Season of Septuagesima

This third section of the liturgical year is much shorter than the two preceding ones; and yet it is one of real interest. The season of Septuagesima has only three weeks of the Proper of the Time, and the feasts of the saints are far less frequent than at other periods of the year. The volume we now offer to the faithful may be called one of transition, inasmuch as it includes the period between two important seasons—viz., Christmas and Lent. We have endeavoured to teach them how to spend these three weeks; and our instructions, we trust, will show them that, even in this the least interesting portion of the ecclesiastical year, there is much to be learned. They will find the Church persevering in carrying out the one sublime idea which pervades the whole of her liturgy; and, consequently, they must derive solid profit from imbibing the spirit peculiar to this season.

Were we, therefore, to keep aloof from the Church during Septuagesima, we should not have a complete idea of her year, of which these three weeks form an essential part. The three preliminary chapters of this volume will convince them of the truth of our observation; and we feel confident that, when they have once understood the ceremonies, and formulas, and instructions, offered them by the Church during this short season, they will value it as it deserves.

For more information on the season of Septuagesima, visit here.

Including the following Psalms:


David, struck down by sickness, asks pardon of God, and beseeches Him to heal the wounds of his soul.

Psalm 6

Domine, ne in furore tuo arguas me: * neque in ira tua corripias me.

Miserere mei, Domine, quoniam infirmus sum: * sana me Domine, quoniam conturbata sunt ossa mea.
Et anima mea turbata est valde: * sed tu Domine usquequo?
Convertere, Domine, et eripe animam meam: * salvum me fac propter misericordiam tuam.
Quoniam non est in morte qui memor sit tui: * in inferno autem quis confitebitur tibi?
Laboravi in gemitu meo, lavabo per singulas noctes lectum meum: * lacrymis meis stratum meum rigabo.
Turbatus est a furore oculus meus: * inveteravi inter omnes inimicos meos.
Discedite a me, omnes qui operamini iniquitatem: * quoniam exaudivit Dominus vocem fletus mei.
Exaudivit Dominus deprecationem meam: * Dominus orationem meam suscepit.
Erubescant et conturbentur vehementer omnes inimici mei: * convertantur et erubescant valde velociter.

O Lord, rebuke me not in thy indignation, nor chastise me in thy wrath.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
And my soul is troubled exceedingly: but thou, O Lord, how long?
Turn to me, O Lord, and deliver ray soul: O save me, for thy mercy’s sake.
For there is no one in death that is mindful of thee: and who shall confess to thee in hell?
I have laboured in my groanrags, every night I will wash my bed: I will water my couch with my tears.
My eye is troubled through indignation: I have grown old among all mine enemies.
Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity: for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping.
The Lord hath heard my supplication: the Lord hath received my prayer.
Let all mine enemies bo ashamed and be very much troubled: let them be turned back, and be ashamed very speedily.


David experiences the happiness felt by a soul whose sins have been forgiven her by God; he expresses his feelings, by comparing himself to a sick man, who was at the point of death, and is restored to health.

Psalm 31

Beati, quorum remissæ sunt iniquitates: * et quorum tecta sunt peccata.

Beatus vir, cui non imputavit Dominus peccatum: * nec est in spiriu ejus dolus.
Quoniam tacui, inveteraverunt ossa mea: * dum clamarem tota die.
Quoniam die ac nocte gravata est super me manus tua: * conversus sum in ærumna mea, dum configitur spina.
Delictum meum cognitum tibi feci: * et injustitiam meam non abscondi.
Dixi Confitebor adversum me injustitiam meam Domino: * et tu remisisti impietatem peccati mei.
Pro hac orabit ad te omnis sanctus: * in tempore opportuno.
Verumtamen in diluvio aquarum multarum: * ad eum non approximabunt.
Tu es refugium meum a tribulatione, quæ circumdedit me: * exsultatio mea, erue me a circumdantibus me.
Intellectum tibi dabo, et instruam te in via hac qua gradieris; * firmabo super te oculos meos.
Nolite fieri sicut equus et mulus: * quibus non est intellectus.
In camo et freno maxillas eorum constringe: * qui non approximant ad te.
Multa flagella peccatoris: * sperantem autem in Domino misericordia circumdabit.
Laetamini in Domino, et exsultate justi: * et gloriamini omnes recti corde.

Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven: and whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man, to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin: and in whose spirit there is no guile.
Because I was silent, my bones grew old: whilst I cried out all the day long.
For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: I am turned in my anguish, whilst the thorn is fastened.
I have acknowledged my sin to thee: and my injustice I have not concealed.
I said, I will confess against myself my injustice to the Lord: and thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my sin.
For this shall every one that is holy pray to thee, in a seasonable time.
And yet, in a flood of many waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
Thou art my refuge from the trouble which hath encompassed me: my joy! deliver me from them that surround me.
Thou hast said to me; I will give thee understanding, and I will instruct thee in this way in which thou shalt go: I will fix mine eyes upon thee.
Do not become like the horse and the mule, who have no understanding.
With bit and bridle bind fast their jaws, who come not near unto thee.
Many are the scourges of the sinner: but mercy shall encompass him that hopeth in the Lord.
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice ye just: and glory, all ye right of heart.


The royal prophet feels the consequences left in him by his past sins, and he begs God to have pity on him.

Psalm 37

Domine, ne in furore tuo arguas me: * neque in ira tua corripias me.

Quoniam sagittæ tuæ infixæ sunt mihi: * et confirmasti super me manum tuam.
Non est sanitas in carne mea a facie iræ tuæ: * non est pax ossibus meis a facie peccaforum meorum.
Quoniam iniquitates meæ supergressæ sunt caput meum: * et sicut onus grave gravatæ sunt super me.
Putruerunt, et corruptæ sunt cicatrices meæ, * afacie insipientiæ meæ.
Miser factus sum, et curvatus sum usque in finem: * tota die contristatus ingrediebar.
Quoniam lumbi mei impleti sunt illusionibus: * et non est sanitas in came mea.
Afflictus sum et humiliatus sum nimis: * rugiebam a gemitu cordis mei.
Domine, ante te omne desiderium meum: * et gemitus meus a te non est absconditus.
Cor meum conturbatum est, dereliquit me virtus mea: * et lumen oculorum meorum, et ipsum non est mecum.
Amici mei et proximi mei: * adversum me appropinquaverunt et steterunt.
Et qui juxta me erant, de longe steterunt: * et vim faciebant qui quærebant animam meam.
Et qui inquirebant mala mihi, locuti sunt vanitates: * et dolos tota die meditabantur.
Ego autem tanquam surdus non audiebam: * et sicut mutus non aperiens os suum.
Et factus sum Bicut homo non audiens: * et non habens in ore suo redargutiones.
Quoniam in te, Domine, speravi: * tu exaudies me, Domine Deus meus.
Quia dixi: Nequando supergaudeant mihi inimicimei: * et dum commoventur pedes mei, super me magna locuti sunt.
Quoniam ego in flagella paratus sum: * et dolor meus in conspectu meo semper.
Quoniam iniquitatem meam annuntiabo; * et cogitabo pro peccato meo.
Inimici autem mei vivunt, et confirmati sunt super me: * et multiplicati sunt qui oderunt me inique.
Qui retribuunt mala pro bonis, detrahebant mihi: * quoniam sequebar bonitatem.
Ne derelinquas me, Domine Deus meus: * ne discesseris a me.
Intende in adjutorium meum: * Domine, Deus salutis meæ.

Rebuke me not, O Lord, in thy indignation: nor chastise me in thy wrath.
For thine arrows are fastened in me: and thy hand hath been strong upon me.
There is no health in my flesh, because of thy wrath: there is no peace in my bones, because of my sins.
For my iniquities are gone over my head: and as a heavy burden, are become heavy upon me.
My sores are putrefied and corrupted, because of my foolishness.
I am become miserable and am bowed down even to the end: I walked sorrowful all the day long.
For my loins are filled with illusions: and there is no health in my flesh.
I am afflicted and humbled exceedingly: I roared with the groaning of my heart.
O Lord, all my desire is before thee: and my groaning is not hidden from thee.
My heart is troubled, my strength hath left me: and the light of mine eyes itself is not with me.
My friends and my neighbours have drawn near, and stood against me.
And they that were near me, stood afar off: and they that sought my soul, used violence.
And they that sought evils to me, spoke vain things: and studied deceits all the day long.
But I as a deaf man heard not: and as a dumb man not opening his mouth.
And I became as a man that heareth not: and that hath no reproofs in his mouth.
For in thee, O Lord, have I hoped: thou wilt hear me, O Lord my God.
For I said: Lest at any time mine enemies rejoice over me: and whilst my feet are moved, they speak great things against me.
For I am ready for scourges: and my sorrow is continually before me.
For I will declare my iniquity: and I will think for my sin.
But mine enemies live, and are stronger than I: and they that hate me wrongfully, are multiplied.
They that render evil for good have detracted me: because I followed goodness.
Forsake me not, O Lord my God: do not thou depart from me.
Attend unto my help, O Lord the God of my salvation.


The grief and prayer of David, when the prophet Nathan was sent, by God, to reproach him for the twofold crime he had committed by his sin with Bethsabee, are the subject of this psalm.

Psalm 50


Miserere mei Deus: * secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.

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

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


David laments over the captivity of God’s people in Babylon, and prays for the restoration of Sion. His words are appropriate for the soul, who grieves over her sins, and implores to be regenerated by grace.

Psalm 101

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

Non avertas faciem tuam a me: * in quacumque die tribulor, inclina ad me aurem tuam.
In quacumque die invocavero te: * velociter exaudi me.
Quia defece runt sicut fumus dies mei: * et ossa measicut cremium aruerunt.
Percussus sum ut fœnum, et aruit cor meum: * quia oblitus sum comedere panem meum.
A voce gemitus mei * adhæsit os meum carni meæ.
Similis factus sum pellicano solitudinis: * factus sum sicut nycticorax in domicilio.
Vigilavi: * et factus sum sicut passer solitarius in tecto.
Tota die exprobrabant mihi inimici mei: * et qui laudabant me adversum me jurabant.
Quia cinerem tamquam panem manducabam: * et potum meum cum fletu miscebam.
A facie iræ et indignationis tuæ: * quia elevans allisisti me.
Dies mei sicut umbra declinaverunt: * et ego sicut fœnum arui.
Tu autem, Domine, in æternum permanes: * et memoriale tuum in generationem et generationem.
Tu exsurgens misereberis Sion: * quia tempus miserendi ejus, quia venit tempus.
Quoniam placuerunt servis tuis lapides ejus: * et terræ ejus miserebuntur.
Et timebunt gentes nomen tuum, Domine: * et omnes reges terræ gloriam tuam.
Quia ædificavit Dominus Sion: * et videbitur in gloria sua.
Respexit in orationem humilium: * et non sprevit precem eorum.
Scribantur hæc in generatione altera: * et populus qui creabitur laudabit Dominum.
Quia prospexit de excelso sancto suo: * Dominus de cœlo in terram aspexit.
Ut audiret gemitus compeditorum: * ut solveret filios interemptorum.
Ut annuntient in Sion nomen Domini: * et laudem ejus in Jerusalem.
In conveniendo populos in unum: * et reges, ut serviant Domino.
Respondit ei in via virtutis suæ: * paucitatem dierum meorum nuntia mihi.
Ne revoces me in dimidio dierum meorum: * in generationem et generationem anni tui.
Initio tu, Domine, terram fundasti: * et opera marmimi tuarum sunt cœli.
Ipsi peribunt, tu autem permanes: * et omnes sicut vestimentum veterascent.
Et sicut opertorium mutabis eos, et mutabuntur: * tu autem idem ipso es, et anni tui non deficient.
Filii servorum tuorum habitabunt: * et semen eorurn in sæculum dirigetur.

Hear, O Lord, my prayer: and let my cry come unto thee.
Turn not away thy face from me: in the day when I am in trouble, incline thine ear to me.
In what day soever I shall call upon thee, hear me speedily.
For my days are vanished like smoke: and my bones are grown dry like fuel for the fire.
I am smitten as grass, and my heart is withered: because I forgot to eat my bread.
Through the voice of my groaning, my bone hath cleaved to my flesh.
I am become like to a pelican of the wilderness: I am like a night-raven in the house.
I have watched, and am become as a sparrow all alone on the housetop.
All the day long mine enemies reproached me: and they that praised me, did swear against me.
For I did eat ashes like bread: and mingled my drink with weeping.
Because of thy anger and indignation: for having lifted me up, thou hast thrown me down.
My days have declined like a shadow: and I am withered like grass.
But thou, O Lord, endurest for ever: and thy memorial to all generations.
Thou shalt arise and have mercy on Sion: for it is time to have mercy on it, for the time is come.
For the stones thereof have pleased thy servants: and they shall have pity on the earth thereof.
And the Gentiles shall fear thy name, O Lord: and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
For the Lord hath built up Sion: and he shall be seen in his glory.
He hath had regard to the prayer of the humble: and he hath not despised their petition.
Let these things be written unto another generation: and the people that shall be created, shall praise the Lord.
Because he hath looked forth from his high sanctuary: from heaven, the Lord hath looked upon the earth.
That he might hear the groans of them that are in fetters: that he might release the children of the slain.
That they may declare the name of the Lord in Sion, and his praise in Jerusalem.
When the people assembled together, and kings to serve the Lord.
He (the royal prophet), longing to see these glorious things, answered him though still in the way of his strength: Declare unto me the fewness of my days;
Call me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are unto generation and generation.
In the beginning, O Lord, thou foundedst the earth: and the heavens are the works of thy hands.
They shall perish, but thou remainest: and all of them shall grow old, like a garment.
And as a vesture thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed: but thou art always the self-same, and thy years shall not fail.
The children of thy servants shall continue: and their seed shall be directed for ever.


The sinner seeing the depths of the abyss into which sin has led him, can hope for help from none but his God, whose mercy is infinite.

Psalm 129

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: * Domine, exaudi vocem meam.

Fiant aures tuæ intendentes: * in vocem deprecationia meæ.
Si iniquitates observaveris Domine; * Domine, quis sustinebit?
Quia apud te propitiatio est: * et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.
Suatinuit anima mea in verbo ejus: * speravit anima mea in Domino.
A custodia matutina usque ad noctem: * speret Israël in Domino.
Quia apud Dominum misericordia: * et copiosa apud eum redemptio.
Et ipse redimet Israël: * ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.

Out of the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice.
Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities: Lord, who shall stand it?
For with thee there is merciful forgiveness: and by reason of thy law, I have waited for thee, O Lord.
My soul hath relied on his word: my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
Because with the Lord there is mercy: and with him, plentiful redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.


David, who had taken refuge in a cave, sees himself surrounded by the army of Saul; he beseeches God not to deal with him according to the rigour of His just judgments, but to show him a way whereby to escape the danger that threatens him. The sinner implores God to deliver him from the sins and temptations which beset him.

Psalm 142


Domine, exaudi orationem meam, auribus percipe obsecrationem meam in veritate tua: * exaudi me in tua justitia.

Et non intres in judicium cum servo tuo: * quia non justificabitur in conspectu tuo omnis vivens.
Quia persecutus est inimicus animam meam: * humiliavit in terra vitam meam.
Collocavit me in obscuris sicut mortuos sæculi: et anxiatus est super me Spiritus meus: * in me turbatum est cor meum.
Memor fui dierum antiquorum, meditatus sum in omnibus operibus tuis: * in factis manuum tuarum meditabar.
Expandi manus meas ad te: * anima mea sicut terra sine aqua tibi.
Velociter exaudi me, Domine: * defecit spiritus meus.
Non avertas faciem tuam a me: * et similis ero descendentibus in lacum.
Auditam fac mihi mane misericordiam tuam: * quia in te speravi.
Notam fac mihi viam in qua ambulem: * quia ad te levavi animam meam.
Eripe me de inimicis meis, Domine, ad te confugi: * doce me facere voluntatem tuam, quia Deus meus es tu.
Spiritus tuus bonus deducet me in terram rectam: * propter nomen tuum, Domine, vivificabis me in æquitate tua.
Educes de tribulatione animam meam: * et in misericordia tua disperdes inimicos meos.
Et perdes omnes qui tribulant animam meam: * quoniam ego servus tuus sum.

Ant. Ne reminiscaris, Domine, delicta nostra, vel parentum nostrorum, neque vindictam sumas de peccatis nostris.

Hear, O Lord, my prayer; give ear to my supplication in thy truth; hear me in thy justice.
And enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight no man living shall be justified.
For the enemy hath persecuted my soul: he hath brought down my life to the earth.
He hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been dead of old; and my spirit is in anguish within me: my heart within me is troubled.
I remembered the days of old, I meditated on all thy works: I meditated upon the works of thy hands.
I stretched forth my hands to thee: my soul is as earth without water, unto thee.
Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit hath fainted away.
Turn not away thy face from me: lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.
Cause me to hear thy mercy in the morning: for in thee have I hoped.
Make the way known to me, wherein I should walk: for I have lifted up my soul to thee.
Deliver me from mine enemies, O Lord; to thee have I fled: teach me to do thy will, for thou art my God.
Thy good Spirit shall lead me into the right land: for thy name’s sake, O Lord, thou wilt quicken me in thy justice.
Thou wilt bring my soul out of trouble: and in thy mercy, thou wilt destroy mine enemies.
And thou wilt cut off all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.

Ant. Remember not, O Lord, our offences, nor those of our parents, and take not revenge on our sins.


From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The station for to-day is, as noted in the missal, in the church of St. Trypho, martyr; but this church having been destroyed many centuries ago, the station is now in that of St. Augustine, which is built on the same site.


Adesto, Domino, supplicationibus nostris, et concede ut hoc solemne jejunium, quod animabus corporibusque curandis salubriter institutum est, devoto servitio celebremus. Per Christum Dominimi nostrum. Amen.
Give ear, O Lord, to our prayers, and grant that we may, with true devotion, observe this solemn fast which was wholesomely instituted for the healing of both our soul and body. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lectio Isaiæ Prophetæ. Cap. lviii. Hæc dicit Dominus Deus: Si abstuleris de medio tui catenam, et desieris extendere digitum et loqui quod non prodest; cum effuderis esurienti animam tuam, et animam afflictam repleveris, orietur in tenebris lux tua, et tenebrætuæ erunt sicut meridies. Et requiem tibi dabit Dominus semper, et implebit splendoribus animam tuam, et ossa tua liberabit, et eris quasi hortus irriguus et sicut fons aquarum, cujus non deficient aquæ. Et ædificabuntur in te deserta sæculorum: fundamenta generationis et generationis suscitabis: et vocaberis ædificator sepium, avertens semitas in quietem. Si averteris a Sabbato pedem tuum, facere voluntatem tuam in die sancto meo, et vocaveris Sabbatum delicatum, et sanctum Domini gloriosum, et glorificaveris eum dum non facis vias tuas, et non invenitur voluntas tua, ut loquaris sermonem: tunc delectaberis super Domino; et sustollam te super altitudines terræ, et cibabo te hereditate Jacob patris tui: os enim Domini locutum est.
Lesson from Isaias the Prophet. Ch. lviii. Thus saith the Lord God: If thou wilt take away the chain out of the midst of thee, and cease to stretch out the finger, and to speak that which profiteth not; when thou shalt pour out thy soul to the hungry, and shalt satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise up in darkness, and thy darkness shall be as the noon-day. And the Lord will give thee rest continually, and will fill thy soul with brightness, and deliver thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of water, whose waters shall not fail. And the places that have been desolate for ages, shall be built in thee; thou shalt raise up the foundations of generation and generation: and thou shalt be called the repairer of the fences, turning the paths into rest. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy own will in my holy day, and call the Sabbath delightful, and the holy of the Lord glorious, and glorify him, while thou dost not thy own ways, and thy own will is not found, to speak a word: then shalt thou be delighted in the Lord, and I will lift thee up above the high places of the earth, and will feed thee with the inheritance of Jacob thy father. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Saturday is a day replete with mystery. It is the day of God’s rest; it is a figure of the eternal peace, which awaits us in heaven after the toils of this life are over. The object of the Church in giving us, to-day, this lesson from Isaias, is to teach us how we are to merit our eternal Sabbath. We have scarcely entered on our campaign of penance, when this affectionate mother of ours comes to console us. If we abound in good works during this holy season, in which we have taken leave of the distracting vanities of the world the light of grace shall rise up even in the darkness which now clouds our soul. This soul which has been so long obscured by sin and by the love of the world and self, shall become bright as the noon-day; the glory of Jesus’ Resurrection shall be ours too; and, if we are faithful to grace, the Easter of time will lead us to the Easter of eternity. Let us, therefore, build up the places that have been so long desolate; let us raise up the foundations, repair the fences, turn away our feet from the violation of holy observances; do not our own ways and our own will in opposition to those of our divine Master; and then He will give us everlasting rest, and fill our soul with His own brightness.


Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum.

Cap. vi.

In illo tempore: Cum sero esset, erat navis in medio mari, et Jesus solus in terra. Et videns discipulos suos laborantes in remigando (erat enim ventus contrarius eis), et circa quartam vigiliam noctis, venit ad eos ambulans supra mare: et volebat præterire eos. At illi, ut viderunt eum ambulantem supra mare, putaverunt phantasma esse, et exclamaverunt. Omnes enim viderunt eum, et conturbati sunt. Et statim locutus est cum eis, et dixit eis: Confidite, ego sum, nolite timere. Et ascendit ad illos in navim, ct cessavit ventus. Et plus magis intra se stupebant: non enim intellexorunt de panibus: erat enim cor eorum obcæcatum. Et cum transfretassent, venerunt in terram Genesareth, et applicuerunt. Cumque egressi essent de navi, continuo cognoverunt eum: et percurrentesuniversam regionem illam, cœperunt in grabatis eos qui se male habebant circumferre, ubi audiebant eum esse. Et quocumque introibat, in vicos, vel in villas, aut civitates, in plateis ponebant infirmos, et deprecabantur eum, ut vel fimbriam vestimenti ejus tangerent: et quotquot tangebant eum, salvi fiebant.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Mark.

Ch. vi.

At that time: When it was late, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and Jesus alone on the land. And seeing them labouring in rowing (for the wind was against them), and about the fourth watch of the night, he cometh to them, walking upon the sea, and he would have passed by them. But they seeing him walking upon the sea, thought it was an apparition, and they cried out. For they all saw him and were troubled. And immediately he spoke with them, and said to them: Have a good heart, it is I, fear ye not. And he went up to them into the ship, and the wind ceased. And they were far more astonished within themselves: for they understood not concerning the loaves: for their heart was blinded. And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Genesareth, and set to the shore. And when they were gone out of the ship immediately they knew him; and running through that whole country, they began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And whithersoever he entered, into towns, or into villages, or cities, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch but the hem of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

The ship, the Church, has set sail; the voyage is to last forty days. The disciples labour in rowing, for the wind is against them; they begin to fear lest they may not be able to gain the port. But Jesus comes to them on the sea; He goes up to them in the ship; the rest of the voyage is most prosperous. The ancient liturgists thus explain the Church’s intention in her choice of to-day’s Gospel. Forty days of penance are, it is true, little enough for a long life that has been spent in everything save God’s service; and yet our cowardice would sink under these forty days, unless we had Jesus with us. Let us not fear; it is He; He prays with us, fasts with us, and does all our works of mercy with us. Was it not He that first began these forty days of expiation? Let us keep our eyes fixed on Him, and be of good heart. If we grow tired, let us go to Him, as did the poor sick ones of whom our Gospel speaks. The very touch of His garments sufficed to restore health to such as had lost it; let us go to Him in His adorable Sacrament; and the divine life, whose germ is already within us, will develop itself, and the energy, which was beginning to droop in our hearts, will regain all its vigour.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Fideles tui, Dens, per tua dona firmentur: ut eadem et percipiendo requirant, et quærendo sine fine percipiant. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down you heads to God.

May thy faithful, O God, be strengthened by thy gifts; that, by receiving them, they may ever hunger after them, and hungering after them, they may have their desires satisfied in the everlasting possession of them. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let us close our Saturday with a prayer to Mary, the refuge of sinners. Let us express the confidence we have in her, by the following devout sequence. It is taken from the German missals of the fourteenth century.


Tibi cordis in altari
Decet preces immolari,
Virgo sacratissima.

Nam cum in se sit inepta,
Tuo Nato sit accepta
Per te precum victima.

Pro peccatis immolato
Peccatorum præsentato
Precum sacrificia.

Per te Deum adit reus,
Ad quem per te venit Deus:
Amborum tu media.

Nec abhorre peccatores
Sine quibus nunquam fores
Tanto digna Filio.

Si non essent redimendi,
Nulla tibi pariendi
Redemptorem ratio.

Sed nec Patris ad consesBum
Habuisses huc accessum,
Si non ex te genitum
Esset ibi positum.

Virgo, Virgo sic promota
Causa nostri, nostra vota
Promovenda suscipe
Coram summo Principe.

It behoves us, O most holy Virgin,
to offer thee, on the altar of our hearts,
the offering of our prayers.

For whereas the sacrifice of our prayers has no merit of its own,
it may be made acceptable,
through thee, to thy Son.

Present to him,
who was sacrificed for sin,
the sacrifice of sinners’ prayers.

It is through thee the sinner comes to God,
for this God came to the sinner through thee,
O thou the mediatrix between God and man!

It was for the sake of sinners
that thou wast made worthy of such a Son:
canst thou, then, despise them?

It was because there were sinners to be redeemed,
that thou wast made
Mother of the Redeemer.

Neither wouldst thou be seated
nigh the Father’s throne,
hadst thou not been Mother of him
who shares his Father’s throne.

Take, then, O holy Virgin,
who for our sake hast been thus exalted,
take thou our prayers,
and present them to our sovereign Lord.





From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The station for to-day is in the church of the holy martyrs, St. John and St. Paul.


Inchoata jejunia, quæsumus Domine, benigno favore prosequere: ut observantiam, quam corporaliter exhibemus, mentibus etiam sinceris exercere valeamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Graciously favour us, O Lord, we beseech thee, in the fast we have undertaken: that what we observe outwardly, we may perform with sincere minds. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lectio Isaiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. lviii.

Hæc dicit Dominus Deus: Clama, ne cesses; quasi tuba exalta vocem tuam, et annuntia populo meo scelera eorum, et domui Jacob peccata eorum. Me etenim de die in diem quærunt, et scire vias meas volunt: quasi gens quæ justitiam fecerit, et judicium Dei sui non dereliquerit: rogant me judicia justitiæ: appropinquare Deo volunt. Quare jejunavimus et non aspexisti: humiliavimus animas nostras et nescisti? Ecce in die jejunii vestri invenitur voluntas vestra, et omnes debitores vestros repetitis. Ecce ad lites et contentiones jejunatis, et percutitis pugno impie. Nolite jejunare sicut usque ad hanc diem, ut audiatur in excelso clamor vester. Numquid tale est jejunium, quod elegi, per diem affligere hominem animam suam? numquid contorquere quasi circulum caput suum, et saccum et cinerem sternere? numquid istum vocabis jejunium, et diem acceptabilem Domino? Nonne hoc eat magis jejunium, quod elegi? dissolve colligationes impietatis, solve fasciculos deprimentes, dimitte eos qui confracti sunt liberos, et omne onus disrumpe. Frange esurienti panem tuum, et egenos vagosque induc in domum tuam: cum videris nudum, operi eum, et carnem tuam ne despoxeris. Tunc erumpet quasi mane lumen tuum, et sanitas tua citius orietur, et anteibit faciem tuam justitia tua, et gloria Domini colliget te. Tunc invocabis, et Dominus exaudiet: clamabis, et dicet: Ecce adsum. Quia misericors sum, Dominus Deus tuus.
Lesson from Isaias the Prophet.

Ch. lviii.

Thus saith the Lord God: Cry, cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their wicked doings, and the house of Jacob their sins. For they seek me from day to day, and desire to know my ways, as a nation that hath done justice, and hath not forsaken the judgment of their God; they ask of me the judgments of justice: they are willing to approach to God. Why have we fasted, and thou hast not regarded: why have we humbled our souls, and thou hast not taken notice? Behold, in the day of your fast, your own will is found, and you exact of all your debtors. Behold you fast for debates and strife, and strike with the fist wickedly. Do not fast as you have done until this day, to make your cry to be heard on high. Is this such a fast as I have chosen: for a man to afflict his soul for a day? is this it, to wind his head about like a circle, and to spread sackcloth and ashes? wilt thou call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this rather the fast that I have chosen? loose the bands of wickedness, undo the bundles that oppress, let them that are broken go free, and break asunder every burden. Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the needy and the harbourless into thy house; when thou shalt see one naked, cover him, and despise not thy own flesh. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall speedily arise, and thy justice shall go before thy face, and the glory of the Lord shall gather thee up. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall hear: thou shalt cry, and he shall say: Here I am; for I the Lord thy God am merciful.

We are told, in this lesson from the prophet Isaias, what are the dispositions which should accompany our fast. It is God Himself who here speaks to us—that God who had Himself commanded His people to fast. He tells us that the fasting from material food is a mere nothing in His eyes, unless they who practise it abstain also from sin. He demands the sacrifice of the body; but it is not acceptable to Him, unless that of the soul goes along with it. The living God can never consent to be treated as were the senseless gods of wood and stone, which the Gentiles adored, and which were incapable of receiving any other than a mere external homage. Let, then, the heretic cease to find fault with the Church for her observance of practices, which he pretends to scorn as being material; it is he that grows material by his system of letting the body have every indulgence. The children of the Church fast, because fasting is recommended in almost every page of both the old and the new Testament, and because Jesus Christ Himself fasted for forty days; but they are fully aware that this practice, which is thus recommended and urged, is then alone meritorious, when it is ennobled and completed by the homage of a heart that is resolved to reform its vicious inclinations. And after all, it would be an injustice, if the body, which has been led into guilt solely through the malice of the soul, were to be made to suffer, and the soul herself be allowed to continue in her sinful course. Hence it is that they whose ill-health prevents them from observing the bodily austerities of Lent, are equally bound to impose on their soul that spiritual fast, which consists in the amendment of their life, in avoiding everything that is sinful, and in the zealous performance of every good work in their power.


Sequentia saneti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. v., vi.

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus discipulis suis: Audistis quia dictum est Diliges proximum tuum, et odio habebis inimicum tuum. Ego autem dico vobis: Diligite inimicos vestros, benefacite his qui oderunt vos: et orate pro persequentibus et calumniantibus vos: ut sitis filii Patris vestri, qui in cœlis est, qui solem suum oriri facit super bonos et malos, et pluit super justos et injustos. Si enim diligitis eos qui vos diligunt, quam mercedem habebitis? Nonne et publicani hoc faciunt? Et si salutaveritis fratres vestros tantum: quid amplius facitis? Nonne et ethnici hoc faciunt? Estote ergo vos perfecti, sicut et Pater vester cœlestis perfectus est. Attendite ne justitiam vestram faciatis coram hominibus, ut videamini ab eis: alioquin mercedem non habebitis apud Patrem vestrum qui in cœlis est. Cum ergo facis eleemosynam, noli tuba canere ante te, sicut hypocritæ faciunt in synagogis, et in vicis, ut honorificentur ab hominibus. Amen dico vobis, receperunt mercedem suam. Te autem faciente eleemosynam, nesciat sinistra tua, quid faciat dextera tua: ut sit eleemosyna tua in abscondito, et Pater tuus qui videt in abecondito, reddet tibi.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. v., vi.

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: You have heard that it hath been said: Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy. But I say to you: love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you; that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust. For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans this? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you do more? do not also the heathens this? Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. Take heed that you do not your justice before men to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven. Therefore, when thou dost an almsdeed, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honoured by men. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth; that thy alms may be in secret, and thy Father, who seeth in secret, will repay thee.

Almsdeeds is the third of the great penitential works: it is the sister virtue of prayer and fasting. For this reason, the Church puts before us, to-day, the instructions given by our Saviour on the manner in which we ought to do works of mercy. He puts upon us the duty of loving our fellow-men, without distinction of friends or enemies. God, who has created them all, loves them Himself; this is motive enough to make us show mercy to all. If He bears with them even when they are His enemies by sin, and patiently waits for their conversion even to the end of their lives, so that they who are lost are lost through their own fault, what ought not we to do, we who are sinners as they are, and their brethren, and created like them out of nothing? When, therefore, we do an act of kindness or mercy towards those who have God for their Father, we offer Him a most acceptable homage. Charity, the queen of virtues, absolutely requires of us the love of our neighbour, as being part of our love of God; and this charity, at the same time that it is a sacred obligation incumbent upon each member of the family of mankind, is, in the acts it inspires us to do towards each other, a work of penance, because it imposes upon us certain privations, and requires us to overcome every repugnance which nature stirs up within us, when we have to show this charity to certain individuals. And finally, we must in our almsdeeds follow the counsel our blessed Saviour gives us; it is the one He recommended to us, when He bade us fast: we must do it in secret, and shun ostentation. Penance loves humility and silence; it has a dread of being noticed by men; the only one whose applause it seeks, is He who seeth in secret.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo. Tuere, Domine, populum tuum, et ab omnibus peccatis dementer emunda: quia nulla ei nocebit adversitas, si nulla ei dominetur iniquitas. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God. Defend, O Lord, thy people, and mercifully cleanse them from all their sins: for no misfortune can hurt them, if no wickedness rule over them. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Although the law of fasting began yesterday, yet Lent, properly so called, does not begin till the Vespers of Saturday next. In order to distinguish the rest of Lent from these four days which have been added to it, the Church continues to chant Vespers at the usual hour, and allows her ministers to break their fast before having said that Office. But, beginning with Saturday, the Vespers will be anticipated; every day (Sundays excepted, which always exclude fasting), they will be said at such an early hour, that when the faithful take their full meal, the evening Office will be over. It is a remnant of the discipline of the primitive Church, which forbade the faithful to break their fast before sunset, in other words, before Vespers or Evensong.

The Church has given to these three days after Ash Wednesday a resemblance to the other ferias of her lenten season, by assigning to each of them a lesson from the Old Testament, and a Gospel, for Mass. We, of course, insert them, adding a few reflections to each. We also give the Collects of these three days.

The station, in Rome, for the Thursday after Ash Wednesday, is in the church of St. George in Velabro (the veil of gold).


Deus, qui culpa offenderis, pœnitentia placaris; preces populi tui supplicantis propitius respice: et flagella tuæ iracundiæ, quæ pro peccatis nostris meremur, averte. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
O God, who by sin art offended, and by penance pacified, mercifully regard the prayers of thy suppliant people: and turn away the scourges of thy wrath, which we deserve for our sins. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lectio Isaiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. xxxviii.

In diebus illis, ægrotavit Ezechias usque ad mortem: et introivit ad eum Isaias filius Araos propheta, et dixit ei: Hæc dicit Dominus: Dispone domui tuæ, quia morieris tu, et non vives. Et convertit Ezechias faciem suam ad parietem, et oravit ad Dominum, et dixit: Obsecro, Domine, memento, quæso, quomodo ambulaverim coram te in veritate, et in corde perfecto, et quod bonum est in oculis tuis fecerim. Et flevit Ezechias fletu magno. Et factum est verbum Domini ad Isaiam dicens: Vade, et dic Ezechiæ: Hæc dicit Dominus Deus David patris tui: Audivi orationem tuam, et vidi lacrymas tuas: ecce ego adjiciam super dies tuos quindecim annos: et de manu regis Assyriorum eruam te, et civitatem istam, et protegam eam, ait Dominus omnipotens.
Lesson from Isaias the Prophet.

Ch. xxxviii.

In those days, Ezechias was sick even to death, and Isaias the son of Amos the prophet came unto him, and said to him: Thus saith the Lord: Take order with thy house, for thou shalt die, and not live. And Ezechias turned his face towards the wall, and prayed to the Lord, and said: I beseech thee, O Lord, remember how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Ezechias wept with great weeping. And the word of the Lord came to Isaias, saying: Go and say to Ezechias: Thus saith the Lord the God of David thy father: I have heard thy prayer, and I have seen thy tears: behold I will add to thy days fifteen years: and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hands of the king of the Assyrians, and I will protect it, saith the Lord almighty.

Yesterday, the Church spoke to us upon the certainty of death. Die we must: we have not only God’s infallible word for it, but no reasonable man could ever entertain the thought that he was to be an exception to the rule. But if the fact of our death be certain, the day on which we are to die is also fixed. God, in His wisdom, has concealed the day from us; it becomes our duty not to be taken by surprise. This very night, it might be said to us, as it was to Ezechias: Take order with thy house, for thou shalt die. We ought to spend each day, as though it were to be our last. Were God even to grant us, as He did to the holy king of Juda, a prolongation of life, we must come, sooner or later, to that last hour, beyond which there is no time, and eternity begins. The Church’s intention in thus reminding us of our mortality, is to put us on our guard against the allurements of this short life, and urge us to earnestness in the great work of regeneration, for which she has been preparing us during these last three weeks. How many there are of those who yesterday received the ashes, who will never see the joys of Easter, at least in this world! To them, the ceremony has been a prediction of what is to happen to them, perhaps before the month is out. And yet the very same words that were pronounced over them, were said to us. May not we ourselves be of the number of those who are thus soon to be victims of death? In this uncertainty, let us gratefully accept the warning, which our Jesus came down from heaven to give us: ‘Do penance; for the kingdom of God is at hand.’[1]


Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. viii.

In illo tempore: Cum introisset Jesus Capharnaum, accessit ad eum centurio, rogans eum et dicens: Domine, puer meus jacet in domo paralyticus, et male torquetur. Et ait illi Jesus: Ego veniam, et curabo eum. Et respondens centuno, ait: Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum; sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur puer meus. Nam et ego homo sum sub potestate constitutus, habens sub mo milites, et dico huic: Vado, et vadit; et alii: Veni, et venit; et servo meo: Fac hoc, et facit. Audiens autcm Jesus miratus est, et sequentibus se dixit: Amen dico vobis, non inveni tantam fidem in Israel: Dico autem vobis, quod multi ab oriente et occidente venient, et recumbent cum Abraham, et Isaac, et Jacob in regno cœlorum; filii autem regni ejicientur in tenebras exteriores: ibi erit fletus et stridor dentium. Et dixit Jesus centurioni: Vade, et sicut credidisti, fiat tibi. Et sanatus est puer in illa hora.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. viii.

At that time: When Jesus had entered into Capharnaum, there came to him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying: Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented. And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him. And the centurion making answer said: Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doth it. And Jesus hearing this, marvelled, and said to them that followed him: Amen, I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I say to you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion; Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. And the servant was healed at the same hour.

The sacred Scriptures, the fathers, and theologians, tell us that there are three eminent good works which are, at the same time, works of penance: prayer, fasting, and almsdeeds. In the lessons she gives us on these three days, which form as it were the threshold of Lent, the Church instructs us upon these works. To-day it is prayer she recommends to us. Look at this centurion, who comes to our Saviour, beseeching Him to heal his servant. His prayer is humble; in all the sincerity of his heart, he deems himself unworthy to receive Jesus under his roof. His prayer is full of faith; he doubts not for an instant that Jesus is able to grant him what he asks. And with what ardour he prays! The faith of this Gentile is greater than that of the children of Israel, and elicits praise from the Son of God. Such ought to be our prayer, when we solicit the cure of our souls. Let us acknowledge that we are not worthy to speak to God, and yet, let us have an unshaken confidence in the power and goodness of Him, who only commands us to pray that He may pour out His mercies upon us. The season we are now in is one of prayer; the Church redoubles her supplications; it is for us that she makes them; we must take our share in them. Let us, during this season of grace, cast off that languor which fastens on the soul at other times; let us remember that it is prayer which repairs the faults we have already committed, and preserves us from sin for the future.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo. Parce Domine, parce populo tuo, ut dignis flagellationibus castigatus, in tua miseratione respiret. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God. Spare, O Lord, spare thy people; that having been justly chastised, they may find comfort in thy mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen,

[1] St. Matt. iv. 17.


From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.


Yesterday, the world was busy in its pleasures, and the very children of God were taking a joyous farewell to mirth: but this morning, all is changed. The solemn announcement, spoken of by the prophet, has been proclaimed in Sion:[1] the solemn fast of Lent, the season of expiation, the approach of the great anniversaries of our Redemption. Let us, then, rouse ourselves, and prepare for the spiritual combat.

But in this battling of the spirit against the flesh we need good armour. Our holy mother the Church knows how much we need it; and therefore does she summon us to enter into the house of God, that she may arm us for the holy contest. What this armour is we know from St. Paul, who thus describes it: ‘Have your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice. And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. In all things, taking the shield of faith. Take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.’[2] The very prince of the apostles, too, addresses these solemn words to us: ‘Christ having suffered in the flesh, be ye also armed with the same thought.’[3] We are entering, to-day, upon a long campaign of the warfare spoken of by the apostles: forty days of battle, forty days of penance. We shall not turn cowards, if our souls can but be impressed with the conviction, that the battle and the penance must be gone through. Let us listen to the eloquence of the solemn rite which opens our Lent. Let us go whither our mother leads us, that is, to the scene of the fall.

The enemies we have to fight with, are of two kinds: internal, and external. The first are our passions; the second are the devils. Both were brought on us by pride, and man’s pride began when he refused to obey his God. God forgave him his sin, but He punished him. The punishment was death, and this was the form of the divine sentence: ‘Thou art dust, and into dust thou shalt return.’[4] Oh that we had remembered this! The recollection of what we are and what we are to be, would have checked that haughty rebellion, which has so often led us to break the law of God. And if, for the time to come, we would persevere in loyalty to Him, we must humble ourselves, accept the sentence, and look on this present life as a path to the grave. The path may be long or short; but to the tomb it must lead us. Remembering this, we shall see all things in their true light. We shall love that God, who has deigned to set His heart on us notwithstanding our being creatures of death: we shall hate, with deepest contrition, the insolence and ingratitude, wherewith we have spent so many of our few days of life, that is, in sinning against our heavenly Father: and we shall be not only willing, but eager, to go through these days of penance, which He so mercifully gives us for making reparation to His offended justice.

This was the motive the Church had in enriching her liturgy with the solemn rite, at which we are to assist this morning. When, upwards of a thousand years ago, she decreed the anticipation of the lenten fast by the last four days of Quinquagesima week, she instituted this impressive ceremony of signing the forehead of her children with ashes, while saying to them those awful words, wherewith God sentenced us to death: ‘Remember, O man, that thou art dust, and into dust thou shalt return!’ But the making use of aBhes as a symbol of humiliation and penance, is of a much earlier date than the institution to which we allude. We find frequent mention of it in the Old Testament. Job, though a Gentile, sprinkled his flesh with ashes, that, thus humbled, he might propitiate the divine mercy:[5] and this was two thousand years before the coming of our Saviour. The royal prophet tells us of himself, that he mingled ashes with his bread, because of the divine anger and indignation.[6] Many such examples are to be met with in the sacred Scriptures; but so obvious is the analogy between the sinner who thus signifies his grief, and the object whereby he signifies it, that we read such instances without surprise. When fallen man would humble himself before the divine justice, which has sentenced his body to return to dust, how could he more aptly express his contrite acceptance of the sentence, than by sprinkling himself, or his food, with ashes, which is the dust of wood consumed by fire? This earnest acknowledgment of his being himself but dust and ashes, is an act of humility, and humility ever gives him confidence in that God, who resists the proud and pardons the humble.

It is probable that, when this ceremony of the Wednesday in Quinquagesima week was first instituted, it was not intended for all the faithful, but only for such as had committed any of those crimes for which the Church inflicted a public penance. Before the Mass of the day began, they presented themselves at the church, where the people were all assembled. The priests received the confession of their sins, and then clothed them in sackcloth, and sprinkled ashes on their heads. After this ceremony, the clergy and the faithful prostrated, and recited aloud the seven Penitential Psalms. A procession, in which the penitents walked bare-footed, then followed; and on its return, the bishop addressed these words to the penitents: ‘Behold, we drive you from the doors of the church by reason of your sins and crimes, as Adam, the first man, was driven out of paradise because of his transgression.’ The clergy then sang several responsories, taken from the Book of Genesis, in which mention was made of the sentence pronounced by God when He condemned man to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow, for that the earth was cursed on account of sin. The doors were then shut, and the penitents were not to pass the threshold until Maundy Thursday, when they were to come and receive absolution.

Dating from the eleventh century, the discipline of public penance began to fall into disuse, and the holy rite of putting ashes on the heads of all the faithful indiscriminately became so general that, at length, it was considered as forming an essential part of the Roman liturgy. Formerly, it was the practice to approach bare-footed to receive this solemn memento of our nothingness; and in the twelfth century, even the Pope himself, when passing from the church of St. Anastasia to that of St. Sabina, at which the station was held, went the whole distance bare-footed, as also did the Cardinals who accompanied him. The Church no longer requires this exterior penance; but she is as anxious as ever that the holy ceremony, at which we are about to assist, should produce in us the sentiments she intended to convey by it, when she first instituted it.

As we have just mentioned, the station in Rome is at St. Sabina, on the Aventine Hill. It is under the patronage of this holy martyr that we open the penitential season of Lent.




The function begins with the blessing of the ashes, which are to be put on our foreheads. These ashes are made from the palms, which were blessed the previous Palm Sunday. The blessing they are now to receive in this their new form, is given in order that they may be made more worthy of that mystery of contrition and humility which they are intended to symbolize.

The choir begins by chanting this antiphon, which is a prayer for mercy.


Exaudi nos, Domine, quoniam benigna est misericordia tua: secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum, respice nos, Domine.

Ps. Salvum me fac, Deus: quoniam intraverunt aquæ usque ad animam meam. V. Gloria Patri. Exaudi nos.
Hear us, O Lord, for thy mercy is kind: look on us, O Lord, according to the multitude of thy mercies.

Ps. Save me, O God: for the waters have reached my soul. V. Glory, etc. Hear us, etc.

The priest, standing at the altar, and having the ashes near him, begs of God, by the following prayers, that He would make them an instrument of our sanctification.

V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.


Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, parce pœnitentibus; propitiare supplicantibus: et mittere digneris sanctum angelum tuum de cœlis, qui benedicat, et sanctificet hos cinerea, ut sint remedium salubre omnibus nomen sanctum tuum humiliter implorantibua, ac semetipsos pro conscientia delictorum suorum accusantibus, ante conspectum divinæ clementiæ tuæ facinora sua deplorantibus, vel serenissimam pietatem tuam suppliciter obnixeque flagitantibus: et præsta, per invocationem sanctissimi nominis tui: ut quicumque per eos aspersi fuerint, pro redemptione peccatorum suorum, corporis sanitatem et animæ tutelam percipiant. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.

Deus, qui non mortem sed pœnitentiam desideras peccatorum: fragilitatem conditionis humanæ benignissime respice: et hos cineres, quos causa proferendæhumilitatis, atque promerendæ veniæ, capitibus nostris imponi decernimus, benedicere prò tua pietate dignare: ut, qui nos cinerem esse, et ob pravitatis nostrædemeritum in pulverem reversuros cognoscimus, peccatorum omnium veniam, et præmia pœnitentibus repromissa, misericorditer consequi mereamur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.


Deus qui humiliatione flecteris et satisfactione placaris: aurem tuæ pietatis inclina precibua nostris: et capitibus servorum tuorum, horum cinerum aspersione contactis, effunde propitius gratiam tuæ benedictionis: ut eos et spiritu compunctionis repleas, et quæ juste postulaverint, efficaciter tribuas; et concessa perpetuo stabilita et intacta manere decernas. Per Christum Dominum nostrum, R. Amen. 

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Ninivitis in cinere et cilicio pœnitentibus indulgentiæ tuæ remedia pr©stitisti: concede propitius, ut sic eos imitemur habitu, quatenus veniæ prosequamur obtentu. Per Dominum. R. Amen.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray

O almighty and eternal God, spare those that repent, show mercy to those that humbly entreat thee; and vouchsafe to send from heaven thy holy angel, to bless, and sanctify these ashes, that they may be a wholesome remedy to all who humbly call upon thy holy name, and conscious of their sins, accuse themselves, and deplore their crimes in sight of thy divine Majesty, or humbly and earnestly have recourse to thy sovereign bounty; and grant, by our calling on thy most holy name, that whoever shall be touched by these ashes for the remission of their sins, may receive health of body and defence of soul. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

Let us Pray

O God, who desirest the conversion, and not the death of sinners, graciously consider the weakness of human nature, and mercifully vouchsafe to bless these ashes, which we design to receive on our heads, in token of our humiliation, and to obtain forgiveness; that we, who know that we are but ashes, and must return to dust because of our wickedness, may obtain through thy mercy, pardon of all our sins, and the recompense promised to penitents. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

Let us Pray

O God, who art appeased by humiliation, and pacified by satisfaction, incline to our prayers the ears of thy mercy; and pour upon the heads of thy servants, covered with these ashes, the grace of thy blessing, so as both to fill them with the spirit of compunction, and to grant them the effects of their just desires; and, when granted, to remain stable and untouched for ever. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen. 
Let us Pray

O almighty and eternal God, who forgavest the Ninivites, when they did penance in sackcloth and ashes; mercifully grant us so to imitate their penance, that we may obtain pardon of our sins. Through, etc. R. Amen.

Having said the last of these prayers, the priest sprinkles the ashes with holy water, and censes them. The first in order of the priests who are present, marks the celebrant’s forehead with them. Then the ministers at the altar and the clergy receive them from the celebrant, who finally gives them to the faithful, saying:

Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.
Remember man, that thou art dust, and into dust thou shalt return.

When the priest puts the holy emblem of penance upon you, accept in a spirit of submission, the sentence of death, which God Himself pronounces against you: ‘Remember, O man, that thou art dust, and into dust thou shalt return!’ Humble yourself, and remember what it was that brought the punishment of death upon us: man wished to be as a god, and preferred his own will to that of his sovereign Master. Reflect, too, on that long list of sins, which you have added to the sin of your first parents, and adore the mercy of your God, who asks only one death for all these your transgressions.

During the time the priest is giving the ashes, the choir sings the following antiphons and responsory.


Immutemur habitu, in cinere et cilicio: jejunemus et ploremus ante Dominum, quia multum miscricors est dimittere peccata nostra Deus noster.
Let us change our dress for ashes and sackcloth; let us fast and weep in the presence of the Lord; for our God is very merciful to forgive us our sins.


Inter vestibulum et altare plorabunt sacerdotes ministri Domini, et dicent: Parco, Domine, parce populo tuo: et ne claudas ora canentium te, Domine.
The priests, the ministers of the Lord, shall weep between the porch and the altar, and say; Spare, O Lord, spare thy people, and shut not the mouths of those who praise thee, O Lord.


Emendemus in melius quæ ignoranter peccavimus: ne subito præoccupati die mortis, quæramus spatium pœnitentiæ, et invenire non possimus. * Attende, Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Ps. Adjuva nos Deus salutaris noster: et propter honorem nominis tui Domine, libera nos. * Attende. V. Gloria Patri. * Attende.
Let us amend the sins we have committed through ignorance: lest suddenly overtaken by the day of our death, we seek for time to do penance, and be not able to find it. * Look down on us, O Lord, and take pity; for we have sinned against thee.

Ps. Help us, O God our Saviour: and deliver us for the glory of thy name, O Lord. * Look down, etc. V. Glory, etc. Look down, etc.

As soon as all the faithful have received the ashes, the priest sings the following prayer:

V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.


Concede nobis, Domine, præsidia militiæ Christianæ sanctis inchoare jejuniis: nt contra spirituales nequitias pugnaturi,continentiæ muniamur auxiliis. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray

Grant us, O Lord, to begin with holy fasting our Christian warfare; that being to fight against spiritual wickedness, we may be aided therein by temperance. Through Christ our Lord. JR. Amen.




The soul has regained her confidence by the act of humility she has performed. She approaches the God of mercy, and reminds Him of the tender love He bears to His creature man, and of the patience wherewith He waits for his repentance. These are the sentiments expressed in the Introit, which is taken from the Book of Wisdom.


Misereris omnium, Domine, et nihil odisti eorum quæ fecisti, dissimulans peccata hominum propter pœnitentiam, et parcens illis: quia tu es Dominus Deus noster.

Ps. Miserere mei Deus, miserere mei; quoniam in te confidit anima mea. V. Gloria Patri. Misereris.
Thou, O Lord, hast mercy on all, and hatest none of those things which thou hast created; thou overlookest the sins of men, to draw them to repentance, and thou pardonest them; because thou art the Lord our God.

Ps. Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me; for my soul trusteth in thee. V. Glory, etc. Thou, O Lord, etc.

In the Collect, the Church prays that her children may have the two-fold grace of a fervent commencement and steady perseverance in the salutary fast of Lent.


Præsta, Domine, fidelibus tuis, ut jejuniorum veneranda solemnia, et congrua pietate suscipiant, et secura devotione percurrant. Per Dominum.
Grant, O Lord, that thy faithful may enter on this solemn and venerable fast with suitable piety, and go through it with unmolested devotion. Through, etc.

Second Collect

A cunctis nos, quæsumus, Domine, mentis et corporis defende periculis: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semperque Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, beatis apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque beato N. et omnibus sanctis, salutem nobis tribue benignus et pacem: ut, destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, Ecclesia tua secura tibi serviat libertate.
Preserve us, O Lord, we beseech thee, from all dangers of soul and body: and by the intercession of the glorious and blessed Mary, the ever Virgin Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, of blessed N. (here is mentioned the titular saint of the church), and of all the saints, grant us, in thy mercy, health and peace; that all adversities and errors being removed, thy Church may serve thee with undisturbed liberty.

Third Collect

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui vivorum dominaris simul et mortuorum, omniumque misereris, quos tuoa 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, omnium delictorum suorum veniam consequantur. Per Dominum.
O almighty and eternal God, who hast dominion over the living and the dead, and art merciful to all whom thou knowest will be thine by faith and good works: we humbly beseech thee, that they, for whom we have proposed to offer our prayers, whether this world still retains them in the flesh, or the next world hath already received them divested of their bodies, may, by the clemency of thine own goodness, and the intercession of thy saints, obtain pardon and full remission of their sins. Through, etc.

Lectio Joelis Prophetæ.

Cap. ii.

Hæc dicit Dominus: Convertimini ad me in toto corde vestro, in jojunio, et in fletu, et in planctu. Et scindite corda vestra, et non vestimentavestra, et convcrtimini ad Dominum Deum vcstrum: quia benignus et misericors est, patiens et multæ misericordiæ, et præstabilis super malitia. Quis seit si convertatur et ignoscat, et relinquat post se benedictionem, sacrificium et libamen Domino Deo vestro? Canito tuba in Sion, santificate jejunium, vocate cœtum, congregate populum, santificate Ecclesiam, coadunate senes, congregate parvulos et sugentes ubera: egrediatur sponsus de cubili suo, et sponsa de thalamo suo. Inter vestibulum et altare plorabunt sacerdotes ministri Domini, et dicent: Parce, Domine, parce populo tuo: et ne des hæreditatem tuam in opprobrium, ut dominentur eis nationes. Quare dicunt in populis: Ubi est Deus eorum? Zelatus est Dominus terram suam, et pepercit populo suo. Et respond it Dominus, et dixit populo suo: Ecce ego mittam vobis frumentum, et vinum, et oleum, et replebimini eis: et non dabo vos ultra opprobrium in gentibus: dicit Dominus omnipotens.
Lesson from the Prophet Joel.

Ch. ii.

Thus saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. Who knoweth but he will return, and forgive, and leave a blessing behind him; sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather together the people, sanctify the Church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of the bridechamber. Between the porch and the altar the priests, the Lord’s ministers, shall weep, and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people; and give not thine inheritance to reproach, that the heathens should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations: Where is their God? The Lord hath been zealous for his land, and hath spared his people. And the Lord answered, and said to his people: Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil; you shall be filled with them, and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations, saith the Lord almighty.

We learn from this magnificent passage of the prophet Joel how acceptable to God is the expiation of fasting. When the penitent sinner inflicts corporal penance upon himself, God’s justice is appeased. We have a proof of it in the Ninivites. If the Almighty pardoned an infidel city, as Ninive was, solely because its inhabitants sought for mercy under the garb of penance; what will He not do in favour of His own people, who offer Him the twofold sacrifice, exterior works of mortification, and true contrition of heart? Let us, then, courageously enter on the path of penance. We are living in an age when, through want of faith and of fear of God, those practices which are as ancient as Christianity itself, and on which we might almost say it was founded, are falling into disuse; it behoves us to be on our guard, lest we, too, should imbibe the false principles, which have so fearfully weakened the Christian spirit. Let us never forget our own personal debt to the divine justice, which will remit neither our sins nor the punishment due to them, except inasmuch as we are ready to make satisfaction. We have just been told that these bodies, which we are so inclined to pamper, are but dust; and as to our souls, which we are so often tempted to sacrifice by indulging the flesh, they have claims upon the body, claims of both restitution and obedience.

In the Gradual, the Church again pours forth the expressions of her confidence in the God of all goodness, for she counts upon her children being faithful to the means she gives them of propitiating His justice.

The Tract is that beautiful prayer of the psalmist, which she repeats thrice during each week of Lent, and which she always uses in times of public calamity, in order to appease the anger of God.


Miserere mei Deus, miserere mei: quoniam in te confidit anima mea.

V. Misit de cœlo, et liberavit me: dedit in opprobrium conculcantes me.
Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me; for my soul hath trusted in thee.

V. He hath sent from heaven, and delivered me; he hath made them a reproach that trod upon me.


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

V. Domine, ne memineris iniquitatum nostrarum antiquarum: cito anticipent nos misericordiæ tuæ, quia pauperes facti sumus nimis.
V. Deal not with us, O Lord, according to our sins, which we have committed nor punish us according to our iniquities.

V. Remember not, O Lord, our former iniquities; let thy mercies speedily prevent us, for we are become exceeding poor.


Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. vi.

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus discipulis suis: Cum jejunatis, nolite fieri sicut hypocritæ tristes. Exterminant enim facies suas, ut appareant hominibus jejunantes. Amen dico vobis, quia receperunt mercedem suam. Tu autem cum jejunas, unge caput tuum, et faciem tuam lava, ne videaris hominibus jejunans, sed Patri tuo, qui est in abscondito: et Pater tuus qui videt in abscondito, reddet tibi. Nolite thesaurizare vobis thesauros in terra, ubi ærugo et tinea demolitur, et ubi fures effodiunt, et furantur. Thesaurizate autem vobis thesauros in cœlo: ubi neque ærugo, neque tinea demolitur; et ubi fures non effodiunt, nec furantur. Ubi enim est thesaurus tuus, ibi est et cor tuum.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. vi.

At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: When you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face, that thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father, who is in secret: and thy Father, who seeth in secret, will repay thee. Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth, where the rust and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.

Our Redeemer would not have us receive the announcement of the great fast as one of sadness and melancholy. The Christian who understands what a dangerous thing it is to be behindhand with divine justice, welcomes the season of Lent with joy; it consoles him. He knows that if he be faithful in observing what the Church prescribes, his debt will be less heavy upon him. These penances, these satisfactions (which the indulgence of the Church has rendered so easy), being offered to God unitedly with those of our Saviour Himself, and being rendered fruitful by that holy fellowship which blends into one common propitiatory sacrifice the good works of all the members of the Church militant, will purify our souls, and make them worthy to partake in the grand Easter joy. Let us not, then, be sad because we are to fast; let us be sad only because we have sinned and made fasting a necessity. In this same Gospel, our Redeemer gives us a second counsel, which the Church will often bring before us during the whole course of Lent: it is that of joining almsdeeds with our fasting. He bids us to lay up treasures in heaven. For this, we need intercessors; let us seek them amidst the poor.

In the Offertory, the Church rejoices in her children being set free; she foresees that the wounds of our souls will be healed, for she has confidence in us that we shall persevere, and this fills her with gladness.


Exaltabo te, Domine quoniam suscepisti me, nec delectasti inimicos meos super me; Domine, clamavi ad te, et sanasti me.
I will extol thee, O Lord, for thou hast upholden me, and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me. O Lord, I have cried to thee, and thou hast healed me.


Fac nos, quæsumus, Domine, his muneribus offerendis convenienter aptari; quibus ipsius venerabilis sacramenti celebramus. exordium. Per Dominum.
Grant, O Lord, that we may be duly prepared to present these our offerings, by which we celebrate the institution of this venerable mystery. Through, etc.

Second Secret

Exaudi nos, Deus Salutaris noster: ut per hujus Sacramenti virtutem, a cunctis nos mentis et corporis hostibus tuearis, gratiam tribuens in præsenti, et gloriam in futuro.
Graciously grant us, O God our Saviour, that by virtue of this Sacrament, thou mayst defend us from all enemies, both of soul and body; giving us grace in this life, and glory in the next.

Third Secret

Deus, cui soli cognitus est numerus electorum in superna felicitate locandus; tribue quæsumus, ut intercedentibus omnibus sanctis tuis, universorum, quos in oratione commendatos suscepimus, et omnium fidelium nomina, beatæ prædestinationis liber adscripta retineat. Per Dominum.
O God, to whom alone is known the number of thine elect to be placed in eternal bliss: grant, we beseech thee, by the intercession of all thy saints, that the book of predestination may contain the names of all those for whom we have undertaken to pray, as well as those of all the faithful. Through, etc.

The Preface

Vere dignum et justum est, æequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus. Qui corporali jejunio vitia comprimis, mentem elevas, virtutem largiris et præmia, per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem majestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates: Cœli, cœlorumque Virtutes, ac beata Seraphim, socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti jubeas deprecamur, supplici confessione, dicentes: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus.
It is truly meet and just right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God. Who by this bodily fast extinguishest our vices, elevatest our understanding, bestowest on us virtue and its rewards, through Christ our Lord. By whom the Angels praise thy majesty, the Dominations adore it, the Powers tremble before it; the Heavens and the heavenly Virtues, and the blessed Seraphim, with common jubilee, glorify it. Together with whom, we beseech thee that we may be admitted to join our humble voices, saying: Holy! Holy! Holy!

The words of the Church in the Communion antiphon contain an instruction of great importance to us. During this long career of penance, we shall stand in need of something to keep up our courage: let us meditate on the law and the mysteries of our Lord.If we relish the word of God as it is offered us by the Church on each day of this holy season, our hearts will receive an increase of light and love, and when our Lord shall rise from His tomb, the brightness of His Resurrection will shine upon us.


Qui meditabitur in lege Domini die ac nocte, dabit fructum suumin tempore suo.
He that meditateth day and night on the law of the Lord, shall yield his fruit in due season.


Percepta nobis, Domine præbeant Sacramenta subsidium: ut tibi grata sint nostra jejunia, et nobis proficiant ad medelam. Per Dominum.
May the mysteries we have received, O Lord, afford us help, that our fasting may be acceptable to thee, and become a remedy to us. Through, etc.

Second Postcommunion

Mundet et muniat nos, quæsumus, Domine, divini Sacramentimunus oblatum: et intercedente beata Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, beatis apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque beato N. et omnibus sanctis, a cunctis nos reddat et perversitatibus expiatos, et adversitatibus expeditos.
May the oblation of this divine Sacrament, we beseech thee, O Lord, both cleanse and defend us: and by the intercession of blessed Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, of blessed Joseph, of thy blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, of blessed N., and of all the saints, free us from all sin, and deliver us from all adversity.

Third Postcommunion

Purificent nos, quæsumus; omnipotens et misericors Deus, Sacramenta quæ sumpsimus: et intercedentibus omnibus sanctis tuis, præsta ut hoc tuum Sacramentum non sit nobis reatus ad pœnam, sed intercessio salutaris ad veniam: sit ablutio scelerum, sit fortitude fragilium, sit contra omnia mundi pericula firmamentum: sit vivorum atque mortuorum fidelium remissio omnium delictorum. Per Dominum.
May the mysteries we have received, purify us, we beseech thee, O almighty and merciful God; and grant by the intercession of all thy saints, that this thy Sacrament may not increase our guilt to punishment, but be a means of obtaining pardon in order to salvation. May it wash away sin, strengthen our frailty, secure us against the dangers of the world; and procure forgiveness for all the faithful, both living and dead. Through, etc.

Every day during Lent, Sundays excepted, the priest, before dismissing the faithful, here adds a special prayer, which is preceded by these words of admonition:



Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Inclinantes se, Domine, majestati tuæ, propitiatus intende: ut qui divino munere sunt refecti, cœlestibus semper nutriantur auxiliis. Per Dominum.
Let us Pray

Bow down your heads to God.

Mercifully look down upon us, O Lord, bowing down before thy divine Majesty, that they who have been refreshed with thy divine mysteries, may always be supported by thy heavenly aid. Through, etc.

[1] See the Epistle of to-day’s Mass.
[2] Eph. vi. 14-17.
[3] 1 St. Pet. iv. 1.
[4] Gen. iii. 19.
[5] Job xvi. 16.
[6] Ps. ci. 10, 11.