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Second Week after Easter

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

℣. In resurrectione tua, Christe, alleluia.
℟. Cœli et terra laetentur, alleluia.

℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.
℟. Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

THIS being Saturday, let us once more think of Mary, and of the joy she feels at the Resurrection of her Son. She had been his companion in his sufferings; there was not one that she had not endured, and suffered as far as a mere creature could suffer: so, too, there is not a single glory or gladness of the Resurrection in which she is not now

made to participate. It was meet that she, to whom God had granted the grace and merit of sharing in the work of the Redemption, should take her part in the prerogatives which belong to her Jesus, now that he is risen. Her soul is raised to a higher state of perfection; grace loads her with new favours; her actions and sentiments become more than ever heavenly.

She was the first to receive a visit from Jesus after his Resurrection—the first, consequently, to receive from him his own new life. Can we be astonished at her receiving it when we remember that every Christian, who, being purified by his having compassionated with Jesus in his Passion, unites himself afterwards with holy Church, in the sublime mystery of the Pasch, becomes a sharer in the life of his risen Lord? This transformation, which in us is weak, and often, alas! of short duration, was perfect in Mary, for her high vocation and her incomparable fidelity deserved that it should be so; of her, then, far more truly than of us, it may be said that she was indeed risen in her Jesus. The thought of these forty days, during which Mary still possesses her divine Son on this earth, reminds us of those other forty of Bethlehem, when we paid our affectionate homage to the young Virgin-Mother who fed her divine Babe at her breast; we heard the angels singing their Gloria, we saw the shepherds and the Magi; all was exquisite sweetness. What mainly impressed us then was the humility of our Emmanuel; we recognized him as the Lamb that had come to take away the sins of the world; there was nothing that betokened the Mighty God. What changes have happened since that dear time! What sorrows have pierced Mary's heart before her reaching this blissful season of Paschal joy! The sword foretold by Simeon is now, indeed, sheathed, yea, broken for ever, but oh! how sharp and cruel have been its thrusts! Well may Mary now say with the Psalmist: According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, thy comforts, O Lord, have given joy to my soul![1] The Lamb, the gentle little Lamb, has become the Lion of the tribe of Juda; and Mary, the Mother of the Babe of Bethlehem, is equally the Mother of the glorious Conqueror.

With what delight does he not show the glories of his victories to his Mother! His work is done, and now he is the beautiful crowned King of Ages; yes, this is he whom she held for nine months within her womb, whom she fed at her breast, and who, for all eternity, will honour her as his Mother. He honours her during these last forty days on earth with every possible mark of affection; he satisfies her maternal love by frequently visiting her. How admirable must not these interviews be between such a Son and Mother! How delightedly must not Mary look upon her Jesus now? the same dear one, it is true, but oh! so changed from what he was a few days ago! That face, so familiar to Mary, beams with a light which is new even to her. The Wounds that remain in his hands, feet, and side, dart forth a brightness which effaces every recollection of sadness. But how shall we speak of the joy wherewith Jesus gazes upon Mary, his Immaculate Mother—his companion in the work of man’s salvation—the creature who is more perfect and more worthy of love than all other creatures put together? Who could describe the conversations of such a Son with such a Mother, during these days preceding his Ascension, when another long separation is to follow? Eternity will tell us what they were; but, even now, if we love the Son and the Mother, we can imagine some little of what passed between them. Jesus would offer to Mary some compensation for the prolongation of her stay on earth, which is required of her by her ministry as Mother of men; more privileged than was heretofore Martha’s sister, she hears his every word, and feeds on its sweetness in an ecstasy of love. O happy hours, to be followed by long years of absence, flow slowly by! Give this blessed Mother time to satiate her love with the sight and caresses of this dearest and most beautiful of the sons of men! O Mary! by these hours of joy which repaid thee for those long bitter ones of thy Jesus’ Passion, pray to him for us, that he permit us to feel and relish his presence in our hearts during this our exile, wherein we are absent from him.[2] Thus shall we persevere in our devoted service until the arrival of that blissful moment when we are to be united with him in heaven, never again to be separated from him.

Let us offer to the blessed Mother this beautiful sequence, wherewith the Churches of Germany used formerly to celebrate her Seven Joys, of which the Resurrection was one of the grandest.

Sequence

Virgo templum Trinitatis,
Deus summæ bonitatis et misericordiæ,
Qui tuae humilitatis
Et dulcorem suavitatis vidit et fragrantiæ.

De te nasci nuntiatur,
Cum per angelum mandatur tibi salus gratiæ;
Modum quæris, demonstratur,
Dum consentis, incarnatur confestim rex gloriæ.

Per hoc gaudium precamur,
Ut hunc regem mereamur habere propitium,
Et ab eo protegamur,
Protecti recipiamur in terra viventium.

De secundo gratularis,
Quod tu solem stella paris, velut luna radium;
Pariendo non gravaris,
Virgo manes, non mutaris propter puerperium.

Sicut flos propter odorem
Suum non perdit decorem, cum odor emittitur;
Sic nec propter creatorem
Virginitatis candorem tu perdis, cum nascitur.

O Maria, Mater pia,
Esto nobis recta via apud tuum fiilium,
Atque pro tua gratia
Repelle nostra vitia per secundum gaudium.

De tertio gratulari
Stella monet, quam morari vides super filio
Cum a magis adorari
Ipsum cernis et ditari munere tam vario.

Stella monet unitatem
Tresque reges trinitatem in dicto sacrificio;
Aurum mentis puritatem,
Myrrha carnis castitatem, thus est adoratio.

O Maria, stella mundi,
A peccatis simus mundi per te, Virgo Maria,
Et virtutibus fœcundi,
Læti tecum et jocundi, lætemur in patria.

Quartum, Virgo, tibi datur,
Cum a morte suscitatur Christus die tertia.
Per hoc fides roboratur,
Spes redit et mors fugatur per te, plena gratia;

Hostis victus captivatur amissa potentia;
Homo captus liberatur,
Et ab humo sublevatur
Sursum ad coelestia.

Ergo mater creatoris,
Funde preces cunctis horis, ut per istud gaudium,
Post cursum hujus laboris,
Beatis jungamur choris supernorum civium.

Quintum, Virgo, recepisti,
Ascendentem dum vidisti filium in gloria.
Tunc aperte cognovisti
Quod tu mater exstitisti, cujus eras filia.

In ascensu demonstratur
Via, per quam ascendatur ad cœli palatia;
Ergo surgat et sequatur
Istam viam, qui moratur in mundi miseria.

Per hoc gaudium rogamus,
Ne subjici valeamus dæmonis imperio;
Sed ad coelos ascendamus,
Ubi semper gaudeamus, tecum et cum filio.

Sextum gaudium ostendit,
De supernis qui descendit in linguis Paraclitus,
Dum confirmat et defendit,
Replet, mundat et accendit Apostolos penitus,

Ignis in linguis est datus,
Ut per ignem sit sanatus homo linguis perditus,
Et per ignem emendatus
Qui fuerat maculatus per peccatum primitus.

Per hoc gaudium beatum,
Ora, Virgo, tuum natum, ut in hoc exilio
Nostrum deleat reatum,
Ne sit in nobis peccatum in magno judicio.

Ad septimum invitavit,
Cum de mundo te vocavit Christus ad coelestia,
Super thronos exaltavit,
Exaltatam honoravit speciali gratia.

Sic honor tibi præstatur,
Qui nemini reservatur in coelesti curia;
Nec virtutibus ditatur,
Nisi cui per te datur virtutum custodia.

Virgo, mater pietatis,
Sentiamus bonitatis tuæ beneficia;
Et nos serves a peccatis,
Et perducas cum beatis ad aeterna gaudia.

O Maria tota munda,
A peccatis nos emunda per haec septem gaudia;
Et fœcunda nos fœcunda,
Et duc tecum ad jocunda Paradisi gaudia.

Amen.
O Virgin! Temple of the Trinity!
the God of all goodness and mercy,
being pleased with the loveliness of thy humility,
meekness, and purity, is announced as having to be born of thee.

The message is brought thee
by the angel who hails thee full of grace.
Thou askest how? and thou art told.
Thou consentest: and the King of glory instantly becomes incarnate in thy womb.

We beseech thee by this Joy,
that we may deserve to receive mercy from this King,
be protected by him, and, thus protected,
be admitted into the land of the living.

Thy second Joy is that thou,
the Star, givest birth to the Sun, as the Moon emits its ray.
This birth injures thee not;
thou remainest a Virgin as before.

As a flower loses not its beauty
by sending forth its fragrance;
so neither losest thou the bloom of thy Virginity
by giving birth to thy Creator.

O Mary, kind Mother!
be to us the way that leads to thy Son;
and, by thy second Joy,
graciously intercede for us, that we be converted from our sins.

A star tells thee of thy third Joy.
Thou seest a star resting over thy Child,
the Magi adoring him,
and offering their varied gifts.

The star expresses Unity;
three Kings, Trinity;
the gold signifies purity of soul;
the myrrh, chastity of body; the incense, adoration.

O Mary, Star of the Sea!
pray for us, that we may be cleansed from our sins,
enriched with virtue, and united with thee
in the happiness and bliss of the heavenly Country.

The fourth Joy, O holy Virgin! was given thee,
when Jesus rose from the tomb, on the third day.
By this Mystery, faith is strengthened, hope restored, and death put to flight;
and thou, O full of grace, hadst thy share in effecting these wonders.

The enemy is conquered: he is imprisoned, and loses his power.
Man, who had been made captive, is set free,
and raised from earth
to heaven above.

Do thou, therefore, O Mother of our Creator!
pray hourly for us, that, by this Joy,
we may be associated with the choirs of the heavenly citizens,
after this life’s labours are over.

Thou didst receive thy fifth Joy, O Mary!
when thou wast present at thy Son’s Ascension into heaven.
Then didst thou clearly know
that he whose Mother thou wast was thy Creator.

His Ascension shows us
the path whereby we are to ascend to heaven.
Let us then, who dwell in this miserable world,
arise, and follow this path.

We beseech thee, by this Joy,
to pray that we may never be made subject to Satan’s power;
but that we ascend to heaven,
where, with thee and thy Son, we may rejoice for all eternity.

The sixth Joy
was when the Holy Ghost descended, in the form of fiery tongues, from heaven,
strengthening, defending,
filling, cleansing, and inflaming the Apostles.

The fire was given in tongues,
that man, who owed his perdition to a tongue,
might be saved by such fire; and that he who, at the beginning,
had been defiled by sin, might by fire be purified.

We pray thee, O Virgin! by this holy Joy,
intercede for us to thy Son,
that he pardon us our sins, now in this our exile,
lest there be found guilt upon us at the great judgement.

Jesus invited thee to the seventh Joy,
when he called thee out of this world to heaven,
placed thee on thy throne,
and honoured thee with special favours.

Thus is honour given to thee,
such as none of the blessed in heaven enjoy;
nor can any mortal attain to the perfection of virtue,
unless by thine intercession he receive the safeguard of virtue.

O Virgin Mother of Mercy!
give us to feel the proofs of thy loving intercession,
which will preserve us from sin,
and lead us to eternal joys, in the company of the Blessed.

O Virgin most pure! we beseech thee, by these thy Seven Joys,
pray that we may be purified from our sins;
and, being made fruitful in good works,
lead us, O fruitful Mother, to the blissful joys of heaven.

Amen.

[1] Ps. xciii 19.
[2] 2 Cor. v 6.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

℣. In resurrectione tua, Christe, alleluia.
℟. Cœli et terra laetentur, alleluia.

℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.
℟. Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.


LET us to-day turn to another subject. Let us think of that unfortunate Jerusalem, which, a few days since, re-echoed with the blasphemous cry: Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him! Is the city impressed by the great events that have taken place in her midst? Is the report still afloat of the sepulchre’s being found empty? Have Jesus’ enemies succeeded in tranquillizing the public mind by their lying scheme? They have summoned the soldiers who were set to guard the tomb, and have bribed them to say that they neglected their duty, that they fell asleep, and that the disciples came in the meanwhile, and stole away their Master’s corpse. As to the punishment due to this infraction of military discipline, the soldiers are told that they need be under no apprehension, inasmuch as they are assured that every excuse shall be made to the governor in case of need.[1]

Such is the final effort made by the Synagogue to make the world forget the name of Jesus of Nazareth! She would convince men that he was a mere contemptible impostor, who deserved his ignominious death, and will now be execrated for the posthumous attempt at a Resurrection! And yet, in a few years hence, the name of Jesus will be known and loved far beyond the walls of Jerusalem or the territory of Judea—it will be held in blessing in the furthermost parts of the earth. Let a hundred years pass, and the adorers of this Jesus will be found in every country. After three centuries paganism will own itself beaten; the idols will roll in the dust; the majesty of the Cæsars will humble itself before the Cross. And thou, O blind and obstinate Jew! wilt have it that he whom thou didst blaspheme and crucify is not risen, although he be now the King of the earth—the loved Monarch of a boundless empire! Read thy heaven-given prophecies, which thou hast handed down to us. Do they not tell thee that the Messias is to be despised—reputed with the wicked,[2] and treated as one of them? But do they not likewise tell thee that his sepulchre shall he glorious?[3] With all other men the grave puts an end to their name and their glory; whereas with Jesus his sepulchre is the trophy of his victory; we proclaim him to be the Messias, the King of ages, the Son of God, because by his own death he conquered death.

But Jerusalem is carnal-minded; and the humble Nazarene has not flattered her pride. His miracles were undeniable; the wisdom and authority of his words surpassed everything that had ever been heard; his goodness and compassion even exceed the miseries he is come to allay—but Israel has seen nothing, heard nothing, understood nothing; and now he remembers nothing. Alas! his fate is sealed, and it is himself that has sealed it. Five centuries before this, Daniel had thus prophesied: The people that shall deny him (Christ) shall not he his.[4] Let them, therefore, that would escape the most terrible chastisement ever sent upon man, lose no time in recognizing the risen Jesus as the Messias.

A heavy atmosphere broods over the deicide city. Her people have said: Let his Blood he upon us and upon our children!—so indeed it is: it hangs like a storm-cloud of vengeance over Jerusalem, and, forty years hence, will send forth its thunderbolts of slaughter, fire, destruction, and a desolation which shall continue even to the end.[5] Impostors will rise up, giving themselves out as the Messias. Jerusalem knows that the time for the fulfilment of the prophecies is come; and hence the credulity of her people in siding with these pretenders. Seditions are the consequence of this fanaticism. At length Rome is obliged to interfere. She sends her legions; and having drowned the rebellion with a deluge of blood, she banishes Israel from his country, making him a Cain-like wanderer on the face of the earth.

Why do not these unhappy Jews acknowledge, as the Messias, this Jesus whom they have crucified? Why still expect a fulfilment which has been so evidently accomplished? Why pass by, with sullen unrepentance, this empty sepulchre which is ever protesting against them? Have they not clamoured for the shedding of innocent Blood? They have but to confess this crime—this fruit of their pride—and they will be pardoned. But if they persist in defending what they have done, there is no hope for them—their chastisement will be blindness of heart, they will walk on in darkness even to the abyss, and hell will be their eternity. Bethphage and Mount Olivet are still echoing with the cry of Hosanna to the Son of David! O Israel! thou hast yet time! repeat this acclamation of thy loyalty! The hours are passing swiftly by; the solemnity of Pentecost will soon be upon us. On that day the law of the Son of David is to be promulgated, and the law of Moses will be abrogated, for its work is done and its figures are turned into realities. On that day thou wilt feel two peoples within thy womb[6] one, weak in number, but destined to conquer all nations by leading them to the true God, will humbly and lovingly acknowledge for their King this Crucified and Risen Son of David; the other, proud and haughty, will obstinately blaspheme its Messias, and will become, by its ingratitude, the type of voluntary hardness of heart. It denies, even to this day, the Resurrection of its victim; but the chastisement which is to lie upon it to the end of time proves that he who punishes is God—the God of truth, whose anathemas are infallible.

Let us honour the Resurrection of our divine Messias by offering him this Easter sequence of the ancient Missal of St Gall.

Sequence

Magnificet confessio
Atque pulchritudo

Magni regis novam
In cruce victoriam,

In qua triumphatus
Est mortis principatus,

Qua evacuatum
Est peccati veteris
Chirographum,

Qua paschalis Agni
Immolatur victima
Pro ovili,

Qua torcular calcat
De Edom qui venerat,
Et de Bosra.

Cujus antidotum
Serpentini vulneris
Sanat morsum.

Per crucem Deo
Reconciliatur mundus:
Per lignum nunc redemptus,
Per lignum in Adam venditus.

Per crucem astris
Sociatur matutinis,
Factura novissima,
Restaurans cœli dispendia.

Crux vitæ lignum,
Vitam mundi portans
Atque pretium,
Tu vectis es botri
Nati in vineis
Engaddi.

Christus pax nostra
Inimicitias solvens
Iis qui erant prope
Dans pacem,
Et his qui a longe.

O virtus crucis,
Mundum attrahis,
Amplexando tuis
Hinc inde brachiis.

O excelsa crux,
Ima perforans,
Vinctos, quos absolvis,
Ad summa erigis.

Christus carnis templum
Hac dierum summa constructum,
Quam tetragrammaton
Adam græce colligit,
In te dissolvendum obtulit
Sed, ut mundum
Salvet quadrifidum,
Reaedificat post triduum.

Agne Patris summi,
Cruce tollens crimina mundi,
Da, ut in augmento
Charitatis, fidei, spei,
Crucis sacrosanctae valeamus,
Cum sanctis omnibus,
Dimensiones comprehendere,

Et proximis condolentes,
Carnem macerantes,
Crucis almae bajulos
Tua trahas post vestigia.

Quo hic tuti et indemnes,
Ibi ad tribunal, judex, tuum
Simus sanctae
Crucis per signaculum,

Annuntiantes in gentibus,
Quia regnavit a ligno Deus.

Amen.
Let our most beautiful
praise magnify

The new victory of the great King
on the Cross.

On the Cross was conquered
the empire of death;

On the Cross was made void
the handwriting
of the sin that was of old;

On the Cross was sacrificed
the Paschal Lamb
for the flock;

On the Cross was the winepress trodden
by him that came from Edom
and Bosra.

It is the antidote
that cures the sting
of the serpent’s wound.

By the Cross is the world
brought back into God's favour;
it was, in Adam, sold by a tree,
and by a tree is now redeemed.

By the Cross,
the last made of creatures
is associated with the morning stars,
and repairs heaven’s losses.

O Cross! thou Tree of Life,
that bearest the Life
and Ransom of the world
—thou art the staff,
bearing upon thee the cluster of grapes
from the vineyards of Engaddi.

Christ is our peace,
who taketh enmities away,
and giveth peace
to them that are afar off,
and to them that are nigh.

O mighty Cross!
thou drawest the whole world
to thyself, and, with thy two arms,
embracest all mankind.

O lofty Cross!
thou penetratest into the depths below,
and raisest to heaven
the captives thou loosest.

On thee, Christ offered the Temple of his Flesh
—which had been built in the number of days
expressed by the four Greek letters composing Adam’s name
—he offered it that it might be destroyed;
but he raised it up again
in three days,
that he might save
the four quarters of the world.

O Lamb of the Sovereign Father!
that by the Cross takest away the sins of the world!
grant, that by our growth
in faith, hope, and charity,
we may be able to comprehend,
with all the Saints,
the measure of the Holy Cross;

That having compassion on our neighbours,
and mortifying our flesh,
we may carry the dear Cross,
and be drawn by thee to walk in thy footsteps.

Thus safe and protected in this life,
grant, O divine Judge,
that, by the sign of the holy Cross,
we may be so, when standing before thy tribunal,

And may proclaim aloud to all nations,
‘That the Lord hath reigned from the Wood.’

Amen.

[1] St Matt. xxviii 12-14.
[2] Isa. liii 12.
[3] Ibid. xi 10.
[4] Dan. ix 26.
[5] Ibid. ix 27.
[6] Gen. xxv 23.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

℣. In resurrectione tua, Christe, alleluia.
℟. Cœli et terra laetentur, alleluia.
℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.
℟. Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

THE Apostles and holy women are not the only ones to enjoy the presence of our Risen Jesus: a countless people of the just made perfect claim and have the happiness of seeing and reverencing the sacred humanity of their beloved King. The magnificence of the Resurrection has caused us somewhat to forget those venerable captives of Limbo, with whom the soul of our Redeemer spent the hours that elapsed between his Death and Resurrection. They were the friends of God, and were awaiting in Abraham's bosom (as the Scripture expresses it) the dawning of light eternal. From the hour of None (three o'clock) of the great Friday till the daybreak of Sunday, the soul of our Emmanuel abode with these holy prisoners, who were thus put in possession of infinite happiness. But when the hour of his triumph came, how was the Conqueror of Death to leave behind him these souls whom he had enfranchised by his Death and Resurrection? At the moment fixed by the eternal decree, Jesus' Soul passes from Limbo to the sepulchre, and is reunited to his Body; but he is accompanied by a jubilant choir of other souls—the souls of the long-imprisoned Saints.

On the day of the Ascension, they will form his court, and rise together with him; but Heaven’s gate is not yet open, and they must needs wait for these forty days to pass, during which our Redeemer will organize his Church. They are invisible to the eyes of men, but they dwell in the space above this lowly earth, where once they passed their days, and merited an eternal recompense. Adam again sees the land which he had tilled in the sweat of his brow; Abel is in admiration at the power of the divine Blood, which has sued for mercy, whereas his prayed but for vengeance;[1] Noe looks upon this globe, and finds it covered with an immense multitude of men, all of whom are descendants of his three sons; Abraham, the father of believers, Isaac also, and Jacob, hail the happy moment when is to be fulfilled the promise which was made to them, that all generations should be blessed in him who was to be bom of their race; Moses recognizes his people, in whose midst the Messias (whom he had announced,[2] and who is greater than he),[3] has found so few followers and so many enemies; Job, who represents the elect among the Gentiles, is filled with joy at seeing his Redeemer living,[4] in whom he had hoped in all his trials; David, fired with holy enthusiasm, is preparing canticles for heaven, grander far than those he has left us, to be sung in praise of the Incarnate God, who has espoused our human nature; Isaias and the other Prophets behold the literal fulfilment of all they had foretold; in a word, this countless army of saints, formed from the elect of all times and countries, is grieved at finding the earth a slave to the worship of false gods; they beseech our Lord, with all the earnestness of prayer, that he would hasten the time for the preaching of the Gospel, which is to rouse from their sleep them that are seated in the shadow of death.

As the elect, when they rise from their graves on the last day, will ascend through the air to meet Christ[5] as eagles who gather together wheresoever the body may be;[6] so now these holy souls cluster around their divine Deliverer. He is their attraction; seeing him, speaking with him, is truly a heaven on earth to them. Jesus indulges these Blessed of his Father, who are soon to possess the Kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world;[7] he allows them to follow and accompany him; and thus does he pass the days which are to be spent before that glorious one of his triumphant Ascension.

What must not have been the happiness of the faithful and chaste Joseph in being thus near his adopted Son—his Creator? with what affection must he not have looked upon his virginal Spouse, who has been made, at the foot of the Cross, the Mother of men! Who could describe the delight wherewith Anne and Joachim gaze upon their daughter, the august Mother whom all generations shall call ‘blessed’?[8] And John, the Precursor—how must he not have exulted at seeing her, at whose voice he was sanctified in his Mother’s womb, and who has given to the world the Lamb that taketh all sin away! How affectionately must not these ransomed souls have looked upon the Apostles, those future conquerors of the world, who are now being prepared for the combat by their divine Master! It is through them that the earth once brought to the knowledge of the true God will be ever sending up elect ones to heaven until time shall give place to eternity.

Let us to-day honour these hidden but august witnesses of what God's mercy is preparing for the world’s salvation. We shall soon see them ascending to heaven, of which they will take possession in the name of mankind, that has been redeemed by Christ. Let us not forget how, on their way from Limbo to Heaven, they rested with Jesus for forty days on this earth of ours, where they themselves had once lived and merited an eternal crown. Their visit brought a blessing with it; and their departure was the signal for us to follow them—it opened the way to the blissful home, which is one day to be ours!

The following sequence, taken from the Cluny Missal of 1523, is appropriate to the reflections we have just been making:

Sequence

Prome casta
Concio cantica,
Organa subnectens
Hypodorica.

Regi claustra
Deo tartarea
Rumpenti, decanta
Nunc symphonia.

Morte qui victa
Resurgens, gaudia
Mundo gestat colenda.

Hanc insolita
Mirantes perdita
Cocyti confinia,

Spectant fortia
Intrante illo
Vita beata.

Terrore perculsa,
Tremescit daemonum
Plebs valida.

Dant suspiria
Fletuum alta:
Repagula
Quis sic audax fregerit,
Mirantur nunc fortia.

Sic ad supera
Redit cum turma
Gloriosa,
Et timida
Refovet discipulorum corda.

Praecelsa
Hujus trophæa
Admirantes,
Flagitamus nunc
Voce decliva.

Virginum inter agmina,
Mereamur pretiosa
Colere ut pascha:

Galilaea
In qua sacrata
Prae fulgore contueri
Lucis exordia.

Alleluia.
Sing the mourning hymns,
O holy choir,
mourning,
but full of hope.

Sing now thy canticles
to the divine King,
who has broken down
the gates of hell.

He conquers death,
and rising from the tomb,
brings festive joy to the world.

The cursed regions of hell
wonder
at the strange event.

They gaze on him who enters;
he is Eternal Life,
and they see his power.

The mighty host
of demons
tremble with fear,

And howl
and weep,
asking each other,
who this may be that dares to break
the massive bolts.

‘Tis thus
our Lord returns to earth,
surrounded by a glorious troop;
and hastens to console
the timid hearts of his disciples.

Let us
who celebrate
his noble victory,
beseech him
in humble prayer,

That we may be found worthy
to celebrate the great Pasch,
in the choir of Virgins.

And in that Galilee above,
sanctified by light,
to see
the Source of Light.

Amen.

[1] Heb. xii 24.
[2] St John i 45.
[3] Heb. iii 3.
[4] Job xix 25.
[5] 1 Thess. iv 16.
[6] St Matt. xxiv 28.
[7] St Matt. xxv 34.
[8] St Luke i 48.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

℣. In resurrectione tua, Christe, alleluia.
℟. Cœli et terra laetentur, alleluia.
℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.
℟. Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

WE are not to suppose that because the sacred Humanity of our Risen Jesus is resplendent with glory and majesty, it is therefore less accessible to mortals. His kindness and condescension are the same as before; nay, he seems to have become more affectionate than ever, and more desirous to be with the children of men. Surely we have not forgotten what happened during the joyous octave of the Pascli! His affectionate greeting to the holy Women, when on their way to the sepulchre; his appearing to Magdalen under the form of a gardener; his conversation with the two disciples of Emmaus, and the means he took to make them recognize him; his showing himself, on the Sunday evening, to the Ten, greeting them with his Peace be to you, allowing them to touch him, and even condescending to eat with them; his amiably bidding Thomas, on the eighth day, convince himself of the reality of the Resurrection by feeling the Wounds; his meeting his disciples at the Lake of Genesareth, blessing their fishing, and providing them with a repast on the bank—all this is proof of the tender love and intimacy wherewith our Saviour treated his creatures during the forty days after his Resurrection.

As to his visits to his blessed Mother, we shall have another occasion for speaking of them; to-day we will consider him in the midst of his disciples. So frequently is he with them, that St Luke calls it an appearing to them for forty days.[1] The apostolic college is reduced to eleven; for the place of the traitor Judas is not to be filled up till after our Lord’s Ascension, immediately before the descent of the Holy Ghost. How beautiful in their simplicity are these future messengers of the Good Tidings to mankind![2] A short while ago they were weak and hesitating in their faith; they forgot all they had seen and heard; they fled from their Master in the hour of trial. As he had foretold it to them, they were scandalized at his humiliations and death. The news of his Resurrection made little impression upon them; they even disbelieved it. And yet they found him so affectionate, so gentle in his reproaches, that they soon resumed the confidence and intimacy they had had with him during his mortal life. Peter, who had been the most unfaithful, as well as the most presumptuous, of all, has now regained his position of the most honoured of the Apostles, and, in a few days hence, is to receive a special proof of Jesus’ having forgotten his past disloyalty. He and his fellow Apostles can think of nothing now but Jesus. When he is with them they feast on the beauty and glory of his appearance. His words are dearer to them than ever, for they understand them better, now that they have been enlightened by the mysteries of the Passion and Resurrection. They eagerly listen to all that he says, and he says more than formerly, because he is so soon to leave them. They know that the day will soon come when they will no longer be able to hear his voice; they, therefore, treasure up his words as though they were his last will, and how could they better fit themselves for the mission he has entrusted to them? It is true they do not, as yet, fully enter into all the mysteries they are to preach to the world—they could not even remember so many sublime things—but Jesus tells them that he will soon send upon them the Holy Ghost, who will not only give them courage, but will also bless them with spiritual understanding, and will enable them to remember all that he, Jesus, has taught them.[3]

Nor must we forget the holy women, those faithful companions of Jesus, who followed him up to Calvary, and were the first to be rewarded with the joys of the Resurrection. Their divine Master could not overlook them now: he praises their devotedness, he encourages them; he takes every opportunity of repaying them. Heretofore, as the Gospel tells us,[4] they provided him with food; now that he needs no earthly nourishment he feasts them with his dear presence; they see him, they hear his words; the very thought that he is soon to be taken from them makes these happy days doubly precious to them. They are the venerable mothers of the Christian people; they are our illustrious ancestors in the Faith; and on the day of the descent of the Holy Ghost, we shall find them with the Apostles in the Cenacle receiving the Tongues of Fire. Woman is to be represented on that glorious occasion, when the Church is to be made manifest before the world; the women of Calvary and the sepulchre are chosen for this office, and right well do they deserve to share in the bright joys of Pentecost.

Let us recite the following sequence in honour of our dear Jesus, who passes these forty days with his Apostles and the holy women. It was composed by Adam of St Victor:

Sequence

Ecce dies celebris!
Lux succedit tenebris,
Morti resurrectio;
Lætis cedant tristia,
Cum sit major gloria
Quam prima confusio;
Umbram fugat veritas,
Vetustatem novitas,
Luctum consolatio.

Pascha novum colite;
Quod praeit in capite,
Membra sperent singula.
Pascha novum Christus est,
Qui pro nobis passus est,
Agnus, sine macula.

Hosti qui nos circuit
Prædam Christus eruit.
Quod Samson praecinuit.
Dum leonem lacerat.
David, fortis viribus,
A leonis unguibus
Et ab ursi faucibus
Gregem patris liberat.

Quod in morte plures stravit
Samson, Christum figuravit,
Cujus mors victoria.
Samson dictus Sol eorum:
Christus lux est electorum Quos illustrat gratia.

Jam de crucis sacro vecte,
Botrus fluit in dilectae penetrai Ecclesiae.

Jam, calcato torculari,
Musto gaudent debriari
Gentium primitiae.

Saccus scissus et pertusus.
In regales transit usus:
Saccus fit soccus gratiæ,
Caro victrix miseriae.

Quia regem peremerunt,
Dei regnum perdiderunt;
Sed non deletur penitus
Cain, in signum positus.

Reprobatus et abjectus,
Lapis iste nunc electus,
In trophæum stat erectus et in caput anguli.

Culpam delens, non naturam,
Novam creat creaturam,
Tenens in se ligaturam

Utriusque populi.
Capiti gloria,
Membrisque concordia!

Amen.
Lo, the great day is come!
Light follows darkness,
and resurrection death.
Sorrow gives place to joy,
for our glory is greater than
was our former shame.
Truth dispels the shadow;
the new what was old;
and consolation mourning.

Celebrate the new Pasch!
Let the members hope to have
what now their Head enjoys.
Our new Pasch is Christ
—the spotless Lamb
that was slain for us.

Christ has taken the prey
from the enemy that surrounded us.
It is the victory prefigured by Samson,
when he tore the lion to pieces;
and by the powerful David,
when he rescued his father’s flock
from the lion’s grasp
and the bear's jaw.

When Samson killed his enemies by his own death,
he was a type of Christ, whose death was a victory.
Samson signifies their Sun:
so is Christ the Light of his elect,
for he makes his grace shine upon them.

Under the holy beam of the Cross,
the vine-stream flows into the store-house of the beloved Church.

The wine-press is trodden,
and the first-fruits of the Gentiles
drink their fill and are glad.

The garment that was rent and torn
is made a robe for kings:
that garment is the Flesh that triumphed over suffering,
and became an ornament of grace.

The Jews forfeited God’s kingdom,
because they put the King to death;
they are not utterly destroyed,
for, like Cain, they are set as a sign.

The Stone that they rejected and despised
is now the chosen one,
set up as a trophy, and made the chief corner-stone.

Taking away sin, but not our nature,
he creates us new creatures;
he unites in himself the two peoples (Jew and Gentile).

Be glory
to our head!
and to the members peace!

Amen.

[1] Acts i 3.
[2] Isa. lii 7.
[3] St John xiv 26.
[4] St Matt. xxvii 55.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

℣. In resurrectione tua, Christe, alleluia.
℟. Cœli et terra laetentur, alleluia.
℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.
℟. Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

WHAT are these wounds in the midst of thy hand?[1] Such was the exclamation of the Prophet Zacharias, who lived five hundred years before the Birth of our Emmanuel: and we are almost forced to use it, now that we behold the Wounds that shine so brightly in the glorified Body of our Risen Lord. His hands and feet bear the mark of the nails, and his side that of the spear; the Wounds are as visible and as deep as when he was first taken down from the Cross. Put in thy finger hither, said Jesus, holding out his wounded hands to Thomas; put thy hand into my Side![2]

We assisted at this wonderful interview on Sunday last—the incredulity of the disciple was made an occasion for the most incontestable proof of the Resurrection: but it also taught us that, when our Lord rose from the tomb, he retained in his glorified Flesh the stigmata of his Passion. Consequently, he will retain them for ever, inasmuch as no change can have further place in his Person. What he was the moment after his Resurrection, that will he be for all eternity. But we are not to suppose that these sacred stigmata, which tell of his humiliation on Calvary, are in the slightest degree a lessening of his glory. He retains them because he wishes to do so; and he wishes it, because these Wounds, far from attesting defeat or weakness, proclaim his irresistible power and triumph. He has conquered death; the Wounds received in the combat are the record of his victory. He will enter heaven on the day of his Ascension, and the rays of light which beam from his Wounds will dazzle the eyes of even the angels. In like manner, as the holy Fathers tell us,[3] his martyrs who have imitated him in vanquishing death will also shine with special brightness in those parts of their bodies where they were tortured.

And is not our Risen Jesus to exercise, from his throne in heaven, that sublime mediatorship for which he assumed our human nature? Is he not to be ever disarming the anger of his Father justly irritated by our sins? Is he not to make perpetual intercession for us, and obtain for mankind the graces necessary for salvation? Divine Justice must be satisfied; and what would become of poor sinners, were it not that the ManGod, by showing the precious Wounds on his Body, stays the thunderbolts of heaven, and makes mercy preponderate over judgement?[4] O sacred Wounds! the handiwork of our sins, and now our protection! we shed bitter tears when we first beheld you on Calvary; but we now adore you as the five glories of our Emmanuel! Hail most precious Wounds! our hope and our defence!

And yet the day will come when these sacred stigmata, which are now the object of the angels’ admiration, will be again shown to mankind, and many will look upon them with fear; for, as the Prophet says: They shall look upon him whom they have pierced.[5] These men, who, during life, heeded neither the sufferings of the Passion, nor the joys of the Resurrection, but rather despised and insulted them, will have treasured up for themselves the most terrible vengeance; for could it be that a God could be crucified, and rise again, and both to no purpose? We can understand how sinners will say, on that last day: Fall upon us, ye mountains! and ye hills, cover us![6]—‘hide us from the sight of these Wounds, which now dart upon us the lightnings of angry justice!’

O sacred Wounds of our Risen Jesus! be a source of mercy and joy, on that dread day, to all them that spent the Easters of their earthly pilgrimage in rising to a holy life! Happy the disciples who were privileged to gaze upon you during these forty days! and happy we, if we venerate and love you! Let us here borrow the devout words of St Bernard:[7] ‘Where can I that am weak find security and rest, but in the Wounds of Jesus? The greater is his power to. save, the surer am I in my dwelling there. The world howls at me, the body weighs me down, the devil sets snares to take me: but I fall not, for I am on the firm rock. I have sinned a grievous sin; my conscience will throw me into trouble, but not into despair, for I will remember the Wounds of my Lord. Yes, he was wounded for our iniquities![8] What I have not of mine own I take to myself from the Heart of my Jesus, for it is overflowing with mercy. Neither are there wanting outlets, through which it may flow—they have pierced his hands and feet[9] and with a spear they have opened his side, enabling me, through these chinks, to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the hardest stone,[10] that is, to taste and see how sweet is the Lord.[11] He thought thoughts of peace,[12] and I knew it not, for who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?[13] But the nail that wounded is the key that opened to me to see the design of the Lord. I looked through the aperture, and what saw I? The nail and Wound both told me that truly God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.[14] The iron pierced his soul,[15] and reached even to his heart, so that henceforth he cannot but know how to compassionate with me in my infirmities. The secret of his heart is revealed by the Wounds of his Body; the great mystery of mercy is revealed—the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us.[16] What, O Lord, could more clearly show me than do thy Wounds, that thou art sweet and mild, and plenteous in mercy?[17]

Let us express our Paschal joy, to-day, in the words of a charming sequence of the eleventh century. We have taken it from a missal of the Abbey of Murbach:

Sequence

Carmen suo dilecto
Ecclesia Christi canat,
Ob quam patrem matremque deserens,

Deus nostra
Se vestiit natura,
Et synagogam respuit.

Christe,
Tuo sacro latere
Sacramenta manarunt illius;

Tui ligni adminiculo
Conservatur in salo saeculi.

Hanc adamans conjugem, clauderis Gazae,
Sed portas offracturus,
Hanc etiam hostibus Illius Eruiturus,

Es congressus
Tyranno Goliath, Quem lapillo
Prosternis unico.

Ecce sub vite
Amoena, Christe,
Ludit in pace
Omnis Ecclesia tute in horto;
Resurgens, Christe,
Hortum florentis
Paradisi tuis Obstructum
Diu, reseras, Domine,
Rex regum.
Let the Church of Christ sing
a canticle to her Beloved,
who out of love for her, left father and mother,

and, God as he is,
clad himself with our nature,
and cast off the Synagogue.

The Sacraments of thy Church,
O Christ,
flowed from thy sacred Side.

She safely sails through this world's sea,
on the wood of thy Cross.

Out of tender love for thy Spouse, thou wast shut up in Gaza;
but thou didst break its gates:
and, to deliver her from her enemies,

thou confrontedst
the tyrant Goliath, and with a single stone
didst lay him low.

Behold, O Christ, the whole Church,
under the shade
of the pleasant Vine,
enjoys peace,
and safely lives in the garden.
By thy Resurrection,
O Lord, King of kings,
thou openest the long-closed garden
of thy flowery Paradise.

[1] Zach. xiii 6.
[2] St John xx 27.
[3] St Augustine De Civitate Dei, Lib. xxii, Cap. xxix. St Ambrose In Lucam, Lib. x.
[4] St James ii 13.
[5] Zach. xii 12.
[6] St Luke xxiii 30.
[7] In Cantica, Serm. lxi
[8] Isa. liii 5.
[9] Ps. xxi 17.
[10] Deut. xxxii 13.
[11] Ps. xxxiii 9.
[12] Jer. xxix 11.
[13] Rom. xi 34.
[14] 2 Cor. v 19.
[15] Ps. civ 18.
[16] St Luke i 78.
[17] Ps. lxxxv 5.