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The Liturgical Year

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Under this heading of Proper of the Time, we here comprise the movable Office of the Sundays and Ferias of Advent. Though anxious to give to the faithful the flowers of the Advent liturgy, yet were we to bring forward even those which might be considered as the choicest, four volumes would have barely sufficed. The fear of making our work too expensive to the faithful, persuaded us to limit it within much narrower bounds, and out of the abundant treasures before us, to give what we thought could be least dispensed with.

The plan we have adopted is this: We give the whole of the Mass and Vespers for the four Sundays of Advent. On the ferial days, we give one, at least, of the lessons from Isaias, which are read in the Office of Matins; adding to this a hymn or sequence, or some other poetic liturgical composition. All these have been taken from the gravest sources, for example, from the Roman and Mozarabic breviaries, from the Greek anthology and menæa, from the missals of the middle ages, &c. After this hymn or sequence, we have given a prayer from the Ambrosian, Gallican, or Mozarabic missal. So that the faithful will find in our collection an unprecedented abundance of liturgical formulæ, each of which carries authority with it, as being taken from ancient and approved sources.

We have not thought it desirable to give a commentary to each of the liturgical formulæ inserted in our work. It seemed to us that they would be rendered sufficiently intelligible by the general explanation which runs through our work, in which explanation we have endeavoured to excite the devotion of the reader, give unity to the several parts, and afford solid instruction. We shall thus avoid all those repetitions and commonplace remarks, which do little more than fatigue the reader.

We have inserted the Great Antiphons and the Office of Christmas Eve in the proper of the saints, because both of these have fixed days in the calendar, and to put them in the proper of the time, as they stand in the breviary and missal, would have required us to introduce into a book, destined for the laity, rubrics somewhat complicated, which would, perhaps, not have been understood.

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

We apply the name of Christmas to the forty days which begin with the Nativity of our Lord, December 25, and end with the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, February 2. It is a period which forms a distinct portion of the Liturgical Year, as distinct, by its own special spirit, from every other, as are Advent, Lent, Easter, or Pentecost. One same Mystery is celebrated and kept in view during the whole forty days. Neither the Feasts of the Saints, which so abound during this Season; nor the time of Septuagesima, with its mournful Purple, which often begins before Christmastide is over, seem able to distract our Holy Mother the Church from the immense joy of which she received the good tidings from the Angels[1] on that glorious Night for which the world had been longing four thousand years. The Faithful will remember that the Liturgy commemorates this long expectation by the four penitential weeks of Advent.
[1] St Luke ii 10.

(From Chapter 1: The History of Christmas)

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

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

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

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

We begin, with this volume, the holy season of Lent; but such is the richness of its liturgy, that we have found it impossible to take our readers beyond the Saturday of the fourth week. Passion-week and Holy Week, which complete the forty days of yearly penance, require to be treated at such length, that we could not have introduced them into this volume without making it inconveniently large.

The present volume is a very full one, although it only comprises the first four weeks of the season of Lent. We have called it Lent; and yet the two weeks of the next volume are also comprised in Lent; nay, they are its most important and sacred part. But, in giving the name of Lent to this first section, we have followed the liturgy itself, which applies this word to the first four weeks only; giving to the two that remain the names of Passion-week and Holy Week. Our next volume will, therefore, be called Passiontide and Holy Week.

For more information on Lent, visit here.

After having proposed the forty-days’ fast of Jesus in the desert to the meditation of the faithful during the first four weeks of Lent, the holy Church gives the two weeks which still remain before Easter to the commemoration of the Passion. She would not have her children come to that great day of the immolation of the Lamb, without having prepared for it by compassionating with Him in the sufferings He endured in their stead.

(From Chapter 1: The History of Passiontide and Holy Week)

For more information on Passiontide and Holy Week, visit here.

WITH this volume we begin the season of Easter, wherein are accomplished the mysteries prepared for, and looked forward to, since Advent. Such are the liturgical riches of this portion of the Christian year, that we have found it necessary to devote three volumes to it.

The present volume is wholly taken up with Easter Week. A week is indeed a short period; but such a week as this, with the importance of the events it brings before us, and the grandeur of the mysteries it celebrates, is, at least, equivalent to any other section of our Liturgical Year. We have abridged our explanations as much as possible; and yet we have exceeded two-thirds of one of our ordinary volumes. Hence, it was out of the question to add the remaining weeks; the more so, as the saints’ feasts recommence on the Monday following the Easter Octave, and their insertion would have obliged us to have made our volume considerably more bulky than even that of Passiontide. We have, therefore, been satisfied with giving the Mass and Office of the Annunciation, already given in our volume for Lent, but which are needed for the Monday after Low Sunday, when Easter falls between March 22 and April 2, which is frequently the case.

For more information on Paschal Tide, visit here.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

At Rome, the Station is in the church of Saint Marcellus, Pope and Martyr. This church was once the house of the holy lady Lucina, who gave it to the Pontiff, that he might consecrate it to God.

Collect

Sanctificato hoc jejunio, Deus, tuorum corda fidelium miserator illustra: et quibus devotionis præstas affectum, præbe supplicantibus pium benignus auditum. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Enlighten, O God of mercy, the hearts of thy people by means of this holy fast; and since all our devotion is the effect of thy bounty, mercifully hear the petitions we make. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle

Lectio Libri Levitici.

Cap. xix.

In diebus illis: Locutus eat Dominus ad Moysen, dicens: Loquere ad omnem cœtum filiorum Israel, et dices ad eos: Ego Dominus Deus vester. Non facietis furtum. Non mentiemini, nec decipiet unuequisque proximum suum. Non perjurabis in nomine meo, nec pollues nomen Dei tui. Ego Dominus. Non facies calumniam proximo tuo, nec vi opprimes eum. Non morabitur opus mercenarii tui apud to usque mane. Non maledices surdo, nec coram cæco pones offendiculum: sed timebis Dominum Deum tuum, quia ego sum Dominus. Non facies quod iniquum est, nec injuste judicabis. Non consideres personam pauperis, nec honores vultum potentis. Juste judica proximo tuo. Non eris criminator, nec susurro in populo. Non stabis contra sanguinem proximi tui. Ego Dominus. Non oderis fratrem tuum in corde tuo, sed publice argue eum, ne habeas super illo peccatum. Non quæras ultionem, nec memor eris injuriæ civium tuorum. Diliges amicum tuum sicut teipsum. Ego Dominas. Leges meas custodite. Ego enim sum Dominus Deus vester.
Lesson from the book of Leviticus.

Ch. xix.

In those days: the Lord spake to Moses, saying: Speak to all the assembly of the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: I am the Lord your God. You shall not steal. You shall not lie: neither shall any man deceive his neighbour. Thou shalt not swear falsely by my name, nor profane the name of thy God. I am the Lord. Thou shalt not calumniate thy neighbour, nor oppress him by violence. The wages of him that has been hired by thee, shall not abide with thee until the morning. Thou shalt not speak evil of the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind: but thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, because I am the Lord. Thou shalt not do that which is unjust, nor judge unjustly. Respect not the person of the poor, nor honour the countenance of the mighty. Judge thy neighbour according to justice. Thou shalt not be a detractor nor a whisperer among the people. Thou shalt not stand against the blood of thy neighbour. I am the Lord. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart, but reprove him openly, lest thou incur sin through him. Seek not revenge, nor be mindful of the injury of thy citizens. Thou shalt love thy friend as thyself. I am the Lord. Keep ye my laws, for I am the Lord your God.

This passage from Leviticus, wherein our duties to our neighbour are so dearly and so fully defined, is read to us to-day, in order that we may see how we fulfil these important duties, and correct whatever short-comings we may discover in ourselves. It is God who here speaks; it is God who commands. Observe that phrase: I am the Lord: He repeats it several times, to show us that if we injure our neighbour, He, God Himself, will become the avenger. How strange must this doctrine have seemed to the catechumens, who had been brought up in the selfish and heartless principles of paganism! Here they are told that all men are brethren, and that God is the common Father of all, commanding all to love one another with sincere charity, and without distinction of nation or class. Let us Christians resolve to fulfil this precept to the letter: these are days for good resolutions. Let us remember that the commandments we have been reading were given to the Israelite people, many ages before the preaching of the law of love. If, then, God exacted from the Jew a cordial love of his fellow-men, when the divine law was written on mere tablets of stone; what will He not require from the Christian, who can now read that law in the Heart of the Man-God, who has come down from heaven and made Himself our Brother, in order that we might find it easier and sweeter to fulfil the precept of charity? Human nature united in His Person to the divine, is henceforth sacred; it has become an object of the heavenly Father’s love. It is out of fraternal love for this our nature that Jesus suffered death, teaching us, by His own example, to have such love for our brethren, that, if necessary, we ought to lay down our lives for them.[1] It is the beloved disciple that teaches us this, and he had it from his divine Master.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. x.

In illo tempore: Facta sunt encœnia in Jerosolymis: et hiems erat. Et ambulabat Jesus in templo, in porticu Salomonis. Circumdederunt ergo eum Judæi, et dicebant ei: Quousque animam nostram tollis? Si tu es Christus, dic nobis palam. Respondit eis Jesus: Loquor vobis, et non creditis. Opera quæ ego facio in nomine Patris mei, hæc testimonium perhibent de me. Sed vos non creditis, quia non estis ex ovibus meis. Oves meæ vocem meam audiunt: et ego cognosco eas, et sequuntur me: et ego vitam æternam do eis: et non peribunt in æternam, et non rapiet eas quisquam de manu mea. Pater meus quod dedit mihi, majus omnibus est: et nemo potest rapere de manu Patris mei. Ego, et Pater unum sumus. Sustulerunt ergo lapides Judæi, ut lapidarent eum. Respondit eis Jesus: Multa bona opera ostendi vobis ex Patre meo; propter quod eorum opus me lapidatis? Responderunt ei Judæi: De bono opere non lapidamus te, sed de blasphemia, et quia tu homo cum sis, facis teipsum Deum. Respondit eis Jesus: Nonne scriptum est in lege vestra: Quia ego dixi, dii estis? Si illos dixit deos, ad quos sermo Dei factus est, et non potest solvi Scriptura: quem Pater sanctificavit, et misit in mundum, vos dicitis: Quia blasphemas; quia dixi, Filius Dei sum? Si non facio opera Patris mei, nolite credere mihi. Si autem facio, et si mihi non vultis credere, operibus credite, ut cognoscatis, et credatis, quia Pater in me est, et ego in Patre.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. x.

At that time: it was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem: and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. The Jews therefore came round about him, and said to him: How long dost thou hold our souls in suspense? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them: I speak to you and you believe not. The works that I do in the name of my Father, they give testimony of me. But you do not believe because you are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice: and I know them, and they follow me: and I give them eternal life: and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall pluck them out of my hand. That which my Father hath given me, is greater than all: and no man can snatch it out of the hand of my Father. I and the Father are one. The Jews then took up stones to stone him. Jesus answered them: Many good works I have showed you from my Father; for which of those works do you stone me? The Jews answered him: For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy: and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them: Is it not written in your law: I said you are gods? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God was spoken, and the Scripture cannot be broken; do you say of him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world: Thou blasphemest: because I said I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though you will not believe me believe the works, that you may know, and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.

After the feast of tabernacles came that of the Dedication, and Jesus remained in Jerusalem. The hatred His enemies bore Him is greater than ever. They come round about Him, that they may make Him say He is the Christ, and then accuse Him of claiming a mission which does not belong to Him. Jesus deigns not to reply to their question, but tells them that they have seen His works, and that these give ample testimony of His being Christ, the Son of God. It is by faith, and by faith alone, that man can here know his God. God manifests Himself by His divine works: man sees them, and is bound to believe the truth to which they bear testimony. By thus believing, he has both the certitude of what he believes, and the merit of believing. The proud Jew rebels against this: he would fain dictate to God how He should act, and sees not that such a pretension is impious and absurd.

But, if Jesus openly declare the truth, He will scandalize these evil-minded men! Be it so; the truth must be preached. Our Lord has others to consult besides them; there are the well-intentioned, who will believe what He teaches. He, therefore, utters these sublime words, whereby He declares, not only that He is Christ, but that He is God: I and the Father are one. He knew that this would enrage His enemies; but He had to make Himself known to the world, and to arm the Church against the false doctrines of heretics, who would rise up in future ages. One of these is to be Arius, who will teach that Jesus is not God, but only the most perfect of creatures: the Church will answer, that Jesus is one with the Father, consubstantial with the Father: and then, after causing much trouble and sin, Arianism will die out and be forgotten. The Jews mentioned in to-day’s Gospel are the fore-runners of Arius; they understand what our Lord says: He says He is God, and they seek to stone Him. Jesus gives them a fresh grace; He shows them why they should receive what He here teaches; He reminds them, by the Scriptures they know off by heart, that the name god has sometimes been applied, in a limited sense, to men who had certain high offices put upon them by heaven; and then, He bids them think of all the miracles they have seen Him work, which so plainly testify to His being assisted by His Father, and once more declares Himself to be God, saying: The Father is in Me, and I in the Father. But men hardened in obstinacy, as these are, cannot be convinced: and the sin they have committed against the Holy Ghost is working its effects. How different is it with the sheep of this divine Shepherd! They hear His voice; they follow Him; He gives them eternal life; no man shall pluck them out of His hand. Happy sheep indeed! They believe, because they love; and as it is through the heart that truth gains ascendancy over them, so is it by pride of intellect that darkness gains admission into the soul of the unbeliever, and lasts as long as pride lasts. Alas! poor unbeliever! he loves his darkness; he calls it light; he blasphemes when he thinks he reasons, just as these Jews crucified the Son of God, that, as they said, they might give glory to God.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Adesto supplicationibus nostris, omnipotens Deus; et quibus fiduciam sperandæ pietatis indulges, consuetæ misericordiæ tribue benignus effectum. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

Hear our prayers and entreaties, O almighty God, and grant that those to whom thou givest hopes of thy mercy, may experience the effects of thy usual clemency. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Mozarabic breviary gives us the following beautiful prayer, which consists of exclamations to our suffering Jesus.

Prayer
(Sabbato Dominicæ V. Quadragesimæ)

℣. Verus Dei Filius Christe,
℟. Exaudi: populo supplicanti miserere.

℣. Qui triumpho crucis tuæ salvasti solus orbem, tu cruoris tui pæna nos libera.
℟. Et exaudi.

℣. Qui moriens mortem damnas, resurgens vitam præstas, sustinens pro nobis pænam indebitam.
℟. Et exaudi.

℣. Passionis tuæ dies celebremus indemnes: ut per hoc dulcedo tua nos foveat.
℟. Et exaudi.

℣. Pro quibus passus es crucem, non permittas perire; sed per crucem due ad vitam perpetuam.
℟. Et exaudi.
℣. O Jesus! thou true Son of God.
℟. Graciously hear us! have mercy on thy suppliant people.

℣. Thou that alone didst save the world by the triumph of thy cross, do thou, by the Blood thou didst shed, deliver us.
℟. And graciously hear us.

℣. By thy death, thou didst destroy death; by thy Resurrection, thou didst give us life; for our sake thou didst suffer undue punishment.
℟. And graciously hear us.

℣. May we celebrate, in peace, these days of thy Passion, and thereby be consoled by thy sweetness.
℟. And graciously hear us.

℣. Let not them perish, for whom thou didst suffer the cross; but, by thy cross, lead them to life everlasting.
℟. And graciously hear us.

Let us now turn towards the holy cross. These words of the Greek Church, in her Triodion, will assist our devotion.

Hymn
(Feriæ V. mediæ Septimanæ)

Crucis speciem insinuans, manus, permutato ordine, olim expandit decantatissimus Jacob, benedictionem nepotibus impertiens; simulque salutiferam benedictionem quæ ad nos omnes pertingit indicans.

Te salutiferam armaturam, te invictum trophæum, lætitiæ signum, quo mors occisa est, amplectimur, illustres effecti, ejus gloria qui in te, crux honoratissima, affixus est.

Assistunt incorporearum Virtutum ordines trementes coram ligno vitam præbente. In te enim Christus sanguinem effudit, pretium redemptionis repræsentans, dæmonibus piaculare et capitale, ob perniciem hominibus illatam.

Percussum me hostia gladio sana sanguine tuo, Verbum, et lancea celeriter peccatorum meorum chirographum disrumpe, et in librum vitæ inscribe.

Inferni habitaculum concussisti, ubi in terra defixa es: fidelibus autem fulcrum inconcussum et stabilis protectio effecta es, o veneranda crux.

Feraces virtutum effecti decerpamus divini ligni vivificos fructus, quos protulit nobis in hoc extensus Jesus vitis illa fructifera.

Laudamus, Jesu, immensam bonitatem tuam adorantes crucem, lanceam et arundinem per quam sustulisti, misericors, inimicitiarum medium parietem.
When the most praiseworthy patriarch Jacob was, of old, about to bless his children, he crossed his arms; in this he represented the cross, and prefigured that saving blessing which thence came to each of us.

We embrace thee, most venerable cross, as our armour of salvation, the invincible trophy, the standard of joy, whereby death was put to death; for we have been made to share in the glory of him that was nailed upon thee.

The choirs of the angelic Powers stand in holy awe around thee, O life-giving tree! For it is on thee that Christ shed his Blood, which was the price of our redemption, and which utterly destroyed all those rights that sin had given the devil over mankind.

O Word (made Flesh)! the sword of the enemy hath struck me; heal me by thy Blood. Speedily tear, with thy spear, the hand-writing of my sins, and write my name in the book of life.

O venerable cross! when thou wast fixed in the earth, thou didst make the region of hell to tremble; but thou wast made a firm support and unshaken protection to the faithful.

Being made fruitful in virtue, let us pluck from the divine tree those life-giving fruits, offered unto us by that rich Vine, Jesus, who hung stretched upon it.

O Jesus! we praise thy immense goodness, as we venerate the cross, and spear, and reed, whereby, O merciful God, thou didst remove the wall of enmity that stood between us and thee.

 

[1] 1 St. John iii. 16.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Station at Rome is in the church of Saint Apollinaris, who was a disciple of St. Peter, and afterwards bishop of Ravenna and martyr.

Collect

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut dignitas conditions humanæ per immoderantiam sauciata, medicinalis parcimoniæ studio reformetur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that the dignity of human nature, which hath been wounded by excess, may be cured by the practice of healing temperance. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle

Lectio Danielis Prophetæ.

Cap. iii.

In diebus illis: Oravit Azarias Dominum dicens: Domine Deus noster, ne quæsumus, tradas nos in perpetuum propter nomen tuum, et ne dissipes testamentum tuum: neque auferas misericordiam tuam a nobis, propter Abraham dilectum tuum, et Isaac servum tuum, et Israel sanctum tuum; quibus locutus es, pollicens quod multiplicares semen eorum sicut stellae cœli, et sicut arenam quæ est in littore maris: quia, Domine, imminuti sumus plus quam omnes gentes,sumusque humiles in universa terra hodie propter peccata nostra. Et non est in tempore hoc princeps, et dux, et propheta, neque ho locaustum, neque sacrificium, neque oblatio, neque incensum, neque locus primitiarum coram te, ut possimus invenire misericordiam tuam: sed in animo contrito, et spiritu humilitatis suscipiamur. Sicut in holocausto arietum, et taurorum, et sicut in millibus agnorum pinguium: sic fiat sacrificium nostrum in conspectu tuo hodie, ut placeat tibi: quoniam non est confusio confidentibus in te. Et nunc sequimur te in toto corde, et timemus te, et quærimus faciem tuam. Ne confundas nos, sed fac nobiscum juxta mansuetudinem tuam, et secundum multitudinem misericordiæ tuæ. Et erue nos in mirabilibus tuis, et da gloriam nomini tuo, Domine: et confundantur omnes qui ostendunt servis tuis mala, confundantur in omnipotentia tua, et robur eorum conteratur; et sciant quia tu es Dominus Deus solus, et gloriosus super orbem terrarum, Domine Deus noster.
Lesson from Daniel the Prophet.

Ch. iii.

In those days, Azarias prayed to the Lord saying: O Lord our God, deliver us not up for ever, we beseech thee, for thy name’s sake, and abolish not thy covenant: and take not away thy mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham thy beloved, and Isaac thy servant, and Israel thy holy one; to whom thou hast spoken, promising that thou wouldst multiply their seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is on the sea shore. For we, O Lord, are diminished more than any nation, and are brought low in all the earth this day for our sins. Neither is there at this time prince, or leader, or prophet, or holocaust, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, or place of first-fruits before thee, that we may find thy mercy: nevertheless, in a contrite heart and humble spirit, let us be accepted. As in holocausts of rams, and bullocks, and as in thousands of fat lambs: so let our sacrifice be made in thy sight this day, that it may please thee: for there is no confusion to them that trust in thee. And now we follow thee with all our heart, and we fear thee, and seek thy face. Put us not to confusion, but deal with us according to thy meekness, and according to the multitude of thy mercies. And deliver us according to thy wonderful works, and give glory to thy name, O Lord; and let all them be confounded that show evils to thy servants, let them be confounded in all thy might, and let their strength be broken; and let them know that thou art the Lord, the only God, and glorious over all the world, O Lord our God.

Thus did Juda, when captive in Babylon, pour forth her prayers to God, by the mouth of Azarias. Sion was desolate beyond measure; her people were in exile; her solemnities were hushed. Her children were to continue in a strange land for seventy years; after which God would be mindful of them, and lead them, by the hand of Cyrus, back to Jerusalem, when the building of the second temple would be begun, that temple which was to receive the Messias within its walls. What crime had Juda committed, that she should be thus severely punished? The daughter of Sion had fallen into idolatry; she had broken the sacred engagements which made her the bride of her God. Her crime, however, was expiated by these seventy years of captivity; and when she returned to the land of her fathers, she never relapsed into the worship of false gods. When the Son of God came to dwell in her, He found her innocent of idolatry. But scarcely had forty years elapsed after the Ascension of this divine Redeemer, than Juda was again an exile; not, indeed, led captive into Babylon, but dispersed in every nation under the sun, after having first seen the massacre of thousands of her children. This time it is not merely for seventy years, but for eighteen centuries, that she is without prince, or leader, or prophet, or holocaust, or sacrifice, or temple. Her new crime must be greater than idolatry; for, after all these long ages of suffering and humiliation, the justice of the Father is not appeased! It is, because the Blood that was shed by the Jewish people on Calvary was not the blood of a man—it was the Blood of a God. The very sight of the chastisement inflicted on the murderers proclaims to the world that they were deicides. Their crime was an unparalleled one; its punishment is to be so too; it is to last till the end of time, when God, for the sake of Abraham His beloved, and Isaac His servant, and Jacob His holy one, will visit Juda with an extraordinary grace, and her conversion will console the Church, whose affliction is then to be great by reason of the apostasy of many of her children. This spectacle of a whole people bearing on itself the curse of God for having crucified the Son of God, should make a Christian tremble for himself. It teaches him that divine justice is terrible, and that the Father demands an account of the Blood of His Son, even to the last drop, from those that shed it. Let us lose no time, but go at once, and, in this precious Blood, cleanse ourselves from the share we have had in the sin of the Jews; and, throwing off the chains of iniquity, let us imitate those among them whom we see, from time to time, separating themselves from their people and returning to the Messias: let us, also, be converts, and turn to that Jesus, whose hands are stretched out on the cross, ever ready to receive the humble penitent.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.

Cap. vii.

In illo tempore: Rogabat Jesum quidam de pharisæis, ut manducaret cum illo. Et ingressus domum pharisæi, discubuit. Et ecce mulier quæ erat in civitate peccatrix, ut cognovit quod accubuisset in domo pharisæi, attulit alabastrum unguenti; et stans retro secus pedes ejus, lacrymis cœpit rigare pedes ejus, et capillis capitis sui tergebat, et osculabatur pedes ejus, et unguento ungebat. Videns autem pharisæus, qui vocaverat eum, ait intra se dicens: Hic si esset Propheta sciret utique, quæ, et qualis est mulier, quæ tangit eum: quia peccatrix est. Et respondens Jesus, dixit ad illum: Simon, habeo tibi aliquid dicere. At ille ait: Magieter, dic. Duo debitores erant cuidam fœneratori: unus debebat denarios quingentos, et alius quinquaginta. Non habentibus illis unde redderent, donavit utrisque. Quis ergo eum plus diligit? Respondens Simon, dixit: Æstimo quia is, cui plus donavit. At ille dixit ei: Recte judicasti. Et conversus ad mulierem, dixit Simoni: Vides hanc mulierem? Intravi in domum tuam: aquam pedibus meis non dedisti; hæc autem lacrymis rigavit pedes meos, et capillis suis tersit. Osculum mihi non dedisti; hæc autem ex quo intravit, non cessavit osculari pedes meos. Oleo caput meum non unxisti; hæc autem unguento unxit pedes meos. Propter quod dico tibi: Remittuntur ei peccata multa, quoniam dilexit multum. Cui autem minus dimittitur, minus diligit. Dixit autem ad illam: Remittuntur tibi peccata. Et coeperunt qui simul accumbebant, dicere intra se: Quis est hic, qui etiam peccata dimittit? Dixit autem ad mulierem: Fides tua te salvam fecit: vade in pace.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.

Ch. vii.

At that time: one of the pharisees desired him to eat with him. And he went into the house of the pharisee, and sat down to meat. And behold a woman that was in the city, a sinner, when she knew that he sat at meat in the pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment; and standing behind at his feet, she began to wash his feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. And the pharisee, who had invited him, seeing it, spoke within himself, saying: This man, if he were a prophet, would know surely who and what manner of woman this is that touches him, that she is a sinner. And Jesus answering, said to him: Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee. But he said: Master, say it. A certain creditor had two debtors: the one owed him five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And whereas they had not wherewith to pay, he forgave them both. Which therefore of the two loveth him most? Simon answering, said: I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And he said to him: Thou hast judged rightly. And turning to the woman, he said unto Simon: Dost thou see this woman? I entered into thy house; thou gavest me no water for my feet, but she with tears hath washed my feet and with her hairs hath wiped them. Thou gavest me no kiss; but she, since she came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she with ointment hath anointed my feet. Wherefore I say to thee: Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much. But to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less. And he said to her: Thy sins are forgiven thee. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves; Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman: Thy faith hath made thee safe: go in peace.

What consolation there is for us in this Gospel, and how different are the reflections it suggests, from those we were just making upon the Epistle! The event here related does not belong to the time of our Saviour’s Passion; but, during these days of mercy, does it not behove us to glorify the meekness of that divine Heart, which is preparing to grant pardon to countless sinners throughout the world? Besides, is not Magdalene the inseparable companion of her dear crucified Master, even to Calvary? Let us, then, study this admirable penitent, this type of love faithful even to death.

Magdalene had led a wicked life: as the Gospel tells us elsewhere,[1] seven devils had taken up their abode within her. But, no sooner has she seen and heard Jesus, than immediately she is filled with a horror for sin; divine love is enkindled within her heart; she has but one desire: to make amends for her past life. Her sins have been public: her conversion must be so too. She has lived in vanity and luxury; she is resolved to give all up. Her perfumes are all to be for her God, her Jesus; that hair of hers, of which she has been so proud, shall serve to wipe His sacred feet; her eyes shall henceforth spend themselves in shedding tears of contrite love. The grace of the Holy Ghost urges her to go to Jesus. He is in the house of a pharisee, who is giving an entertainment. To go to Him now would be exposing herself to observation. She cares not. Taking with her an ointment of great worth, she makes her way in to the feast, throws herself at Jesus’ feet, washes them with her tears, wipes them with the hair of her head, kisses them, anoints them with the ointment. Jesus Himself tells us with what interior sentiments she accompanies these outward acts of respect: but even had He not spoken, her tears, her generosity, her position at His feet, tell us enough; she is heartbroken, she is grateful, she is humble: who but a pharisee could have mistaken her?

The pharisee, then is shocked! His heart has within it much of that Jewish pride which is soon to crucify the Messias. He looks disdainfully at Magdalene; he is disappointed with his Guest, and murmurs out his conclusion: This man, if He were a Prophet would surely know who and what manner of woman this is! Poor pharisee! If he had the spirit of God within him, he would recognize Jesus to be the promised Saviour, by this wonderful condescension shown to a penitent. With all his reputation as a pharisee, how contemptible he is compared with this woman! Jesus would give him a useful lesson, and draws the parallel between the two—Magdalene and the pharisee. He passes His own divine judgment on them, and the preference is given to Magdalene. What is it that has thus transformed her, and made her deserve, not only the pardon, but the praise, of Jesus? Her love: She hath loved her Redeemer, she hath loved Him much; and, therefore, she was forgiven much. A few hours ago this Magdalene loved but the world and its pleasures; now, she cares for nothing, sees nothing, loves nothing, but Jesus; she is a convert. Henceforward she keeps close to her divine Master; she is ambitious to supply His wants; but, above all, she longs to see and hear Him. When the hour of trial shall come, and His very apostles dare not be with Him, she will follow Him to Calvary, stand at the foot of the cross, and see Him die who has made her live. What an argument for hope is here, even for the worst of sinners! He to whom most is forgiven, is often the most fervent in love! You, then, whose souls are burdened with sins, think of your sins and confess them; but, most of all, think how you may most love. Let your love be in proportion to your pardon, and doubt it not: Your sins shall be forgiven.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Esto, quæsumus Domine, propitius plebi tuæ: ut quæ tibi non placent respuentes, tuorum potius repleantur delectationibus mandatorum. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

Be propitious, O Lord, we beseech thee, to thy people; that, forsaking what displeaseth thee, they may find comfort in keeping thy law. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us close this Thursday of Passion-week with the following devout hymn, taken from the Mozarabic breviary.

Hymn

Verbum Patris quod prodiit factum caro;
Agnus Dei peccata mundi auferens;
Ad te venimus cernui, ut inclytum
Bibamus almæ Passionis sanguinem.

Ostende vulnerum sacrorum stigmata:
Exsurgat insignis crucis fortissimum
Signum, quod in vigore perpetim manens,
Credentibus salvationem conferat.

Arundo, clavi, sputa, potus myrrheus,
Corona spinarum, flagella, lancea,
Impressa sunt damnationis verbera:
Jam nostra pro his cuncta dele crimina.

Fons vulneris sacri riget præcordia,
Lavet cruor malitiæque contagia:
Sit vita præsens absque omni crimine:
Futura detur in beato munere.

Ut cum resurgendi dies effulserit,
Orbique regni claritas illuxerit,
Sequamur ætheris viam quæ nos trahat
In se receptos jam perennes incolas.

Honor sit æterno Deo, sit gloria
Uni Patri, ejusque soli Filio
Cum Spiritu; quæ Trinitas perenniter
Vivit potens in sæculorum sæculis.

Amen.
O Word of the Father, that camest into this world, and wast made Flesh! O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world!
to thee do we come, and, in prostrate adoration, beseech thee to give us
to drink of the Blood shed for us in thy sacred Passion.

Show unto us the marks of thy divine wounds!
Let the invincible standard of thy glorious cross be raised on high,
and, by its imperishable power,
bring salvation to them that believe.

The reed, the nails, the spittle, the gall,
the crown of thorns, the whips, the spear
—these were the instruments of thy sufferings:
oh! cleanse us by them from all our sins.

May the Blood that gushed from thy sacred Wounds,
flow on our hearts and purify them from their stains of guilt,
enable us to pass through this world without sin,
and give us, in the next, the reward of bliss.

That when the resurrection day shall break upon the world,
brightening it with the splendours of the eternal kingdom,
we may ascend by the path that leads above,
and dwell in heaven, citizens eternal.

Honour be to the eternal God! Glory be
to the one Father, and to his only Son,
together with the Holy Ghost: the almighty Trinity,
that liveth unceasingly for ever and ever.

Amen.

Let us again borrow from the Greek Church the expression of our devotion to the holy cross.

Hymn
(Feria V. mediæ Septimanæ)

Securis quam Elisæus ex Jordane retulit, crucem significabat, qua ex profundo vanitatis retraxisti gentes lætis vocibus cantantes: Benedictus es, Deus patrum nostrorum.

Lætantur cum terra, cœlestia ob adorationem crucis tuæ; etenim per te angeli et homines conjuncti sunt, clamantes: Benedictus Dominus Deus noster.

Compassionem tamquam cupressum suaveolentem, fidem tamquam cedrum, veram charitatem tamquam pinum afferentes,[2] Domini crucem adoremus, glorificantes eum qui in illa affixus est, liberatorem.

Extendisti manus tuas in ligno, incontinentis manus peccatum dissolvens; lancea vulneratus es, eademque inimicum sauciasti. Fel gustasti, et male blandam malitiam exemisti; aceto potatus es, qui omnium lætitia es.

Ligno peccati interemptus sum, guetuque voluptuoso morti traditus. Vivifica me, Domine. Excita jacentem: fac me cruciatuum tuorum adoratorem, et participem divinæ resurrectionis, et cohæredem eorum qui te diligunt.

Gaudii signum, armatura invicta, apostolorum decus, pontificum robur, vires suffice languenti animæ meæ, et dignare me ut te adorem, laudesque tibi decantem, damans: Omnia opera Domini, laudate Dominum et superexaltate in sæcula.
The wood wherewith Eliseus drew the axe from the Jordan, was a figure of thy cross, O Jesus! wherewith thou didst draw, from the depths of their vanities, the nations that thus sing to thee in joy: Blessed art thou the God of our Fathers!

The heavens rejoice together with the earth, as we venerate thy cross; for it is by thee that angels and men are united and sing: Blessed is the Lord our God!

Venerating the cross of our Lord, and venerating our Redeemer, who was nailed upon it, let us present him a threefold homage:[2] our compassion, like the fragrant cypress; our faith, like the cedar; our love, like the pine.

Thou didst stretch forth thy hands upon the cross, to show that ’twas thou didst destroy the sin done by the hand of licentious man. Thou wast wounded with the spear, that thou mightest wound our foe. Thou didst taste gall, that thou mightest turn evil pleasures from us. Thy drink was vinegar, that thou mightest be a joy to each of us.

I have eaten of the tree of sin, and it was my ruin; I have tasted a pleasure that has caused me death. Bring me to life, O Lord! Raise me from my fall. Make me an adorer of thy sufferings, a partner in thy Resurrection, a coheir of them that love thee.

O cross! thou standard of joy, thou armour invulnerable, thou glory of the apostles, thou strength of pontiffs: supply my languid soul with power, and oh! may I venerate thee, and thus cry out thy praises: ‘All ye works of the Lord, praise the Lord, and extol him, above all, for ever!'

 

[1] St. Mark xvi. 9.
[2] This is an allusion to the tradition, that the cross was formed of the three kinds of wood here mentioned. (Translator.)

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Station, at Rome, is in the church of Saint Stephen on Monte Celio. By a sort of prophetic presentiment, this church of the great proto-martyr was chosen as the place where the faithful were to assemble on the Friday of Passion-week, which was to be, at a future time, the feast consecrated to the Queen of martyrs.

Collect

Cordibus nostris, quæsumus, Domine, gratiam tuam benignus infunde; ut peccata nostra castigatione voluntaria cohibentes, temporaliter potius maceremur, quam snppliciis deputemur æternis. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Mercifully, O Lord, we beseech thee, pour forth thy grace into our hearts; that repressing our sins by voluntary mortifications, we may rather suffer for them in this life, than be condemned to eternal torments for them in the next. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle

Lectio Jeremiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. xvii.

In diebue illis, dixit Jeremias: Domine, omnes qui te derelinquunt, confundentur: recedentes a te in terra scribentur: quoniam dereliquerunt venam aquarum viventium, Dnminum. Sana me, Domine, et sanabor: salvum me fac, et salvus ero: quoniam laus mea tu es. Ecce ipsi dicunt ad me: Ubi est verbum Domini? veniat. Et ego non sum turbatus, te Pastorem sequens: et diem hominis non desideravi, tu scis. Quod egressum est de labile meis, rectum in conspectu tuo fuit. Non sis tu mihi formidini; spes mea tu in die afflictionis. Confundantur qui me persequuntur, et non confundar ego: paveant illi, et non paveam ego: induc super eos diem afflictionis, et duplici contritione contere eos, Domine Deus noster.
Lesson from Jeremias the Prophet.

Ch. xvii.

In those days, Jeremias said: O Lord, all that forsake thee shall be confounded: they that depart from thee, shall be written in the earth, (as on sand, from which their names shall soon he effaced,) because they have forsaken the Lord, the vein of living waters. Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed, save me and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. Behold they say to me: where is the word of the Lord? let it come. And I am not troubled, following thee for my pastor, and I have not desired the day of man, thou knowest. That which went out of my lips, hath been right in thy sight. Be not thou a terror unto me; thou art my hope in the day of affliction. Let them be confounded that persecute me, and let not me be confounded: let them be afraid, and let not me be afraid: bring upon them the day of affliction, and with a double destruction destroy them, O Lord our God.

Jeremias is one of the most striking figures of the Messias persecuted by the Jews. It is on this account, that the Church selects from this prophet so many of her lessons during these two weeks that are sacred to the Passion. In the passage chosen for to-day’s Epistle, we have the complaint addressed to God by this just man against those that persecute him; and it is in the name of Christ that he speaks. He says: They have forsaken the Lord, the vein of living waters. How forcibly do these words describe the malice, both of the Jews that crucified, and of sinners that still crucify, Jesus our Lord! As to the Jews, they had forgotten the rock, whence came to them the living water which quenched their thirst in the desert; or, if they have not forgotten the history of this mysterious rock, they refuse to take it as a type of the Messias.

And yet, they hear this Jesus crying out to them in the streets of Jerusalem, and saying: 'If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink.’[1] His virtues, His teachings. His miracles, the prophecies that are fulfilled in His person, all claim their confidence in Him; they should believe every word He says. But they are deaf to His invitation; and how many Christians imitate them in their obduracy! How many there are, who once drank at the vein of living waters, and afterwards turned away, to seek to quench their thirst in the muddy waters of the world, which can only make them thirst the more! Let them tremble at the punishment that came upon the Jews; for, unless they return to the Lord their God, they must fall into those devouring and eternal flames, where even a drop of water is refused. Jesus, by the mouth of His prophet, tells the Jews that the day of affliction shall overtake them; and when, later on, He comes to them Himself, He forewarns them, that the tribulation which is to fall on Jerusalem, in punishment for her deicide, shall be so great that such hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be.[2] But if God so rigorously avenged the Blood of His Son against a city that was so long a place of the habitation of His glory, and against a people that He had preferred to all others, will He spare the sinner who, in spite of the Church’s entreaties, continues obstinate in his evil ways? Jerusalem had filled up the measure of her iniquities; we, also, have a measure of sin, beyond which the justice of God will not permit us to go. Let us sin no more: let us fill up that other measure, the measure of good works. Let us pray for those sinners who are to pass these days of grace without being converted; let us pray that this divine Blood, which is to be so generously given to them, but which they are about again to trample upon, may again spare them.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. xi.

In illo tempore: Collegerunt pontifices et pharisæi concilium ad versus Jesum, et dicebant: Quid facimus, quia hic homo multa signa facit? Si dimittimus eum sic, omnes credent in eum; et venient Romani, et tollent nostrum locum et gentem. Unus autem ex ipsis, Caiphas nomine, cum esset pontifex anni illius, dixit eis: Vos nescitis quidquam, nec cogitatis quia expedit vobis ut unus moriatur homo pro populo, et non tota gens pereat. Hoc autem a semetipso non dixit; sed cum esset pontifex anni illius prophetavit, quod Jesus moriturus erat pro gente; et non tantum pro gente sed ut filios Dei, qui erant dispersi, congregaret in unum. Ab illo ergo die cogitaverunt ut interficerent eum. Jesus ergo jam non in palam ambulabat apud Judæos, sed abiit in regionem juxta desertum, in civitatem quæ dicitur Ephrem, et ibi morabatur cum discipulis suis.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. xi.

At that time: The chief priests and pharisees gathered a council against Jesus, and said: What do we, for this man doth many miracles? If we let him alone so, all men will believe in him; and the Romans will come, and take away our place and nation. But one of them, named Caiphas, being the high-priest that year, said to them: You know nothing, neither do you consider that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this he spoke not of himself; but being the high-priest of that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation; and not only for the nation, but to gather together in one the children of God, that were dispersed. From that day therefore they devised to put him to death. Wherefore Jesus walked no more openly among the Jews, but he went into a country near the desert, unto a city that is called Ephrem, and there he abode with his disciples.

Jesus is more than ever in danger of losing His life! The council of the nation assembles to devise a plan for His destruction. Listen to these men, slaves of that vilest of passions, jealousy. They do not deny the miracles of Jesus; therefore they are in a condition to pass judgment upon Him, and the judgment ought to be favourable. But they have not assembled to examine if He be or be not the Messias; it is to discuss the best plan for putting Him to death. And what argument will they bring forward to palliate the evident murder they contemplate? Political interests—their country’s good. They argue thus: ‘If Jesus be longer allowed to appear in public and work miracles, Judea will rise up in rebellion against the Romans, who now govern us, and will proclaim Jesus to bo King; Rome will never allow us, the weakest of her tributaries, to insult her with impunity, and, in in order to avenge the outrage offered to the Capitol, her armies will come and exterminate us.’ Senseless counsellors! If Jesus had come that He might be King after this world’s fashion, all the powers of the earth could not have prevented it. Again—how is it that these chief priests and pharisees, who know the Scriptures by heart, never once think of that prophecy of Daniel, which foretells that, in seventy weeks of years after the going forth of the decree for the rebuilding of the temple, the Christ shall be slain, and the people that shall deny Him shall cease to be His: moreover, that, after this crime, a people led on by a commander shall come and destroy Jerusalem; the abomination of desolation shall enter the holy place, the temple shall be destroyed, and the desolation shall last even to the end.[3] How comes it, that this prophecy is lost sight of? Surely, if they thought of it, they would not put Christ to death; for, by putting Him to death, they ruin their country.

But to return to the council. The high-priest, who governed the Synagogue during the last days of the Mosaic Law, is a worthless man, by name Caiphas; he presides over the council. He puts on the sacred ephod, and he prophesies; his prophecy is from God, and is true. Let us not be astonished: the veil of the temple is not yet rent asunder; the covenant between God and Juda is not yet broken. Caiphas is a bloodthirsty man, a coward, a sacrilegious wretch; still, he is high-priest, and God speaks by his mouth. Let us hearken to this second Balaam: Jesus shall die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but to gather in one the children of God, that were dispersed. Thus, the Synagogue is near her end, and is compelled to prophesy the birth of the Church, and that this birth is to be by the shedding of Jesus’ Blood. Here and there throughout the world, there are children of God who serve Him among the Gentiles, as did the centurion Cornelius; but there is no visible bond of union among them. The time is at hand, when the great and only city of God is to appear on the mountain, and all nations shall flow unto it.[4] As soon as the Blood of the new Testament shall have been shed, and the Conqueror of death shall have risen from the grave, the day of Pentecost willconvoke, not the Jews to the temple of Jerusalem, but all nations to the Church of Jesus Christ. By that time, Caiphas will have forgotten the prophecy he uttered; he will have ordered his servants to piece together the veil of the Holy of holies, which was torn in two at the moment of Jesus’ death; but this veil will serve no purpose, for the Holy of holies will be no longer there: a clean oblation will be offered up in every place, the Sacrifice of the new Law;[5] and scarcely shall the avengers of Jesus’ death have appeared on Mount Olivet, than a voice will be heard in the sanctuary of the repudiated temple, saying: ‘Let us go out from this place!’

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut qui protectionis tuæ gratiam quærimus, liberati a malis omnibus, secura tibi mente serviamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we who seek the honour of thy protection, may be delivered from all evil, and serve thee with a secure mind. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

THE SEVEN DOLOURS OF OUR LADY

 

This Friday of Passion-week is consecrated in a special manner, to the sufferings which the holy Mother of God endured at the foot of the cross. The whole of next week is fully taken up with the celebration of the mysteries of Jesus’ Passion; and although the remembrance of Mary’s share in those sufferings is often brought before the faithful during Holy Week, yet, the thought of what her Son, our divine Redeemer, goes through for our salvation, so absorbs our attention and love, that it is not then possible to honour, as it deserves, the sublime mystery of the Mother’s com-passion.

It was but fitting, therefore, that one day in the year should be set apart for this sacred duty: and what day could be more appropriate than the Friday of this week, which, though sacred to the Passion, admits the celebration of saints’ feasts, as we have already noticed? As far back as the fifteenth century (that is, in the year 1423), we find the pious archbishop of Cologne, Theodoric, prescribing this feast to be kept by his people.[6] It was gradually introduced, and with the knowledge of the holy See, into several other countries; and at length, in the last century, Pope Benedict XIII, by a decree dated August 22, 1727, ordered it to be kept in the whole Church under the name of the Feast of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for, up to this time, it had gone under various names. We will explain the title thus given to it, as also the first origin of the devotion of the Seven Dolours, when our Liturgical Year brings us to the third Sunday of September, the second feast of Mary’s Dolours. What the Church proposes to her children’s devotion for this Friday of Passion-week, is that one special dolour of Mary—her standing at the foot of the cross. Among the various titles given to this feast before it was extended by the holy See to the whole Church, we may mention, Our Lady of Pity, the Compassion of our Lady, and the one that was so popular throughout France, Notre Dame de la Pamoison. These few historical observations prove that this feast was dear to the devotion of the people, even before it received the solemn sanction of the Church.

That we may clearly understand the object of this feast, and spend it, as the Church would have us do, in paying due honour to the Mother of God and of men, we must recall to our minds this great truth: that God, in the designs of His infinite wisdom, has willed that Mary should have a share in the work of the world’s redemption. The mystery of the present feast is one of the applications of this divine law, a law which reveals to us the whole magnificence of God’s plan; it is, also, one of the many realizations of the prophecy, that satan’s pride was to be crushed by a woman. In the work of our redemption there are three interventions of Mary; that is, she was thrice called upon to take part in what God Himself did. The first of these was in the Incarnation of the Word, who would not take flesh in her virginal womb until she had given her consent to become His Mother; and this she gave by that solemn Fiat which blessed the world with a Saviour. The second was in the sacrifice which Jesus consummated on Calvary, where she was present that she might take part in the expiatory offering. The third was on the day of Pentecost, when she received the Holy Ghost, as did the apostles, in order that she might effectively labour in the establishment of the Church. We have already explained, on the feast of the Annunciation, the share Mary had in that wonderful mystery of the Incarnation, which God wrought for His own glory and for man’s redemption and sanctification. On the feast of Pentecost we shall speak of the Church commencing and progressing under the active influence of the Mother of God. To-day we must show what part she took in the mystery of her Son’s Passion; we must tell the sufferings, the Dolours, she endured at the foot of the cross, and the claims she thereby won to our filial gratitude.

On the fortieth day after the birth of our Emmanuel, we followed to the temple the happy Mother carrying her divine Babe in her arms. A venerable old man was there, waiting to receive her Child; and, when he had Him in his arms, he proclaimed Him to be the Light of the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel. But, turning to the Mother, he spoke to her these heart-rending words: ‘Behold! this Child is set to be a sign that shall be contradicted, and a sword shall pierce thine own soul.’ This prophecy of sorrow for the Mother told us that the holy joys of Christmas were over, and that the season of trial, for both Jesus and Mary, had begun. It had, indeed, begun; for, from the night of the flight into Egypt, up to this present day, when the malice of the Jews is plotting the great crime, what else has the life of our Jesus been, but the bearing of humiliation, insult, persecution, and ingratitude? And if so, what has the Mother gone through? what ceaseless anxiety? what endless anguish of heart? But let us pass by all her other sufferings, and come to the morning of the great Friday.

Mary knows that, on the previous night, her Son has been betrayed by one of His disciples, that is, by one that Jesus had numbered among His intimate friends; she herself had often given him proofs of her maternal affection. After a cruel Agony, her Son has been manacled as a malefactor, and led by armed men to Caiphas, His worst enemy. Thence, they have dragged Him before the Roman governor, whose sanction the chief priests and scribes must have before they can put Jesus to death. Mary is in Jerusalem; Magdalene, and the other holy women, the friends of Jesus, are with her; but they cannot prevent her from hearing the loud shouts of the people, and if they could, how is such a heart as hers to be slow in its forebodings? The report spreads rapidly through the city that the Roman governor is being urged to sentence Jesus to be crucified. Whilst the entire populace is on the move towards Calvary, shouting out their blasphemous insults at her Jesus, will His Mother keep away, she that bore Him in her womb, and fed Him at her breast? Shall His enemies be eager to glut their eyes with the cruel sight, and His own Mother be afraid to be near Him?

The air resounded with the yells of the mob. Joseph of Arimathea, the noble counseller, was not there, neither was the learned Nicodemus; they kept at home, grieving over what was done. The crowd that went before and after the divine Victim was made up of wretches without hearts, saving only a few who were seen to weep as they went along; they were women; Jesus saw them, and spoke to them. And if these women from mere sentiments of veneration, or, at most, of gratitude, thus testified their compassion, would Mary do less? Could she bear to be elsewhere than close to her Jesus? Our motive for insisting so much upon this point is that we may show our detestation of that school of modern rationalism, which, regardless of the instincts of a mother’s heart and of all tradition, has dared to call in question the meeting of Jesus and Mary on the way to Calvary. These systematic contradictors are too prudent to deny that Mary was present when Jesus was crucified; the Gospel is too explicit: Mary stood near the cross:[7] but they would persuade us that, whilst the daughters of Jerusalem courageously walked after Jesus, Mary went up to Calvary by some secret path! What a heartless insult to the love of the incomparable Mother.

No; Mary, who is, by excellence, the valiant woman,[8] was with Jesus as He carried His cross. And who could describe her anguish and her love, as her eye met that of her Son tottering under His heavy load? Who could tell the affection and the resignation of the look He gave her in return? Who could depict the eager and respectful tenderness wherewith Magdalene and the other holy women grouped around this Mother, as she followed her Jesus up to Calvary, there to see Him crucified and die? The distance between the fourth and the tenth Station of the Dolorous Way is long: it is marked with Jesus’ Blood, and with His Mother’s tears.

Jesus and Mary have reached the summit of the hill that is to be the altar of the holiest and most cruel Sacrifice: but the divine decree permits not the Mother as yet to approach her Son. When the Victim is ready, then she that is to offer Him shall come forward. Meanwhile, they nail her Jesus to the cross; and each blow of the hammer is a wound to Mary’s heart. When, at last, she is permitted to approach, accompanied by the beloved disciple (who has made amends for his cowardly flight), and the disconsolate Magdalene and the other holy women, what unutterable anguish must have filled the soul of this Mother, when raising up her eyes, she sees the mangled Body of her Son, stretched upon the cross, with His face all covered with blood, and His head wreathed with a crown of thorns!

Here, then, is this King of Israel, of whom the angel had told her such glorious things in his prophecy! Here is that Son of hers, whom she has loved both as her God and as the fruit of her own womb! And who are they that have reduced Him to this pitiable state? Men—for whose sake rather than for her own, she conceived Him, gave Him birth, and nourished Him! Oh! if by one of those miracles, which His heavenly Father could so easily work, He might be again restored to her! If that divine justice, which He has taken upon Himself to appease, would be satisfied with what He has already suffered I But no: He must die; He must breathe forth His blessed Soul after a long and cruel agony.

Mary then is at the foot of the cross, there to witness the death of her Son. He is soon to be separated from her. In three hours’ time, all that will be left her of this beloved Jesus will be a lifeless Body, wounded from head to foot. Our words are too cold for such a scene as this: let us listen to those of St Bernard, which the Church has inserted in her Matins of this feast. ‘O blessed Mother! a sword of sorrow pierced thy soul, and we may well call thee more than martyr, for the intensity of thy compassion surpassed all that a bodily passion could produce. Could any sword have made thee smart so much as that word which pierced thy heart, reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit: “Woman! behold thy Son!” What an exchange! John for Jesus! the servant, for the Lord! the disciple for the Master! the son of Zebedee, for the Son of God! a mere man, for the very God! How must thy most loving heart have been pierced with the sound of those words, when even ours, that are hard as stone and steel, break down as we think of them! Ah! my brethren, be not surprised when you are told that Mary was a martyr in her soul. Let him alone be surprised, who has forgotten that St. Paul counts it as one of the greatest sins of the Gentiles, that they were without affection. Who could say that of Mary? God forbid it be said of us, the servants of Mary!’[9]

Amid the shouts and insults vociferated by the enemies of Jesus, Mary’s quick ear has heard these words, which tell her, that the only son she is hence forth to have on earth is one of adoption. Her maternal joys of Bethlehem and Nazareth are all gone; they make her present sorrow the bitterer; she was the Mother of a God, and men have taken Him from her! Her last and fondest look at her Jesus, her own dearest Jesus, tells her that He is suffering a burning thirst, and she cannot give Him to drink! His eyes grow dim; His head droops; all is consummated!

Mary cannot leave the cross; love brought her thither; love keeps her there, whatever may happen! A soldier advances near that hallowed spot; she sees him lift up his spear, and thrust it through the breast of the sacred Corpse. ‘Ah,’ cries out St. Bernard, ‘that thrust is through thy soul, O blessed Mother! It could but open His side, but it pierced thy very soul. His Soul was not there; thine was, and could not but be so.’[10] The undaunted Mother keeps close to the Body of her Son. She watches them as they take it down from the cross; and when, at last, the friends of Jesus, with all the respect due to both Mother and Son, enable her to embrace it, she raises it upon her lap, and He that once lay upon her knees receiving the homage of the eastern kings, now lies there cold, mangled, bleeding, dead! And as she looks upon the wounds of the divine Victim, she gives them the highest honour in the power of creatures: she kisses them, she bathes them with her tears, she adores them, but oh! with what intensity of grief!

The hour is far advanced; and before sunset, He, Jesus, the author of life, must be buried. The Mother puts the whole vehemence of her love into a last kiss, and oppressed with a bitterness great as is the sea,[11] she makes over this adorable Body to them that have to embalm and then lay it on the sepulchral slab. The sepulchre is closed; and Mary, accompanied by John, her adopted son, and Magdalene, and the holy women, and the two disciples that have presided over the burial, returns sorrowing to the deicide city.

Now, in all this, there is another mystery besides that of Mary’s sufferings. Her dolours at the foot of the cross include and imply a truth, which we must not pass by, or we shall not understand the full beauty of to-day’s feast. Why would God have her assist in person at such a scene as this of Calvary? Why was not she, as well as Joseph, taken out of this world before this terrible day of Jesus’ death? Because God had assigned her a great office for that day, and it was to be under the tree of the cross that she, the second Eve, was to discharge her office. As the heavenly Father had waited for her consent before He sent His Son into the world: so, likewise, He called for her obedience and devotedness, when the hour came for that Son to be offered up in sacrifice for the world’s redemption. Was not Jesus hers? her Child? her own and dearest treasure? And yet, God gave Him not to her, until she had consented to become His Mother; in like manner, He would not take Him from her, unless she gave Him back.

But see what this involved, see what a struggle it entailed upon this most loving heart! It is the injustice, the cruelty, of men that rob her of her Son; how can she, His Mother, ratify, by her consent, the death of Him, whom she loved with a twofold love, as her Son, and as her God? But, on the other hand, if Jesus be not put to death, the human race is left a prey to satan, sin is not atoned for, and all the honours and joys of her being Mother of God are of no use or blessing to us. This Virgin of Nazareth, this noblest heart, this purest creature, whose affections were never blunted with the selfishness which so easily makes its way into souls that have been wounded by original sin, what will she do? Her devotedness to mankind, her conformity with the will of her Son who so vehemently desires the world’s salvation, lead her, a second time, to pronounce the solemn Fiat: she consents to the immolation of her Son. It is not God’s justice that takes Him from her; it is she herself that gives Him up. But, in return, she is raised to a degree of greatness, which her humility could never have suspected was to be hers: an ineffable union is made to exist between the two offerings, that of the Incarnate Word, and that of Mary; the Blood of the divine Victim, and the tears of the Mother, flow together for the redemption of mankind.

We can now understand the conduct and the courage of this Mother of sorrows. Unlike that other mother, of whom the Scripture speaks—the unhappy Agar, who after having sought in vain how she might quench the thirst of her Ismael in the desert, withdrew from him that she might not see him die—Mary no sooner hears that Jesus is condemned to death, than she rises, hastens to Him, and follows Him to the place where He is to die. And what is her attitude at the foot of His cross? Does her matchless grief overpower her? Does she swoon? or fall? No: the Evangelist says: ‘There stood by the cross of Jesus, His Mother.’[12] The sacrificing priest stands, when offering at the altar; Mary stood for such a sacrifice as hers was to be. St. Ambrose, whose affectionate heart and profound appreciation of the mysteries of religion have revealed to us so many precious traits of Mary’s character, thus speaks of her position at the foot of the cross: ‘She stood opposite the cross, gazing with maternal love on the wounds of her Son; and thus she stood, not waiting for her Jesus to die, but for the world to be saved.’[13]

Thus, this Mother of sorrows, when standing on Calvary, blessed us who deserved but maledictions; she loved us; she sacrificed her Son for our salvation. In spite of all the feelings of her maternal heart, she gave back to the eternal Father the divine treasure He had entrusted to her keeping. The sword pierced through and through her soul, but we were saved; and she, though a mere creature, co-operated with her Son in the work of our salvation. Can we wonder, after this, that Jesus chose this moment for making her the Mother of men, in the person of John the evangelist, who represented us? Never had Mary’s heart loved us as she did then; from that time forward, therefore, let this second Eve be the true Mother of the living![14] The sword, by piercing her immaculate heart, has given us admission there. For time and eternity, Mary will extend to us the love she has borne for her Son, for she has just heard Him saying to her that we are her children. He is our Lord, for He has redeemed us; she is our Lady, for she generously co-operated in our redemption.

Animated by this confidence, O Mother of sorrows! we come before thee, on this feast of thy dolours, to offer thee our filial love. Jesus, the blessed Fruit of thy womb, filled thee with joy as thou gavest Him birth; we, thy adopted children, entered into thy heart by the cruel piercing of the sword of suffering. And yet, O Mary! love us, for thou didst co-operate with our divine Redeemer in saving us. How can we not trust in the love of thy generous heart, when we know that, for our salvation, thou didst unite thyself to the Sacrifice of thy Jesus? What proofs hast thou unceasingly given us of thy maternal tenderness, O Queen of mercy! O refuge of sinners! O untiring advocate for us in all our miseries! Deign, sweet Mother, to watch over us, during these days of grace. Give us to feel and relish the Passion of thy Son. It was consummated in thy presence; thine own share in it was magnificent! Oh! make us enter into all its mysteries, that so our souls, redeemed by the Blood of thy Son, and helped by thy tears, may be thoroughly converted to the Lord, and persevere, henceforward, faithful in His service.

Let us now recite the devout Complaint, whereby the Church unites herself with Mary’s Dolours.

Sequence

 

Stabat Mater dolorosa,
Juxta crucem lacrymosa,
Dum pendebat Filius.

Cujus animam gementem,
Contristatam et dolentem,
Pertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta
Mater Unigeniti!

Quæ mærebat et dolebat,
Pia Mater, dum videbat
Nati pænas inclyti.

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si videret
In tanto supplicio?

Quis non posset contristari,
Christi Matrem contemplari
Dolentem cum Filio?

Pro peccatis suæ gentis
Vidit Jesum in tormentis,
Et flagellis subditum.

Vidit suum dulcem Natum
Moriendo desolatum,
Dum emisit spiritum.

Eia, Mater, fons amoris,
Me sentire vim doloris
Fac ut tecum lugeam.

Fac ut ardeat cor meum
In amando Christum Deum,
Ut sibi complaceam.

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
Crucifixi fige plagas
Cordi meo valide.

Tui Nati vulnerati,
Tam dignati pro me pati,
Pænas mecum divide.

Fac me tecum pie flere,
Crucifixo condolere,
Donec ego vixero.

Juxta crucem tecum stare,
Et me tibi sociare
In planctu desidero.

Virgo virginum præclara,
Mihi jam non sis amara:
Fac me tecum plangere.

Fac ut portem Christi mortem,
Passionis fac consortem,
Et plagas recolere.

Fac me plagas vulneran,
Fac me cruce inebriari,
Et cruore Filii.

Flammis ne urar succensus,
Per te, Virgo, sim defensus,
In die judicii.

Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
Da per Matrem me venire
Ad palmam victoriæ.

Quando corpus morietur,
Fac ut animæ donetur
Paradisi gloria.

Amen.
Near the cross, while on it
hung her Son, the sorrowing
Mother stood and wept.

A sword pierced her soul,
that sighed, and mourned,
and grieved.

Oh! how sad, and how afflicted,
was that blessed Mother
of an only Son!

The loving Mother sorrowed
and mourned at seeing
her divine Son suffer.

Who is there would not weep
to see Jesus’ Mother
in such suffering?

Who is there could contemplate
the Mother and the Son in sorrow,
and not join his own with theirs?

Mary saw her Jesus
tormented and scourged
for the sins of his people.

She saw her sweet Child abandoned by all,
as he breathed forth
his soul and died.

Ah, Mother, fount of love,
make me feel the force of sorrow;
make me weep with thee!

Make this heart of mine burn
with the love of Jesus my God,
that so I may content his heart.

Do this, O holy Mother:
deeply stamp the wounds
of the Crucified upon my heart.

Let me share with thee the sufferings of thy Son,
for it is for me he graciously deigned
to be wounded and to suffer.

Make me lovingly weep with thee:
make me compassionate with thee our crucified Jesus,
as long as life shall last.

This is my desire,
to stand nigh the cross with thee,
and be a sharer in thy grief.

Peerless Virgin of virgins!
be not displeased at my prayer:
make me weep with thee.

Make me to carry the death of Jesus;
make me a partner of his Passion,
an adorer of his Wounds.

Make me to be wounded with his Wounds;
make me to be inebriated with the cross
and Blood of thy Son.

And that I may not suffer the eternal flames,
let me be defended by thee, O Virgin,
on the day of judgment!

O Jesus! when my hour of death comes,
let me, by thy Mother’s aid,
come to my crown of victory.

And when my body dies,
oh! give to my soul
the reward of heaven’s glory.

Amen.

Let us recite the concluding stanzas of the Greek hymn in honour of the holy cross.

Hymn
(Feria IV. mediæ Septimanæ)

Adeste; crucem Domini propositam, jejuniis expiati, cum desiderio amplectamur. Est enim thesaurus sanctificationis et potentiæ, per quam laudamus Christum in sæcula.

Hæc crux tripartita et magna, vilis initio apparens, nunc cœlum tangit virtute sua, hominesque ad Deum semper sursum ducit; per quam laudamus Christum in sæcula.

Honoretur hoc sacratissimum lignum, quod jam olim propheta in panem Christi immissum esse ab Israelitis, qui eum crucifixerunt, vaticinatus est; quem superexaltamus in sæcula.

Montes dulcedinem, et colies exsultationem stillate. Ligna campi, cedri Libani, choreas ducite ob hodiernam vivificæ crucis adorationem. Prophetæ, martyres, apostoli et spiritus justorum, exilite.

Respice in populum et in clerum tuum, Domine, qui cum desiderio laudes tuas canit, cujus gratia mortem subiisti. Ne vincat misericordiam tuam infinita multitudo malorum nostrorum, sed salva omnes, o benignissime, per crucem tuam.

Divina armatura vitæ meæ es, o crux; in te Dominus ascendens, servavit me. Latere vulnerato fudit sanguinem et aquam, cujus particeps factus exsulto, Christum glorificans.

Divinum Regis sceptrum crux es, exercitus fortitudo; in tua fiducia profligamus hostes; nobis qui te adoramus, semper concede ad versus barbaros victorias.
Come, let us devoutly embrace the cross of our Lord that is exposed before us, for our fasts have made us pure. The cross is a treasure of holiness and power, and by it we give eternal praise to Christ.

This triple and glorious cross, contemptible as it seemed at first, now reaches to the very heavens with its power, ever raising and leading men up to God. By it we give eternal praise to Christ.

Honour to this most sacred Wood, which as the prophet anciently foretold was to be put in the bread of Christ, by them that crucified him; to him be praise above all for ever.

Rain down sweetness, O ye mountains! and ye, O hills, your gladness! Trees of the field, cedars of Libanus, exult with joy, for on this day we venerate the life-giving cross. Prophets, martyrs, apostles, spirits of the just, rejoice!

Look down, O Lord, upon thy people and clergy, who now devoutly sing thy praise, and for whose sake thou didst suffer death. Let not the countless number of our sins outdo thy mercy, but save us, most loving Jesus, by thy cross!

O cross! thou art the sacred armour of my life. My Lord saved me by ascending upon thee. From his wounded side there flowed Blood and Water, of which being made a partaker, I exult, and give glory to Christ.

O cross! thou art the divine sceptre of the King; thou art the strength of them that wage war; it is our confidence in thee that makes us put our enemies to flight. Oh ever grant to us who honour thee, victory over the barbarians.

[1] St. John vii. 37.
[2] St. Matt. xxiv. 21.
[3] Dan. ix. 25-27.
[4] Is. ii. 2.
[5] Malach. i. 11.
[6] Labb. Concil. t. xii. p. 365.
[7] St. John xix. 25.
[8] Prov. xxxi. 10.
[9] Sermon on the twelve stars.
[10] Sermon on the twelve stars.
[11] Lam. i. 4, ii. 13.
[12] St. John xix. 25.
[13] In Lucam cap. xxiii.
[14] Gen. iii. 20.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

To-day we begin, as does the holy Gospel, to number the days which precede the death, the sacrifice, of the Lamb of God. St. John, in the twelfth chapter of his Gospel, tells us that this is the sixth day before the Pasch.

Jesus is in Bethania, where a feast is being given in His honour. Lazarus, whom Jesus has restored to life, is present at this repast, which is given in the house of Simon the leper. Martha is busy looking after the various arrangements; her sister, Mary Magdalene, has a heavenly presentiment that the death and burial of her beloved Master are soon to be, and she has poured upon Him a precious perfume. The holy Gospel, which ever preserves such a mysterious reserve with regard to the Mother of Jesus, does not tell us that Mary was at Bethania on this occasion, but there can be no doubt of her being present. The apostles were also there, and partook of the repast. Whilst the friends of our Saviour are thus grouped around Him, in this village, which is about two thousand paces from Jerusalem, the aspect of the faithless city becomes more and more threatening; and yet, though His disciples are not aware of it, Jesus is to enter the city to-morrow, and in a most public manner. The heart of Mary is a prey to sadness; Magdalene is absorbed in grief; everything announces that the fatal day is near.

The Church has reserved for Monday next the Gospel which relates the history of this Saturday. The reason is that, formerly, and up to the twelfth century, there was no Station held on this day in Rome: it was left free, in order that the Pope might rest before the great fatigues of Holy Week, whose long and solemn services were to begin on the morrow. But, although he did not preside over the assembly of the faithful, he had to observe two usages, which had been handed down by tradition, and had almost become of liturgical importance in the Church at Rome.

During the whole year, the Pope used, every Sunday, to send a portion of the sacred Species consecrated by him, to each of the priests of the presbyterial titles, or parochial churches of the city. But it was to-day that this distribution was made for the whole of Holy Week, perhaps on account of to-morrow’s long service. We know from the ancient liturgical books of Rome, that it was in the Lateran consistory that to-day’s sacred distribution was made, and it is probable (as the blessed Cardinal Tommasi andBenedict XIV tell us) that the bishops of the suburbicarian churches were of the number of those who received it. We have several instances proving that, formerly, bishops occasionally sent to one another the blessed Sacrament, as a sign of the union that existed between them. With regard to the priests of the city parochial churches, to whom a Particle was sent by the Pope, they put a portion of it in the chalice before receiving the precious Blood.

The other custom, peculiar to this day, consisted in giving alms to all the poor. The Pope presided at this distribution, which was no doubt made ample enough to last the whole of the coming week, when, on account of the long ceremonies, it would scarcely be possible to attend to individual cases of poverty. The liturgists of the middle-ages allude to the beautiful appropriateness of the Roman Pontiff’s distributing alms with his own hand to the poor, on this day, the same on which Mary Magdalene embalmed with her perfumes the feet of Jesus.

Since the twelfth century, a Station has been assigned to this Saturday; it takes place in the Church of St. John before the Latin Gate. This ancient basilica is built near the spot where the beloved disciple was, by Domitian’s order, plunged into the cauldron of boiling oil.

Collect

Proficiat, quæsumus, Domine, plebs tibi dicata piæ devotionis affectu: ut sacris actionibus erudita, quanto majestati tuæ fit gratior, tanto donis potioribus augeatur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
May the people consecrated to thy service, we beseech thee, O Lord, improve in the affections of piety; that instructed by these holy mysteries, they may be so much the more enriched with thy heavenly gifts, as they become more acceptable to thy divine majesty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle

Lectio Jeremiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. xviii.

In diebus illis: Dixerunt impii Judæi ad invicem: Venite, et cogitemus contra Justum cogitationes: non enim peribit lex a sacerdote, neque consilium a sapiente, nec sermo a propheta: venite, et percutiamus eum lingua, et non attendamus ad universos sermones ejus. Attende, Domine, ad me; et audi vocem adversariorum meorum. Numquid redditur pro bono malum, quia foderunt foveam animæ meæ? Recordare quod steterim in conspectu tuo, ut loquerer pro eis bonum, et averterem indignationem tuam ab eis. Propterea da filios eorum in famem, et deduc eos in manus gladii; fiant uxores eorum absque liberis, et viduæ: et viri earum interficiantur morte: juvenes eorum confodiantur gladio in prælio. Audiatur clamor de domibus eorum: adduces enim super eos latronem repente: quia foderunt foveam ut caperent me, et laqueos absconderunt pedibus meis. Tu autem, Domine, scis omne consilium eorum adversum me in mortem: ne propitieris iniquitati eorum, et peccatum eorum a facie tua non deleatur: fiant comientes in conspectu tuo, in tempore furoris tui abutere eis, Domine Deus noster.
Lesson from Jeremias the Prophet.

Ch. xviii.

In those days, the wicked Jews said to one another: Come, and let us invent devices against the Just: for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us strike him with the tongue, and let us give no heed to all his words. Give heed to me, O Lord, and hear the voice of my adversaries. Shall evil be rendered for good, because they have digged a pit for my soul? Remember that I have stood in thy sight to speak good for them, and to turn away thy indignation from them. Therefore deliver up their children to famine, and bring them into the hands of the sword; let their wives be bereaved of children, and widows; and let their husbands be slain by death; let their young men be stabbed with the sword in battle. Let a cry be heard out of their houses; for thou shalt bring the robber upon them suddenly, because they have digged a pit to take me, and have hid snares for my feet. But thou, O Lord, knowest all their counsel against me unto death; forgive not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from thy sight: let them be overthrown before thy eyes, in the time of thy wrath do thou destroy them, O Lord our God.

It makes us tremble to read these awful anathemas, which Jeremias, the figure of Christ, speaks against his enemies, the Jews. This prophecy, which was literally fulfilled at the first destruction of Jerusalem by the Assyrians, received a more terrible fulfilment at the second visitation of God’s anger upon this city of malediction. This time, it was not because the Jews had persecuted a prophet; it was because they had rejected and crucified the very Son of God. It was to their long-expected Messias that they had rendered evil for good. It was not a saint, like Jeremias, that had spoken good for them to the Lord, and besought Him to turn away His indignation from them; the Man-God Himself had, without ceasing, made intercession for them, and treated them with the tenderest mercy. But all was in vain; this ungrateful people seemed to hate their divine Benefactor in proportion to His love for them; and at length, in the transport of their fury, they cried out: ‘His Blood be upon us and upon our children!’[1]What a frightful chastisement they entailed on themselves by this imprecation! God heard and remembered. Alas! the sinner, who knows Jesus and the worth of His Blood, yet who again sheds this precious Blood, does not he expose himself to the severity of that same justice which fell so heavily on the Jews? Let us tremble and pray: let us implore the divine mercy in favour of those many obstinately blind and hardened sinners, who are hastening to destruction. Oh! that by the fervour of our supplications addressed to the merciful Heart of our common Redeemer, we could obtain a reversion of their sentence, and secure them pardon!

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. xii.

In illo tempore: Cogitaverunt principes sacerdotum, ut et Lazarum interficerent: quia multi propter ilium abibant ex Judæis, et credebant in Jesum. In crastinum autem turba multa, quæ venerat ad diem festum, cum audissent quia venit Jesus Jerosolymam: acceperunt ramos palmarum, et processerunt obviam ei, et clamabant: Hosanna: benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini, Rex Israel. Et invenit Jesus asellum, et sedit super eum, sicut scriptum est: Noli timere, filia Sion: ecce Rex tuus venit sedens super pullum asinæ. Hæc non cognoverunt discipuli ejus primum: sed quando glorificatus est Jesus, tunc recordati sunt quia hæcerant scripta de eo: et hæc fecerunt ei.

Testimonium ergo perhibebat turba, quæ erat cum eo quando Lazarum vocavit de monumento, et suscitavit eum a mortuis. Propterea et obviam venit ei turba: quia audierunt eum fecisse hoc signum. Pharisæi ergo dixerunt ad semetipsos: Videtie quia nihil proficimus? Ecce mundus totus post eum abiit. Erant autem quidam Gentiles ex his, qui ascenderant ut adorarent in die festo. Hi ergo accesserunt ad Philippum, qui erat a Bethsaida Galilææ, et rogabant eum, dicentes: Domine, volumus Jesum videre. Venit Philippus, et dicit Andreæ: Andreas rursum et Philippus dixerunt Jesu.

Jesus autem, respondit eis, dicens: Venit hora, ut clarificetur Filius hominis. Amen, amen, dico vobis, nisi granum frumenti cadens in terrain, mortuum fuerit, ipsum solum manet. Si autem mortuum fuerit, multum fructum affert. Qui amat animam suam, perdet eam: et qui odit animam suam in hoc mundo, in vitam æternam custodit eam. Si quis mihi ministrat, me sequatur; et ubi sum ego, illic et minister meus erit. Si quis mihi ministraverit, honorificabit eum Pater meus. Nunc anima mea turbata est. Et quid dieam? Pater, salvifica me ex hac hora. Sed propterea veni in horam hanc. Pater, clarifica nomen tuum. Venit ergo vox de cœlo: Et clarificavi, et iterum clarificabo. Turba ergo, quæ stabat et audierat, dicebat tonitruum esse factum. Alii dicebant: Angelus ei locutus est.

Respondit Jesus, et dixit: Non propter me hæc vox venit, sed propter vos. Nunc judicium est mundi: nunc princeps hujus mundi ejicietur foras. Et ego si exaltatuB fuero a terra, omnia traham ad meipsum: (hoc autem dicebat, significans qua morte esset moriturus). Respondit ei turba: Nos audivimue ex lege, quia Christus manet in æternum: et quomodo tu dicis: Oportet exaltari Filium hominis? Quis est iste Filius hominis? Dixit ergo eis Jesus: Adhuc modicum lumen in vobis est. Ambulate dum lucem habetis, ut non vos tenebræ comprehendant: et qui ambulat in tenebris, nescit quo vadat. Dum lucem habetis, credite in lucem, ut filii lucis sitis. Hæc locutus est Jesus: et abiit, et abscondit se ab eis.

 

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. xii.

At that time: The chief priests thought to kill Lazarus also, because many of the Jews by reason of him went away, and believed in Jesus. And on the next day a great multitude, that was come to the festival day, when they had heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried: Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel! And Jesus found a young ass, and sat upon it, as it is written: Fear not, daughter of Sion; behold thy king cometh sitting on an ass’s colt. These things his disciples did not know at first; but when Jesus was glorified, they then remembered that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things to him.

The multitude therefore gave testimony, which was with him, when he called Lazarus out of the grave, and raised him from the dead. For which reason also the people came to meet him, because they heard that he had done this miracle. The pharisees therefore said among themselves: Do you see that we prevail nothing? behold the whole world is gone after him. Now there were certain Gentiles among them, who came up to adore on the festival day. These therefore came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him saying: Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh, and telleth Andrew. Again Andrew and Philip told Jesus.

But Jesus answered them, saying: The hour is come that the Son of man shall be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life, shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal. If any man minister to me, let him follow me; and where I am, there also shall my minister be. If any man minister to me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause I came unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. A voice therefore came from heaven: I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The multitude therefore that stood and heard, said that it thundered. Others said: An angel spoke to him.

Jesus answered and said: This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of the world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself. (Now this he said, signifying what death he should die.) The multitude answered him: We have heard out of the law, that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest thou: the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man? Jesus therefore said to them: Yet a little while, the light is among you. Walk whilst you have the light, that the darkness overtake you not; and he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. Whilst you have the light, believe in the light, that you may be children of light. These things Jesus spoke, and he went away and hid himself from them.

The enemies of Jesus have come to that pitch of hatred, which robs a man of his senses. Lazarus, who has been restored from death to life, is here standing before them; and instead of his resuscitation convincing them of Jesus’ being the Messias, it sets them thinking how best to make away with this irresistible witness. O senseless men! that Jesus who raised him to life when dead, can again bring him to life if you murder him. Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, which we are solemnly to commemorate to-morrow, adds to their jealousy and hatred. Behold} say they, we prevail nothing: the whole world goes after Him. Alas! this ovation is to be soon followed by one of those reverses to which a populace is so subject. Meanwhile, however, we have certain Gentiles who desire to see Jesus. It is the beginning of the fulfilment of Jesus’ prophecy: ‘The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and shall be given to a nation yielding the fruits thereof.’[2] Then shall the Son of man be glorified; then shall all nations, by their humble homage to the Crucified, protest against the sinful blindness of the Jews. But, before this comes to pass, it is requisite that the divine Wheat be cast into the ground, and die. Then, the glorious harvest; and the beautiful seed shall yield a hundredfold.

And yet, Jesus feels, in His human nature, a momentary fear at the thought of this death He is to undergo. It is not the agony in the garden; it is a trouble of soul. Let us listen to His words: Father! save Me from this hour. It is our God who foresees all that He is about to suffer for our sake, and it fills Him with fear: He asks to be freed from it, though His will has decreed and accepted it. He immediately adds: But for this cause I came unto this hour: Father! glorify Thy name. His soul is now calm; He once more accepts the hard conditions of our salvation. After this, His words bespeak a triumph; by virtue of the sacrifice about to be offered, satan shall be dethroned: the prince of this world shall be cast out. But the defeat of satan is not the only fruit of our Saviour’s immolation: man, earthly and depraved creature as he is, is to be raised from this earth to heaven. The Son of God is to be the heavenly loadstone, attracting man to Himself: And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself. He forgets His sufferings, and the terrible death which just now troubled Him; He thinks but of the defeat of our implacable enemy, and of our being saved and glorified by His cross. These few words reveal the whole Heart of our Redeemer: if we attentively weigh them, they will suffice to inflame us with devotion as we celebrate the ineffable mysteries of Holy Week.

Humiliate capita vestia Deo.

Tueatur quæsumus, Domine, dextera tua populum deprecantem, et purificatum dignanter erudiat: ut con8olatione præsenti, ad futura bona proficiat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

May thy right hand, O Lord, we beseech thee, protect thy people making supplication to thee, and purifying them from their sins, make them wise, that they may make such use of the comforts of this present life, as to arrive at that which is eternal. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us sue for mercy from the Saviour of our souls, in these words of supplication used in the Gothic liturgy of Spain.

Supplication
(Feria VI Dominicæ V)

℣. Miserere, et parce, clementissime Domine, populo tuo.
℟.Quia peccavimus tibi.

℣. De crucis throno aspice nos miseros, et passionum compeditos vinculis, nostris absolve, Redemptor, suppliciis.
℟. Quia peccavimus tibi.

℣. Passus flagella, et crucis injuriam, persecutorum sustinens convicia, dona delictis nostris poenitentiam.
℟. Quia peccavimus tibi.

℣. Qui justus judex, male judicatus es, et pænas crucis suscepisti innocens: tu nos a pænis nostris salva redimens.
℟. Quia peccavimus tibi.

℣. Vox tua Patrem pro nobis expostulet, quæ silens fuit olim ante judicem, ut te regnante perfruamur Domino.
℟.Quia peccavimus tibi.
℣. Have mercy upon, and spare, thy people, O most merciful Lord!
℟. For we have sinned against thee.

℣. Look down, from the throne of thy cross, upon us miserable creatures, who are fettered by the chains of our passions. Deliver us, O thou our Redeemer, from the punishments we deserve.
℟. For we have sinned against thee.

℣. O thou that wast scourged, ignominiously crucified, and insulted by them that persecuted thee! grant us repentance for our sins.
℟. For we have sinned against thee.

℣. O thou, the just Judge, that wast judged unjustly, and, though innocent, made to suffer the tortures of the cross! save us from our merited punishments, for thou art our Redeemer.
℟. For we have sinned against thee.

℣. O thou, that heretofore wast silent before the judge! raise up thy voice in pleading for us to thy Father, that we may be happy with thee, our King and Lord.
℟. For we have sinned against thee.

The following sequence, in praise of Mary, is most appropriate for this Saturday of Passion-week. It sweetly blends together the homages we owe to the cross of Jesus and to the dolours of Mary. We have taken it from the Horæ of the sixth century.

Sequence

Lignum vitæ quærimus,
Qui vitam amisimus
Fructu ligni vetiti.

Nec inventum noverit
Qui fructum non viderit
Adhærentem stipiti.

Fructus per quem vivitur
Pendet, sicut creditur,
Virginis ad ubera.

Et ad crucem iterum,
Inter viros scelerum,
Passus quinque vulnera.

Hic Virgo puerpera,
Hic crux salutifera:
Ambo ligna mystica.

Hæc hyssopus humilis,
Illa cedrue nobilis:
Utraque vivifica.

Positus in medio,
Quo me vertam nescio.

In hoc dulci dubio,
Dulcis est collatio.

Hic complexus brachiis,
Modis vagit variis.

Hic extendit brachia,
Complexurus omnia.

Charum Mater tenere
Novit hic tenere.

Charitas sub latere,
Nescit hie latere.

Hic adhærens pectori,
Pascitur ab ubere.

Hic affixus arbori,
Pascit nos ex vulnere.

Crux ministrat pabula,
Fructu nos reficiens.

Mater est præambula,
Fructum nobis nutriens.

Tandem ad hoc trahitur
Finalis sententia.
Quod nemo consequitur
Unam sine alia.

Qui crucem elegerit,
Nec sic Matrem deserit:
Cuna ad crucem venerit,
Matrem ibi poterit
Stantem invenire.

Nec qui Matrem eligit,
Crucem prorsus abigit,
Si modum intelligit
Quo per Matrem contigit
Gladium transire.

Fili Matris unice,
Matris crucifixæ,
Nos de cruce respice,
Fili crucifixe.

Fructus o vivifico,
Fructus ligni vitæ,
Nos teipso refice,
Nobis da frui te.

Amen.
We that, by the fruit of the forbidden tree,
lost our life,
now seek the tree of life.

He alone hath found this tree,
who sees the branch
whereon is fixed the fruit.

Our faith tells us,
that the fruit, that gives us life,
hangs on Mary’s breast.

And on the cross,
between two thieves,
though here he is pierced with five wounds.

The Virgin-Mother,
and the saving cross,
both are mystic trees;

The cross, humble as the hyssop;
Mary, noble as the cedar:
both are trees of life.

Placed between the two,
I know not to which to turn.

O sweet perplexity!
O sweet comparison!

Here, my Jesus lies, fondled in his Mother’s arms,
a weeping little Babe;

There, with his arms stretched out,
calling all to his embrace.

Here, 'tis a burden
sweet to a Mother’s love;

There, ’tis Love itself,
too ardent to be hid.

Here, leaning on his Mother’s heart,
he is fed at her breast;

There, fastened to the tree,
he feeds us from his wounds.

The cross supplies us with
the food of its refreshing fruit;

The Mother forestalls the cross,
feeding the very fruit, feeding him for us.

This, then,
is my decision:
we cannot have the one
without the other.

He that chooses the cross,
must have the Mother;
for when he comes to the cross,
he will find the Mother
standing at the foot.

He that chooses the Mother,
meets the cross as well,
for it was while standing at the cross,
that the Mother’s heart
was pierced.

O Jesus! crucified Son
of a crucified Mother!
look upon us
from thy cross.

O living fruit!
O fruit of the tree of life!
refresh us with thyself,
give us the enjoyment of thine own dear self.

Amen.

[1] St. Matt, xxvii. 26.
[2] St. Matt. xxi. 43.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Hodie si vocem Domini audieritis, nolite obdurare corda vestra.
To-day, if ye shall hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Early in the morning of this day, Jesus sets out for Jerusalem, leaving Mary His Mother, and the two sisters Martha and Mary Magdalene, and Lazarus, at Bethania. The Mother of sorrows trembles at seeing her Son thus expose Himself to danger, for His enemies are bent upon His destruction; but it is not death, it is triumph, that Jesus is to receive to-day in Jerusalem. The Messias, before being nailed to the cross, is to be proclaimed King by the people of the great city; the little children are to make her streets echo with their Hosannas to the Son of David; and this in presence of the soldiers of Rome’s emperor, and of the high priests and pharisees: the first standing under the banner of their eagles; the second, dumb with rage.

The prophet Zachary had foretold this triumph which the Son of Man was to receive a few days before His Passion, and which had been prepared for Him from all eternity, ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion! Shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold thy King will come to thee; the Just and the Saviour. He is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.’[1] Jesus, knowing that the hour has come for the fulfilment of this prophecy, singles out two from the rest of His disciples, and bids them lead to Him an ass and her colt, which they would find not far off. He has reached Bethphage, on Mount Olivet. The two disciples lose no time in executing the order given them by their divine Master; and the ass and the colt are soon brought to the place where He stands.

The holy fathers have explained to us the mystery of these two animals. The ass represents the Jewish people, which had been long under the yoke of the Law; the colt, upon which, as the evangelist says, no man yet hath sat,[2] is a figure of the Gentile world, which no one had ever yet brought into subjection. The future of these two peoples is to be decided a few days hence: the Jews will be rejected, for having refused to acknowledge Jesus as the Messias; the Gentiles will take their place, to be adopted as God’s people, and become docile and faithful.

The disciples spread their garments upon the colt; and our Saviour, that the prophetic figure might be fulfilled, sits upon him,[3] and advances towards Jerusalem. As soon as it is known that Jesus is near the city, the holy Spirit works in the hearts of thoseJews, who have come from all parts to celebrate the feast of the Passover. They go out to meet our Lord, holding palm branches in their hands, and loudly proclaiming Him to be King.[4] They that have accompanied Jesus from Bethania, join the enthusiastic crowd. Whilst some spread their garments on the way, others cut down boughs from the palm-trees, and strew them along the road. Hosanna is the triumphant cry, proclaiming to the whole city that Jesus, the Son of David, has made His entrance as her King.

Thus did God, in His power over men’s hearts, procure a triumph for His Son, and in the very city which, a few days later, was to clamour for His Blood. This day was one of glory to our Jesus, and the holy Church would have us renew, each year, the memory of this triumph of the Man-God. Shortly after the birth of our Emmanuel, we saw the Magi coming from the extreme east, and looking in Jerusalem for the King of the Jews, to whom they intended offering their gifts and their adorations: but it is Jerusalem herself that now goes forth to meet this King. Each of these events is an acknowledgment of the kingship of Jesus; the first, from the Gentiles; the second, from the Jews. Both were to pay Him this regal homage, before He suffered His Passion. The inscription to be put upon the cross, by Pilate’s order, will express the kingly character of the Crucified: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Pilate, the Roman governor, the pagan, the base coward, has been unwittingly the fulfiller of a prophecy; and when the enemies of Jesus insist on the inscription being altered, Pilate will not deign to give them any answer but this: ‘What I have written, I have written.’ To-day, it is the Jews themselves that proclaim Jesus to be their King: they will soon be dispersed, in punishment for their revolt against the Son of David; but Jesus is King, and will be so for ever. Thus were literally verified the words spoken by the Archangel to Mary, when he announced to her the glories of the Child that was to be born of her: ‘The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David, His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.’[5] Jesus begins His reign upon the earth this very day; and though the first Israel is soon to disclaim His rule, a new Israel, formed from the faithful few of the old, shall rise up in every nation of the earth, and become the kingdom of Christ, a kingdom such as no mere earthly monarch ever coveted in his wildest fancies of ambition.

This is the glorious mystery which ushers in the great week, the week of dolours. Holy Church would have us give this momentary consolation to our heart, and hail our Jesus as our King. She has so arranged the service of to-day, that it should express both joy and sorrow; joy, by uniting herself with the loyal hosannas of the city of David; and sorrow, by compassionating the Passion of her divine Spouse. The whole function is divided into three parts, which we will now proceed to explain.

The first is the blessing of the palms; and we may have an idea of its importance from the solemnity used by the Church in this sacred rite. One would suppose that the holy Sacrifice has begun, and is going to be offered up in honour of Jesus, entry into Jerusalem. Introit, Collect, Epistle, Gradual, Gospel, even a Preface, are said, as though we were, as usual, preparing for the immolation of the spotless Lamb; but, after the triple Sanctus! Sanctus! Sanctus! the Church suspends these sacrificial formulas, and turns to the blessing of the palms. The prayers she uses for this blessing are eloquent and full of instruction; and, together with the sprinkling with holy water and the incensation, impart a virtue to these branches, which elevates them to the supernatural order, and makes them means for the sanctification of our souls and the protection of our persons and dwellings. The faithful should hold these palms in their hands during the procession, and during the reading of the Passion at Mass, and keep them in their homes as an outward expression of their faith, and as a pledge of God’s watchful love.

It is scarcely necessary to tell our reader that the palms or olive branches, thus blessed, are carried in memory of those wherewith the people of Jerusalem strewed the road, as our Saviour made His triumphant entry; but a word on the antiquity of our ceremony will not be superfluous. It began very early in the east. It is probable that, as far as Jerusalem itself is concerned, the custom was established immediately after the ages of persecution. St. Cyril, who was bishop of that city in the fourth century, tells us that the palm-tree, from which the people cut the branches when they went out to meet our Saviour, was still to be seen in the vale of Cedron.[6] Such a circumstance would naturally suggest an annual commemoration of the great event. In the following century, we find this ceremony established, not only in the churches of the east, but also in the monasteries of Egypt and Syria. At the beginning of Lent, many of the holy monks obtained permission from their abbots to retire into the desert, that they might spend the sacred season in strict seclusion; but they were obliged to return to their monasteries for Palm Sunday, as we learn from the life of Saint Euthymius, written by his disciple Cyril.[7] In the west, the introduction of this ceremony was more gradual; the first trace we find of it is in the sacramentary of St. Gregory, that is, at the end of the sixth, or the beginning of the seventh, century. When the faith had penetrated into the north, it was not possible to have palms or olive branches; they were supplied by branches from other trees. The beautiful prayers used in the blessing, and based on the mysteries expressed by the palm and olive trees, are still employed in the blessing of our willow, box, or other branches; and rightly, for these represent the symbolical ones which nature has denied us.

The second of to-day’s ceremonies is the procession, which comes immediately after the blessing of the palms. It represents our Saviour’s journey to Jerusalem, and His entry into the city. To make it the more expressive, the branches that have just been blessed are held in the hand during it. With the Jews, to hold a branch in one’s hand was a sign of joy. The divine law had sanctioned this practice, as we read in the following passage from Leviticus, where God commands His people to keep the feast of tabernacles: And you shall take to you, on the first day, the fruits of the fairest tree, and branches of palm-trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God.[8] It was, therefore, to testify their delight at seeing Jesus enter within their walls, that the inhabitants, even the little children, of Jerusalem, went forth to meet Him with palms in their hands. Let us, also, go before our King, singing our hosannas to Him as the conqueror of death, and the liberator of His people.

During the middle ages, it was the custom, in many churches, to carry the book of the holy Gospels in this procession. The Gospel contains the words of Jesus Christ, and was considered to represent Him. The procession halted at an appointed place, or station: the deacon then opened the sacred volume, and sang from it the passage which describes our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. This done, the cross which, up to this moment, was veiled, was uncovered; each of the clergy advanced towards it, venerated it, and placed at its foot a small portion of the palm he held in his hand. The procession then returned, preceded by the cross, which was left unveiled until all had re-entered the church. In England and Normandy, as far back as the eleventh century, there was practised a holy ceremony which represented, even more vividly than the one we have just been describing, the scene that was witnessed on this day at Jerusalem: the blessed Sacrament was carried in procession. The heresy of Berengarius, against the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, had been broached about that time; and the tribute of triumphant joy here shown to the sacred Host was a distant preparation for the feast and procession which were to be instituted at a later period.

A touching ceremony was also practised in Jerusalem during to-day’s procession, and, like those just mentioned, was intended to commemorate the event related by the Gospel. The whole community of the Franciscans (to whose keeping the holy places are entrusted) went in the morning to Bethphage. There, the father guardian of the holy Land, being vested in pontifical robes, mounted upon an ass, on which garments were laid. Accompanied by the friars and the Catholics of Jerusalem, all holding palms in their hands, he entered the city, and alighted at the church of the holy sepulchre where Mass was celebrated with all possible solemnity.

This beautiful ceremony, which dated from the period of the Latin kingdom in Jerusalem, has been forbidden, for now almost two hundred years, by the Turkish authorities of the city.

We have mentioned these different usages, as we have done others on similar occasions, in order to aid the faithful to the better understanding of the several mysteries of the liturgy. In the present instance, they will learn that, in to-day’s procession, the Church wishes us to honour Jesus Christ as though He were really among us, and were receiving the humble tribute of our loyalty. Let us lovingly go forth to meet this our King, our Saviour, who comes to visit the daughter of Sion, as the prophet has just told us. He is in our midst; it is to Him that we pay honour with our palms: let us give Him our hearts too. He comes that He may be our King; let us welcome Him as such, and fervently cry out to Him: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!'

At the close of the procession a ceremony takes place, which is full of the sublimest symbolism. On returning to the church, the doors are found to be shut. The triumphant procession is stopped; but the songs of joy are continued. A hymn in honour of Christ our King is sung with its joyous chorus; and at length the subdeacon strikes the door with the staff of the cross; the door opens, and the people, preceded by the clergy, enter the church, proclaiming the praise of Him, who is our resurrection and our life.

This ceremony is intended to represent the entry of Jesus into that Jerusalem of which the earthly one was but the figure—the Jerusalem of heaven, which has been opened for us by our Saviour. The sin of our first parents had shut it against us; but Jesus, the King of glory, opened its gates by His cross, to which every resistance yields. Let us, then, continue to follow in the footsteps of the Son of David, for He is also the Son of God, and He invites us to share His kingdom with Him. Thus, by the procession, which is commemorative of what happened on this day, the Church raises up our thoughts to the glorious mystery of the Ascension, whereby heaven was made the close of Jesus’ mission on earth. Alas! the interval between these two triumphs of our Redeemer are not all days of joy; and no sooner is our procession over, than the Church, who had laid aside for a moment the weight of her grief, falls back into sorrow and mourning.

The third part of to-day’s service is the offering of the holy Sacrifice. The portions that are sung by the choir are expressive of the deepest desolation; and the history of our Lord’s Passion, which is now to be read by anticipation, gives to the rest of the day that character of sacred gloom, which we all know so well. For the last five or six centuries, the Church has adopted a special chant for this narrative of the holy Gospel. The historian, or the evangelist, relates the events in a tone that is at once grave and pathetic; the words of our Saviour are sung to a solemn yet sweet melody, which strikingly contrasts with the high dominant of the several other interlocutors and the Jewish populace. During the singing of the Passion, the faithful should hold their palms in their hands, and, by this emblem of triumph, protest against the insults offered to Jesus by His enemies. As we listen to each humiliation and suffering, all of which were endured out of love for us, let us offer Him our palm as to our dearest Lord and King. When should we be more adoring, than when He is most suffering?

These are the leading features of this great day. According to our usual plan, we will add to the prayers and lessons any instructions that seem to be needed, This Sunday, besides its liturgical and popular appellation of Palm Sunday, has had several other names. Thus it was called Hosanna Sunday, in allusion to the acclamation wherewith the Jews greeted Jesus on His entry into Jerusalem. Our forefathers used also to call it Pascha Floridum, because the feast of the Pasch (or Easter), which is but eight days off, is to-day in bud, so to speak, and the faithful could begin from this Sunday to fulfil the precept of Easter Communion. It was in allusion to this name, that the Spaniards, having on the Palm Sunday of 1513, discovered the peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico, called it Florida. We also find the name of Capitilavium given to this Sunday, because, during those times when it was the custom to defer till Holy Saturday the baptism of infants born during the preceding months (where such a delay entailed no danger), the parents used, on this day, to wash the heads of these children, out of respect to the holy chrism wherewith they were to be anointed. Later on, this Sunday was, at least in some churches, called the Pasch of the competents, that is, of the catechumens, who were admitted to Baptism; they assembled to-day in the church, and received a special instruction on the symbol, which had been given to them in the previous scrutiny. In the Gothic Church of Spain, the symbol was not given till to-day. The Greeks call this Sunday Baïphoros, that is, Palmbearing.

 

THE BLESSING OF THE PALMS

 

It begins with the chanting of the following antiphon, which serves as an Introit.

Antiphon

Hosanna filio David! Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. O Rex Israel! Hosanna in excelsis!
Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. O King of Israel! Hosanna in the highest!

The priest then sums up, in the following prayer, the petitions of the faithful. This is what he asks for his people: that after this short life is over, they may come to that eternal kingdom, which has been prepared for them by the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus

Deus quem diligere et amare, justitia est, ineffabilis gratiæ tuæ in nobis dona multiplica; et qui fecisti nos in morte Filii tui sperare quæ credimus, fac nos eodem resurgente pervenire quo tendimus. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

℟. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray

O God, whom to love is true righteousness, multiply in our hearts the gifts of thy holy grace; and since, by the death of thy only Son, thou hast made us to hope for those things which we believe, grant that, by his resurrection, we may arrive at the happy end of our journey. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.

℟. Amen.

After this prayer, the subdeacon chants a passage from the Book of Exodus, which relates how the people of God, after they had gone forth from Egypt, pitched their tents at Elim, beneath the shade of seventy palm-trees, where also were twelve fountains. While here, they were told by Moses that God was about to send them manna from heaven, and that, on the very next morning, their hunger would be appeased. These were figures of what is now given to the Christian people. The faithful, by a sincereconversion, have separated themselves from the Egypt of a sinful world. They are offering the palms of their loyalty and love to Jesus, their King. The fountains typify the Baptism, which, a few days hence, is to be administered to our catechumens. These fountains are twelve in number; the twelve articles of the symbol of our faith were preached to the world by the twelve apostles. And finally, on the morning of Easter day, Jesus, the Bread of life, the heavenly Manna, will arise from the tomb, and manifest His glory to us.

Lectio libri Exodi.

Cap. xv.

In diebus illis: Venerunt filii Israel in Elim, ubi erant duodecim fontes aquarum, et Septuaginta palmæ: et castrametati sunt juxta aquas. Profectique sunt de Elim: et venit omnis multitudo filiorum Israel in desertum Sin, quod est inter Elim et Sinai: quintodecimo die mensis secundi, postquam egressi sunt de terra Ægypti. Et murmuravit omnis congregatio filiorum Israel contra Moysen et Aaron in solitudine. Dixeruntque filii Israel ad eos: Utinam mortui essemus per manum Domini in terra Ægypti, quando sedebamus super ollas carnium: et comedebamus panem in saturitate. Cur induxistis nos in desertum istud, ut occideretis omnem multitudinem fame? Dixit autem Dominus ad Moysen: Ecce ego pluam vobis panes de cœlo. Egrediatur populus, et colligat quæ sufficiunt per singulos dies: ut tentem eum, utrum ambulet in lege mea, an non. Die autem sexto parent quod inferant: et sit duplum, quam colligere solebant per singulos dies. Dixeruntque Moyses et Aaron ad omnes filios Israel: Vespere scietis, quod Dominus eduxerit vos de terra Ægypti: et mane videbitis gloriam Domini.
Lesson from the book of Exodus.

Ch. xv.

In those days, the children of Israel came into Elim, where there were twelve fountains of water, and seventy palm-trees; and they encamped by the waters. And they set forward from Elim; and all the multitude of the children of Israel came into the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, the fifteenth day of the second month after they came out of the land of Egypt. And all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them: Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat over the flesh pots, and ate bread to the full. Why have you brought us into this desert, that you might destroy all the multitude with famine? And the Lord said to Moses: Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you; let the people go forth, and gather what is sufficient for every day, that I may prove them whether they will walk in my law, or no. But the sixth day let them provide for to bring in, and let it be double to that they were wont to gather every day. And Moses and Aaron said to the children of Israel: In the evening you shall know that the Lord hath brought you forth out of the land of Egypt: and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord.

After this lesson, the choir sings one of the two following responsories, which commemorate the Passion of our Lord.

Responsory

℟. Collegerunt pontifices et pharisæi concilium, et dixerunt: Quid facimus, quia hic homo multa signa facit? Si dimittimus eum sic, omnes credent in eum:
* Et venient Romani, et tollent nostrum locum et gentem.
℣. Unus autem ex illis, Caiphas nomine, cum esset pontifex anni illius, prophetavit dicens: Expedit vobis, ut unus moriatur homo pro populo, et non tota gens pereat. Ab illo ergo die cogitaverunt interficere eum dicentes:
* Et venient Romani, et tollent nostrum locum et gentem.

℟. In monte Oliveti oravit ad Patrem: Pater, si fieri potest, transeat a me calix iste.
* Spiritus quidem promptus est: caro autem infirma: fiat voluntas tua.
℣. Vigilate et orate, ut non intretis in tentationem.
* Spiritus quidem promptus est: caro autem infirma: fiat voluntas tua.
℟. The chief priests therefore and the pharisees gathered a council, and said: What are we doing, for this man performeth many wonders? If we let him go on thus, all will believe in him.
* And the Romans will come and destroy both our country and people.
℣. But one of them, named Caiphas, being the high priest of that year, said to them: It is for your interest that one man should die for the people, and not the whole nation perish. Therefore from that day they devised to kill him, saying:
* And the Romans will come and destroy both our country and people.

℟. Jesus prayed unto his Father on Mount Olivet: O Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.
* The spirit indeed is ready, but the flesh is weak. Thy will be done.
℣. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.
* The spirit indeed is ready, but the flesh is weak. Thy will be done.

The deacon then chants, from the Gospel of Saint Matthew, the history of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The palms of the new Testament entwine with those of the old, in honour of the Man-God, who is the connecting link of both.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xxi.

In illo tempore: Cum appropinquasset Jesus Jerosolymis et venisset Bethphage, ad montern Oliveti; tunc misit duos discipulos, dicens eis: Ite in castellum, quod contra vos est: et statini invenietis asinam alligatam et pullum cum ea: solvite, et adducite mihi. Et si quis vobis aliquid dixerit, dicite quia Dominus his opus habet: et confestim dimittet eos. Hoc autem totum factum est, ut adimpleretur quod dictum est per prophetam dicentem: Dicite filiæ Sion: Ecce Rex tuus venit tibi mansuetus, sedens super asinam, et pullum filiura subjugalis. Euntes autem discipuli, fecerunt sicut præcepit illis Jesus. Et adduxerunt asinam, et pullum: et imposuerunt super eos vestimenta sua, et eum desuper sedere fecerunt. Plurima autem turba straverunt vestimenta sua in via. Alii autem cædebant ramos de arboribus, et sternebant in via. Turbæ autem quæ præcedebant, et quæ sequebantur, clamabant, dicentes: Hosanna filio David! benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini!
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xxi.

At that time: When Jesus drew nigh to Jerusalem, and was come to Bethphage, unto mount Olivet, he sent two disciples, saying to them: Go ye into the village that is over against you, and immediately you shall find an ass tied and a colt with her; loose them and bring them to me. And if any man shall say anything to you, say ye, that the Lord hath need of them; and forthwith he will let them go. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: Tell ye the daughter of Sion: Behold, thy King cometh to thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt, the foal of her that is used to the yoke. And the disciples going, did as Jesus commanded them: and they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way, and others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way; and the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!

And now the mystery-speaking palms are to receive the Church’s blessing. The priest begins by two scriptural allusions: the first is to Noah, who received an olive-branch, when the waters of the deluge had subsided; the second is to Moses, whose people, after quitting Egypt, encamped under the seventy palm-trees. Then in the solemn tone of the Preface, he calls upon all creatures to give praise to the adorable name of Jesus, for whom we are preparing the homage of our devoted love. Let us respond to the invitation, and sing with all our hearts: Holy! Holy! Holy!—Hosanna in excelsis!

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus

Auge fidem in te sperantium, Deus, et supplicum preces dementer exaudi: veniat super nos multiplex misericordia tua; benedicantur et hi palmites palmarum, seu olivarum: et sicut in figura Ecclesiæ multiplicasti Noe egredientem de arca, et Moysen exeuntem de Ægypto cum filiis Israel: ita nos portantes palmos, et ramos olivarum bonis actibus occurramus obviam Christo, et per ipsum in gaudium introeamus æternum. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus,

℣. Per omnia sæcula sæculorum. ℟. Amen.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℣. Sursum corda.
℟. Habemus ad Dominum.

℣. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
℟. Dignum et justum est.

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus. Qui gloriaris in consiliosanctorum tuorum. Tibi enim serviunt creaturæ tuæ: quia te solum auctorem et Deum cognoscunt: et omnis factura tua te collaudat, et benedicunt te sancti tui. Quia illud magnum Unigeniti tui nomen, coram regibus et potestatibus hujus sæculi, libera voce confitentur. Cui assistunt Angeli et Archangeli, Throni et Dominationes: cumque omni militia cœlestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tuæ concinunt, sine fine dicentes:

Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis.

℣. The Lord be with you.

Let us Pray

℟. And with thy spirit.Increase, O God, the faith of them that hope in thee, and mercifully hear the prayers of thy suppliants; let thy manifold mercy come upon us, and let these branches of palmtrees, or olive-trees be blessed; and as in a figure of the Church thou didst multiply Noah going out of the ark, and Moses going out of Egypt with the children of Israel, so let us, carrying palms and branches of olive-trees, go and meet Christ with good works, and enter through him into eternal joys. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God,

℣. For ever and ever. ℟. Amen.

℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

℣. Lift up your hearts.
℟. We have fixed them on God.

℣. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
℟. It is meet and just.

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, always and in all places to give thee thanks, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, who art glorious in the assembly of thy saints. For thy creatures serve thee, because they acknowledge thee for their only Creator and God. And the whole creation praiseth thee, and thy saints bless thee, because they confess with freedom, before the kings and powers of this world, the great name of thy only-begotten Son. Before whom the Angels and Archangels, the Thrones and Dominations, stand, and with all the troops of the heavenly host, sing a hymn to thy glory, saying without ceasing:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!


The prayers which now follow, explain the mystery of the palms, and draw down the blessing of God both upon them and upon the faithful who receive and keep them with proper dispositions.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus

Petimus, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: ut hanc creaturam olivæ, quam ex ligni materia prodire jussisti, quamque columba rediens ad arcam, proprio pertulit ore: benedicere et sanctificare digneris: ut quicumque ex ea receperint, accipiant sibi protectionem animæ et corporis, fiatque, Domine, nostræ salutis remedium, tu» grati» sacramentum. Per Dominum nostrum.
℟.. Amen.

Oremus

Deus, qui dispersa congregas, et congregata conservas: qui populis obviam Jesu ramos portantibus benedixisti: benedic etiam hos ramos palmæ et olivæ, quos tui famuli ad honorem nominis tui fideliter suscipiunt: ut in quemcumque locum introducti fuerint, tuam benedictionem habitatores loci illius consequantur: et omni adversitate effugata, dextera tua protegat quos redemit Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster. Qui tecum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus

Deus, qui miro dispositionia ordine, ex rebus etiam insensibilibus, dispensationem nostræ salutis ostendere voluisti: da quæsumus, ut devota tuorum corda fidelium salubriter intelligant, quid mystice designet in facto, quod hodie cœlesti lumine afflata, Redemptori obviam procedens, palmarum atque olivarum ramos vestigiis ejus turba substravit. Palmarum igitur rami de mortis principe triumphos exspectant: surculi vero olivarum spiritualem unctionem advenisse quodammodo clamant. Intellexit enim jam tunc illa hominum beata multitudo præfigurali: quia Redemptor noster humanis condolens miseriis, pro totius mundi vita cum mortis principe esset pugnaturus, ac moriendo triumphaturus. Et ideo talia obsequens administravit, quæ in illo et triumphos victoriæ, et misericordiæ pinguedinem declararent. Quod nos quoque piena fide, et factum et significatum retinentes, te Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum suppliciter exoramus: ut in ipso atque per ipsum, cujus nos membra fieri voluisti, de mortis imperio victoriam reportantes, ipsius gloriosæ resurrectionis participes esse mereamur. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus

Deus, qui per olivæ ramum, pacem terris columbam nuntiare jussisti: præsta quæsumus: ut hos olivæ cæterarumque arborum ramos, cœlesti benedictione sanctifices: ut cuncto populo tuo proficiant ad salutem. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus

Benedic, quæsumus, Domine, hos palmarum, seu olivarum ramos: et præsta ut quod populus tuus in tui venerationem hodierna die corporaliter agit, hoc spiritualiter summa devotione perficiat, de hoste victoriam reportando, et opus misericordiæ summopere diligendo. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray

We beseech thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, that thou wouldst be pleased to bless and sanctify this creature of the olive tree, which thou madest to shoot out of the substance of the wood, and which the dove, returning to the ark, brought in its bill; that whoever receiveth it, may find protection of soul and body, and that it may prove, O Lord, a saving remedy, and a sacred sign of thy grace. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray

O God, who gatherest what is dispersed, and preservest what is gathered; who didst bless the people that carried boughs to meet Jesus; bless also these branches of the palmtree and olive-tree which thy servants take with faith in honour of thy name; that into whatever place they may be carried, the inhabitants of that place may obtain thy blessing, and thy right hand may preserve from all adversity, and protect those that have been redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son. Who liveth, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray

O God, who by the wonderful order of thy providence wouldst, even in insensible things, show us the manner of our salvation; grant, we beseech thee, that the devout hearts of thy faithful may understand to their benefit the mystical meaning of that ceremony, when the multitude, by direction from heaven, going this day to meet our Redeemer, strewed under his feet palms and olive-branches. The palms represent his triumph over the prince of death; and the olivebranches proclaim, in some manner, the coming of a spiritual unction. For that pious multitude then knew, what was by them signified, that our Redeemer, compassionating the misery of mankind, was to fight for the life of the whole world with the prince of death; and to triumph over him by his own death. And therefore in that action they made use of such things as might declare both the triumph of his victory, and the riches of his mercy. We also with a firm faith, retaining both the ceremony and its signification, humbly beseech thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, through the same Lord Jesus Christ, that we, whom thou hast made his members, gaining by him, and in him, a victory over the empire of death, may deserve to be partakers of his glorious resurrection. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray

O God, who by an olive branch didst command the dove to proclaim peace to the world; sanctify, we beseech thee, by thy heavenly benediction, these branches of olives and other trees; that they may be serviceable to all thy people unto salvation. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray

Bless, O Lord, we beseech thee, these branches of the palm-tree, or olive-tree; and grant that what thy people this day act corporally for thy honour, they may perform the same spiritually with the greatest devotion, by gaining a victory over their enemy, and ardently loving the work of thy mercy. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

The priest completes the blessing of the palms by sprinkling them with holy water and thurifying them with incense. After which, he adds the following prayer.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus

Deus, qui Filium tuum Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum, pro salute nostra in hunc mundum misisti, ut se humiliaret ad nos, et nos revocaret ad te: cui etiam dum Jerusalem veniret, ut adimpleret Scripturas, credentium populorum turba, fidelissima devotione, vestimenta sua cum ramis palmarum in via sternebant: præsta, quæsumus, ut illi fidei viam præparemus: de qua remoto lapide offensionis, et petra scandali, frondeant apud te opera nostra justitiæ ramis: ut ejus vestigiasequi mereamur. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray

O God, who, for our salvation, didst send into this world thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord that he might humble himself to our condition, and call us back to thee: for whom also, as he was coming to Jerusalem, to fulfil the Scriptures, a multitude of faithful people, with a zealous devotion, spread their garments together with palm branches in the way: grant, we beseech thee, that we may prepare him the way of faith, out of which the stone of offence and the rock of scandal being removed, our actions may flourish with branches of righteousness, so that we may be worthy to follow his steps. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.
℟. Amen.

After this prayer, the priest distributes the palms to the faithful.[9] During the distribution, the choir reminds us, by the two following antiphons, of the enthusiasm of the little children of Jerusalem, who, with their palms in their hands, sang their loud: Hosanna to the Son of David!

Antiphon

Pueri Hebræorum portantes ramos olivarurm obviaverunt Domino, clamantes, et dicentes: Hosanna in excelsis!
The Hebrew children carrying olive-branches met the Lord, crying out, and saying: Hosanna in the highest!

Antiphon

Pueri Hebræorum vestimenta prosternebant in via, et clamabant dicentes: Hosanna filio David; benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini!
The Hebrew children spread their garments in the way, and cried out saying: Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!

As soon as the distribution is over, the priest concludes this first part of the service by the following prayer.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Oremus

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum super pullum asinæ sedere fecisti: et turbas populorum vestimenta, vel ramos arborum in via sternere, et Hosanna decantare in laudem ipsius docuisti: da quæsumus, ut illorum innocentiam imitari possimus, et eorum meritum consequi mereamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.
℟. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray

O almighty and eternal God, who wouldst have our Lord Jesus Christ ride on the colt of an ass, and didst inspire the crowds of people to spread their garments, and branches of trees in the way, and to sing Hosanna to his praise: grant, we beseech thee, that we may imitate their innocence, and deserve to partake in their merits. Through the same Christ our Lord.
℟. Amen.

 

THE PROCESSION

 

The priest having blessed the incense—which, according to the custom of the Church, always heads a procession and sheds its perfume along the path that is to be taken—the deacon turns towards the people, and gives the signal for departure, with these words:

Procedamus in pace.
Let us proceed in peace.

The choir answers:

In nomine Christi. Amen.
In the name of Christ. Amen.

The procession then advances, the clergy and people holding the palms in their hands. The choir chants the following antiphons, in honour of Jesus, the King of Israel.

Antiphon

Cum appropinquaret Dominus Jerosolymam, misit duos ex dicipulis suis, dicens: Ite in castellum, quod contra vos est: et invenietis pullum asinæ alligatum, super quem nullus hominum sedit: solvite, et adducite mihi. Si quis vos interrogaverit, dicite: Opus Domino est. Solventes adduxerunt ad Jesum: et imposuerunt illi vestimenta sua, et sedit super eum: alii expandebant vestimenta sua in via: alii ramos de arboribus sternebant, et qui sequebantur, clamabant: Hosanna! benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini, et benedictum regnum patris nostri David! Hosanna in excelsis! Miserere nobis, fili David!
When the Lord drew nigh to Jerusalem, he sent two of his disciples, saying: Go ye into the village that is over against you: and you will find the colt of an ass tied, loose it, and bring it to me. If any one ask you any questions, say: The Lord wanteth it. They untied, and brought it to Jesus, and laid their garments upon it; and he seated himself on it. Others spread their garments in the way; others cut branches from the trees; and those who followed, cried out, Hosanna! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; and blessed be the reign of our father David! Hosanna in the highest! 0 Son of David, have mercy on us!

Antiphon

Cum audisset populus, quia Jesus venit Jerosolymam, acceperunt ramos palmarum, et exierunt ei obviam, et clamabant pueri dicentes: Hic est, qui venturus est in salutem populi: Hic est salus nostra, et redemptio Israel. Quantus est iste, cui Throni et Dominationes occurrunt! Noli timere, filia Sion! ecce Rex tuus venit tibi sedens super pullum asinæ sicut scriptum est. Salve Rex fabricator mundi, qui venisti redemire nos!
When the people heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm-branches and went out to meet him; and the children cried out, saying: This is he, who is come for the salvation of the people. He is our salvation, and the redemption of Israel. How great is he, whom the Thrones and Dominations go out to meet! Fear not, O daughter of Sion: behold thy King cometh to thee sitting on an ass’s colt, as it is written. Hail, O King, the Creator of the world, who art come to redeem us!

Antiphon

Ante sex dies solemnis Paschæ, quando venit Dominus in civitatem Jerusalem, occurrerunt ei pueri: et in manibus portabant ramos palmarum: et clamabant voce magna dicentes: Hosanna in excelsis! Benedictus qui venisti in multitudine misericordiæ tuse; Hosanna in excelsis!
Six days before the solemnity of the Passover, when the Lord was coming into the city of Jerusalem, the children met him, and carried palm-branches in their hands; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying: Hosanna in the highest: blessed art thou who art come in the multitude of thy mercy: Hosanna in the highest!

Antiphon

Occurrunt turbæ cum floribus et palmis Redemptori obviam: et victori triumphanti digna dant obsequia. Filium Dei ore gentes prædicant: et in laudem Christi voces tonant per nubila: Hosanna in excelsis!
The multitude goeth out to meet their Redeemer with flowers and palms, and payeth the homage due to a triumphant conqueror: the Gentiles proclaim the Son of God: and their voices rend the skies in the praise of Christ: Hosanna in the highest!

Antiphon

Cum angelis et pueris fideles inveniamur, triumphatori mortis clamantes: Hosanna in excelsis!
Let us faithfully join with the angels and children, singing to the Conqueror of death: Hosanna in the highest!

Antiphon

Turba multa quæ convenerat ad diem festum, clamabat Domino: Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini! Hosanna in excelsis!
A great multitude that was met together at the festival cried out to the Lord: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

The procession is now on its return to the church: but it cannot enter, for the doors are shut. We have already explained the meaning of this part of the ceremony. Immediately there are heard voices within the holy place; they are singing the praises of Christ, our King and Saviour. These cantors represent the holy angels in heaven, who are greeting the entry of Jesus into the eternal Jerusalem. Outside the church, there stands the choir, re-echoing the hymn of triumph; but it is man celebrating the entry of the Son of David into the earthly Jerusalem. The two choirs are thus kept separated from each other, until at length the victorious cross throws open the door, which represents the gate of heaven, and unites the Church militant with the Church triumphant. The hymn which is sung during this ceremony, was composed by Theodulf bishop of Orleans, when prisoner at Angers, by order of Louis the Good. The Church of Rome, by using the first six stanzas of this short poem, has immortalized it throughout the world.

The cantors within the church begin the first stanza, which is repeated by the choir without, not only after this, but also after each of the following five stanzas.

Hymn

Gloria, laus et honor, tibi sit, Rex Christe, Redemptor!
Cui puerile decus prompsit Hosanna pium.
℟. Gloria, laus.

Israel es tu Rex, Davidis et inclyta proles:
Nomine qui in Domini, rex benedicte, venis.
℟. Gloria, laus.

Cœtus in excelsis, te laudat cœlicus omnis,
Et mortalis homo, et cuncta creata simul.
℟. Gloria, laus.

Plebs Hebræa tibi cum palmis obvia venit:
Cum prece, voto, hymnis, adsumus ecce tibi.
℟. Gloria, laus.

Hi tibi passuro solvebant munia laudis;
Nos tibi regnanti pangimus ecce melos.
℟. Gloria, laus.

Hi placuere tibi, placeat devotio nostra,
Rex bone, rex clemens, cui bona cuncta placent.
℟. Gloria, laus.
Glory, praise, and honour be to thee, O Christ, our King, our Saviour;
to whom the innocent children sang their fervent Hosanna.
℟. Glory, praise, &c.

Thou art the King of Israel, the glorious Son of David!
Blessed art thou our King! that comest in the name of the Lord.
℟. Glory, praise, &c.

The whole heavenly host, in the highest heavens above,
and men on earth, and all created things praise thee.
℟. Glory, praise, &c.

The Hebrew people, with palms, went forth to meet thee:
behold, we, too, present ourselves before thee, with our prayers, desires, and hymns.
℟.Glory, praise, &c.

They offered the tribute of their praise to thee, when thou wast about to suffer;
we sing our hymn to thee seated on thy throne.
℟. Glory, praise, &c.

They were pleasing to thee; grant that our devotion may also please thee,
O dear and merciful King! to whom all is pleasing that is good.
℟. Glory, praise, &c.

As soon as the choir has sung its response to the last stanza, the subdeacon knocks with the cross at the door, which is immediately opened. In some places, it is the celebrant himself who performs this ceremony, and while doing it he recites the words of Psalm xxiii, in which David celebrates the entrance of our Redeemer into heaven on the day of His Ascension.

The procession then enters the church, singing the following responsory:

Responsory

℟. Ingrediente Domino in sanctam civitatem, Hebræorum pueri resurrectionem vitæ pronuntiantes;
* Cum ramis palmarum, Hosanna clamabant in excelsis.
℣. Cum audisset populus, quod Jesus veniret Jerosolymam, exierunt obviam ei.
* Cum ramis palmarum, Hosanna clamabant in excelsis.
℟.. As our Lord entered the holy city, the Hebrew children declaring the resurrection of life,
* With palmbranches, cried out: Hosanna in the highest!
℣. When the people heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they went out to meet him.
* With palm-branches, cried out: Hosanna in the highest!

 

MASS

 

The Station at Rome is in the basilica of St. John Lateran, the mother and mistress of all Churches. The papal function, however, now takes place at St. Peter’s; but the usual indulgences are still granted to those who visit the archbasilica.

The Mass of this Sunday retains no vestige of the joy, which characterized the ceremony of the palms. The Introit is taken from Psalm xxi, in which the royal prophet expresses the anguish of soul suffered by Jesus on the cross.

Introit

Domine, ne longe facias auxilium tuum a me, ad defensionem meam adspice; libera me de ore leonis, et a cornibus unicornium humilitatem meam.
Ps. Deus, Deus meus, respice in me, quare me dereliquisti? longe a salute mea verba delictorum meorum.
Domine, ne longe.
O Lord, keep not thy help far from me; look to my defence; save me from the lion’s mouth, and rescue me in my distress, from the horns of unicorns.
Ps. O God, my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me? It is the cry of my sins that keeps salvation far from me.
O Lord, keep not, &c.

In the Collect the Church prays that we may have grace to imitate the patience and humility of our Saviour. Jesus suffers and humbles Himself for us; it is but just that we should work out our salvation by following His example, that we should suffer, and be humble.

Collect

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui humano generi ad imitandum humilitatis ex-emplum, Salvatorem nostrum carnem sumere, et crucem subire fecisti: concede propitius: ut et patientiæ ipsius habere documenta, et resurrectionis consortia mereamur. Per eumdem.
O almighty and eternal God, who wouldst have our Saviour become man, and suffer on a cross, to give mankind an example of humility; mercifully grant that we may improve by the example of his patience, and partake of his resurrection. Through the same, &c.

 

Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ B. Pauli Apostoli ad Philippenses.

Capii.

Fratres: Hoc enim sentite in vobis, quod et in Christo Jesu. Qui cum in forma Dei esset, non rapinam arbitratus est, esse se æqualem Deo: sed semetipsum exinanivit, formam servi accipiens, in similitudinem hominum factus, et habitu inventus ut homo. Humiliavit semetipsum, factus obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis. Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum: et donavit illi nomen, quod est super omne nomen: ut in nomine Jesu (hereall kneel,) omne genu flectatur, cœlestium, terrestrium, et infernorum: et omnis lingua confiteatur, quia Dominus Jesus Christus in gloria est Dei Patris.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Philippians.

Ch. ii.

Brethren: For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him and hath given him a name which is above all names; that in the name of Jesus (here, all kneel,) every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

In obedience to the wishes of the Church, we have knelt down at those words of the apostle, where he says that every knee should bow at the holy name of Jesus. If there be one time of the year rather than another, when the Son of God has a right to our fervent adorations, it is this week, when we see Him insulted in His Passion. Not only should His sufferings excite us to tender compassion; we should also keenly resent the insults that are heaped upon our Jesus, the God of infinite majesty. Let us strive, by our humble homage, to make Him amends for the indignities He suffered in atonement for our pride. Let us unite with the holy angels, who, witnessing what He has gone through for the love of man, prostrate themselves, in profoundest adoration, at the sight of His humiliations.

In the Gradual, the Church makes use of the words of the royal prophet, who foretells the future glories of the Victim that dies on Calvary; but he also confesses that the success permitted to the enemies of Jesus had well nigh shaken his confidence.

Gradual

Tenuisti manum dexteram meam: et in voluntate tua deduxisti me: et cum gloria assumpsisti me.
℣. Quam bonus Israel Deus rectis corde! mei autem pene moti sunt pedes, pene effusi sunt gressus mei: quia zelavi in peccatoribus, pacem peccatorum videns.
Thou hast held me by my right hand, and by thy will thou hast conducted me; and with glory thou hast received me.
℣. How good is the God of Israel to them that are of a right heart! But my feet were almost moved, my steps had well nigh slipped, because I had a zeal on sinners, seeing the prosperity of sinners.

The Tract consists of several verses taken from Psalm xxi, the first words of which were spoken by our Redeemer on the cross. So clear and explicit are the words of this psalm, that it might almost be called a history, as well as a prophecy, of the Passion.

Tract

Deus, Deus meus, respice in me: quare me dereliquisti?
℣. Longe a salute mea verba delictorum meorum.
℣. Deus meus, clamabo per diem, nec exaudies; in nocte, et non ad insipientiam mihi.
℣. Tu autem in sancto habitas, laus Israel.
℣. In te speraverunt patres nostri: speraverunt et liberasti eos.
℣. Ad te clamaverunt, et salvi facti sunt: in te speraverunt, et non sunt confusi.
℣. Ego autem sum vermis, et non homo: opprobrium hominum, et abjectio plebis.
℣. Omnes qui videbant me, aspernabantur me: locuti sunt labiis, et moverunt caput.
℣. Speravit in Domino, eripiat eum: salvum faciat eum, quoniam vult eum.
℣. Ipsi vero consideraverunt et conspexerunt me: diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
℣. Libera me de ore leonis: et a cornibus unicornium humilitatem meam.
℣. Qui timetis Dominum laudate eum: universum semen Jacob magnificate eum.
℣. Annuntiabitur Domino generatio ventura: et annuntiabunt cœli justitiam ejus.
℣. Populo qui nascetur, quem fecit Dominus.
O God, my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me?
℣. Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.
℣. O my God, I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear; and by night, and it shall not be imputed as folly in me.
℣. But thou dwellest in the holy place, O thou the praise of Israel!
℣. In thee have our fathers hoped: they hoped, and thou hast delivered them.
℣. They cried out to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
℣. But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.
℣. All they that saw me, have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.
℣. He hoped in the Lord, (say they) let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighted in him.
℣. They considered me, and viewed me attentively: they divided my garments among them, and cast lots for my vesture.
℣. Deliver me from the lion’s mouth: and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns.
℣. Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: O all ye of the seed of Jacob magnify him.
℣. A people that is to come shall be declared the Lord’s: and the heavens shall publish his justice.
℣. To a people to be born, whom the Lord hath made.

It is now time that we should hear the history of our Saviour’s Passion: but, in order that we may show both heaven and earth that we are not scandalized, as were the disciples, at the sight of His apparent weakness and the triumph of His enemies, we hold in our hands the palms, wherewith we have been proclaiming Him as our King.

The Church reads, on four different days of this week, the four evangelists’ narration of the Passion. She begins with that of St. Matthew, who was the first to write the Gospel. To express the sorrow which fills the hearts of the faithful, the acolytes do not carry the lights, nor is the book incensed. Omitting the customary salutation, the deacon, who is to take the part of the evangelist, at once begins the mournful history of our Lord’s sufferings and death.

The Passion and Gospel

Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xxvi. et xxvii
.

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus discipulis suis: Scitis, quia post biduum Pascha fiet: et Filius hominis tradetur, ut crucifigatur. Tunc congregati sunt principes sacerdotum et seniores populi in atrium principis sacerdotum, qui dicebatur Caiphas: et consilium fecerunt, ut Jesum dolo tenerent, et occiderent. Dicebant autem: Non in die festo, ne forte tumultus fieret in populo.

Cum autem Jesus esset in Bethania, in domo Simonis leprosi, accessit ad eum mulier habens alabastrum unguenti pretiosi: et effudit super caput ipsius recumbentis. Videntes autem discipuli, indignati sunt, dicentes: ut quid perditio hæc? Potuit enim istud venundari multo, et dari pauperibus. Sciens autem Jesus, ait illis: Quid molesti estis huic mulieri? Opus enim bonum operata est in me. Nam semper pauperes habetis vobiscum: me autem non semper habetis. Mittens enim hæc unguentum hoc in corpus meum, ad sepeliendum me fecit. Amen dico vobis, ubicumque prædicatum fuerit hoc Evangelium in toto mundo, dicetur et quod hæc fecit in memoriam ejus.

Tunc abiit unus de duodecim, qui dicebatur Judas Iscariotes, ad principes sacerdotum; et ait illis: Quid vultis mihi dare, et ego vobis eum tradam? At illi constituerunt ei triginta argenteos. Et exinde quærebat opportunitatem, ut eum traderet. Prima autem die Azymorum accesserunt discipuli ad Jesum dicentes: Ubi vis paremus tibi comedere Pascha? At Jesus dixit: Ite in civitatem ad quemdam, et dicite ei: Magister dicit: Tempus meum prope est; apud te facio Pascha cum discipulis meis. Et fecerunt discipuli sicut constituit illis Jesus: et paraverunt Pascha.

Vespere autem facto, discumbebat cum duodecim discipulis suis. Et edentibus illis, dixit: Amen dico vobis: quia unus vestrum me traditurus est. Et contristati valde, cœperunt singuli dicere: Numquid ego sum, Domine? At ipse respondens, ait: Qui intingit mecum manum in paropside, hic me tradet. Filius quidem hominis vadit, sicut scriptum est de illo. Væ autem homini illi, per quem Filius hominis tradetur! Bonum erat ei, si natus non fuisset homo ille. Respondens autem Judas qui tradidit eum dixit: Numquid ego sum, Rabbi? Ait illi: Tu dixisti.

Cœnantibus autem eis, accepit Jesus panem: et benedixit, ac fregit, deditque dicipulis suis, et ait: Accipite, et comedite: Hoc est corpus meum. Et accipiens calicem, gratias egit: et dedit illis dicens: Bibite ex hoc omnes. Hic est enim sanguis meus novi testamenti, qui pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. Dico autem vobis: Non bibam amodo de hoc genimine vitis usque in diem ilium, cum illud bibam vobiscum novum in regno Patris mei.

Et hymno dicto, exierunt in montem Oliveti. Tunc dicit illis Jesus: Omnes vos scandalum patiemini in me, in ista nocte. Scriptum est enim: Percutiam pastorem, et dispergentur oves gregis: postquam autem resurrexero, præcedam vos in Galilæam. Respondens autem Petrus, ait illi: Etsi omnes scandalizati fuerint in te, ego nunquam scandalizabor. Ait illi Jesus: Amen dico tibi quia in hac nocte, antequam gallus cantet, ter me negabis. Ait illi Petrus: Etiam si oportuerit me mori tecum, non te negabo. Similiter et omnes dixerunt.

Tunc venit Jesus cum illis in villam, quæ dicitur Gethsemani: et dixit discipulis suis: Sedete hic donee vadam illuc, et orem. Et assumpto Petro, et duobus filiis Zebedæi, cœpit contristari, et mœstus esse. Tunc ait illis: Tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem Sustinete hic et vigilate mecum. Et progressus pusillum, procidit in faciem suam, orans et dicens: Pater mi, si possibile est, transeat a me calix iste. Verumtamen non sicut ego volo, sed sicut tu. Et venit ad discipulos suos, et invenit eos dormientes: et dicto Petro: Sic non potuistis una hora vigilare mecum? Vigilate, et orate: ut non intretis in tentationem. Spiritus quidem promptus est, caro autem infirma. Iterum secundo abito, et oravit dicens: Pater mi, si non potest hic calix transire, nisi bibam illum: fiat voluntas tua. Et venit iterum, et invenit eos dormientes. Erant enim oculi eorum gravati. Et relictis illis, iterum abiit: et oravit tertio eumdem sermonem dicens. Tunc venit ad discipulos suos, et dicit illis: Dormite jam, et requiescite. Ecce appropinquavit hora: et Filius hominis tradetur in manus peccatorum. Surgite, eamus: ecce appropinquavit qui me tradet.

Adhuc eo loquente, ecce Judas unus de duodecim venit, et cum eo turba multa cum gladiis et fustibus, missi a principibus sacerdotal, et senioribus populi. Qui antem tradidit eum, dedit illis signum dicens: Quemcumque osculatus fuero, ipse est, tenete eum. Et confeatim accedens ad Jesum, dixit: Ave, Rabbi. Et osculatus est eum. Dixitque illi Jesus: Amice, ad quid venisti? Tunc accesserunt, et manus injecerunt in Jesum: et tenuerunt eum. Et ecce unus ex his qui erant cum Jesu, extendens manum, exemit gladium suum: et percutiens servum principis sacerdotum, amputavit auriculam ejus. Tune ait illi Jesus: Converte gladium tuum in locum suum. Omnes enim,qui acceperint gladium, gladio peribunt. An putas, quia non possum rogare Patrem meum: et exhibebit mihi modo plusquam duodecim legiones angelorum? Quomodo ergo implebuntur Scripturæ, quia sic oportet fieri? In illa hora dixit Jesus turbis: Tamquam ad latronem existis cum gladiis et fustibus comprehendere me: quotidie apud vos sedebam docens in templo: et non me tenuistis. Hoc autem totum factum est, ut adimplerentur Scripturæ prophetarum. Tunc discipuli omnes, relieto eo, fugerunt.

At illi tenentes Jesum, duxerunt ad Caipham principem sacerdotum, ubi scribæ et seniores convenerant. Petrus autem sequebatur eum a longe, usque in atrium principis sacerdotum. Et ingressus intro, sedebat cum ministris, ut videret finem. Principes autem sacerdotum, et omne concilium, quærebant falsum testimonium contra Jesum, ut eum morti traderent: et non invenerunt, cum multi falsi testes accessissent. Novissime autem venerunt duo falsi testes, et dixerunt: Hic dixit: Possum destruere templum Dei, et post triduum reædificare illud. Et surgens princeps sacerdotum, ait illi: Nihil respondes ad ea, quæ isti adversum te testificantur? Jesus autem tacebat. Et princeps sacerdotum ait illi: Adjuro te per Deum vivum, ut dicas nobis, si tu es Christus Filius Dei. Dicit illi Jesus: Tu dixisti. Verumtamen dico vobis, amodo videbitis Filium hominis sedentem a dextris virtutis Dei, et venientem in nubibus cœli. Tunc princeps sacerdotum scidit vestimenta sua, dicens: Blasphemavit. Quid adhuc egemus testibus? Ecce: nunc audistis blasphemiam. Quid vobis videtur? At illi respondentes, dixerunt: Reus est mortis. Tunc expuerunt in faciem ejus: et colaphis eum cæciderunt. Alii autem palmas in faciem ejus dederunt dicentes: Prophetiza nobis, Christe, quis est, qui te percussit?

Petrus vero sedebat foris in atrio. Et accessit ad eum una ancilla dicens: Et tu cum Jesu Galilæo eras. At ille negavit coram omnibus, dicens: Nescio quid dicis. Exeunte autem illo januam, vidit eum alia ancilla: et ait bis, qui erant ibi: Et hic erat cum Jesu Nazareno. Et iterum negavit cum juramento: Quia non novi hominem. Et post pusillum accesserunt qui stabant, et dixerunt Petro: Vere et tu ex illis es; nam et loquela tua manifestum te facit. Tunc cœpit detestari et jurare quia non novisset hominem. Et continuo gallus cantavit. Et recordatus est Petrus verbi Jesu quod dixerat: Priusquam gallus cantet, ter me negabis. Et egressus foras, flevit amare.

Mane autem facto, consilium inierunt omnes principes sacerdotum, et seniores populi adversus Jesum, ut eum morti traderent. Et vinctum adduxerunt eum, et tradiderunt Pontio Pilato, præsidi. Tunc videns Judas, qui eum tradidit, quod damnatus esset, pœnitentia ductus, retulit triginta argenteos principibus sacerdotum et senioribus, dicens: Peccavi tradens sanguinem justum. At illi dixerunt: Quid ad nos? Tu videris. Et projectis argenteis in tempio, recessit: et abiens laqueo se suspendit. Principes autem sacerdotum, acceptis argenteis dixerunt: Non licet eos mittere in corbonam, quia pretium sanguinis est. Consilio autem inito, emerunt ex illis agrum figuli, in sepulturam peregrinorum. Propter hoc vocatus est ager ille Haceldama, hoc est, ager sanguinis, usque in hodiernum diem. Tunc impletum est quod dictum est per Jeremiam prophetam dicentem: Et acceperunt triginta argenteos, pretium appretiati quem appretiaverunt a filiis Israel; et dederunt eos in agrum figuli, sicut constituit mihi Dominus.

Jesus autem stetit ante præsidem. Et interrogavit eum præses dicens: Tu es Rex Judæorum? Dicit illi Jesus: Tu dicis. Et cum accusaretur a principibus sacerdotum et senioribus, nihil respondit. Tunc dicit illi Pilatus: Non audis, quanta adversum te dicunt testimonia? Et non respondit ei ad ullum verbum: ita ut miraretur præses vehementer.

Per diem autem solemnem consueverat præses populo dimittere unum vinctum, quem voluissent. Habebat autem tunc vinctum insignem, qui dicebatur Barabbas. Congregatis ergo illis, dixit Pilatus: Quem vultis dimittam vobis, Barabbam an Jesum qui dicitur Christus? Sciebat enim, quod per invidiam tradidissent eum. Sedente autem illo pro tribunali, misit ad eum uxor ejus dicens: Nihil tibi et justo illi: multa enim passa sum hodie per visum propter eum. Principes autem sacerdotum et seniores persuaserunt populis, ut peterent Barabbam: Jesum vero perderent. Respondens autem præses, ait illis: Quem vultis vobis de duobus dim itti? At illi dixerunt: Barabbam. Dicit illis Pilatus: Quid igitur faciam de Jesu, qui dicitur Christus? Dicunt omnes: Crucifigatur. Ait illis præses: Quid enim mali fecit? At illi magis clamabant dicentes: Crucifigatur.

Videns autem Pilatus, quia nihil proficeret, sed magis tumultus fieret: accepta aqua, lavit manus coram populo, dicens: Innocens ego sum a sanguine justi hujus, vos videritis. Et respondens universus populus, dixit: Sanguis ejus super nos, et super filios nostros. Tunc dimisit illis Barabbam: Jesum autem flagellatum tradidit eis, ut crucifigeretur.

Tunc milites præsidis suscipientes Jesum in prætorium, congregaverunt ad eum universam cohortem. Et exuentes eum, chlamydem coccineam circumdederunt ei. Et plectentes coronam de spinis, posuerunt super caput ejus, et arundinem in dextera ejus. Et genu flexo ante eum, illudebant ei, dicentes: Ave Rex Judæorum! Et exspuentes in eum, acceperunt arundinem, et percutiebant caput ejus. Et postquam illuserunt ei, exuerunt eum chlamyde: et induerunt eum vestimentis ejus, et duxerunt eum ut crucifigerent.

Exeuntes autem, invenerunt hominem Cyrenæum, nomine Simonem. Hunc angariaverunt, ut tolleret crucem ejus. Et venerunt in locum, qui dicitur Golgotha: quod est, Calvariæ locus. Et dederunt ei vinum bibere cum felle mixtum. Et cum gustasset, noluit bibere. Postquam autem crucifixerunt eum, diviserunt vestimenta ejus sortem mittentes: ut impleretur quod dictum est per prophetam dicentem: Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem. Et sedentes servabant eum. Et imposuerunt super caput ejus causam ipsius scriptam: Hic est Jesus Rex Judæorum. Tunc crucifixi sunt cum eo duo latrones, unus a dextris, et unus a sinistris.

Prætereuntes autem blasphemabant eum, moventes capita sua, et dicentes: Vah! qui destruis templum Dei, et in triduo illud reædificas. Salva temetipsum. Si Filius Dei es, descende de cruce. Similiter et principes sacerdotum illudentes cum scribis et senioribus, dicebant: Alios salvos fecit: seipsum non potest salvum facere. Si Rex Israël est, descendat nunc de cruce, et credimus ei. Confidit in Deo: liberet nunc si vult eum: dixit enim, quia Filius Dei sum. Idipsum autem et latrones, qui crucifixi erant cum eo, improperabant ei.

A sexta autem hora, tenebræ factæ sunt super universam terram, usque ad horam nonam. Et circa horam nonam clamavit Jesus voce magna, dicens: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? Hoc est: Deus meus, Deus meus, ut quid dereliquisti me? Quidam autem illic stantes, et audientes dicebant: Eliam vocat iste. Et continuo currens unus ex eis acceptam spongiam implevit aceto, et imposuit arundini, et dabat ei bibere. Cæteri vero dicebant: Sine, videamus, an veniat Elias liberans eum. Jesus autem iterum clamans voce magna, emisit spiritum.
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Matthew.

Ch. xxvi. and xxvii.

At that time: Jesus said to his discip!es: You know that after two days shall be the Pasch, and the Son of man shall be delivered up to be crucified. Then were gathered together the chief priests and ancients of the people into the court of the high priest, who was called Caiphas; and they consulted together, that by subtility they might apprehend Jesus, and put him to death. But they said: Not on the festival day, lest perhaps there should be a tumult among the people.

And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, there came to him a woman having an alabasterbox of precious ointment, and poured it on his head as he was at table. And the disciples seeing it had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste? For this might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. And Jesus knowing it, said to them: Why do you trouble this woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon me. For the poor you have always with you, but me you have not always. For she, in pouring this ointment upon my body, hath done it for my burial. Amen, I say to you, wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done, shall be told for a memory of her.

Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests and said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? But they appointed him thirty pieces of silver. And from thenceforth he sought opportunity to betray him. And on the first day of the Azymes, the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Pasch? But Jesus said: Go ye into the city, to a certain man, and say to him, The Master saith, my time is near at hand; with thee I make the Pasch with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus appointed to them, and they prepared the Pasch.

But when it was evening, he sat down with his twelve disciples; and whilst they were eating, he said: Amen, I say to you, that one of you is about to betray me. And they being very much troubled, began every one to say: Is it I, Lord? But he answering said: he that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, he shall betray me. The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him; but woe to that man, by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed. It were better for him, if that man had not been born. And Judas, that betrayed him, answering said: Is it I, Rabbi? He saith to him: Thou hast said it.

And while they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke, and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat; this is my body. And taking the chalice he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this; for this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins. And I say to you, I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.

And a hymn being said, they went out unto mount Olivet. Then Jesus saith to them: All you shall be scandalized in me this night. For it is written: '1 will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed.’ But after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. And Peter answering said to him: Although all shall be scandalized in thee, I will never be scandalized. Jesus said to him: Amen, I say to thee, that in this night, before the cock crow, thou wilt deny me thrice. Peter saith to him: Yea, though I should die with thee, I will not deny thee. And in like manner said all the disciples.

Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani; and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray. And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to grow sorrowful, and to be sad. Then he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death; stay you here and watch with me. And going a little further he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What! could you not watch one hour with me? watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Again the second time he went and prayed, saying: My Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, thy will be done. And he cometh again, and findeth them sleeping: for their eyes were heavy. And leaving them he went again; and he prayed the third time, saying the selfsame word. Then he cometh to his disciples, and saith to them: Sleep ye now, and take your rest: behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go: behold he is at hand that will betray me.

As he yet spoke, behold Judas, one of the twelve came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the ancients ef the people. And he that betrayed him, gave them a sign, saying: Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he, hold him fast. And forthwith coming to Jesus, he said: Hail, Rabbi! And he kissed him. And Jesus said to him: Friend, whereto art thou come? Then they came up, and laid hands on Jesus, and held him. And behold one of them that were with Jesus, stretching forth his hand, drew out his sword, and striking the servant of the high priest, cut off his ear. Then Jesus saith to him: Put up again thy sword into its place; for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot ask my Father, and he will give me presently more than twelve legions of angels? How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that so it must be done? In that same hour Jesus said to the multitudes: You are come out as it were to a robber, with swords and clubs, to apprehend me. I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and you laid not hands on me. Now all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then the disciples all leaving him, fled.

But they holding Jesus, led him to Caiphas the high priest, where the scribes and the ancients were assembled. And Peter followed him afar off, even to the court of the high priest; and going in, he sat with the servants, that he might see the end. And the chief priests and the whole council sought false witness against Jesus, that they might put him to death; and they found not, whereas many false witnesses had come in. And last of all there came two false witnesses; and they said: This man said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and after three days to rebuild it. And the high priest rising up said to him: Answerest thou nothing to the things which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest said to him: I adjure thee, by the living God, that thou tell us if thou be the Christ the Son of God. Jesus saith to him: Thou hast said it. Nevertheless I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his garments, saying: He hath blasphemed, what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now you have heard the blasphemy: what think you? But they answering, said: He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him, and others struck his face with the palms of their hands, saying: Prophesy unto us, O Christ, who is he that struck thee?

But Peter sat without in the court; and there came to him a servant-maid, saying: Thou also wast with Jesus the Galilean. But he denied before them all, saying: I know not what thou sayest. And as he went out of the gate, another maid saw him, and she saith to them that were there: This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath: That I know not the man. And after a little while they came that stood by, and said to Peter: Surely thou also art one of them; for even thy speech doth discover thee. Then he began to curse and to swear that he knew not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus which he had said: Before the cock crow, thou wilt deny me thrice. And going forth, he wept bitterly.

And when morning was come, all the chief priests and ancients of the people took counsel against Jesus, that they might put him to death. And they brought him bound, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. Then Judas, who betrayed him, seeing that he was condemned, repenting himself, brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and ancients, saying: I have sinned in betraying innocent blood. But they said: What is that to us? look thou to it. And casting down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed, and went and hanged himself with an halter. But the chief priests having taken the pieces of silver, said: It is not lawful to put them into the corbona, because it is the price of blood. And after they had consulted together, they bought with them the potter’s field, to be a burying-place for strangers. For this cause that field was called Haceldama, that is the field of blood, even to this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was prized, whom they prized of the children of Israel. And they gave them unto the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed to me.

And Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him saying: Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus saith to him: Thou sayest it. And when he was accused by the chief priests and ancients, he answered nothing. Then Pilate saith to him: Dost thou not hear how great testimonies they allege against thee? And he answered him to never a word; so that the governor wondered exceedingly.

Now upon the solemn day the governor was accustomed to release to the people one prisoner, whom they would. And he had then a notorious prisoner, that was called Barabbas. They therefore being gathered together, Pilate said: Whom will you that I release to you, Barabbas or Jesus, that is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. And as he was sitting in the place of judgment, his wife sent to him, saying: Have thou nothing to do with that just man. For I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. But the chief priests and ancients persuaded the people, that they should ask Barabbas, and make Jesus away. And the governor answering, said to them: Whether will you of the two to be released unto you? But they said, Barabbas. Pilate saith to them: What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ? They say all: Let him be crucified. The governor said to them: Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying: Let him be crucified.

And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made; taking water washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man: look you to it. And the whole people answering, said; His blood be upon us and upon our children. Then he released to them Barabbas: and having scourged Jesus delivered him unto them to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor taking Jesus into the hall, gathered together unto him the whole band; and stripping him, they put a scarlet cloak about him. And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand. And bowing the knee before him, they mocked him, saying: Hail, king of the Jews. And spitting upon him, they took the reed, and struck his head. And after they had mocked him, they took off the cloak from him, and put on him his own garments, and led him away to crucify him.

And going out they met a man of Cyrene, named Simon: him they forced to take up the cross. And they came to the place that is called Golgotha, which is the place of Calvary. And they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall. And when he had tasted, he would not drink. And after they had crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: 'They divided my garments among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.’ And they sat and watched him. And they put over his head his cause written: This is Jesus the King of the Jews. Then were crucified with him two thieves; one on the right hand, and one on the left.

And they that passed by, blasphemed him, wagging their heads, and saying: Yah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days dost rebuild it, save thy own self: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. In like manner also the chief priests, with the scribes and ancients, mocking, said: He saved others; himself he cannot save: if he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God: let him now deliver him if he will have him: for he said: I am the Son of God. And the self same thing the thieves also that were crucified with him reproached him with.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over the whole earth, until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some that stood there and heard, said: This man calleth Elias. And immediately one of them running, book a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. And the others said: Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to deliver him. And Jesus again crying with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

Here the deacon pauses, and honours the Death of our Lord and Saviour by a solemn act of adoration. All the faithful kneel down, and remain for some time in that position. In many places, it is the custom to prostrate, and kiss the ground. The deacon then resumes his narration.

Et ecce velum templi scissum est in duas partes, a summo usque deorsum. Et terra mota est, et petræ scissæ sunt, et monumenta aperta sunt: et multa corpora sanctorum, qui dormierant, surrexerunt. Et exeuntes de monumentis post resurrectionem ejus, venerunt in sanctam civitatem, et apparuerunt multis. Centurio autem, et qui cum eo erant, custodientes Jesum, viso terræ motu, et his quæ fiebant, timuerunt valde, dicentes: Vere Filius Dei erat iste. Erant autem ibi mulieres multæ a longe, quæ secutæ erant Jesum a Galilæa ministrantes ei: inter quas erat Maria Magdalene, et Maria Jacobi et Joseph mater, et mater filiorum Zebedæi. Cum autem sero factum esset, venit quidam homo dives ab Arimathæa, nomine Joseph, qui et ipse discipulus erat Jesu. Hic accessit ad Pilatum, et petiit corpus Jesu. Tunc Pilatus jussit reddi corpus. Et accepto corpore, Joseph involvit illud in sindone munda: et posuit illud in monumento suo novo, quod exciderat in petra. Et advolvit saxum magnum ad ostium monumenti, et abiit. Erat autem ibi Maria Magdalene, et altera Maria, sedentes contra sepulchrum.
And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose; and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus, having seen the earthquake and the things that were done, were sore afraid, saying: Indeed this was the Son of God. And there were there many women afar off who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. And when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was adisciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate, and asked the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded that the body should be delivered. And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new monument, which he had hewn out in a rock. And he rolled a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way. And there was there Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary sitting over against the sepulchre.

That the Mass of this Sunday may not be deprived of that essential rite which we call the Gospel, the deacon reserves a portion of the narrative; and going to the altar, he asks the priest to bless the incense. Which done, the deacon, himself also having received the priest’s blessing, goes to the place appointed for chanting the Gospel; but the acolytes do not carry their lights. After having thurified the book, he thus closes the history of the Passion.

Altera autem die, quæ est post Parasceven, convenerunt principes sacerdotum, et pharisæi ad Pilatum, dicentes: Domine, recordati sumus, quia seductor ille dixit adhuc vivens: Post tres dies resurgam. Jube ergo custodiri sepulchrum usque in diem tertium; ne forte veniant discipuli ejus et furentur eum: et dicant plebi: Surrexit a mortuis. Et erit novissimus error pejor priore. Ait illis Pilatus: Habetis custodiam; ite, cu stodite sicut scitis. Illi autem abeuntes, munierunt sepulchrum, signantes lapidem, cum custodibus.
And the next day, which followed the day of preparation, the chief priests and the pharisees came together to Pilate, saying: Sir, we have remembered, that that seducer said, while he was yet alive: After three days I will rise again. Command therefore the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day: lest perhaps his disciples come and steal him away, and say to the people, he is risen from the dead: and the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said to them: You have a guard; go, guard it as you know. And they, departing, made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting guards.

The Offertory is again a prophecy of David. It foretells the state of abandonment to which our Saviour was to be reduced in the midst of all His sufferings, and the cruelty of His enemies, who would feed Him with gall and vinegar. Thus is He treated who is preparing to give us His Body for our food, and His Blood for our drink.

Offertory

Improperium exspectavit cor meum, et miseriam: et sustinui qui simul mecum contristaretur et non fuit: consolantem me quæsivi, et non inveni: et dederunt in escam meam fel, et in siti mea potaverunt me aceto.
My heart hath expected reproach and misery; and I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none: they gave me gall for my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

The Secret asks of God that He would impart to His servants the twofold fruit of Jesus’ Passion: grace in this life, and glory in the next.

Secret

Concede, quæsumus, Domine, ut oculis tuæ majestatis munus oblatum, et gratiam nobis devotionis obtineat, et effectum beatæperennitatis acquirat. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that what hath been offered in the presence of thy divine Majesty may procure us the grace of devotion, and effectually obtain a blessed eternity. Through, &c.

In the Communion-anthem, the Church, after receiving into herself the life of Christ by the chalice of salvation, calls to our minds that other chalice which Jesus was to drink in order that He might gift us with immortality.

Communion

Pater, si non potest hic calix transire, nisi bibam ilium: fiat voluntas tua.
Father, if this cup cannot pass away, but I must drink it, thy will be done.

The Church concludes the prayers of the Sacrifice she has just been offering, by asking the remission of sin for all her children, that they may see fulfilled that longing of their souls—a share in the glorious Resurrection of Jesus.

Postcommunion

Per hujus, Domine, operationem mysterii, et vitia nostra purgentur, et justa desideria compleantur. Per Dominum.
May our vices, O Lord, be destroyed, and our righteous desires fulfilled by the efficacy of these mysteries. Through, &c.

 

VESPERS

 


The psalms and antiphons are given on page 81.


Capitulum
(Phil. ii.)

Fratres: Hoc enim sentite in vobis, quod et in Christo Jesu: qui cum in forma Dei esset, non rapinam arbitratus est esse se sequalem Deo: sed semetipsum exinanivit, formam servi accipiens, in similitudinem hominum factus, et habitu inventus ut homo.
Brethren: For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man.

For the hymn and versicle, see page 89.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Scriptum est enim: Percutiam pastorem, et dispergentur oves gregis: postquam autem resurrexero, præcedano. vos in Galilæam: ibi me videbitis, dicit Dominus.

Oremus

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui humano generi ad imitandum humilitatis exemplum, Salvatorem nostrum carnem sumere et crucem subire fecisti, concede propitius; ut et patientiæ ipsius habere documenta, et resurrectionis consortia mereamur. Per eumdem.
For it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed: but after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee: there ye shall see me, saith the Lord.

Let us Pray

O almighty and eternal God, who wouldst have our Saviour become man, and suffer on a cross, to give mankind an example of humility; mercifully grant that we may improve by the example of his patience, and partake of his resurrection. Through the same, &c.

Let us now go over in our minds the other events which happened to our divine Lord on this day of His solemn entry into Jerusalem. St. Luke tells us that it was on His approach to the city, that Jesus wept over it, and spoke these touching words: ‘If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace! But now they are hidden from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, and thine enemies shall oast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side, and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee; and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone; because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.’[10]

A few days ago, we were reading in the holy Gospel how Jesus wept over the tomb of Lazarus; to-day He sheds tears over Jerusalem. At Bethania His weeping was caused by the sight of bodily death, the consequence and punishment of sin; but this death is not irremediable: Jesus is the resurrection and the life, and he that believeth in Him shall live.[11] Whereas, the state of the unfaithful Jerusalem is a figure of the death of the soul, and from this there is no resurrection, unless the soul, while time is given to her, return to the Author of life. Hence it is, that the tears shed by Jesus over Jerusalem are so bitter. Amidst the acclamations which greet His entry into the city of David, His heart is sad; for He sees that many of her inhabitants will not profit of the time of her visitation. Let us console the Heart of our Jesus, and be to Him a faithful Jerusalem.

The sacred historian tells us that Jesus, immediately upon His entrance into the city, went to the temple, and cast out all them that sold and bought there.[12] This was the second time that He had shown His authority in His Father’s house, and no one had dared to resist Him. The chief priests and pharisees found fault with Him, and accused Him to His face, of causing confusion by His entry into the city; but our Lord confounded them by the reply He made. It is thus that in after ages, when it has pleased God to glorify His Son and the Church of His Son, the enemies of both have given vent to their rage; they protested against the triumph, but they could not stop it. But when God, in the unsearchable ways of His wisdom, allowed persecution and trial to follow these periods of triumph, then did these bitter enemies redouble their efforts to induce the very people, that had cried Hosanna to the Son of David, to clamour for His being delivered up and crucified. They succeeded in fomenting persecution, but not in destroying the kingdom of Christ and His Church. The kingdom seemed, at times, to be interrupted in its progress; but the time for another triumph came. Thus will it be to the end; and then, after all these changes from glory to humiliation, and from humiliation to glory, the kingdom of Jesus and of His bride will gain the last and eternal triumph over this world, which would not know the time of its visitation.

We learn from St. Matthew[13] that our Saviour spent the remainder of this day at Bethania. His blessed Mother and the house of Lazarus were comforted by His return. There was not a single offer of hospitality made to Him in Jerusalem, at least there is no mention in the Gospel of any such offer. We cannot help making the reflection, as we meditate upon this event of our Lord’s life:—an enthusiastic reception is given to Him in the morning, He is proclaimed by the people as their King; but when the evening of that day comes on, there is not one of all those thousands to offer Him food or lodging. In the Carmelite monasteries of St. Teresa’s reform, there is a custom, which has been suggested by this thought, and is intended as a reparation for this ingratitude shown to our Redeemer. A table is placed in the middle of the refectory; and after the community have finished their dinner, the food which was placed upon that table is distributed among the poor, and Jesus is honoured in them.

We give, as a conclusion to this day, a selection from the hymn used by the Greek Church on Palm Sunday. It was written by the celebrated hymnographer, Cosmas of Jerusalem.

Hymn
(In Dominica Palmarum)

Qui in altissimis sedet super Cherubim Deus, et humilia respicit, ecce venit in gloria cum potestate, et replebuntur omnia divina laude ipsius. Pax super Israel, et salutare gentibus.

Clamaverunt in lætitia justorum animæ: Nunc mundo testamentum novum disponitur, et aspersione innovatur populus divini sanguinis.

Genu flexo populi et cum discipulis gaudentes, cum palmis Hosanna filio David clamabant: Superlau dabilis Domine Deus patrum, benedictus es.

Simplex multitudo, adhuc infantilis ætas, ut Deum decet, te rex Israel et angelorum laudavit: Superlau dabilis Domine Deus patrum, benedictus es.

Juvenem pullum ascendens rex tuus Sion adstitit Christus. Irrationabilem enim idolorum errorem solvere, effrænum impetum compescere omnium gentium advenit, ut cantent: Benedicite, opera, Dominum, et superexaltate in omnia sæcula.

Deus tuus regnavit in sæcula Christus. Iste, ut scriptum est, mitis et salvator, justus redemptor noster venit super pullo equitans, ut audaciam perderet inimicorum non clamantium: Benedicite, opera, Dominum, et superexaltate in omnia sæcula.

Dissipatur sacri templi iniquum Synedrium contumacium; orationis enim Dei domum speluncam effecerant latronum, a corde Redemptorem excludentes, cui clamamus: Benedicite, opera, Dominum, et superexaltate in omnia sæcula.

Deus Dominus, et apparuit nobis; constituite diem solemnem, et exsultantes venite, magnificemus Christum, cum palmis et ramis laudibus clamantes: Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini Salvatoris nostri.

Gentes, ut quid fremuistis? Scribæ et sacerdotes, ut quid inania meditati estis, dicentes: Quis est iste cui pueri cum palmis et ramis laudibus clamant: Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini Salvatoris nostri?

Scandala semitas occupantia quid vos ponitis immorigeri? Veloces pedes vestri ad effundendum sanguinem Domini. Sed resurget ut salvet omnes qui
clamant: Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini Salvatoris nostri.
Lo! the God that sitteth, in the highest heavens, upon the Cherubim, and looketh down on lowly things, cometh in glory and power, all creatures are full of his divine praise. Peace upon Israel, and salvation to the Gentiles!

The souls of the just cried out with joy: Now is prepared a new Covenant for the world, and mankind is renewed by the sprinkling of the divine Blood!

The people fell upon their knees, and, rejoicing with the disciples, sang, with palms in their hands: Hosanna to the Son of David! Praiseworthy and blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

The simple-hearted people, yea, and little children, (the fittest to adore God) praised him as King of Israel and of the angels: Praiseworthy and blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

O Sion! there came to thee Christ, thy King, seated on a young colt: for he came that he might loose mankind from the senseless error of idolatry, and tame the wild passions of all nations; that thus they might praise thee, singing: Bless the Lord, all ye his works, and extol him above all for ever!

Christ thy Lord hath reigned for ever. He, as it is written, the meek one, the Saviour, our just Redeemer, came riding on an ass's colt, that he might destroy the pride of his enemies, who would not sing these words: Bless the Lord, all ye his works, and extol him above all for ever!

The unjust and obstinate Sanhedrim, the usurpers of the holy temple, are put to flight; for they had made God’s house of prayer a den of thieves, and shut their hearts against the Redeemer, to whom we cry: Bless the Lord, all ye his works, and extol him above all for ever!

God is our Lord, he hath appeared unto us. Appoint a solemn feast, and come, let us rejoice and magnify the Christ, praising him, with palms and branches in our hands: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord our Saviour!

Why, O ye Gentiles, have ye raged? Why, O ye scribes and priests, have ye devised vain things, saying: Who is this, unto whom children, with palms and branches in their hands, cry aloud this praise: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord our Saviour?

Why, O ye perverse of heart, have ye thrown stumblingblocks in the way? Your feet are swift to shed the Blood of the Lord. But he will rise again, that he may save all
that cry to him: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord our Saviour!


[1] Zach. ix. 9.
[2] St. Mark xi. 2.
[3] Ibid. 7, and St. Luke xix. 35.
[4] St. Luke xix. 38.
[5] St. Luke i. 32.
[6] Cateches. x. versus fin.
[7] ActSS. Jan. 20.
[8] Lev. xxiii. 40.
[9] In receiving the palm, the faithful should kiss first the palm itself, and then the priest's hand.
[10] St. Matt. xxi.17.
[11] St. John xi. 25.
[12] St. Matt. xxi. 12.
[13] St. Matt. xxi. 17.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

This morning, also, Jesus goes with His disciples to Jerusalem. He is fasting, for the Gospel tells us that He was hungry,[1] He approaches a fig-tree, which is by the way-side; but finds nothing on it, save leaves only. Jesus, wishing to give us an instruction, curses the fig-tree, which immediately withers away. He would hereby teach us what they are to expect, who have nothing but good desires, and never produce in themselves the fruit of a real conversion. Nor is the allusion to Jerusalem less evident. This city is zealous for the exterior of divine worship; but her heart is hard and obstinate, and she is plotting, at this very hour, the death of the Son of God.

The greater portion of the day is spent in the temple, where Jesus holds long conversations with the chief priests and ancients of the people. His language to them is stronger than ever, and triumphs over all their captious questions. It is principally in the Gospel of St. Matthew[2] that we shall find these answers of our Redeemer, which so energetically accuse the Jews of their sin of rejecting the Messias, and so plainly foretell the punishment their sin is to bring after it.

At length, Jesus leaves the temple, and takes the road that leads to Bethania. Having come as far as Mount Olivet, which commands a view of Jerusalem, He sits down and rests awhile. The disciples take this opportunity of asking Him how soon the chastisements He has been speaking of in the temple will come upon the city. His answer comprises two events: the destruction of Jerusalem, and the final destruction of the world. He thus teaches them that the first is the figure of the second. The time when each is to happen, is to be when the measure of iniquity is filled up. But, with regard to the chas tisement that is to befall Jerusalem, He gives this more definite answer: ‘Amen I say to you: this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’[3] History tells us how this prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled: forty years had scarcely elapsed after His Ascension, when the Roman army encamped on this very place where He is now speaking to His disciples, and laid siege to the ungrateful and wicked city. After giving a prophetic description of that last judgment, which is to rectify all the unjust judgments of men, He leaves Mount Olivet, returns to Bethania, and consoles the anxious heart of His most holy Mother.

The Station, at Rome, is in the church of Saint Praxedes. It is in this church that Pope Paschal I, in the ninth century, placed two thousand three hundred bodies of holy martyrs, which he had ordered to be taken out of the catacombs. The pillar to which our Saviour was tied during His scourging is also here.

 

MASS

 

The Introit is taken from Psalm xxxiv. Jesus, by these words of the royal prophet, prays to His eternal Father to defend Him against His enemies.

Introit

Judica, Domine, nocentes me, expugna impugnantes me:apprehende arma et scutum, et exsurge in adjutorium meum, Domine virtus salutis meæ.

Ps. Effunde frameam, et conclude adversus eos qui persequuntur me: dic animæ meæ: Salus tua ego sum. Judica, Domine.
Judge thou, O Lord, them that wrong me; overthrow them that fight against me: take hold of arms and shield, and rise up to help me, O Lord, my mighty deliverer.

Ps. Bring out the sword, and shut up the way against them that persecute me; say to my soul, I am thy salvation. Judge thou, &c.

In the Collect, the Church teaches us to have recourse to the merits of our Saviour’s Passion, in order that we may obtain from God the help we stand in need of amidst our many miseries.

Collect

Da, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, qui in tot adversis ex nostra infirmitate deficimus, intercedente unigeniti Filii tui Passione respiremus. Qui tecum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we who through our weakness, faint under so many adversities, may recover by the Passion of thy only-begotten Son. Who liveth, &c.

Then is added one of the Collects given on p. 108.

EPISTLE

Lectio Isaiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. l.

In diebus illis: Dixit Isaias: Dominus Deus aperuit mihi aurem: ego autem non contradico: retrorsum non abii. Corpus meum dedi percutientibus, et genas meas vellentibus; faciem meam non averti ab increpantibus et conspuentibus in me. Dominus Deus auxiliator meus, ideo non sum confusus. Ideo posui faciem meam ut petram durissimam: et scio quoniam non confundar. Juxta est qui justificat me: quis contradicet mihi? Stemus simul: quis est adversarius meus? Accedat ad me. Ecce Dominus Deus, auxiliator meus: quis est qui condemnet me? Ecce, omnes quasi vestimentum conterentur: tinea comedet eos. Quis ex vobis timens Dominum, audiens vocem servi sui? Qui ambulavit in tenebris, et non est lumen ei, speret in nomine Domini, et innitatur super Deum suum. 
Lesson from Isaias the Prophet.

Ch. l.

In those days, Isaias said: The Lord God hath opened my ear, making known his will to mey and I do not resist: I have not gone back. I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me. The Lord God is my helper, therefore am I not confounded. Therefore have I set my face as a most hard rock, and I know that I shall not be confounded. He is near that justifieth me, who will contend with me? let us stand together. Who is my adversary? let him come near to me. Behold the Lord God is my helper: who is he that shall condemn me? Lo, they shall all be destroyed as a garment, the moth shall eat them up. Who is there among you that feareth the Lord, that heareth the voice of his servant, that hath walked in darkness and hath no light? Let him hope in the name of the Lord, and lean upon his God.

The sufferings of our Redeemer, and the patience wherewith He is to bear them, are thus prophesied by Isaias, who is always so explicit on the Passion. Jesus has accepted the office of victim for the world’s salvation; He shrinks from no pain or humiliation: He turns not His Face from them that strike Him and spit upon Him. What reparation can we make to this infinite Majesty, who, that He might save us, submitted to such outrages as these P Observe these vile and cruel enemies of our divine Lord: now that they have Him in their power, they fear Him not. When they came to seize Him in the garden, He had but to speak, and they fell back upon the ground; but He has now permitted them to bind His hands and lead Him to the high priest. They accuse Him; they cry out against Him; and He answers but a few words. Jesus of Nazareth, the great teacher, the wonder-worker, has seemingly lost all His influence; they can do what they will with Him. It is thus with the sinner; when the thunder-storm is over, and the lightning has not struck him, he regains his courage. The holy angels look on with amazement at the treatment shown by the Jews to Jesus, and falling down, they adore the holy Face, which they see thus bruised and defiled: let us, also, prostrate and ask pardon, for our sins have outraged that same Face.

But let us hearken to the last words of our Epistle: He that hath walked in darknessand hath no lightlet him hope in the name of the Lord and lean upon his God. Who is this but the Gentile, abandoned to sin and idolatry? He knows not what is happening at this very hour in Jerusalem; he knows not that the earth possesses its Saviour, and that this Saviour is being trampled beneath the feet of His own chosen people: but, in a very short time, the light of the Gospel will shine upon this poor Gentile; he will believe; he will obey; he will love his Redeemer, even to laying down his life for Him. Then will be fulfilled the prophecy of the unworthy pontiff, who prophesied against his will that the death of Jesus would bring salvation to the Gentiles, by gathering into one family the children of God, that hitherto had been dispersed.[4]

In the Gradual, the royal prophet again calls down on the executioners of our Lord the chastisements they have deserved by their ingratitude and their obstinacy in sin.

The Tract is the one used by the Church on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, during Lent. It is a prayer, begging God to bless the works of penance done during this holy season.

Gradual

Exsurge, Domine, et intende judicio meo, Deus meus et Dominus meus, in causam meam.

℣. Effunde frameam, et conclude adversus eos qui me persequuntur.
Arise, O Lord, and be attentive to my trial; my God and my Lord, undertake my cause.

℣. Draw thy sword, and stop those that are in pursuit of me.

Tract

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

℣. Domine, ne memineris iniquitatum nostrarum antiquarum: cito anticipent nos misericordiæ tuæ, quia pauperes facti sumus nimis.

℣. Adjuva nos, Deus salutaris noster: et propter gloriam nominis tui, Domine, libera nos: et propitius esto peccatis nostris propter nomen tuum.
℣. O Lord, deal not with us according to our sins, which we have done, nor reward us according to our iniquities.

℣. O Lord, remember not our former iniquities: let thy mercies speedily prevent us, for we are become exceeding poor.

℣. Help us, O God, our Saviour, and for the glory of thy name,.O Lord, deliver us: and forgive us our sins, for thy name’s sake.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Capxii.

Ante sex dies Paschæ venit Jesus Bethaniam, ubi Lazarus fuerat mortuus, quem suscitavit Jesus. Fecerunt autem ei cœnam ibi: et Martha ministrabat; Lazarus vero unus erat ex discumbentibus cum eo. Maria ergo accepit libram unguenti nardi pistici pretiosi: et unxit pedes Jesu, et extersit pedes ejus capillis suis; et domus impleta est ex odore unguenti. Dixit ergo unus ex discipulis ejus, Judas Iscariotes, qui erat eum traditurus: Quare hoc unguentum non væniit trecentis denariis, et datum est egenis? Dixit autem hoc non quia de egenis pertinebat ad eum: sed quia fur erat, et loculos habens, ea quæ mittebantur, portabat. Dixit ergo Jesus: Sinite illam, ut in diem sepulturæ meæ servet illud. Pauperes enim semper habetis vobiscum: me autem non semper habetis. Cognovit ergo turba multa ex Judæis, quia illic est: et venerunt, non propter Jesum tantum, sed ut Lazarum viderent, quem suscitavit a mortuis.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. xii.

Jesus, six days before the Pasch, came to Bethania, where Lazarus had been dead, whom Jesus raised to life. And they made him a supper there; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of them that were at table with him. Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and, having the purse, carried the things that were put therein. Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial; for the poor you have always with you, but me you have not always. A great multitude therefore of the Jews knew that he was there; and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.

As we have already said, the event related in this passage of the Gospel took place on Saturday, the eve of Palm Sunday; but, as formerly there was no Station for that day, the reading of this Gospel was deferred till the following Monday. The Church brings this episode of the last days of our Saviour before us, because it enables us to have a clearer understanding of the history of the Passion.

Mary Magdalene, whose conversion was the subject of our meditation a few days ago, is a prominent figure in the Passion and Resurrection of her divine Master. She is the type of a soul that has been purified by grace, and then admitted to the enjoyment of God’s choicest favours. It is important that we should study her in each of the several phases through which divine grace led her. We have already seen how she keeps close to her Saviour and supplies His sacred wants; elsewhere, we shall find Jesus giving the preference to her over her sister Martha, and this because Mary chose a better part than Martha; but now during these days of Passiontide, it is her tender love of Jesus that makes her dear to us. She knows that the Jews are plotting Jesus’ death; the Holy Ghost, who guides her through the different degrees of perfection, inspires her, on the occasion mentioned in to-day’s Gospel, with the performance of an action which prophesies what she most dreads.

One of the three gifts offered by the Magi to the divine Infant, was myrrh; it is an emblem of death, and the Gospel tells us that it was used at the burial of our Lord. Magdalene, on the day of her conversion, testified the earnestness of her change of heart by pouring on the feet of Jesus the most precious of her perfumes. She gives Him to-day the same proof of her love. Her divine Master is invited by Simon the leper to a feast: His blessed Mother and His disciples are among the guests: Martha is busy, looking after the service. Outwardly, there is no disturbance; but inwardly there are sad forebodings. During the repast, Magdalene is seen entering the room, holding in her hand a vase of precious spikenard. She advances towards Jesus, kneels at His feet, anoints them with the perfume, and wipes them with her hair, as on the previous occasion.

Jesus lay on one of those couches, which were used by the eastern people during their repasts. Magdalene, therefore, could easily take her favourite place at His feet, and give Him the same proof of her love as she had already done in the pharisee’s house. The evangelist does not say that this time she shed tears. St. Matthew[5] and St. Mark[6] add that she poured the ointment on His head also. Whether or no Magdalene herself understood the full import of what the Holy Ghost inspired her to do, the Gospel does not say; hut Jesus Himself revealed the mystery to His disciples, and we gather from His words that this action of Magdalene was, in a certain manner, the commencement of His Passion: 'She, in pouring this ointment upon My body, hath done it for My burial.’[7] The fragrance of the ointment fills the whole house. One of the disciples, Judas Iscariot, dares to protest against this waste, as he calls it. His base avarice deprives him of feeling and respect for his divine Master. His opinion is shared in by several of the other disciples, for they are still carnal-minded. For several reasons Jesus permits Magdalene’s generosity to be thus blamed. And firstly, He wishes to announce His approaching death, which is mystically expressed by the pouring of this ointment upon His body. Then, too, He would glorify Magdalene; and He therefore tells those who are present, that her tender and ardent love shall be rewarded, and that her name shall be celebrated in every country, wheresoever the Gospel shall be preached.[8] And lastly, He would console those whose generous love prompts them to be liberal in their gifts to His altars; for what He here says of Magdalene is, in reality, a defence for them, when they are accused of spending too much over the beauty of God’s house.

Let us prize eaoh of these divine teachings. Let us love to honour Jesus, both in His own person, and in His poor. Let us honour Magdalene, and imitate her devotion to the Passion and death of our Lord. In fine, let us prepare our perfumes for our divine Master: there must be the myrrh of the Magi, which signifies penance, and the precious spikenard of Magdalene, which is the emblem of generous and compassionating love.

In the Offertory, our Redeemer implores His eternal Father to deliver Him from His enemies, and to fulfil the decrees regarding the salvation of mankind.

Offertory

Eripe me de inimicis meis, Domine: ad te confugi, doce me facere voluntatem tuam: quia Deus meus es tu.
Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord; to thee have I fled, teach me to do thy will, because thou art my God.

The Secret tells us the wonderful power of the sacred mysteries. Not only does this Sacrifice purify our souls; it also raises them to perfect union with Him who is their Creator.

Secret

Hæc sacrificia nos, omnipotens Deus, potenti virtute mundatos, ad suum faciant puriores venire principium. Per Dominum.
Grant, O almighty God, that being purified by the powerful virtue of this sacrifice, we may arrive with greater purity to the author and institutorthereof. Through, &c.

Then is added one of the Secrets given on p. 116.

After the faithful have partaken of the divine mystery, there is read, in the Communion-anthem, a malediction against the enemies of our Saviour. Thus does God act in His government of the world: they that refuse His mercy, cannot escape His justice.

Communion

Erubescant, et revereantur simul, qui gratulantur malis meis: induantur pudore et reverentia, qui maligna loquuntur adversus me.
Let them blush and be ashamed, who rejoice at my misfortunes; let them be covered with shame and confusion, who speak maliciously against me.

The Church concludes her prayers of this morning’s Sacrifice, by begging that her children may persevere in the holy fervour, which they have received at its very source.

Postcommunion

Præbeant nobis, Domine, divinum tua sancta fervorem; quo eorum pariter et actu delectemur et fructu. Per Dominum.
Let thy holy mysteries, O Lord, inspire us with divine fervour; that we may delight both in their effect and celebration. Through, &c.

Then is added one of the Postcommunions given on page 117.


Oremus

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Adjuva nos, Deus salutaris noster; et ad beneficia recolenda, quibus nos instaurare dignatus es, tribue venire gaudentes. Per Dominum.
Let us Pray

Bow down your heads to God.

Help us, O God, our salvation; and grant that we may celebrate with joy the memory of those benefits, by which thou hast been pleased to redeem us. Through, &c.

As an appropriate conclusion to this day, we may use the following beautiful prayer, taken from the ancient Gallican liturgy:

Prayer
(Oratio ad Sextam)

Christe Deus, Adonaï magne, nos tecum quasi huic mundo crucifige; ut vita tua in nobis sit: nostraque peccata super te pone, ut ea crucifigas: nos quoque ad teipsum trahe, cum pro nobis exaltatus es a terra, ut nos eripias ab adultero tyranno: quia licet carne et vitiis diabolo noxii sumus; tibi tamen, non illi optamus servire: et sub tuo jure vivere desideramus, et a te gubernari rogamus; qui nos mortales et a morte invasos, per mortem crucis liberare voluisti. Pro quo singulari beneficio hodierna tibi nostra famulatur devotio: teque nunc hodie supplices adoramus, imploramus, invocamus, ut ad nos properes, virtus æterna Deus: quod nobis proficiat tua crux, triumphal)s scilicet de mundo in nobis per crucis virtutem: at que tua pietas nobis illud antiquum restituat beneficium, virtute scilicet et gratia; qui per potentiam futura præterita; per præsentiam facis similiter præterita præsentia: redde, ut nobis tua Passio salutaris sit, quasi præsens et hodierna: et sic nobis hodie, illa gutta sancti sanguinis super terram olim de cruce stillantis, sit salus: ut omnia terræ nosbræ delicta la vans, et corporis nostri humo quodam modo immixta, nos de terra tuos efficiat; nos quoque tibi quasi corpus idem reconciliati capitis. Qui regnas cum Patre semper et Spiritu sancto; nunc nobis regnare incipe, Homo Deus, Christe Jesu, Rex in sæcula sæculorum.
O great and sovereign Lord! Adonaï! Christ our God! crucify us, with thyself, to this world, that so thy life may be in us. Take upon thee our sins, that thou mayst crucify them. Draw us unto thyself, since it is for our sake that thou wast raised up from the earth; and thus snatch us from the power of the unclean tyrant: for though, by flesh and our sins, we be exposed to the insults of the devil, yet do we desire to serve, not him, but thee. We would be thy subjects; we ask to be governed by thee; for, by thy death on the cross, thou didst deliver us, who are mortals and surrounded by death. It is to bless thee for this wonderful favour, that we this day offer thee our devoted service; and humbly adoring thee, we now implore and beseech thee, to hasten to our assistance, O thou our God, the eternal and almighty! Let thy cross thus profit us unto good, that thou, by its power, mayst triumph over the world in us, and thine own mercy may restore us, by thy might and grace, to the ancient blessing. O thou, whose power hath turned the future into the past, and whose presence maketh the past to be present, grant that thy Passion may avail us to salvation, as though it were accomplished now on this very day. May the drops of thy holy Blood, which heretofore fell upon the earth from the cross, be our present salvation: may it wash away all the sins of our earthly nature, and be. so to say, commingled with the earth of our body, rendering it all thine; since we, by our reconciliation with thee, our Head, have been made one body with thee. Thou that ever reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, now begin to reign over us, O God-Man, Christ Jesus, King for ever and ever!

 


[1] St. Matt. xxi. 18.
[2] Chapters xxi. xxi. and xxiii.
[3] St. Matt. xxiv. 34.
[4] St. John xi. 52.
[5] St. Matt. xxvi. 7
[6] St. Mark, xiv. 3.
[7] St. Matt. xxvi.12.
[8] Ibid. 13.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

To-day, again, our Saviour sets out in the morning for Jerusalem. His intention is to repair to the temple, and continue His yesterday’s teachings. It is evident that His mission on earth is fast drawing to its close. He says to His disciples: ‘You know that after two days shall be the Pasch, and the Son of Man shall be delivered up to be crucified.’[1]

On the road from Bethania to Jerusalem, the disciples are surprised at seeing the fig-tree, which their divine Master had yesterday cursed, now dead. Addressing himself to Jesus, Peter says: ‘Rabbi, behold, the fig-tree, which Thou didst curse, is withered away.’[2] In order to teach us that the whole of material nature is subservient to the spiritual element when this last is united to God by faith, Jesus replies: ‘Have the faith of God. Amen I say to you, that whosoever shall say to this mountain: Be thou removed and oast into the sea! and shall not stagger in his heart, but believe that whatsoever he saith shall be done, it shall be done unto him.’[3]

Having entered the city, Jesus directs His steps towards the temple. No sooner has He entered, than the chief priests, the scribes, and the ancients of the people, accost Him with these words: ‘By what authority dost Thou these things? and who has given Thee this authority, that Thou shouldst do these things?’[4] We shall find our Lord’s answer given in the Gospel. Our object is to mention the leading events of the last days of our Redeemer on earth; the holy volume will supply the details.

As on the two preceding days, Jesus leaves the city towards evening: He passes over Mount Olivet, and returns to Bethania, where He finds His blessed Mother and His devoted friends.

In to-day’s Mass, the Church reads the history of the Passion according to St. Mark, who wrote his Gospel the next after St. Matthew; hence it is that the second place is assigned to him. His account of the Passion is shorter than St. Matthew’s, of which it would often seem to be a summary; and yet certain details peculiar to this evangelist were evidently furnished by an eye-witness. Our readers are aware that St. Mark was a disciple of St. Peter, and that his Gospel was written under the very eye of the prince of the apostles.

In Rome, the Station for to-day is in the church of St. Prisma, which is said to have been the house of Alula and his wife Prisma, to whom St. Paul sends his salutations in his Epistle to the Romans. In the third century, Pope St. Eustachian had translated thither, on account of the sameness of the name, the body of St. Prisca, a virgin and martyr of Rome.

 

MASS

 

Three days hence, the cross will be lifted up on Calvary bearing upon itself the Author of our salvation. The Church, in the Introit of to-day’s Mass, bids us at once pay our homage to this trophy of our victory, and glory in it.

Introit

Nos autem gloriari oportet in cruce Domini nostri Jesu Christi: in quo est salus, vita, et resurrectio nostra, per quem salvati, et liberati sumus.

Ps.
Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis; illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri. Nos autem.
We ought to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection; by whom we have been saved and delivered.

Ps. May God have mercy on us, and bless us; may his countenance shine upon us, and may he have mercy on us. We ought, &c.

In the Collect, the Church prays that the sacred anniversaries of our Saviour’s Passion may be to us a source of pardon; and that they may work in us a full reconciliation with the divine justice.

Collect

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, da nobis ita Dominicæ Passionissacramenta peragere, ut indulgentiam percipere mereamur. Per eumdem.
O almighty and everlasting God, grant that we may so celebrate the mysteries of our Lord’s Passion, as to obtain thy pardon. Through the same, &c.

For the other Collect, see page 108.


Epistle

Lectio Jeremiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. xi.

In diebus illis: dixit Jeremias: Domine, demonstrasti mihi et cognovi; tunc ostendisti mihi studia eorum. Et ego quasi agnus mansuetus, qui portatur ad victimam: et non cognovi quia cogitaverunt super me consilia, dicentes: Mittamus lignum in panem ejus, et eradamus eum de terra viventium, et nomen ejus non memoretur amplius. Tu autem, Domine Sabaoth, qui judicas juste, et probas renes et corda, videam ultionem tuam ex eis: tibi enim revelavi causam meam, Domine Deus meus.
Lesson from Jeremias the Prophet.

Ch. xi.

In those days: Jeremias said: Thou, O Lord, hast shown me, and I have known: then thou shewedst me their doings. And I was as a meek lamb, that is carried to be a victim; and I knew not that they had devised counsels against me, saying: Let us put wood on his bread, and cut him off from the land of the living, and let his name be remembered no more. But thou, O Lord of Sabaoth, who judgest justly, and triest the reins and the hearts, let me see thy revenge on them; for to thee have I revealed my cause, O Lord, my God!

Again we have the plaintive words of Jeremias: he gives us the very words used by his enemies, when they conspired his death. It is evident, however, that the prophet is here the figure of one greater than himself. Let us, say these enemies, put wood upon his bread: that is, let us put poisonous wood into what he eats, that so we may cause his death. This is the literal sense of these words, as applied to the prophet; but how much more truly were they fulfilled in our Redeemer! He tells us that His divine Flesh is the true Bread that came down from heaven. This Bread, this Body of the Man-God, is bruised, torn, and wounded; the Jews nail it to the wood; so that, it is, in a manner, made one with the woody and the wood is all covered with Jesus’ Blood. This Lamb of God was immolated on the wood of the cross: it is by His immolation, that we have had given to us a Sacrifice which is worthy of God; and it is by this Sacrifice that we participate in the Bread of heaven, the Flesh of the Lamb, our true Pasch.

The Gradual, which is taken from Psalm xxxiv, shows us the humility and meekness of Jesus under His sufferings. How they contrast with the haughty pride of his enemies!

Gradual

Ego autem, dum mihi molesti essent, induebam me cilicio, et humiliabam in jejunio animam meam; et oratio mea in sinu meo convertetur.

V. Judica, Domine, nocentes me, expugna impugnantes me; apprehende arma et scutum, et exsurge in adjutorium mihi.
When they were troublesome to me, I clothed myself with hair-cloth, and I humbled my soul with fasting; and I will yet continue to pour forth my prayer in my bosom.

V. Judge thou, O Lord, them that wrong me, overthrow them that fight against me; take hold of arms and shield, and rise to help me.

After the Gradual, is sung the Passion according to St. Mark. The same ceremonies are observed as during the Passion which was read to us on Sunday, excepting only what regarded the palms.

THE PASSION AND GOSPEL

 

Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Marcum.

Cap. xiv. et xv.

In illo tempore: Erat Pascha, et Azyma post biduum: et quærebant summi sacerdotes et scribæ quomodo Jesum dolo tenerent, et occiderent. Dicebant autem: Non in die festo ne forte tumultus fieret in populo.

Et cum esset Jesus Bethaniæ in domo Simonis leprosi, et recumberet: venit mulier habens alabastrum unguenti nardi spicati pretiosi, et fracto alabastro, effudit super caput ejus. Erant autem quidam indigne ferentes intra semetipsos, et dicentes: Ut quid perditio ista unguenti facta est? Poterat enim unguentum istud venundari plus quam trecentis denariis, et dari pauperibus. Et fremebant in eam. Jesus autem dixit: Sinite eam: quid illi molesti estis? Bonum opus operata est in me. Semper enim pauperes habetis vobiscum, et cum volueritis, potestis illis benefacere: me autem non semper habetis. Quod habuit hæc, fecit: prævenit ungere corpus meum in sepulturam. Amen dico vobis: Ubicumque prædicatum fuerit evangelium istud in universo mundo, et quod fecit hæc, narrabitur in memoriam ejus.

Et Judas Iscariotes unus de duodecim abiit ad summos sacerdotes, ut proderet eum illis. Qui audientes, gavisi sunt: et promiserunt ei pecuniam se daturos. Et quærebat, quomodo illum opportune traderet.

Et primo die Azymorum, quando Pascha immolabant, dicunt ei discipuli: Quo vis eamus, et paremus tibi, ut manduces Pascha? Et mittit duos ex discipulis suis, et dicit eis: Ite in civitatem: et occurret vobis homo lagenam aquæ bajulans; sequimini eum: et quocumque introierit, dicite domino domus, quia Magister dicit: Ubi est refectio mea, ubi Pascha cum discipulis meis manducem? Et ipse vobis demonstrabit cœnaculum grande, stratum, et illic parate nobis. Et abierunt discipuli ejus, et venerunt in civitatem: et invenerunt sicut dixerat illis, et paraverunt Pascha.

Vespere autem facto, venit cum duodecim. Et discumbentibus eis, et manducantibus ait Jesus: Amen dico vobis, quia unus ex vobis tradet me, qui manducat mecum. At illi cœperunt contristari, et dicere ei singulatim: numquid ego? Qui ait illis: unus ex duodecim, qui intingit mecum manum in catino. Et Filius quidem hominis vadit, sicut scriptum est de eo; væ autem homini illi, per quem Filius hominis tradetur. Bonum erat ei, si non esset natus homo ille. Et manducantibus illis, accepit Jesus panem: et benedicens fregit, et dedit eis, et ait: Sumite: hoc est corpus meum. Et accepto calice, gratias agens dedit eis: et biberunt ex illo omnes. Et ait illis: Hic est sanguis meus novi testamenti, qui promultis effundetur. Amen dico vobis: quia jam non bibam de hoc genimine vitis, usque in diem ilium, cum illud bibam novum in regno Dei.

Et hymno dicto, exierunt in montem Olivarum. Et ait eis Jesus: Omnes scandalizabimini in me, in nocte ista, quia scriptum est: Percutiam pastorem, et dispergentur oves: sed postquam resurrexero, præcedam vos in Galilæam. Petrus autem ait illi: Et si omnes scandalizati fuerint in te, sed non ego. Et ait illi Jesus: Amen dico tibi, quia tu hodie in nocte hac, priusquam gallus vocem bis dedcrit, ter me es negaturus. At ille amplius loquebatur: Et si opportuerit me simul commori tibi, non te negabo. Similiter autem et omnes dicebant.

Et veniunt in prædium, cui nomen Gethsemani, et ait discipulis suis: Sedete hic donec orem. Et assumit Petrum, et Jacobum et Joannem secum: et cœpit pavere, et tædere. Et ait illis: Tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem. Sustinete hic, et vigilate. Et cum processisset paululum, procidit super terram: et orabat, ut si fieri posset, transiret ab eo hora: et dixit: Abba Pater, omnia tibi possibilia sunt: transfer calicem hunc a me. Sed non quod ego volo: sed quod tu. Et venit, et invenit eos dormientes. Et ait Petro: Simon dormis? Non potuisti una hora vigilare? Vigilate, et orate, ut non intretis in tentationem. Spiritus quidem promptus est, caro vero infirma. Et iterum abiens oravit, eumdem sermonem dicens. Et re versus, denuo invenit eos dormientes (erant enim oculi eorum gravati), et ignorabant quid responderent ei. Et venit tertio, et ait illis: Dormite jam, et requiescite. Sufficit: venit hora: ecce Filius hominis tradetur in manus peccatorum. Surgite, eamus: ecce, qui me tradet, prope est.

Et adhuc eo loquente venit Judas Iscariotes unus de duodecim, et cum eo turba multa cum gladiis et lignis a summis sacerdotibus, et scribis et senioribus. Dederat antem traditor ejus signum eis, dicens: Quemcumque osculatus fuero, ipse est: tenete eum, et ducite caute. Et cum venisset, statini accedens ad eum ait: Ave Rabbi! Et osculatus est eum. At illi manus injecerunt in eum et tenuerunt eum. Unus autem quidam de circumstantibus educens gladium, percussit servum summi sacerdotis: et amputavit illi auriculam. Et respondens Jesus ait illis: Tanquam ad latronem existis cum gladiis et lignis comprehendere me? Quotidie eram apud vos in tempio docens, et non me tenuistis. Sed ut impleantur Scripturæ. Tunc discipuli ejus relinquentes eum, omnes fugerunt. Adolescens autem quidam sequebatur eum amictus sindone super nudo: et tenuerunt eum. At ille rejecta sindone, nudus profugit ab eis.

Et adduxerunt Jesum ad summum sacerdotem: et convenerunt omnes sacerdotes, et scribæ et seniores. Petrus autem a longe secutus est eum, usque intro in atrium summi sacerdotis: et sedebat cum ministris ad ignem, et calefaciebat se. Summi vero sacerdotes et omne concilium quærebant adversus Jesum testimonium, ut eum morti traderent; nec inveniebant.

Multi enim testimonium falsum dicebant adversus eum: et convenientia testimonia non erant. Et quidam surgentes, falsum testimonium ferebant adversus eum, dicentes: Quoniam nos audivimus eum dicentem: Ego dissolvam templum hoc manufactum: et per triduum, aliud non manufactum ædificabo. Et non erat conveniens testimonium illorum.

Et exsurgens summus sacerdos in medium, interrogavit Jesum, dicens: Non respondes quidquam ad ea, quæ tibi objiciuntur ab his? Ille autem tacebat, et nihil respondit. Rursum summus sacerdos interrogabat eum, et dixit ei: Tu es Christus Filius Dei benedicti? Jesus autem dixit illi: Ego sum. Et videbitis Filium hominis sedentem a dextris virtutis Dei, et venientem cum nubibus cœli. Summus autem sacerdos scindens vestimenta sua, ait: Quid adhuc desideramus testes? Audistis blasphemiam. Quid vobis videtur? Qui omnes condemnaverunt eum esse reum mortis. Et cœperunt quidam conspuere eum, et velare faciem ejus, et colaphis eum cædere, et dicere ei: Prophetiza. Et ministri alapis eum cædebant.

Et cum esset Petrus in atrio deorsum, venit una ex ancillis summi sacerdotis: et cum vidisset Petrum calefacientem se, aspiciens illum, ait: Et tu cum Jesu Nazareno eras. At ille negavit, dicens: Neque scio, neque novi quid dicas. Et exiit foras ante atrium: et gallus cantavit. Rursus autem, cum vidisset illum ancilla, cœpit dicere circumstantibus: Quia hic ex illis est. At ille iterum negavit. Et post pusillum, rursus qui astabant, dicebant Petro: Vere ex illis es: nam et Galilæus es. Ille autem cœpit anathematizare et jurare: quia nescio hominem istum quem dicitis. Et statim gallus iterum cantavit. Et recordatus est Petrus verbi, quod dixerat ei Jesus: Priusquam gallus cantet bis, ter me negabis. Et cœpit fiere.

Et confestim mane consilium facientes summi sacerdotes cum senioribus, et scribis, et universo concilio, vincientes Jesum, duxerunt, et tradiderunt Pilato. Et interrogavit eum Pilatus: Tu es Rex Judæorum? At ille respondens, ait illi: Tu dicis. Et accusabant eum summi sacerdotes in multis. Pilatus autem rursum interrogavit eum, dicens: Non respondes quidquam? Vide, in quantis te accusant. Jesus autem amplius nihil respondit: ita ut miraretur Pilatus.

Per diem autem festum solebat dimittere illis unum ex vinctis quemcumque petiissent. Erat autem qui dicebatur Barabbas, qui cum seditiosis erat vinctus, qui in seditione fecerat homicidium. Et cum ascendisset turba, cœpit rogare, sicut semper faciebat illis. Pilatus autem respondit eis, et dixit: Vultis dimittam vobis Regem Judæorum? Sciebat enim quod per invidiam tradidissent eum summi sacerdotes. Pontifices autem concitaverunt turbam ut magis Barabbam dimitteret eis. Pilatus autem iterum respondens, ait illis: Quid ergo vultis faciam Regi Judæorum? At illi iterum clamaverunt: Crucifige eum. Pilatus vero dicebat illis: Quid enim mali fecit? At illi magis clamabant: Crucifige eum.

Pilatus autem volens populo satisfacere, dimisit illis Barabbam, et tradidit Jesum flagellis cæsum, ut crucifigeretur. Milites autem duxerunt eum in atrium prætorii, et convocant totam cohortem: et induunt eum purpura, et imponunt ei plectentes spineam coronam, Et coeperunt salutare eum: Ave, Rex Judæorum. Et percutiebant caput ejus arundine: et conspuebant eum, et ponentes genua, adorabant eum.

Et postquam illuserunt ei, exuerunt ilium purpura, et induerunt eum vestimentis suis, et educunt illum, ut crucifigerent eum. Et angariaverunt præteruntem quempiam Simonem Cyrenæum venientem de villa, patrem Alexandri et Rufi, ut tolleret crucem ejus. Et perducunt illum in Golgotha locum: quod est interpretatum, Calvariæ locus. Et dabant ei bibere myrrhatum vinum: et non accepit. Et crucifigentes eum diviserunt vestimenta ejus, mittentes sortem super eis, quis quid tolleret. Erat autem hora tertia: et crucifixerunt eum. Et erat titulus causæ ejus inscriptus: Rex Judæorum. Et cum eo crucifigunt duos latrones: unum a dextris, et alium a sinistris ejus. Et impleta est Scriptura, quæ dicit: et cum iniquis reputatus est.

Et prætereuntes blasphemabant eum, moventes capita sua, et dicentes: Vah, qui destruis templum Dei et in tribus diebus reædificas: salvum fac temetipsum, descendens de cruce. Similiter

et summi sacerdotes illudentes, ad alterutrum cum scribis dicebant: Alios salvos fecit, seipsum non potest salvum facere. Christus Rex Israel descendat nunc de cruce, ut videamus, et credamus. Et qui cum eo crucifixi erant, conviciabantur ei.

Et facta hora sexta, tenebræ factæ sunt per totam terram, usque in horam nonam. Et hora nona exclamavit Jesus voce magna, dicens: Eloï, Eloï, lamma sabacthani? Quod est interpretatum: Deus meus, Deus meus, ut quid dereliquisti me? Et quidam de circumstantibus audientes dicebant: Ecce Eliam vocat. Currens autem unus, et implens spongiam aceto, circumponensque calamo, potum dabat ei, dicens: Sinite, videamus si veniat Elias ad deponendum eum. Jesus autem emissa voce magna, expiravit.
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Mark.

Ch. xiv. and xv.

At that time, the feast of the Pasch and of Azymes was after two days; and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might by some wile lay hold on Jesus, and kill him. But they said: Not on the festival day, lest there should be a tumult among the people.

And when Jesus was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, and was at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of precious spikenard; and breaking the alabaster box, she poured it out upon his head. Now there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said: Why was this waste of the ointment made? For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and given to the poor. And they murmured against her. But Jesus said: Let her alone, why do you molest her? She hath wrought a good work upon me. For the poor you have always with you, and whensoever you will, you may do them good; but me you have not always. What she had, she hath done; she is come beforehand to anoint my body for the burial. Amen I say to you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done shall be told for a memorial of her.

And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests, to betray him to them. Who hearing it were glad; and they promised him they would give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

Now on the first day of the unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the Pasch, the disciples say to him: Whither wilt thou that we go and prepare for thee to eat the Pasch? And he sendeth two of his disciples and saith to them: Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water; follow him; and whithersoever he shall go in, say to the master of the house: The Master saith: Where is my refectory, where I may eat the Pasch with my disciples? And he will show you a large dining-room furnished; and there prepare ye for us. And his disciples went their way, and came into the city; and they found as he had told them, and they prepared the Pasch.

And when evening was come, he cometh with the twelve. And when they were at table and eating, Jesus saith: Amen I say to you, one of you that eateth with me shall betray me. But they began to be sorrowful, and to say to him one by one: Is it I? Who saith to them: One of the twelve who dippeth with me his hand in the dish. And the Son of Man indeed goeth, as it is written of him; but wo to that man by whom the Son of Man shall be betrayed. It were better for him, if that man had not been bom. And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread: and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye, this is my body. And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank of it; and he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many. Amen I say to you, that I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it new in the kingdom of God.

And when they had said an hymn, they went forth to the mount of Olives. And Jesus saith to them: You will all be scandalized in my regard this night, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be dispersed. But after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. But Peter saith to him: Although all shall be scandalized in thee, yet not I. And Jesus saith to him: Amen I say to thee, to-day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spoke the more vehemently: Although I should die together with thee, I will not deny thee. And in like manner also said they all.

And they came to a farm called Gethsemani. And he saith to his disciples: Sit you here, while I pray. And he taketh Peter, and James, and John with him; and he began to fear and to be heavy. And he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death, stay you here, and watch. And when he had gone forward a little, he fell flat on the ground; and he prayed that, if it might be, the hour might pass from him: and he saith: Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee, remove this chalice from me; but not what I will but what thou wilt. And he cometh and findeth them sleeping. And he saith to Peter: Simon, sleepest thou? couldst thou not watch one hour? Watch ye, and pray, that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. And going away again, he prayed saying the same words. And when he returned, he found them again asleep (for their eyes were heavy), and they knew not what to answer him. And he cometh the third time, and saith to them: Sleep ye now, and take your rest. It is enough, the hour is come; behold the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go. Behold he that will betray me is at hand.

And while he was yet speaking, cometh Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests, and the scribes, and the ancients. And he that betrayed him had given them a sign, saying: Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he, lay hold on him, and lead him away carefully. And when he was come, immediately going up to him, he saith: Hail Rabbi; and he kissed him. But they laid hands on him and held him. And one of them that stood by, drawing a sword, struck a servant of the chief priest, and cut off his ear. And Jesus answering, said to them: Are you come out as to a robber with swords and staves to apprehend me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not lay hands on me. But, that the scriptures may be fulfilled. Then his disciples leaving him, all fled away. And a certain young man followed him, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and they laid hold on him. But he casting off the linen cloth, fled from them naked.

And they brought Jesus to the high priest; and all the priests and the scribes and the ancients assembled together. And Peter followed him afar off even into the court of the high priest; and he sat with the servants at the fire and warmed himself. And the chief priests and all the council sought for evidence against Jesus that they might put him to death, and found none,

For many bore false witness against him, and their evidences were not agreeing, And some rising up, bore false witness against him, saying: We heard him say: I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another not made with hands. And their witness did not agree.

And the high priest rising up in the midst, asked Jesus, saying: Answerest thou nothing to the things that are laid to thy charge by these men? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said to him: Art thou the Christ the Son of the blessed God? And Jesus said to him: I am. And you shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming with the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rending his garments saith: What need we any further witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What think you? Who all condemned him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him: Prophesy! And the servants struck him with the palms of their hands.

Now when Peter was in the court below, there cometh one of the maid servants of the high priest; and when she had seen Peter warming himself, looking on him, she saith: Thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying: I neither know nor understand what thou sayest. And he went forth before the court, and the cock crew. And again a maidservant seeing him, began to say to the standers-by: This is one of them. But he denied again. And after a while, they that stood by said again to Peter: Surely thou art one of them, for thou art also a Galilean. But he began to curse and to swear, saying: I know not this man of whom you speak. And immediately the cock crew again. And Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said unto him: Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt thrice deny me. And he began to weep.

And straightway in the morning, the chief priests holding a consultation with the ancients and the scribes, and the whole council, binding Jesus, led him away, and delivered him to Pilate. And Pilate asked him: Art thou the king of the Jews? But he answering, saith to him: Thou sayest it. And the chief priests accused him in many things. And Pilate again asked him, saying: Answerest thou nothing? Behold in how many things they accuse thee. But Jesus still answered nothing: so that Pilate wondered.

Now on the festival day he was wont to release unto them one of the prisoners, whomsoever they demanded. And there was one called Barabbas, who was put in prison with some seditious men, who in the sedition had committed murder. And when the multitude was come up, they began to desire that he would do as he had ever done unto them. And Pilate answered them and said: Will you that I release to you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him up out of envy. But the chief priests moved the people that he should rather release Barabbas to them. And Pilate again answering, saith to them: What will you then that I do to the King of the Jews? But they again cried out: Crucify him. And Pilate saith to them: Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more: Crucify him.

And so Pilate being willing to satisfy the people, released to them Barabbas, and delivered up Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. And the soldiers led him away into the court of the palace, and they called together the whole band; and they clothed him with purple, and platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon him. And they began to salute him: Hail, king of the Jews. And they struck his head with a reed, and they did spit on him; and bowing their knees, they adored him.

And after they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own garments on him, and they led him out to crucify him. And they forced one Simon, a Cyrenean, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and of Rufus, to take up his cross. And they bring him into the place called Golgotha, which being interpreted is, The place of Calvary. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh; but he took it not. And crucifying him, they divided his garments casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. And the inscription of his cause was written over, The King of the Jews. And with him they crucify two thieves, the one on his right hand and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith: And with the wicked he was reputed.

And they that passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads, and saying: Vah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days buildest it up again; save thyself, coming down from the cross,

In like manner also the chief priests mocking, said with the scribes one to another: He saved others, himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour; and at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying; Eloï, Eloï, lamma sabacthani? which is, being interpreted: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of the standers-by hearing, said: Behold, he calleth Elias. And one running and filling a sponge with vinegar, and putting it upon a reed, gave him to drink, saying: Stay, let us see if Elias will come to take him down. And Jesus having cried out with a loud voice, gave up the ghost.


Here a pause is made, as on Palm Sunday. All kneel down, and, if such be the custom of the place, prostrate and kiss the ground.

Et velum templi scissum est in duo, a summo usque deorsum. Videns autem centuno, qui ex adverso stabat, quia sic clamans expirasset, ait: Vere hic homo Filius Dei erat. Erant autem et mulieres de longe aspicientes: inter quas erat Maria Magdalene, et Maria Jacobi minoris et Joseph mater, et Salome: et cum esset in Galilæa, sequebantur eum, et ministrabant ei: et aliæ multæ, quaæ simul cum eo ascenderant Jerosolymam.
And the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the centurion who stood over against him, seeing that crying out in this manner he had given up the ghost, said: Indeed this man was the Son of God. And there were also women looking on afar off, among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joseph, and Salome; who also when he was in Galilee followed him, and ministered to him; and many other women that came up with him to Jerusalem.

 

Here the deacon presents the incense to the priest, that it may be blessed; and, after having himself received a blessing, he terminates the Passion, observing the ceremonies which are used at the singing of the Gospel in a High Mass.

Et quum jam sero esset factum (quia erat Parasceve, quod est ante Sabbatum) venit Joseph ab Arimathæa, nobilis decurio, qui et ipse erat exspectans regnum Dei. Et audacter introivit ad Pilatum, et petiit corpusJesu. Pilatus autem mirabatur si jam obiisset. Et accersito centurione, interrogavit eum, si jam mortuus esset. Et cum cognovisset a centurione, donavit corpus Joseph. Joseph autem mercatus sindonem, et deponens eum, involvit sindone: et posuit eum in monumento, quod erat excisum de petra, et advolvit lapidem ad ostium monumenti..
And when evening was now come, (because it was the Parasceve, that is, the day before the Sabbath,) Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counsellor, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, came and went in boldly to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. But Pilate wondered that he should be already dead; and sending for the centurion, he asked him if he were already dead. And when he had understood it by the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And Joseph buying fine linen, and taking him down, wrapped him up in the fine linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and he rolled a stone to the door of the sepulchre.

At the Offertory, the Messias asks His eternal Father to defend Him from the enemies that are preparing His destruction.

Offertory

Custodi me Domine, de manu peccatoris: et ab hominibusiniquis eripe me.
Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the sinful man; and from unjust men deliver me.

In the Secret, the Church offers to the Majesty of God the tribute of our fasts, in union with the holy Host on our altar, from which they derive all their merit and efficacy.

Secret

Sacrificia nos quæsumus Domine, propensius ista restaurent: quæ medicinalibus sunt instituta jejuniis. Per Dominum.
May these sacrifices, O Lord, we beseech thee, which are accompanied with healing fasts, mercifully repair us. Through, &c.

For the other Secret, see page 116.


The words of the psalmist, used by the Church in her Communion-anthem, show us the blasphemous daring of our Saviour’s enemies, as also the dispositions in which this dear Jesus Himself was during His sacred Passion.

Communion

Adversum me exercebantur, qui sedebant in porta: et in me psallebant, qui bibebant vinum: ego vero orationem meam ad te, Domine: tempus beneplaciti Deus, in multitudine misericordiæ tuæ.
The judges in the gate spoke against me, and they that drank wine made songs against me. But I poured forth my prayer to thee, O Lord: it is time, O God, to show thy good will to me, according to the multitude of thy mercies.

In the Postcommunion the Church prays that by the merits of the Sacrifice she has just offered, we may obtain the perfect cure of our spiritual infirmities; for the Blood of the Lamb takes away the sins of the world.

Postcommunion

Sanctificationibus tuis, omnipotens Deus, et vitia nostra curentur: et remedia nobis sempiterna proveniant. Per Dominum.
May these thy holy mysteries, O almighty God, both cure our vices and become an eternal remedy to us. Through, &c.

See the other Postcommunion on page 117.


Oremus

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Tua nos misericordia, Deus, et ab omni subreptione vetustatis expurget, et capaces sanctæ novitatis efficiat. Per Dominum.
Let us Pray

Bow down your heads to God.

May thy mercy, O God, purify us from the corruption of the old man, and enable us to put on the new. Through, &c.

We may close this day by saying these few verses taken from a hymn of the Greek Church on the Passion of our Lord.

Hymn
(In Parasceve)

Vitale latus tuum, tanquam fons ex Eden scaturiens, Ecclesiam tuam, Christe, tanquam rationalem hortum adaquat: inde tanquam in quædam initia se dividens in quatuor Evangelia: mundum irrigans, creaturam lætificans, gentesque fideliter docens venerari regnum tuum.

Crucifixus es propter me; ut velut ex fonte mihi effunderes remissionem. Punctus es in latere, ut mihi vitæ scaturigines aperires; clavis confixus es, ut ego in passionum tuarum profundo altitudinem tuæ potentiæ confessus, clamem ad te, vitæ largitor Christe: Gloria cruci tuæ Salvator, ac Passioni tuæ.

Chirographum nostrum in cruce dirupisti, Christe: et inter mortuos reputatus, tyrannum illic ligasti, liberatis omnibus ex vinculis mortis resurrectione tua. Per quam illuminati sumus, o amans hominum Domine! tibique clamamus: Memento et nostri Salvator in regno tuo.

Tuam, Christe, Matrem, quæ te in carne sine virili semine peperit, et vere virgo etiam post partum incorrapta permansit; hanc tibi adducimus ad intercessionem, Domine multum misericors: ut offensarum condonationem jugiter largiaris iis qui clamant: Memento et nostri Domine in regno tuo.
The life-giving wound of thy side, O Jesus! like the fountain that sprang from Eden, waters the spiritual garden of thy Church. Thence, dividing itself into the four Gospels, as into so many master-streams, it freshens the world, gladdens creation, and teaches all nations to bow down in faith, and venerate thy kingdom.

Thou wast crucified for me. that thou mightest be to me as a fountain pouring out forgiveness upon me. Thou wast wounded in thy side, that thou mightest open to me the sources of life. Thou wast nailed to the cross, that I, confessing the greatness of thy power in the depth of thy Passion, might sing to thee, O Christ, thou giver of life: Glory be to thy cross and Passion, O Saviour!

Thou, O Christ, didst, on thy cross, tear the hand-writing that was against us. Thou wast numbered among the dead, and there didst bind down the tyrant, and, by thy Resurrection, didst set us all free from the chains of death. It is thy Resurrection that has given us light, O God, thou lover of mankind! To thee do we sing: Remember us, also, O Saviour, in thy kingdom!

To thee, most merciful Lord, we bring thy Mother, that she may intercede for us, she that conceived thee and was a Virgin, she that gave thee birth and was a spotless Virgin. May her prayers obtain from thee the unceasing pardon of sin to all that cry out to thee: Remember us, also, O Lord, in thy kingdom.

 


[1] St. Matt. xxvi. 2.
[2] St. Mark xi. 21.
[3] St. Mark xi. 22, 23.
[4] Ibid. 28.

 

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