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.’ 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.’ 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.’ 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.’ 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.’ 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’?
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. 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, 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!
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.
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.
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.
Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.
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.
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.
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.
℣. 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.
℣. The Lord hath risen from the tomb, who for our sake was nailed to the Cross.
The Sequence, Victimæ Paschali, p. 145.
Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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:
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.
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.
Rutilat per orbem
Hodie dies in qua
Narrantur ovanter prælia.
De hoste superbo
Quem Christus triumphavit pulchre,
Illius perimens teterrima.
Infelix culpa Evæ,
Qua caruimus omnes vita.
Felix proles Mariæ,
Qua epulamur modo una.
Jam in æthera.
Rex in æternum,
Sedule tibi canentia.
Patris sedens ad dexteram,
O pulchra dementia
Laus tibi honorque ac virtus,
Qui nostram antiquam
Micat hæc aula.
Potenti virtute nostra
Qui lavit facinora,
Tribuit dona fulgida.
Stupens valde in memet,
Jam miror hodierna,
Ortus de tribu Juda,
Leo potens surrexisti in gloria.
Agnus visus es in terra.
Fundans olim arva:
Regna petens supera:
Justis reddens præmia,
Dic impie Zabule,
Quid valet nunc fraus tua?
Igneis nexus loris
A Christi victoria.
Tribus, linguæ, admiramini:
Quis audivit talia
Ut mors mortem sic superaret:
Rei perciperent talem gratiam?
Cur manes adhuc inverecunda?
Qualiter læti canunt inclyta
Ergo pie Rex Christe,
Nobis laxans crimina,
Solve nexorum vincula.
Fac tecum resurgere
Ad beatam gloriam,
Digna rependens merita.
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
Unhappy sin of Eve,
whereby we were all deprived of life!
Happy the fruit of Mary,
whereon we all now feed together!
be that noble
The mother of the King,
who robbed hell
of its prey,
And now reigns in heaven above.
O eternal King !
we devoutly sing to thee.
Thou sittest on the right hand of thy Father.
thou didst vanquish death,
and enter into the joys
O mercy of Christ! how great,
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
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
 Exod. xii 11.
 Exod. xii 29.
 St Luke xix 44.
 Ps. lxxxvii 6.
 Isa. xvi 1.
 Rom. viii 21.
 Ezech. ix 6.
 Gal. iv 19.
 1 St John v 4.
 St Matt, xxviii 18.