From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.
It seems strange that there should be anything like mourning during Paschal Time: and yet these three days are days of penance. A moment’s reflection, however, will show us that the institution of the Rogation days is a most appropriate one. True, our Saviour told us, before His Passion, that ‘the children of the Bridegroom should not fast whilst the Bridegroom is with them’: but is not sadness in keeping with these the last hours of Jesus’ presence on earth? Were not His Mother and disciples oppressed with grief at the thought of their having so soon to lose Him, whose company had been to them a foretaste of heaven?
Let us see how the liturgical year came to have inserted in its calendar these three days, during which holy Church, though radiant with the joy of Easter, seems to go back to her lenten observances. The Holy Ghost, who guides hex in all things, willed that this completion of her paschal liturgy should owe its origin to a devotion peculiar to one of the most illustrious and venerable Churches of southern Gaul, the Church of Vienne.
The second half of the fifth century had but just commenced, when the country round Vienne, which had been recently conquered by the Burgundians, was visited with calamities of every kind. The people were struck with fear at these indications of God’s anger. St. Mamertus, who, at the time, was bishop of Vienne, prescribed three days' public expiation, during which the faithful were to devote themselves to penance, and walk in procession chanting appropriate psalms. The three days preceding the Ascension were the ones chosen. Unknown to himself, the holy bishop was thus instituting a practice, which was afterwards to form part of the liturgy of the universal Church.
The Churches of Gaul, as might naturally be expected, were the first to adopt the devotion. St. Alcimus Avitus, who was one of the earliest successors of St. Mamertus in the See of Vienne, informs us that the custom of keeping the Rogation days was, at that time, firmly established in his diocese. St. Cæsarius of Arles, who lived in the early part of the sixth century, speaks of them as being observed in countries afar off; by which he meant, at the very least, to designate all that portion of Gaul which was under the Visigoths. That the whole of Gaul soon adopted the custom, is evident from the canons drawn up at the first Council of Orleans, held in 511, which represented all the provinces that were in allegiance to Clovis. The regulations, made by the council regarding the Rogations, give us a great idea of the importance attached to their observance. Not only abstinence from flesh-meat, but even fasting, is made of obligation. Masters are also required to dispense their servants from work, in order that they may assist at the long functions which fill up almost the whole of these three days. In 567, the Council of Tours, likewise, imposed the precept of fasting during the Rogation days; and as to the obligation of resting from servile work, we find it recognized in the Capitularia of Charlemagne and Charles the Bald.
The main part of the Rogation rite originally consisted, (at least in Gaul,) in singing canticles of supplication while passing from place to place; and hence the word Procession. We learn from St. Cæsarius of Arles, that each day’s procession lasted six hours; and that when the clergy became tired, the women took up the chanting. The faithful of those days had not made the discovery, which was reserved for modem times, that one requisite for religious processions is that they be as short as possible.
The procession for the Rogation days was preceded by the faithful receiving the ashes upon their heads, as now at the beginning of Lent; they were then sprinkled with holy water, and the procession began. It was made up of the clergy and people of several of the smaller parishes, who were headed by the cross of the principal church, which conducted the whole ceremony. All walked bare-foot, singing the litany, psalms, and antiphons, until they reached the church appointed for the station, where the holy sacrifice was offered. They entered the churches that lay on their route, and sang an antiphon or responsory appropriate to each.
Such was the original ceremony of the Rogation days, and it was thus observed for a very long period. The monk of St. Gall’s who has left us so many interesting details regarding the life of Charlemagne, tells us that this holy emperor used to join the processions of these three days, and walk bare-footed from his palace to the stational church. We find St. Elizabeth of Hungary, in the thirteenth century, setting the like example: during the Rogation days, she used to mingle with the poorest women of the place, and walk bare-footed, wearing a dress of coarse stuff. St. Charles Borromeo, who restored in his diocese of Milan so many ancient practices of piety, was sure not to be indifferent about the Rogation days. He spared neither word nor example to reanimate this salutary devotion among his people. He ordered fasting to be observed during these three days; he fasted himself on bread and water. The procession, in which all the clergy of the city were obliged to join, and which began after the sprinkling of ashes, started from the cathedral at an early hour in the morning, and was not over till three or four o’clock in the afternoon. Thirteen churches were visited on the Monday; nine, on the Tuesday; and eleven, on the Wednesday. The saintly archbishop celebrated Mass and preached in one of these churches.
If we compare the indifference shown by the Catholics of the present age for the Rogation days, with the devotion wherewith our ancestors kept them, we cannot but acknowledge that there is a great falling off in faith and piety. Knowing, as we do, the importance attached to these processions by the Church, we cannot help wondering how it is that there are so few among the faithful who assist at them. Our surprise increases when we find persons preferring their own private devotions to these public prayers of the Church, which, to say nothing of the result of good example, merit far greater graces than any exercises of our own fancying.
The whole western Church soon adopted the Rogation days. They were introduced into England at an early period; as likewise into Spain and Germany. Rome herself sanctioned them by herself observing them; this she did in the eighth century, during the pontificate of St. Leo III. She gave them the name of the Lesser Litanies, in contradistinction to the procession of April 25, which she calls the Greater Litanies. With regard to the fast which the Churches of Gaul observed during the Rogation days, Rome did not adopt that part of the institution. Fasting seemed to her to throw a gloom over the joyous forty days, which our risen Jesus grants to His disciples; she therefore enjoined only abstinence from flesh-meat during the Rogation days. The Church of Milan, which, as we have just seen, so strictly observes the Rogations, keeps them on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after the Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension, that is to say, after the forty days devoted to the celebration of the Resurrection.
If, then, we would have a correct idea of the Rogation days, we must consider them as Rome does,—that is, as a holy institution which, without interrupting our paschal joy, tempers it. The purple vestments used during the procession and Mass do not signify that our Jesus has fled from us, but that the time for His departure is approaching. By prescribing abstinence for these three days, the Church would express how much she will feel the loss of her Spouse, who is so soon to be taken from her.
In England, as in many other countries, abstinence is no longer of obligation for the Rogation days. This should be an additional motive to induce the faithful to assist at the processions and litanies, and, by fervently uniting in the prayers of the Church, to make some compensation for the abolition of the law of abstinence. We need so much penance, and we do so little! If we are truly in earnest, we shall be most fervent in doing the little that is left us to do.
The object of the Rogation days is to appease the anger of God, and avert the chastisements which the sins of the world so justly deserve; moreover, to draw down the divine blessing on the fruits of the earth. The litany of the saints is sung during the procession, which is followed by a special Mass said in the stational church, or if there be no Station appointed, in the church whence the procession first started.
The litany of the saints is one of the most efficacious of prayers. The Church makes use of it on all solemn occasions, as a means of rendering God propitious through the intercession of the whole court of heaven. They who are prevented from assisting at the procession, should recite the litany in union with holy Church: they will thus share in the graces attached to the Rogation days; they will be joining in the supplications now being made throughout the entire world; they will be proving themselves to be Catholics.
We give the Mass of the Rogations, which is the same for all three days. It speaks to us, throughout, of the power and necessity of prayer. The Church uses the lenten colour, to express the expiatory character of the function she is celebrating: but she is evidently full of confidence; she trusts to the love of her risen Jesus, and that gives her hope of her prayers being granted.
For the convenience of the faithful we also insert the litany.
Litany of the Saints
Ant. Exsurge, Domine, adjuva nos: et libera nos, propter nomen tuum.
Ps. Deus, auribus nostris audivimus: patres nostri annuntiaverunt nobis.
℣. Gloria Patri. Exsurge.
Christe, audi nos.
Christe, exaudi nos.
Pater de cœlis, Deus, miserere nobis.
Fili, Redemptor mundi, Deus, miserere nobis.
Spiritus Sancte, Deus, miserere nobis.
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, miserere nobis.
Sancta Maria, Ora pro nobis.
Sancta Dei Genitrix, ora.
Sancta Virgo virginum, ora.
Sancte Michael, ora.
Sancte Gabriel, ora.
Sancte Raphael, ora.
Omnes sancti angeli et archangeli, orate.
Omnes sancti beatorum spirituum ordines, orate.
Sancte Joannes Baptista, ora.
Sancte Joseph, ora.
Omnes sancti patriarchæ et prophetæ, orate.
Sancte Petre, ora.
Sancte Paule, ora.
Sancte Andrea, ora.
Sancte Jacobe, ora.
Sancte Joannes, ora.
Sancte Thoma, ora.
Sancte Jacobe, ora.
Sancte Philippe, ora.
Sancte Bartholomæe, ora.
Sancte Matthæe, ora.
Sancte Simon, ora.
Sancte Thaddæe, ora.
Sancte Mathia, ora.
Sancte Barnaba, ora.
Sancte Luca, ora.
Sancte Maree, ora.
Omnes sancti apostoli et evangelistæ, orate.
Omnes sancti discipuli Domini, orate.
Omnes sancti Innocentes, orate.
Sancte Stephane, ora.
Sancte Laurenti, ora.
Sancte Vincenti, ora.
Sancti Fabiane et Sebastiane. orate.
Sancti Joannes et Paule, orate.
Sancti Cosma et Damiane, orate.
Sancti Gervasi et Protasi, orate.
Omnes sancti martyres, orate.
Sancte Sylvester, ora.
Sancte Gregori, ora.
Sancte Ambrosi, ora.
Sancte Augustine, ora.
Sancte Hieronyme, ora.
Sancte Martine, ora.
Sancte Nicolæ, ora.
Omnes sancti pontifices et confessores, orate.
Omnes sancti doctores, orate.
Sancte Antoni, ora.
Sancte Benedicte, ora.
Sancte Bernardo, ora.
Sancte Dominice, ora.
Sancte Francisce, ora.
Omnes sancti sacerdotes et levitæ, orate.
Omnes sancti monachi et eremitæ, orate,
Sancta Maria Magdalena, ora.
Sancta Agatha, ora.
Sancta Lucia, ora.
Sancta Agnes, ora.
Sancta Cæcilia, ora.
Sancta Catharina, ora.
Sancta Anastasia, ora.
Omnes sanctae virgines et viduae, orate.
Omnes sancti et sanctae Dei, Intercedite pro nobis.
Propitius esto, parce nobis, Domine.
Propitius esto, exaudi nos, Domine.
Ab omni malo, libera nos, Domine.
Ab omni peccato, libera nos, Domine.
Ab ira tua, libera.
A subitanea et improvisa morte, libera.
Ab insidiis diaboli, libera.
Ab ira, et odio, et omni mala voluntate, libera.
A spiritu fornicationis, libera.
A fulgure et tempestate, libera.
A flagello terræmotus, libera.
A peste, fame, et bello, libera.
A morte perpetua, libera.
Per mysterium sanctae Incarnationis tuæ, libera.
Per adventum tuum, libera.
Per nativitatem tuam, libera.
Per baptismum et sanctum jejunium tuum, libera.
Per crucem et passionem tuam, libera.
Per mortem et sepulturam tuam, libera.
Per sanctam Resurrectionem tuam, libera.
Per admirabilem Ascensionem tuam, libera.
Per adventum Spiritus sancti Paracliti, libera.
In die judicii, libera.
Peccatores, te rogamue, audi nos.
Ut nobis parcas, te rogamue, audi nos.
Ut nobis indulgeas, te rogamus.
Ut ad veram pœnitentiam nos perducere digneris, te rogamus.
Ut Ecclesiam tuam sanctam regere et conservare digneris, te rogamus.
Ut Domnum apostolicum, et omnes ecclesiasticos ordines, in sancta religione conservare digneris, te rogamus.
Ut inimicos sanctæ Ecclesiæ humillare digneris, te rogamus.
Ut regibue et principibus Christianis pacem et veram concordiam donare digneris, te rogamus.
Ut cuncto populo Christiano pacem et unitatem largiri digneris, te rogamus.
Ut nosmetipsos in tuo sancto servitio confortare et conservare digneris, te rogamus,
Ut mentes nostras ad cœlestia desideria erigas, te rogamus.
Ut omnibus benefactoribus nostris sempiterna bona retribuas, te rogamus.
Ut animas nostras, fratrum, propinquorum, et benefactorum nostrorum ab æterna damnatione eripias, te rogamus.
Ut fructus terræ dare et conservare digneris, te rogamus.
Ut omnibus fidelibus defunctis requiem æternam donare digneris, te rogamus.
Ut nos exaudire digneris, te rogamus.
Fili Dei, te rogamus.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, parce nobis, Domine.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, exaudi nos, Domine.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Christe, audi nos.
Christe, exaudi nos.
Pater noster. (Secreto.)
℣. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.
℟. Sed libera nos a malo.
Ant. Arise, O Lord, help us, and deliver us, for thy name.
Ps. We have heard, O God, with our ears: our fathers have told it unto us.
℣. Glory, &c. Arise, &c.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
Saint Michael, pray for us
All ye holy angels and archangels,
All ye holy orders of blessed spirits,
Saint John Baptist,
All ye holy patriarchs and prophets,
All ye holy apostles and evangelists,
All ye holy disciples of our Lord,
All ye holy Innocents,
Saints Fabian and Sebastian,
Saints John and Paul,
Saints Cosmas and Damian,
Saints Gervasius and Protasius,
All ye holy martyrs,
All ye holy bishops and confessors,
All ye holy doctors,
All ye holy priests and levites,
All ye holy monks and hermits.
Saint Mary Magdalene,
All ye holy virgins and widows,
All ye men and women, saints of God, make intercession for us.
Be merciful to us, spare us O Lord,
Be merciful to us, graciously hear us, O Lord.
From all evil, deliver us, O Lord.
From all sin, deliver us, O Lord.
From thy wrath,
From sudden and unprovided death,
From the snares of the devil,
From anger, hatred, and all ill-will,
From the spirit of fornication,
From lightning and tempest,
From the scourge of earthquakes,
From plague, famine, and war,
From everlasting death,
Through the mystery of thy holy Incarnation,
Through thy coming,
Through thy nativity,
Through thy baptism and holy fasting,
Through thy cross and Passion,
Through thy death and burial,
Through thy holy Resurrection,
Through thy admirable Ascension,
Through the coming of the Holy Ghost the Comforter,
In the day of Judgment,
We sinners, beseech thee, hear us.
That thou spare us, we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou pardon us,
That thou vouchsafe to bring us to true penance,
That thou vouchsafe to govern and preserve thy holy Church,
That thou vouchsafe to preserve our apostolic Prelate, and all ecclesiastical orders, in holy religion,
That thou vouchsafe to humble the enemies of thy holy Church,
That thou vouchsafe to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes,
That thou vouchsafe to grant peace and unity to all Christian people,
That thou vouchsafe to strengthen and preserve us in thy holy service,
That thou lift up our minds to heavenly desires,
That thou render eternal good things to all our benefactors,
That thou deliver our souls, and those of our brethren, kinsfolk, and benefactors, from eternal damnation,
That thou vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth,
That thou vouchsafe to give eternal rest to all the faithful departed,
That thou vouchsafe graciously to hear us,
Son of God, we beseech thee, hear us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Our Father. (In secret.)
℣. And lead us not into temptation.
℟. But deliver us from evil.
Deus, in adjutorium meum intende: Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.
Confundantur et revereantur: qui quærunt animam meam.
Avertantur retrorsum et erubescant: qui volunt mihi mala.
Avertantur statim erubescentes: qui dicunt mihi, Euge, euge.
Exsultent et lætentur in te omnes qui quærunt te: et dicant semper, Magnificetur Dominus, qui diligunt salutare tuum.
Ego vero egenus et pauper sum: Deus adjuva me.
Adjutor meus et liberator meus es tu: Domine, ne moreris.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper: et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
℣. Salvos fac servos tuos.
℟. Deus meus sperantes in te.
℣. Esto nobis, Domine, turris fortitudinis.
℟. A facie inimici.
℣. Nihil proficiat inimicus in nobis.
℟. Et filius iniquitatis non apponat nocere nobis.
℣. Domine, non secundum peccata nostra facias nobis.
℟. Neque secundum iniquitates nostras retribuas nobis.
℣. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro N.
℟. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum ejus.
℣. Oremus pro benefactoribus nostris.
℟. Retribuere dignare, Domine, omnibus nobis bona facientibus, propter nomen tuum, vitam æternam. Amen.
℣. Oremus pro fidelibus defunctis.
℟. Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
℣. Requiescant in pace.
℣. Pro fratribus nostris absentibus.
℟. Salvos fac servos tuos, Deus meus, sperantes in te.
℣. Mitte eis, Domine, auxilium de sancto.
℟. Et de Sion tuere eos.
℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
℟. Et elamor meus ad te veniat.
℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Deus, cui proprium est miseren semper et parcere: suscipe deprecationem nostram: ut nos, et omnes famulos tuos, quos delictorum catena constringit, miseratio tuæ pietatis elementer absolvat.
Exaudi, quæsumus, Domine, supplicum preces, et confitentium tibi parce peccatis: ut pariter nobis indulgentiam tribuas benignus et pacem.
Ineffabilem nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam elementer ostende: ut simul nos et a peccatis omnibus exuas, et a pænis, quas pro his meremur, eripias.
Deus, qui culpa offenderis, pœnitentia placaris: preces populi tui supplicantis propitius respice; et flagella tuæ iraeundiæ, quæ pro peccatis nostris meremur, averte.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, miserere famulo tuo Pontifici nostro N., et dirige eum, secundum tuam clementiam, in viam salutis æternæ; ut, te donante, tibi placita cupiat, et tota virtute perficiat.
Deus, a quo sancta desideria, recta consilia, et justa sunt opera: da servis tuis
illam, quam mundus dare non potest, pacem; ut et corda nostra mandatis tuis dedita, et hostium sublata formidine, tempora sint, tua protectione, tranquilla.
Ure igne sancti Spiritus renes nostros et cor nostrum Domine: ut tibi casto corpore serviamus, et mundo corde placeamus.
Fidelium, Deus, omnium Conditor et Redemptor, animabus famulorum famularumque tuarum remissionem cunctorum tribue peccatorum: ut indulgentiam, quam semper optaverunt, piis supplicationibus consequantur.
Actiones nostras, quæsumus, Domine, aspirando præveni, et adjuvando prosequere; ut cuncta nostra oratio et operatio a te semper incipiat, et per te cœpta finiatur.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui vivorum dominaris simul et mortuorum, omniumque misereris, quos tuos fide et opere futuros esse prænoscis; te supplices exoramus; ut pro quibus effundere preces decrevimus, quosque vel præsens sæculum adhuc in carne retinet, vel futurum jam exutos corpore suscepit, intercedentibus omnibus sanctis tuis, pietatis tuæ clementia, omni um delictorum suorum veniam consequantur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, &c.
℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.
℣. Exaudiat nos omnipo tens et misericors Dominus.
℣. Et fidelium animæ, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace.
O God come to my assistance: O Lord make haste to help me.
Let them be confounded and ashamed that seek my soul.
Let them be turned backward, and blush for shame, that desire evils to me.
Let them be presently turned away blushing for shame, that say to me: ’Tis well, ’tis well.
Let all that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation, say always, The Lord be magnified.
But I am needy and poor: O God help me.
Thou art my helper and my deliverer: O Lord, make no delay.
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.
℣. Save thy servants.
℟. Trusting in thee, O my God.
℣. Be unto us, O Lord, a tower of strength.
℟. From the face of the enemy.
℣. Let not the enemy prevail against us.
℟. Nor the son of iniquity have any power to hurt us.
℣. O Lord, deal not with us according to our sins.
℟. Nor reward us according to our iniquities.
℣. Let us pray for our chief Bishop N.
℟. May our Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon earth, and deliver him not to the will of his enemies.
℣. Let us pray for our benefactors.
℟. Vouchsafe, O Lord, for thy name’s sake, to reward, with eternal life, all them that have done us good. Amen.
℣. Let us pray for the faithful departed.
℟. Eternal rest give to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
℣. May they rest in peace.
℣. For our absent brethren.
℟. O my God, save thy servants trusting in thee.
℣. Send them help, O Lord, from thy holy place.
℟. And from Sion protect them.
℣. O Lord hear my prayer.
℟. And let my cry come unto thee.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.
Let us Pray.
O God, whose property it is always to have mercy and to spare: receive our petitions: that we, and all thy servants, who are bound by the chain of sin, may, by the compassion of thy goodness, mercifully be absolved.
Hear, we beseech thee, O Lord, the prayers of thy suppliants, and pardon us our sins, who confess them to thee; that of thy bounty, thou mayst grant us pardon and peace.
Out of thy clemency, O Lord, show us thy unspeakable mercy; that so thou mayst both acquit us of our sins, and deliver us from the punishment we deserve for them.
O God, who by sin art offended, and by penance pacified, mercifully regard the prayers of thy people, who make supplications to thee; and turn away the scourges of thy anger, which we deserve for our sins.
O almighty and eternal God, have mercy on thy servant N., our chief Bishop, and direct him, according to thy clemency, in the way of everlasting salvation; that, by thy grace, he may desire those things that are agreeable to thee, and perform them with all his strength.
O God, from whom are all holy desires, righteous counsels, and just works, give to thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that our hearts being disposed to keep thy commandments, and the fear of enemies taken away, the times, by thy protection, may be peaceable.
Inflame, O Lord, our reins and hearts with the fire of thy holy Spirit; to the end we may serve thee with a chaste body, and please thee with a clean heart.
O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, give to the souls of thy servants departed the remission of all their sins; that, by pious supplications, they may obtain the pardon they have always desired.
Prevent, we beseech thee, O Lord, our actions by thy holy inspirations, and carry them on by thy gracious assistance; that every prayer and work of ours may always begin from thee, and by thee be happily ended.
O almighty and eternal God, who hast dominion over the living and the dead, and art merciful to all, who thou foreknowest shall be thine by faith and good works; we humbly beseech thee, that they, for whom we have determined to offer up our prayers, whether this present world still detain them in the flesh, or the world to come hath already received them out of their bodies, may, by the clemency of thy good ness, all thy saints interceding for them, obtain pardon and full remission of all their sins. Through, &c.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.
℣. May the almighty and most merciful Lord graciously hear us.
℣. And may the souls of the faithful, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
The Introit, which is taken from the Psalms, tells us of the mercy of God, and how He graciously hears our prayer the moment we make it.
Exaudivit de templo sancto suo vocem meam, alleluia: et clamor meus in conspectu ejus introivit in aures ejus. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Diligam te, Domine, virtus mea: Dominus firmamentum meum et refugium meum, et liberator meus.
℣. Gloria Patri. Exaudivit.
He hath graciously heard my voice from his holy temple, alleluia: and my cry before him came into his ears. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. I will love thee, O Lord, my strength! The Lord is my rock, my refuge, and my deliverer.
℣. Glory, &c. He hath, &c.
In the Collect, the Church represents the necessities of her children to almighty God. As a motive for His granting them His protection, she speaks of the confidence wherewith they ask it.
Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut, qui in afflictione nostra de tua pietate confidimus, contra adversa omnia, tua semper protectionemuniamur. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we, who in our afflictions rely on thy goodness, may, under thy protection, be defended against all adversities. Through, &c.
Then are added the other Collects, as in the Mass of the fifth Sunday after Easter, page 119.
Lectio Epistolæ beati Jacobi Apostoli.
Charissimi, confitemini alterutrum peccata vestra, et orate pro invicem ut salvemini: multum enim valet deprecatio justi assidua. Elias homo erat similis nobis, passibilis: et oratione oravit ut non plueret super terram, et non pluit annos tres, et menses sex. Et rursum oravit: et cœlum dedit pluviam, et terra dedit fructum suum. Fratres mei, si quis ex vobis erraverit a veritate, et converterit quis eum: scire debet quoniam qui converti fecerit peccatorem ab errore viæ suæ, salvabit animam ejus a morte, et operiet multitudinem peccatorum.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint James the Apostle.
Dearly beloved: Confess your sins one to another; and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much. Elias was a man passible like unto us: and with prayer he prayed that it might not rain upon the earth, and it rained not for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. My brethren, if any of you err from the truth, and one convert him; he must know, that he who caused a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.
Again it is the apostle St. James the Less, who speaks to us in to-day’s Epistle; and could any words be more appropriate? One of the motives for the institution of the Rogation days, is to obtain from God the blessing of weather favourable to the fruits of the earth; and St. James here adduces the example of Elias, to show us that prayer can stay or bring down the rain of heaven. Let us imitate the faith of this Prophet, and beg of our heavenly Father to give and preserve what we require for our nourishment. Another object of the Rogations, is to obtain the forgiveness of sin. If we pray with fervour for our brethren who are gone astray, we shall obtain for them the graces they stand in need of. We shall perhaps never know, during this life, those whom our prayer, united with the prayer of the Church, shall have converted from the error of their way; but the apostle assures us, that our charity will receive a rich reward,—the mercy of God upon ourselves.
In order the better to express mourning and communction in the Mass of the Rogation days, the Church not only uses purple vestments, she also retrenches somewhat of the joy of her canticles. She allows herself but one Alleluia-versicle; but it is full of hope in the goodness of her Lord.
Alleluia. ℣. Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus: quoniam in sæculum misericordia ejus.
Alleluia. ℣. Praise the Lord, for he is good: and his mercy endureth for ever.
Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.
In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus discipulis suis: Quis vestrum habebit amicum, et ibit ad ilium media nocte, et dicet illi: Amice, commoda mihi tres panes, quoniam amicus meus venit de via ad me, et non habeo quod ponam ante illum; et ille deintus respondensdicat; Noli mihi molestus esse, jam ostium clausum est, et pueri mei mecum sunt in cubili: non possum surgere, et dare tibi. Et si ille perseveraverit pulsans: dico vobis, et si non dabit illi surgens eo quod amicus ejus sit, propter improbitatem tamen ejus surget, et dabit illi quotquot habet necessarios. Et ego dico vobis: Petite, et dabitur vobis: quærite, et invenietis: pulsate, et aperietur vobis. Omnis enim qui petit, accipit: et qui quærit, invenit: et pulsanti aperietur. Quis autem ex vobis patrem petit panem, numquid lapidem dabit illi? Aut piscem: numquid pro pisce serpentem dabit illi? Aut si petierit ovum: numquid porriget illi scorpionem? Si ergo vos, cum sitis mali, nostis bona data dare filiis vestris: quanto magis Pater vester de cœlo dabit spiritum bonum petentibus se?
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and shall say to him: Friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine has come off his journey to me, and I have not what to set before him: and he from within should answer and say: Trouble me not, the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. Yet if he shall continue knocking, I say to you, although he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend; yet because of his importunity he will rise, and give him as many as he needeth. And I say to you: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he reach him a scorpion? If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him?
Could anything show us the all-powerfulness of prayer more clearly than do these words of our Gospel? By thus putting them before us, holy Church shows us the importance of the Rogation days, since it is during them that she shows us the efficacy of supplication, which triumphs over the refusal of God Himself. The reader, who has followed us thus far in our work, must have observed how the passages of holy Writ, selected by the liturgy, form a continued series of instruction, appropriate to each day. During these three days, we are labouring to appease the anger of heaven; could there be a more fitting occasion for our being told that God cannot resist persevering prayer? The Litanies we have been chanting in procession, are a model of this holy obstinacy, or, as our Gospel terms it, this importunity, of prayer. How often did we repeat the same words! Lord have mercy on ns!—Deliver us, O Lord!—We beseech thee, hear us! The divine Paschal Lamb, who is about to be offered on our altar, will mediate for us; a few moments hence He will unite His ever efficacious intercession with our poor prayers. With such a pledge as this, we shall leave the holy place, feeling sure that these prayers have not been made in vain. Let us, therefore, make a resolution to keep aloof no longer from the holy practices of the Church; let us always prefer praying with her, to praying by ourselves; she is the spouse of Jesus, she is our common mother, and she always wishes us to take part with her in the prayers she offers up. Besides, is it not for us that she makes these prayers?
The Offertory is taken from the Psalms. It gives praise to God, who, notwithstanding our being poor sinners, permits Himself to be overcome by our prayers, rises in our defence, and gives us all we stand in need of.
Confitebor Domino nimis in ore meo: et in medio multorum laudabo eum, qui adstitit a dextris pauperis: ut salvam faceret a persequentibus animam meam, alleluia.
I will give great thanks to the Lord with my mouth; and in the midst of many I will praise him, because he hath stood at the right hand of the poor, to save my soul from persecutors, alleluia.
The bonds of sin enchained us, and, of ourselves, we could not have returned to our Creator; but the Paschal Lamb has restored us our liberty; and as often as His Sacrifice is renewed upon the altar, our deliverance is achieved afresh. The Church expresses this in the Secret: her confidence rests on the divine Victim, which the Father has given us, and which she is now about to offer to Him.
Hæc munera, quæsumus, Domine, et vincula nostræ pravitatis absolvant, et tuæ nobis misericordiæ dona concilient. Per Dominum.
May these offerings, O Lord, loosen the bonds of our wickedness, and obtain for us the gift of thy mercy. Through, &c.
Then are added the other Secrets, as given above in the Mass of the fifth Sunday after Easter, page 124.
The Communion-anthem is the repetition of the consoling words of our Saviour, as given us in the Gospel. It is He Himself who authorizes us to ask for whatsoever we please; we cannot ask too much. None of us would have dared to say: ‘Whosoever makes a petition to God, will have his petition granted’: but now that the Son of God has come from heaven to teach us this astounding truth, we should never tire of repeating it.
Petite, et accipietis: quærite, et invenietis; pulsate, et aperietur vobis: omnis enim qui petit accipit: et qui quærit invenit: et pulsanti aperietur, alleluia.
Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened, alleiuia.
The Sacrifice of peace is consummated, and the Church gives free scope to her confidence by the words of thanksgiving expressed in the Postcommunion. The sacred gifts have brought us consolation; and our holy mother prays that consolation may prompt us to warmer love.
Vota nostra, quæsumus Domine, pio favore prosequere: ut, dum dona tua in tribulatione percipimus, de consolatione nostra in tuo amore crescamus. Per Dominum.
We besecch thee, O Lord, mercifully receive our prayers; that while we partake of thy gifts in our affliction, the consolation we find may increase our love. Through, &c.
To this are added the other Postcommunions, as given above, in the Mass of the fifth Sunday after Easter, page 126.
We subjoin a liturgical fragment, taken from the Rogation Mass of the ancient Gallican rite. This prayer was one of the supplications made on the first of these three days, and it bears with it the marks of its venerable antiquity.
Tua sunt, Domine, alimonia, quibus in quotidiano victu ad sustentationem reficimur: tuaque jejunia, quibus carnem a lubrica voluptate, te præcipiente, restringimus. Tu ad consolationem nostram vicissitudines temporum disposuisti: ut tempus edendi corpora nostra refectio sobria aleret; et jejunandi tempus ea in justitiam tibi placitam faceret macerata. Hanc hostiam ob jejunia triduanæ macerationis a nobis oblatam sanctificans dignanteradsume, et præsta placatus: ut sopita delectatione corporea, mens ab iniquitatibus pariter conquiescat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
It is from thee, O Lord, we receive the food, wherewith we are daily supported; to thee also do we offer these fasts, whereby, according to thy command, we put upon our flesh the restraint from dangerous indulgence. Thou hast so ordered the changes of seasons, as to afford us consolation: thus the time for eating gives nourishment to the body, by sober repasts; and the time for fasting inflicts on them a chastisement pleasing to thy justice. Vouchsafe to bless and receive this our offering of a three days' penitential fast; and mercifully grant, that whilst our bodies abstain from gratification, our souls also may rest from sin. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 St. Luke, v. 34.
 Homil. de Rogationibus.
 Serm. clxxii; amongst the Sermons of St. Augustine.
 Canon xxvii.
 Canon xvii.
 Serm. clxxiv. Herbertus Turritanus. Miracul., lib. i. o. 21.
 De rebus bellicis Caroli Magni, cap. xvi.
 Surius: ad diem xix. Novembris.
 Giussano: Life of St. Charles Borromeo.
 Cant. viii. 14.