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Octave of Easter

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including:

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

THE seventh day of the gladdest of weeks has risen upon us, bringing with it the memory of the Creator's rest, after the six days of creation. It also reminds us of that other rest, which this same God took in the tomb; like a warrior, who, when sure of the victory, calmly reposes before the final combat with the enemy. Our Jesus slept his rest in the sepulchre, after permitting death to vanquish him: but when he awoke by his Resurrection, what a victory over the tyrant! Let us, to-day, visit this holy sepulchre and venerate it: it will speak to us of him we love, and make our love the warmer. Here, we shall say to ourselves, here rested our dear Master, after he had died for us! Here was the scene of the glorious victory, when he arose again, and this, too, for us!

The prophet Isaias had said: ‘In that day, the root of Jesse, who standeth for an ensign of people, him shall the gentiles beseech; and his sepulchre shall be glorious.’[1] The prophecy has been fulfilled. There is not a nation under the sun where Jesus has not his adorers. The tombs of other men are either destroyed, or they are monuments of death; the tomb of Jesus is everlasting, and speaks but of life.

What a sepulchre this, the sight of which fills us with thoughts of glory, and whose praises had been celebrated so many ages beforehand! When the fullness of time came, God raised up in Jerusalem a holy man, named Joseph of Arimathea, who secretly but sincerely became one of Jesus’ disciples. He was a rich counsellor, or senator. He had prepared his own tomb, and the place he chose was on the side of the hill of Calvary. It was hewn out of the live rock, and consisted of two cells, one serving as a sort of entry into the other. Joseph thought he was labouring for himself, whereas he was preparing the sepulchre of a God. He only thought of the debt which every man has to pay, in consequence of Adam’s sin; but heaven had decreed that Joseph should never lie in that tomb, and that here should originate man’s immortality.

Jesus had expired on the Cross, amidst the insults of his people; the entire city had risen up against the Son of David, whom, but a few days before, it had hailed as its King. Then did Joseph brave the fury of the deicides, and ask permission from the Roman governor to be allowed the honour of burying the Body of the Crucified. He at once repaired to Calvary, accompanied by Nicodemus, and, having taken down the sacred corpse from the Cross, he devoutly laid it upon the stone which he had intended as his own restingplace. He felt that it was a happiness and an honour to give up his own tomb to the dear Master, for whom he had not been ashamed to profess, and that in the very court of Pilate, his devoted attachment. Right worthy art thou, O Joseph! of the thanks of mankind. Thou wast our representative at the burial of our Jesus. And Mary, too, the afflicted Mother, who was present, recompensed thee, in her own way, for the sacrifice thou didst so willingly make for her Son.

The Evangelists draw our attention to one special circumstance of the sepulchre. St Matthew, St Luke, and St John, tell us that it was new, and that no man had ever been laid in it. The holy Fathers teach us that we must see here a mysterious dispensation, and one of the grand glories of the holy tomb. It marks, as they observe, the resemblance that exists between the sepulchre, which restored the Man-God to the life of immortality, and the virginal womb which gave him birth that he might be a victim for the world’s redemption: and they bid us learn from this, how God, when he deigns to dwell in any of his creatures, would have the dwelling to be pure and worthy of his infinite holiness. Here, then, is one of the glories of the holy sepulchre—that it was an image of the incomparable purity of the Mother of Jesus.

During the few hours that it possessed the precious trust, where was there glory on earth like unto what it enjoyed? Within that silent cave, there lay, wrapt in shrouds that were bedewed with Mary’s tears, the Body which had ransomed the world. Hosts of holy angels stood in that little rocky cell, keeping watch over the corpse of him who was their Creator; they adored it, in its sleep of death; they longed for the hour to come when this Lamb, that was slain, would arise a Lion in power and majesty. And when the moment fixed by the eternal decree came, that humble spot was made the scene of the grand prodigy; Jesus rose to life, and, swifter than lightning, passed through the rock to the outer world. An angel then rolled back the stone from the entrance to the sepulchre, thus proclaiming the departure of the divine Captive. Other angels showed themselves to Magdalen and her companions, when they came to visit it. Peter, too, and John were soon there. O truly, most holy is this place! The Son of God deigned to dwell within it; his Mother honoured it with her presence and her tears; angels adored in it; the holiest souls on earth visited, venerated, and loved it. O sepulchre of the Son of Jesse, thou art indeed glorious!

Hell witnesses this glory, and would fain destroy it. The sight of this sepulchre is insufferable to Satan’s pride, for it is the trophy of the defeat of death, the offspring of sin. He flatters himself on having succeeded, when Jerusalem is destroyed by the Roman legions, and on her ruins there rises up a new and pagan city, called Ælia. But no! neither the name of Jerusalem, nor the glory of the holy sepulchre, shall perish. The pagans cover it with a mound of earth, on which they build a temple to Jupiter; it is the same spirit that dictated their raising an altar to Venus on Calvary, and another to Adonis over the cave of Bethlehem. But all these sacrilegious efforts only serve to tell the Christians the exact site of these several sacred places. The pagans think by this artifice to turn the respect and homage of the Christians from Jesus to their false gods: here again they fail. The Christians abstain from visiting the holy places, as long as they are desecrated by the presence of these idols; but they keep their eye fixed on what their Redeemer has endeared to them, and wait in patience for the time when it shall please the eternal Father again to glorify his Son.

The time comes. God sends to Jerusalem a Christian empress, mother of a Christian emperor: she is to restore the holy places, the scenes of our Redeemer’s love. Like Magdalen and her companions, Helen hastens to the sepulchre. God would have it so—woman’s privilege in all that happened on the great morning of the Resurrection is to be continued now. Magdalen and her companions sought Jesus; Helen, who adores him as her risen Lord, only seeks his sepulchre: but their love is one and the same. The pious empress orders the temple of Jupiter to be pulled down, and the mound of earth to be removed; which done, the trophy of Jesus’ victory once more gleams in the light of day. The defeat of death is again proclaimed by this resurrection of the glorious sepulchre. A magnificent temple is built at the expense of the imperial treasury, and is called the basilica of the Resurrection. The whole world is excited by the news of such a triumph; the already tottering structure of paganism receives a shock which hastens its destruction; and pilgrimages to the holy sepulchre are begun by Christian people throughout the world, forming a procession of universal homage which is to continue to the end of time.

During the three centuries following, Jerusalem was the holy and free city, and the sepulchre of Jesus reflected its glory upon her; but the East became a very hot-bed of heresies, and God, in his justice, sent her the chastisement of slavery. The Saracen hordes inundated the land of prodigy. If the torrent of invasion was checked, it was for a brief period, and the waters returned with redoubled power. Meanwhile, what becomes of the holy sepulchre? Let us not fear: it is safe. The Saracens themselves look upon it with awe, for it is, they say, the tomb of a great Prophet. True, a tax is imposed on the Christians who visit it; but the sepulchre is safe. One of the caliphs presented the keys of the venerable sanctuary to the emperor Charlemagne, hereby evincing, not only the respect he had for this greatest of Christian monarchs, but, moreover, the veneration wherein he held the sacred grotto. Thus did our Lord's sepulchre continue to be glorified even in the midst of dangers which, humanly, would have wrought its utter destruction.

Its glory shone out still more brightly, when, at the call of the Father of Christendom, the western nations rose up in arms, and marched, under the banner of the Cross, to the deliverance of Jerusalem. The love of the holy sepulchre was in every heart, its name on every tongue. The first engagement drove back the Saracen, and left the city in possession of the crusaders. A sublime spectacle was then witnessed in the church of the holy sepulchre; the pious Godfrey of Bouillon was consecrated king of Jerusalem, and the holy mysteries were celebrated, for the first time in the language and ritual of Rome, under the oriental dome of St Helen's basilica. But the reign of Japheth in the tents of Sem was of short duration, owing partly to the short-sighted policy of the western sovereigns, which kept them from appreciating the importance of such a conquest; and partly to the treachery of the Greek Empire, which betrayed the defenceless Jerusalem once more into the hands of the Saracens. Still, the period of the Latin kingdom in the holy city was one of the glories of Jesus' sepulchre, foretold by Isaias.

What are to be its future glories? At present, it is profaned by the sacrifices which are offered, in its basilica, by schismatical and heretical priests; it is entrusted, for a few hours each year, to the Catholics of Jerusalem, and during that brief interval it receives the fervent homage of the true spouse of Jesus. When will the holy sepulchre be reinstated in its honour? Will the nations of the West return to the fervour of faith, and emulate the holy chivalry of the crusaders of old? Or will the East renounce the schism, which has cost her her liberty; stretch out her hand to the mother and mistress of all churches; and, on the rock of the Resurrection, sign the covenant of a union, which would be the death-warrant of Islamism? Only God knows: but this much he has revealed to us in sacred Scripture, that before the end of the world, Israel will return to the Messias he despised and crucified, and that the glory of Jerusalem is to be restored by the Jews who shall be converted.[2] Then will the sepulchre of the Son of Jesse be at the height of its glory, and soon will this Son of Jesse himself appear. Our bodies will then be on the eve of the general resurrection; and thus the final result of the Pasch will be simultaneous with the last and greatest glory of the holy sepulchre. As we rise from our graves, we shall fix our eyes upon our Jesus' tomb, and love it as the origin and source of the immortality we shall then have. Until the time of our death comes, when our bodies must be laid in the temporary prison of the grave, let us love the sepulchre of our dear Saviour; let us be zealous for its honour; and, imitating our forefathers in that earnest faith which made them its defenders and soldiers, let us get well into us that portion of the Easter spirit, which consists in understanding and loving the glories of Jesus' sepulchre.

The name given in the Liturgy to this day is Saturday in albis, or more correctly, in albis deponendis; because it was to-day that the neophytes were to lay aside the white robes they had been wearing during the whole Octave. This Octave had, indeed, begun earlier for them than for the rest of the faithful, inasmuch as it was on the night of Holy Saturday that they were regenerated, and vested with these white garments, the emblem of the purity of their souls. It was, therefore, on the evening of the following Saturday, and after the Office of Vespers, that they put off their baptismal robes, as we will describe farther on.

In Rome, the Station is in the Lateran basilica, the mother and mistress of all churches. It is close to the baptistery of Constantine, where, eight days back, the neophytes received the grace of regeneration. The basilica, wherein they are now assembled, is that from which they set out, during the still and dark night, to the font of salvation, led on by the mysterious light of the Paschal torch. It was to this same church that they returned after their Baptism, clad in their white robes, and assisted, for the first time, at the entire celebration of the Christian Sacrifice, and received the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus. No other place could have been more appropriate for the Station of this day, whereon they were to return to the ordinary duties of life. Holy Church sees assembled around her these her new-born children. It is the last time that she will see them in their white garments, and she looks at them with all the affection of a joyful mother. They are most dear to her, as the fruit of heaven’s own giving; and during the week she has frequently given expression to her maternal pride, in canticles such as she alone can sing.

Sometimes she thought how they had feasted at the divine Banquet, and how they were strengthened and beautified by the Flesh of him who is all wisdom and sweetness; and she sang these words:

℟. De ore prudentis procedit mel, alleluia; dulcedo mellis est sub lingua ejus, alleluia;
* Favus distillans labia ejus, alleluia.
℣. Sapientia requiescit in corde ejus, et prudentia in sermone oris illius.
* Favus distillans labia ejus, alleluia.
℟. From the mouth of the wise cometh honey, alleluia; the sweetness of honey is under his tongue;
* his lips are as a dropping honeycomb, alleluia.
℣. Wisdom resteth in his heart, and prudence is in the word of his mouth.
* His lips are as a dropping honeycomb, alleluia.

Sometimes she was elated with joy, as she saw transformed into innocent lambs those who, heretofore, had led worldly lives; they had now begun a new life, and with all the innocence of little children; to describe them, she sings this pastoral strain:

℟. Isti sunt agni novelli qui annuntiaverunt Alleluia: modo venerunt ad fontes;
* Repleti sunt claritate. Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. In conspectu Agni amicti sunt stolis albis, et palmæ in manibus eorum.
* Repleti sunt claritate. Alluia, alleluia.
℟. These are the new lambs and they have announced to us the Alleluia:they have come but now to the fount;
* They are filled with light. Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. They are standing in the sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.
* They are filled with light. Alleluia, alleluia.

Again, at other times, she looked with holy pride on the splendid virtues which Baptism had infused into their souls, and on the spotless purity which made them beam with light; she thus enthusiastically speaks of their beauty:

℟. Candidi facti sunt Nazaræi ejus, alleluia; splendorem Deo dederunt, alleluia:
* Et sicut lac coagulati sunt. Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Candidiores nive, nitidiores lacte, rubicundiores ebore antiquo, sapphiro pulchriores.
* Et sicut lac coagulati sunt. Alleluia, alleluia.
℟. His Nazarites were white, alleluia; they gave a bright glory to God, alleluia;
* And they were pure as milk. Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. They were whiter than snow, purer than milk, more ruddy than the old ivory, fairer than the sapphire.
* And they were pure as milk. Alleluia, alleluia.

These three Responsories are taken from the Offices of the holy Church during Paschal time.


 

MASS

 

The Introit is composed of words from the 104th Psalm, wherein Israel gives praise to the Lord, for that he brought his peopleout of their exile. By this people, we must understand our neophytes, who were exiled from heaven because of original sin and of those they themselves had committed: Baptism has restored them to all the rights they had forfeited, for it has made them members of the Church.

Introit

Eduxit Dominus populum suum in exsultatione, alleluia: et electos suos in lætitia. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Confitemini Domino, et invocate Nomen ejus: annuntiate inter gentes opera ejus. ℣. Gloria Patri.
Eduxit.
The Lord hath led forth his people in gladness, alleluia: and his chosen ones in joy. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Praise the Lord, and call upon his Name: publish his works among the gentiles, ℣. Glory, etc.
The Lord, etc.

Paschal Week is about to close; the Church, therefore, now asks our Lord to grant to us, her children, that the joy we have experienced during this happy Octave may lead us to the still greater joy of the eternal Pasch.

Collect

Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut qui festa paschalia venerando egimus, per hæc contingere ad gaudia æterna mereamur. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we, who with reverence have celebrated this Paschal solemnity, may happily arrive at everlasting joys. Through, etc.

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


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Petri Apostoli.

I Cap. ii.

Charissimi, deponentes igitur omnem malitiam, et omnem dolum, et simulationes, et invidias, et omnes detractiones, sicut modo geniti infantes, rationabile sine dolo lac concupiscite, ut in eo crescatis in salutem: si tamen gustastis quoniam dulcis est Dominus. Ad quem accedentes lapidem vivum, ab hominibus quidem reprobatum, a Deo autem electum et honorificatum: et ipsi tanquam lapides vivi superædificamini, domus spiritualis, sacerdotium sanctum, offerre spirituales hostias, acceptabiles Deo per Jesum Christum. Propter quod continet Scriptura: Ecce pono in Sion lapidem summum angularem, electum, pretiosum: et qui crediderit in eum non confundetur. Vobis igitur honor credentibus: non credentibus autem, lapis quem reprobaverunt ædificantes, hic factus est in caput anguli: et lapis offensionis, et petra scandali his, qui offendunt verbo, nec credunt in quo et positi sunt. Vos autem genus electum, regale sacerdotium, gens sancta, populus acquisitionis: ut virtutes annuntietis ejus, qui de tenebris vos vocavit in admirabile lumen suum. Qui aliquando non populus, nunc autem populus Dei: qui non consecuti misericordiam, nunc autem misericordiam consecuti.
Lesson of the Epistle of St Peter the Apostle.

I Ch. ii.

Dearly beloved: Laying away all malice, and all guile and dissimulations, and envies, and all detractions, as newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile; that thereby you may grow unto salvation: if so be you have tasted that the Lord is sweet; unto whom coming, as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen and made honourable by God: be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore it is said in the Scripture: ‘Behold I lay in Sion a chief corner-stone, elect, precious: and he that shall believe in him shall not be confounded.’ To you therefore that believe, honour; but to them that believe not,’the stone which the builders rejected, the same is made the head of the corner:’and a stone of stumbling and a rock of scandal, to them who stumble at the word, neither do believe, whereunto also they are set. But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Who in time past were not a people: but are now the people of God. Who had not obtained mercy; but now have obtained mercy.

The neophytes could not have received any more appropriate instruction than this, which the prince of the Apostles addresses to us all. St Peter wrote this first Epistle to the newly baptized of those days. He affectionately calls them new-born babes. He urges them to that virtue, which so becomes the age of infancy —the virtue of simplicity. He tells them that the doctrine they have been taught will be to them a milk, which will feed and strengthen them. He invites them to taste how sweet is the Lord they have now vowed to serve.

After this, he speaks of one of the leading characteristics of Christ, namely, his being the foundation and corner-stone of God’s house. It is upon him that the faithful, who are the living stones of the spiritual edifice, must rest. He alone can give them solidity; and hence, when about to return to his Father, he chose and established upon earth another rock—a rock that should be ever visible, united with and based upon his own divine self, and partaking of his solidity. The Apostle’s humility forbids his developing the whole truth as related in the Gospel,[3] which tells us of his glorious prerogative; but if we remember the words spoken by our Lord to St Peter, we understand the whole doctrine implied in our Epistle.

The Apostle is silent about his own dignity as the rock, on which Jesus has built his Church; but observe the glorious titles he gives to us, who have been made members of that Church by Baptism. You are, says he, a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people. Oh, yes! what a difference there is between one that is baptized and one that is not! Heaven is opened to the one, and shut against the other; the one is a slave of the devil, and the other is a king in Christ Jesus, the eternal King, whose brother he has now become; the one cut off from God, the other offering him a sacrifice of infinite worth by the hands of the great High Priest, Jesus. And all these gifts have been bestowed upon us by a purely gratuitous mercy; we had done nothing to merit them. Let us, then, offer to the Father, who has thus adopted us, our humble acts of thanksgiving; let us go back, in thought, to the time when we ourselves were neophytes, and renew the promises which were made, in our name, as the essential condition of our being admitted to all these graces.

From this day forward, the Church ceases to use, during Paschal time, the Responsory called the Gradual. She substitutes, in its stead, two versicles, with the Alleluia repeated four times: the formula is less solemn, but more joyous. During the first six days of the Octave, which bear an analogy with the six days of creation, she would maintain the customary majestic gravity of her chants; now that she has reached the day whereon the Creator rested after his work was finished, she gives free scope to the holy joy, wherewith she is filled.

Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Hæc dies, quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et lætemur in ea. Alleluia.
℣. Laudate pueri Dominum, laudate Nomen Domini.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad, and rejoice therein. Alleluia.
℣. Praise the Lord, ye his servants; praise the Name of the Lord.

The Sequence Victimœ Paschali, p. 145.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. xx.

In illo tempore: Una sabbati Maria Magdalene venit mane, cum adhuc tenebræ essent, ad monumentum: et vidit lapidem sublatum a monumento. Cucurrit ergo, et venit ad Simonem Petrum, et ad alium discipulum, quem amabat Jesus, et dicit illis: Tulerunt Dominum de monumento, et nescimus ubi posuerunt eum. Exiit ergo Petrus, et ille alius discipulus, et venerunt ad monumentum. Currebant autem duo simul, et ille alius discipulus præcucurrit citius Petro, et venit primus ad monumentum. Et cum se inclinasset, vidit posita linteamina, non tamen introivit. Venit ergo Simon Petrus sequens eum, et introivit in monumentum, et vidit linteamina posita, et sudarium, quod fuerat super caput ejus, non cum linteaminibus positum, sed separatim involutum in unum locum. Tunc ergo introivit et ille discipulus, qui venerat primus ad monumentum: et vidit, et credidit: nondum enim sciebant Scripturam, quia oportebat eum a mortuis resurgere.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. xx.

At that time: The first day of the week, Mary Magdalen cometh early, while it was yet dark, to the sepulchre: and she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre. She ran, therefore, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith to them: They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went out, and that other disciple and they came to the sepulchre. And they both ran together, and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying: but yet he went not in. Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen cloths lying. And the napkin, that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapt up into one place. Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw, and believed; for as yet they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

This incident, which happened on the morning of our Lord's Resurrection, has been reserved by the Church for to-day’s Liturgy, because it again brings St Peter before our notice. This is the last day on which the neophytes assist at the holy Sacrifice in their white garments; after this, there will be nothing to distinguish them, exteriorly, from the rest of the faithful. It is important, therefore, to give them a clear idea of the foundation of the Church—a foundation, without which the Church could not exist, and upon which they must rest, if they would persevere in the faith wherein they have been baptized. They cannot obtain salvation unless they keep their faith inviolate. Now they alone have this firm and pure faith who are docile to the teachings of Peter, and recognize him as the rock on which our Lord has built his Church. In the episode related in our Gospel, we are taught by an Apostle what respect and deference are due to him whom Christ appointed to feed both lambs and sheep,[4] that is, the whole flock. Peter and John run together to the sepulchre; John, the younger of the two, arrives there before Peter; he looks in, but does not enter. What means this humble reserve of the disciple who was so specially beloved of Jesus? For whom does he wait? He waits for him, whom the Master has placed over all, and who is to act as their head. Peter, at length, comes to the sepulchre; he goes in; he examines the holy place; and then John also enters. It is John himself who writes this, and gives us the admirable instruction embodied in what he relates. Yes, it is for Peter to lead the way, and judge, and decide as master; it is the Christian’s duty to follow him, to listen to his teachings, to honour and obey him. How can we have any difficulty in doing this, when we see an Apostle, and such an Apostle, behaving thus to Peter, and this, too, at a time when Peter had received the promise only of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, which were not really given to him until some days after?

The words of the Offertory are taken from the 117th Psalm, which is par excellence the Psalm of the Resurrection. They hail the divine Conqueror, who rises like a bright star, and gladdens us with his benediction.

Offertory

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini: benediximus vobis de domo Domini: Deus Dominus et illuxit nobis. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord: the Lord is God, and he hath shone upon us. Alleluia, alleluia.

In the Secret, the Church teaches us that the mysteries we celebrate during the year exercise a lasting influence upon us. Each feast, as it comes round to us, brings with it fresh life and joy; and it is by its annual celebration that the Church applies to her children the graces which each mystery brought with it at the actual time of its accomplishment.

Secret

Concede, quæsumus Domine, semper nos per hæc mysteria Paschalia gratulan; ut continua nostræ reparationis operatio, perpetuæ nobis fiat causa lætitiæ. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that we may always gratefully solemnize the Paschal mysteries, and that the continual celebration of the sacrament of our redemption may be to us a subject of perpetual joy. Through, etc.

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


Our neophytes are to lay aside to-day their white robes; but there is a garment which they are never to •put away: it is Christ himself, who became united with them by Baptism, as the Apostle of the gentiles here reminds them:

Communion

Omnes qui in Christo baptizati estis, Christum induistis, alleluia.
All you that have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ, alleluia.

The Church returns once more, in her Postcommunion, to the subject of faith. Without faith there is no Christianity: now it is the Eucharist which has the power of fostering it in the soul, for the Eucharist is the mystery of faith.

Postcommunion

Redemptionis nostræ munere vegetati, quæsumus Domine: ut hoc perpetuæ salutis auxilio fides semper vera proficiat Per Dominum.
Being strengthened, O Lord, by the sacrament of our redemption, grant that through this help to eternal salvation, a true faith may always be increased in us. Through, etc.

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


THE TAKING OFF OF THE WHITE GARMENTS

 

The Vespers, on each of the days of this week, were celebrated in the manner we described on the Sunday. There was a numerous attendance, each day, in the basilica; and the faithful thus testified their affectionate interest in the white-robed neophytes, who visited, during the Vespers of each day, the sacred font where they had been born to the new life of grace. This afternoon, the concourse of people is greater than on the preceding days, for an interesting ceremony is to take place. The neophytes are about to lay aside the outward symbol of innocence which they have been wearing; but they are also to give a solemn promise to maintain the inward purity of soul. By this public ceremony the Church restores the newly baptized to the duties of their ordinary station of life: they must now return to the world, and comport themselves as Christians—disciples of Christ—for such they are.

The visit to the baptistery has been made, and the Office of Vespers has terminated with the Station before the crucifix of the chancel: the neophytes are then led to a room adjoining the cathedral, in which is prepared a large vessel of water. The bishop goes to his throne. Seeing the newly baptized standing around him, he addresses them in a discourse, wherein he expresses the joy he feels, as pastor, at the increase wherewith it has pleased God to bless his much-loved flock. He congratulates them upon the grace they have received; and then, alluding to the main object of their coming together this afternoon—that is, the laying aside of the white garments they received after Baptism—he warns them, with paternal affection, to keep a guard over themselves, and see that they never sully the purity of soul, of which their white robes have been but an emblem.

These were lent to the neophytes by the Church, as we said on Holy Saturday; they come now to restore them. The water in which the garments are to be washed is blessed by the pontiff. As soon as he has finished the address to which we have just been alluding, he says a prayer, wherein he speaks of the power given to this element of cleansing the stains of the soul herself. Then turning to the neophytes, he recites the 116th Psalm, in thanksgiving; to which he adds this beautiful prayer:

Visit, O Lord, thy people with thy salvation! Behold it now illumined with the Paschal joy! But do thou vouchsafe to preserve in our neophytes what thou thyself hast wrought in them unto salvation. Grant that whilst laying aside these white robes, the change may be but exterior; that the spotless purity of Christ, which the eye cannot see, may ever be in their souls, so that they may never lose it; and that thy grace may assist them to gain, by good works, that immortal life whereunto the Paschal mystery obliges us to aspire.

After this, aided by their sponsors—the men by their godfathers, the women by their godmothers—the neophytes take off their white garments, which are then consigned to those whose duty it is to wash and keep them. The sponsors having assisted their spiritual children to put on their ordinary dress, lead them to the pontiff, who distributes to each an image of the divine Lamb, stamped on wax: it is the Paschal symbol.

A last vestige of this interesting ceremony is the distribution of the Agnus Dei. This distribution is made by the Pope, on this day, in Rome, the first and every seventh year of his pontificate. We have already described the rite observed in their blessing, and we then drew the attention of our readers to the allusion to the ancient form of Baptism by immersion. The Agnus Dei are blessed on the Wednesday of Easter Week: on the following Saturday, there is what is called Papal Chapel in the palace. After High Mass, the Agnus Dei are brought before the pontiff, who is seated on a throne. The prelate, who presents them, sings the following words, which are taken from one of the beautiful Responsories given above:’Holy Father! These are the new lambs, and they have announced to us the Alleluia: they have come but now to the fount: they are filled with light.' The Pope answers: Deo gratias! They who are happy enough to witness this function are forcibly reminded of the ancient ceremony we have been describing, in which the newly baptized were led before the bishop, as the innocent lambs whom he so gladly welcomed. The Pope then distributes the Agnus Dei to the cardinals, prelates, and others presented by the master of ceremonies: and thus is concluded this function, which is interesting, not only because of its signification, but also because of the sacred object wherewith it consoles us.

We cannot conclude this last day of our neophytes' Octave without saying a few words upon the Annotine Pasch. It was the anniversary day of the previous Easter Sunday, and was looked upon as the especial feast of those who were a year old in the grace of their Baptism. The Mass was solemnly celebrated for them. The remembrance of the happy day when they were made children of God was thus brought before them; and, of course, their families kept the glorious anniversary as a glad holiday. If it came during Lent, the Annotine was not kept, or it was deferred till Easter Monday. It would seem that in some places, in order to avoid these continual changes, the anniversary of Baptism was regularly fixed for this the Saturday of Easter Week. When the custom of administering Baptism at Easter fell into disuse, the Annotine Pasch also ceased to be observed: however, we find traces of it as late as the thirteenth century. The custom of looking on the anniversary of our Baptism as a feast-day is one of those which may be called Christian instincts. The pagans made much of the day which had given them temporal birth; surely, we ought to show quite as much respect to the anniversary of our Baptism, when we were born to the supernatural life. St Louis used to sign himself Louis of Poissy, because it was in the little church of Poissy that he had received Baptism. Let us learn from this holy king to love the day and the place of our Baptism, that is, of our being made children of God and of his Church.

We have been considering, during the preceding days of this week, the divine work of the creation. We began with the Sunday, whereon light was called forth from nothingness; and in this we recognized a type of the mystery of the Resurrection; for our Jesus, the uncreated Light, was to rise from his grave on that same day of the week. This is Saturday, the seventh day, the day whereon the Lord rested, after the creation. But it is also the day whereon this same Lord rested in his glorious sepulchre. Let us, then, honour this second mystery, which even more than the first reveals to us the love of the Son of God for man. Let us give him our Saturday's homage, by addressing him in these words of the Mozarabic breviary:

Capitula

Christe Dei filius, nostrarum requies animarum, qui otium Sabbati requiescens in tumulo complevisti: ut in quo olim requieveras ab omni opere faciendo, in eo etiam requiesceres in sepulchro, hunc nobis veraciter sanctificans diem, cujus vesperum in prima nobis Sabbati, quæet octava dies est, lucescit: ut qui dixeras de tenebris lumen splendescere, manifeste a mortuis resurgens appareres in carne; dirige cursum vitae nostræ in viam sanctificationis omnimodæ, qualiter ita in his septem diebus, quibus mundus iste peragitur, et in quibus quotidie nobis Agnus occiditur, et Pascha quotidie celebratur, salubriori vitae curriculo conversemur: ut absque fermento malitiæ verum Pascha mereamur quotidie celebrare: et ita ab omnibus operibus nostris in hoc die sanctificatione tibi placita quiescamus, ut octavi illius æterni diei resurrectionis gloria consolemur.
O Christ, the Son of God, thou rest of our souls, who didst observe the repose of the Sabbath by resting in the tomb, that thou, who on this day didst heretofore rest from all the work of thy creation, mightest also on the same rest in the sepulchre; hereby truly keeping holy that day, whose evening is the beginning of our first day of the Sabbath, which is likewise the eighth day; that thou, who commandedst light to shine forth out of darkness, mightest, by thy Resurrection, appear in the flesh: so direct the course of our lives in the path of all holiness, that in these seven days of the world's duration, on each of which the Lamb is slain and the Pasch is celebrated for us, we may live in such wise as to secure our salvation, and may daily be found worthy to celebrate the true Pasch, pure from the leaven of malice: that thus, by a holiness pleasing to thee, we may so rest on this day from all our works, that we may deserve to receive the glory of the Resurrection, on the eighth, that is, the eternal day.

The Greek Church shall provide us to-day with a hymn in honour of the Resurrection. We take the following stanzas from its Liturgy for Easter Sunday:

In Dominica Resurrectionis

In imam terram descendisti, ac æternas contrivisti, Christe, seras, quæ in compedibus vinctos captivabant; et triduanus, sicut e cete Jonas, e sepulchro ortus es.

Sigilla intacta servans, e sepulchro erectus es, Christe, qui in partu tuo non læseras claves virginis; et Paradisi portas nobis aperuisti.

Salvator meus, viventem et non immolatam hostiam, quatenus Deus es, teipsum Patri sponte libera obtulisti; exsurgensque e sepulchro una suscitasti universum Adam.

In sepulchrum quidem descendisti, immortalis; inferni vero confregisti virtutem: et tanquam victor surrexisti, Christe Deus; mulieribus aromatoferis dixisti: Salvete, Apostolisque tuis pacem dedisti qui lapsis præbes resurrectionem.

Mortis concelebramus interitum, inferni eversionem, alterius vitæ, et quidem æternæ, primitias; et saltantes in hymnis cantamus auctorem, unicum a Patribus celebratum Deum, et supergloriosum.

Vere sacra et plane festiva est, ipsa salutaris nox et splendescens, diei rutilantis ac resurrectionis prænuntia, in qua lux æterna e sepulchro corporaliter cunctis illuxit.

Venite, ut novo genimini vitis, divinæ lætitiæ communicemus, die resurrectionis regnique Christi præclara, laudantes eum in hymnis tanquam Deum in sæcula.

Leva in circuitu oculos tuos, Sion, et vide; ecce enim splendore divino radiantes sicut lampades, venerunt tibi filii ab occidente, et ab aquilone, a mare meridiano et ab oriente; in te benedicunt Christum in sæcula.

O divina! O amica! O dulcissima vox tua! etenim non fallaciter promisisti Christe, te futurum esse nobiscum usque ad consummationem sæculi: quam spei anchoram fideles nos servantes, lætamur.

O Pascha magnum et sanctissimum, Christe! O Sapientia, et Verbum, Deique virtus! Da ut juxta exemplar formati, tecum simus participes in die nunquam decedente regni tui.
Thou didst descend, O Christ, into the bowels of the earth, and break the eternal bolts which held thy holy ones captive; and, on the third day, like Jonas, thou didst rise from the tomb.

Thou, O Jesus, didst leave unbroken the seal when rising from the tomb, as thou didst leave Mary's virginity perfect when born of her. Thou openest to us the gates of heaven.

My Saviour! thou freely offeredst thyself to the Father a living host, for, as God, thou couldst not be slain; and, by thy rising from the tomb, thou didst raise up all the children of Adam.

Thou didst truly descend into the tomb, O immortal God! But thou didst break the power of hell, and rise as a conqueror. Thou saidst to the women that brought their perfumes: Hail! Thou gavest peace to thine Apostles, O thou that givest resurrection to the fallen!

We celebrate the destruction of death, the overthrow of hell, the first-fruits of a new and eternal life. With joy we sing hymns to the Creator, the one only God of our Fathers, the infinitely glorious One.

O truly sacred and festive, saving and bright night, the harbinger of the sunny day of the Resurrection, whereon the Light eternal rose from the tomb, and shed his beams upon all men.

Come, let us participate in the new fruit of the vine, and in the divine joy, for it is the glorious day of Christ’s Resurrection and kingdom. Let us praise him in our hymns as the God who liveth for ever.

O Sion! lift up thine eyes round about, and see; for children, shining as lights with the brightness of God upon them, have come to thee from the west and north, from the south sea, and the east. In thee, they give praise to Christ for ever.

O divine! O welcome! O thy most sweet word, O Jesus! Thou hast promised, and the promise cannot fail, that thou wilt abide with us even to the end of the world: it is the anchor of hope to us thy faithful servants, and makes us glad.

O Jesus! our great and most holy Pasch! O Wisdom, Word, and Power of God! grant that we may live according to the model thou hast given us, and enjoy with thee the never-ending day of thy kingdom.

In the Proper Offices of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, there is given the following beautiful hymn, which we offer to our readers as being most appropriate to the day:

Hymn

Dic sepulchri gloriosi,
Læta mens, miracula;
Quo velut matris pudicæ
Christus alvo prodiit:
Ut prophetarum fideles
Paginæ spoponderant.

In novo conceptus alvo
Virginis puerperæ,
In novo compostus antro
Conquievit pumicis:
Gloriosus hoc et illa,
Vir, puerque prodiit.

Hæc parit corpus caducum,
Omnium spe serius;
Æviternum reddit illud,
Omnium spe citius;
Illa pannis involutum,
Linteis hoc conditum.

Ex sinu matris futuram
Ad salutem nascitur;
At salute jam parata,
Rupis alvus reddidit;
Ad crucem parens produxit,
At silex ad gloriam.

Ergo te, cœlestis Agni
Purpurata sanguine
Aula ter felix, adorent
Terra, pontus, æthera;
Nec sepulchrum quis vocarit,
Vita de quo nascitur.

Gloria et honor Deo
Usquequaque altissimo,
Una Patri, Filioque,
Inclyto Paraclito,
Cui laus est, et potestas
Per immensa sæcula.

Amen.
Be glad, my soul,
and sing the wonders
of the glorious sepulchre,
whence came thy Christ, as, heretofore,
from the womb of his Virgin Mother.
Thus was it foretold by the truthful prophets.

He was conceived in the pure womb
of a Virgin Mother;
so, too, he was buried in a tomb,
wherein no other man had been placed;
from both he comes the glorious Jesus,
as infant first, and then as man.

The Mother, after long ages of hope,
brings him forth created in mortal flesh;
the tomb, though none had hoped it,
restores him clad in immortality:
Mary wrapped him in swathing-bands;
the sepulchre held him in the winding-sheet.

He is born, for the world's salvation,
from the womb of his Mother;
he rises from the tomb,
after our salvation has been wrought:
the Mother nursed him for the Cross;
the tomb, for glory.

O thrice holy sanctuary!
beautified with the Blood
of the Lamb of God!
let earth, and sea, and heaven, venerate thee.
How strange to call that a sepulchre,
whence life was born!

Glory and honour be, for ever,
to the most high God!
To the Father, Son,
and Holy Paraclete,
one praise and power,
for everlasting ages.

Amen.

And, lastly, let us turn to the blessed Mother, for this is her day. Let us congratulate her upon the Resurrection of her divine Son, in the words of this devout sequence, taken from the ancient missals of the churches of Germany:

Sequence

Resurgenti tuo nato,
Mater, plaude, qui prostrato regnat mortis principe;
Tuum virgo pone luctum,
Jesum ventris tui fructum Redivivum suscipe.

Morte prolis cruciata,
Corde dure sauciata Passionis gladio:
Voce jubilationis,
Jam de resurrectionis Jocundare gaudio.

Crucifixum, qui surrexit
De sepulchro teque vexit sua in palatia,
Nobis placa, supplicamus
A peccatis ut surgamus ad æterna gaudia.

Amen.
Give praise, O Mother, to thy risen Jesus,
who reigns triumphant over the prince of death.
Cease thy mourning: for Jesus, the fruit of thy womb,
is restored to life, and visits thee.

His death was thy cross; his Passion,
the sword that cruelly pierced thy Heart:
but now, sing a hymn of joy,
and be glad, because of his Resurrection.

He was crucified; but now he is risen from the tomb,
and has taken thee to his heavenly court:
pray to him for us, we beseech thee,
that we may rise from our sins to everlasting joy.

Amen,

[1] Isa. xi 10.
[2] Rom. xi 12, and several other verses.
[3] St Matt. xvi 18.
[4] St John xxi 15, 17.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MASS

 

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

Introit

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

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

Collect

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

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


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Petri Apostoli.

I Cap. iii.

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

I Ch. iii.

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

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

Gradual

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

The Sequence Victimæ Paschali, p. 145.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xxviii.

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

Ch. xxviii.

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

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

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

Offertory

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

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

Secret

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

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


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

Communion

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

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

Postcommunion

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

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


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

Capitula

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

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

In Resurrectione Domini

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To-day is our Pasch, by the sacrifice of Christ; let us keep the feast with gladness, being renewed from the oldness of sin: and let us say: Christ hath risen again from the dead!

To-day a bright angel came down from heaven, struck the guards with fear, and said to the holy women: Christ hath risen again from the dead!

To-day the great tidings were given to our first parent, Adam: Arise, thou that sleepest! Christ, the God of our fathers, hath enlightened thee.

To-day the tidings told by her daughters, who brought their perfumes to the tomb, sounded in the ears of Eve: We have seen him risen, who is thy resurrection, Christ, the God of our fathers.

To-day the angels came down from heaven, saying to men: The Crucified hath risen, and hath raised you up with himself.

To-day, O Christ, by thy holy Resurrection, thou didst change the mournful Pasch of Israel into the Pasch that saves souls.

To-day thou, O Lamb of God, didst give us thine own saving Blood for the blood of irrational lambs that were slain.

To-day, in place of the ransom of the first-born, thou, the first-fruits of life among them that sleep, the first-born among the dead—didst redeem the captives.

To-day the angels of heaven rejoice together with men; and coming down from heaven, they say to the world: Be glad! to-day Christ hath risen again from the dead!

To-day the angel that sat upon the rock and kept guard spoke with a loud voice to the holy women that had come with their spices, and bade them be messengers to the disciples: Be glad! to-day Christ hath risen again from the dead!

To-day, he that is the Rock of faith, and John, the beloved, ran to Jesus’ sepulchre, and said, when they saw it: Christ hath risen again from the dead!

To-day let us also be bright in the joy of this feast. God is reconciled with us; let us embrace each other with love, and say with one voice: Christ hath risen again from the dead!


We are far from having exhausted the treasury of Adam of St Victor: let us take another of his sequences. The one we select seems the most appropriate to the Friday of the Easter Octave.

Sequence

Sexta passus feria,
Die Christus tertia resurrexit;
Surgens cum victoria,
Collocat in gloria quos dilexit.

Pro fideli populo,
Crucis in patibulo immolatur;
Clauditur in tumulo,
Tandem in diluculo suscitatur.

Christi crux et passio
Nobis est præsidio,
Si credamus: Christi resurrectio
Facit ut a vitio resurgamus.

Hostia sufficiens
Christus fuit moriens pro peccato;
Sanguinis effusio
Abluit nos, impio triumphato.

Morte sua simplici,
Nostræ morti duplici fert medelam:
Vitae pandit aditum,
Nostrum sanat gemitum et querelam.

Leo fortis hodie
Dat signum potentiæ, resurgendo,
Principem nequitiæ,
Per arma justitiæ, devincendo.

Diem istam Dominus
Fecit, in qua facinus mundi lavit,
In qua mors occiditur,
In qua vita redditur, hostis ruit.

Geminatum igitur
Alleluia canitur, corde puro;
Quia culpa tollitur
Et vita promittitur in futuro.

In hoc mundi vespere,
Fac tuos resurgere, Jesu Christe;
Salutaris omnibus
Sit tuis fidelibus dies iste.

Amen.
Christ suffered death on the sixth day;
he rose again on the third.
By his victorious Resurrection,
he shares his own glory with those he loves.

He is sacrificed on the gibbet of the Cross
for his faithful people;
he is placed in the tomb:
he rises at dawn of day.

To them that have faith,
the Cross and Passion of Christ are a safeguard:
his Resurrection gives us
to rise from our sins.

Christ dying for sin
was our all-sufficient victim:
the shedding of his Blood was our purification,
and the defeat of our wicked enemy.

Jesus' single death is the remedy
for ours that was twofold:
it opens to us the way of life,
and takes away our mourning and grief.

Now does the mighty Lion
give proof of power by rising,
and conquering the prince of wickedness
by the armour of justice.

This is the day which the Lord hath made,
for on it the world was cleansed of its crimes,
death was slain, life was restored,
and the enemy defeated.

A double Alleluia,
and with a pure heart, should be sung to-day;
for sin is taken away,
and life is promised for the future.

O Jesus! give us, thy servants,
to rise again when the evening of this world sets in!
May this present day
be one of grace to all thy faithful.

Amen.

[1] Isa. liii 3.
[2] Rom. viii 32.
[3] Lam. iii 30.
[4] 1 Cor. xv. 17.
[5] Apoc. i 18.
[6] Enarrat. in Psalm, lxiii.
[7] In Matt. Homil. lxxxix.
[8] St John i 1.
[9] St Matt. xiii 31, 32; St Mark iv 31, 32.
[10] Sermo, ccxxxviii. In diebus Paschalibus, x.
[11] St John x 18.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MASS

 

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

Introit

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

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

Collect

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

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


Epistle

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.

Cap. viii.

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

Ch. viii.

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

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

Gradual

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

The Sequence, Victimæ Paschali, p. 145.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. xx.

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

Ch. xx.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Offertory

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

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

Secret

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

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


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

Communion

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

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

Postcommunion

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

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


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

Capitula

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

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

First Sequence

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

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

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

Cui cum nullus condolebat,
Magdalenam consumebat
Doloris incendium.

Dic Maria quid vidisti
Contemplando crucem Christi?

Vidi Jesum spoliari,
Et in cruce sublevari
Peccatorum manibus.

Dic Maria quid vidisti
Contemplando crucem Christi?

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

Dic Maria quid vidisti
Contemplando crucem Christi?

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

Dic Maria quid vidisti
Contemplando crucem Christi?

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

Dic Maria quid fecisti,
Postquam Jesum amisisti?

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

Dic Maria quid fecisti,
Postquam Jesum amisisti?

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

Dic Maria quid fecisti,
Postquam Jesum amisisti?

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

Dic Maria quid fecisti,
Postquam Jesum amisisti?

Certe multis argumentis,
Vidi signa resurgentis
Filii omnipotentis.

Dic nobis Maria
Quid vidisti in via?

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

Surrexit Christus spes mea,
Præcedet suos in Galilæam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.

Second Sequence

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

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

Resurgentis itaque
Maria Magdalene
Facta est prænuntia.

Ferens Christi fratribus
Ejus morte tristibus,
Exspectata gaudia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The first herald
of his Resurrection
was Mary Magdalen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let all creatures say, Amen!

 

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

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MASS

 

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

Introit

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

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

Collect

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

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

Against the persecutors of the Church

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

For the Pope

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

Epistle

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.

Cap. iii.

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

Ch. iii.

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

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

Gradual

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

The Sequence, Victimœ Paschali, p. 145.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. xxi.

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

Ch. xxi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Offertory

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

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

Secret

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

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

Against the persecutors of the Church

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

For the Pope

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

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

Communion

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

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

Postcommunion

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

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

Against the persecutors of the Church

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

For the Pope

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

 

BLESSING OF THE AGnUS DEI

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Capitula

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

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

Missa

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

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

Sequence

Zyma vetus expurgetur,
Ut sincere celebretur
Nova resurrectio:

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

Hæc Ægyptum spoliavit
Et Hebræos liberavit
De fornace ferrea:

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

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

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

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

Christi sanguis igneam
Hebetavit romphæam,
Amota custodia.

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

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

Hic dracones Pharaonis
Draco vorat, a draconis
Immunis malitia.

Quos ignitus vulnerat,
Hos serpentis liberat
Ænei præsentia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.

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

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MASS

 

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

Introit

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

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

Collect

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

Epistle

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.

Cap. xiii.

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

Ch. xiii.

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

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

Gradual

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

The Sequence, Victimæ Paschali, p. 145.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.

Cap. xxiv.

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

Ch. xxiv.

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

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

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

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

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

Offertory

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

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

Secret

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

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

Communion

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

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

Postcommunion

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

 

VESPERS

 

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

Antiphon of the Magnificat

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

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


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

Capitula

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

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

Illatio

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Sequence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roseo cruore
Agni benignissimi
Empta,
Florida
Micat hæc aula.

Potenti virtute nostra
Qui lavit facinora,
Tribuit dona fulgida.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.

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