mane una sabbatorum, veniunt ad monumentum, orto jam sole. Et dicebant ad invicem: Quis revolvet nobis lapidem ab ostio monumenti? Et respicientes viderunt revolutum lapidem. Erat quippe magnus valde. Et introeuntes in monumentum, viderunt juvenem sedentem in dextris, coopertum stola candida, et obstupuerunt. Qui dixit illis: Nolite expavescere: Jesum quæritis Nazarenum, crucifixum: surrexit, non est hic; ecce locus ubi posuerunt eum. Sed ite, dicite discipulis ejus, et Petro, quia præcedit vos in Galilæam: ibi eum videbitis, sicut dixit vobis.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Mark.

Ch. xvi.

At that time: Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming they might anoint Jesus. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen. And they said one to another: Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And looking, they saw the stone rolled back. For it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side clothed with a white robe: and they were astonished. Who saith to them: Be not affrighted: you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen, he is not here, behold the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, that he goeth before you into Galilee: there you shall see him, as he told you.

He is risen: He is not here! The Corpse, laid by the hands of them that loved their Lord, on the slab that lies in that cave, is risen; and, without removing the stone that closed the entrance, has gone forth, quickened with a life which can never die. No man has helped him. No prophet has stood over the dead Body, bidding it return to life. It is Jesus himself, and by his own power, that has risen. He suffered death, not from necessity, but because he so willed; and again, because he willed, he has delivered himself from its bondage. O Jesus! Thou, that thus mockest death, art the Lord our God! We reverently bend our knee before this empty tomb, which is now for ever sacred, because, for a few hours, it was the place of thy abode. Behold the place where they laid him!Behold the winding-sheet and bands, which remain to tell the mystery of thy having once been dead! The angel says to the women: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified! The recollection makes us weep. Yes, it was but the day before yesterday that his Body was carried hither, mangled, wounded, bleeding. Here, in this cave, from which the angel has now rolled back the stone—in this cave, which his presence fills with a more than mid-day brightness—stood the afflicted Mother. It echoed with the sobs of them that were at the burial, John and the two disciples, Magdalen and her companions. The sun sank beneath the horizon, and the first day of Jesus’ burial began. But the prophet had said: ‘In the evening weeping shall have place; and in the morning gladness.’[30] This glorious, happy morning has come, O Jesus! and great indeed is our gladness at seeing that this same sepulchre, whither we followed thee with aching hearts, is now but the trophy of thy victory! Thy precious wounds are healed! It was we that caused them; permit us to kiss them. Thou art now living, more glorious than ever, and immortal. And because we resolved to die to our sins, when thou wast dying in order to expiate them, thou wiliest that we, too, should live eternally with thee; that thy victory over death should be ours; that death should be for us, as it was for thee, a mere passage to immortality, and should one day give back, uninjured and glorified, these bodies which are to be lent for a while to the tomb. Glory, then, and honour, and love, be to thee, O Jesus! who didst deign not only to die, but to rise again for us!

The Offertory is composed of the words wherein David foretold that the earth would tremble when the ManGod arose. This earth of ours has not only witnessed the grandest manifestations of God’s power and goodness, but, by the sovereign will of its Maker, has been frequently made to share in them, by preternatural movements.

Offertory

Terra tremuit et quievit, dum resurgeret in judicio Deus, alleluia.
The earth trembled, and was silent, when God arose in judgement, alleluia.

The whole assembly of the faithful is about to partake of the Paschal banquet; the divine Lamb invites them to it. The altar is laden with the offerings they have presented. The holy Church, in her Secret, invokes upon these favoured guests the graces which will procure for them the blissful immortality whereof they are about to receive a pledge.

Secret

Suscipe, quæsumus, Domine, preces populi tui cum oblationibus hostiarum: ut paschalibus initiata mysteriis, ad æternitatis nobis medelam, te operante, proficiant. Per Dominum.
Receive, O Lord, we beseech thee, the prayers of thy people, together with the offerings of these hosts: that what is consecrated by these paschal mysteries may by the help of thy grace avail us to eternal life. Through, etc.

At the papal Mass, during the Middle Ages, while the pontiff recited the Secret, the two youngest cardinal-deacons came forward, vested in white dalmatics, and stood at each end of the altar, with their faces turned towards the people. They represented the two angels who kept guard over our Saviour’s tomb, and announced to the holy women that he had risen. The two deacons remained in that position until the pontiff left the altar at the Agnus Dei, in order to receive the Holy Communion on the throne.

Another impressive custom was observed at St Mary Major’s. When the Pope, after breaking the Host, addressed to the faithful the wish of peace, with the usual greeting of Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum, the choir did not answer the usual Et cum spiritu tuo. It was the tradition, that St Gregory the Great was once officiating in this church on Easter Sunday, when, having sung these words, which bring down the Spirit of peace on the assembled people, a choir of angels responded with such sweet melody, that the singers of earth were silent, for they feared to join in the celestial music. The year following the cantors awaited the angelic response to the words of the pontiff: the favour, however, was never renewed, but the custom of not answering the Et cum spiritu tuo was observed for several centuries.

The moment has at length come for the faithful to partake of the divine Banquet. It was the practice in the ancient Church of Gaul to chant the following solemn appeal to the people, who were about to receive the Bread of life.[31] The music, which accompanied the Antiphon, is most impressive and appropriate. We give the words, as they will assist the devotion of the faithful.

Invitation of the People to Communion

Venite populi ad sacrum et immortale mysterium, et libamen agendum.

Cum timore, et fide accedamus manibus mundis, pœnitentiæ munus communicemus, quoniam propter nos Agnus Dei Patris sacrificium propositum est.

Ipsum solum adoremus, ipsum glorificemus: cum angelis clamantes, alleluia.
Come, O ye people, to the sacred and immortal mystery! Come and receive the sacred libation!

Let us approach with fear and faith, and hands undefiled. Let us unite ourselves with him who is the reward of our repentance, for it is for us that the Lamb of God the Father offered himself in sacrifice.

Let us adore him alone, and glorify him, singing with the angels, alleluia.

While the sacred ministers are distributing the divine Food, the Church celebrates, in her Communion Anthem, the true Paschal Lamb, which has been mystically immolated on the altar, and requires, from them who receive it, that purity of soul which is signified by the unleavened bread under whose accidents the reality lies hid.

Communion

Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus, alleluia: itaque epulemur in azymis sinceritatis et veritatis. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Christ, our Pasch, is immolated, alleluia: therefore, let us feast on the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

The last prayer made by the Church for them that have received their God is that the spirit of fraternal charity, which is the spirit of our Pasch, may abide in them. The Son of God, by assuming our nature in the mystery of the Incarnation, has made us to be his brothers; by shedding his Blood for us upon the Cross, he has united us to one another by the bond of the redemption; and, by his Resurrection, he has linked us together in one glorious immortality.

Postcommunion

Spiritum nobis, Domine, tuæ charitatis infunde: ut quos sacramentis paschalibus satiasti, tua facias pietate Concordes. Per Dominum.
Pour forth on us, O Lord, the spirit of thy love; that those whom thou hast filled with the Paschal Sacrament, may, by thy goodness, live in perfect concord. Through, etc.

Paschal Blessings

 

The pontiff then gives his blessing to the people. They leave the house of God, to return thither for the Vespers, which most solemn Office will conclude the magnificent functions of our solemnity.

At Rome, the Pope descends from the throne, wearing his triple crown. He ascends the sedia gestatoria, which is borne on the shoulders of the servants of the palace, and is carried to the great nave. Having reached the appointed place, he descends and humbly kneels down. Then, from the tribune of the cupola, are shown by priests, vested in their stoles, the wood of the true Cross, and the Veil, called the Veronica, on which is impressed the face of our Redeemer. This commemoration of the sufferings and humiliations of the Man-God, at the very moment when his triumph over death has been celebrated with all the pomp of the Liturgy, eloquently proclaims the glory and power of our risen Jesus, and shows us how faithfully and how lovingly he fulfilled the mission he had so graciously taken upon himself, of working our salvation. It was on this very day, that he himself said to the disciples of Emmaus: ‘Thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead the third day.’[32] The Christian world, in the person of its supreme pastor, hereby pays its homage to the sufferings and glory of its Redeemer. The pontiff then resumes the triple Crown, and is carried, on the sedia, to the balcony, where he gives the papal benediction to the people assembled in the piazza of St Peter’s. We have already described this solemn rite.[33]

Formerly, when the Lateran palace was the papal residence, and the Station of Easter Sunday was held at St Mary Major’s, the sovereign Pontiff, vested in a cope, and wearing the tiara, went to the basilica on a horse caparisoned in white. After the Mass, he proceeded to the banquet-hall, called the Triclinium Leonianum. It was built by St Leo III, and was decorated with mosaics representing Christ, St Peter, Constantine and Charlemagne. A repast was prepared, to which were invited, as guests of the pontiff, five cardinals, five deacons, and the first in dignity (the Primicerius) of the clergy attached to the church of St John Lateran. Near to the Pope’s own table, a seat was prepared for twelfth guest—the prior, called basilicarius. The Paschal Lamb was then served up, laid on a rich dish. The Pope blessed it, and thus signified that the severe law of abstinence was at an end. He himself cut it into portions and sent one to each of his guests; but first of all he cut off a small piece, and gave it to the basilicarius, saying to him what would have seemed a harsh allusion, but for the words that followed: ‘What thou hast to do, do quickly! But what was said as a condemnation, I say to thee as a pardon.’ The repast began with joyous conversation; but, after some time, the archdeacon gave a signal, and a deacon began to read. The papal choristers were afterwards introduced, and sang such of the favourite sequences as the Pope called for. This done, the choristers kissed the feet of the pontiff, who gave to each of them a cup full of wine from his own table; and each received a piece of money, called a besant, from the treasurer.

Our object in mentioning such customs as this, is to show our readers the simple manners of the Middle Ages. The custom of blessing and eating lamb on Easter Sunday still continues, though, in many instances, it conveys very little meaning. For those who, from idle pretexts, have scarcely observed a day’s abstinence during the whole of Lent, the Paschal Lamb is a reproach rather than a consolation. We here give the blessing as a completion to our Easter rites. The venerable prayer, used by the Church, will take us back in thought to other ages and prompt us to ask of God that he will grant us a return to the simple and practical faith, which gave such soul and grandeur to the everyday life of our Catholic forefathers.

 

Blessing of the Paschal Lamb

Deus, qui per famulum tuum Moysen, in liberatione populi tui de Egypto, agnum occidi jussisti in similitudinem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et utrosque postes domorum de sanguine ejusdem agni perungi præcepisti: ita benedicere, et sanctificare digneris hanc creaturam carnis, quam nos famuli tui ad laudem tuam sumere desideramus, per resurrectionem ejusdem Domini nostri Jesu Christi. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculorum.

Amen.
O God, who, on the deliverance of thy people from Egypt, didst command, by thy servant Moses, that a lamb should be slain as a type of our Lord Jesus Christ, and didst ordain that both side-posts of the houses should be sprinkled with its blood: vouchsafe also to bless and sanctify this creature of flesh, which we thy servants desire to eat for thy glory, and in honour of the Resurrection of the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, for ever and ever.

Amen.

The law of Lent formerly forbade not only flesh-meat, but also eggs. It was only by a dispensation that they were allowed to be eaten during that holy season of penance. The Churches of the East have strictly maintained the ancient discipline on this point, and no dispensation is admitted. Here, again, the faithful show their joy, by asking the Church to bless the eggs that are to appear at their Easter repast. The following is the prayer used for this blessing:

Blessing Of The Paschal Eggs

Subveniat, quæsumus Domine, tuæ benedictionis gratia huic ovorum creaturæ: ut cibus salubris fiat fidelibus tuis in tuarum gratiarum actione sumentibus, ob resurrectionem Domini nostri Jesu Christi. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculorum.

Amen.
We beseech thee, O Lord, to give the favour of thy blessing to these eggs; that so they may be a wholesome food to thy faithful, who gratefully take them in honour of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Yes, let our Easter repast, blessed as it is by our mother the Church, be one of joy, and add to the gladness of this great day! The feasts of religion should always be kept as feasts by Christian families: but there is not one, throughout the year, that can be compared to this of Easter, which we have waited for so long and in such sorrow, and which has at length come, bringing with it the riches of God’s pardon, and the hope of our immortality.

AFTERNOON

The day is fast advancing, and Jesus has not yet shown himself to his disciples. The holy women are overpowered with joy and gratitude at the favour they have received. They have told it to the Apostles, assuring them that not only have they seen angels, but Jesus himself; that he has spoken to them; that they have kissed his sacred feet. But all their assurances fail to convince these men, who are oppressed with what they have seen of their Master’s Passion. They are cruelly disappointed, and their disappointment makes them deaf to everything that speaks of consolation. And yet, we shall soon find them laying down their very lives in testimony of the Resurrection of that Master whose name and remembrance is now a humiliation to them.

We may form some idea of their feelings from the conversation of two who have been spending a part of the day with them, and who themselves were disciples of Jesus. This very evening, while returning to Emmaus, they thus express their disappointment: ‘We hoped that Jesus would have redeemed Israel: and now, besides all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company affrighted us; who, before it was light, were at the sepulchre; and not finding his Body, came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive. And some of our people went to the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said; but him they found not.’[34] How strange, that the Resurrection of which Jesus had so often spoken to them, even in the presence of the Jews, does not recur to their minds! They are still carnal-minded men, and the awful fact of his death stifles within them every idea of that new birth which our bodies are to receive in the tomb.

But our risen Jesus must now show himself to these men, who are to preach his divinity to the furthest ends of the world. So far, his manifestations have been made to satisfy his affection for his blessed Mother, and his infinite love for those souls, that had done all in their power to testify their gratitude towards him. It is now time for him to provide for his own glory; at least, so it would seem to us. But no; having rewarded those that love him, he would now show the generosity of his heart; and then, after this, proclaim his triumph. The apostolic college, of which every member fled at the hour of danger, has seen its very head so forgetful of his duty as to deny his divine Master. But, from the moment when Jesus cast upon his disciple a look of reproach and pardon, Peter has done nothing but shed bitter tears over his fall. Jesus would now console the humble penitent; tell him, with his own lips, that he has pardoned him; and confirm, by this mark of his divine predilection, the sublime prerogatives that he so recently conferred upon him in the presence of all the other Apostles. As yet Peter doubts of the Resurrection; Magdalen’s testimony has not convinced him; but now that his offended Master is about to appear to him, his faith will acknowledge the grand mystery.

We have already heard the angel sending Jesus’ message by the three women. ‘Go,’ said he, ‘tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee.’[35] Why this express mention of Peter, but that he may know that although he has denied Jesus, Jesus has not denied him? Why is he not, on this occasion, mentioned before the others, except to spare him the humiliation of the contrast between his high position and the unworthy conduct he has shown? But this special mention of his name tells him that he is still dear to Jesus, and that he will soon have an opportunity of expiating his sin, by expressing his regret and repentance at the very feet of his ever-loving, and now glorified, Master. Yes, Peter is tardy in believing; but his conversion is sincere, and Jesus would reward it.

Suddenly, then, in the course of this afternoon, the Apostle sees standing before him that divine Master, whom, three days previously, he had beheld bound and led away by the servants of Caiphas. This Jesus is now resplendent with light; he is the conqueror, the glorious Messias: and yet what most affects the Apostle is the ineffable goodness of this his Lord, who comes to console him, rather than to show him the splendours of his Resurrection. Who could describe the interview between the penitent and his offended Master; the sorrow of Peter, now that he finds himself treated with such generosity; the loving pardon which comes from Jesus’ lips, and fills the Apostle’s heart with Paschal joy? Blessed be thy name, O Jesus! who thus raisest up from his fall him whom thou art to leave us for our chief pastor and father, when thou ascendest into heaven!

It is, indeed, just that we adore the infinite mercy which dwells in the heart of our risen Jesus, and which he shows with the same profusion and power as during his mortal life: but let us also admire how, by this visit, he continues in St Peter the mystery of the unity of the Church—a mystery which is to be perpetuated in this Apostle and his successors. At the Last Supper, Jesus spoke these words to him, in the presence of the other Apostles: ‘I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.’[36] The time is now come for establishing Peter in this faith which is never to fail: Jesus gives it to him. He himself instructs Peter: he makes him the foundation of his Church. In a few hours hence he will manifest himself to the other Apostles; but Peter will be present with his brethren. Thus, if Peter receive favours not granted to the rest, they never receive any but he has a share in them. It is their duty to believe on Peter’s word: they do so. On Peter’s testimony, they believe in the Resurrection, and proclaim it to others, as we shall soon see. Jesus is to appear likewise to them, for he loves them; he calls them his brethren; he has chosen them to be the preachers of his name throughout the world: but he will find them already instructed in the faith of his Resurrection, because they have believed Peter’s testimony; and Peter’s testimony has effected in them the mystery of that unity, which he will effect in the Church to the end of time.

Jesus’ apparition to the prince of the Apostles rests on the authority of St Luke’s Gospel[37] and St Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians.[38] It is the fourth of those that took place on the day of the Resurrection.

 

THE EASTER VESPERS

 

The Evening Office, called on that account Vespers, has brought an immense concourse of the faithful to the church. We continue our description of to-day’s services as they were formerly celebrated, in order that our readers may the more fully enter into the spirit of the feast. The solemn administration of Baptism having ceased to form an essential part of the Easter functions, the ancient rites which had reference to it, and especially those used during the Vespers, have fallen almost universally into disuse. We will endeavour to give an idea of them, by blending the ancient ceremonies with those that are now in use, and which, in most places, are the same as those of other solemnities throughout the year. It was not so eight hundred years ago.

The bishop vested in his pontifical robes, and accompanied by all the clergy, went to what we should now call the rood-screen, which was richly decorated, and on which stood the crucifix. Here the cantors intoned the Kyrie elcison, which was repeated nine times. Immediately after this began the Vespers. The Antiphons of the Psalms were not the same as those we now sing, and which are taken from Lauds. Of course, we only give the latter.

Ant. Angelus autem Domini descendit de cœlo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et sedebat super eum. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. And the angel of the Lord descended from heaven; and going to the stone, rolled it back, and sat on it. Alleluia, alleluia.

Psalm 109

Dixit Dominus Domino meo: Sede a dextris meis.
Donec ponam inimicos tuos: scabellum pedum tuorum.
Virgam virtutis tuæ emittet Dominus ex Sion: dominare in medio inimicorum tuorum.
Tecum principium in die virtutis tuæ in splendoribus sanctorum: ex utero ante luciferum genui te.
Juravit Dominus, et non pœnitebit eum: Tu es sacerdos in æternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech.
Dominus a dextris tuis: confregit in die iræ suae reges.
Judicabit in nationibus, implebit ruinas: conquassabit capita in terra multorum.
De torrente in via bibet: propterea exaltabit caput.

Ant. Angelus autem Domini descendit de cœlo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et sedebat super eum. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord said to my Lord, his son: Sit thou at my right hand, and reign with me.
Until on the day of thy last coming, I make thy enemies thy footstool.
O Christ I the Lord, thy Father, will send forth the sceptre of thy power out of Sion: from thence rule thou in the midst of thy enemies.
With thee is the principality in the day of thy strength, in the brightness of the saints: For the Father hath said to thee: From the womb before the day-star I begot thee.
The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: he hath said, speaking of thee, the GodMan: Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech.
Therefore, O Father, the Lord thy Son is at thy right hand: he hath broken kings in the day of his wrath.
He shall also judge among nations: in that terrible coming, he shall fill the ruins of the world: he shall crush the heads in the land of many.
He shall drink, in the way, of the torrent of sufferings: therefore shall he lift up the head, on the day of his triumph over death.

Ant. And the angel of the Lord descended from heaven; and going to the stone, rolled it back, and sat on it. Alleluia, alleluia.

Ant. Et ecce terræmotus factus est magnus: Angelus enim Domini descendit de cœlo, alleluia.
Ant. And behold! there was a great earthquake: for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, alleluia.

Psalm 110

Confitebor tibi, Domine, in toto corde meo: in consilio justorum et congregatione.
Magna opera Domini: exquisita in omnes voluntates ejus.
Confessio et magnificentia opus ejus: et justitia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi.
Memoriam fecit mirabilium suorum, misericors et miserator Dominus: escam dedit timentibus se.
Memor erit in sæculum testamenti sui: virtutem operum suorum annuntiabit populo suo.
Ut det illis hereditatem gentium: opera manuum ejus veritas et judicium.
Fidelia omnia mandata ejus, confirmata in sæculum sæculi: facta in veritate et æquitate.
Redemptionem misit populo suo: mandavit in æternum testamentum suum.
Sanctum et terribile nomen ejus: initium sapientiæ timor Domini.
Intellectus bonus omnibus facientibus eum: laudatio ejus manet in sæculum sæculi.

Ant. Et ecce terræmotus factus est magnus: Angelus enim Domini descendit de cœlo, alleluia.

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart: in the counsel of the just, and in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord: sought out according to all his wills.
His work is praise and magnificence: and his justice continueth for ever and ever.
He hath made a remembrance of his wonderful works, being a merciful and gracious Lord: he hath given food to them that fear him.
He will be mindful for ever of his covenant with men: he will show forth to his people the power of his works.
That he may give them his Church, the inheritance of the gentiles: the works of his hand are truth and judgement.
All his commandments are faithful, confirmed for ever and ever: made in truth and equity.
He hath sent redemption to his people; he hath thereby commanded his covenant for ever.
Holy and terrible is his name: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
A good understanding to all that do it: his praise continueth for ever and ever.

Ant. And behold! there was a great earthquake: for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, alleluia.

Ant. Erat autem aspectus ejus sicut fulgur, vestimenta autem ejus sicut nix. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment was as snow. Alleluia, alleluia.

Psalm 111

Beatus vir, qui timet Dominum: in mandatis ejus volet nimis.
Potens in terra erit semen ejus: generatio rectorum benedicetur.
Gloria, et divitiæ in domo ejus: et justitia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi.
Exortum est in tenebris lumen rectis: misericors, et miserator, et justus.
Jucundus homo, qui miseretur et commodat, disponet sermones suos in judicio; quia in æternum non commovebitur.
In memoria æterna erit justus: ab auditione mala non timebit.
Paratum cor ejus sperare in Domino, confirmatum est cor ejus: non commovebitur donec despiciat inimicos suos.
Dispersit, dedit pauperibus, justitia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi; cornu ejus exaltabitur in gloria.
Peccator videbit, et irascetur, dentibus suis fremet et tabescet: desiderium peccatorum peribit.

Ant. Erat autem aspectus ejus sicut fulgur, vestimenta autem ejus sicut nix. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: he shall delight exceedingly in his commandments.
His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the righteous shall be blessed.
Glory and wealth shall be in his house: and his justice remaineth for ever and ever.
To the righteous a light is risen up in darkness: he is merciful, and compassionate, and just.
Acceptable is the man that showeth mercy and lendeth; he shall order his words with judgement: because he shall not be moved for ever.
The just shall be in everlasting remembrance: he shall not fear the evil hearing.
His heart is ready to hope in the Lord; his heart is strengthened; he shall not be moved until he look over his enemies.
He hath distributed, he hath given to the poor; his justice remaineth for ever and ever: his horn shall be exalted in glory.
The wicked shall see, and shall be angry; he shall gnash with his teeth, and pine away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.

Ant. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment was as snow. Alleluia, alleluia.

After having sung these three Psalms, the Office of Vespers was interrupted, and the faithful exulted in the expectation of the sublime ceremony which was now to be performed. They remembered what holy emotions filled their souls when they were neophytes, and shared in the triumph that was now preparing for the newly baptized of this Easter. Meanwhile, the cantors sang the Alleluia, which had so gladdened all hearts, this morning, at the Mass.

Alleluia. Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus. Alleluia.
Alleluia. Christ, our Pasch, is sacrificed. Alleluia.

The Canticle Magnificat was then chanted; after which, the bishop sang the Collect of the feast. Immediately after this, the neophytes were taken in procession to the font, from whose sacred waters they had risen, last night, as Christ from his tomb; they came forth, cleansed from their sins, yea, radiant with light and immortality. By this visit to the scene of their happy deliverance, the Church wished to impress them with a lifelong appreciation of the graces they had received at their Baptism, and of the resemblance they then contracted with their risen Lord, who ‘dieth now no more.’

The Paschal Candle was taken from its marble column, and carried at the head of the procession. Now, as well as during last night’s procession to the baptistery, it represented the pillar of fire that guided the Israelites amidst the Egyptian darkness. Closely after it followed a deacon, in a white dalmatic, carrying the silver phial of holy chrism, by whose anointing the neophytes had, but a few hours since, received the Holy Ghost with his seven wondrous Gifts. Next came the cross, and seven acolytes carrying seven torches, symbolic of the heavenly vision described in the Apocalypse.[39] The sacred ministers and priests advanced under the guidance of the holy standard: and after them, the bishop, his face beaming with the heavenly joy wherewith these two great mysteries had filled his soul—the triumphant Resurrection of Christ, and the fecundity of holy Church. Immediately after the pontiff came the neophytes, walking two and two, and attracting all eyes by their recollected demeanour and the beauty of their white robes. The rest of the faithful closed the procession, during which was sung the following Antiphon:

Ant. In die resurrectionis meæ, dicit Dominus, alleluia: congregabo gentes, et colligam regna, et effundam super vos aquam mundam. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. In the day of my Resurrection, saith the Lord, alleluia: I will assemble the gentiles, and will gather the kingdoms, and will pour out upon you a clean water. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Antiphon was followed by the fourth Psalm of Vespers, which magnifies the name of the Lord, and celebrates the joys of that mother, to whom our Lord has given so many children.

Ant. Præ timore autem ejus exterriti sunt custodes, et facti sunt velut mortui, alleluia.
Ant. The guards were terrified with fear of him, and became as men struck dead, alleluia.

Psalm 112

Laudate pueri Dominum: laudate nomen Domini.
Sit nomen Domini benedictum: ex hoc nunc et usque in sæculum.
A solis ortu usque ad occasum: laudabile nomen Domini.
Excelsus super omnes gentes Dominus: et super cœlos gloria ejus.
Quis sicut Dominus Deus noster qui in altis habitat: et humilia respicit in cœlo et in terra?
Suscitans a terra inopem: et de stercore erigens pauperem.
Ut collocet eum cum principibus: cum principibus populi sui.
Qui habitare facit sterilem in domo: matrem filiorum lætantem.

Ant. Præ timore autem ejus exterriti sunt custodes, et facti sunt velut mortui, alleluia.
Praise the Lord, ye children: praise ye the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the name of the Lord, from henceforth, now, and for ever.
From the rising of the sun, unto the going down of the same, the name of the Lord is worthy of praise.
The Lord is high above all nations; and his glory above the heavens.
Who is as the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high: and looketh down on the low things in heaven and in earth?
Raising up the needy from the earth, lifting up the poor out of the dunghill.
That he may place him with princes: with the princes of his people.
Who maketh a barren woman to dwell in a house, the joyful mother of children.

Ant. The guards were terrified with fear of him, and became as men struck dead, alleluia.

Meanwhile, the procession advanced down the nave, descended the steps of the portico, and traversed the space between the cathedral and the baptistery. People, clergy, and pontiff, all entered beneath the spacious dome. In the centre, surrounded by a balustrade, was the font, reflecting in its crystal waters the rays of the evening sun. The neophytes were placed immediately round the balustrade, and were permitted to fix their delighted gaze on that sacred element, which had cleansed them from all their sins.

As soon as the Psalm Laudate was finished, the bishop left the platform, where he had been sitting; and taking the thurible in his hand, he walked round the font, covering with clouds of incense the water he had so solemnly blessed on the previous night, and to which he was indebted for the happy increase of all these children newly born to grace. When he had returned to his throne, two cantors sang this verse:

℣. Apud te, Domine, est fons vitæ, alleluia.
℣. With thee, O Lord, is the fountain of life, alleluia.

To which all answered:

℟. Et in lumine tuo videbimus lumen, alleluia.
℟. And in thy light we shall see light, alleluia.

Then the bishop:

Oremus.

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens, Deus, ut qui Resurrectionis Dominicæ solemnia colimus, ereptionis nostræ suscipere lætitiam mereamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Let us Pray. Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we, who celebrate the solemnity of our Lord’s Resurrection, may deserve to receive the joy of our deliverance. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

After this prayer, the following Antiphon was sung, in which is celebrated the salvation given to man by water:

Ant. Vidi aquam egredientem de templo a latere dextro, alleluia: et omnes, ad quos pervenit aqua ista, salvi facti sunt, et dicent: Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. I saw water flowing from the right side of the temple, alleluia: and all to whom that water came were saved, and they shall say: Alleluia, alleluia.

The Antiphon was followed by the fifth Psalm of Sunday’s Vespers, which celebrates Israel’s deliverance from Egypt by passing through the waters of the Red Sea, and his journey towards the Promised Land. The procession then left the baptistery to return to the cathedral.

Ant. Respondens autem angelus dixit mulieribus: Nolite timere: scio enim quod Jesum quæritis, alleluia.
Ant. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not: for I know that ye seek Jesus, alleluia.

Psalm 113

In exitu Israel de Ægypto; domus Jacob de populo barbaro.
Facta est Judæa sanctificatio ejus: Israel potestas ejus.
Mare vidit, et fugit: Jordanis conversus est retrorsum.
Montes exsultaverunt ut arietes: et colles sicut agni ovium.
Quid est tibi, mare, quod fugisti: et tu, Jordanis, quia conversus es retrorsum?
Montes exsultastis sicut arietes: et colles sicut agni ovium?
A facie Domini mota est terra: a facie Dei Jacob.
Qui convertit petram in stagna aquarum: et rupem in fontes aquarum.
Non nobis, Domine, non nobis: sed nomini tuo da gloriam.
Super misericordia tua, et veritate tua: nequando dicant gentes: Ubi est Deus eorum?
Deus autem noster in cœlo: omnia quæcumque voluit, fecit.
Simulacra gentium argentum et aurum: opera manuum hominum.
Os habent, et non loquentur: oculos habent, et non videbunt.
Aures habent, et non audient: nares habent, et non odorabunt.
Manus habent, et non palpabunt, pedes habent, et non ambulabunt: non clamabunt in gutture suo.
Similes illis fiant qui faciunt ea: et omnes qui confidunt in eis.
Domus Israel speravit in Domino: adjutor eorum, et protector eorum est.
Domus Aaron speravit in Domino: adjutor eorum, et protector eorum est.
Qui timent Dominum, speraverunt in Domino: adjutor eorum, et protector eorum est.
Dominus memor fuit nostri: et benedixit nobis.
Benedixit domui Israel: benedixit domui Aaron.
Benedixit omnibus qui timent Dominum: pusillis cum majoribus.
Adjiciat Dominus super vos: super vos, et super filios vestros.
Benedicti vos a Domino: qui fecit cœlum et terram.
Cœlum cœli Domino: terrain autem dedit filiis hominum.
Non mortui laudabunt te, Domine: neque omnes qui descendunt in infernum.
Sed nos qui vivimus, benedicimus Domino: ex hoc nunc et usque in sæculum.

Ant. Respondens autem angelus dixit mulieribus: Nolite timere; scio enim quod Jesum quæritis, alleluia.
When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a barbarous people.
Judea was made his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
The sea saw and fled; Jordan was turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams; and the hills like the lambs of the flock.
What aileth thee, O thou sea, that thou didst flee: and thou. O Jordan, that thou wast turned back?
Ye mountains that ye skipped like rams: and ye hills like lambs of the flock?
At the presence of the Lord the earth was moved, at the presence of the God of Jacob.
Who turned the rock into pools of water, and the stony hills into fountains of waters.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us: but to thy name give glory.
For thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake: lest the gentiles should say: Where is their God?
But our God is in heaven: he hath done all things whatsoever he would.
The idols of the gentiles are silver and gold: the works of the hands of men.
They have mouths, and speak not: they have eyes, and see not.
They have ears, and hear not: they have noses, and smell not.
They have hands, and feel not: they have feet, and walk not: neither shall they cry out through their throat.
Let them that make them become like unto them: and all such as trust in them.
The house of Israel hath hoped in the Lord: he is their helper and their protector.
The house of Aaron hath hoped in the Lord: he is their helper and their protector.
They that feared the Lord have hoped in the Lord: he is their helper and their protector.
The Lord hath been mindful of us, and hath blessed us.
He hath blessed the house of Israel: he hath blessed the house of Aaron.
He hath blessed all that fear the Lord, both little and great.
May the Lord add blessings upon you: upon you, and upon your children.
Blessed be you of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The heaven of heaven is the Lord’s: but the earth he has given to the children of men.
The dead shall not praise thee, O Lord: nor any of them that go down to hell.
But we that live bless the Lord: from this time now and for ever.

Ant. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not: for I know that ye seek Jesus, alleluia.

While singing this Psalm, which offers so many allusions to the favours received by the neophytes, the procession had reached the porch of the cathedral. Entering the holy place, it passed up the nave, as far as the rood-screen. There, the neophytes arranged themselves, and the following prayer was sung in honour of him who had saved them by his Cross and tomb:

℣. Dicite in nationibus, alleluia.
℟. Quia Dominus regnavit a ligno, alleluia.
℣. Say ye among the gentiles, alleluia.
℟. That the Lord hath reigned from the Wood, alleluia.

The bishop then addressed this prayer to God:

Oremus.

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut qui gratiam Dominicæ Resurrectionis agnovimus, ipsi per amorem Sancti Spiritus a morte animæ resurgamus. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Let us Pray.

Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we, who acknowledge the grace of our Lord’s Resurrection, may rise from the death of the soul, by the love that cometh of the Holy Ghost. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

It was thus, in the first eight centuries of the Church, that the Easter Vespers concluded; and with a few slight variations here and there, such was the ceremony observed. In some churches the Magnificat was sung twice, in others thrice, and even four times. The essential rite of these Vespers was the procession to the baptistery, during which were sung the Antiphons we have given, and the Psalms Laudate, pueri, and In exitu. We will now resume the Office of Vespers, at which we are assisting.

The five usual Psalms being finished, there is sung the solemn Antiphon, which the Church repeats in all the canonical hours of this feast.

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et lætemur in ea.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

It is followed by the Canticle of our blessed Lady, which forms an essential part of the Evening Office; and while it is being sung, the celebrant solemnly censes the altar.

Ant. Et respicientes, viderunt revolutum lapidem ab ostio monumenti: erat quippe magnus valde, alleluia.
Ant. And looking, they saw the stone rolled away from the door of the sepulchre; for it was very large, alleluia.

Our Lady’s Canticle
(St Luke i)

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum:
Et exsultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillæ suæ: ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est: et sanctum nomen ejus.
Et misericordia ejus a progenie in progenies: timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo: dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede: et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis: et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum: recordatus misericordiæ suæ.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros: Abraham et semini ejus in sæcula.

Ant. Et respicientes, viderunt revolutum lapidem ab ostio monumenti: erat quippe magnus valde, alleluia.

Oremus.

Deus, qui hodierna die per Unigenitum tuum æternitatis nobis aditum, devicta
morte, reserasti: vota nostra, quæ præveniendo aspiras, etiam adjuvando prosequere. Per eumdem.

Amen.

Benedicamus Domino. Alleluia, alleluia.
Deo gratias. Alleluia, alleluia.
My soul doth magnify the Lord;
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for, behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation unto generation, to them that fear him.
He hath showed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy.
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

Ant. And looking, they saw the stone rolled away from the door of the sepulchre; for it was very large, alleluia.

Let us Pray.

O God, who, on this day, by thy only-begotten Son’s victory over death, didst open
for us a passage to eternity: grant that our prayers, which thy preventing grace inspireth, may by thy help become effectual. Through the same, etc.

Amen.

Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.

During the Benediction of the most blessed Sacrament, the following joyous Canticle is sung in some churches:

The Joyful Canticle

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

O filii et filiæ,
Rex cœlestis, Rex gloriæ,
Morte surrexit hodie.

Alleluia.

Et Maria Magdalene,
Et Jacobi et Salome,
Venerunt corpus ungere.

Alleluia.

A Magdalena moniti,
Ad ostium monumenti
Duo currunt discipuli.

Alleluia.

Sed Joannes Apostolus
Cucurrit Petro citius,
Ad sepulchrum venit prius.

Alleluia

In albis sedens angelus,
Respondit mulieribus.
Quia surrexit Dominus.

Alleluia.

Discipulis astantibus,
In medio stetit Christus,
Dicens: Pax vobis omnibus.

Alleluia.

Postquam audivit Didymus,
Quia surrexerat Jesus,
Remansit fide dubius.

Alleluia.

Vide, Thoma, vide latus,
Vide pedes, vide manus;
Noli esse incredulus.

Alleluia.

Quando Thomas Christi latus,
Pedes vidit atque manus,
Dixit: Tu es Deus meus.

Alleluia.

Beati qui non viderunt,
Et firmiter crediderunt:
Vitam æternam habebunt.

Alleluia.

In hoc festo sanctissimo
Sit laus et jubilatio:
Benedicamus Domino.

Alleluia.

De quibus nos humillimas,
Devotas atque debitas
Deo dicamus gratias.

Alleluia.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

O ye young men and maidens!
on this day, the King of heaven, the King of glory,
rose from the dead.

Alleluia.

And Mary Magdalen,
and Mary (mother of James), and Salome,
went that they might anoint the body.

Alleluia.

Having been told by Magdalen,
two of the disciples ran
to the door of the sepulchre.

Alleluia.

But the Apostle John
out-ran Peter,
and was the first at the sepulchre.

Alleluia.

An angel clad in white was sitting there,
and said to the women
that the Lord was risen.

Alleluia.

As the disciples were standing together,
Christ stood in their midst,
and said: Peace be to you all!

Alleluia.

Didymus, having heard
that Jesus had risen,
was incredulous.

Alleluia.

See, Thomas, see my side,
see my feet, see my hands!
Be not incredulous.

Alleluia.

As soon as Thomas saw Jesus’ side
and feet and hands,
he said: Thou art my God.

Alleluia.

Blessed are they that have not seen,
and have firmly believed!
They shall have eternal life.

Alleluia.

Let us sing hymns of praise and joy
on this most holy feast!
Let us bless the Lord!

Alleluia.

Let us give to God our most humble,
devout and due thanks,
for all these his favours.

Alleluia.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

EVENING

The day of Jesus’ Resurrection is fast drawing to its close. It is the day honoured by God with the greatest of all miracles; it is the most important day that has ever dawned upon the world since light was first created; but the night will soon be upon us, shadowing the brightness of the great day. Four times has our Redeemer appeared. He would now manifest himself to all his Apostles, and thus enable them to know by their own experience what they have, a few hours since, learned from Peter’s testimony. But, leaving for a few moments longer these men whom he honours with the name of brethren, and who now believe in his Resurrection, he would first console two hearts that are grieving on his account, though their grief comes from their want of faith.

Two men are traversing the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, slowly and sadly. They are evidently suffering from some cruel disappointment; nay, they give one the idea that a motive of fear impels them to leave the city. They were disciples of Jesus; but the ignominious and violent death of this Master, in whom they had such confidence, has filled their hearts with bitter despondency. They are ashamed of having joined themselves with one who is not what they took him to be. They hid themselves after his execution; but the report having been spread of his sepulchre having been broken into, and the Body taken away, they resolve to seek a safer refuge. Jesus’ enemies have great power, and are doubtless busy taking proceedings against those who have dared to break the seal of the sepulchre. Perhaps all that have had any connection with this Jesus will be arraigned before the public tribunal.

While they are thus conferring with each other on the sad events of the last few days, a stranger overtakes them and walks with them. It is Jesus; but so absorbed are they in their own sorrow, that they do not recognize him. The same happens to us, when we give way to feelings of human grief: we lose sight of that God who comes to cheer us by his presence along the path of our exile. Jesus asks these two men the cause of their sadness. They tell him with all simplicity, and this King of glory, who has, this very day, triumphed over death, deigns to enter into a long conversation with them, and explain to them, as they walk along, the scriptural prophecies concerning the humiliations, the death, and the glory of the Messias. The two wayfarers are delighted with his words. As they afterwards say to each other, their hearts bum within them as the stranger goes on telling them these grand truths. Jesus feigns to bid them farewell, but they will not hear of it: ‘Stay with us,’ they say to him, ‘for the evening cometh on, and the day is far spent.’[40] They take him into their house at Emmaus, constrain him to sit down to table with them, and yet, strange to say, they have not an idea who this heavenly instructor is, who has solved all their doubts with such persuasive wisdom and eloquence! Do not we resemble these two disciples, when we allow ourselves to be influenced by human thoughts and feelings? Jesus is near us, he speaks to us, he instructs us, he consoles us; and yet, oftentimes, it is long before we recognize him!

At length, Jesus makes himself known to our two incredulous disciples. They have placed him at the head of the table; it is for him to break the bread. He takes it into his divine hands, as he did at the Last Supper; and no sooner has he divided the bread and given them their portion, than their eyes are opened, and they recognize their guest as Jesus, the risen Jesus. They would throw themselves at his feet—but he has disappeared, leaving them mute with surprise, and yet transported with exceeding joy. It is the fifth apparition. It is described by St Luke, and forms the Gospel of to-morrow’s Mass.

The two disciples cannot wait; though so late in the evening, they must hurry back to Jerusalem, and tell the Apostles that their Master is living, that they have seen him, and talked with him. They therefore leave Emmaus, where they thought to pass the night, and are soon back in the city from which they had tremblingly fled. They are soon with the Apostles; but they find them already aware of the glad tidings, and fervent in their faith of the Resurrection. Before they have time to open their lips, the Apostles exclaim: ‘The Lord hath truly risen, and hath appeared unto Simon!’[41] The two disciples then relate what has just happened to themselves.

Such is the conversation of the Apostles—men now unknown, but whose names are, in a short time hence, to be published and loved throughout the whole universe. The doors of the house where the little flock is assembled are kept carefully closed, for they are afraid of being discovered. The soldiers, who had kept watch at the sepulchre, went early this morning to the chief priests, and told them what had happened. They were, hereupon, bribed to perjure themselves, and say that, while they were asleep, the disciples of Jesus came and took away the Body. The Jewish authorities hereby hoped to screen themselves from confusion; but such a plot was likely to excite the people’s indignation against the Apostles, and these thought it necessary to take precautions. Ten of them are now together in the house; for Thomas, who was present when the two disciples came in from Emmaus, has taken the opportunity, afforded by the darkness of the hour, to go forth into the city.

The Apostles, then, are speaking to one another of the great events of this day, when lo! Jesus stands before them, and yet the door has not been opened. That well-known voice and figure and face!—yes, it is Jesus! He speaks to them with an accent of tenderest love, and says: ‘Peace be to you!’[42] What can they say? This sudden and mysterious visit robs them of self-possession. They have no idea yet of the qualities of a glorified body; and, though firmly believing in the mystery of their Lord’s Resurrection, they are not quite sure that what they now behold is not a phantom. Jesus knows this. During the whole day, he seems to have been more anxious to show his love than to proclaim his glory; and, therefore, he permits them to touch him; yea, in order to convince them of the reality of his divine Body, he asks them to give him to eat, and he eats in their presence. This loving familiarity of their Master makes them weep with joy, and when Thomas returns to them, they express their delight in these simple words: ‘We have seen the Lord!’[43] It is the sixth apparition of Jesus on the day of his Resurrection. It is related in the Gospel of St John, and is read in the Mass of Low Sunday.

Be thou blessed and glorified, O conqueror of death! for that, on this day, thou didst six times appear to thy creatures, so to content thy love, and confirm our faith in thy Resurrection! Be thou blessed and glorified for having consoled thy afflicted Mother by thy dear presence and caresses! Be thou blessed and glorified for having, with a single word of thine, brought joy to Magdalen’s heart! Be thou blessed and glorified for having gladdened the holy women, and permitted them to kiss thy sacred feet! Be thou blessed and glorified for having with thine own lips given Peter the assurance of his pardon, and for having confirmed in him the gifts of the primacy, by revealing to him, before all others, the fundamental dogma of faith! Be thou blessed and glorified for having encouraged the drooping confidence of the two disciples of Emmaus, by revealing thyself to them! Be thou blessed and glorified for having visited thine Apostles, and removed all their doubts by thy loving condescension! And lastly, O Jesus! be thou blessed and glorified for that, on this day, thou hast so mercifully given us, by thy holy Church, to share in the joy of thy holy Mother, of Magdalen and her companions, of Peter, of the disciples of Emmaus, and of thine Apostles! This year’s Easter is as full of reality and life and joy, yea, and of thyself, as was that whereon thou didst rise from the grave. All times and seasons belong to thee: and as the material world has ever been supported by thy power, so the spiritual world lives by thy mysteries. Praise, then, and honour, and benediction be to thee, O Jesus! for thy Resurrection, which makes this day the grandest and gladdest of the year I

Let us to-day celebrate the first of the six days of creation—namely, the Sunday, when light was made at the sovereign bidding of the Word of God. This Word is the uncreated light of the Father, and he began his work of creation by calling into existence this material image of his own brightness. He himself calls the just, children of light; and sinners children of darkness. When he took flesh and showed himself to men, he said to them: ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’[44] And lastly—to show us that there exists a sacred harmony between the two orders of nature and grace—he rose from the gloomy sepulchre on that same day whereon he had created the visible light, the most precious of material blessings.

The Gothic Church of Spain thus expresses, in the following beautiful prayer of her breviary, the gratitude felt by man for the twofold favour granted to us, by the Creator, on this ever-blessed day:

Capitula

Deus, cujus unum hunc ex omnibus duximus diem, in quo creatis rebus omnibus voluisti esse et præsentis lucis indicem, et æterni luminis testem, ut in eo exsurgeret illuminatio temporum, atque resurgeret illuminatio animarum: quique Dominicæ et operationis primus, et resurrectionis idoneus revolutus in circulo, et redactus in calculo, paschalis solemnitatis inciperet mysterium, et concluderet sacramentum; respice in hoc tempore acceptabili, et in hac die salutis super servos tuos, Domine, quos redemisti de captivitate nequitiæ spirituali trophæo Dominicæ passionis: quos Agni tui sanguine tinctos, ne vastator læderet, liberasti; esto nobis prævius in solitudine vitæ hujus, quo et in die calorem tentationis nostræ quasi nubes protegens obumbres, et in nocte a tenebris peccatorum nos quasi columna ignis inlumines: ut, dum ades ad salutem, perducas ad requiem.
O God, to whom we owe this the first of days, whereon thou wouldst manifest to all created things both the visible light, and him who is the witness of eternal light, that on this one same day there might rise the light of the seasons and the light of souls: which day, being the first of our Lord’s creation, and (by a heavenly calculated revolution) the one chosen as fittest for his Resurrection, both begins and ends the mystery of the Paschal solemnity: mercifully, O Lord (for now is the acceptable time, the day of salvation), mercifully look upon thy servants, whom thou hast redeemed from the spiritual bondage of sin by the victory of our Lord’s Passion. Look upon them whom thou hast freed from the destroying angel, by sprinkling them with the Blood of thy Lamb. Be unto us our guide in the wilderness of this life; that during the day, thou mayest be to us a cloud protecting and shadowing us from the heat of temptation; and, during the night, a pillar of fire, enlightening us amidst the darkness of sin. Here save us, that so thou mayst lead us to our rest.

We would fain close this glorious solemnity by delighting our readers with selections from the various Liturgies in honour of our risen Jesus; but we have already exceeded our usual limits, though we have only said what was necessary to explain the Offices. We therefore reserve these liturgical riches for the days of our Octave, contenting ourselves for to-day with a few stanzas from the hymn used by the Greek Church in her morning Office for Easter Sunday.

Hymn
(In Dominica Resurrectionis)

Dies est Resurrectionis: splendescamus populi. Pascha Domini, Pascha: etenim ex morte ad vitam, atque ex terra ad cœlum Christus Deus deduxit nos, triumphale carmen canentes.

Sensus emundemus, et Christum inaccesso lumine resurrectionis fulgentem videbimus, et Salvete dicentem perspicue audiemus, triumphale carmen canentes.

Cœli digne lætentur, terraque glorietur: festum solemniter agat mundus, visibilis totus et invisibilis; surrexit enim Christus, lætitia æterna.

Venite, potum in quo corroboramur bibamus novum, non ex infœcunda rupe mirabiliter eductum; et immortalitatis fontem ex Christi sepulchro manentem.

Omnia lumine nunc repleta sunt, cœlum, terra et inferni; solemniter igitur agat omnis creatura Christi resurrectionem in qua firmatur.

Heri tecum, Christe, sepeliebar; hodie tecum resurgente surgo: heri crucifigebar tecum; tu me conglorifica, Salvator, in regno tuo.

Deiparens David coram adumbrante arca subsiliebat saltans; nos vero, populus Dei sanctificatus, figurarum exitum videntes in afflatu divino gaudeamus, quia surrexit Christus tamquam omnipotens.

Valde mane eamus, et pro myrrha hymnum offeramus Domino; et Christum videbimus, justitiæ solem, vitam cunctis renascentem.

Infinitam misericordiam tuam aspicientes illi quos alligabant inferni vincula, ad lucem læto pede properarunt, Christe, Paschati plaudentes æterno.

Adeamus lampadarii ad Christum, ex sepulchro progredientem tanquam sponsum; et in festivis agminibus Pascha Dei salutare concelebremus.
It is the Resurrection day; let us be radiant with joy, O ye people! It is the Pasch of the Lord, the Passover: for Christ our God has led us, singing our song of triumph, from death to life and from earth to heaven.

Let us purify our senses, and we shall see Christ refulgent in the inaccessible light of his Resurrection. We, singing our song of triumph, shall hear him saying to us: ‘All hail!’

Let the heavens worthily rejoice, and let earth be in her glory. Let the whole world, visible and invisible, solemnize the feast; for Christ, the eternal joy, hath risen.

Come, let us receive the new drink, which strengthens us; it has not been miraculously drawn from a barren rock, but is a fount of immortality, flowing from the sepulchre of Christ.

All things, heaven, earth, and what is beneath the earth, all are now filled with light; let every creature, therefore, solemnize Christ’s Resurrection, whereby all are strengthened.

Yesterday, O Jesus! I was buried together with thee; today, I rise with thee. Yesterday, I was crucified with thee; do thou, my Saviour, give me to share with thee in the glory of thy kingdom.

David, the ancestor of Christ our God, danced before the figurative Ark; but we, the holy people of God, we who witness the fulfilment of the figures, must rejoice in the divine Spirit that is within us, for Christ has risen, as the omnipotent One.

Let us go at dawn of day, and offer to our Lord the myrrh of our hymns: we shall see him who is the Sun of justice, and gives life to all creatures.

They, whom the fetters of limbo kept bound, saw thy infinite mercy, O Jesus! and, with a joyful step, hastened to meet the light, thus celebrating the eternal Pasch.

Let us, with lamps in our hands, go forth to meet Christ, coming forth, as a Bridegroom, from his sepulchre. Let us, in festive groups, celebrate together the saving Pasch of God.

[1] Osee xiii 14.
[2] St Matt, xii 39.
[3] St John x 18.
[4] Apoc. i 5
[5] 1 Cor xv 26.
[6] Ibid. 55.
[7] Life of St Teresa, written by Herself; in the Additions. See p. 402 in the translation by David Lewis, 1870.
[8] St Mark xvi 6.
[9] Ibid. 8.
[10] St Luke xxiv 5, 6, 7·
[11] St Mark xvi 7·
[12] St Luke xxiv 11.
[13] St John xx 2.
[14] Ibid. 6.
[15] Ibid. 8.
[16] St John xx.
[17] St John xx 15.
[18] Ibid. 16.
[19] Ibid. 17.
[20] St John xx 18.
[21] St Matt, xxviii 9.
[22] Wisd. viii 1.
[23] Isa. lv 8.
[24] 1 Cor. i 24.
[25] Exod. xv 1.
[26] The modern appellation of Matins has been given to this portion of the Divine Office because it is now celebrated in the morning.
[27] Coloss, i 18.
[28] Councils of Agatha, of Orleans I and IV, of Epaon, etc.
[29] Isa. xlii 3.
[30] Ps. xxix 6.
[31] It was sung in cathedral churches even after the introduction of the Roman Liturgy into France by Pepin and Charlemagne. It was not entirely discontinued until the last century came with its unsanctioned and ever-to-be-regretted innovations.
[32] St Luke xxiv 46.
[33] See Passiontide: Maundy Thursday, p. 359.
[34] St Luke xxiv 21-24.
[35] St Mark xvi 7.
[36] St Luke xxii 32.
[37] St Luke xxiv 34.
[38]1 Cor. xv 5.
[39] Apoc. i 12, etc.
[40] St Luke xxiv 29.
[41] St Luke xxiv 34.
[42] St John xx 19.
[43] Ibid. xx 25.
[44] St John viii 12.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Easter Monday

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et lætemur in ea.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

SO ample and so profound is the mystery of the glorious Pasch, that an entire week may well be spent in its meditation. Yesterday, we limited ourselves to our Redeemer’s rising from the tomb, and showing himself, in six different apparitions, to them that were dear to him. We will continue to give him the adoration, gratitude, and love, which are so justly due to him for the triumph, which is both his and ours; but it also behoves us respectfully to study the lessons conveyed by the Resurrection of our divine Master, that thus the light of the great mystery may the more plentifully shine upon us, and our joy be greater.

And first of all, what is the Pasch? The Scriptures tell us that it is the immolation of the lamb. To understand the Pasch, we must first understand the mystery of the lamb.

From the earliest ages of the Christian Church, we find the lamb represented, in the mosaics and frescoes of the basilicas, as the symbol of Christ’s sacrifice and triumph. Its attitude of sweet meekness expressed the love wherewith our Jesus shed his Blood for us; but it was put standing on a green hill, with the four rivers of Paradise flowing from beneath its feet, signifying the four Gospels which have made known the glory of his name throughout the earth. At a later period, the lamb was represented holding a cross, to which was attached a banner: and this is the form in which we now have the symbol of the Lamb of God.

Ever since sin entered the world, man has need of the lamb. Without the lamb he never could have inherited heaven, but would have been, for all eternity, an object of God’s just anger. In the very beginning of the world, the just Abel drew down upon himself the mercy of God, by offering on a sod-made altar the fairest lamb of his flock: he himself was sacrificed, as a lamb, by the murderous hand of his brother, and thus became a type of our divine Lamb. Jesus, who was slain by his own Israelite brethren. When Abraham ascended the mountain to make the sacrifice commanded him by God, he immolated, on the altar prepared for Isaac, the ram he found amidst the thorns. Later on, God spoke to Moses, and revealed to him the Pasch: it consisted of a lamb that was to be slain and eaten. A few days back, we had read to us the passage from the Book of Exodus where God gives this rite to his people. The Paschal Lamb was to be without blemish; its blood was to be sprinkled as a protection against the destroying angel, and its flesh was to be eaten. This was the first Pasch. It was most expressive as a figure, but void of reality. For fifteen hundred years was it celebrated by God’s people, and the spiritual-minded among the Jews knew it to be the type of a future Lamb.

In the age of the great prophets, Isaias prayed God to fulfil the promise he made at the beginning of the world. We united in this his sublime and inspired prayer, when, during Advent, the Church read to us his magnificent prophecies. How fervently did we repeat those words: ‘Send forth, O Lord, the Lamb, the ruler of the earth!’[1] This Lamb was the long-expected Messias; and we said to ourselves: Oh what a Pasch will that be, wherein such a Lamb is to be victim! What a feast wherein he is to be the food of the feasters!

‘When the fulness of time came and God sent his Son’[2] upon our earth, this Word made Flesh, after thirty years of hidden life, manifested himself to men. He came to the river Jordan, where John was baptizing. No sooner did the holy Baptist see him, than he said to his disciples: ‘Behold the Lamb of God! Behold him who taketh away the sin of the world!’[3] By these words the saintly Precursor proclaimed the Pasch; for he was virtually telling men that the earth then possessed the true Lamb, the Lamb of God, of whom it had been in expectation four thousand years. Yes, the Lamb who was fairer than the one offered by Abel, richer in mystery than the one slain by Abraham on the mount, and more spotless than the one the Israelites were commanded to sacrifice in Egypt, had come. He was the Lamb so earnestly prayed for by Isaias; the Lamb sent by God himself; in a word, the Lamb of God. A few years would pass, and then the immolation. But three days ago we assisted at his sacrifice; we witnessed the meek patience wherewith he suffered his executioners to slay him; we have been laved with his precious Blood, and it has cleansed us from all our sins.

The shedding of this redeeming Blood was needed for our Pasch. Unless we had been marked with it, we could not have escaped the sword of the destroying angel. It has made us partake of the purity of the God who so generously shed it for us. Our neophytes have risen whiter than snow from the font, wherein that Blood was mingled. Poor sinners that had lost the innocence received in their Baptism have regained their treasure, because the divine energy of that Blood has been applied to their souls. The whole assembly of the faithful are clad in the nuptial garment, rich and fair beyond measure, for it has been ‘made white in the Blood of the Lamb.’[4]

But why this festive garment? It is because we are invited to a great banquet: and here, again, we find our Lamb. He himself is the food of the happy guests, and the banquet is the Pasch. The great Apostle St Andrew, when confessing the name of Christ before the pagan proconsul Ægeas, spoke these sublime words: ‘I daily offer upon the altar the spotless Lamb, of whose flesh the whole multitude of the faithful eat; the Lamb that is sacrificed remains whole and living.’ Yesterday this banquet was celebrated throughout the entire universe; it is kept up during all these days, and by it we contract a close union with the Lamb, who incorporates himself with us by the divine food he gives us.

Nor does the mystery of the Lamb end here. Isaias besought God to ‘send the Lamb ‘who was to be ‘the ruler of the earth.’ He comes, therefore, not only that he may be sacrificed, not only that he may feed us with his sacred Flesh, but likewise that he may command the earth and be King. Here, again, is our Pasch. The Pasch is the announcement of the reign of the Lamb. The citizens of heaven thus proclaim it: ‘Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David hath conquered!’[5] But, if he be the Lion, how is he the Lamb? Let us be attentive to the mystery. Out of love for man, who needed redemption, and a heavenly food that would invigorate, Jesus deigned to be as a lamb: but he had, moreover, to triumph over his own and our enemies; he had to reign, for ‘all power was given to him in heaven and in earth.’[6] In this his triumph and power, he is a lion; nothing can resist him; his victory is celebrated this day throughout the whole world. Listen to the great deacon of Edessa, St Ephrem: ‘At the twelfth hour, he was taken down from the Cross as a lion that slept.’[7] Yea, verily, our Lion slept; for his rest in the sepulchre ‘was more like sleep than death,’ as St Leo remarks.[8] Was not this the fulfilment of Jacob’s dying prophecy? This patriarch, speaking of the Messias that was to be bom of his race, said: ‘Juda is a lion’s whelp. To the prey, my son, thou art gone up! Resting thou hast couched as a lion. Who shall rouse him?’[9] He has roused himself by his own power. He has risen; a lamb for us, a lion for his enemies; thus uniting, in his Person, gentleness and power. This completes the mystery of our Pasch: a Lamb, triumphant, obeyed, adored. Let us pay him the homage so justly due. Until we be permitted to join, in heaven, with the millions of angels and the four-and-twenty elders, let us repeat, here on earth, the hymn they are for ever singing: ‘The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction!’[10]

Formerly, the whole of this week was kept as a feast, with the obligation of resting from servile work. The edict, published by Theodosius in 389, forbidding all law proceedings during the same period, was supplementary to this liturgical law, which we find mentioned in the Sermons of St Augustine,[11] and in the Homilies of St John Chrysostom. The second of these two holy Fathers thus speaks to the newly baptized: ‘You are enjoying a daily instruction during these seven days. We put before you a spiritual banquet, that thus we may teach you how to arm yourselves and fight against the devil, who is now preparing to attack you more violently than ever; for the greater is the gift you have received, the greater will be the combat you must go through to preserve it. . . . During these following seven days, you have the word of God preached to you, that you may go forth well prepared to fight with your enemies. Moreover, you know it is usual to keep up a nuptial feast for seven days: you are now celebrating a spiritual marriage, and therefore we have established the custom of a seven days’ solemnity.’[12]

So fervently did the faithful of those times appreciate and love the Liturgy, so lively was the interest they took in the newly made children of holy mother Church, that they joyfully went through the whole of the services of this week. Their hearts were filled with the joy of the Resurrection, and they thought it but right to devote their whole time to its celebration. Councils laid down canons, changing the pious custom into a formal law. The Council of Mâcon, in 585, thus words its decree: ‘It behoves us all fervently to celebrate the feast of the Pasch, in which our great High Priest was slain for our sins, and to honour it by carefully observing all it pre-scribes. Let no one, therefore, do any servile work during these six days (which followed the Sunday), but let all come together to sing the Easter hymns, and assist at the daily Sacrifice, and praise our Creator and Redeemer in the evening, morning, and mid-day.’[13] The Councils of Mayence (813) and Meaux (845) lay down similar rules. We find the same prescribed in Spain, in the seventh century, by the edicts of kings Receswind and Wamba. The Greek Church renewed them in her Council in Trullo; Charlemagne, Louis the Good, Charles the Bald, sanctioned them in their Capitularia; and the canonists of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Burchard, St Ivo of Chartres, Gratian, tell us they were in force in their time. Finally, Pope Gregory IX inserted them in one of his decretals in the thirteenth century. But their observance had then fallen into desuetude, at least in many places. The Council held at Constance, in 1094, reduced the solemnity of Easter to the Monday and Tuesday. The two great liturgists, John Beleth in the twelfth, and Durandus in the thirteenth century, inform us that, in their times, this was the practice in France. It gradually became the discipline of the whole of the western Church, and continued to be so, until relaxation crept still further on, and a dispensation was obtained by some countries, first for the Tuesday, and finally for the Monday.

In order fully to understand the Liturgy of the whole Easter Octave (Low Sunday included), we must remember that the neophytes were formerly present, vested in their white garments, at the Mass and Divine Office of each day. Allusions to their Baptism are continually being made in the chants and Lessons of the entire week.

At Rome, the Station for to-day is at the basilica of St Peter. On Saturday, the catechumens received the Sacrament of regeneration in the Lateran basilica of our Saviour; yesterday, they celebrated the Resurrection in the magnificent church of St Mary; it is just that they should come, on this third day, to pay their grateful devotions to Peter, on whom Christ has built his whole Church. Jesus our Saviour, Mary Mother of God and of men, Peter the visible head of Christ’s mystical Body, these are the three divine manifestations whereby we first entered, and have maintained our place in, the Christian Church.

MASS

The Introit, which is taken from the Book of Exodus, is addressed to the Church’s new-born children. It reminds them of the milk and honey which were given to them on the night of Saturday last, after they had received Holy Communion. They are true Israelites, brought into the Promised Land. Let them, therefore, praise the Lord, who has chosen them from the pagan world, that he might make them his favoured people.

Introit

Introduxit vos Dominus in terram fluentem lac et mel, alleluia: et ut lex Domini semper sit in ore vestro. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Confitemini Domino et invocate nomen ejus: annuntiate inter gentes opera ejus.
℣. Gloria Patri. Introduxit.
The Lord hath brought you into a land flowing with milk and honey, alleluia: let then the law of the Lord be ever in your mouth. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Praise the Lord, and call upon his name: publish his works among the gentiles.
℣. Glory, etc. The Lord, etc.

At the sight of Jesus, her Spouse, now freed from the bonds of death, holy Church prays God, that we, the members of this divine Head, may come to that perfect liberty of which the Resurrection is the type. Our long slavery to sin should have taught us the worth of that liberty of the children of God, which our Pasch has restored to us.

Collect

Deus, qui solemnitate paschali mundo remedia contulisti: populum tuum quæsumus cœlesti dono prosequere: ut et perfectam libertatem consequi mereatur, et ad vitam proficiat sempiternam. Per Dominum.
O God, who by the mystery of the Paschal solemnity hast bestowed remedies on the world; continue, we beseech thee, thy heavenly blessings on thy people, that they may deserve to obtain perfect liberty, and advance towards eternal life. Through, etc.

Epistle

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.

Cap. X.

In diebus illis: Stans Petrus in medio plebis, dixit: Viri fratres, vos scitis quod factum est verbum per universam Judæam: incipiens enim a Galilæa post baptismum quod praedicavit Joannes, Jesum a Nazareth: quomodo unxit eum Deus Spiritu Sancto et virtute, qui pertransiit benefaciendo, et sanando omnes oppressos a diabolo, quoniam Deus erat cum illo. Et nos testes sumus omnium, quæ fecit in regione Judæorum et Jerusalem, quem occiderunt suspendentes in ligno. Hunc Deus suscitavit tertia die, et dedit eum manifestum fieri, non omni populo, sed testibus præordinatis a Deo: nobis, qui manducavimus et bibimus cum illo, postquam resurrexit a mortuis. Et præcepit nobis prædicare populo, et testifican quia ipse est qui constitutus est a Deo judex vivorum et mortuorum. Huic omnes prophetæ testimonium perhibent, remissionem peccatorum accipere per nomen ejus omnes qui credunt in eum.
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.

Ch. X.

In those days: Peter standing up in the midst of the people, said: You know the word that hath been published through all Judea: for it began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached, Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed him with the Holy Ghost, and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things that he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed hanging him upon a tree. Him God raised up the third day, and gave him to be made manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses preordained by God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose again from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead. To him all the prophets give testimony, that through his name all receive remission of sins who believe in him.

St Peter spoke these words to Cornelius, the centurion, and to the household and friends of this gentile, who had called them together to receive the Apostle whom God had sent to him. He had come to prepare them for Baptism, and thus make them the first-fruits of the gentile world, for up to this time the Gospel had been preached only to the Jews. Let us take notice how it is St Peter, and not any other of the Apostles, who throws open to us gentiles the door of the Church, which Christ has built upon him as upon the impregnable rock. This passage from the Acts of the Apostles is an appropriate Lesson for this day, whose Station is in the basilica of St Peter: it is read near the confession of the great Apostle, and in presence of the neophytes, who have been converted from the worship of false gods to the true faith. Let us observe, too, the method used by the Apostle in the conversion of Cornelius and the other gentiles. He begins by speaking to them concerning Jesus. He tells them of the miracles he wrought; then, having related how he died the ignominious death of the Cross, he insists on the fact of the Resurrection as the sure guarantee of his being truly God. He then instructs them on the mission of the Apostles, whose testimony must be received—a testimony which carries persuasion with it, seeing it was most disinterested, and availed them nothing save persecution. He, therefore, that believes in the Son of God made Flesh, who went about doing good, working all kinds of miracles; who died upon the Cross, rose again from the dead, and entrusted to certain men, chosen by himself, the mission of continuing on earth the ministry he had begun—he that confesses all this, is worthy to receive, by holy Baptism, the remission of his sins. Such is the happy lot of Cornelius and his companions; such has been that of our neophytes.

Then is sung the Gradual, which repeats the expression of Paschal joy. The verse, however, is different from yesterday’s, and will vary every day till Friday. The Alleluia verse describes the angel coming down from heaven, that he may open the empty sepulchre, and manifest the self-gained victory of the Redeemer.

Gradual

Hæc dies, quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus, et lætemur in ea.
℣. Dicat nunc Israel, quoniam bonus: quoniam in sæculum misericordia ejus.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Angelus Domini descendit de cœlo: et accedens revolvit lapidem, et sedebat super eum.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.
℣. Let Israel now say, that the Lord is good: that his mercy endureth for ever.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. An angel of the Lord descended from heaven; and coming he rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.

The Sequence, Victimœ Paschali, p. 145.


GOSPEL

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.

Cap. xxiv.

In illo tempore: Duo ex discipulis Jesu ibant ipsa die in castellum, quod erat in spatio stadiorum sexaginta ab Jerusalem, nomine Emmaus. Et ipsi loquebantur ad invicem de his omnibus, quæ acciderant. Et factum est, dum fabularentur, et secum quærerent: et ipse Jesus appropinquans ibat cum illis: oculi autem illorum tenebantur ne eum agnoscerent. Et ait ad illos: Qui sunt hi sermones, quos confertis ad invicem ambulantes, et estis tristes? Et respondens unus, cui nomen Cleophas, dixit ei: Tu solus peregrinus es in Jerusalem, et non cognovisti quæ facta sunt in illa his diebus? Quibus ille dixit: Quæ? Et dixerunt: De Jesu Nazareno, qui fuit vir propheta, potens in opere et sermone, coram Deo et omni populo: et quomodo eum tradiderunt summi sacerdotes, et principes nostri in damnationem mortis, et crucifixerunt eum. Nos autem sperabamus quia ipse esset redempturus Israel: et nunc super hæc omnia, tertia dies est hodie quod hæc facta sunt. Sed et mulleres quædam ex nostris terruerunt nos, quæ ante lucem fuerunt ad monumentum, et non invento corpore ejus, venerunt, dicentes se etiam visionem angelorum vidisse, qui dicunt eum vivere. Et abierunt quidam ex nostris ad monumentum, et ita invenerunt, sicut mulieres dixerunt; ipsum vero non invenerunt. Et ipse dixit ad eos: O stulti, et tardi corde ad credendum in omnibus, quæ locuti sunt prophetæ! Nonne hæc oportuit pati Christum, et ita intrare in gloriam suam? Et incipiens a Moyse, et omnibus prophetis, interpretabatur illis in omnibus Scripturis, quæ de ipso erant. Et appropinquaverunt castello, quo ibant: et ipse se finxit longius ire. Et coegerunt illum, dicentes: Mane nobiscum, quoniam advesperascit, et inclinata est jam dies. Et intravit cum illis. Et factum est, dum recumberet eum eis, accepit panem, et benedixit, ac fregit, et porrigebat illis. Et aperti sunt oculi eorum, et cognoverunt eum: et ipse evanuit ex oculis eorum. Et dixerunt ad invicem: Nonne cor nostrum ardens erat in nobis, dum loqueretur in via et aperiret nobis Scripturas? Et surgentes eadem hora regressi sunt in Jerusalem: et invenerunt congregatos undecim, et eos, qui cum illis erant, dicentes: Quod surrexit Dominus vere, et apparuit Simoni. Et ipsi narrabant quæ gesta erant in via: et quomodo cognoverunt eum in fractione panis.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.

Ch. xxiv.

At that time: Two of the disciples of Jesus went the same day to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also drawing near, went with them. But their eyes were held that they should not know him. And he said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering said to him: Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days? To whom he said: What things? And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in work and word before God and all the people. And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we hoped that it was he that should have redeemed Israel: and now besides all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company affrighted us, who before it was light were at the sepulchre. And not finding his body, came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive. And some of our people went to the sepulchre: and found it so as the women had said, but him they found not. Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things that were concerning him. And they drew nigh to the town whither they were going: and he made as though he would go farther. But they constrained him, saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them. And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in the way, and opened to us the Scriptures? And rising up the same hour they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were with them, saying, the Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way: and how they knew him in the breaking of bread.

Let us attentively consider these three travellers on the road to Emmaus, and go with them in spirit and affection. Two of them are frail men like ourselves, who are afraid of suffering; the Cross has disconcerted them; they cannot persevere in the faith, unless they find it brings them glory and success. 0 foolish and slow of heart I says the third: ought not Christ to have suffered, and so to enter into his glory? Hitherto, we ourselves have been like these two disciples. Our sentiments have been more those of the Jew than of the Christian. Hence our love of earthly things, which has made us heedless of such as are heavenly, and has thereby exposed us to sin. We cannot, for the time to come, be thus minded. The glorious Resurrection of our Jesus eloquently teaches us how to look upon the crosses sent us by God. However great may be our future trials, we are not likely to be nailed to a cross, between two thieves. It is what the Son of God had to undergo: but did the sufferings of the Friday mar the kingly splendour of the Sunday’s triumph? Nay, is not his present glory redoubled by his past humiliations?

Therefore let us not be cowards when our time for sacrifice comes; let us think of the eternal reward that is to follow. These two disciples did not know that it was Jesus who was speaking to them; and yet he no sooner explained to them the plan of God’s wisdom and goodness, than they understood the mystery of suffering. Their hearts burned within them at hearing him explain how the cross leads to the crown; and had he not held their eyes that they should not know him, they would have discovered from his words that their instructor was Jesus. So will it be with us, if we will allow him to speak to us. We shall understand how ‘the disciple is not above the Master.’[14] Let us, this Easter, delight in gazing at the resplendent glory of our risen Lord, and we shall exclaim with the Apostle: No! ‘the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.’[15]

Now that the efforts made by the Christian for his conversion are being recompensed with the honour of approaching the holy banquet clothed in the nuptial garment, there is another consideration that forces itself upon our attention from the reading of to-day’s Gospel. It was during the breaking of the bread that the eyes of the two disciples were opened to recognize their Master. The sacred Food which we receive, and whose whole virtue comes from the word of Christ, gives light to our souls, and enables them to see what before was hidden. Yes, this is the effect produced in us by the divine mystery of our Pasch, provided we be of the number of those who are thus described by the pious author of the Imitation of Christ: ‘They truly know their Lord in the breaking of bread, whose heart burneth so mightily within them from Jesus’ walking with them.’[16] Let us, therefore, give ourselves unreservedly to our risen Jesus. We belong to him now more than ever, not only because of his having died, but also for his having risen for us. Let us imitate the disciples of Emmaus, and, like them, become faithful, joyful, and eager to show forth by our conduct that ‘newness of life ‘of which the Apostle speaks,[17] and which alone befits us, seeing that Christ has so loved us as to wish his own Resurrection to be ours also.

The reason for the choice of this Gospel for to-day is that the Station is held in the basilica of St Peter. St Luke here tells us that the two disciples found the Apostles already made cognizant of the Resurrection of their Master: He hath, said they, appeared to Simon! We spoke yesterday of the favour thus shown to the prince of the Apostles, which the Roman Church so justly commemorates in to-day’s Office.

The Offertory consists of a text from the holy Gospel, referring to the circumstances of our Lord’s Resurrection.

Offertory

Angelus Domini descendit de cœlo, et dixit mulieribus: Quem quæritis surrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.
An angel of the Lord came down from heaven, and said to the women: He whom you seek is risen, as he told you, alleluia.

In the Secret, the Church prays that the Paschal Sacrament may be to her children a food nourishing them to immortality, and may unite them as members to their divine Head, not only for time, but even for eternity.

Secret

Suscipe, quæsumus Domine, preces populi tui cum oblationibus hostiarum: ut paschalibus initiata mysteriis, ad æternitatis nobis medelam, te operante, proficiant. Per Dominum.
Receive, O Lord, we beseech thee, the prayers of thy people, together with the offerings of these hosts: that what is consecrated by these Paschal mysteries may, by the help of thy grace, avail us to eternal life. Through, etc.

During the Communion, the Church reminds the faithful of the visit paid by the Saviour, after his Resurrection, to St Peter. The faith of the Resurrection is the faith of Peter, and the faith of Peter is the foundation of the Church, and the bond of Catholic unity.

Communion

Surrexit Dominus, et apparuit Petro, alleluia.
The Lord hath risen, and appeared to Peter, alleluia.

In the Postcommunion, the Church again prays that her children, who have been fellow-guests at the feast of the Lamb, may have that spirit of concord which should reign among the members of one and the same family, whose union has been again cemented by this year’s Pasch.

Postcommunion

Spiritum nobis, Domine, tuæ charitatis infunde: ut quos Sacramentis paschalibus satiasti, tua facias pietate concordes. Per Dominum.
Pour forth on us, O Lord, the spirit of thy love; that those whom thou hast filled with the Paschal Sacrament may by thy goodness live in perfect concord. Through, etc.

VESPERS

The Vespers are the same as yesterday, with the exception of the Magnificat Antiphon and the Collect.

Antiphon of the Magnificat

Ant. Qui sunt hi sermones quos confertis ad invicem ambulantes et estis tristes? Alleluia.

Oremus.

Deus, qui solemnitate paschali mundo remedia contulisti: populum tuum, quæsumus, cœlesti dono prosequere; ut et perfectam libertatem consequi mereatur, et ad vitam proficiat sempiternam. Per Dominum.
Ant. What are these discourses that ye hold one with another, and are sad? Alleluia.

Let us Pray.

O God, who by the mystery of the Paschal solemnity hast bestowed remedies on the world; continue, we beseech thee, thy heavenly blessings on thy people, that they may deserve to obtain perfect liberty, and advance towards eternal life. Through, etc.

Let us glorify the Son of God for having, on this the second day of the creation, made the firmament, and divided the waters that were under from those that were above it. The holy Fathers have, in commenting these mysterious words, preferred the spiritual to the material sense. Here we recognize the powerful hand of God, who strengthened his work, and established an equilibrium between those elements which lay confounded together in chaos. The Mozarabic Liturgy gives us the following beautiful prayer, wherewith to praise our Creator in this portion of his work:

Capitula

Christe Deus noster, qui secundo die firmamentum formans, quasi solidamentum Scripturarum in Ecclesia præparas, quo cœlestes populos Angelorum ab infirmitate inferiorum hominum, quasi aquas ab aquis, discernere voluisti: quique duo testamenta constituens, figuram veteris sacrificii per testamentum novum immolatione tui corporis complevisti; da nobis, ut intellectu prudentiæ angelicis Potestatibus, quasi aquis superioribus sociemur, et semper ad superna tendamus: qualiter ita solidamentum utriusque legis in corde nostro præpolleat, ut resurrectionis tuæ potentia ad gaudia nos pertrahat infinita.
O Christ, our God, who, by creating the firmament on the second day, didst prefigure the solidity of the Scriptures on which rests thy Church; and who, by separation of the waters from the waters, didst designate the separation of the heavenly choirs of angels from man, the weak and inferior creation: O thou, the Author of the two Testaments, who didst fulfil the figure of the ancient sacrifice by the new covenant of the immolation of thy Body: grant that by understanding and wisdom we may be associated to the angelic powers, as to the waters that are above us, and may ever tend to heavenly things. May the solidity of the two laws be so fixed in our hearts, that the power of thy Resurrection may lead us to infinite joy.

Let us close the day with two Prefaces on the mystery of the Resurrection. The first is the one used by the Ambrosian Liturgy on Easter Sunday.

Preface

Vere quia dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi, sancte Deus omnipotens, gratias agere, nos devotas laudes referre, Pater inclyte, omnium Auctor et Conditor. Quia, cum Dominus esset majestatis Christus Jesus Filius tuus, ob liberationem humani generis crucem subire dignatus est. Quem dudum Abraham præfigurabat in filio, turba mosaica immaculati agni immolatione signabat. Ipse est enim, quem sacra tuba cecinerat prophetarum: qui omnium peccata portaret, aboleret et crimina. Hoc est illud Pascha, Christi nobilitatum cruore, in quo fidelis populus præcipua devotione exsultat. O mysterium gratia plenum I O ineffabile dvini imuneris sacramentum! O solemnitatum omnium honoranda solemnitas! In qua, ut servos redimeret, mortalibus se præbuit occidendum. Quam utique beata mors, quæ mortis nodos resolvit! Jam nunc sentiat se tartareus princeps attritum: et nos de profundi labe educti ad cœleste regnum conscendisse gratulemur.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should give thanks and devout praise to thee, O holy and almighty God, adorable Father, Author and Creator of all things! for that Christ Jesus, thy Son, though the Lord of majesty, did deign to suffer the Cross, for the redemption of mankind. It was this that Abraham, so many ages past, prefigured in his son; it was this that the Mosaic people typified by the immolation of a spotless lamb. This is he of whom sang the holy prophets, who was to bear upon him the sins of all men, and wipe away their crimes. This is the Pasch, ennobled by the Blood of Christ, which makes the faithful exult with especial devotion. O mystery full of grace! O ineffable mystery of God’s munificence! O ever to be honoured feast of feasts! whereon Christ gave himself to men that they might slay him, and this that he might ransom slaves. O truly blessed death, which loosed the bonds of death! Now let the prince of hell feel that he is crushed; now let us, who have been snatched from the abyss, rejoice that we have been exalted to the kingdom of heaven.

The following Preface is the one used by the ancient Church of Gaul in celebrating the mystery of our Paschal Lamb:

Immolatio

Dignum et justum est, nos tibi gratias agere, omnipotens sempiterneDeus, per Jesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum. Per quem humanum genus vivificans, Pascha etiam per Moysen et Aaron famulos tuos agni immolatione jussisti celebran: consequentibus temporibus usque ad adventum Domini nostri Jesu Christi (qui sicut agnus ad victimam ductus est) eamdem consueudinem in memoriam observare præcepisti. Ipse est Agnus immaculatus, qui prions populi prima Pascha in Ægypto fuerat immolatus. Ipse est aries in verticem montis excelsi de vepre prolatus, sacrificio destinatus. Ipse est vitulus saginatus, qui in tabernaculo patris nostri Abrahæ propter hospites est victimatus. Cujus Passionem et Resurrectionem celebramus, cujus et adventum sperarous.
It is right and just that we give thanks to thee, O almighty and eternal God, through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord; by whom thou gavest life to mankind, and wouldst have thy servants Moses and Aaron celebrate the Pasch by the sacrifice of a lamb. This same rite thou commandedst to be observed and remembered in after times, even to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was led like a lamb to the slaughter. He is the spotlessLamb, that was slain by God’s first people, when they kept their first Pasch in Egypt. He is the ram taken from the thorns on the top of a high mountain, destined for sacrifice. He is the fatted calf, slain under the tent of our father Abraham, that it might be served up to his guests. We celebrate his Passion and Resurrection; we look forward with hope to his last coming.

And now let us warm our hearts to the Paschal mystery by this admirable sequence of Adam of Saint-Victor:

Sequence

Salve, dies dierum gloria,
Dies felix Christi victoria,
Dies digna jugi lætitia,
Dies prima!

Lux divina cæcis irradiat,
In qua Christus infernum spoliat,
Mortem vincit et reconciliat
Summis ima.

Sempiterni regis sententia
Sub peccato conclusit omnia,
Ut infirmis superna gratia
Subveniret.

Dei virtus et sapientia
Temperavit iram dementia,
Cum jam mundus in praecipitia
Totus iret.

Insultabat nostræ miseriæ
Vetus hostis, auctor malitiæ,
Quia nulla spes erat veniæ
De peccatis.

Desperante mundo remedium,
Dum tenerent cuncta silentium,
Deus Pater emisit Filium
Desperatis.

Prædo vorax, monstrum tartareum,
Carnem videns, nec cavens laqueum,
In latentem mens aculeum
Aduncatur.

Dignitatis primæ conditio
Reformatur nobis in Filio,
Cujus nova nos resurrectio
Consolatur.

Resurrexit liber ab inferis
Restaurator humani generis,
Ovem suam reportans humeris
Ad superna.

Angelorum pax fit et hominum;
Plenitudo succrescit ordinum:
Triumphantem laus decet Dominum,
Laus æterna.

Harmoniæ cœlestis patriæ
Vox concordet matris Ecclesiæ;
Alleluia frequentet hodie
Plebs fidelis.

Triumphato mortis imperio,
Triumphali fruamur gaudio:
In terra pax, et jubilatio
Sit in cœlis!

Amen.
Hail, thou day of days!
happy day of Jesus' victory!
day worthy of ceaseless joy!
O first of days!

It was on this day that the divine light gladdened the blind with its brightness:
that Christ robbed hell of its spoils,
conquered death, and made peace
between heaven and earth.

The sentence of the eternal King
concluded all under sin,
that the weak might be made strong
by heavenly grace.

And when the whole world
was going headlong to the abyss,
the power and wisdom of God softened his anger
by his mercy.

The old enemy, the author of sin,
insulted us in our misery,
for that there was no hope left us
of the pardon of our sins.

The world despaired of a remedy:
when lo! whilst all things were in quiet silence,
God the Father sent his Son
to them that had no hope.

The greedy thief, the hellish monster saw the Flesh,
but not the snare:
he grasped at the hook,
and was caught.

We were restored
to our former dignity by Jesus,
whose Resurrection now
gladdens us.

He, the restorer of mankind,
rose again free from the dead;
he carried his sheep, on his shoulders,
back to heaven.

Peace is made between angels and men;
the heavenly ranks are filled up:
praise, eternal praise is due
to our triumphant Lord.

Let the voice of mother Church
blend in harmony with that of heaven;
let the faithful sing now, without ceasing,
their Alleluia.

A triumph has been won over the power of death;
let us rejoice in the triumph.
Peace on earth,
and jubilee in heaven!

Amen.

[1] Isa, xvi 1.
[2] Gal, iv. 4.
[3] St John i 29.
[4] Apoc. vii 14.
[5] Apoc. v 5.
[6] St Matt, xxviii 18.
[7] In sanctam Parasceven, et in Crucem et Latronem.
[8] First Sermon, On the Resurrection.
[9] Gen. xlix 9.
[10] Apoc. v 12.
[11] On our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount.
[12] Homil. v. de Resurrectione.
[13] Canon II, Labbe, t. v.
[14] St Matt. X 24.
[15] Rom. viii 18.
[16] Book iv, ch. xiv.
[17] Rom. vi 4.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus; exsultemus et lætemur in ea.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

OUR Pasch is the Lamb, and we meditated upon the mystery yesterday: now let us attentively consider those words of sacred Scripture, where, speaking of the Pasch, it says: 'It is the Phase, that is, the passage of the Lord.' God himself adds these words: 'I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and will kill every first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements.’[1] So that the Pasch is a day of judgement, a day of terrible justice upon the enemies of God; but for that very reason, it is a day of deliverance for Israel. The lamb is slain; but his immolation is the signal of redemption to the holy people of the Lord.

The people of Israel are slaves to the cruel Pharaoh. Their bondage is the heaviest that can be. Their male children are to be put to death. The race of Abraham, on which repose the promises of the world’s salvation, is doomed. It is time for God to interpose: the Lion of the tribe of Juda, he whom none can resist, must show himself.

But in this, the Israelites are a type of another and a far more numerous people, the whole human race; and it is the slave of Satan, a tyrant worse than Pharaoh. Its bondage is at its height. It is debased by the vilest idolatry. It has made every base thing its god; and the God that made all things is ignored or blasphemed. With a few rare exceptions out of each generation, men are the victims of hell. Has God's creation of man, then, been a failure? Not so. The time is come for him to show the might of his arm: he will pass over the earth, and save mankind.

Jesus, the true Israelite, the true Man come down from heaven, he too is made a captive. His enemies have prevailed against him, and his bleeding, lifeless Body has been laid in the tomb. The murderers of the just One have even fixed a seal upon the sepulchre, and set a guard to watch it. Here again the Lord must pass, and confound his enemies by his triumphant passage.

In that Egypt of old, each Israelite family was commanded to slay and eat the Paschal Lamb. Then at midnight the Lord passed, as he had promised, over this land of bondage and crime. The destroying angel followed, slaying with his sword the first-born of the Egyptians, 'from the first-born of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, unto the first-born of the captive woman that was in prison, and all the first-born of the cattle.’[2] A cry of mourning resounded through Mesraïm: but God is just, and his people was made free!

The same victory was gained in the Resurrection which now gladdens us. The midnight was over, and the last shades of darkness were fleeing from before the rising light: it was then that our Lord passed through the sealed stone of his tomb, unperceived by his guards. His Resurrection was a stroke of death to his first-born people, who had refused to receive him as their Messias, or to ‘know the time of their visitation.’[3] The Synagogue was hard of heart, like Pharaoh; it would fain have held captive him of whom the prophet had said, that he would be 'free among the dead.’[4] Hereupon a cry of impotent rage was heard in Jerusalem: but God is just, and Jesus made himself free!

And oh! what a happiness was this passage of our Lord for the human race! He had adopted us as his brethren, and loved us too tenderly to leave us slaves of Satan: therefore, he would have his own Resurrectionbe ours too, and give us light and liberty. The firstborn of Satan were routed by such a victory; the power of hell was broken. Yet a little while, and the altars of the false gods shall everywhere be destroyed; yet a little while, and man, regenerated by the preaching of the Apostles, shall acknowledge his Creator and abjure his idols: for this is the day which the Lord hath made: ‘it is the Phase, that is, the passage of the Lord’!

But observe how the two mysteries—the Lamb and the Passover—are united in our Pasch. The Lord passes, and bids the destroying angel slay the first-born in every house, the entrance of which is not marked with the blood of the lamb. This is the shield of protection; where it is, there divine justice passes by and spares. Pharaoh and his people are not signed with the blood of the lamb: yet have they witnessed the most extraordinary miracles, and suffered unheard-of chastisements. All this should have taught them that the God of Israel is not like their own gods, which have no power; but their heart is hard as stone, and neither the works nor the words of Moses have been able to soften it. Therefore does God strike them and deliver his people.

But this very people, this Israel, ungratefully turns against his deliverer; he is content with the types of the good things promised; he will have no other lamb but the material one. In vain do the prophets tell him that ‘a Lamb is to be sent forth, who shall be King of the earth; that he shall come from the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion.’[5] Israel refuses to acknowledge this Lamb as his Messias; he persecutes him and puts him to death; and persists in putting all his confidence in the blood of victims that have no longer the power to propitiate the anger of God. How terrible will be the Passage of the Lord over Jerusalem, when the sword of the Roman legions shall destroy a whole people!

Satan, too, and his wicked angels, had scoffed at this Lamb; they had despised him, as being too meek and humble to be dreaded; and when they saw him shedding his Blood on the Cross, a shout of exultation rang through the regions of hell. But what was their dismay, when they saw this Lamb descending like a lion into limbo, and setting free from their bondage the countless prisoners of the four thousand previous years? and after this returning to our earth, and inviting all mankind to receive 'the liberty of the glory of the children of God’?[6]

O Jesus! how terrible is thy Passover to thine enemies! but how glorious for them that serve thee! The people of Israel feared it not, because their houses were marked with the blood of the figurative lamb. We are more favoured than they: our Lamb is the Lamb of God, and thy Blood is signed, not upon our dwellings, but upon our souls. Thy prophet foretold the great mystery when he said that on the day of thy vengeance upon Jerusalem, they would be spared whose foreheads should be marked with the Tau.[7] Israel despised the prophecy, which is our joy. The Tau is the sign of thy Cross, dear Jesus! It is thy Cross that shields, and protects, and gladdens us in this Pasch of thy Passover, wherein thy anger is all for thine enemies, and thy blessings all for us!

At Rome, the Station for to-day is in the basilica of St Paul. The church is impatient to lead her white-robed troop of neophytes to the Apostle of the gentiles. Though he is not the foundation of the Church, yet is he companion of Peter's labours in Rome, his fellow-martyr, and the preacher of the Gospel to the gentiles. As he says of himself,[8] he has laboured to form children in God—who could tell the number he has given to Christ? How must he rejoice to see these newly made Christians approach his sacred shrine, there to receive instruction from his epistles, wherein he still speaks to all generations!

MASS

The Introit, taken from the Book of Ecclesiasticus, celebrates the sublime wisdom of St Paul, who is the ever pure source whereat the people of God drink instruction and strength, and so prepare their souls for eternal life.

Introit

Aqua sapientiæ potavit eos, alleluia: firmabitur in illis, et non flectetur, alleluia: et exaltabit eos in æternum. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Confitemini Domino, et invocate Nomen ejus: annuntiate inter gentes opera ejus. ℣. Gloria Patri. Aqua sapientiæ.
He hath given them the water of wisdom to drink, alleluia: this wisdom shall be strengthened in them, and shall not be moved, alleluia: and it shall raise them up for ever. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Praise the Lord, and call upon his Name: declare his deeds among the gentiles, ℣. Glory, etc. He hath given, etc.

In the Collect, the Church gives thanks to God for rendering her fruitful, and thus giving her, every Easter, a mother's joy. She then prays for her new children, that they may have the grace to persevere in the imitation of their risen Lord.

Collect

Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam novo semper fœtu multiplicas: concede famulis tuis, ut sacramentum vivendo teneant, quod fide perceperunt. Per Dominum.
O God, who by a new increase dost continually enlarge thy Church: grant that thy servants may keep up, by their manner of living, the mystery they have received by believing. Through, etc.

Epistle

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.

Cap. xiii.

In diebus illis: Surgens Paulus, et manu silentium indicens, ait: Viri fratres, filii generis Abraham, et qui in vobis timent Deum, vobis verbum salutis hujus missum est. Qui enim habitabant Jerusalem, et principes ejus ignorantes Jesum, et voces prophetarum, quæ per omne sabbatum leguntur, judicantes impleverunt, et nullam causam mortis invenientes in eo, petierunt a Pilato, ut interficerent eum. Cumque consummassent omnia quæ de eo scripta erant, deponentes eum de ligno, posuerunt eum in monumento. Deus vero suscitavit eum a mortuis tertia die; qui visus est per dies multos his, qui simul ascenderant eum eo de Galilæa in Jerusalem: qui usque nunc sunt testes ejus ad plebem. Et nos vobis annuntiamus eam, quæ ad patres nostros repromissio facta est: quoniam hanc Deus adimplevit filiis nostris, resuscitans Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum.
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.

Ch. xiii.

In those days: Paul standing up, and with his hand bespeaking silence, said: Men, brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you fear God, to you the word of this salvation is sent. For they that inhabited Jerusalem, and the rulers thereof, not knowing him nor the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, judging him have fulfilled them, and finding no cause of death in him, they desired of Pilate that they might kill him. And when they had fulfilled all things that were written of him, taking him down from the tree, they laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him up from the dead the third day: who was seen for many days by them who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who to this present are his witnesses to the people. And we declare unto you, that the promise which was made to our fathers, this same God hath fulfilled to our children, raising up Jesus Christ our Lord.

This discourse, which was made at Antioch in Pisidia, in the synagogue, shows us that the Doctor of the gentiles followed the same method in his instructions as did the prince of the Apostles. The great subject of their preaching was the Resurrection of Christ; for it is the fundamental truth, it is the fact above all others, which proves the divine mission of the Son of God upon earth. It is not enough to believe in Christ crucified; we must also believe in Christ risen. The Resurrection is not only the indisputable fact on which rests the whole certainty of our faith, but it is also the dogma which energizes the whole Christian world. Nothing ever happened on this earth which produced a like impression. See how throughout the whole world it is now celebrated by millions of men of every race and nation! Nineteen centuries have passed away since the relics of St Paul were first laid in this tomb on the Ostian Way: during that time, how many events have happened which in their time were looked on as of momentous importance, and are now completely forgotten? For more than two hundred years the storm of persecution was almost ceaseless over Christian Rome; it even became necessary, in the third century, to remove these sacred remains, and hide them, for a time, in the catacombs. After this came Constantine, who built this basilica, and erected the triumphal arch near the altar, under which lies the body of the Apostle. Since then, how many changes have taken place in the world! Dynasties, empires, forms of government, have succeeded each other, and only one institution has stood unchanged—the Church. Every year, during these fifteen centuries, she has gone to the basilica of St Paul, and there, near his tomb, has read this discourse in which the Apostle proclaimed the Resurrection of Christ to the Jews. Seeing such perpetuity, such unchangeableness, even in things like this, we cannot help exclaiming: Oh! truly, Christ is risen! He is the Son of God! for man could never have given duration to any work of his hand. Our Pasch alone tells us who Jesus is. Let us learn from the circumstance suggested to us by to-day’s Epistle how the dazzling beauty of our risen Jesus is reflected even in the minutest details of our happy worship, the Liturgy.

Gradual

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus, et lætemur in ea.
℣. Dicant nunc, qui redempti sunt a Domino, quos redemit de manu inimici, et de regionibus congregavit eos.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro, qui pro nobis pependit in ligno.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.
℣. Let them now say so, that have been redeemed by the Lord from the hand of the enemy: and he hath gathered them out of the countries.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. The Lord hath risen from the tomb, who for our sake was nailed to the Cross.

The Sequence, Victimæ Paschali, p. 145.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.

Cap. xxiv.

In illo tempore: Stetit Jesus in medio discipulorum suorum, et dixit eis: Pax vobis: ego sum, nolite timere. Conturbati vero, et conterriti, existimabant se spiritum videre. Et dixit eis: Quid turbati estis, et cogitationes ascendunt in corda vestra? Videte manus meas, et pedes, quia ego ipse sum: palpate et videte: quia spiritus carnem et ossa non habet, sicut me videtis habere. Et cum hoc dixisset, ostendit eis manus et pedes. Adhuc autem illis non credentibus, et mirantibus præ gaudio, dixit: Habetis hic aliquid, quod manducetur? At illi obtulerunt ei partem piscis assi, et favum mellis. Et cum manducasset coram eis, sumens reliquias, dedit eis. Et dixit ad eos: Hæc sunt verba, quæ locutus sum ad vos, cum adhuc essem vobiscum, quoniam necesse est impleri omnia, quæ scripta sunt in lege Moysi, et prophetis, et Psalmis de me. Tunc aperuit illis sensum ut intelligerent Scripturas. Et dixit eis: quoniam sic scriptum est, et sic oportebat Christum pati, et resurgere a mortuis tertia die: et prædicari in nomine ejus pœnitentiam et remissionem peccatorum in omnes gentes.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.

Ch. xxiv.

At that time: Jesus stood in the midst of his disciples, and said to them: Peace be to you: it is I, fear not. But they being troubled and frighted, supposed they saw a spirit. And he said to them: Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have. And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. But while they yet believed not, and wondered for joy, he said: Have you here anything to eat? And they offered him a piece of broiled fish, and a honey-comb. And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains he gave to them. And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. And he said to them: thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead the third day: and that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all nations.

Jesus shows himself to all his Apostles, on the evening of the day on which he rose from the grave; and he greets them with the wish of peace. He wishes the same to us, during this feast of the Pasch. He desires to establish peace among us—peace between man and God, peace in the conscience of the repentant sinner, peace between man and man by the forgiveness of injuries. Let us welcome this wish of our risen Lord, and jealously preserve the peace he thus deigns to bring us. At his birth in Bethlehem, the angels announced this peace to men of good will; but now it is Jesus himself who brings it to us, for he has accomplished his work of pacification by dying for us on the Cross. The first word he addresses to his Apostles, and through them to us, is Peace!Let us lovingly accept the blessing, and show ourselves to be, in all things, children of peace.

The conduct of the Apostles, on this occasion, deserves our attention. They believe in their Lord's Resurrection; they eagerly announced the great event to the two disciples of Emmaus: but how weak is their faith! They are troubled and frighted at Jesus' sudden apparition; and when he graciously permits them to handle him, they are overpowered with joy, and yet there is a certain inexplicable doubt still lingering in their minds. Our Lord has to condescend even to eat in their presence, in order fully to convince them that it is really himself and not a phantom. What a strange inconsistency there is in all this! Had they not already believed and confessed the Resurrection of their Master, before receiving this visit? We have a lesson to learn here: it is, that there are some people who believe, but their faith is so weak that the slightest shock would endanger it; they say they have faith, but it is of the most superficial kind. And yet, without a lively and vigorous faith, what can we do in the battle we have to be incessantly waging against the devil, the world, and our own selves? He who wrestles with an enemy is desirous to have a sure footing; if he stand on slippery ground, he is sure to be thrown. Nothing is so common nowadays as unstable faith, which believes as long as there is nothing to try it: but let it be put to the test, and it gives way.

One principal cause of this weakness of faith is that subtle naturalism, which now fills the atmosphere in which we live, and which it is so difficult not to imbibe. Let us earnestly pray for an invincible and supernatural faith, which may be the ruling principle of our conduct, which may never flinch, and may triumph over both our internal and external enemies. Thus shall we be able to apply to ourselves those words of the Apostle St John: ‘This is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith.’[9]

In the Offertory, the Church speaks to us, in the words of the royal prophet, of the fountains of water which sprang up at the thunder of God’s bidding. This voice of the Most High was made known to the earth by the preaching of the Apostles, and, in a special manner, by that of St Paul. The fountains are the baptismal fonts, from which our neophytes came regenerated unto life everlasting.

Offertory

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

The Church prays, in the Secret, that the Sacrifice she is about to offer may aid us to pass safely on to that infinite glory to which Baptism first opened to us the way.

Secret

Suscipe, Domine, fidelium preces cum oblationibus hostiarum: ut per hæc piæ devotionis officia, ad cœlestem gloriam transeamus. Per Dominum.
Receive, O Lord, we beseech thee, the prayers of the faithful, together with these oblations: that by these duties of piety they may pass to eternal life. Through, etc.

In the Communion Anthem we have St Paul himself speaking to the neophytes, and telling them what manner of life they must henceforth lead, in order to resemble their divine model, their risen Jesus.

Communion

Si consurrexistis cum Christo, quæ sursum sunt quærite, ubi Christus est in dextera Dei sedens, alleluia: quæ sursum sunt sapite, alleluia.
If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, alleluia; mind the things that are above, alleluia.

The Church makes the above words of the Apostle the subject of her concluding Prayer: she begs that her new children, who have just partaken of the Paschal Mystery, may persevere in the new life of which this holy Sacrament is the chief support.

Postcommunion

Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut paschaJis perceptio Sacramenti, continua in nostris mentibus perseveret. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that the virtue of the Paschal Sacrament which we have received may always remain in our souls. Through, etc.

VESPERS

The Vespers are the same as on Easter Sunday, excepting the Magnificat Antiphon, and the Collect, which are as follows:

Antiphon of the Magnificat

Ant. Videte manus meas et pedes meos, quia ego ipse sum. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. See my hands and my feet, for it is I myself. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Collect is given above, in the Mass, p. 200.


On the third day of the creation, the waters, which covered the earth, were gathered together at the word of the Son of God, and flowed into the hollows prepared for them. The seas thus formed, the surface of the earth became habitable for those beings that were soon to be called forth from nothingness. On this day, then, the angels first beheld the place where we are to have a temporary sojourn. The time will come when this very Son of God, who now separates the waters from the earth, will himself inhabit it, after having assumed our human nature. Let us offer him our earth, as his rightful domain, over which, as also over heaven, all power has been given to him.[10] The Mozarabic breviary gives us the following beautiful prayer, in which are explained the mysteries hidden under the text that describes this third day’s creation:

Capitula

Omnipotens Deus Pater, qui die tertio ab infidelium cordibus, quasi ab inferioribus salsis aquis aridam, id est populum fontem fidei sitientem, segregare dignatus es; da nobis, ut ab infidelium laqueis segregati, resurrectionem Filii tui prædicemus indubii: ut qui tertio ab inferis suscitatus est die, trina nos virtutum copulatione resuscitet: quo fide, spe et charitate robusti, de æterno resurrectionis mereamur munere consolari.
O almighty God, the Father! who on the third day didst vouchsafe to separate the dry land from the briny waters that were on the earth, hereby prefiguring how, at a future time, thou wouldst separate the people that thirsted after the fount of faith from them that had unbelieving hearts: grant that we who are freed from the fetters of unbelief may proclaim without doubting the Resurrection of thy Son. May he that rose from the grave on the third day give us to rise by the union of three virtues: and that thus made strong by faith, hope, and charity, we may merit the eternal happiness of the Resurrection.

Let us again borrow from the ancient Liturgies the formulas used in the celebration of Easter. We find in the Missal of the Gothic Church of Spain this magnificent Preface; it is an eloquent and fervent summary of all the grand things said by the Fathers regarding the Pasch.

Illatio

Dignum et justum est nos tibi semper cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto individua divinitate regnanti gratias agere, Domine Jesu Christe. Qui nos tam admirabiliter condidisti, tam clementer redemisti. Non laboribus in faciendo fatigatus, non passionibus in redimendo consumptus. Fecit virtus potentialiter quos redemit pietas tam clementer. Totum tibi est in veritate possibile, quia hoc ipsum tibi, excepto huma nitatis privilegio, cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto est essentialiter coæquale. Ita tamen posse te manet, quod velle te decet. Id est ut omnipotens cuneta facias facienda; justus, æquitate censeas judicanda; misericors, elementer perficias coronanda.

Qui, cum solo majestatis terribili nutu, nostrum potueris conterere vexatorem, maluisti eum humilitatis abjectione prosternere. Ex hoc magis approbans nullam majestati tuæ contrariam nobis subsistere aereorum principum tyrannidem, cum sic nostrorum infirmitate membrorum omnem inimici ad nihilum redegeris vanitatem. Etenim superbus se ingemuit gravius corruisse, quando se elisum sensit ab humilitate fuisse. Atque ideo tali divina sapientia antiqui serpentis astutiam consilio vicit, ne violenter addiceret, sed legaliter quateretur. Ut qui transgressorem eo se jure possidere jactabat, quem suis consentientem persuasionibus obligaverat: sic eum justo superatus judicio redderet, cum istum in quo suum nihil repererat occidisset. Quapropter amisit merito reum, qui tollentem mundi peccata crucis supplicio Agnum non timuit mortificare divinum. Disruptis igitur cruce inferni catenis legibusque solutis, ad cœlos migrant cum Christo credentes in Christo. Et cruciandi permanent in inferno qui delectati sunt inviscerati diabolo.

Rediit ecce post triduum victor, ex mortuis vivus, qui ad hoc pro nobis est crucifixus. Innumeris captivorum ovantium stipatur agminibus, qui passionis tempore etiam discipulorum suorum fuerat societate nudatus. Agitatur eo resurgente tremefacta funditus terra, quo descendente concussa sunt et inferna. Cohors militum terrenorum cœlestis regis terribili regressu perculsa diffugiit, et quem dudum incluserat velut reum, jam et ipsa terribilem victa judicem verum confitetur et Deum. Sanctorum corpora vivificata consurgunt: habitaculum quos paulisper jacuerat resurgit gloriosum, eodem resuscitante a quo anima derelicta in inferno non fuerat. Angeli proprio famulantur auctori; splendificus universo mundo oritur dies.

Tripudiant inspirato resurrectionis die, qui mœstificati fuerant passionis ejus vulnere repentino. Agnoscit Mater membra quæ genuit. Maria Magdalene angelo increpante resipuit, ne viventem cum mortuis quærere debuisset. Ad monumentum Petrus cum Johanne concurrit, recentiaque in linteaminibus defuncti et resurgentis vestigia cernit. Latro Christum confessus possessor paradisi factus est primitivus. Impletum est quod dictum fuerat de Filio hominis, tot ante sæcula prophetatum, ut scilicet peccatorum pro nobis manibus traderetur: crucifigeretur, moreretur: inferna terribiliter penetraret, superbos dejiceret, humiles misericorditer exaltaret: cum triumpho inenarrabili a mortuis resurgeret, et cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto omnipotentialiter cunctis dominando regnaret.


Cujus virtutis immensitate permoti, etiam septem vexilla regia beatorum innumeras lucifluarum mittit plebium catervas ad laudem, ac suum quisque pio præveniens officio locum, debitum exsolvit, carnem triumphantis Regis per ævum submisseque adorat, et glorificatis vultibus Agnum, suasque rutilantibus gemmis eximias præfert cum laude coronas. Seraphim quoque divinæ sedis terribilem thronum alarum trino tegmine velant sui famulatus, unum te fatendo cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto Deum trinæ confessionis præconio declarandum, in sede siderea permanentem regnantemque in sæcula sæculorum, incessabili jugitate dicunt: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
It is meet and just that we should ever give thanks to thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, who reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost in one undivided Godhead. Thou didst wonderfully create, and mercifully redeem us. In the creation, thou wast not fatigued by labour; in the redemption, thou wast not consumed by suffering. Thy power powerfully made, thy mercy mercifully redeemed us. Everything is, indeed, possible to thee, for whatsoever is in the Father and the Holy Ghost is equally in thee, who hast nought which they have not, save the privilege of thy human nature. Therefore canst thou do whatsoever it beseemeth thee to wish. As omnipotent, thou doest what thou wiliest to do; as just, thou judgest all things with equity; as merciful, thou crownest with clemency them that deserve a crown.

Though thou couldst have crushed our enemy by a single look of thy dread majesty, yet wouldst thou the rather prostrate him by the excess of thy humility: hereby teaching us, that the princes of this air have no further power against us save that which thy Majesty permits, seeing that by the weakness of our flesh thou didst reduce to nought the haughtiness of the enemy. Verily, the proud one felt his fall the more, in that he knew it was by humility he was crushed. Thus did divine wisdom plan the overthrow of the old and crafty serpent; he would have it to be not a violent but a legal defeat; and that, as Satan boasted that man was legally his slave, because he had persuaded him to consent to the fetters, so he might be forced, by a just judgement, to give up his prey, when he killed him over whom he had no claim. Hence when he made bold to put to the death of the cross the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, he deservedly lost the guilty one. Therefore, the bonds of hell being broken, and its laws abrogated, by the Cross, they that believe in Christ pass with Christ to heaven; and they remain to be tormented in hell, who put their happiness in making themselves the devil’s prey.

Lo! Christ, after three days, has returned conqueror and living from the grave, for unto this was he crucified for us. He that during his Passion was deprived of the company of his disciples, is now surrounded by a countless number of glad captives whom he has set free. He that made hell itself tremble when he descended, now, by his Resurrection, makes the earth shake to its foundations. The soldiers of earth take to flight at the return of heaven’s King; and him whom they had just before guarded as a guilty captive, they now confess to be the terrible Judge and true God, who has conquered them. The bodies of the saints return to life, and rise; their earthly tabernacle, which for a time had lain in dust, rises glorious with him, who permitted not the soul to abide in limbo. The angels pay court to their Creator. A glorious day rises upon the whole earth.

Let them that mourned because of the swift and bloody Passion, now exult with exceeding gladness on this blessed day of the Resurrection. The Mother recognizes the Son of her womb, Mary Magdalen is rebuked by the angel, and ceases to seek among the dead him that is living. Peter, accompanied by John, runs to the sepulchre, and in the windingsheet and cloths sees the traces of his Master, who was dead, but now is risen. The thief that confessed Christ to be God is made the first possessor of Paradise. All that was prophesied long ages before of the Son of Man is now fulfilled; to wit, that for our sake he would be delivered into the hands of sinners; that he would be crucified and put to death; that he would descend into hell, with awful majesty, cast down the proud, and mercifully exalt the humble; that with ineffable triumph he would rise again from the dead, and would reign together with the Father and the Holy Ghost, governing all creatures with great power.

Filled with admiration at the immensity of his power, the seven standard-bearers of the heavenly kingdom send upon the earth countless hosts of bright spirits to give him praise. Each angel hastes to his post, paying the debt of his homage, and humbly adoring the Flesh of the eternally triumphant King, casts at his feet with praise the crown of his glittering gems. The seraphim, who with their six wings veil in reverent worship the awful throne of the Godhead; who, by their triple hymn of praise, confess thee to be one God with the Father and the Holy Ghost, and acknowledge thee as the King that reigns for ever and ever on the throne of heaven; they also say in ceaseless song: Holy, Holy, Holy!

We subjoin to this Mozarabic Preface a hymn taken from the Roman-French Missal of the Middle Ages. It was a favourite Easter hymn with the people of those days; and though somewhat unpolished, is full of vigour. The chant that accompanied it, and which would fatigue any singer of modem times, is, in spite of its occasional want of smoothness, very melodious and expressive.

Sequence

Fulgens præclara
Rutilat per orbem
Hodie dies in qua
Christi lucida
Narrantur ovanter prælia.

De hoste superbo
Quem Christus triumphavit pulchre,
Castra
Illius perimens teterrima.

Infelix culpa Evæ,
Qua caruimus omnes vita.
Felix proles Mariæ,
Qua epulamur modo una.

Benedicta
Sit celsa
Regina illa,
Generans regem
Spoliantem tartara,
Pollentem
Jam in æthera.

Rex in æternum,
Suscipe benignus
Præconia nostra
Sedule tibi canentia.

Patris sedens ad dexteram,
Victor ubique,
Morte superata,
Polorum possidens
Gaudia.

O magna,
O celsa,
O pulchra dementia
Christi melliflua,
O alma.

Laus tibi honorque ac virtus,
Qui nostram antiquam
Leviasti sarcinam.

Roseo cruore
Agni benignissimi
Empta,
Florida
Micat hæc aula.

Potenti virtute nostra
Qui lavit facinora,
Tribuit dona fulgida.

Stupens valde in memet,
Jam miror hodierna,
Tanta
Indignus pandere
Modo sacramenta.

Stirpe Davidica
Ortus de tribu Juda,
Leo potens surrexisti in gloria.
Agnus visus es in terra.

Fundans olim arva:
Regna petens supera:
Justis reddens præmia,
In sæcula
Dignantur ovantia.

Dic impie Zabule,
Quid valet nunc fraus tua?
Igneis nexus loris
A Christi victoria.

Tribus, linguæ, admiramini:
Quis audivit talia
Miracula?
Ut mors mortem sic superaret:
Rei perciperent talem gratiam?

Judæa incredula,
Cur manes adhuc inverecunda?
Respice christicolas,
Qualiter læti canunt inclyta
Redemptori carmina.

Ergo pie Rex Christe,
Nobis laxans crimina,
Solve nexorum vincula.

Electorum agmina
Fac tecum resurgere
Ad beatam gloriam,
Digna rependens merita.

Amen.
Now shines
through the world
the bright fair day,
whereon are triumphantly told
the splendid combats of Christ.

He gloriously conquered
the haughty enemy,
and routed his most
wicked hosts.

Unhappy sin of Eve,
whereby we were all deprived of life!
Happy the fruit of Mary,
whereon we all now feed together!

Blessed
be that noble
Queen,
The mother of the King,
who robbed hell
of its prey,
And now reigns in heaven above.

O eternal King !
graciously receive
the hymns
we devoutly sing to thee.

Thou sittest on the right hand of thy Father.
Universal Conqueror!
thou didst vanquish death,
and enter into the joys
of heaven.

O mercy of Christ! how great,
how sublime,
how beautiful,
how sweet,
how tender art thou!

Praise, honour and power be to thee
that didst lighten
our heavy weight of old!

Purchased by the Blood
of the infinitely merciful Lamb,
the Church glitters
with the ruby flowers
of her redemption.

He who by his mighty power
washed away our sins,
loads us with precious gifts.

Bewildered in my admiration
of this day's wonders,
I am unworthy
to proclaim
its great mysteries.

Son of David!
Child of the tribe of Juda!
thou didst rise in glory, a lion in strength.
Thou wast seen on earth as a gentle lamb.

It was thou that in the beginning didst create the world.
Thou hast ascended to the kingdom above:
And there thou mercifully rewardest
the just with the rewards
of everlasting joy.

Say, Satan, thou wicked spirit,
what now hath thy craft profited thee?
The victory of Christ
has bound thee fast in fetters of fire.

O ye tribes and nations, be astounded!
Who hath heard
of miracles like these?
That death should so conquer death?
That criminals should receive favour like unto this?

O incredulous Jew!
hast thou no shame, that thou canst continue so?
See how the Christians rejoice,
singing to the Redeemer
their holy hymns.

Therefore, O Jesus, our merciful King!
forgive us our sins,
loosen our fetters.

Grant that thy elect:
may rise with thee to heavenly glory,
and to their just merits
give recompense.

Amen.

[1] Exod. xii 11.
[2] Exod. xii 29.
[3] St Luke xix 44.
[4] Ps. lxxxvii 6.
[5] Isa. xvi 1.
[6] Rom. viii 21.
[7] Ezech. ix 6.
[8] Gal. iv 19.
[9] 1 St John v 4.
[10] St Matt, xxviii 18.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including:


Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et lætemur in ea.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

THE Hebrew word Pasch signifies passage, and we explained yesterday how this great day first became sacred by reason of the Lord's Passover. But there is another meaning which attaches to the word, as we learn from the early Fathers and the Jewish rabbins. The Pasch is, moreover, the passage of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. These three great facts really happened on one and the same night: the banquet of the lamb, the death of the firstborn of the Egyptians, and the departure from Egypt. Let us, to-day, consider how this third figure is a further development of our Easter mystery.

The day of Israel's setting forth from Egypt for his predestined country of the Promised Land is the most important in his whole history; but both the departure itself, and the circumstances that attended it, were types of future realities to be fulfilled in the Christian Pasch. The people of God were delivered from an idolatrous and tyrannical country: in our Pasch, they who are now our neophytes have courageously emancipated themselves from the slavish sway of Satan, and have solemnly renounced the pomps and works of this haughty Pharaoh.

On their road to the Promised Land, the Israelites had to pass through a sea of water; their doing so was a necessity, both for their protection against Pharaoh's army which was pursuing them, and for their entrance into the land of milk and honey. Our neophytes, too, after renouncing the tyrant who had enslaved them, had to go through that same saving element of water, in order to escape their fierce enemies; it carried them safe into the land of their hopes, and stood as a rampart to defend them against invasion.

By the goodness of God, that water, which is an obstacle to man's pursuing his way, was turned into an ally for Israel's march; the laws it had from nature were suspended, and it became the saviour of God's people. In like manner, the sacred font—which, as the Church told us on the feast of the Epiphany, is made an instrument of divine grace—has become the refuge and fortress of our happy neophytes; their passing through its waters has put them out of reach of the tyrant's grasp.

Having reached the opposite shore, the Israelites see Pharaoh and his army, their shields and their chariots, buried in the sea. When our neophytes looked at the holy font, from which they had risen to the life of grace, they rejoiced to see the tomb where their sins, enemies worse than Pharaoh and his minions, lay buried for ever.

Then did the Israelites march cheerfully on towards the land that God had promised to give them. During the journey, they will have God as their teacher and lawgiver; they will have their thirst quenched by fountains springing up from a rock in the desert; they will be fed on manna sent each day from heaven. Our neophytes, too, will run on unfettered to the heavenly country, their Promised Land. They will go through the desert of this world, uninjured by its miseries and dangers, for the divine lawgiver will teach them, not amidst thunder and lightning, as he did when he gave his law to the Israelites, but with persuasive words of gentlest love, spoken with that sweet manner which set on fire the hearts of the two disciples of Emmaus. Springs of water shall refresh them at every turn, yea, of that living water which Jesus, a few weeks back, told the Samaritan woman should be given to them that adore him in spirit and in truth. And, lastly, a heavenly Manna shall be their food, strengthening and delighting them—a Manna far better than that of old, for it will give them immortality.

So that our Pasch means all this: it is a passing through water to the Land of Promise, but with a reality and truth which the Israelites had only under the veil of types, sublime indeed and divine, but mere types. Let then our Passover from the death of original sin to the life of grace, by holy Baptism, be a great feast-day with us. This may not be the anniversary of our Baptism: it matters not; let us fervently celebrate our exodus from the Egypt of the world into the Christian Church; let us, with glad and grateful hearts, renew our baptismal vows, which made our God so liberal in his gifts to us; let us renounce Satan, and all his works, and all his pomps.

The Apostle of the Gentiles tells us of another mystery of the waters of Baptism; it gives completion to all we have been saying, and equally forms part of our Pasch. He teaches us that we were hidden beneath this water, as was Christ in his tomb; and that we then died, and were buried, together with him.[1] It was the death of our life of sin: that we might live to God, we had to die to sin. When we think of the holy font where we were regenerated, let us call it the tomb, wherein we buried the Old Man, who was to have no resurrection. Baptism by immersion—which was the ancient mode of administering the Sacrament, and is still used in some countries—was expressive of this spiritual burial: the neophyte was made to disappear beneath the water: he was dead to his former life, as our buried Jesus was to his mortal life. But, as our Redeemer did not remain in the tomb, but rose again to a new life, so likewise, says the Apostle,[2] they who are baptized, rise again with him when they come from the font; they bear on them the pledges of immortality and glory, and are the true and living members of that Head, who dieth now no more. Here again is our Pasch, our passage from death to life.

At Rome, the Station is in the basilica of St Laurence outside the Walls. It is looked upon as the most important of the many churches built by Rome in honour of her favourite martyr, whose body lies under the high altar, Hither were the neophytes led to-day, that they might learn, from the example of so brave and generous a soldier of Christ, how courageous they should be in confessing their faith, and how faithful in living up to their baptismal vows. For several centuries, the reception of Baptism was a preparation for martyrdom; but at all times it is an enlisting in the service of Christ, which we cannot leave without incurring the guilt and penalty of traitors.

MASS

The Introit is composed of those words, which the Son of God will speak to his elect, at the last Judgement, when calling them into his kingdom. The Church applies them to the neophytes, and thus raises up their thoughts to that eternal happiness, the remembrance of which supported the martyrs in their sufferings.

Introit

Venite benedicti Patris mei; percipite regnum, alleluia: quod vobis paratum est ab origine mundi. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Cantate Domino canticum novum: cantate Domino omnis terra.
℣. Gloria Patri.
Venite.
Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom, alleluia: which hath been prepared for you from the beginning of the world. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Sing to the Lord a new song: sing to the Lord all the earth.
℣. Glory, etc.
Come, etc.

In the Collect, the Church reminds her children that the feasts of the holy Liturgy are a means of our coming to the eternal feasts of heaven. It is with this truth and hope before us that we have drawn up our Liturgical Year. We must, therefore, so celebrate our Easter of time as to deserve to be admitted into the joys of the eternal Easter.

Collect

Deus qui nos resurrectionis Dominicæ annua solemnitate lætificas: concede propitius, ut per temporalia festa quæ agimus, pervenire ad gaudia æterna mereamur. Per eumdem.
O God, who by the yearly solemnity of the Resurrection of our Lord fillest us with joy; mercifully grant that by these temporal festivals which we celebrate, we may at last come to the possession of those joys that are eternal. Through the same, etc.

To this the Church, during this week, adds one or other of the following Collects:

Against the persecutors of the Church

Ecclesiæ tuæ, quæsumus Domine, preces placatus admitte: ut, destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, secura tibi serviat libertate. Per Dominum.
Mercifully hear, we beseech thee, O Lord, the prayers of thy Church: that, all oppositions and errors being removed, she may serve thee with a secure liberty. Through etc.

For the Pope

Deus, omnium fidelium Pastor et rector, famulum tuum N. quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quæsumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus præest, proficere; ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Dominum.
O God, the Pastor and Ruler of all the faithful, look down in thy mercy on thy servant N., whom thou hast appointed Pastor over thy Church: and grant, we beseech thee, that both by word and example, he may edify all those that are under his charge; and with the flock entrusted to him, arrive at length at eternal happiness. Through, etc.

Epistle

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.

Cap. iii.

In diebus illis: Aperiens Petrus os suum, dixit: Viri Israelitæ, et qui timetis Deum, audite: Deus Abraham, et Deus Isaac, et Deus Jacob, Deus patrum nostrorum glorificavit Filium suum Jesum, quem vos quidem tradidistis, et negastis ante faciem Pilati, judicante illo dimitti. Vos autem sanctum et justum negastis, et petistis virum homicidam donari vobis: auotorem vero vitæ interfecistis, quem Deus suscitavit a mortuis, cujus nos testes sumus. Et nunc fratres, scio quia per ignorantiam fecistis, sicut et principes vestri. Deus autem, quæ prænuntiavit per os omnium prophetarum, pati Christum suum, sic rmplevit. Pœnitemini igitur, et convertimini, ut deleantur peccata vestra.
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.

Ch. iii.

In those days: Peter opening his mouth, said: You men of Israel, and you who fear God, give ear. The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom you indeed delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate, when he judged he should be released. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you. But the Author of life you killed, whom God hath raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And now, brethren, I know that you did it through ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.

To-day, again, we have the prince of the Apostles proclaiming in Jerusalem the Resurrection of the ManGod. On this occasion, he was accompanied by St John, and had just worked his first miracle, of curing the lame man, near one of the gates of the temple. The people had crowded round the two Apostles, and St Peter preached to them; it was the second time he had spoken in public. His first sermon brought three thousand to receive Baptism; the one of to-day, five thousand. Truly did the Apostle exercise on these two occasions his office of fisher of men, which our Lord gave him when he first called him to be his disciple. Let us admire the charity wherewith St Peter bids the Jews acknowledge Jesus as their Messias. These are the very men who have denied him; and yet the Apostle, by partially excusing their crime on the score of ignorance, encourages them to hope for pardon. They clamoured for the death of Jesus in the days of his voluntary weakness and humiliation; let them, now that he is glorified, acknowledge him as their Messias and King, and their sin shall be forgiven. In a word, let them humble themselves and they shall be saved. Thus did God call unto himself those who were of a good will, and an upright heart; thus does he also in these our days. There were some in Jerusalem who corresponded to the call; but the far greater number refused to follow it. It is the same now. Let us earnestly beseech our Lord that the nets of his fishermen may be filled, and the Paschal banquet be crowded with guests.

Gradual

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus, et lætemur in ea.
℣. Dextera Domini fecit virtutem, dextera Domini exaltavit me. Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Surrexit Dominus vere, et apparuit Petro.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.
℣. The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength: the right hand of the Lord hath exalted me. Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. The Lord hath truly risen, and hath appeared to Peter.

The Sequence, Victimœ Paschali, p. 145.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. xxi.

In illo tempore: Manifestavit se iterum Jesus discipulis ad mare Tiberiadis. Manifestavit autem sic. Erant simul Simon Petrus, et Thomas, qui dicitur Didymus, et Nathanael, qui erat a Cana Galilææ, et filii Zebedæi, et alii ex discipulis ejus duo. Dicit eis Simon Petrus: Vado piscari. Dicunt ei: Venimus et nos tecum. Et exierunt, et ascenderunt in navim: et illa nocte nihil prendiderunt. Mane autem facto, stetit Jesus in littore: non tamen cognoverunt discipuli quia Jesus est. Dixit ergo eis Jesus: Pueri, numquid pulmentarium habetis? Responderunt ei: Non. Dicit eis: Mittite in dexteram navigii rete, et invenietis. Miserunt ergo: et jam non valebant illud trahere præ multitudine piscium. Dixit ergo discipulus ille, quem diligebat Jesus, Petro: Dominus est. Simon Petrus cum audisset quia Dominus est, tunica succinxit se (erat enim nudus) et misit se in mare. Alii autem discipuli navigio venerunt (non enim longe erant a terra, sed quasi cubitis ducentis): trahentes rete piscium. Ut ergo descenderunt in terram, viderunt prunas positas, et piscem superpositum, et panem. Dicit eis Jesus: Afferte de piscibus quos prendidistis nunc. Ascendit Simon Petrus: et traxit rete in terram, plenum magnis piscibus centum quinquaginta tribus. Et cum tanti essent, non est scissum rete. Dicit eis Jesus: Venite, prandete. Et nemo audebat discumbentium interrogare eum: Tu quis es? scientes quia Dominus est. Et venit Jesus, et accipit panem, et dat eis, et piscem similiter. Hoc jam tertio manifestatus est discipulis suis cum resurrexisset a mortuis.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. xxi.

At that time: Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias. And he showed himself after this manner. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas, who is called Didymus, and Nathaniel, who was of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter saith to them; I go a fishing. They say to him: We also come with thee. And they went forth, and entered into the ship; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was come, Jesus stood on the shore: yet the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus therefore said to them: Children, have you any meat? They answered him: No. He saith to them: Cast the net on the right side of the ship; and you shall find. They cast therefore: and now they are not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved said to Peter: It is the Lord. Simon Peter, when he heard that it was the Lord, girt his coat about him (for he was naked) and cast himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the ship (for they were not far from the land, but as it were two hundred cubits) dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they came to land, they saw hot coals lying, and a fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith to them: Bring hither of the fishes which you have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty-three. And although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus saith to them: Come, and dine. And none of them who were at meat durst ask him: Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. And Jesus cometh and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish in like manner. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to his disciples, after he was risen from the dead.

Jesus had shown himself to all his Apostles on the Sunday evening; he repeated his visit to them eight days after, as we shall see further on. The Gospel for to-day tells us of a third apparition, wherewith seven of the eleven were favoured. It took place on the shore of Lake Genesareth, which, on account of its size, was called the Sea of Tiberias. The seven are delighted beyond measure at seeing their divine Master; he treats them with affectionate familiarity, and provides them with a repast. John is the first to recognize Jesus; nor can we be surprised: his purity gives keen perception to the eye of his soul, as it is written: ‘Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.’[3] Peter throws himself from the ship, that he may the more quickly reach his Lord. His natural impetuosity shows itself here as on so many other occasions; but in this impetuosity we see that he loved Jesus more than his fellowdisciples did. But let us attentively consider the other mysteries of our Gospel.

The seven disciples are fishing: it is the Church working out her apostolate. Peter is the master-fisherman; it belongs to him to decide when and where the nets are to be thrown. The other six Apostles unite with him in the work, and Jesus is with them all, looking upon their labour, and directing it, for whatever is procured by it is all for him. The fish are the faithful, for, as we have already had occasion to remark, the Christian was often called by this name in the early ages. It was the font, it was water, that gave him his Christian life. Yesterday, we were considering how the Israelites owed their safety to the waters of the Red Sea; and our Gospel for to-day speaks of a Passover, a passing from Genesareth’s waters to a banquet prepared by Jesus. There is a mystery, too, in the number of the fishes that are taken; but what it is that is signified by these hundred and fifty-three we shall perhaps never know, until the day of Judgement reveals the secret. They probably denote some divisions or portions of the human race, that are to be gradually led, by the apostolate of the Church, to the Gospel of Christ: but, once more, till God’s time comes, the book must remain sealed.

Having reached the shore, the Apostles surround their beloved Master, and lo! he has prepared them a repast: bread, and a fish lying on hot coals. This fish is not one of those they themselves have caught; they are to partake of it now that they have come from the water. The early Christians thus interpret the mystery: the fish represents Christ, who was made to suffer the cruel torments of the Passion, and whose love of us was the fire that consumed him; and he became the divine food of them that are regenerated by water. We have elsewhere remarked, that in the primitive Church, the Greek word for fish (Ichthus) was venerated as a sacred symbol, inasmuch as the letters of this word formed the initials of the titles of our Redeemer.[4]

But Jesus would unite, in the same repast, both the divine Fish, which is himself, and those other fishes, which represent all mankind, and have been drawn out of the water in Peter’s net. The Paschal feast has the power to effect, by love, an intimate and substantial union between the Food and the guests, between the Lamb of God and the other lambs who are his brethren, between the divine Fish and those others that he has associated with himself by the closest ties of fellowship. They, like him, have been offered in sacrifice; they follow him in suffering and in glory. Witness the great deacon Laurence, around whose tomb the faithful are now assembled. He was made like to his divine Master when he was burnt to death on his red-hot gridiron; he is now sharing with him in an eternal Pasch, the glories of Jesus' victory, and the joys of his infinite happiness.

The Offertory is formed from the words of the Psalm, which commemorate the manna that heaven gave to the Israelites, after they had passed through the Red Sea. But the new Manna is as far superior to the old, which nourished only the body, as our baptismal font, which washes away our sins, is grander than the mighty waves, which swallowed up Pharaoh and his army.

Offertory

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

In the Secret, the Church speaks in glowing terms of the heavenly Bread that feeds us and is the Victim of our Paschal Sacrifice.

Secret

Sacrificia, Domine, paschalibus gaudiis immolamus: quibus Ecclesia tua mirabiliter et pascitur et nutritur. Per Dominum.
We offer thee, O Lord, with joy, these Paschal sacrifices, wherewith thy Church is wonderfully fed and nourished. Through, etc.

To this, the Church, during this week, adds one or other of the following Secrets:

Against the persecutors of the Church

Protege nos, Domine, tuis mysteriis servientes: ut divinis rebus inhærentes, et corpore tibi famulemur et mente. Per Dominum.
Protect us, O Lord, while we assist at thy sacred mysteries: that being employed in acts of religion, we may serve thee both in body and mind. Through, etc.

For the Pope

Oblatis, quæsumus, Domine, placare muneribus: et famulum tuum N. quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, assidua protectione guberna. Per Dominum.
Be appeased, O Lord, with the offering we have made: and cease not to protect thy servant N., whom thou hast been pleased to appoint Pastor over thy Church. Through, etc.

Our Lord says: ‘This is the Bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die.’[5] In the Communion Anthem we have the Apostle telling us that Christ, rising from the dead, dieth now no more. These two texts tell us the effect produced in our souls by the holy Eucharist: we eat an immortal Food, and it communicates to us its own undying life.

Communion

Christus resurgens ex mortuis, jam non moritur, alleluia: mors illi ultra non dominabitur. Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ rising from the dead, dieth now no more, alleluia: death shall no more have dominion over him. Alleluia, alleluia.

In the Postcommunion, the Church prays for us, that we may receive the effects of the divine Food of which we have just partaken; she prays that it may purify us, and substitute the new principle (which is in our risen Jesus) for the old one that was in us.

Postcommunion

Ab omni nos, quæsumus Domine, vetustate purgatos, Sacramenti tui veneranda perceptio in novam transferat creaturam. Qui vivis.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that being cleansed from the old leaven, the reception of thy venerable Sacrament may transform us into a new creature. Who livest, etc.

To this the Church, during this week, adds one or other of the following Postcommunions:

Against the persecutors of the Church

Quæsumus, Domine Deus noster: ut quos divina tribuis participatione gaudere, humanis non sinas subjacere periculis. Per Dominum.
We beseech thee, O almighty God, not to leave exposed to the dangers of human life those whom thou hast permitted to partake of these divine mysteries. Through, etc.

For the Pope

Hæc nos, quæsumus, Domine, divini Sacramenti perceptio protegat: et famulum tuum N. quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, una cum commisso sibi grege salvet semper et muniat. Per Dominum.
May the participation of this divine Sacrament protect us, we beseech thee, O Lord, and always procure safety and defence to thy servant N., whom thou hast appointed Pastor over thy Church, together with the flock committed to his charge. Through, etc.

BLESSING OF THE AGnUS DEI

The Wednesday of Easter week is the day set apart, at Rome, for the blessing of the Agnus Dei. This ceremony is performed by the Pope, the first and every seventh year of his pontificate. The Agnus Dei are discs of wax, on which are stamped, on one side the image of the Lamb of God, and on the other that of some saint. The custom of blessing them at Eastertide is very ancient. We find traces of it in the Liturgy even so far back as the seventh century. When, in the year 1544, they opened at Rome the tomb of the Empress Mary (wife of Honorius, and daughter of Stilicho), who died before the middle of the fifth century, there was found in it an Agnus Dei, resembling those now blessed by the Pope.

It is therefore incorrect to state, as some authors have done, that the Agnus Dei originated at the time when the administration of Baptism at Easter fell into disuse, and that they were meant as symbols commemorative of the ancient rite. There is very little doubt that at Rome each neophyte used to receive an Agnus Dei from the Pope on Holy Saturday. We may, then, rightly conclude—and the conclusion is confirmed by the fact just mentioned regarding the tomb of the Empress Mary—that the solemn administration of Baptism and the blessing of the Agnus Dei were contemporaneous, at least for a certain period.

The Agnus Dei are made from the Paschal candle of the previous year; of course, a great quantity of other wax is added to it. Formerly, it was the custom to pour in some drops of the holy chrism. In the Middle Ages the wax was prepared and stamped by the subdeacons and acolytes of the Pope's palace; the Cistercian monks of the monastery of St Bernard, in Rome, have now that honour.

The ceremony takes place in one of the rooms of the pontifical palace. A large vase of holy water is prepared; and the Pope, standing near it, recites the following prayer:

O Lord God, almighty Father, Creator of the elements, preserver of mankind, author of grace and eternal salvation, who badest the rivers that flowed from Paradise to water the whole earth! O thou, whose only-begotten Son walked dry-shod on the waters, and in the same was baptized, who also gave forth from his most sacred side water mingled with Blood, and commanded his disciples to baptize all nations; be merciful unto us, and pour forth thy blessing upon us who celebrate all these wonders; that thus the creatures which we are about to plunge into this water may be blessed and sanctified by thee, and that the honour and veneration which shall be shown to them may draw down upon us, thy servants, the forgiveness of sins, pardon and grace, and finally life eternal together with thy saints and elect.

After this, the Pontiff pours balm and holy chrism into the water, beseeching God to sanctify it for the purpose to which it is now to be used. He then turns towards the baskets, which hold the waxen tablets, and recites this prayer:

O God, the author of all sanctification, whose goodness is ever with us; thou who, when Abraham, the father of our faith, was preparing to slay his son Isaac in obedience to thy commands, didst will him to consummate his sacrifice by offering up the ram that was entangled in the briers: thou who didst prescribe, through thy servant Moses, the yearly sacrifice of the spotless lambs; deign, we pray thee, to bless and sanctify, by the invocation of thy holy Name, these forms of wax, which bear the impress of the most innocent Lamb; that by their contact and presence, the faithful may be incited to pray, storms and tempests be driven away, and the wicked spirits put to flight by the virtue of the holy Cross hereon marked, before which every knee bends, and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ, having conquered death on the gibbet of the Cross, now reigneth in the glory of God the Father. He it is who, when led to death as a sheep to slaughter, offered unto thee his Father the sacrifice of his own Body, that he might bring back the lost sheep that had been led astray by the devil's fraud, and carry it on his shoulders to the fold of heaven.

O almighty and eternal God, the institutor of the ceremonies and sacrifices of the law, who didst deign to turn away thine anger from sinful man as often as he offered victims of propitiation unto thee; who didst graciously accept the sacrifices made by Abel, Melchisedech, Abraham, Moses and Aaron which sacrifices were indeed but figures, yet by thy blessing were made holy and profitable to them that humbly offered them; grant, we beseech thee, that as the innocent Lamb, Jesus Christ thy Son, when immolated at thy will on the altar of the Cross, delivered our first parent from the power of the devil, so may these spotless lambs, which we present to thy divine Majesty for a blessing, be endued with power unto good. Deign to bless them, to sanctify them, to consecrate them, to give them the power to protect those who devoutly carry them against the malice of demons, against tempests, pestilence, sickness, fire, and enemies; and make them efficacious in protecting the mother and her child in the dangers of travail. Through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

After these prayers, the Pope girds himself with a cloth, and sits near the vessel of holy water. The ministers bring him the Agnus Dei, which he plunges into the water, in imitation of the Baptism of the neophytes. The prelates who are present take them from the water, and place them upon tables covered with white linen. Then the Pontiff rises, and says the following prayer:

O Holy Spirit! who makest the waters fruitful, and usest them as the instrument of thy greatest mysteries; who didst take away their bitterness, and give them sweetness; and, sanctifying them by thy breathing, dost employ them for washing away all sins, by the invocation of the Holy Trinity; vouchsafe to bless, sanctify, and consecrate these lambs that have been cast into the holy water, and have imbibed of the balm and holy chrism. May they receive power from thee against the efforts of the devil’s malice; may they who wear them abide in safety; may they have nought to fear from danger; may the wickedness of men have no power to hurt them; and do thou mercifully be their strength and consolation.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God! who art the innocent Lamb, the Priest and the Victim; whom the prophets called the vine and the corner-stone; who didst redeem us by thy Blood, and with that same didst sign our hearts and foreheads, that the enemy, when passing our dwellings, might not wreak his anger upon us; who art the spotless Lamb offered in ceaseless sacrifice; who art the Paschal Lamb, become, under the sacramental species, the remedy and salvation of our souls; who guidest us across the sea of this present life to the resurrection and glory of eternity: deign, we beseech thee, to bless, sanctify, and consecrate these spotless lambs, which in thy honour we have formed out of virgin wax, and have impregnated with holy water, and sacred balm and chrism, intending hereby to commemorate thy being divinely conceived by the operation of the Holy Ghost. Protect those that wear them from fire, and lightning, and tempests, and every adversity; grant them to be a safeguard to mothers in the pains of childbirth, as thou didst assist thine own when she gave thee birth. And as thou heretofore didst save Susanna from her false accusers, and the blessed martyr and virgin Thecla from torture, and Peter from his prison chains; so now vouchsafe to deliver us from the dangers of this world, and give us to merit life eternal with thee.

The Agnus Dei are then respectfully taken, and kept for the solemn distribution to be made on the following Saturday. It is not difficult to see how this ceremony bears on the Pasch; the Paschal Lamb is frequently mentioned, and the plunging of these sacred images into the water is an evident allusion to the administration of Baptism, which, for so many centuries, was a prominent feature of the Easter Octave. The prayers, which we have somewhat abridged in our translation, are not of a very ancient date; still, the rite which accompanies them refers implicitly to Baptism. As we have already remarked, the custom of blessing the Agnus Dei was observed several centuries before the abolition of the solemn administration of Baptism at Easter; and is an additional proof of the fervent devotion wherewith the Church has ever honoured the mystery of the Lamb at Eastertide.

On account of their sublime symbolism, their being blessed by the Sovereign Pontiff, and the solemnity of their rite, the Agnus Dei are considered as one of the most venerated objects of Catholic piety. They are sent from the holy city to every part of the world. The faith of those who respectfully keep them in their houses, or wear them, has frequently been rewarded by miracles. During the pontificate of St Pius V. the Tiber overflowed its banks, and threatened destruction of several quarters of the city: an Agnus Dei was thrown into the river, and the water immediately receded. This miracle, which was witnessed by several thousands of the inhabitants, was brought forward in the process of the beatification of this great Pontiff.

On this the fourth day were created the sun, the glorious type of the Incarnate Word; the moon, the symbol of Mary's loveliness,[6] and of the Church, which reflects the light of the Sun of justice; and the stars, which, by their number and beauty, are an image of the bright countless host of God's elect. Let us glorify the Son of God, the author of all these wondrous works of nature and grace; and with hearts full of gratitude towards him who has thus cheered us with all this magnificent light, let us unite in the prayer offered to him to-day by the Gothic Church of Spain.

Capitula

Ecce, Domine, vesperum quarti diei hujus officiosis luminaribus frequentamus, in quo luminaria in firmamento cœli constituens, quasi in solidamento legis infigens, quatuor videlicet Evangelistarum una te voce canentium corda illustrare dignatus es: quo te in quatuor mundi partes et mortem pro nobis gustasse, et a mortuis resurrexisse, unitis vocibus nuntiarent: te ergo petimus, teque rogamus, ut in hujus vitæ obscuritate, ita resurrectionis tuæ in nobis præfulgeat gratia, ut resurrecturi mereamur pertingere ad coronam.
Behold, O Lord, we celebrate, with lights brightly burning, the evening Office of this fourth day, whereon, by setting lights in the firmament of heaven, thou didst deign to give us a figure of the four Gospels, which are established on the foundation of the law, and whose concordant testimony of thee is a light to our hearts. They all unite in telling, through the four parts of the world, that thou didst suffer death for our sake, and didst rise again from the dead. We therefore pray and beseech thee, that we may so shine with the grace of thy Resurrection in the darkness of this life, as to deserve a crown when the day of our resurrection comes.

We take from the Missal of the same Church the following beautiful allocution, in which are celebrated the mysteries of the miraculous draught of fish, mentioned in to-day's Gospel:

Missa

Procellosum mare fluctuantis sæculi transeuntes, lignum crucis fiducialiter ascendamus, et secundis Sancti Spiritus flatibus vela fidei committamus. Super littus namque Christus assistens gloriosam sine macula Ecclesiam figuravit, quando magnis piscibus indisruptum rete complevit. Nec a parte dextera jussit deviare navigium, quod tunc solorum bonorum portendebat indicium. Subsequamur igitur, sacramenti admirabilis veritatem diligentes ac tenentes principaliter unitatem. Nullusad schismata nefanda prosiliat, vel dominica retia nec dum littori præsentantur abrumpat. Ut connumerati inter mysticos pisces, cibus esse Domini qui nos ex profundo est dignatus eruere mereamur, et specialiter membra ejus effecti, sacrificiis salutaribus expiemur.
Having to pass over the stormy sea of the world, let us confidently mount upon the wood of the Cross, and spread the sails of our faith to the favourable breathings of the Holy Ghost. Christ stood upon the shore, and gave us a vision of his glorious and unwrinkled Church, when he filled the net with great fishes, and yet was it not broken. He bade them not to leave the right side, because under this figure he would signify the good alone. Let us, therefore, follow and love the truth of this admirable mystery, and keep fast hold to unity. Let no man pass over to wicked schism, nor break the nets of the Lord as they are being drawn to the shore. That thus being numbered among the mystic fish of Christ, we may deserve to become his food, for it was he that mercifully delivered us from the abyss: and whereas we are, in so special a manner, his members, let us purify ourselves by the Sacrifice of salvation.

Of all the sequences composed by Adam of St Victor, the following is the richest in its allusions to the types of the Old Testament, which refer to Christ’s victory over death. The chant to which it was sung was taken afterwards as the basis of that of the magnificent Lauda Sion.

Sequence

Zyma vetus expurgetur,
Ut sincere celebretur
Nova resurrectio:

Hæc est dies nostræ spei,
Hujus mira vis diei
Legis testimonio.

Hæc Ægyptum spoliavit
Et Hebræos liberavit
De fornace ferrea:

His in arcto constitutis,
Opus erat servitutis,
Lutum, later, palea.

Jam divinæ laus virtutis,
Jam triumphi, jam salutis
Vox erumpat libera.

Hæc est dies quam fecit Dominus,
Dies nostri doloris terminus,
Dies salutifera.

Lex est umbra futurorum,
Christus, finis promissorum,
Qui consummat omnia.

Christi sanguis igneam
Hebetavit romphæam,
Amota custodia.

Puer nostri forma risus,
Pro quo vervex est occisus,
Vitæ signat gaudium.

Joseph exit de cisterna:
Christus redit ad superna,
Post mortis supplicium.

Hic dracones Pharaonis
Draco vorat, a draconis
Immunis malitia.

Quos ignitus vulnerat,
Hos serpentis liberat
Ænei præsentia.

Anguem forat in maxilla
Christi hamus et armilla:
In cavernam reguli
Manum mittit ablactatus;
Et sic fugit exturbatus
Vetus hostis sæculi.

Irrisores Elisæi,
Dum conscendit domum Dei,
Zelum calvi sentiunt:
David arreptitius,
Hircus emissarius
Et passer effugiunt.

In maxilla mille sternit,
Et de tribu sua spernit
Samson matrimonium;
Samson Gazæ seras pandit
Et asportans portas scandit
Montis supercilium.

Sic de Juda Leo fortis
Tractis portis diræ mortis,
Die surgit tertia;

Rugiente voce Patris,
Ad supernæ sinum matris
Tot revexit spolia.

Cetus Jonam fugitivum,
Veri Jonæ signativum,
Post tres dies reddit vivum
De ventris angustia.

Botrus Cypri reflorescit,
Dilatatur et excrescit;
Synagogæ flos marcescit,
Et floret Ecclesia.

Mors et vita conflixere,
Resurrexit Christus vere,
Et cum Christo surrexere
Multi testes gloriæ.

Mane novum, mane lætum
Vespertinum tergat fletum;
Quia vita vicit lethum:
Tempus est lætitiæ.

Jesu victor, Jesu vita,
Jesu vitæ via trita,
Cujus morte mors sopita,
Ad paschalem nos invita
Mensam cum fiducia.

Vive panis, vivax unda,
Vera vitis et fœcunda,
Tu nos pasce, tu nos munda,
Ut a morte nos secunda
Tua salvet gratia.

Amen.
Let the old leaven be purged out,
that we may celebrate, with sincerity,
the new Resurrection.

This is the day of our hope:
the day of wondrous power,
as the ancient Testament foretells.

It despoiled the Egyptians,
and delivered
from the iron furnace the Israelites,

Who were treated with hardship,
and made to work as slaves
in clay, and brick, and picking straw.

Now let us praise the power of God:
now let us give free scope
to our song of triumph and salvation.

This is the day which the Lord hath made:
the day that puts an end to our mourning:
the day of our salvation.

The law was the shadow of things to come;
the end of all its promises is Christ,
for he consummates all things.

His Blood turned the edge of the flaming sword,
and removed the guard
(that forbade our entrance into Paradise).

Isaac, whose name signifies laughter,
and in whose stead the ram was slain,
was a figure of the joyful mystery that gives us life.

Joseph taken from the well
is Christ rising from the grave,
after being put to death.

He is the serpent
that devours Pharaoh's serpents;
but he has none of the serpent’s wickedness.

Under the type of the brazen serpent,
he heals them that are bitten
by the fiery serpent.

The hook he threw out
to the serpent was taken,
and it tore the monster’s jaw.
Thus the weaned child could safely thrust his hand
into the den of the basilisk,
and the old enemy of mankind was put to flight.

They that insulted Eliseus,
when he ascended to the house of the Lord,
were made to feel the anger of him they named the bald:
David escaped from his enemy:
the scapegoat and the sparrow
were set free.

Samson slays thousands with a dry bone,
and scorns to take to himself a wife
from his own tribe;
he throws open the gates of Gaza,
and carries them
to the mountain top.

So the mighty Lion of Juda
breaks down the gates of cruel death,
and rises on the third day;

his Father’s voice awakens him,
and he carries his many spoils
to the bosom of the mother above.

Jonas, the fugitive prophet,
and the figure of the true Jonas,
came forth alive
from the whale’s belly after three days.

The vine of Cyprus is again in flower,
and spreads, and ripens:
the flower of the Synagogue is faded,
the Church is in her bloom.

Death and life fought each other;
Christ rose again,
and with him
many witnesses of his glory.

Let morning, new and joyous,
dry up the evening tears:
for life has conquered death,
and it is the season of joy.

O Jesus, conqueror! Jesus, our life!
Jesus, our way!
whose death killed death!
bid us come, with confidence,
to the Paschal banquet.

O living bread! O water of life!
O true and fruitful vine!,
feed us, cleanse us, save us,
by thy grace,
from the second death.

Amen.

[1] Rom. vi 4.
[2] Coloss, ii 12.
[3] St Matt. v 8.
[4] See our volume of Lent p. 318
[5] St John vi 50.
[6] Cant. vi 9.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et lætemur in ea.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

AFTER having glorified the Lamb of God, and the Passover whereby our Lord destroyed our enemies; after having celebrated our deliverance by water, and our entrance into the Promised Land; let us now fix our respectful gaze upon him whose triumph is prefigured by all these prodigies. So dazzling is the glory that now beams from this Man-God, that, like the prophet of Patmos, we shall fall prostrate before him. But he is so wonderful, too, in his love, that he will encourage us to enjoy the grand vision: he will say to us, as he did to his disciple: ‘Fear not! I am the First, and the Last; and alive, and was dead; and behold! I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell.’[1]

Yes, he is now Master of death, which had held him captive; he holds in his hand the keys of hell. These expressions of Scripture signify that he has power over death and the tomb; he has conquered them. Now the first use he makes of his victory is to make us partakers of it. Let us adore his infinite goodness; and, in accordance with the wish of holy Church, let us meditate to-day upon the effects wrought in each one of ourselves by the mystery of the Pasch. Jesus says to his beloved disciple: 'I am alive, and was dead the day will come when we also shall triumphantly say: 'We are living, and we were dead!

Death awaits us; it is daily advancing towards us; we cannot escape its vengeance. ‘The wages of sin is death’:[2] in these few words of Scripture, we are taught how death is not only universal, but even necessary; for we have all sinned. This, however, does not make the law less severe; nor can we help seeing a frightful disorder in the violent separation of soul and body, which were united together by God himself. If we would truly understand death, we must remember that God made man immortal: this will explain the instinctive dread we have of death, a dread which one thing alone can conquer; and that is, the spirit of sacrifice. In the death, then, of each one of us there is the handiwork of sin, and consequently a victory won by Satan: nay, there would be a humiliation for our Creator himself, were it not that, by sentencing us to this punishment, he satisfied his justice.

This is man’s well-merited but terrible condemnation. What can he hope for? Never to die? It would be folly: the sentence is clear, and none may escape. Can he hope that this body, which is to become first a corpse, and then be turned into a mere handful of dust, will one day return to life, and be reunited to the soul for which it was made? But who could bring about the reunion of an immortal substance with one that was formerly united with it, but has now seemingly been annihilated? And yet, O man! this is to be thy lot! Thou shalt rise again; that poor body of thine, which is to die, to be buried, forgotten, and humbled, shall be restored to life. Yea, it even now comes forth from the tomb, in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ; our future resurrection is accomplished in his; it is to-day that we are made as sure of our resurrection as we are of our death. This, too, makes part of our glorious feast, our Pasch!

God did not, at the beginning, reveal this miracle of his power and goodness: all he said to Adam was: ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken; for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.’[3] Not a word, not an allusion, which gives the culprit the least hope with reference to that portion of himself which is thus doomed to death and the grave. It was fitting that the ungrateful pride, which had led man to rebel against his Maker, should be humbled. Later on the great mystery was revealed at least partially. Four thousand years ago, a poor sufferer, whose body was covered with ulcers, spoke these words of hope: ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth. And I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I shall see God: this my hope is laid up in my bosom.’[4]

But, in order that Job’s hope might be realized, this Redeemer, of whom he spoke, had to come down to this earth, give battle to death, feel its pang, and finally conquer it. He came at the time fixed by the divine decree. He came, not indeed to prevent us from dying (for the sentence of God’s justice was absolute), but to die himself, and so take away from death its bitterness and humiliation. Like to those devoted physicians, who have been known to inoculate themselves with the virus of contagion, our Jesus 'swallowed down death,’[5] as the Apostle forcibly expresses it. But the enemy’s joy was soon at an end; for the Man-God rose to die no more; and by his Resurrection, he won that same right for us.

Henceforth, then, we must see the grave under a new aspect. The earth will receive our bodies, but only to yield them back again, just as she yields back a hundredfold the seed that was confided to her. Her great Creator will, at some future day, bid her restore the deposit he entrusted to her. The archangel's trumpet will give the signal of his command; and in the twinkling of an eye, the whole human race will rise up from the grave, and proclaim the final defeat of death. For the just it will be a Pasch, a continuation of the Pasch we are now celebrating.

Who could describe the joy we shall experience at such a meeting! Our soul, after, it may be, a separation of hundreds of years, united once more to that essential part of her being, the body! She, perhaps, has been all that time enjoying the beatific vision; but the whole man was not there; our happiness was not complete, because that of the body was wanting; and in the midst of the soul's rapturous felicity, there was a trace still left of the punishment to which man was condemned, when our first parents sinned. Our merciful God would not, now that his Son has opened the gates of heaven, wait till the general resurrection to reward the souls of his elect with the vision; and yet these elect have not their whole glory and happiness until that last day comes and puts the last finish to the mystery of man's redemption. Jesus, our King and our Head, wills that we his members shall sing with him the song that comes from his own divine lips, and that each of us shall say for all eternity: 'I am living, and I was dead!' Mary, who on the third day after her death was united to her sinless body, longs to see her devoted children united with her in heaven; but wholly and entirely, soul and body: and this will be, when the tomb has done its work of purification.

The holy angels, whose ranks are waiting to be filled up by the elect among men, are affectionately looking forward to that happy day, when the glorified bodies of the just will spring up, like the loveliest of earth's flowers, to beautify the land of spirits. One of their joys consists in gazing upon the resplendent bodies of Jesus and Mary—of Jesus, who, even as Man, is their King as well as ours, and of Mary, whom they reverence as their Queen. What a feast-day, then, will they count that, whereon we, their brothers and sisters, whose souls have been long their companions in bliss, shall be revested with the robe of flesh, sanctified, and fitted for union with our radiant souls! What a canticle of fresh joy will ring through heaven, as it then receives within itself all the grandeur and beauty of creation! The angels who were present at Jesus' Resurrection were filled with admiration at the sight of this Body, which was, indeed, of a lower nature than themselves, but whose dazzling glory exceeded all the splendour of the angelic host together: will they not gladly hail our arrival, after our resurrection? Will they not welcome us with fraternal congratulations, when they see us, members as we are of this same risen Jesus, clad in the same gorgeous robe of glory as he, who is their God?

The sensual man never gives a thought to the eternal glory and happiness of the body: he acknowledges the resurrection of the flesh as an article of faith, but it is not an object of his hope. He cares but for the present; material, carnal pleasures being all he aspires to, he considers his body as an instrument of self-gratification, which, as it lasts so short a time, must be the more quickly used. There is no respect in the love he bears to his body; hence he fears not to defile it; and after a few years of insult, which he calls enjoyment, it becomes the food of worms and corruption. And yet this sensual man accuses the Church of being an enemy to the body! the Church that so eloquently proclaims its dignity, and the glorious destiny that awaits it! He is a tyrant, and a tyrant is ever an impudent calumniator. The Church warns us of the dangers to which the body exposes the soul; she tells us of the infectious weakness that came to the flesh by original sin; she instructs us as to the means we should employ for making it ‘serve justice unto sanctification’;[6] but far from forbidding us to love the body, she reveals to us a truth which should incite us to true charity, namely, that it is destined to endless glory and happiness. When laid on the bed of death, the Church honours it with the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, fitting it for immortality by anointing it with holy oil; she is present at the departure of the soul from this the companion of her combats, and from which she is to be separated till the day of the general judgement; she respectfully bums incense over the body when dead; for, from the hour of its Baptism, she has regarded it as something holy; and to the surviving friends of the departed one, she addresses these inspired words of consolation: ‘Be not sorrowful, even as others, who have no hope!’[7] But what is this hope? That same which comforted Job: ‘In my flesh I shall see my God.’

Thus does our holy faith reveal to us the future glory of our body; thus does it encourage, by supernatural motives, the instinctive love borne by the soul for this essential portion of our being. It unites together the two dogmas: our Lord's Pasch, and the resurrection of our body. The Apostle assures us of the close relation that exists between them, and says: ‘If Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain; if the dead rise not again, neither is Christ risen again:’[8] so that Jesus' Resurrection and our resurrection seem to be parts of one and the same truth. Hence the sort of forgetfulness, which is nowadays so common, of this important dogma of the’resurrection of the body,' is a sad proof of the decay of lively faith. Such people believe in a future resurrection, for the Creed is too explicit to leave room for doubt; but the hope which Job had is seldom the object of their thoughts or desires. They say that what they are anxious about, both for themselves and for those that are dear to them, is what will become of the soul after this life: they do well to look to this; but they should not forget what religion teaches them regarding the resurrection of the body; by professing it, they not only have a fresh incentive to virtue, but they also render testimony to the Resurrection of Jesus, whereby he gained victory over death, both for himself and for us. They should remember that they are in this world only to confess, by their words and actions, the truths that God has revealed. It is therefore not enough that they believe in the immortality of the soul; the resurrection of the body must also be believed and professed.

We find this article of our holy faith continually represented in the catacombs: its several symbols formed, together with the Good Shepherd, quite the favourite subject of primitive Christian art. In those early ages of the Church, when to receive Baptism was to break entirely with the sensuality of previous habits of life, this consoling dogma of the resurrection of the body was strongly urged upon the minds of the neophytes. Any of them might be called upon to suffer martyrdom: the thought of the future glory that awaited their flesh inspired them with courage when the hour of trial came. Thus we read so very frequently in the Acts of the Martyrs, how, when in the midst of their most cruel torments, they declared that what supported them was the certain hope of the resurrection of the body. How many Christians are there nowadays who are cowardly in the essential duties of their state of life, simply because they never think of this important dogma of their faith!

The soul is more than the body; but the body is an essential portion of our being. It is our duty to treat it with great respect, because of its sublime destiny. If we at present chastise it and keep it in subjection, it is because its present state requires such treatment. We chastise it because we love it. The martyrs and all the saints loved their bodies far more than does the most sensual voluptuary: they, by sacrificing it, saved it; he, by pampering it, exposes it to eternal suffering. Let us be on our guard: sensualism is akin to naturalism. Sensualism will have it that there is no happiness for the body but such as this present life can give; and with this principle its degradation causes no remorse. Naturalism is that propensity we have to judge of everything by mere natural light, whereas we cannot possibly know the glorious future for which God has created us except by faith. If, therefore, the Christian can see what the Son of God has done for our bodies by the divine Resurrection we are now celebrating, and feel neither love nor hope, he may be sure that his faith is weak; and if he would not lose his soul, let him henceforth be guided by the word of God, which alone can teach him what he is now, and what he is called to be hereafter.

At Rome, the Station is in the basilica of the twelve Apostles. The neophytes were brought, to-day, into the church dedicated to the witnesses of the Resurrection, where repose the bodies of two out of the twelve: St Philip and St James the Less. In the Mass, frequent allusions are made to the apostolic labours of these heralds of our risen Jesus; they preached his Name throughout the world, and all ages shall hear their teachings.

MASS

The Introit is taken from the Book of Wisdom. It tells us of the heavenly eloquence of the Apostles, who, at first, were dumband timid as little children. Divine wisdom changed them into other men, so that they everywhere published the victory of the Man-God.

Introit

Victricem manum tuam, Domine, laudaverunt pariter, alleluia: quia Sapientia aperuit os mutum, et linguas infantium fecit disertas. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Cantate Domino canticum novum: quia mirabilia fecit.
℣. Gloria Patri.
Victricem.
They praised with one accord thy victorious hand, O Lord, alleluia: for wisdom hath opened the mouth of the dumb, and made the tongues of infants eloquent. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Sing to the Lord a new song: for he hath done wonderful things.
℣. Glory, etc.
They praised, etc.

The Collect alludes to the effect produced by the preaching of the Apostles—the union of all nations into one family. The neophytes, by their Baptism, have been admitted into this great unity: the Church prays that God would preserve them in it, by his grace.

Collect

Deus, qui diversitatem gentium in confessione tui Nominis adunasti: da ut renatis fonte baptismatis una sit fides mentium, et pietas actionum. Per Dominum.
O God, who hast united various nations in the confession of thy Name: grant that they who have been born again by the water of Baptism, may have the same faith in their hearts, and the same piety in their actions. Through, etc.

Then is added one of the two Collects given in yesterday's Mass, p. 218.


Epistle

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.

Cap. viii.

In diebus illis: Angelus Domini locutus est ad Philippum, dicens: Surge et vade contra meridianum ad viam, quæ descendit ab Jerusalem in Gazam: hæc est deserta. Et surgens abiit. Et ecce vir Æthiops, eunuchus potens Candacis reginæ Æthiopum, qui erat super omnes gazas ejus, venerat adorare in Jerusalem: et revertebatur sedens super currum suum, legensque Isaiam prophetam. Dixit autem Spiritus Philippo: Accede, et adjunge te ad currum istum. Accurrens autem Philippus, audivit eum legentem Isaiam prophetam, et dixit: Putasne intelligis quæ legis? Qui ait: Et quomodo possum, si non aliquis ostenderit mihi? Rogavitque Philippum ut ascenderet, et sederet secum. Locus autem Scripturæ quam legebat, erat hic: Tanquam ovis ad occisionem ductus est: et sicut agnus coram tondente se, sine voce, sic non aperuit os suum. In humilitate judicium ejus sublatum est. Generationem ejus quis enarrabit, quoniam tolletur de terra vita ejus? Respondens autem eunuchus Philippo, dixit: Obsecro te, de quo propheta dicit hoc? de se, an de alio aliquo? Aperiens autem Philippus os suum, et incipiens a Scriptura ista, evangelizavit illi Jesum. Et dum irent per viam, venerunt ad quamdam aquam: et ait eunuchus: Ecce aqua, quid prohibet me baptizan? Dixit autem Philippus: Si credis ex toto corde, licet. Et respondens ait: Credo Filium Dei esse Jesum Christum. Et jussit stare currum: et descenderunt uterque in aquam, Philippus et eunuchus, et baptizavit eum. Cum autem ascendissent de aqua, Spiritus Domini rapuit Philippum, et amplius non vidit eum eunuchus. Ibat autem per viam suam gaudens. Philippus autem inventus est in Azoto, et pertransiens evangelizabat civitatibus cunctis, donec veniret Cæsaream, nomen Domini Jesu Christi.
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.

Ch. viii.

In those days: An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying: Arise, go towards the south, to the way that goeth down from Jerusalem to Gaza: this is desert. And rising up he went. And behold a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge over all her treasures, had come to Jerusalem to adore. And he was returning, sitting in his chariot, and reading Isaias the prophet. And the Spirit said to Philip: Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias, and he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest? Who said: And how can I, unless some man show me? and he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. And the place of the Scripture which he was reading was this: 'He was led as a sheep to the slaughter: and like a lamb without voice before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth. In humility his judgement was taken away. His generation who shall declare, for his life shall be taken from the earth?' And the eunuch answering Philip, said: I beseech thee, of whom doth the prophet speak this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opening his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water; and the eunuch said: See, here is water, what doth hinder me from being baptized? And Philip said: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest, And he answering, said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took away Philip, and the eunuch saw him no more. And he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found in Azotus, and passing through, he preached the Gospel to all the cities till he came to Cesarea.

The Church, by this passage from the Acts of the Apostles, would remind her neophytes of the sublime grace of their Baptism, and under what condition they have been regenerated. God put the opportunity of salvation in their path, as he sent Philip to the eunuch. He gave them a desire to know the truth, in the same manner as he inspired this servant of Queen Candace to read what was to occasion his being instructed in the faith of Christ. This pagan, had he chosen, might have received the instructions of God’s messenger with mistrust and indifference, and so have resisted the grace that was offered him; but no, he opened his heart, and faith filled it. Our neophytes did the same; they were docile, and God’s word enlightened them; they went on from light to light, until at length the Church recognized them as true disciples of the faith. Then came the feast of the Pasch, and this mother of souls said to herself: ‘Lo here is water—the water that purifies, the water that issued from Jesus’ side when opened by the spear: what hinders them from being baptized?' Having confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, they were baptized, as was the Ethiopian of our Epistle, in the life-giving waters: like him, they are about to continue the journey of life, rejoicing, for they are risen with Christ, who has graciously vouchsafed to associate the joy of their new birth with that of his own triumph.

Gradual

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et lætemur in ea.
℣. Lapidem quem reprobaverunt ædificantes, hic factus est in caput anguli: a Domino factum est istud, et est mirabile in oculis nostris.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Surrexit Christus, qui creavit omnia: et misertus est humano generi.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.
℣. The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is wonderful in our eyes.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Christ is risen, who created all things, and hath shown mercy to mankind.

The Sequence, Victimæ Paschali, p. 145.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. xx.

In illo tempore: Maria stabat ad monumentum foris, plorans. Dum ergo fleret, inclinavit se, et prospexit in monumentum: et vidit duos angelos in albis sedentes, unum ad caput, et unum ad pedes, ubi positum fuerat corpus Jesu. Dicunt ei illi: Mulier, quid ploras? Dicit eis: Quia tulerunt Dominum meum: et nescio ubi posuerunt eum. Hæc cum dixisset, conversa est retrorsum, et vidit Jesum stantem: et non sciebat quia Jesus est. Dicit ei Jesus: Mulier, quid ploras? quem quæris?Illa existimans quia hortulanus esset, dicit ei: Domine, si tu sustulisti eum, dicito mihi ubi posuisti eum: et ego eum tollam. Dicit ei Jesus: Maria. Conversa illa, dicit ei: Rabboni (quod dicitur magister). Dicit ei Jesus: Noli me tangere, nondum enim ascendi ad Patrem meum. Vade autem ad fratres meos, et dic eis: Ascendo ad Patrem meum et Patrem vestrum, Deum meum et Deum vestrum. Venit Maria Magdalene annuntians discipulis: quia vidi Dominum, et hæc dixit mihi.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. xx.

At that time: Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre: and she saw two angels in white sitting one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. They say to her: Woman, why weepest thou? She saith to them: Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She thinking that it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him: and I will take him away. Jesus saith to her: Mary, She, turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master). Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father, and to your Father, to my God. and your God. Mary Magdalen cometh, and telleth the disciples: I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.

To-day’s Station is in the basilica of the twelve Apostles; and, instead of patting before us any of the apparitions related by the Gospel as having been made to his Apostles by our Saviour, after his Resurrection, the Church reads to us the one wherewith Magdalen was honoured. Why thus apparently forget the very heralds and ambassadors of the New Law? The reason is obvious. By thus honouring her, whom our Lord selected as the Apostle of his Apostles, the Church would put before us, in their full truth, the circumstances of the day of the Resurrection. It was through Magdalen and her companions that the apostolate of the grandest mystery of our Jesus’ life upon earth began; they have every right, therefore, to be honoured to-day in the basilica which is sacred to the holy Apostles.

God is all-powerful, and delights in showing himself in that which is weakest; he is infinitely good and glorious in rewarding such as love him. This explains how it was that our Jesus gave to Magdalen and her companions the first proofs of his Resurrection, and so promptly consoled them. They were even weaker than the Bethlehem shepherds; they were, therefore, the objects of a higher preference. The Apostles themselves were weaker than the weakest of the earthly powers they were to bring into submission; hence, they too were initiated into the mystery of Jesus’ triumph. But Magdalen and her companions had loved their Master even to the Cross and in his tomb, whereas the Apostles had abandoned him; they therefore had a better claim than the Apostles to Jesus’ generosity, and richly did he satisfy the claim.

Let us attentively consider the sublime spectacle of the Church receiving the knowledge of that mystery, which is the basis of her faith, the Resurrection. After Mary—in whom the light of faith never waned, and to whom, as the sinless Mother, was due the first manifestation—who were the first to be illumined with that faith whereby the Church lives? Magdalen and her companions. For several hours, this was the ‘little flock’ on which Jesus looked with complacency: little, indeed, and weak in the world’s estimation, but grand, as being the noblest work of grace. Yet a short time, and the Apostles will be added to the number; yea, the whole world will form a part of this elect group. The Church now sings these words in every country of the earth: 'Tell us, O Mary! what thou sawest on the way!' And Mary Magdalen tells the Church the mystery: 'I saw the sepulchre of Christ, and the glory of him that rose.’

Nor must we be surprised that women were the first to form, around the Son of God, the Church of believers, the Church resplendent with the brightness of the Resurrection: it is the continuation of that divine plan, the commencement of which we have already respectfully studied. It was by woman that the work of God was marred in the beginning; he willed that it should berepaired by woman. On the day of the Annunciation, we found the second Eve making good by her own obedience the disobedience of the first; and now, at Easter, God honours Magdalen and her companions in preference even to the Apostles. We repeat it: these facts show us not so much a personal favour conferred upon individuals, as the restoration of woman to her lost dignity. 'The woman,' says St Ambrose, ‘was the first to taste the food of death; she is destined to be the first witness of the Resurrection. By proclaiming this mystery, she will atone for her fault;[9] therefore is it that she, who heretofore had announced sin to man, was sent by the Lord to announce the tidings of salvation to men, and to make known to them his grace.’[10] Others of the holy Fathers speak in the same strain. They tell us that God, in the distribution of the gifts of his grace, gives woman the first place. And in what happened at the Resurrection, they recognize not merely an act of the supreme will of the Master, but, moreover, a well-deserved reward for the love Jesus met with from these humble women; a love which he did not receive from his Apostles, though he had treated them, for the last three years of his life, with every mark of intimacy and affection, and had every right to expect them to be courageous in their devotedness towards him.

Magdalen stands as a queen amidst her holy companions. She is most dear to Jesus; she has loved him more than did all the rest of his friends; she has been more heart-broken at seeing him suffer; she has been more earnest in paying honour to the sacred Body of her buried Master. She is well-nigh beside herself, until she has found him; and when she at length meets him and finds Jesus himself, still living, and still full of love for Magdalen, she could die for very joy I She would show him her delight, but Jesus checks her, saying: Touch me not! for I am not yet ascended to my Father!

Jesus is no longer subject to the conditions of mortality. True, his human will be eternally united with his divine nature; but his Resurrection tells the faithful soul that his relations with her are no longer the same as before During his mortal life, he suffered himself to be approached as man; there was little in his exterior to indicate his divinity; but now his eternal splendour gleams through his very Body, and bespeaks the Son of God. Henceforth, then, we must see him with the heart rather than with the eye, and offer him a respectful love, rather than one of sentiment, however tender. He allowed Magdalen to touch him so long as she was weak in her conversion, and he himself was mortal; but now she must aspire to that highest spiritual good, which is the life of the soul—Jesus, in the bosom of the Father. In her first estate, Magdalen is the type of the soul when commencing its search after Jesus. But her love needs a transformation: it is ardent, but not wise; so that the angel has to chide her: ‘Why,’ says he, ‘seekest thou the living among the dead?’[11] The time is come for her to ascend to something more perfect, and seek in spirit him who is Spirit.

Jesus says to Magdalen: I am not yet ascended to my Father! as though he would say:The mark of love thou wouldst show me is not what I now wish to receive from thee. When I have ascended into heaven, and thou art there with me, the sight of my human nature shall be no obstacle to thy soul’s vision of my divinity: then thou shalt embrace me!’ Magdalen takes in the lesson of her dear Master; she loves him more, because her love is spiritualized. After his Ascension, she retires into the holy cave.[12] There she lives, pondering upon all the mysteries of her Jesus’ life. Her love feeds on the memory of all he has done for her, from his first word which converted her, to the favour he showed her on the morning of his Resurrection. Each day she advances in the path of perfect love. The angels visit and console her. Her probation completed, she follows her Jesus to heaven, where she lavishes on him the ardour of her love in an unrestrained and eternal embrace.

The Offertory alludes to the land flowing with milk and honey, into which the preaching of the Apostles has led our neophytes. But the altar, whereon the holy Sacrifice is now being offered, will give them a still more delicious nourishment.

Offertory

In die solemnitatis vestræ, dicit Dominus, inducam vos in terram fluentem lac et mel, alleluia.
In the day of your solemnity, saith the Lord, I will bring you into a land flowing with milk and honey, alleluia.

In the Secret, the Church beseeches God to accept the gifts presented him by his new people. The bread will be changed, by the words of Consecration, into a food that will fortify them in their journey towards that heavenly country.

Secret

Suscipe, quæsumus Domine, munera populorum tuorum propitius: ut confessione tui nominis, et baptismate renovati, sempiternam beatitudinem consequantur. Per Dominum.
Graciously accept, we beseech thee, O Lord, the offerings of thy people: that being renewed by the confession of thy name, and by Baptism, they may obtain everlasting bliss. Through, etc.

To this is added one of the two Secrets given in yesterday's Mass, p. 224.


In the Communion Anthem, it is the Apostolic College that speaks by the mouth of St Peter to the newly made children of God. With paternal affection, the Apostles congratulate our neophytes on the favours they have received from God, the author of light.

Communion

Populus acquisitionis, annuntiate virtutes ejus, alleluia: qui vos de tenebris vocavit in admirabile lumen suum, alleluia.
Ye, who are a purchased people, publish his might, alleluia: it is he who hath called you from darkness to his wonderful light, alleluia.

The Postcommunion tells us of the grand effects produced in us by this adorable Sacrament. It enriches us with every blessing; it is our support during this life’s pilgrimage; and it gives us a foretaste of heaven, even in our exile.

Postcommunion

Exaudi, Domine, preces nostras: ut redemptionis nostræ sacrosanctacommercia, et vitae nobis conferant præsentis auxilium, et gaudia sempiterna concilient. Per Dominum.
Graciously hear our prayers, O Lord, that by frequenting these sacred mysteries of our redemption, we may obtain the necessary helps of this life, and the endless joys of the next. Through, etc.

To this is added one of the Postcommunions given in yesterday’s Mass, p. 225.


The work of the Son of God, the creation, advances towards completion. To-day there appear living beings in the waters and in the air. Countless varieties of fishes sport in the sea; and the thrilling melody of birds breaks that solemn silence, which hitherto had nothing to disturb it save the wind rustling amidst the trees. Here, again, the visible is the type of the invisible. The waters of Baptism are to give birth to other fishes; and from this our earth, souls, like birds of heaven, are to soar aloft on the wings of contemplation. This shall be, when the Creator shall come, in human form, into the world he is now forming. As our prayer of thanksgiving for this fifth day of the creation, let us use the following beautiful one, taken from the Mozarabic breviary:

Capitula

Deus qui in operatione quinti diei reptilia animarum vivarum, homines scilicet renovatos per sacramentum Baptismatis, condidisti: et volatilia cœli, animas videlicet sanctorum ad superna volantes, manifesta virtutum luce formasti; præbe animabus nostris invictum de tua resurrectione solatium: ut per te renovati resurgamus ad gloriam, per quem regenerati sumus ad vitam.
O God, who, on the fifth day, didst create the fishes of the sea, the figure of them that are regenerated by the sacrament of Baptism; and the birds of the air, the figure of the souls of holy men soaring to heav· enly things by their dazzling virtues: grant that we may receive from thy Resurrection a consolation which may make us invincible: that thus we, who have been regenerated by thee to life, may, being renewed by thee, rise again to glory.

As the Liturgy of to-day speaks to us of Mary Magdalen, we will insert here two of the many sequences composed in her honour during the Middle Ages, and sung by our forefathers during the Easter Octave. They are exquisite in their simplicity, and express a tender devotion towards this favoured penitent, whose name is inseparable from the mystery of the Resurrection, and who was so dear to our blessed Lord that he chose her to be the first to announce to the Apostles and mankind the tidings of his victory over death.

First Sequence

Surgit Christus cum trophæo.
Jam ex agno factus leo
Solemni victoria.

Mortem vicit sua morte,
Reseravit seram portæ
Suae mortis gratia.

Hic est agnus qui pendebat,
Et in cruce redimebat
Totum gregem ovium.

Cui cum nullus condolebat,
Magdalenam consumebat
Doloris incendium.

Dic Maria quid vidisti
Contemplando crucem Christi?

Vidi Jesum spoliari,
Et in cruce sublevari
Peccatorum manibus.

Dic Maria quid vidisti
Contemplando crucem Christi?

Spinis caput coronatum,
Vultum sputis maculatum,
Et plenum livoribus.

Dic Maria quid vidisti
Contemplando crucem Christi?

Clavos manus perforare,
Hastam latus vulnerare,
Vivi fontis exitum.

Dic Maria quid vidisti
Contemplando crucem Christi?

Quod se Patri commendavit,
Et quod caput inclinavit,
Et emisit spiritum.

Dic Maria quid fecisti,
Postquam Jesum amisisti?

Matrem flentem sociavi,
Cum qua domum remeavi,
Et in terram me prostravi,
Et utrumque deploravi.

Dic Maria quid fecisti,
Postquam Jesum amisisti?

Post unguenta comparavi,
Et sepulchrum visitavi,
Planctus meos duplicavi.

Dic Maria quid fecisti,
Postquam Jesum amisisti?

Angelus hæc dixit clare:
O Maria noli flere;
Jam surrexit Christus vere.

Dic Maria quid fecisti,
Postquam Jesum amisisti?

Certe multis argumentis,
Vidi signa resurgentis
Filii omnipotentis.

Dic nobis Maria
Quid vidisti in via?

Sepulchrum Christi viventis
Et gloriam vidi resurgentis.
Angelicos testes,
Sudarium et vestes.

Surrexit Christus spes mea,
Præcedet suos in Galilæam.

Credendum est magis soli Mariæ veraci,
Quam Judæorum turbæ fallaci.

Scimus Christum surrexisse
A mortuis vere;
Tu nobis, victor rex, miserere.

Amen.
Christ, now changed from a lamb to a lion,
rises with his trophy,
the glorious conqueror.

By his death, he conquered death:
by his death,
he opened heaven’s gate.

This is the lamb that hung
upon the Cross,
and redeemed the whole flock.

There was none found to condole with him,
save Magdalen,
who pined with burning grief.

Tell us, O Mary! what sawest thou,
when looking at the Cross of Christ?

I saw my Jesus stripped,
and raised on the Cross,
by the hands of sinners.

Tell us, Mary, what sawest thou,
when looking at the Cross of Christ?

His head crowned with thorns,
his face disfigured
with spittle and blows.

Tell us, Mary, what sawest thou,
when looking at the Cross?

His hands pierced,
his side wounded by a spear,
and a fount of living water gushing from the wound.

Tell us, Mary, what sawest thou,
when looking at the Cross?

He commended himself to his Father;
he bowed down his head;
he gave up the ghost.

Tell us, Mary, what didst thou,
after losing Jesus?

I kept close to his weeping Mother,
and returned with her to the house:
I prostrated myself on the ground,
and compassionated both Son and Mother.

Tell us, Mary, what didst thou,
after losing Jesus?

After preparing my ointments,
and visiting the tomb,
I redoubled my tears.

Tell us, Mary, what didst thou,
after losing Jesus?

An angel thus spoke to me:
‘Weep not, Mary!
For Christ hath truly risen.’

Tell us, Mary, what didst thou,
after losing Jesus?

I saw many proofs
and signs of the Resurrection
of the Son of God.

Tell us, Mary,
what sawest thou on the way?

I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ;
I saw the glory of him that had risen.
I saw the angels that were the witnesses;
I saw the winding-sheet and the cloths.

Christ, my hope, hath risen!
He shall go before you into Galilee.

It behoves us to believe the single testimony of the truthful Mary,
rather than the whole wicked host of the Jews.

We know that Christ hath
truly risen from the dead.
Do thou, O Conqueror and King! have mercy upon us.

Amen.

Second Sequence

Mane prima Sabbati
Surgens Filius Dei,
Nostra spes et gloria.

Victo rege sceleris,
Rediit ab inferis,
Cum summa victoria.

Resurgentis itaque
Maria Magdalene
Facta est prænuntia.

Ferens Christi fratribus
Ejus morte tristibus,
Exspectata gaudia.

O beati oculi,
Quibus regem sæculi,
Morte jam deposita,
Primum est intuita!

Hæc est illa femina,
Cujus cuncta crimina
Ad Christi vestigia
Ejus lavit gratia.

Quæ dum plorat et mens orat,
Facto clamat quod cor amat,
Jesum super omnia.

Non ignorat quem adorat,
Quod precatur jam deletur,
Quod mens timet conscia.

O Maria, mater pia,
Stella maris appellaris,
Operum per merita.

Matri Christi coæquata,
Dum fuisti sic vocata,
Sed honore subdita.

Illa mundi imperatrix,
Ista beata peccatrix:
Lætitiæ primordia
Fuderunt in Ecclesia.

Illa enim fuit porta,
Per quam salus est exorta:
Hæc resurgentis nuntia
Mundum replet lætitia.

O Maria Magdalena,
Audi vota laude plena,
Apud Christum chorum istum
Clementer concilia.

Ut fons summæ pietatis
Qui te lavit a peccatis,
Servos suos atque tuos
Mundet data venia.

Amen dicant omnia!
Early on the Sunday morning
the Son of God, our hope and glory,
rose from the dead.

He conquered the prince of wickedness,
and returned from limbo
with all the glory of his victory upon him.

The first herald
of his Resurrection
was Mary Magdalen.

She bore the glad tidings to the disciples,
who were sad
for the death of Jesus.

Blessed the eyes
that first beheld
the King of Ages,
after he had laid death aside!

This is she,
who threw herself at Jesus' feet,
and had all her sins
washed away by his grace.

She weeps and prays;
her life proclaims what her heart most loves
—Jesus above all else.

She knows him before whom she kneels.
What she prays for is at once granted
—the forgiveness of the sins that weighed her down with fear.

O Mary! thou loving mother!
Thou hast deserved thy name of star of the sea,
because of thy holy deeds.

Thou sharest the name
with the Mother of Christ,
though thy honours are not as hers.

She is the Queen of the world;
Magdalen is the favoured sinner:
they gave to the Church
her earliest joy.

The blessed Mother was the gate
through which salvation came into the world;
Magdalen was the messenger of the Resurrection,
and filled the world with joy at its tidings.

Hear, O Magdalen,
our prayer and praise;
pray to Jesus for the choir that thus sings to thee,
and draw down his mercy upon us,

That the Fount of infinite goodness,
who cleansed thee from thy sins,
may purify us by his pardon,
for we are his and thy servants.

Let all creatures say, Amen!

[1] Apoc. i 17, 18.
[2] Rom. vi 23.
[3] Gen. iii 19.
[4] Job xix 25-27.
[5] 1 St Pet. iii 22.
[6] Rom. vi 19.
[7] 1 Thess. iv 12.
[8] 1 Cor. xv 14, 17.
[9] In Lucam, cap. xxiv.
[10] De Spiritu Sancto, cap. xii.
[11] St Luke xxiv 5.
[12] Called La sainte Baume, near Marseilles.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et lætemur in ea.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

EIGHT days ago, we were standing near the Cross, on which died the Man of Sorrows,[1] abandoned by his Father, and rejected, by a solemn judgement of the Synagogue, as a false Messias: and lo! this is the sixth time the sun has risen upon our earth since the voice of the angel was heard proclaiming the Resurrection of this adorable Victim. The Church, his widowed spouse, then lay prostrate before the justice of the eternal God and Father, who 'spared not even his own Son,’[2] because he had taken upon himself the likeness of sin; but now she is feasting in the sight of her Jesus’ triumph, for he bids her be exceeding glad. But if within this glad Octave, there be one day, rather than another, on which she should proclaim his triumph, it assuredly is the Friday; for it was on that day she saw him ‘filled with reproaches’[3] and crucified.

To-day, therefore, let us meditate upon our Saviour’s Resurrection as being the zenith of his own dear glory, and as the chief argument whereon rests our faith in his divinity.’If Christ be not risen again,' says the Apostle, ‘your faith is vain:’[4] but, because he is risen again, our faith rests on the surest of foundations. Our Redeemer owed it to us, therefore, that our certainty with regard to his Resurrection should be perfect. In order to give this master truth such evidence as would preclude all possibility of doubt, two things were needed: his death was to be certified, and the proofs of his Resurrection were to be incontestable. Jesus fulfilled both these conditions, and with the most scrupulous completeness. Hence his triumph over death is a fact so deeply impressed on our minds, that even now, nineteen hundred years since it happened, we cannot celebrate our Easter without feeling a thrill of enthusiastic admiration akin to that which the guards at his tomb experienced when they found their Captive gone.

Yes, Jesus was truly dead. The afternoon of Friday was at its close, and Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took down the Body from the Cross; they gave it, stiff and covered with blood as it was, to his afflicted Mother Who could doubt of his death? The terrible agony of the previous night, when his human nature shrank at the foresight of the cup he had to drink; the treachery of one, and the infidelity of the rest of his Apostles, which broke his Sacred Heart; the long hours of insult and cruelty, the barbarous scourging, which Pilate devised as a means of softening brutal Jews to pity; the Cross, to which he was fastened with nails that opened four founts of Blood; the anguish of his agonizing Heart, when he beheld his Mother at the foot of the Cross; the burning thirst, which choked the throbs of life still left; the spear that pierced his side through to the very Heart, and drew from it a stream of Blood and water—these are proofs enough that death had made God his victim. Dear Jesus! they are now but so many motives for us to love thy beautiful glory. How could we, for whom thou didst suffer death, be unmindful of the sufferings that caused it? How could we forget them now, for they enhance the splendour of thy Resurrection?

He therefore gained a true victory over death: He appeared on the earth as a conqueror of a very different kind from any that had hitherto been known. Here was a fact which it was impossible to deny: a Man, whose whole life had been spent in obscurity, was put to death by the most cruel tortures, and amidst the insulting shouts of his unworthy fellow-citizens. Pilate sent to the Emperor Tiberius an official account of the judgement and death of One, whom he represented as calling himself the King of the Jews. What would men think, after all this, of them that professed themselves followers of this Jesus? The philosophers, the wits, the slaves of the world and pleasure, would point the finger of scorn at them, and say:’Lo! these are they that adore a God who died on a Cross!’ But if this God rose again from the grave, is not his death an evidence of his divinity? He died, and he rose again; he foretold his death and his Resurrection; who but a God could thus hold in his power 'the keys of death and hell'?[5]

Yet so it was: Jesus was put to death, and rose again from the grave. How do we know it? By the testimony of his Apostles; they saw him after he had risen, they touched him, they conversed with him for forty days. But are these Apostles to be credited? Surely they are, for never was there a testimony that bore such internal evidence of truth. What interest could these men have in publishing the glory of their Master, who had been put to a death that brought ignominy both upon himself and them, if they knew that he never rose again, as he had promised he would? The chief priests bribed the soldiers to say that while they were asleep his disciples, poor timid men as they were, came during the night and stole away the Body. They thought by this to throw discredit upon the testimony of the Apostles. But what folly! We may justly address to them the sarcastic words of St Augustine: 'What! do you adduce sleeping witnesses? Surely, you yourselves must have been asleep, to have had recourse to such a scheme as this!’[6]But, as for the Apostles, what motive could they have for preaching the Resurrection, if it never took place?’In such a supposition,’ says St John Chrysostom, ‘they would have looked upon their Master as a false prophet and an impostor: and is it likely they would go and defend him against the accusations of a whole nation? Would they expose themselves to all manner of suffering for One who had so cruelly deceived them? What was there to encourage them in such an undertaking? The rewards he had promised them? But if he had not fulfilled his promise of rising again, how could they trust to the rest of his promises?’[7]No: we must either deny every principle of nature and common sense or we must acknowledge the testimony of the Apostles to be a true one.

Moreover this testimony was the most disinterested that could be, for it brought nothing but persecution and death upon them that gave it. It was a proof that God was with such men as these, who, but a few hours before, had been timid cowards, and now were fearless of every danger, asserting their conviction with an intrepidity which human courage could never inspire, and this too in cities which were very centres of civilization and learning. The world was made to listen to their testimony, which they confirmed by miracles· and thousands of every tongue and nation were converted into believers of Jesus’ Resurrection. When at length, these Apostles laid down their lives for the doctrines they had preached, they left the world in possession of the truth of the Resurrection; and the seed they had sown in lands where even the Roman Empire had not extended its conquests produced a quick and world-wide harvest. All this gave to the astounding fact which they proclaimed a guarantee and a certainty beyond suspicion. It was impossible to. refuse such evidence without going against every principle of reason. Yes, O Jesus! thy Resurrection is as certain as thy death. Thy Apostles could never have preached, they could never have converted the world as they did, unless they had had truth on their side.

But the Apostles are no longer here to give their testimony: the equally solemn testimony of the Church has succeeded to theirs, and proclaims, with a like authority, that Jesus is no longer among the dead. By the Church we here mean those hundreds of millions of Christians, who have proclaimed the Resurrection of Jesus by keeping, for now nineteen hundred years, the feast of the Pasch. And can there be room for doubt here? Who is there that would not assent to what has been thus attested every year since the Apostles first announced it? Among these countless proclaimers of our Lord’s Resurrection, there have been thousands of learned men, the bent of whose mind led them to sift every truth, and who, before embracing the faith, had examined its tenets in the light of reason; there have been millions of others, whose acceptance of a dogma like this, which puts a restraint on the passions, was the result of the conviction that the only way to eternal happiness is in the due performance of the duties this dogma imposes; and, finally, there have been millions of others, who, by their virtues, were the support and ornament of the world, but who owed all their virtues to their faith in the death and Resurrection of Jesus.

Thus, the testimony of the Church, that is of the wisest and best portion of mankind, is admirably united with that of the Apostles, whom our Lord himself appointed as his first witnesses. The two testimonies are one. The Apostles proclaimed what they had seen; we proclaim, and shall proclaim to the end, what the Apostles preached. The Apostles made themselves sure of the Resurrection, which they had to preach to the world; we make ourselves sure of the veracity of their word. They believed after experience; so also do we. They had the happiness of seeing, hearing, and touching the Word of Life;[8] we see and hear the Church, which they established throughout the world, although it was but in its infancy when they were taken from the earth. The Church is that tree of which Jesus spoke in the parable, saying, that though exceeding small in its first commencement, it would afterwards spread out its branches far and wide.[9] St Augustine in one of his Easter sermons has these fine words:’As yet, we see not Christ; but we see the Church: therefore let us believe in Christ. The Apostles, on the contrary, saw Christ; but they saw not the Church except by faith. They saw one thing, and they believed another: so, likewise, let us do. Let us believe in the Christ, whom as yet we see not; and by keeping ourselves with the Church which we see, we shall come at length to see him, whom as yet we cannot see.’[10]

Having thus, O Jesus! the certainty of thy glorious Resurrection, as well as that of thy death on the Cross, we confess thee to be the great God, the Creator and sovereign Lord of all things. Thy death humbled, thy Resurrection exalted thee: but thou thyself wast the author of both the humiliation and the exaltation. Thou saidst to thine enemies: ‘No man taketh my life away from me; but I lay it down of myself; and I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.’[11] None but a God could have such power, none but a God could have exercised it as thou hast done: we, therefore, are confessing thy divinity when we confess thy Resurrection. We beseech thee, make worthy of thine acceptance this humble and delighted homage of our faith!

In Rome, the Station is at the church of St Mary ad Martyres. It was the ancient pantheon of Agrippa, and had been dedicated to all the false gods; it was given by the Emperor Phocas to St Boniface IV, who consecrated it to the Mother of God and all the martyrs. It is not known where to-day’s Station was held previously to the seventh century, when this church was chosen. The neophytes were thus assembled, for the second time within the Octave, in a temple dedicated to Mary: it would show them how much the Church desired to inspire them with confidence in her who had become their mother, and whose office it is to lead to her Son all those whom he calls by his grace to become his brethren.

 

MASS

 

The Introit, which is taken from the Psalms, reminds the neophytes of the passage through the Red Sea, and how its waters were gifted with the power of delivering the Israelites. The Church continually alludes to this great event, during the whole Paschal Octave.

Introit

Eduxit eos Dominus in spe, alleluia: et inimicos eorum operuit mare. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Attendite, popule meus, legem meam: inclinate aurem vestram in verba oris mei.
℣. Gloria Patri.
Eduxit.
The Lord hath brought them forth in hope, alleluia: and the sea hath covered their enemies. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Attend, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
℣. Glory, etc.
The Lord, etc.

The Pasch is the reconciliation of man with God, for the Father can refuse nothing to such a conqueror as our risen Jesus, his Son. In her Collect, the Church prays that we may ever show ourselves worthy of such a covenant, by faithfully living up to the mystery of the Paschal regeneration.

Collect

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Paschale Sacramentum in reconciliationis humanæ fædere contulisti: da mentibus nostris, ut quod professione celebramus, imitemur effectu. Per Dominum.
O almighty and eternal God, who hast instituted this Paschal mystery in the covenant of the reconciliation of mankind; assist us with thy holy grace, that what we profess in this solemnity, we may practise in our lives. Through, etc.

To this is added one of the Collects given in Wednesday's Mass, p. 218.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Petri Apostoli.

I Cap. iii.

Charissimi, Christus semel pro peccatis nostris mortuus est, Justus pro injustis, ut nos offerret Deo, mortificatus quidem carne, vivificatus autem Spiritu. In quo et his, qui in carcere erant, spiritibus veniens prædicavit: qui increduli fuerant aliquando, quando exspectabant Dei patientiam in diebus Noe, cum fabricaretur area: in qua pauci, id est octo animæ salvæ factæ sunt per aquam. Quod et vos nunc similis formæ salvos facit baptisma: non carnis depositio sordium, sed conscientiæ bonæ interrogatio in Deum, per Resurrectionem Jesu Christi Domini nostri, qui est in dextera Dei.
Lesson of the Epistle of St Peter the Apostle.

I Ch. iii.

Dearly beloved: Christ died once for our sins, the just for the unjust; that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit. In which also coming, he preached to those spirits that were in prison; which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noe, when the ark was a building: wherein a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. Whereunto Baptism being of the like form, now saveth you also: not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the examination of a good conscience towards God by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is on the right hand of God.

Again it is the Apostle St Peter who speaks to us, and his instructions are of peculiar interest to our neophytes. He begins by telling them how the Soul of our Redeemer descended into limbo; and how, among the prisoners detained there, were some of those who had perished in the deluge, yet had found salvation in its waters. They were at first incredulous, and despised the threats made known to them by Noe; but when the flood came and swept them away, they repented of their sin, and asked and obtained pardon. The Apostle then goes on to speak of the favoured inhabitants of the ark; they are a type of our neophytes, whom we have seen pass through the waters of the font, and thereby become, as did the sons of Noe, fathers of a new generation of children of God. Baptism, says the Apostle, is not like other washings of the body; it is the cleansing of the soul, provided she be sincere in the solemn promise she vows at the font, to be faithful to the Christ who saves her, and to renounce Satan and all that is his. The Apostle concludes by telling us that the mystery of our Saviour’s Resurrection is the source of the grace of Baptism: hence the Church has chosen the feast of Easter for the solemn administration of this Sacrament.

Gradual

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et lætemur in ea.
℣. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini: Deus Dominus, et illuxit nobis.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Dicite in gentibus: quia Dominus regnavit a ligno.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.
℣. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: the Lord is God, and he hath shone upon us.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Say ye among the gentiles, that the Lord hath reigned from the Wood.

The Sequence Victimæ Paschali, p. 145.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xxviii.

In illo tempore: Undecim discipuli abierunt in Galilæam, in montem, ubi constituerat illis Jesus. Et videntes eum, adoraverunt: quidam autem dubitaverunt. Et accedens Jesus locutus est eis, dicens . Data est mihi omnis potestas in cœlo, et in terra. Euntes ergo docete omnes gentes, baptizantes eos in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti: docentes eos servare omnia quæcumque mandavi vobis: et ecce ego vobiscum sum omnibus diebus, usque ad consummationem sæculi.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xxviii.

At that time: The eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And seeing him they adored: but some doubted. And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going, therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

St Matthew's description of the Resurrection is shorter than those given by the other Evangelists; his few brief words on Jesus' appearing to the Apostles in Galilee are the subject of to-day's Gospel. It was in Galilee that our Lord vouchsafed to show himself not only to the Apostles, but moreover to several other persons. The Evangelist tells us how some of those, that were thus favoured, readily believed; and how others doubted, before yielding the assent of their faith. He then relates the words wherewith Jesus gave his Apostles the mission to preach the Gospel to all nations; and since he is to die no more, he promises to be with them for ever, even to the end of the world. But the Apostles are not to live to the end of the world: how, then, will he fulfil his promise? The Apostles, as we said before, are perpetuated by the Church; the two testimonies—of the Apostles and of the Church—are inseparably linked together; and our Lord Jesus Christ preserves this united testimony from error or interruption. The Liturgy of to-day brings before us a proof of its irresistible power. Peter, Paul and John preached Jesus' Resurrection, and established the Christian faith in Rome; five centuries after, the Church, which continued their work, received from an Emperor the gift of the temple, which had once been consecrated to all the false gods, but which St Peter's successor dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, and to that legion of witnesses of the Resurrection, whom we call martyrs. At the sight of this magnificent edifice, which for three hundred years had been deserted by the pagans, but now is reconciled by the Church, and holds within its walls the Christian people, our neophytes could not refrain from exclaiming: 'Oh! truly is Christ risen, who, after being put to death on the Cross, thus triumphs over the Caesars, and over the gods of Olympus!'

The Offertory is composed of those words of Exodus, wherein God commands his people to celebrate each year the anniversary of the Passover. If this were so for an event which was but figurative, and whose effects did not extend beyond this life, how fervently and joyously ought Christians to keep the anniversary of that other Passover, whose results are to be eternal, and whose divine reality has put an end to all the ancient figures!

Offertory

Erit vobis hæc dies memorialis, alleluia: et diem festum celebrabitis solemnem Domino in progenies vestras: legitimum sempiternum diem. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
And this day shall be for a memorial to you, alleluia: and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord in your generations, with an everlasting observance. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

In the Secret, the Church beseeches God to accept this present Sacrifice for the forgiveness of the sins of her neophytes. But how is this? Their sins have been already effaced. It is true; their sins have been washed away in the waters of Baptism; but God's foreknowledge of the Sacrifice that would now be offered to him, led him to grant his pardon even before the petition for mercy had really been made.

Secret

Hostias, quæsumus Domine, placatus assume: quas et pro renatorum expiatione peccati deferimus, et pro acceleratione cœlestis auxilii. Per Dominum.
Mercifully accept this sacrifice, we beseech thee, O Lord, which we offer for the remission of their sins, who have been regenerated; and to obtain speedily the help of thy grace. Through, etc.

To this is added one of the Secrets given in Wednesday's Mass, p. 224.


The Communion Anthem joyously proclaims the command, given by our Saviour to his Apostles and his Church, to teach all nations, and to baptize all people. This order is the warrant of their mission. The use made of it by the Apostles, and continued by the Church, during these nineteen hundred years, plainly proves that he who spoke these words is still living, and will for ever live.

Communion

Data est mihi omnis potestas in cœlo et in terra, alleluia: euntes docete omnes gentes, baptizantes eos in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Alleluia, alleluia.
All power is given to me in heaven and in earth, alleluia: go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Alleluia, alleluia.

After nourishing her children with the Bread of eternal life, the Church, in the Postcommunion, again prays that they may receive forgiveness of the sins which they commit in this present life, and which would be to their everlasting perdition, were not the merits of our Saviour's death and Resurrection ever present before the justice of God.

Postcommunion

Respice, quæsumus Domine, populum tuum: et quem æternis dignatus es renovare mysteriis, a temporalibus culpis dignanter absolve. Per Dominum.
Look down, we beseech thee, O Lord, upon thy people: and since thou hast vouchsafed to give them a new Ufe by these eternal mysteries, grant them also pardon of their temporal offences. Through, etc.

To this is added one of the Post communions given in Wednesday's Mass, p. 225.


This is the sixth day of the creation. Upon it, the hand of the Son of God formed the body of man out of the slime of the earth, into which he breathed a living soul. This was the creature that was to be the king of the visible creation. A simple command of the divine Word had sufficed to call from the earth all the animals that live upon it; but when, towards the close of this great day, the Creator said, 'Let us make man to our image and likeness,' he did more than merely command, he seems to have deliberated: he deigned to become the artificer of his work. Let us adore this his sovereign goodness towards our race, and ever gratefully honour the Friday of each week, as the day whereon the Son of God completed the work he began on the Sunday by the creation of him who was to be master and lord of the world. Nor is this the only mystery that should make Friday dear to us. It was on this same day that the divine Word, having taken upon himself the flesh he himself had made, died upon the Cross, that he might save his rebellious and lost creature man. O sacred day! Day that didst witness both our creation and our redemption! Thou speakest to us of the Son of God, and of his love for us, even more sweetly than of his power! Let us express all this by reciting the following devout prayer, which the Mozarabic Liturgy uses on the Friday of Easter Week:

Capitula

Deus, Dei Filius, qui hominem, quem sexto die formasti ex nihilo, sexta ætate sæculi redemisti sanguine tuo: et qui tunc bene conditus male cecidit, nunc in melius reformatus surrexit: da nobis, ut ita veraciter redemptionis nostræ mysterium perpendamus, qualiter in morte et resurrectione tua perenniter gloriemur: ut qui tempore salutis, mundo occurrens, mortem nostram moriendo devicisti, ab æterna nos liberes damnatione judicii.
O God, Son of God, who, in the sixth age of the world didst, by thy Blood, redeem man whom thou hadst formed out of nothing, on the sixth day, and who, though created in goodness, fell into evil, but has now risen regenerated unto what is more perfect: grant that we may so truly prize the mystery of our redemption, that we may for ever glory in thy death and Resurrection: and that thou, who, in the time of our salvation, didst succour the world and conquer our death by thine own, mayst deliver us from the eternal damnation of the Judgement.

To-day let us hearken to the Church of Armenia celebrating the Resurrection. For thirteen centuries she has sung the following stanzas, which a confrere has translated, for our work, from the hymn book, or Charagan. The sentiment is the same as we find expressed in other Liturgies; but there is, moreover, the style peculiar to the Armenian character. The reader will be pleased with the fragrance of antiquity which he will find in these verses, whose vigorous and solemn lyric beauty surpasses that of the liturgical compositions of the Greek Church.

In Resurrectione Domini

Hodie resurrexit a mortuis sponsus immortalis et cœlestis: tibi nuntium gaudii, o sponsa e terra Ecclesia; benedic voce exsultationis Deum tuum, Sion.

Hodie inenarrabile Lumen de lumine illuminavit pueros tuos; illuminare, Jerusalem, quia resurrexit lumen tuum Christus.

Hodie tenebræ inscitiæ depulsæ sunt trina luce, et tibi orta est lux scientiæ, resurgens a mortuis Christus.

Hodie Pascha nostrum per immolationem Christi; peragamus festum in exsultatione, renovati nos a vetustate peccati, dicentes: Christus resurrexit a mortuis.

Hodie angelus refulgens, e cœlis descendens, deterruit custodes, et sanctis mulieribus prædicabat dicens: Christus resurrexit a mortuis.

Hodie magnum nuntium Adæ protoplastæ fuit datum: Surge, qui dormis; illuminavit te Christus, Deus patrum nostrorum.

Hodie vocem nuntii ad Evæ aures sonant filiæ unguentiferæ: Vidimus resurrectum, resurrectionem tuam, Christum, Deum patrum nostrorum.

Hodie angeli de cœlis descendentes annuntiant hominibus: Resurrexit crucifixus, et suscitavit vos secum.

Hodie Phase ærumnarum exitus Israel commutasti in salutis animarum Pascha, sancta resurrectione tua, Christe.

Hodie pro sanguinibus irrationabilium agnorum mactatorum, donasti nobis, Agnus Dei, sanguinem tuum salutare.

Hodie pro primogenitorum redemptione redemisti captivos, pnmitiæ vitæ dormientium, et primogenitus mortuorum.

Hodie angeli in cœlis lætantur cum hominibus, et descendentes de cœlis annuntiant mundo: Exsultate; hodie Christus resurrexit a mortuis.

Hodie vigil secus petram, thuriferis sanctis mulieribus, buccinabat voce exsultationis, ut referrent discipulis: Exsultate; hodie Christus resurrexit a mortuis.

Hodie Petra fidei et Johannes dilectus vice versa currebant in monumentum resurrecti, quod videntes narrabant: Christus resurrexit a mortuis.

Hodie nos quoque delectantes clareamus festo hoc; placato Deo, invicem amplectamur in amore, ac unitim exclamemus: Christus resurrexit a mortuis.
To-day, the immortal and heavenly Bridegroom rose again from the dead! To thee the glad tidings, O Church, his spouse on earth! Bless thy God, O Sion, with a joyous voice.

To-day, the ineffable Light of light enlightened thy children. Be thou enlightened, O Jerusalem! for Christ, thy Light, has risen.

To-day the darkness of ignorance is dispelled by the triple light: and the light of knowledge has risen upon thee, it is Christ rising again from the dead.

To-day is our Pasch, by the sacrifice of Christ; let us keep the feast with gladness, being renewed from the oldness of sin: and let us say: Christ hath risen again from the dead!

To-day a bright angel came down from heaven, struck the guards with fear, and said to the holy women: Christ hath risen again from the dead!

To-day the great tidings were given to our first parent, Adam: Arise, thou that sleepest! Christ, the God of our fathers, hath enlightened thee.

To-day the tidings told by her daughters, who brought their perfumes to the tomb, sounded in the ears of Eve: We have seen him risen, who is thy resurrection, Christ, the God of our fathers.

To-day the angels came down from heaven, saying to men: The Crucified hath risen, and hath raised you up with himself.

To-day, O Christ, by thy holy Resurrection, thou didst change the mournful Pasch of Israel into the Pasch that saves souls.

To-day thou, O Lamb of God, didst give us thine own saving Blood for the blood of irrational lambs that were slain.

To-day, in place of the ransom of the first-born, thou, the first-fruits of life among them that sleep, the first-born among the dead—didst redeem the captives.

To-day the angels of heaven rejoice together with men; and coming down from heaven, they say to the world: Be glad! to-day Christ hath risen again from the dead!

To-day the angel that sat upon the rock and kept guard spoke with a loud voice to the holy women that had come with their spices, and bade them be messengers to the disciples: Be glad! to-day Christ hath risen again from the dead!

To-day, he that is the Rock of faith, and John, the beloved, ran to Jesus’ sepulchre, and said, when they saw it: Christ hath risen again from the dead!

To-day let us also be bright in the joy of this feast. God is reconciled with us; let us embrace each other with love, and say with one voice: Christ hath risen again from the dead!


We are far from having exhausted the treasury of Adam of St Victor: let us take another of his sequences. The one we select seems the most appropriate to the Friday of the Easter Octave.

Sequence

Sexta passus feria,
Die Christus tertia resurrexit;
Surgens cum victoria,
Collocat in gloria quos dilexit.

Pro fideli populo,
Crucis in patibulo immolatur;
Clauditur in tumulo,
Tandem in diluculo suscitatur.

Christi crux et passio
Nobis est præsidio,
Si credamus: Christi resurrectio
Facit ut a vitio resurgamus.

Hostia sufficiens
Christus fuit moriens pro peccato;
Sanguinis effusio
Abluit nos, impio triumphato.

Morte sua simplici,
Nostræ morti duplici fert medelam:
Vitae pandit aditum,
Nostrum sanat gemitum et querelam.

Leo fortis hodie
Dat signum potentiæ, resurgendo,
Principem nequitiæ,
Per arma justitiæ, devincendo.

Diem istam Dominus
Fecit, in qua facinus mundi lavit,
In qua mors occiditur,
In qua vita redditur, hostis ruit.

Geminatum igitur
Alleluia canitur, corde puro;
Quia culpa tollitur
Et vita promittitur in futuro.

In hoc mundi vespere,
Fac tuos resurgere, Jesu Christe;
Salutaris omnibus
Sit tuis fidelibus dies iste.

Amen.
Christ suffered death on the sixth day;
he rose again on the third.
By his victorious Resurrection,
he shares his own glory with those he loves.

He is sacrificed on the gibbet of the Cross
for his faithful people;
he is placed in the tomb:
he rises at dawn of day.

To them that have faith,
the Cross and Passion of Christ are a safeguard:
his Resurrection gives us
to rise from our sins.

Christ dying for sin
was our all-sufficient victim:
the shedding of his Blood was our purification,
and the defeat of our wicked enemy.

Jesus' single death is the remedy
for ours that was twofold:
it opens to us the way of life,
and takes away our mourning and grief.

Now does the mighty Lion
give proof of power by rising,
and conquering the prince of wickedness
by the armour of justice.

This is the day which the Lord hath made,
for on it the world was cleansed of its crimes,
death was slain, life was restored,
and the enemy defeated.

A double Alleluia,
and with a pure heart, should be sung to-day;
for sin is taken away,
and life is promised for the future.

O Jesus! give us, thy servants,
to rise again when the evening of this world sets in!
May this present day
be one of grace to all thy faithful.

Amen.

[1] Isa. liii 3.
[2] Rom. viii 32.
[3] Lam. iii 30.
[4] 1 Cor. xv. 17.
[5] Apoc. i 18.
[6] Enarrat. in Psalm, lxiii.
[7] In Matt. Homil. lxxxix.
[8] St John i 1.
[9] St Matt. xiii 31, 32; St Mark iv 31, 32.
[10] Sermo, ccxxxviii. In diebus Paschalibus, x.
[11] St John x 18.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including:

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et lætemur in ea.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

THE seventh day of the gladdest of weeks has risen upon us, bringing with it the memory of the Creator's rest, after the six days of creation. It also reminds us of that other rest, which this same God took in the tomb; like a warrior, who, when sure of the victory, calmly reposes before the final combat with the enemy. Our Jesus slept his rest in the sepulchre, after permitting death to vanquish him: but when he awoke by his Resurrection, what a victory over the tyrant! Let us, to-day, visit this holy sepulchre and venerate it: it will speak to us of him we love, and make our love the warmer. Here, we shall say to ourselves, here rested our dear Master, after he had died for us! Here was the scene of the glorious victory, when he arose again, and this, too, for us!

The prophet Isaias had said: ‘In that day, the root of Jesse, who standeth for an ensign of people, him shall the gentiles beseech; and his sepulchre shall be glorious.’[1] The prophecy has been fulfilled. There is not a nation under the sun where Jesus has not his adorers. The tombs of other men are either destroyed, or they are monuments of death; the tomb of Jesus is everlasting, and speaks but of life.

What a sepulchre this, the sight of which fills us with thoughts of glory, and whose praises had been celebrated so many ages beforehand! When the fullness of time came, God raised up in Jerusalem a holy man, named Joseph of Arimathea, who secretly but sincerely became one of Jesus’ disciples. He was a rich counsellor, or senator. He had prepared his own tomb, and the place he chose was on the side of the hill of Calvary. It was hewn out of the live rock, and consisted of two cells, one serving as a sort of entry into the other. Joseph thought he was labouring for himself, whereas he was preparing the sepulchre of a God. He only thought of the debt which every man has to pay, in consequence of Adam’s sin; but heaven had decreed that Joseph should never lie in that tomb, and that here should originate man’s immortality.

Jesus had expired on the Cross, amidst the insults of his people; the entire city had risen up against the Son of David, whom, but a few days before, it had hailed as its King. Then did Joseph brave the fury of the deicides, and ask permission from the Roman governor to be allowed the honour of burying the Body of the Crucified. He at once repaired to Calvary, accompanied by Nicodemus, and, having taken down the sacred corpse from the Cross, he devoutly laid it upon the stone which he had intended as his own restingplace. He felt that it was a happiness and an honour to give up his own tomb to the dear Master, for whom he had not been ashamed to profess, and that in the very court of Pilate, his devoted attachment. Right worthy art thou, O Joseph! of the thanks of mankind. Thou wast our representative at the burial of our Jesus. And Mary, too, the afflicted Mother, who was present, recompensed thee, in her own way, for the sacrifice thou didst so willingly make for her Son.

The Evangelists draw our attention to one special circumstance of the sepulchre. St Matthew, St Luke, and St John, tell us that it was new, and that no man had ever been laid in it. The holy Fathers teach us that we must see here a mysterious dispensation, and one of the grand glories of the holy tomb. It marks, as they observe, the resemblance that exists between the sepulchre, which restored the Man-God to the life of immortality, and the virginal womb which gave him birth that he might be a victim for the world’s redemption: and they bid us learn from this, how God, when he deigns to dwell in any of his creatures, would have the dwelling to be pure and worthy of his infinite holiness. Here, then, is one of the glories of the holy sepulchre—that it was an image of the incomparable purity of the Mother of Jesus.

During the few hours that it possessed the precious trust, where was there glory on earth like unto what it enjoyed? Within that silent cave, there lay, wrapt in shrouds that were bedewed with Mary’s tears, the Body which had ransomed the world. Hosts of holy angels stood in that little rocky cell, keeping watch over the corpse of him who was their Creator; they adored it, in its sleep of death; they longed for the hour to come when this Lamb, that was slain, would arise a Lion in power and majesty. And when the moment fixed by the eternal decree came, that humble spot was made the scene of the grand prodigy; Jesus rose to life, and, swifter than lightning, passed through the rock to the outer world. An angel then rolled back the stone from the entrance to the sepulchre, thus proclaiming the departure of the divine Captive. Other angels showed themselves to Magdalen and her companions, when they came to visit it. Peter, too, and John were soon there. O truly, most holy is this place! The Son of God deigned to dwell within it; his Mother honoured it with her presence and her tears; angels adored in it; the holiest souls on earth visited, venerated, and loved it. O sepulchre of the Son of Jesse, thou art indeed glorious!

Hell witnesses this glory, and would fain destroy it. The sight of this sepulchre is insufferable to Satan’s pride, for it is the trophy of the defeat of death, the offspring of sin. He flatters himself on having succeeded, when Jerusalem is destroyed by the Roman legions, and on her ruins there rises up a new and pagan city, called Ælia. But no! neither the name of Jerusalem, nor the glory of the holy sepulchre, shall perish. The pagans cover it with a mound of earth, on which they build a temple to Jupiter; it is the same spirit that dictated their raising an altar to Venus on Calvary, and another to Adonis over the cave of Bethlehem. But all these sacrilegious efforts only serve to tell the Christians the exact site of these several sacred places. The pagans think by this artifice to turn the respect and homage of the Christians from Jesus to their false gods: here again they fail. The Christians abstain from visiting the holy places, as long as they are desecrated by the presence of these idols; but they keep their eye fixed on what their Redeemer has endeared to them, and wait in patience for the time when it shall please the eternal Father again to glorify his Son.

The time comes. God sends to Jerusalem a Christian empress, mother of a Christian emperor: she is to restore the holy places, the scenes of our Redeemer’s love. Like Magdalen and her companions, Helen hastens to the sepulchre. God would have it so—woman’s privilege in all that happened on the great morning of the Resurrection is to be continued now. Magdalen and her companions sought Jesus; Helen, who adores him as her risen Lord, only seeks his sepulchre: but their love is one and the same. The pious empress orders the temple of Jupiter to be pulled down, and the mound of earth to be removed; which done, the trophy of Jesus’ victory once more gleams in the light of day. The defeat of death is again proclaimed by this resurrection of the glorious sepulchre. A magnificent temple is built at the expense of the imperial treasury, and is called the basilica of the Resurrection. The whole world is excited by the news of such a triumph; the already tottering structure of paganism receives a shock which hastens its destruction; and pilgrimages to the holy sepulchre are begun by Christian people throughout the world, forming a procession of universal homage which is to continue to the end of time.

During the three centuries following, Jerusalem was the holy and free city, and the sepulchre of Jesus reflected its glory upon her; but the East became a very hot-bed of heresies, and God, in his justice, sent her the chastisement of slavery. The Saracen hordes inundated the land of prodigy. If the torrent of invasion was checked, it was for a brief period, and the waters returned with redoubled power. Meanwhile, what becomes of the holy sepulchre? Let us not fear: it is safe. The Saracens themselves look upon it with awe, for it is, they say, the tomb of a great Prophet. True, a tax is imposed on the Christians who visit it; but the sepulchre is safe. One of the caliphs presented the keys of the venerable sanctuary to the emperor Charlemagne, hereby evincing, not only the respect he had for this greatest of Christian monarchs, but, moreover, the veneration wherein he held the sacred grotto. Thus did our Lord's sepulchre continue to be glorified even in the midst of dangers which, humanly, would have wrought its utter destruction.

Its glory shone out still more brightly, when, at the call of the Father of Christendom, the western nations rose up in arms, and marched, under the banner of the Cross, to the deliverance of Jerusalem. The love of the holy sepulchre was in every heart, its name on every tongue. The first engagement drove back the Saracen, and left the city in possession of the crusaders. A sublime spectacle was then witnessed in the church of the holy sepulchre; the pious Godfrey of Bouillon was consecrated king of Jerusalem, and the holy mysteries were celebrated, for the first time in the language and ritual of Rome, under the oriental dome of St Helen's basilica. But the reign of Japheth in the tents of Sem was of short duration, owing partly to the short-sighted policy of the western sovereigns, which kept them from appreciating the importance of such a conquest; and partly to the treachery of the Greek Empire, which betrayed the defenceless Jerusalem once more into the hands of the Saracens. Still, the period of the Latin kingdom in the holy city was one of the glories of Jesus' sepulchre, foretold by Isaias.

What are to be its future glories? At present, it is profaned by the sacrifices which are offered, in its basilica, by schismatical and heretical priests; it is entrusted, for a few hours each year, to the Catholics of Jerusalem, and during that brief interval it receives the fervent homage of the true spouse of Jesus. When will the holy sepulchre be reinstated in its honour? Will the nations of the West return to the fervour of faith, and emulate the holy chivalry of the crusaders of old? Or will the East renounce the schism, which has cost her her liberty; stretch out her hand to the mother and mistress of all churches; and, on the rock of the Resurrection, sign the covenant of a union, which would be the death-warrant of Islamism? Only God knows: but this much he has revealed to us in sacred Scripture, that before the end of the world, Israel will return to the Messias he despised and crucified, and that the glory of Jerusalem is to be restored by the Jews who shall be converted.[2] Then will the sepulchre of the Son of Jesse be at the height of its glory, and soon will this Son of Jesse himself appear. Our bodies will then be on the eve of the general resurrection; and thus the final result of the Pasch will be simultaneous with the last and greatest glory of the holy sepulchre. As we rise from our graves, we shall fix our eyes upon our Jesus' tomb, and love it as the origin and source of the immortality we shall then have. Until the time of our death comes, when our bodies must be laid in the temporary prison of the grave, let us love the sepulchre of our dear Saviour; let us be zealous for its honour; and, imitating our forefathers in that earnest faith which made them its defenders and soldiers, let us get well into us that portion of the Easter spirit, which consists in understanding and loving the glories of Jesus' sepulchre.

The name given in the Liturgy to this day is Saturday in albis, or more correctly, in albis deponendis; because it was to-day that the neophytes were to lay aside the white robes they had been wearing during the whole Octave. This Octave had, indeed, begun earlier for them than for the rest of the faithful, inasmuch as it was on the night of Holy Saturday that they were regenerated, and vested with these white garments, the emblem of the purity of their souls. It was, therefore, on the evening of the following Saturday, and after the Office of Vespers, that they put off their baptismal robes, as we will describe farther on.

In Rome, the Station is in the Lateran basilica, the mother and mistress of all churches. It is close to the baptistery of Constantine, where, eight days back, the neophytes received the grace of regeneration. The basilica, wherein they are now assembled, is that from which they set out, during the still and dark night, to the font of salvation, led on by the mysterious light of the Paschal torch. It was to this same church that they returned after their Baptism, clad in their white robes, and assisted, for the first time, at the entire celebration of the Christian Sacrifice, and received the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus. No other place could have been more appropriate for the Station of this day, whereon they were to return to the ordinary duties of life. Holy Church sees assembled around her these her new-born children. It is the last time that she will see them in their white garments, and she looks at them with all the affection of a joyful mother. They are most dear to her, as the fruit of heaven’s own giving; and during the week she has frequently given expression to her maternal pride, in canticles such as she alone can sing.

Sometimes she thought how they had feasted at the divine Banquet, and how they were strengthened and beautified by the Flesh of him who is all wisdom and sweetness; and she sang these words:

℟. De ore prudentis procedit mel, alleluia; dulcedo mellis est sub lingua ejus, alleluia;
* Favus distillans labia ejus, alleluia.
℣. Sapientia requiescit in corde ejus, et prudentia in sermone oris illius.
* Favus distillans labia ejus, alleluia.
℟. From the mouth of the wise cometh honey, alleluia; the sweetness of honey is under his tongue;
* his lips are as a dropping honeycomb, alleluia.
℣. Wisdom resteth in his heart, and prudence is in the word of his mouth.
* His lips are as a dropping honeycomb, alleluia.

Sometimes she was elated with joy, as she saw transformed into innocent lambs those who, heretofore, had led worldly lives; they had now begun a new life, and with all the innocence of little children; to describe them, she sings this pastoral strain:

℟. Isti sunt agni novelli qui annuntiaverunt Alleluia: modo venerunt ad fontes;
* Repleti sunt claritate. Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. In conspectu Agni amicti sunt stolis albis, et palmæ in manibus eorum.
* Repleti sunt claritate. Alluia, alleluia.
℟. These are the new lambs and they have announced to us the Alleluia:they have come but now to the fount;
* They are filled with light. Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. They are standing in the sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.
* They are filled with light. Alleluia, alleluia.

Again, at other times, she looked with holy pride on the splendid virtues which Baptism had infused into their souls, and on the spotless purity which made them beam with light; she thus enthusiastically speaks of their beauty:

℟. Candidi facti sunt Nazaræi ejus, alleluia; splendorem Deo dederunt, alleluia:
* Et sicut lac coagulati sunt. Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Candidiores nive, nitidiores lacte, rubicundiores ebore antiquo, sapphiro pulchriores.
* Et sicut lac coagulati sunt. Alleluia, alleluia.
℟. His Nazarites were white, alleluia; they gave a bright glory to God, alleluia;
* And they were pure as milk. Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. They were whiter than snow, purer than milk, more ruddy than the old ivory, fairer than the sapphire.
* And they were pure as milk. Alleluia, alleluia.

These three Responsories are taken from the Offices of the holy Church during Paschal time.


 

MASS

 

The Introit is composed of words from the 104th Psalm, wherein Israel gives praise to the Lord, for that he brought his peopleout of their exile. By this people, we must understand our neophytes, who were exiled from heaven because of original sin and of those they themselves had committed: Baptism has restored them to all the rights they had forfeited, for it has made them members of the Church.

Introit

Eduxit Dominus populum suum in exsultatione, alleluia: et electos suos in lætitia. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Confitemini Domino, et invocate Nomen ejus: annuntiate inter gentes opera ejus. ℣. Gloria Patri.
Eduxit.
The Lord hath led forth his people in gladness, alleluia: and his chosen ones in joy. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Praise the Lord, and call upon his Name: publish his works among the gentiles, ℣. Glory, etc.
The Lord, etc.

Paschal Week is about to close; the Church, therefore, now asks our Lord to grant to us, her children, that the joy we have experienced during this happy Octave may lead us to the still greater joy of the eternal Pasch.

Collect

Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut qui festa paschalia venerando egimus, per hæc contingere ad gaudia æterna mereamur. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we, who with reverence have celebrated this Paschal solemnity, may happily arrive at everlasting joys. Through, etc.

To this is added one of the Collects given in Wednesday’s Mass, p. 218.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Petri Apostoli.

I Cap. ii.

Charissimi, deponentes igitur omnem malitiam, et omnem dolum, et simulationes, et invidias, et omnes detractiones, sicut modo geniti infantes, rationabile sine dolo lac concupiscite, ut in eo crescatis in salutem: si tamen gustastis quoniam dulcis est Dominus. Ad quem accedentes lapidem vivum, ab hominibus quidem reprobatum, a Deo autem electum et honorificatum: et ipsi tanquam lapides vivi superædificamini, domus spiritualis, sacerdotium sanctum, offerre spirituales hostias, acceptabiles Deo per Jesum Christum. Propter quod continet Scriptura: Ecce pono in Sion lapidem summum angularem, electum, pretiosum: et qui crediderit in eum non confundetur. Vobis igitur honor credentibus: non credentibus autem, lapis quem reprobaverunt ædificantes, hic factus est in caput anguli: et lapis offensionis, et petra scandali his, qui offendunt verbo, nec credunt in quo et positi sunt. Vos autem genus electum, regale sacerdotium, gens sancta, populus acquisitionis: ut virtutes annuntietis ejus, qui de tenebris vos vocavit in admirabile lumen suum. Qui aliquando non populus, nunc autem populus Dei: qui non consecuti misericordiam, nunc autem misericordiam consecuti.
Lesson of the Epistle of St Peter the Apostle.

I Ch. ii.

Dearly beloved: Laying away all malice, and all guile and dissimulations, and envies, and all detractions, as newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile; that thereby you may grow unto salvation: if so be you have tasted that the Lord is sweet; unto whom coming, as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen and made honourable by God: be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore it is said in the Scripture: ‘Behold I lay in Sion a chief corner-stone, elect, precious: and he that shall believe in him shall not be confounded.’ To you therefore that believe, honour; but to them that believe not,’the stone which the builders rejected, the same is made the head of the corner:’and a stone of stumbling and a rock of scandal, to them who stumble at the word, neither do believe, whereunto also they are set. But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Who in time past were not a people: but are now the people of God. Who had not obtained mercy; but now have obtained mercy.

The neophytes could not have received any more appropriate instruction than this, which the prince of the Apostles addresses to us all. St Peter wrote this first Epistle to the newly baptized of those days. He affectionately calls them new-born babes. He urges them to that virtue, which so becomes the age of infancy —the virtue of simplicity. He tells them that the doctrine they have been taught will be to them a milk, which will feed and strengthen them. He invites them to taste how sweet is the Lord they have now vowed to serve.

After this, he speaks of one of the leading characteristics of Christ, namely, his being the foundation and corner-stone of God’s house. It is upon him that the faithful, who are the living stones of the spiritual edifice, must rest. He alone can give them solidity; and hence, when about to return to his Father, he chose and established upon earth another rock—a rock that should be ever visible, united with and based upon his own divine self, and partaking of his solidity. The Apostle’s humility forbids his developing the whole truth as related in the Gospel,[3] which tells us of his glorious prerogative; but if we remember the words spoken by our Lord to St Peter, we understand the whole doctrine implied in our Epistle.

The Apostle is silent about his own dignity as the rock, on which Jesus has built his Church; but observe the glorious titles he gives to us, who have been made members of that Church by Baptism. You are, says he, a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people. Oh, yes! what a difference there is between one that is baptized and one that is not! Heaven is opened to the one, and shut against the other; the one is a slave of the devil, and the other is a king in Christ Jesus, the eternal King, whose brother he has now become; the one cut off from God, the other offering him a sacrifice of infinite worth by the hands of the great High Priest, Jesus. And all these gifts have been bestowed upon us by a purely gratuitous mercy; we had done nothing to merit them. Let us, then, offer to the Father, who has thus adopted us, our humble acts of thanksgiving; let us go back, in thought, to the time when we ourselves were neophytes, and renew the promises which were made, in our name, as the essential condition of our being admitted to all these graces.

From this day forward, the Church ceases to use, during Paschal time, the Responsory called the Gradual. She substitutes, in its stead, two versicles, with the Alleluia repeated four times: the formula is less solemn, but more joyous. During the first six days of the Octave, which bear an analogy with the six days of creation, she would maintain the customary majestic gravity of her chants; now that she has reached the day whereon the Creator rested after his work was finished, she gives free scope to the holy joy, wherewith she is filled.

Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Hæc dies, quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et lætemur in ea. Alleluia.
℣. Laudate pueri Dominum, laudate Nomen Domini.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad, and rejoice therein. Alleluia.
℣. Praise the Lord, ye his servants; praise the Name of the Lord.

The Sequence Victimœ Paschali, p. 145.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. xx.

In illo tempore: Una sabbati Maria Magdalene venit mane, cum adhuc tenebræ essent, ad monumentum: et vidit lapidem sublatum a monumento. Cucurrit ergo, et venit ad Simonem Petrum, et ad alium discipulum, quem amabat Jesus, et dicit illis: Tulerunt Dominum de monumento, et nescimus ubi posuerunt eum. Exiit ergo Petrus, et ille alius discipulus, et venerunt ad monumentum. Currebant autem duo simul, et ille alius discipulus præcucurrit citius Petro, et venit primus ad monumentum. Et cum se inclinasset, vidit posita linteamina, non tamen introivit. Venit ergo Simon Petrus sequens eum, et introivit in monumentum, et vidit linteamina posita, et sudarium, quod fuerat super caput ejus, non cum linteaminibus positum, sed separatim involutum in unum locum. Tunc ergo introivit et ille discipulus, qui venerat primus ad monumentum: et vidit, et credidit: nondum enim sciebant Scripturam, quia oportebat eum a mortuis resurgere.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. xx.

At that time: The first day of the week, Mary Magdalen cometh early, while it was yet dark, to the sepulchre: and she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre. She ran, therefore, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith to them: They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went out, and that other disciple and they came to the sepulchre. And they both ran together, and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying: but yet he went not in. Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen cloths lying. And the napkin, that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapt up into one place. Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw, and believed; for as yet they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

This incident, which happened on the morning of our Lord's Resurrection, has been reserved by the Church for to-day’s Liturgy, because it again brings St Peter before our notice. This is the last day on which the neophytes assist at the holy Sacrifice in their white garments; after this, there will be nothing to distinguish them, exteriorly, from the rest of the faithful. It is important, therefore, to give them a clear idea of the foundation of the Church—a foundation, without which the Church could not exist, and upon which they must rest, if they would persevere in the faith wherein they have been baptized. They cannot obtain salvation unless they keep their faith inviolate. Now they alone have this firm and pure faith who are docile to the teachings of Peter, and recognize him as the rock on which our Lord has built his Church. In the episode related in our Gospel, we are taught by an Apostle what respect and deference are due to him whom Christ appointed to feed both lambs and sheep,[4] that is, the whole flock. Peter and John run together to the sepulchre; John, the younger of the two, arrives there before Peter; he looks in, but does not enter. What means this humble reserve of the disciple who was so specially beloved of Jesus? For whom does he wait? He waits for him, whom the Master has placed over all, and who is to act as their head. Peter, at length, comes to the sepulchre; he goes in; he examines the holy place; and then John also enters. It is John himself who writes this, and gives us the admirable instruction embodied in what he relates. Yes, it is for Peter to lead the way, and judge, and decide as master; it is the Christian’s duty to follow him, to listen to his teachings, to honour and obey him. How can we have any difficulty in doing this, when we see an Apostle, and such an Apostle, behaving thus to Peter, and this, too, at a time when Peter had received the promise only of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, which were not really given to him until some days after?

The words of the Offertory are taken from the 117th Psalm, which is par excellence the Psalm of the Resurrection. They hail the divine Conqueror, who rises like a bright star, and gladdens us with his benediction.

Offertory

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini: benediximus vobis de domo Domini: Deus Dominus et illuxit nobis. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord: the Lord is God, and he hath shone upon us. Alleluia, alleluia.

In the Secret, the Church teaches us that the mysteries we celebrate during the year exercise a lasting influence upon us. Each feast, as it comes round to us, brings with it fresh life and joy; and it is by its annual celebration that the Church applies to her children the graces which each mystery brought with it at the actual time of its accomplishment.

Secret

Concede, quæsumus Domine, semper nos per hæc mysteria Paschalia gratulan; ut continua nostræ reparationis operatio, perpetuæ nobis fiat causa lætitiæ. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that we may always gratefully solemnize the Paschal mysteries, and that the continual celebration of the sacrament of our redemption may be to us a subject of perpetual joy. Through, etc.

To this is added one of the Secrets given in Wednesday’s Mass, p. 224.


Our neophytes are to lay aside to-day their white robes; but there is a garment which they are never to •put away: it is Christ himself, who became united with them by Baptism, as the Apostle of the gentiles here reminds them:

Communion

Omnes qui in Christo baptizati estis, Christum induistis, alleluia.
All you that have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ, alleluia.

The Church returns once more, in her Postcommunion, to the subject of faith. Without faith there is no Christianity: now it is the Eucharist which has the power of fostering it in the soul, for the Eucharist is the mystery of faith.

Postcommunion

Redemptionis nostræ munere vegetati, quæsumus Domine: ut hoc perpetuæ salutis auxilio fides semper vera proficiat Per Dominum.
Being strengthened, O Lord, by the sacrament of our redemption, grant that through this help to eternal salvation, a true faith may always be increased in us. Through, etc.

To this is added one of the Postcommunions given in Wednesday’s Mass, p. 225.


THE TAKING OFF OF THE WHITE GARMENTS

 

The Vespers, on each of the days of this week, were celebrated in the manner we described on the Sunday. There was a numerous attendance, each day, in the basilica; and the faithful thus testified their affectionate interest in the white-robed neophytes, who visited, during the Vespers of each day, the sacred font where they had been born to the new life of grace. This afternoon, the concourse of people is greater than on the preceding days, for an interesting ceremony is to take place. The neophytes are about to lay aside the outward symbol of innocence which they have been wearing; but they are also to give a solemn promise to maintain the inward purity of soul. By this public ceremony the Church restores the newly baptized to the duties of their ordinary station of life: they must now return to the world, and comport themselves as Christians—disciples of Christ—for such they are.

The visit to the baptistery has been made, and the Office of Vespers has terminated with the Station before the crucifix of the chancel: the neophytes are then led to a room adjoining the cathedral, in which is prepared a large vessel of water. The bishop goes to his throne. Seeing the newly baptized standing around him, he addresses them in a discourse, wherein he expresses the joy he feels, as pastor, at the increase wherewith it has pleased God to bless his much-loved flock. He congratulates them upon the grace they have received; and then, alluding to the main object of their coming together this afternoon—that is, the laying aside of the white garments they received after Baptism—he warns them, with paternal affection, to keep a guard over themselves, and see that they never sully the purity of soul, of which their white robes have been but an emblem.

These were lent to the neophytes by the Church, as we said on Holy Saturday; they come now to restore them. The water in which the garments are to be washed is blessed by the pontiff. As soon as he has finished the address to which we have just been alluding, he says a prayer, wherein he speaks of the power given to this element of cleansing the stains of the soul herself. Then turning to the neophytes, he recites the 116th Psalm, in thanksgiving; to which he adds this beautiful prayer:

Visit, O Lord, thy people with thy salvation! Behold it now illumined with the Paschal joy! But do thou vouchsafe to preserve in our neophytes what thou thyself hast wrought in them unto salvation. Grant that whilst laying aside these white robes, the change may be but exterior; that the spotless purity of Christ, which the eye cannot see, may ever be in their souls, so that they may never lose it; and that thy grace may assist them to gain, by good works, that immortal life whereunto the Paschal mystery obliges us to aspire.

After this, aided by their sponsors—the men by their godfathers, the women by their godmothers—the neophytes take off their white garments, which are then consigned to those whose duty it is to wash and keep them. The sponsors having assisted their spiritual children to put on their ordinary dress, lead them to the pontiff, who distributes to each an image of the divine Lamb, stamped on wax: it is the Paschal symbol.

A last vestige of this interesting ceremony is the distribution of the Agnus Dei. This distribution is made by the Pope, on this day, in Rome, the first and every seventh year of his pontificate. We have already described the rite observed in their blessing, and we then drew the attention of our readers to the allusion to the ancient form of Baptism by immersion. The Agnus Dei are blessed on the Wednesday of Easter Week: on the following Saturday, there is what is called Papal Chapel in the palace. After High Mass, the Agnus Dei are brought before the pontiff, who is seated on a throne. The prelate, who presents them, sings the following words, which are taken from one of the beautiful Responsories given above:’Holy Father! These are the new lambs, and they have announced to us the Alleluia: they have come but now to the fount: they are filled with light.' The Pope answers: Deo gratias! They who are happy enough to witness this function are forcibly reminded of the ancient ceremony we have been describing, in which the newly baptized were led before the bishop, as the innocent lambs whom he so gladly welcomed. The Pope then distributes the Agnus Dei to the cardinals, prelates, and others presented by the master of ceremonies: and thus is concluded this function, which is interesting, not only because of its signification, but also because of the sacred object wherewith it consoles us.

We cannot conclude this last day of our neophytes' Octave without saying a few words upon the Annotine Pasch. It was the anniversary day of the previous Easter Sunday, and was looked upon as the especial feast of those who were a year old in the grace of their Baptism. The Mass was solemnly celebrated for them. The remembrance of the happy day when they were made children of God was thus brought before them; and, of course, their families kept the glorious anniversary as a glad holiday. If it came during Lent, the Annotine was not kept, or it was deferred till Easter Monday. It would seem that in some places, in order to avoid these continual changes, the anniversary of Baptism was regularly fixed for this the Saturday of Easter Week. When the custom of administering Baptism at Easter fell into disuse, the Annotine Pasch also ceased to be observed: however, we find traces of it as late as the thirteenth century. The custom of looking on the anniversary of our Baptism as a feast-day is one of those which may be called Christian instincts. The pagans made much of the day which had given them temporal birth; surely, we ought to show quite as much respect to the anniversary of our Baptism, when we were born to the supernatural life. St Louis used to sign himself Louis of Poissy, because it was in the little church of Poissy that he had received Baptism. Let us learn from this holy king to love the day and the place of our Baptism, that is, of our being made children of God and of his Church.

We have been considering, during the preceding days of this week, the divine work of the creation. We began with the Sunday, whereon light was called forth from nothingness; and in this we recognized a type of the mystery of the Resurrection; for our Jesus, the uncreated Light, was to rise from his grave on that same day of the week. This is Saturday, the seventh day, the day whereon the Lord rested, after the creation. But it is also the day whereon this same Lord rested in his glorious sepulchre. Let us, then, honour this second mystery, which even more than the first reveals to us the love of the Son of God for man. Let us give him our Saturday's homage, by addressing him in these words of the Mozarabic breviary:

Capitula

Christe Dei filius, nostrarum requies animarum, qui otium Sabbati requiescens in tumulo complevisti: ut in quo olim requieveras ab omni opere faciendo, in eo etiam requiesceres in sepulchro, hunc nobis veraciter sanctificans diem, cujus vesperum in prima nobis Sabbati, quæet octava dies est, lucescit: ut qui dixeras de tenebris lumen splendescere, manifeste a mortuis resurgens appareres in carne; dirige cursum vitae nostræ in viam sanctificationis omnimodæ, qualiter ita in his septem diebus, quibus mundus iste peragitur, et in quibus quotidie nobis Agnus occiditur, et Pascha quotidie celebratur, salubriori vitae curriculo conversemur: ut absque fermento malitiæ verum Pascha mereamur quotidie celebrare: et ita ab omnibus operibus nostris in hoc die sanctificatione tibi placita quiescamus, ut octavi illius æterni diei resurrectionis gloria consolemur.
O Christ, the Son of God, thou rest of our souls, who didst observe the repose of the Sabbath by resting in the tomb, that thou, who on this day didst heretofore rest from all the work of thy creation, mightest also on the same rest in the sepulchre; hereby truly keeping holy that day, whose evening is the beginning of our first day of the Sabbath, which is likewise the eighth day; that thou, who commandedst light to shine forth out of darkness, mightest, by thy Resurrection, appear in the flesh: so direct the course of our lives in the path of all holiness, that in these seven days of the world's duration, on each of which the Lamb is slain and the Pasch is celebrated for us, we may live in such wise as to secure our salvation, and may daily be found worthy to celebrate the true Pasch, pure from the leaven of malice: that thus, by a holiness pleasing to thee, we may so rest on this day from all our works, that we may deserve to receive the glory of the Resurrection, on the eighth, that is, the eternal day.

The Greek Church shall provide us to-day with a hymn in honour of the Resurrection. We take the following stanzas from its Liturgy for Easter Sunday:

In Dominica Resurrectionis

In imam terram descendisti, ac æternas contrivisti, Christe, seras, quæ in compedibus vinctos captivabant; et triduanus, sicut e cete Jonas, e sepulchro ortus es.

Sigilla intacta servans, e sepulchro erectus es, Christe, qui in partu tuo non læseras claves virginis; et Paradisi portas nobis aperuisti.

Salvator meus, viventem et non immolatam hostiam, quatenus Deus es, teipsum Patri sponte libera obtulisti; exsurgensque e sepulchro una suscitasti universum Adam.

In sepulchrum quidem descendisti, immortalis; inferni vero confregisti virtutem: et tanquam victor surrexisti, Christe Deus; mulieribus aromatoferis dixisti: Salvete, Apostolisque tuis pacem dedisti qui lapsis præbes resurrectionem.

Mortis concelebramus interitum, inferni eversionem, alterius vitæ, et quidem æternæ, primitias; et saltantes in hymnis cantamus auctorem, unicum a Patribus celebratum Deum, et supergloriosum.

Vere sacra et plane festiva est, ipsa salutaris nox et splendescens, diei rutilantis ac resurrectionis prænuntia, in qua lux æterna e sepulchro corporaliter cunctis illuxit.

Venite, ut novo genimini vitis, divinæ lætitiæ communicemus, die resurrectionis regnique Christi præclara, laudantes eum in hymnis tanquam Deum in sæcula.

Leva in circuitu oculos tuos, Sion, et vide; ecce enim splendore divino radiantes sicut lampades, venerunt tibi filii ab occidente, et ab aquilone, a mare meridiano et ab oriente; in te benedicunt Christum in sæcula.

O divina! O amica! O dulcissima vox tua! etenim non fallaciter promisisti Christe, te futurum esse nobiscum usque ad consummationem sæculi: quam spei anchoram fideles nos servantes, lætamur.

O Pascha magnum et sanctissimum, Christe! O Sapientia, et Verbum, Deique virtus! Da ut juxta exemplar formati, tecum simus participes in die nunquam decedente regni tui.
Thou didst descend, O Christ, into the bowels of the earth, and break the eternal bolts which held thy holy ones captive; and, on the third day, like Jonas, thou didst rise from the tomb.

Thou, O Jesus, didst leave unbroken the seal when rising from the tomb, as thou didst leave Mary's virginity perfect when born of her. Thou openest to us the gates of heaven.

My Saviour! thou freely offeredst thyself to the Father a living host, for, as God, thou couldst not be slain; and, by thy rising from the tomb, thou didst raise up all the children of Adam.

Thou didst truly descend into the tomb, O immortal God! But thou didst break the power of hell, and rise as a conqueror. Thou saidst to the women that brought their perfumes: Hail! Thou gavest peace to thine Apostles, O thou that givest resurrection to the fallen!

We celebrate the destruction of death, the overthrow of hell, the first-fruits of a new and eternal life. With joy we sing hymns to the Creator, the one only God of our Fathers, the infinitely glorious One.

O truly sacred and festive, saving and bright night, the harbinger of the sunny day of the Resurrection, whereon the Light eternal rose from the tomb, and shed his beams upon all men.

Come, let us participate in the new fruit of the vine, and in the divine joy, for it is the glorious day of Christ’s Resurrection and kingdom. Let us praise him in our hymns as the God who liveth for ever.

O Sion! lift up thine eyes round about, and see; for children, shining as lights with the brightness of God upon them, have come to thee from the west and north, from the south sea, and the east. In thee, they give praise to Christ for ever.

O divine! O welcome! O thy most sweet word, O Jesus! Thou hast promised, and the promise cannot fail, that thou wilt abide with us even to the end of the world: it is the anchor of hope to us thy faithful servants, and makes us glad.

O Jesus! our great and most holy Pasch! O Wisdom, Word, and Power of God! grant that we may live according to the model thou hast given us, and enjoy with thee the never-ending day of thy kingdom.

In the Proper Offices of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, there is given the following beautiful hymn, which we offer to our readers as being most appropriate to the day:

Hymn

Dic sepulchri gloriosi,
Læta mens, miracula;
Quo velut matris pudicæ
Christus alvo prodiit:
Ut prophetarum fideles
Paginæ spoponderant.

In novo conceptus alvo
Virginis puerperæ,
In novo compostus antro
Conquievit pumicis:
Gloriosus hoc et illa,
Vir, puerque prodiit.

Hæc parit corpus caducum,
Omnium spe serius;
Æviternum reddit illud,
Omnium spe citius;
Illa pannis involutum,
Linteis hoc conditum.

Ex sinu matris futuram
Ad salutem nascitur;
At salute jam parata,
Rupis alvus reddidit;
Ad crucem parens produxit,
At silex ad gloriam.

Ergo te, cœlestis Agni
Purpurata sanguine
Aula ter felix, adorent
Terra, pontus, æthera;
Nec sepulchrum quis vocarit,
Vita de quo nascitur.

Gloria et honor Deo
Usquequaque altissimo,
Una Patri, Filioque,
Inclyto Paraclito,
Cui laus est, et potestas
Per immensa sæcula.

Amen.
Be glad, my soul,
and sing the wonders
of the glorious sepulchre,
whence came thy Christ, as, heretofore,
from the womb of his Virgin Mother.
Thus was it foretold by the truthful prophets.

He was conceived in the pure womb
of a Virgin Mother;
so, too, he was buried in a tomb,
wherein no other man had been placed;
from both he comes the glorious Jesus,
as infant first, and then as man.

The Mother, after long ages of hope,
brings him forth created in mortal flesh;
the tomb, though none had hoped it,
restores him clad in immortality:
Mary wrapped him in swathing-bands;
the sepulchre held him in the winding-sheet.

He is born, for the world's salvation,
from the womb of his Mother;
he rises from the tomb,
after our salvation has been wrought:
the Mother nursed him for the Cross;
the tomb, for glory.

O thrice holy sanctuary!
beautified with the Blood
of the Lamb of God!
let earth, and sea, and heaven, venerate thee.
How strange to call that a sepulchre,
whence life was born!

Glory and honour be, for ever,
to the most high God!
To the Father, Son,
and Holy Paraclete,
one praise and power,
for everlasting ages.

Amen.

And, lastly, let us turn to the blessed Mother, for this is her day. Let us congratulate her upon the Resurrection of her divine Son, in the words of this devout sequence, taken from the ancient missals of the churches of Germany:

Sequence

Resurgenti tuo nato,
Mater, plaude, qui prostrato regnat mortis principe;
Tuum virgo pone luctum,
Jesum ventris tui fructum Redivivum suscipe.

Morte prolis cruciata,
Corde dure sauciata Passionis gladio:
Voce jubilationis,
Jam de resurrectionis Jocundare gaudio.

Crucifixum, qui surrexit
De sepulchro teque vexit sua in palatia,
Nobis placa, supplicamus
A peccatis ut surgamus ad æterna gaudia.

Amen.
Give praise, O Mother, to thy risen Jesus,
who reigns triumphant over the prince of death.
Cease thy mourning: for Jesus, the fruit of thy womb,
is restored to life, and visits thee.

His death was thy cross; his Passion,
the sword that cruelly pierced thy Heart:
but now, sing a hymn of joy,
and be glad, because of his Resurrection.

He was crucified; but now he is risen from the tomb,
and has taken thee to his heavenly court:
pray to him for us, we beseech thee,
that we may rise from our sins to everlasting joy.

Amen,

[1] Isa. xi 10.
[2] Rom. xi 12, and several other verses.
[3] St Matt. xvi 18.
[4] St John xxi 15, 17.

 

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