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Octave of Easter

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 sleptin 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.

The priest gives his blessing in these words:

Benedictio. Evangelica lectio sit nobis salus et protectio.
℟. Amen.
Blessing. 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.

Benedictio. Divinum auxilium maneat semper nobiscum. ℟. Amen.
Blessing. 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.

Benedictio. Ad societatem civium supenorum perducat nos Rex angelorum. ℟. Amen.
Blessing. 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.

 

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