From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.
℣. In resurrectione tua, Christe, alleluia.
℟. Cœli et terra laetentur, alleluia.
℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.
℟. Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.
THE first week has been devoted to the joyous celebration of our Emmanuel’s return to us. He has been visiting us each day, in order to make us sure of his Resurrection. He has said to us: See me! Touch me! Feel! it is indeed I! But we know that his visible presence among us is not to last beyond forty days. This happy period is rapidly advancing; the time seems to go so quickly! In a few weeks, he, for whom the whole earth has been in such expectation, will have disappeared from our sight. O Expectation and Saviour of Israel! why wilt thou he as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man turning in to lodge? Why wilt thou be as a wanderer?—So much the more precious are the hours, then! Let us keep close by his side; when we cannot hear his words, let us fix our eyes upon him; but when he does speak, let us treasure up the beautiful words, for they are as the last will of our dearest Master.
During these forty days he is continually with his disciples, not indeed to persuade them of his Resurrection (for of that they had no longer any doubt), but, as St Luke says, that he might speak to them of the Kingdom of God. He has redeemed man by his Blood, and his victory over death; he has wrought reconciliation between heaven and earth—all that now remains to be done is the organization of the Church. The Church is the Kingdom of God; for it is in and by her that God is to reign upon the earth. The Church is the Spouse of the risen Jesus; it is he that raised her up to so exalted an honour; and now he would give her the dowry which will prepare her for that glorious day when the Holy Ghost is to descend upon her, and proclaim her to all nations as Spouse of the Incarnate Word, and Mother of the elect.
Three things are needed by the Church in order that she may carry on her mission: a constitution framed by the very hand of the Son of God, whereby she will become a visible and permanent society; the possession of all the truths which her divine Lord came upon this earth to reveal or confirm—and in this is included the right to teach, and teach infallibly; thirdly, the means whereby she may efficaciously apply to the faithful the fruit of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, that is to say, the graces of salvation and sanctification. Hierarchy, Doctrine, Sacraments—these are the all-important subjects upon which our Lord instructs his disciples during the forty days between his Resurrection and Ascension.
But before following him in his divine work of organizing the Church, let us spend the rest of this week in considering him as the Risen Jesus, dwelling among men, and winning their admiration and love. We have contemplated him in the humility of his swathing-bands and Passion; let us now exultingly feast on the sight of his glory.
He presents himself to us as the most beautiful of the sons of men. He was always so, even when he veiled the splendour of his beauty under the infirmity of the mortal flesh he had assumed; but what must not this splendour be now that he has vanquished death, and permits the rays of his glory to shine forth without restraint? His age is for ever fixed at that of thirtythree: it is the period of life wherein man is at the height of his strength and beauty, without a single sign of decay. It was the state in which God created Adam, whom he formed to the likeness of the Redeemer to come; it will be the state of the bodies of the just on the day of the general Resurrection—they will bear upon them the measure of the perfect age which our Lord had when he arose from his tomb.
But it is not only by the beauty of his features that the Body of our Risen Jesus delights the eye of such as are permitted to gaze upon him: it is now endowed with the glorious qualities of which the three Apostles caught a glimpse on Mount Thabor. In the Transfiguration, however, the Humanity shone as the sun because of its union with the Person of the Word; but now, besides the Brightness due to it by the Incarnation, the glorified Body of our Redeemer has that which comes from his being Conqueror and King. His Resurrection has given him such additional resplendence that the sun is not worthy to be compared with him; and St John tells us that he is the Lamp that lights up the heavenly Jerusalem.
To this quality which the Apostle of the Gentiles calls Brightness, is added that of Impassibility, whereby the Body of our Risen Lord has ceased to be accessible to suffering or death, and is adorned with the immortality of life. This Body is as truly and really a Body as ever; but it is now impervious to any deterioration or weakness; its life is to bloom for all eternity. The third quality of our Redeemer’s glorified Body is Agility, by which it can pass from one place to another, instantly and without effort. The Flesh has lost that weight which, in our present state, prevents the body from keeping pace with the longings of the soul. He passes from Jerusalem to Galilee in the twinkling of an eye, and the Spouse of the Canticle thus speaks of him: The voice of my Beloved! Behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills! Finally, the Body of our Emmanuel has put on the quality of Subtility (which the Apostle calls ‘Spirituality’), whereby it is enabled to penetrate every material obstacle more easily than a sunbeam makes its way through glass. On the morning of his Resurrection, he passed through the stone that stood against the mouth of the sepulchre; and on the same day he entered the Cenacle, though its doors were shut, and stood before his astonished disciples.
Such is our Saviour, now that he is set free from the shackles of mortality. Well may the little flock that is favoured with his visits exclaim on seeing him: How fair and comely art thou, O dearest Master! Let us join our praises with theirs, and say: Yes, dearest Jesus, thou art beautiful above all the sons of men! A few days back and we wept at beholding thee covered with wounds, as though thou hadst been the worst of criminals: but now our eyes feast on the resplendent charm of thy divine beauty. Glory be to thee in thy triumph! Glory, too, be to thee in thy generosity, which has decreed that these our bodies, after having been purified by the humiliation of the tomb, shall one day share in the prerogatives which we now admire in thee!
Let us, destined as we are to share in the glory of our Jesus, offer to him this beautiful canticle, which used to be sung in the churches of Germany during the Middle Ages:
Rex regum, Dei Agne,
Leo Juda magne, crucis virtute
Mors peccati, vita justitiæ.
Dans fructum jam ligni vitæ
Pro gustu scientiae, medicina gratiae
Pro rapina gloriae.
Quum tuus sanguis
Jus romphææ restrinxit flammeae,
Paradisi pandis hortum,
Stirps obedientiæ, medicina gratiae.
Haec dies Domini celebris;
Pax est in terris, fulgur inferis,
Et lux superis;
Dies duplicis baptismi, Legis et Evangelii.
Christus Pascha est homini:
Dum vetus transit, novum surgit.
Haec dies Domini,
Gaude mens expers fermenti, plena panis azymi.
Signatis postibus, assum Pascha
Nocte domo una,
Jam cum lactucis ede agrestibus.
Pellitis pedibus, cum baculo propera,
Et caput cum intestinis
Et pedibus vora.
Hac die nos lava,
Christe, mundans hyssopo,
Fac et dignos hoc mysterio;
Mare siccans, Leviathan perforans
Maxillam hamo armilla.
Calice nos inebria,
De torrente bibens in via
Tu Pontifex, hostia,
Torcular calcans, tu uva.
O flos virgineae virgae fragrans,
Plena septemplici rore,
Specie rosæ rubor,
Quo te tantæ clementiae Consilio,
Microcosmi inclinaveras Auxilio,
Ut miseris particeps
Absque peccati naevo,
Gestans formulam peccati?
Spes anastaseos primae,
Ultimae, per jusjurandum
Semini Abrahæ firma et nos.
Nos tuo convivificans corpori,
Commortuos Adæ parent veteri;
Tu membris fortioribus
Vitæ æternæ des pascua, tu Pascha.
O King of kings! Lamb of God!
Strong Lion of Juda! by the power of the Cross,
|thou art the Death of sin, and the Life of justice.
To repair the evil done by Adam's eating of the Tree of Knowledge,
thou now givest us the fruit of the Tree of Life: to remedy the theft
committed by his ambition for glory, thou givest the medicine of grace.
Thy Blood quenched
the fiery sword which justly menaced us.
Thou openest heaven to us,
O Root of obedience! O Medicine of Grace!
This is the great day of the Lord,
which brings peace to earth, and terror to hell,
and light to heaven.
It is the day of the twofold baptism—of the Law and the Gospel.
Christ is our Pasch:
the old one passes away, and the new rises in its stead.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us,
who have put away the old leaven and feed on the unleavened, let us rejoice!
Thine enemies, my soul, are drowned in the sea;
thy threshold is signed with the Blood of the Lamb: eat the Pasch
prepared by fire in the night;
eat it in the One House; yea, eat it with wild lettuce.
Gird thy reins,
shoe thy feet, and, with a stave in thy hand,
hasten and eat the head and entrails
and feet of the Lamb.
Cleanse us, O Jesus,
this day, with hyssop;
make us worthy of the Mystery.
Dry up the sea that we may pass; and with the hook
(of thy Cross) take the Leviathan.
Inebriate us, lull us to rest,
inspirit us with thy chalice,
O thou that didst drink
of the torrent of our miseries in the way!
O thou our High Priest,
our Victim, our Wine-presser, our Vine!
O fragrant Flower of the Virgin-Branch!
rich with the dew of the seven gifts,
ruddy as the rose,
and fair as the lily!
—whence that merciful design of thine,
that made thee stoop to aid this little world,
sharing our nature
that thou mightest redeem us miserable men,
and taking the likeness of sin,
O thou the sinless God!
O Sovereign Lord!
thou that hast made thyself Brother of thy creature man!
O Hope of our first and eternal Resurrection!
we beseech thee, by the promise
made to Abraham’s seed,
give us strength, O immortal King!
and make us, who were sharers
in our First Parent’s death, to be fellow-members of thy life.
Unite our weakness with thy strength, and bless us,
O Blessed Paschal Lamb!
with the pastures of eternal Life.
 St Luke xxiv 39.
 Jer. xiv 8, 9.
 Acts i 3.
 Ps. xliv 3.
 Eph. iv 13.
 Apoc. xxi 23.
 Phil. iii 21. The Vulgate has Claritas.
 Cant, ii 8.
 1 Cor. xv 44.
 Cant. i 15.