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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.

Including descriptions of the following:

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus; exsultemus et lætemur in ea!

This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us be glad and rejoice therein!


THE night between Saturday and Sunday has well-nigh run its course, and the day-dawn is appearing. The Mother of sorrows is waiting, in courageous hope and patience, for the blissful moment of her Jesus’ return. Magdalen and the other holy women have spent the night in watching, and are preparing to start for the sepulchre. In limbo, the Soul of our crucified Lord is about to give the glad word of departure to the myriads of the long-imprisoned holy souls who cluster round him in adoring love. Death is still holding his silent sway over the sepulchre where rests the Body of Jesus. Since the day when he gained his first victim, Abel, he has swept off countless generations; but never has he held in his grasp a prey so noble as this that now lies in the tomb near Calvary. Never has the terrible sentence of God pronounced against our first parents received such a fulfilment as this; but never has death received such a defeat as the one that is now preparing. It is true, the power of God has at times brought back the dead to life: the son of the widow of Naim, and Lazarus, were reclaimed from the bondage of this tyrant death; but he regained his sway over them all. But his Victim of Calvary is to conquer him for ever, for this is he of whom it is written in the prophecy: ‘O death! I will be thy death!’[1] Yet a few brief moments and the battle will be begun, and life shall vanquish death.

As divine justice could not allow the Body that was united to the Word to see corruption, and there wait, like ours must, for the Archangel’s word to ‘rise and come to judgement,’ so neither could it permit the dominion of death to be long over such a Victim. Jesus had said to the Jews: ‘A wicked generation seeketh a sign; and a sign shall not be given it, but that of Jonas the prophet.’[2] Three days in the tomb—the afternoon and night of Friday, the whole of Saturday, and a few hours of the Sunday,—yes, these are enough: enough to satisfy divine justice; enough to certify the death of the Crucified, and make his triumph glorious; enough to complete the martyrdom of that most loving of mothers, the Queen of sorrows.

‘No man taketh away my life from me: I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.’[3] Thus spoke our Redeemer to the Jews before his Passion; now is the hour for the fulfilment of his words, and death shall feel their whole force. The day of light, Sunday, has begun, and its early dawn is struggling with the gloom. The Soul of Jesus immediately darts from the prison of limbo, followed by the whole multitude of the holy souls that are around him. In the twinkling of an eye, it reaches and enters the sepulchre, and reunites itself with that Body which, three days before, it had quitted amidst an agony of suffering. The sacred Body returns to life, raises itself up, and throws aside the winding-sheet, the spices, and the bands. The bruises have disappeared, the Blood has been brought back to the veins; and from these limbs that had been torn by the scourging, from this head that had been mangled by the thorns, from these hands and feet that had been pierced with nails, there darts forth a dazzling light that fills the cave. The holy angels had clustered round the stable and adored the Babe of Bethlehem; they are now around the sepulchre, adoring the conqueror of death. They take the shrouds, and reverently folding them up, place them on the slab whereon the Body had been laid by Joseph and Nicodemus.

But Jesus is not to tarry in the gloomy sepulchre. Quicker than a ray of light through a crystal, he passes through the stone that closes the entrance of the cave. Pilate had ordered his seal to be put upon this stone, and a guard of soldiers is there to see that no one touches it. Untouched it is, and unmoved; and yet Jesus is free! Thus, as the holy Fathers unanimously teach us, was it as his birth: he appeared to the gaze of Mary, without having offered the slightest violence to her maternal womb. The birth and the Resurrection, the commencement and the end of Jesus’ mission, these two mysteries bear on them the seal of resemblance: in the first, it is a Virgin Mother; in the last, it is a sealed tomb giving forth its captive God.

And while this Jesus, this Man-God, thus breaks the sceptre of death, the stillness of the night is undisturbed. His and our victory has cost him no effort. O death! where is now thy kingdom? Sin had made us thy slaves; thy victory was complete; and now, lo! thou thyself art defeated! Jesus, whom thou didst exultingly hold under thy law, has set himself free; and we, after thou hast domineered over us for a time, we too shall be free from thy grasp. The tomb thou makest for us will become to us the source of a new life, for he that now conquers thee is ‘the First-born among the dead’;[4] and to-day is the Pasch, the Passover, the deliverance, for Jesus and for us his brethren. He has led the way; we shall follow; and the day will come when thou, the enemy that destroyest all things, shalt thyself be destroyed by immortality.[5] Thy defeat dates from this moment of Jesus’ Resurrection, and with the great Apostle we say to thee: ‘O death! where is thy victory? O death! where is thy sting?’[6]

But the sepulchre is not to remain shut: it must be thrown open, and testify to men that he, whose lifeless Body lay there, is indeed risen from the dead. As when our Jesus expired upon the Cross, so now immediately after his Resurrection, an earthquake shook the foundations of the world; but this time it was for joy. ‘The angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him the guards were struck with terror,’ and fell on the ground ‘as dead men.’ God has mercy on them; they return to themselves, and quitting the dread sepulchre, they hasten to the city, and relate what they have seen.

Meanwhile, our risen Jesus, seen by no other mortal eye, has sped to his most holy Mother. He is the Son of God; he is the vanquisher of death; but he is likewise the Son of Mary. She stood near him to the last, uniting the sacrifice of her mother’s heart with that he made upon the Cross; it is just, therefore, that she should be the first to partake of the joy of his Resurrection. The Gospel does not relate the apparition thus made by Jesus to his Mother, whereas all the others are fully described. It is not difficult to assign the reason. The other apparitions were intended as proofs of the Resurrection; this to Mary was dictated by the tender love borne to her by her Son. Both nature and grace required that his first visit should be to such a Mother, and Christian hearts dwell with delight on the meditation of the mystery. There was no need of its being mentioned in the Gospel; the tradition of the holy Fathers, beginning with St Ambrose, bears sufficient testimony to it; and even had they been silent, our hearts would have told it us. And why was it that our Saviour rose from the tomb so early on the day he had fixed for his Resurrection? It was because his filial love was impatient to satisfy the vehement longings of his dearest and most afflicted Mother. Such is the teaching of many pious and learned writers; and who that knows aught of Jesus and Mary could refuse to accept it?

But who is there would attempt to describe the joy of such a meeting? Those eyes that had grown dim from wakefulness and tears now flash with delight at beholding the brightness which tells her Jesus is come. He calls her by her name; not with the tone of voice which pierced her soul when he addressed her from the Cross, but with an accent of joy and love, such as a son would take when telling a mother that he had triumphed. The Body which, three days ago, she had seen covered with Blood and dead, is now radiant with life, beaming with the reflections of divinity. He speaks to her words of tenderest affection, he embraces her, he kisses her. Who, we ask, would dare to describe this scene, which the devout Abbot Rupert says so inundated the soul of Mary with joy that it made her forget all the sorrow she had endured?

Nor must we suppose that the visit was a short one. In one of the revelations granted to the seraphic St Teresa, our Lord told her that when he appeared to his blessed Mother immediately after his Resurrection, he found her so overwhelmed with grief that she would soon have died; that it was not until several moments had passed that she was able to realize the immense joy of his presence; and that he remained a long time with her, in order to console her.[7]

Let us who love this blessed Mother, and have seen her offer up her Son on Calvary for our sake, let us affectionately rejoice in the happiness wherewith Jesus now repays her, and let us learn to compassionate her in her dolours. This is the first manifestation of our risen Jesus: it is a just reward for the unwavering faith which has dwelt in Mary’s soul during these three days, when all but she had lost it. But it is time for him to show himself to others, that so the glory of his Resurrection may be made known to the world. His first visit was to her who is the dearest to him of all creatures, and who well deserved the favour; now, in his goodness, he is about to console those devoted women, whose grief is, perhaps, too human, but their love is firm, and neither death nor the tomb have shaken it.

Yesterday, when sunset proclaimed to the Jews the end of the great Sabbath and the commencement of the Sunday, Magdalen and her companions went into the city and bought perfumes, wherewith this morning, at break of day, they purpose embalming the Body of their dear Master. They have spent a sleepless night. Before the dawn of day, Magdalen, Mary (the mother of James), and Salome, are on the road that leads to Calvary, for the sepulchre is there. So intent are they on the one object, that it never occurs to them until it is too late to provide for the removing of the heavy stone which closes the sepulchre. There is the seal, too, of the Governor, which must be broken before they can enter; there are the soldiers who are keeping guard: these difficulties are quite overlooked. It is early daybreak when they reach the tomb. The first thing that attracts their attention is, that the stone has been removed, so that one can see into the sepulchre. The angel of the Lord, who had received the mission to roll back the stone, is seated on it, as upon a throne; he thus addresses the three holy women, who are speechless from astonishment and fear: ‘Be not affrighted! Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen, he is not here.’ Then encouraging them to enter the sepulchre, he adds: ‘Behold the place where they laid him!’[8]

These words should fill them with joy: but no; their faith is weak, and, as the Evangelist says, ‘a trembling and fear seize them.’[9] The dear Remains they are in search of are gone: the angel tells them so: his saying that Jesus is risen fails to awaken their faith in the Resurrection: they had hoped to find the Body! While in the sepulchre, two other angels appear to them, and the place is filled with light. St Luke tells us that Magdalen and her companions ‘bowed down their heads’, for they were overpowered with fear and disappointment. Then the angels said to them: ‘Why seek ye the Living with the dead? Remember how he spake unto you, when he was yet in Galilee, saying: “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again!”‘1[10] These words make some impression upon the holy women, and they begin to remember something of what our Lord had said of his Resurrection. ‘Go!’ said one of the angels, ‘tell his disciples and Peter, that he is going before you into Galilee.’[11]

The three women leave the sepulchre and return with haste to the city; they are full of fear, and yet there is an irresistible feeling of joy mingled with their fear. They relate what they have seen: they have seen angels, and the sepulchre open, and Jesus’ Body was not there. All three agree in their account; but the Apostles, as the Evangelist tells us, set it down to womanish excitement: ‘Their words seem idle tales and they believe them not.’[12] The Resurrection, of which their divine Master had so clearly and so often spoken, never once crosses their mind. It is particularly to Peter and John that Magdalen relates the wonderful things she has seen and heard; but her own faith is still so weak! She went with the intention of embalming the Body of Jesus, and she found it not! She can speak of nothing but her disappointment: ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him!’[13]

Peter and John determine to go themselves to the sepulchre. They enter. They see the ‘linen cloths lying’[14] upon the slab whereon the Body of Jesus had been placed; but the angels who are now keeping guard in the holy cave appear not to them. St John tells us that this was the moment he received the faith in the Resurrection: he believes.[15] We are now merely giving the history of the events of this greatest of days in the order in which they occurred: we will afterwards meditate upon them more leisurely, when the holy Liturgy brings them before us.

So far, Jesus has appeared to no one save his blessed Mother; the holy women have only seen the angels who spoke to them. These heavenly spirits bade them go and announce the Resurrection of their Master to the disciples and Peter. They are not told to bear the message to Mary; the reason is obvious: Jesus has already appeared to his Mother, and is with her while all these events are happening. The sun is now shedding his beams upon the earth, and the hours of the grand morning are speeding onwards: the Man-God is about to proclaim the triumph he has won for us over death. Let us reverently follow him in each of these manifestations, and attentively study the lessons they teach us.

As soon as Peter and John have returned, Magdalen hastens once more to the tomb of her dear Master. A soul like hers, ever earnest, and now tormented with anxiety, cannot endure to rest. Where is the Body of Jesus? Perhaps being insulted by his enemies? Having reached the door of the sepulchre, she bursts into tears. Looking in, she sees two angels, seated at either end of the slab on which her Jesus had been laid. They speak to her, for she knows not what to say: ‘Woman! why weepest thou?’ ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.’ Without waiting for the angels to reply, she turns as though she would leave the sepulchre; when lo! she sees a man standing before her, and this man is Jesus.[16] She does not recognize him: she is in search of the dead Body of her Lord; she is absorbed in the resolution of giving it a second burial! Her love distracts her, for it is a love that is not guided by faith; her desire to find him as she thinks him to be blinds her from seeing him as he really is—living, and near her.

Jesus, with his wonted condescension, speaks to her: ‘Woman! why weepest thou? Whom sleekest thou?’ Magdalen recognizes not this voice; her heart is dulled by an excessive and blind sentiment of grief; her spirit does not as yet know Jesus. Her eyes are fixed upon him; but her imagination persuades her that this man is the gardener, who has care of the ground about the sepulchre. She thinks within herself, ‘This, perhaps, is he that has taken my Jesus!’ and thereupon she thus speaks to him: ‘Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.’[17] How is our loving Redeemer to withstand this? If he praised her for the love she showed him in the pharisee’s house, we may be sure he will now reward this affectionate simplicity. A single word, spoken to her with the tone of voice she so well understood, is enough: ‘Mary!’ ‘Master!’ exclaims the delighted and humble Magdalen.[18] All is now clear: she believes.

She rushes forward: she would kiss those sacred feet, as on the happy day when she received her pardon; but Jesus stays her; this is not the time for such a demonstration of her affection. Magdalen, the first witness of the Resurrection, is to be raised, in reward of her love, to the high honour of publishing the great mystery. It is not fitting that the blessed Mother should reveal the secret favour she has received from her Son: Magdalen is to proclaim what she has seen and heard at the sepulchre, and become, as the holy Fathers express it, the Apostle of the very Apostles. Jesus says to her: ‘Go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’[19]

The second apparition of Jesus, then, is to Mary Magdalen: it is the first in testimony of his Resurrection, for the one to his blessed Mother was for another object. The Church will bring it before us on the Thursday of this week, and we will then make it the subject of our meditation. At present, let us adore the infinite goodness of our Redeemer, who, before seeking to fix the faith of his Resurrection in them that are to preach it to all nations, deigns to recompense the love of this woman, who followed him even to the Cross, was faithful to him after his death, and loved him most, because most forgiven. By thus showing himself to Magdalen, Jesus teaches us that he is more anxious to satisfy the love he bears his faithful creature than to provide for his own glory.

Magdalen loses no time in doing her Master’s bidding. She hastens back to the city, and having come to the disciples, says to them: ‘I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.’[20] But as yet they have not faith; John alone has received that gift, although he has seen nothing more than the empty sepulchre. Let us remember that after having fled like the rest of the disciples, he followed Jesus to Calvary, was present at his death, and was made the adopted son of Mary.

Meanwhile, Magdalen’s two companions, Salome and Mary the mother of James, are following her, though slowly and at some distance, to Jerusalem. Jesus meets them, and greets them, saying: ‘All hail.’[21] Overcome with joy they fall down and adore him, and kiss his sacred feet. It is the third apparition; and they that are favoured with it are permitted to do what was denied to the more favoured and fervent Magdalen. Before the day is over, Jesus will show himself to them whom he has chosen as the heralds of his glory; but he first wishes to honour those generous women who, braving every danger, and triumphing over the weakness of their sex, were more faithful to him, in his Passion, than the men he had so highly honoured as to make them his Apostles. When he was born in the stable at Bethlehem, the first he called to worship him in his crib were some poor shepherds; he sent his angels to invite them to go to him, before he sent the star to call the magi. So now,—when he has reached the summit of his glory, put the finish to all his works by his Resurrection, and confirmed our faith in his divinity by the most indisputable miracle,—he does not begin by instructing and enlightening his Apostles, but by instructing, consoling, and most affectionately honouring these humble but courageous women. How admirable are the dispensations of our God! How sweet, and yet how strong![22] Well does he say to us by his prophet: ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts!’[23] Let us suppose, for a moment, that we had been permitted to arrange the order of these two mysteries. We should have summoned the whole world, kings and people, to go and pay homage at the crib. We should have trumpeted to all nations the miracle of miracles, the Resurrection of the Crucified, the victory over death, the restoration of mankind to immortality! But he who is ‘the power and wisdom of God,’[24] Christ Jesus our Lord, has followed a very different plan. When born in Bethlehem he would have for his first worshippers a few simple-minded shepherds, whose power to herald the great event was confined to their own village: and yet the birthday of this little Child is now the era of every civilized nation. For the first witnesses of his Resurrection he chose three weak women; and yet the whole earth is now, at this very moment, celebrating the anniversary of this Resurrection. There is in it a mysterious feeling of joy unlike that of any other day throughout the year: no one can resist it, not even the coldest heart. The infidel who scoffs at the believer knows at least that this is Easter Sunday. Yea, in the very countries where paganism and idolatry are still rife, there are Christians whose voices unite with ours in singing the glorious Alleluia to our risen Jesus. Let us then cry out as Moses did, when the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea, and were keeping their first Pasch: ‘Who, O Lord, is like unto thee, among the strong?’[25]

We will resume our history of the Resurrection when we come to the hour of each apparition. It is now time for us to unite with the Church in her Office of Matins. She has spent the greatest part of the night in administering that holy Sacrament of regeneration, which gives her a new people; and now she is about to offer to God the wonted tribute of her praise.




The Night-Office of every Sunday throughout the year consists of three portions, called Nocturns. Each Nocturn is composed of three Psalms with their Antiphons, followed by three Lessons and Responsories. These Nocturns are preceded by a Psalm, which is called the Invitatory, and end with the Ambrosian Hymn, the Te Deum; they begin after midnight, and are over by the aurora, when the still more solemn Office of Lauds is chanted. But this night has been almost wholly spent in the administration of Baptism, and when the holy Sacrifice is finished, it is close upon the hour of sunrise. It is necessary, therefore, to shorten the usual Night-Office, in order that the Canticles, wherewith the Church welcomes the return of light—the work and type of her divine Spouse—may be sung at the very time when the sun is shedding his first rays upon the earth. This is the reason of there being only one Nocturn for the Night-Office[26] of Easter Sunday.

After the secret recitation of the Pater, Ave, and Credo, the Church thus begins her Matins:

℣. Domine, labia mea aperies.
℟. Et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.

℣. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.
℟. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto;
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum.


℣. O Lord! thou wilt open my lips.
℟. And my mouth shall declare thy praise.

℣. Incline unto my aid. O God.
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.



Then follows, with the glad chorus announcing the Resurrection, the Invitatory Psalm, whereby the Church invites her children to come and adore the Lord their God. To-day, it is the angels who tell the mystery to Magdalen and her companions: let us listen to the glorious tidings, for they are addressed to us also.


Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.
The Lord hath truly risen, Alleluia.

Psalm 94


Venite, exsultemus Domino, jubilemus Deo Salutari nostro, præoccupemus faciem ejus in confessione, et in psalmis jubilemus ei.

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.

Quoniam Deus magnus Dominus, et Rex magnus super omnes deos: quoniam non repellet Dominus plebem suam, quia in manu ejus sunt omnes fines terræ, et altitudines montium ipse conspicit.


Quoniam ipsius est mare et ipse fecit illud, et aridam fundaverunt manus ejus. Venite, adoremus, et procidamus ante Deum: ploremus coram Domino qui fecit nos, quia ipse est Dominus Deus noster: nos autem populus ejus, et oves pascuæ ejus.

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.

Hodie si vocem ejus audieritis, nolite obdurare corda vestra, sicut in exacerbatione, secundum diem tentationis in deserto: ubi tentaverunt me patres vestri, probaverunt, et viderunt opera mea.


Quadraginta annis proximus fui generationi huic, et dixi: Semper hi errant corde: ipsi vero non cognoverunt vias meas, quibus juravi in ira mea, si introibunt in requiem meam.

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto;
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.
Come, let us praise the Lord with joy, let us joyfully sing to God our Saviour; let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.

The Lord hath truly risen, Alleluia.

For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods; for in his hand are all the ends of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are his.


For the sea is his, and he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us adore and fall down before God: let us weep before the Lord that made us, for he is the Lord our God: and we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

The Lord hath truly risen. Alleluia.

To-day, if ye shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, me the Lord; they proved me, and saw my works.


Forty years was I nigh unto this generation, and I said: These always err in heart: and these men have not known my ways; so I swore in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest.

The Lord hath truly risen, Alleluia.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The Lord hath truly risen, Alleluia.

The Invitatory is always followed by a Hymn; but out of a motive of respect for this great Solemnity, the Church would observe the ancient form of her Offices, in which there were no Hymns, for they were not introduced till a comparatively later period. She observes this same exclusion of Hymns during the whole week. After the Invitatory, then, immediately follow the three Psalms.

The first speaks of the virtues and happiness of the just man, and as the holy Fathers have interpreted it, refers to Christ, who is the New Man that came down from heaven; he was the faithful observer of the divine law, which the first Adam transgressed; the eternal Father glorified him on this day of his Resurrection.

Ant. Ego sum qui sum, et consilium meum non est cum impiis: sed in lege Domini voluntas mea est, alleluia.
Ant. I am who am, and my counsel is not with the ungodly: but my will is in the law of the Lord, alleluia.

Psalm 1

Beatus vir qui non abiit in consilio impiorum, et in via peccatorum non stetit: et in cathedra pestilentiæ non sedit.
Sed in lege Domini voluntas ejus: et in lege ejus meditabitur die ac nocte.
Et erit tanquam lignum quod plantatum est secus decursus aquarum: quod fructum suum dabit in tempore suo.
Et folium ejus non defluet: et omnia quæcumque faciet, prosperabuntur.
Non sic impii, non sic: sed tanquam pulvis, quem projicit ventus a facie terræ.
Ideo non resurgent impii in judicio: neque peccatores in concilio justorum.
Quoniam novit Dominus viam justorum: et iter impiorum peribit.

Ant. Ego sum qui sum, et consilium meum non est cum impiis: sed in lege Domini voluntas mea est, alleluia.
Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence.
But his will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree, which is planted near the running waters; which shall bring forth its fruit in due season.
And his leaf shall not fall off; and all whatsoever he shall do shall prosper.
Not so the wicked, not so: but like the dust, which the wind driveth from the face of the earth.
Therefore the wicked shall notrise again in judgement: nor sinners in the council of the just.
For the Lord knoweth the way of the just: and the way of the wicked shall perish.

Ant. I am who am, and my counsel is not with the ungodly: but my will is in the law of the Lord, alleluia.

The second Psalm tells us how the Synagogue formed a plot against Christ. The Jews put to death the Messias who came to save them; but they could not prevent his Resurrection. He is the Son of Man, but he is also the Son of God: he begins his reign over the whole human race this very day. Woe to Israel that knew not the day of his visitation!

Ant. Postulavi Patrem meum, alleluia: dedit mihi gentes, alleluia, in hæreditatem, alleluia.
Ant. I have asked of my Father, alleluia: he hath given me the gentiles, alleluia, for an inheritance, alleluia.

Psalm 2


Quare fremuerunt gentes: et populi meditati sunt inania?
Adstiterunt reges terræ, et principes convenerunt in unum: adversus Dominum, et adversus Christum ejus.
Dirumpamus vincula eorum: et projiciamus a nobis jugum ipsorum.
Qui habitat in cœlis, irridebit eos: et Dominus subsannabit eos.
Tunc loquetur ad eos in ira sua: et in furore suo conturbabit eos.
Ego autem constitutus sum Rex ab eo super Sion montem sanctum ejus: prædicans præceptum ejus.
Dominus dixit ad me: Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te.
Postula a me, et dabo tibi gentes hæreditatem tuam: et possessionem tuam terminos terræ.
Reges eos in virga ferrea: et tanquam vas figuli confringes eos.
Et nunc, reges, intelligite: erudimini qui judicatis terram.
Servite Domino in timore: et exultate ei cum tremore.
Apprehendite disciplinam, nequando irascatur Dominus: et pereatis de via justa.
Cum exarserit in brevi ira ejus: beati omnes qui confidunt in eo.

Ant. Postulavi Patrem meum, alleluia: dedit mihi gentes, alleluia, in hæreditatem, alleluia.
Why have the gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things?
The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
They said: Let us break their bonds asunde6r: and let us cast away their yoke from us.
He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them: and the Lord shall deride them.
Then shall he speak to them in his anger, and trouble them in his rage.
But I am appointed King by him over Sion, his holy mountain, preaching his commandment.
The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my Sod, this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I will give thee the gentiles for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron, and shalt break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
And now, O ye kings, understand: receive instruction, ye that judge the earth.
Serve ye the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto him with trembling.
Embrace discipline, lest at any time the Lord be angry, and ye perish from the just way.
When his wrath shall be kindled in a short time, blessed are all they that trust in him.

Ant. I have asked of my Father, alleluia: he hath given me the gentiles, alleluia, for an inheritance, alleluia.

The third Psalm is a prophecy of the Resurrection of Christ. His enemies would have that he was abandoned by God. He sleptin the tomb; but God protected him, and he arose, the conqueror of his adversaries.

Ant. Ego dormivi, et somnum cepi: et exsurrexi, quoniam Dominus suscepit me. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. I have slept, and taken my sleep: and I have risen up, because the Lord hath protected me. Alleluia, alleluia.

Psalm 3

Domine, quid multiplicati sunt qui tribulant me? multi insurgunt adversum me.
Multi dicunt animæ meæ: Non est salus ipsi in Deo ejus.
Tu autem, Domine, susceptor meus es: gloria mea, et exaltans caput meum.
Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi: et exaudivit me de monte sancto suo.
Ego dormivi, et soporatus sum: et exsurrexi, quia Dominus suscepit me.
Non timebo millia populi circumdantis me: exsurge Domine, salvum me fac, Deus meus.
Quoniam tu percussisti omnes adversantes mihi sine causa: dentes peccatorum contrivisti.
Domini est salus: et super populum tuum benedictio tua.

Ant. Ego dormivi, et somnum cepi: et exsurrexi, quoniam Dominus suscepit me. Alleluia, alleluia.
Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me? Many are they who rise up against me.
Many say to my soul: There is no salvation for him in his God.
But thou, O Lord, art my protector, my glory, and the lifter up of my head.
I have cried to the Lord with my voice: and he hath heard me from his holy hill.
I have slept, and have taken my rest: and I have risen up, because the Lord hath protected me.
I will not fear thousands of the people surrounding me: arise, O Lord, save me, O my God.
For thou hast struck all them who are my adversaries without cause: thou hast broken the teeth of sinners.
Salvation is of the Lord: and thy blessing is upon thy people.

Ant. I have slept, and taken my sleep: and I have risen up, because the Lord hath protected me. Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro, alleluia.
℟. Qui pro nobis pependit in ligno, alleluia.
℣. The Lord hath risen from the tomb, alleluia.
℟. Who for our sake was nailed to the Cross, alleluia.

The priest begins the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer:

Pater noster.
Our Father.

The rest is said in silence, as far as the last two petitions: when the priest says aloud:

℣. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.
℣. And lead us not into temptation.

The choir answers:

℟. Sed libera nos a malo.
℟. But deliver us from evil.

Then the priest:

Exaudi, Domine Jesu Christe, preces servorum tuorum, et miserere nobis, qui cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum.
Graciously hear, O Lord Jesus Christ, the prayers of thy servants, and have mercy upon us: who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest for ever and ever.

The choir answers:


Then one of the choir turns towards the priest, and, bowing down, says:

Jube, Domne, benedicere.
Pray, Father, give thy blessing.

The priest gives his blessing in these words:

Benedictio. Evangelica lectio sit nobis salus et protectio.
℟. Amen.
Blessing. May the reading of the Gospel bring us salvation and protection.
℟. Amen.

He who asked the blessing, then reads the first few words of the Gospel for the Mass of Easter Sunday: after this he opens the homilies of St Gregory the Great, from which he takes a few passages as a commentary upon the sacred text.

Lectio sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum.

Cap. xvi.

In illo tempore: Maria Magdalene, et Maria Jacobi, et Salome, emerunt aromata: ut venientes ungerent Jesum. Et reliqua.
Lesson from the holy Gospel according to Mark.

Ch. xvi.

At that time, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming they might anoint Jesus. And the rest.

Lesson I

Homilia sancti Gregorii Papæ.

Audistis, fratres charissimi, quod sanctæ mulieres, quæ Dominum fuerant secutæ, cum aromatibus ad monumentum venerunt, et ei quem viventem dilexerant, etiam mortuo studio humanitatis obsequuntur. Sed res gesta, aliquid in sancta Ecclesia signat gerendum. Sic quippe necesse est audiamus quæ facta sunt, quatenus cogitemus etiam quæ nobis sunt ex eorum imitatione facienda. Et nos ergo in eum, qui est mortuus, credentes, si odore virtutum referti, cum opinione bonorum operum Dominum quærimus, ad monumentum profecto illius cum aromatibus venimus. Illæ autem mulieres angelos vident, quæ cum aromatibus venerunt: quia videlicet illæ mentes supernos cives aspiciunt, quæ cum virtutum odoribus ad Dominum per sancta desideria proficiscuntur.
Homily of St Gregory, Pope.

You have heard, dearly beloved brethren, how the holy women, who had followed the Lord, came, with sweet spices, to the sepulchre, and how, having loved him while he lived, they would honour him, now that he is dead, with proofs of their affection. But this that they did, teaches what we, the members of the Church, should do: for we should so hearken to what was done, as that we may learn what we must do in order to imitate them. Now, we who believe in him who was dead, if laden with the fragrance of virtue, and with the reputation of good works, we seek the Lord, we may truly be said to come to the sepulchre with sweet spices. Moreover, the women, who came with sweet spices, saw angels; for those souls do come to the vision of the heavenly citizens, who, fragrant in virtue, tend to their Lord by holy desires.

℟. Angelus Domini descendit de cœlo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et super eum sedit, et dixit mulieribus:

* Nolite timere: scio enim quia crucifixum quæritis, jam surrexit: venite et videte locum, ubi positus erat Dominus, alleluia.

℣. Et introeuntes in monumentum, viderunt juvenem sedentem in dextris, coopertum stola candida, et obstupuerunt; qui dixit illis:

* Nolite timere, etc. Gloria Patri, etc. Repeat: Angelus Domini.
℟. The angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it, and said to the women:

* Fear not: for I know that ye seek the Crucified: he is risen: come and see the place where the Lord was laid, alleluia.

℣. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe; and they were astonished: who saith to them:

* Fear not, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. Repeat: The angel of the Lord.

Benedictio. Divinum auxilium maneat semper nobiscum. ℟. Amen.
Blessing. May the divine assistance remain always with us. ℟. Amen.

Lesson II

Notandum vero nobis est, quidnam sit, quod in dextris sedere angelus cernitur. Quid namque per sinistram nisi vita præsens: quid vero per dexteram, nisi perpetua vita designatur? Unde in Canticis canticorum scriptum est: Læva ejus sub capite meo, et dextera illius amplexabitur me. Quia ergo Redemptor noster jam præsentis vitae corruptionem transierat, recte angelus qui nuntiare perennem ejus vitam venerat, in dextera sedebat.Qui stola candida coopertus apparuit: quia festivitatis nostræ gaudia nuntiavit. Candor etenim vestis, splendorem nostræ denuntiat solemnitatis. Nostræ, dicamus an suae? Sed ut fateamur verius, et suae dicamus, et nostræ. Illa quippe Redemptoris nostri resurrectio et nostra festivitas fuit, quia nos ad immortalitatem reduxit: et angelorum festivitas exstitit, quia nos revocando ad cœlestia, eorum numerum implevit.
Let us also take notice, how the angel is seen to be seated on the right hand. What means this? This present life is signified by the left hand; eternal life by the right. Hence we have in the Canticle of Canticles: His left hand is under my head, and his right hand shall embrace me. Because, therefore, our Redeemer had passed from this present corruptible life, it was fitting that the angel, who came to announce his immortal life, should sit on the right side. The angel was clad in a white robe, because he came to herald the joy of our feast. The beauty of his robe tells us of the splendour of our solemnity. Ought I not to say his rather than ours? To speak correctly, the solemnity is both his and ours; for our Redeemer’s Resurrection was our feast, because it restored us to immortality; and it was the feast of the angels, because, by recalling us to heaven, it filled up their number.

℟. Cum transisset Sabbatum, Maria Magdalene, et Maria Jacobi, et Salome, emerunt aromata: Ut venientes ungerent Jesum, alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Et valde mane una sabbatorum veniunt ad monumentum, orto jam sole.

Ut venientes.
Gloria Patri.
Ut venientes.
℟. When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalen, and Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus, alleluia, alleluia.

℣. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen.

That coming.
Glory be to the Father.
That coming.

Benedictio. Ad societatem civium supenorum perducat nos Rex angelorum. ℟. Amen.
Blessing. May the King of angels lead us to the society of heavenly citizens. ℟. Amen.

Lesson III

In sua ergo ac nostra festivitate angelus in albis vestibus apparuit: quia dum nos per resurrectionem Dominicam ad superna reducimur, cœlestis patriae damna reparantur. Sed quid advenientes feminas affatur, audiamus. Nolite expavescere. Ac si aperte dicat: Paveant illi, qui non amant adventum supernorum civium: pertimescant, qui carnalibus desideriis pressi, ad eorum se societatem pertingere posse desperant. Vos autem cur pertimescitis quæ vestros concives videtis? Unde Matthæus angelum apparuisse describens, ait: Erat aspectus ejus sicut fulgur, et vestimenta ejus sicut nix. In fulgore etenim terror timoris est, in nive autem blandimentum candoris.
On this, then, both his and our feast, the angel appeared clad in white robes, because, when we were restored to heaven by Jesus’ Pesurrection, the celestial country recovered its losses. But let us listen to the words he addresses to the women on their coming to the sepulchre: Fear not! says he. It was as though he said: ‘Let them fear that love not the visit of heaven’s citizens: let them fear who, being weighed down by carnal desires, despair of ever being able to reach heaven. But why should you fear, who behold here your fellow-citizens?’ Hence, St Matthew, describing the angel’s apparition, says: His countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. The lightning expresses something that causes fear; the snow denotes the affability of a sincere friend.

Hymn of Thanksgiving

Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te æternum Patrem: omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes angeli: tibi cœli, et universæ potestates.
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim: incessabili voce proclamant.
Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth!
Pleni sunt cœli et terra majestatis gloriæ tuæ.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus.
Te prophetarum laudabilis numerus.
Te martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensæ majestatis,
Venerandum tuum verum, et unicum Filium,
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriæ, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna cœlorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes: in gloria Patris.
Judex crederis esse venturis.
We praise thee, O God! we acknowledge thee to be our Lord.
Thee, the Father everlasting, all the earth doth worship.
To thee the angels, to thee the heayens, and all the powers:
To thee the Cherubim and Seraphim cry out without ceasing:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth!
Full are the heavens and the earth of the majesty of thy glory.
Thee the glorious choir of the Apostles.
Thee the laudable company of the prophets.
Thee the white-robed army of martyrs doth praise.
Thee the holy Church throughout the world doth acknowledge,
The Father of incomprehensible majesty.
Thy adorable, true, and only Son,
And the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete.
Thou, O Christ, art the King of glory.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Thou being to take upon thee to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb.
Thou, having overcome the sting of death, hast opened to believers the kingdom of heaven.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Thee we believe to be the Judge to come.

All kneel at the following verse:

Te ergo quæsumus, tuis famulis subveni, quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Æterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine: et benedic hæreditati tuæ.
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in ætemum.
Per singulos dies benedicimus te.
Et laudamus nomen tuum in sæculum: et in sæculum sæculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto, sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri, Domine: miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in æternum.
We beseech thee, therefore, to help thy servants, whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious Blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy saints in eternal glory.
O Lord, save thy people, and bless thine inheritance.
And govern them, and exalt them for ever.
Every day, we magnify thee.
And we praise thy name for ever and ever.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have put our trust in thee.
In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust: let me not be confounded for ever.

In most of the churches in the West, during the Middle Ages, as soon as the third Lesson was read, and before the Te Deum,the clergy went in procession, singing a Responsory, to the chapel where the Blessed Sacrament had been kept since Maundy Thursday, which was called the Chapel of the Sepulchre. Three clerics were vested in albs, and represented Magdalen and her two companions. When the procession reached the chapel, two deacons, in white dalmatics, who were standing at either end of the tomb, thus addressed the three clerics:

Quem quæritis in sepulchro, o christicolæ?
Whom seek you in the sepulchre, friends of Christ?

The clerics answered:

Jesum Nazarenum, o cœlicolæ!
Jesus of Nazareth, O ye citizens of heaven!

Then the deacons:

Non est hic; surrexit sicut prædixerat: ite, nunciate quia surrexit.
He is not here; he hath risen as he foretold: go, say that he is risen.

The three clerics here went to the altar, and, raising up the cloths which covered it, they reverently kissed the stone. Then turning towards the bishop and the clergy, they sang these words:

Alleluia! Resurrexit Dominus hodie: resurrexit Leo fortis, Christus Filius Dei.
Alleluia! This day the Lord hath risen: the strong Lion, Christ the Son of God, hath risen.

Two cantors stepped forward towards the altar steps, on which the clerics were standing, and addressed them in these words of the Sequence:

Dic nobis, Maria, Quid vidistis in via?
Tell us, O Mary, what sawest thou on the way?

The first cleric, who represented Magdalen, answered:

Sepulchrum Christi viventis,
Et gloriam vidi resurgentis.
I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ:
I saw the glory of him that had risen.

The second cleric, who represented Mary, the mother of James, added:

Angelicos testes,
Sudarium et vestes.
I saw the angels that were the witnesses:
I saw the winding-sheet and the cloths.

The third cleric, who represented Salome, completed the reply thus:

Surrexit Christus spes mea.
Præcedet vos in Galilæam.
Christ, my hope, hath risen!
He shall go before you into Galilee.

The two cantors answered with this protest of faith:

Credendum est magis soli
Mariæ veraci,
Quam Judæorum 
Pravæ cohorti.
It behoves us to believe the single testimony
of the truthful Mary,
rather than the whole host
of wicked Jews.

Then the whole of the clergy joined in this acclamation:

Scimus Christum surrexisse
A mortuis vere:
Tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
We know that Christ
hath truly risen from the dead.
Do thou, O conqueror and King! have mercy on us.

The two deacons then opened the tabernacle. Taking the pyx, in which was the Blessed Sacrament, they laid it upon a portable throne, or brancard, and the procession returned to the high altar. Clouds of incense perfumed the way, and the following beautiful Responsory was enthusiastically sung. The first part is composed of words from the Epistle of St Paul to the Romans; the Versicle is taken from the Greek Liturgy. The music is worthy of the words.

℟. Christus resurgens ex mortuis, jam non moritur: mors illi ultra non dominabitur; quod enim mortuus est peccato, mortuus est semel: Quod autem vivit, vivit Deo, alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Dicant nunc Judæi, quomodo milites custodientes sepulchrum perdiderunt Regem, ad lapidis positionem; quare non servabant Petram justitiæ? Aut sepultum reddant, aut resurgentem adorent nobiscum dicentes:

Quod autem vivit, vivit Deo, alleluia, alleluia.
℟. Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more; death shall no more have dominion over him; for in that he died, he died once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God, alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Let the Jews now tell us, how the soldiers, who guarded the sepulchre, lost the King, though they had placed a rock over him. Why kept they not the Rock of justice? Either let them restore the buried One, or adore with us the risen One, saying:

But in that he liveth, he liveth unto God, alleluia, alleluia.

The procession having reached the sanctuary, the deacons placed the blessed Sacrament upon the altar. The bishop, after offering the homage of incense, entoned the Te Deum, in thanksgiving for the Resurrection of our Redeemer.

This touching ceremony, which probably originated what were called The Mysteries, was not one of the traditions of the Roman Liturgy; still, it was an expression of the lively and simple faith of the Middle Ages. It gradually fell into disuse during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when men became absorbed in material things, and lost that appreciation of the supernatural which their forefathers loved to encourage by every possible means. The ceremony we have just described varied in the manner of its being carried out; but we have given its chief traits, such as we find them mentioned in the ancient Ordinaries of our cathedrals.

The Churches of Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland keep up, even to this day, the custom borrowed from the Orientals, of spending the night preceding Easter Sunday in prayer. At break of day, the hour of the Resurrection, the Blessed Sacrament is taken from the sepulchre, and a solemn Benediction is given. Up to quite a recent period, in certain towns of Spain, two processions started from the principal church: in one was borne a statue of the Blessed Virgin, which was covered with a veil; in the other, the Blessed Sacrament was carried under a canopy. The two separated, and marched in silence through the streets, until the sun appeared on the horizon, when they met at an appointed place. The veil that covered the statue of the holy Mother of God was then removed, and the whole people sang the Anthem, Regina cœli, lœtare! thus commemorating the joy experienced by Mary when she was visited by Jesus after his Resurrection, that same Jesus who was there really present in the adorable Sacrament. The two processions then returned together to the church.

Another demonstration of Paschal joy consisted in the kiss of peace given by the faithful in the church at the announcement of the Resurrection hour. This custom, which was taken from the Oriental Churches, was kept up in the west until the sixteenth century. In some places, it was at the beginning of Matins that this kiss of peace was given, and with these words: Surrexit Christus!—Christ is risen! In others, again, it was given after the ceremony we have been describing. In the Greek Liturgy, the following stanzas were sung during the time:

Pascha jucundissimum, Pascha Domini, Pascha, Pascha sacratissimum, illuxit nobis. Pascha! in gaudio nos invicem amplexemur. O Pascha, tristitiæ pretium! etenim ex sepulchro, tanquam ex thalamo, Christus hodie resplendens, mulieres læta dulcedine replevit dicens: Prædicate Apostolis.

Dies est Resurrectionis: splendescamus, diem festum agentes, et amplexemur nos invicem, fratres nuncupemus etiam odientes nos; omnia dimittamus propter Resurrectionem, et ita clamemus: Surrexit Christus a mortuis, mortem morte conterens, et jacentibus in monumentis vitam suppeditans.
The most joyous Pasch, the Pasch of the Lord, the Pasch, the most holy Pasch, has shone upon us! let us embrace each other with joy. O Pasch! thou recompense of our sorrow! for from his sepulchre, as from a bride-chamber, Christ hath this day risen resplendent, and hath filled the women with glad consolation, saying to them: Tell it to my Apostles!

It is the Resurrection day: let us be radiant with joy as we keep the feast, and let us embrace one another, and call even them that hate us, brethren. Let us forgive all offences for the Resurrection’s sake, and thus let us sing: Christ hath risen from the dead; he hath conquered death by death, and hath given life to them that lay in their graves.

We are all brethren: Jesus’ Resurrection has made us doubly so, for, as the Apostle says, he is ‘the Firstborn from the dead.’[27] He made us brethren by assuming our nature in his Incarnation; he renewed and made closer the fraternity by rising from the tomb, and opening to each of us the path to immortality. He is our elder Brother in that new life which dieth now no more. Whilst celebrating his victory, let us all be united together in mutual charity: it is his wish, it is the Pasch: it is the banquet-day of fraternal love!




Every day throughout the year, the Church offers a special service to God, which is intended as the Office of the aurora. It is called Lauds, because it is mainly composed of Psalms of praise. The mystery honoured by this Morning-Service is the Resurrection: how fervently, how joyously, ought we to sing our Lauds on the very day of that grand mystery! Let us, therefore, unite with our dear mother the Church: she is beaming with gladness; for her Jesus, her Sun of justice, whose light has been clouded for three long days, is now risen in all his splendour.

℣. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.
℟. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen. Alleluia.
℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

The first Psalm of Lauds shows us our Jesus rising from his tomb like a King clothed with beauty, and like a conqueror girded with strength. By his Resurrection, he restores man to the immortality he had forfeited.’ Wonderful are the surges of the sea; but far more so is the power of the risen Jesus, our Lord. Let us, by the holiness of our lives, prove ourselves worthy of heaven—that House which he has now thrown open to us.

Ant. Angelus autem Domini descendit de cœlo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et sedebat super eum. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. And the angel of the Lord descended from heaven; and going to the stone, rolled it back, and sat on it. Alleluia, alleluia.

Psalm 92

Dominus regnavit, decorum indutus est: indutus est Dominus fortitudinem, et præcinxit se.
Etenim firmavit orbem terræ: qui non commovebitur.
Parata sedes tua ex tunc: a sæculo tu es.
Elevaverunt flumina Domine: elevaverunt flumina vocem suam.
Elevaverunt flumina fluctus suos: a vocibus aquarum multarum.
Mirabiles elationes maris: mirabilis in altis Dominus.
Testimonia tua credibilia facta sunt nimis: domum tuam decet sanctitudo, Domine, in longitudinem dierum.

Ant. Angelus autem Domini descendit de cœlo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et sedebat super eum. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord hath reigned, he is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded himself.
For to-day, by his Resurrection, he hath established the world, which shall not be moved.
Thy throne, O conqueror of death, is prepared from old: thou art from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice.
The floods have lifted up their waves, with the noise of many waters.
Wonderful are the surges of the sea: wonderful is the Lord on high.
Thy testimonies are become exceedingly credible: holiness becometh thy house, O Lord, which is thy Church, unto length of days.

Ant. And the angel of the Lord descended from heaven; and going to the stone, rolled it back, and sat on it. Alleluia, alleluia.

The following Psalm invites to the courts of the Lord all the inhabitants of the earth, there to celebrate this great solemnity, this Feast of feasts. Jesus is our divine Shepherd, and we are the sheep of his pasture. Though the mighty conqueror and God, yet is he sweet and compassionate. Let us celebrate his triumph in exceeding great joy, and with grateful gladness.

Ant. Et ecce terræmotus factus est magnus: Angelus enim Domini descendit de cœlo. Alleluia.
Ant. And behold! there was a great earthquake: for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, alleluia.

Psalm 99

Jubilate Deo omnis terra: servite Domino in lætitia.
Introite in conspectu ejus: in exsultatione.
Scitote quoniam Dominus ipse est Deus: ipse fecit nos, et non ipsi nos.
Populus ejus, et oves pascuæ ejus, introite portas ejus in confessione: atria ejus in hymnis, confitemini illi.
Laudate nomen ejus quoniam suavis est Dominus, in æternum misericordia ejus: et usque in generationem et generationem veritas ejus.

Ant. Et ecce terræmotus factus est magnus: Angelus enim Domini descendit de cœlo. Alleluia.
Sing joyfully to God, all the earth! serve ye the Lord with gladness.
Come in before his presence with exceeding great joy.
Know ye, that the Lord is God; he made us, and not we ourselves.
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture; go ye into his gates with praise: into his courts with hymns, and give glory to him.
Praise ye his name, for the Lord is sweet; his mercy endureth for ever: and his truth to generation and generation.

Ant. And behold! there was a great earthquake: for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, alleluia.

The following Psalm is the prayer of the faithful soul to her God at break of day. From the first waking, she thirsts after the great God, her Creator and Redeemer. But on this day of Easter, she delightedly contemplates him in all the magnificence of his glory, and the whole world is filled with it. All men are now one in unity of sentiment; all are keeping the Pasch; there is not a nation under heaven where the great mystery is not known. Let us pray that all may understand it, love it, and share in its joy.

Ant. Erat autem aspectus ejus sicut fulgur, vestimenta autem ejus sicut nix. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment was as snow. Alleluia, alleluia.

Psalm 62

Deus, Deus meus: ad te de luce vigilo.
Sitivit in te anima mea: quam multipliciter tibi caro mea.
In terra deserta, et invia, et inaquosa: sic in sancto apparui tibi, ut viderem virtutem tuam, et gloriam tuam.
Quoniam melior est misericordia tua super vitas: labia mea laudabunt te.
Sic benedicam te in vita mea: et in nomine tuo levabo manus meas.
Sicut adipe et pinguedine repleatur anima mea: et labiis exsultationis laudabit os meum.
Si memor fui tui super stratum meum, in matutinis meditabor in te: quia fuisti adjutor meus.
Et in velamento alarum tuarum exsultabo, adhæsit anima mea post te: me suscepit dextera tua.
Ipsi vero in vanum quæsierunt animam meam, introibunt in inferiora terræ: tradentur in manus gladii, partes vulpium erunt.
Rex vero lætabitur in Deo, laudabuntur omnes qui jurant in eo: quia obstructum est os loquentium iniqua.

Ant. Erat autem aspectus ejus sicut fulgur, vestimenta autem ejus sicut nix. Alleluia, alleluia.
O God, my God, to thee do I watch at break of day.
For thee my soul hath thirsted, for thee my flesh, oh I how many ways!
In a desert land, and where there is no way, and no water: so, in the sanctuary have I come before thee, to see thy power and thy glory.
For thy mercy is better than lives: thee my lips shall praise.
Thus will I bless thee all my life long: and in thy name I will lift up my hands.
Let my soul be filled as with marrow and fatness, O Bread of life! and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.
If I have remembered thee upon my bed, I will meditate on thee in the morning: because thou hast been my helper.
And I will rejoice under the covert of thy wings; my soul hath stuck close to thee: thy right hand hath received me.
But they have sought my soul in vain; they shall go into the lower parts of the earth: they shall be delivered into the hands of the sword, they shall be portions of foxes.
But man being set free shall, like a king, rejoice in God; all they shall be praised that swear by him: because the mouth is stopped of them that speak wicked things.

Ant. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment was as snow. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Canticle, in which the three children, in the fiery furnace of Babylon, bid all creatures of God bless his name, is sung by the Church in the Lauds of every great feast. It gives a voice to all creatures, and invites the whole universe to bless its divine author. How just it is, that on this day heaven and earth should unite in giving glory to the great God, who, by his Death and Resurrection, repairs the injury done to them by sin!

Ant. Præ timore autem ejus exterriti sunt custodes, et facti sunt velut mortui, alleluia.
Ant. The guards were terrified with fear of him, and became as men struck dead, alleluia.

Canticle of the Three Children
(Dan. iii)

Benedicite omnia opera Domini Domino: laudate et superexaltate eum in sæcula.
Benedicite angeli Domini Domino: benedicite cœli Domino.
Benedicite aquæ omnes quæ super cœlos sunt Domino: benedicite omnes virtutes Domini Domino.
Benedicite sol et luna Domino: benedicite stellæ cœli Domino.
Benedicite omnis imber et ros Domino: benedicite omnes spiritus Dei Domino.
Benedicite ignis et æstus Domino: benedicite frigus et æstus Domino.
Benedicite rores et pruina Domino: benedicite gelu et frigus Domino.
Benedicite glacies et nives Domino: benidicite noctes et dies Domino.
Benedicite lux et tenebræ Domino: benedicite fulgura et nubes Domino.
Benedicat terra Dominum: laudet et superexaltet eum in sæcula.
Benedicite montes et colles Domino: benedicite universa germinantia in terra Domino.
Benedicite fontes Domino: benedicite maria et flumina Domino.
Benedicite cete et omnia quæ moventur in aquis Domino: benedicite omnes volucres cœli Domino.
Benedicite omnes bestiæ et pecora Domino: benedicite filii hominum Domino.
Benedicat Israel Dominum: laudet et superexaltet eum in sæcula.
Benedicite sacerdotes Domini Domino: benedicite servi Domini Domino.
Benedicite spiritus et animæ justorum Domino: benedicite sancti et humiles corde Domino.
Benedicite Anania, Azaria, Misael Domino: laudate et superexaltate eum in sæcula.
Benedicamus Patrem et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu: laudemus, et superexaltemus eum in sæcula.
Benedictus es, Domine, in firmamento cœli: et laudabilis et gloriosus, et superexaltatus in sæcula.

Ant. Præ timore autem ejus exterriti sunt custodes, et facti sunt velut mortui, alleluia.
All ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye angels of the Lord, bless the Lord: O ye heavens, bless the Lord.
O all ye waters that are above the heavens, bless the Lord: O all ye powers of the Lord, bless the Lord.
O ye sun and moon, bless the Lord: O ye stars of heaven, bless the Lord.
O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: O all ye spirits of God, bless the Lord.
O ye fire and heat, bless the Lord: O ye cold and heat, bless the Lord.
O ye dews and hoar frosts, bless the Lord: O ye frost and cold, bless the Lord.
O ye ice and snow, bless the Lord: O ye nights and days, bless the Lord.
O ye light and darkness, bless the Lord: O ye lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord.
Oh! let the earth bless the Lord: let it praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye mountains and hills, bless the Lord: O all ye things that spring up in the earth, bless the Lord.
O ye fountains, bless the Lord: O ye seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
O ye whales, and all that move in the waters, bless the Lord: O all ye fowls of the air, bless the Lord.
O all ye beasts and cattle, bless the Lord: O ye sons of men, bless the Lord.
Oh! let Israel bless the Lord: let it praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye priests of the Lord, bless the Lord: O ye servants of the Lord, bless the Lord.
O ye spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord: O ye holy and humble of heart, bless the Lord.
O Ananias, Azarias, Misael, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Let us bless the Father and the Son, with the Holy Ghost; let us praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Blessed art thou, O Lord, in the firmament of heaven; and worthy of praise, and glorious, and exalted above all, for ever.

Ant. The guards were terrified with fear of him, and became as men struck dead, alleluia.

The last Psalm of Lauds sings the praise of the Lord, and urges all creatures to bless his holy name. It has a great resemblance with the Canticle of the three children.

Ant. Respondens autem angelus dixit mulieribus: Nolite timere: scio enim quod Jesum quæritis, alleluia.
Ant. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not: for I know that ye seek Jesus, alleluia.

Psalm 148

Laudate Dominum de cœlis: laudate eum in excelsis.
Laudate eum omnes angeli ejus: laudate eum omnes virtutes ejus.
Laudate eum sol et luna: laudate eum omnes stellæ et lumen.
Laudate eum cœli cœlorum: et aquæ omnes, quæ super cœlos sunt, laudent nomen Domini.
Quia ipse dixit, et facta sunt: ipse mandavit, et creata sunt.
Statuit ea in æternum, et in sæculum sæculi: præceptum posuit, et non præteribit.
Laudate Dominum de terra: dracones et omnes abyssi.
Ignis, grando, nix, glacies, spiritus procellarum: quæ faciunt verbum ejus.
Montes et omnes colles: ligna fructifera, et omnes cedri.
Bestiæ et universa pecora: serpentes, et volucres pennatæ.
Reges terræ et omnes populi: principes, et omnes judices terræ.
Juvenes, et virgines, senes cum junioribus, laudent nomen Domini: quia exaltatum est nomen ejus solius.
Confessio ejus super coelum et terram: et exaltavit cornu populi sui.
Hymnus omnibus sanctis ejus: filiis Israel, populo appropinquanti sibi.

Ant. Respondens autem angelus, dixit mulieribus: Nolite timere: scio enim quod Jesum quæritis, alleluia.
Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise ye him in the high places.
Praise ye him, all his angels, praise ye him, all his hosts.
Praise ye him, O sun and moon: praise ye him, all ye stars and light.
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens: and let all the waters, that are above the heavens, praise the name of the Lord.
For he spoke, and they were made: he commanded, and they were created.
He hath established them for ever, and for ages of ages: he hath made a decree, and it shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all ye deeps.
Fire, hail, snow, ice, stormy winds, which fulfil his word.
Mountains and all hills, fruitful trees, and all cedars.
Beasts and all cattle; serpents and feathered fowls.
Kings of the earth and all people; princes and all judges of the earth.
Young men and maidens; let the old with the younger praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is exalted.
His praise is above heaven and earth: and he hath, this day, exalted the horn of his people.
A hymn to all his saints: to the children of Israel, a people approaching to him.

Ant. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not: for I know that ye seek Jesus, alleluia.

Immediately after the Psalms is sung the Paschal Anthem:

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

Then follows the Canticle of Zachary: it is the Church’s daily welcome of the rising sun. It celebrates the coming of Jesus to his creatures, the fulfilment of the promises made by God, and the apparition of the divine Orient in the midst of our darkness.

Ant. Et valde mane una sabbatorum, veniunt ad monumentum orto jam sole, alleluia.
Ant. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen, alleluia.

Canticle of Zachary
(St Luke i)

Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel: quia visitavit, et fecit redemptionem plebis suae.
Et erexit cornu salutis nobis: in domo David pueri sui.
Sicut locutus est per os sanctorum: qui a sæculo sunt prophetarum ejus.
Salutem ex inimicis nostris: et de manu omnium qui oderunt nos.
Ad faciendam misericordiam cum patribus nostris: et memoran testamenti sui sancti.
Jusjurandum quod juravit ad Abraham patrem nostrum: daturum se nobis.
Ut sine timore de manu inimicorum nostrorum liberati: serviamus illi.
In sanctitate et justitia coram ipso: omnibus diebus nostris.
Et tu, puer, propheta Altissimi vocaberis: præibis enim ante faciem Domini parare vias ejus.
Ad dandam scientiam salutis plebi ejus: in remissionem peccatorum eorum.
Per viscera misericordiæ Dei nostri: in quibus visitavit nos Oriens ex alto.
Illuminare his qui in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedent: ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis.

Ant. Et valde mane una sabbatorum, veniunt ad mo-numentum, orto jam sole, alleluia.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because he hath, this day, visited and wrought the redemption of his people.
And hath raised up an horn of salvation to us, in the house of David his servant.
As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who are from the beginning:
Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us.
To perform mercy to our fathers, and to remember his holy testament.
The oath which he swore to Abraham our father; that he would grant to us,
That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, we may serve him without fear,
In holiness and justice before him all our days.
And thou, child, the Precursor of the Man-God, shalt be called the prophet of the Most High: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways,
To give to his people the knowledge of salvation, unto the remission of their sins,
Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us.
To enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace.

Ant. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen, alleluia.


Deus, qui hodierna die per Unigenitum tuum æternitatis nobis aditum, devicta morte, reserasti: vota nostra quæ præveniendo aspiras,etiam adjuvando prosequere. Per eundem.

℣. Benedicamus Domino. Alleluia, alleluia.

℟. Deo gratias. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let us Pray.

O God, who, on this day, by thy only-begotten Son’s victory over death, didst open for us a passage to eternity; grant that our prayers, which thy preventing grace inspireth, may, by thy help, become effectual. Through the same, etc.

℣. Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
℟. Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Office of Lauds being over, the faithful retire from the church: but they will soon return, to assist at the solemn Sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb. In order the better to understand the holy Liturgy of our Easter, we will again imagine ourselves to be in one of the cathedral churches of the fourth or fifth century, where the sacred rites were carried out in all their magnificence.

The city is filled with strangers. The priests of the country churches have come to assist at the consecration of the oils, at the administration of Baptism, and at the grand functions of Easter. The inhabitants are not allowed to undertake any journey that would prevent them from assisting at the Offices of the Church; for we find several councils[28] forbidding even the nobles to go beyond the city walls until the Paschal solemnity is over. We shall not be surprised at these regulations if we remember what we have already stated with regard to Palm Sunday, how the monks of the East, who had obtained permission from their Abbots to leave their monasteries at the beginning of Lent, and retire into the desert, there to live with God alone, were obliged to return for the celebration of Easter. St Pachomius—who was the first to organize, in the desert of the east, a congregation or confederation of all the houses that had sprung from his celebrated monastery of Tabenna—insisted upon all his disciples convening every year in this central monastery, for the purpose of celebrating the Resurrection. On some of these occasions, there were to be seen encamped around Tabenna as many as fifty thousand monks.

Even now, notwithstanding all the deplorable injuries done to the spirit of Christianity by heresy, our churches are crowded on the great Paschal solemnity. Even they that never think of entering the house of God on any other day of the year make an exception for Easter Sunday, as though they could not resist the power of the great mystery of Jesus’ triumph. It is the last remnant of faith left in these men; it keeps them from total forgetfulness of their religion. When their last hour comes, their celebration of Easter, though so imperfect, may draw down upon them the mercy of their Saviour; but if their Easters have been but so many neglects of the Sacraments, what consolation, what hope, can they yield? Those slighted invitations to mercy will then cry out for vengeance, and give to the Resurrection the awful triumph of justice!—But these are thoughts far too sad for our festivity: let us turn them into a prayer to our risen Jesus, that he ‘break not the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax’;[29] let us delight in the thought of those bright days of the past when faith made Easter so glorious a sight for heaven and earth; let us exult in the reflection, that the same faith is still that of millions, and will be so till the end of time!

And before going to Mass, let us aid our enthusiasm by a remembrance of the martyrs of Easter. Yes, the grand solemnity was once consecrated by the blood of saints, and the Church chronicles the event in her Martyrology. In the year 459, Easter Sunday fell upon April 5. The Church in Africa was then suffering persecution from the Vandals; they were Arians, and had been brought into the country by their kings, Genseric and Hunneric. The Catholics of the city of Regia were assembled in the church for the celebration of the Resurrection, and, in order to keep out the heretics, they had closed the doors. The Arians, marshalled by one of their priests, forced an entrance, and rushed in, brandishing their swords. At that very moment a lector was in the ambo, singing the Alleluia; an arrow, shot by one of the barbarians, pierced his throat; he fell, and finished his song in heaven. The Vandals fell upon the faithful, and the church streamed with blood. They dragged others from the holy place, and executed them by order of their king. The little children were the only ones spared. Let us unite with the Church, who honours these noble victims of Easter on April 5.




It is the hour of Terce (9 o’clock), and the basilica is crowded with the faithful. The sun is pouring in his brightest beams; and who has not felt the charm of an Easter sun? The pavement is strewn with flowers. Above the glittering mosaics of the apse, the wall is covered with rich tapestry. Festoons hang from the sanctuary arch to the pillars of the nave and aisles. Lamps, fed with the purest oil, and suspended from the ciborium (or canopy), are burning around the altar. The Paschal candle, which has been ceaselessly burning since last night, stands on its marble pillar; its bright flame attracts every eye, and the perfumes, wherewith its wick is saturated, fill the sacred edifice with a delicious fragrance. It is the noble symbol of Jesus, our light, and seems to say: ‘Alleluia! Christ is risen!’

But by far the most interesting object is the group of the neophytes, clad in their white garments, like the angels that appeared at the sepulchre. They are the living expression of the mystery of our Lord’s Resurrection. Yesterday they were dead, by sin; now they are living, by that new life which is the fruit of Jesus’ victory over death. Oh! happy thought of our mother the Church, to choose for the day of their regeneration that on which the Man-God won immortality for us his creatures!

The Station at Rome was formerly in the basilica of St Mary Major, the principal church of all those that are dedicated to the Mother of God in the holy city. Was it not just to associate with the Paschal solemnity the memory of her, who, more than all other creatures, had merited its joys, not only because of the exceptional share she had had in all the sufferings of Jesus, but also because of the unshaken faith wherewith, during those long and cruel hours of his lying in the tomb, she had awaited his Resurrection? But now the papal Mass is celebrated in St Peter’s, as being more convenient, by its size and situation, to the immense concourse of the faithful, who flock to Rome, from every part of the Christian world, for the feast of Easter. The Roman Missal, however, still gives St Mary Major as the stational church of to-day; and the indulgences are gained, as formerly, by those who assist at the services celebrated there.

There is no water blessed for the Asperges to-day, as is the custom on all other Sundays throughout the year. We assisted, a few hours ago, at the imposing ceremony of the blessing of the water which was to be used for the Baptism of the catechumens. The water which is now going to be sprinkled upon the faithful was taken from the font of regeneration. During this ceremony, the choir sings the following Antiphon:


Vidi aquam egredientem de templo a latere dextro, alleluia: et omnes, ad quos pervenit aqua ista, salvi facti sunt, et dicent, Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus: quoniam in sæculum misericordia ejus.
Gloria Patri. Vidi aquam.

℣. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam, alleluia.
℟. Et salutare tuum da nobis, alleluia.


Exaudi nos, Domine sanete, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: et mittere digneris sanctum angelum tuum de cœlis, qui custodiat, foveat, protegat, visitet atque defendat omnes habitantes in hoc habitaculo. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
I saw water flowing from the right side of the temple, alleluia; and all to whom that water came were saved, and they shall say, Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Praise the Lord, because he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.
Glory, etc. I saw.

℣. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy, alleluia.
℟. And grant us thy salvation, alleluia.

Let us Pray.

Graciously hear us, O holy Lord, Father almighty, Eternal God: and vouchsafe to send thy holy angel from heaven, who may keep, cherish, protect, visit, and defend all who are assembled in this place. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

In many of the western churches, the following stanzas, written by St Venantius Fortunatus, bishop of Poitiers, used formerly to be sung during the procession before to-day’s Mass. We insert them here, feeling assured that they will interest our readers, and assist them to enter more fully into the spirit of the great solemnity, for which our forefathers made them serve as a preparation. We shall find them replete with the same enthusiasm that inspired the author when he composed the Vexilla Regis, and the hymn of the holy chrism: there is the same bold and energetic, almost harsh, diction, the same piety, the same richness of poetry and sentiment. The beautiful chant, to which this hymn was sung, is still extant.

Easter Song

Salve, festa dies, toto venerabilis ævo;
Qua Deus infernum vincit, et astra tenet.
Ecce renascentis testatur gratia mundi,
Omnia cum Domino dona redisse suo.

 Salve, festa dies.

Namque triumphanti post tristia tartara Christo,
Undique fronde nemus, gramina flore favent.

Salve, festa dies.

Legibus inferni oppressis, super astra meantem,
Laudant rite Deum lux, polus, arva, fretum.

Salve, festa dies.

Qui crucifixus erat Deus, ecce per omnia regnat;
Dantque creatori cuncta creata precem.

Salve, festa dies.

Christe salus rerum, bone conditor, atque redemptor;
Unica progenies ex Deitate Patris.

Salve, festa dies.

Qui genus humanum cernens mersum esse profundo,
Ut hominem eriperes, es quoque factus homo.

Salve, festa dies.

Nec voluisti etenim tantum te corpore nasci,
Sed caro quæ nasci pertulit, atque mori.

Salve, festa dies.

Funeris exsequias pateris, vitæ auctor et orbis,
Intrans mortis iter, dando salutis opem.

Salve, festa dies.

Tristia cesserunt infernæ vincula legis,
Expavitque chaos luminis ore premi.

Salve, festa dies.

Depereunt tenebræ Christi fulgore fugatæ,
Æternæ noctis pallia crassa cadunt.

Salve, festa dies.

Pollicitam sed redde fidem, precor, alma potestas,
Tertia lux rediit, surge sepulte meus.

Salve, festa dies.

Non decet, ut vili tumulo tua membra tegantur,
Neu pretium mundi vilia saxa premant.

Salve, testa dies.

Lintea tolle, precor, sudaria linque sepulchro;
Tu satis es nobis, et sine te nihil est.

Salve, festa dies.

Solve catenatas inferni carcens umbras,
Et revoca sursum, quiquid ad ima ruit.

Salve, festa dies.

Redde tuam faciem, videant ut sæcula lumen,
Redde diem, qui nos, te moriente, fugit.

Salve, festa dies.

Sed plane implesti remeans, pie victor, ad orbem;
Tartara pressa jacent, nec sua jura tenent.

Salve, festa dies.

Inferus insaturabiliter cava guttura pandens,
Qui rapuit semper, fit tua præda, Deus.

Salve, festa dies.

Evomit absorptam trepide fera bellua plebem,
Et de fauce lupi subtrahit agnus oves.

Salve, festa dies.

Rex sacer, ecce tui radiat pars magna triumphi,
Cum puras animas sacra lavacra beant.

Salve, festa dies.

Candidus egreditur nitidis exercitus undis,
Atque vetus vitium purgat in amne novo.

Salve, festa dies.

Fulgentes animas vestis quoque candida signat,
Et grege de vineo gaudia pastor habet,

Salve, festa dies, toto venerabilis ævo;
Qua Deus infernum vincit et astra tenet.
Hail, thou festive, ever venerable day!
whereon hell is conquered and heaven is won by Christ.
Lo! our earth is in her spring; bearing, thus her witness that,
with her Lord, she has all her gifts restored.

 Hail, thou festive.

For now the woods with their leaves, and the meadows with their flowers,
pay homage to Jesus’ triumph over the gloomy tomb.

Hail, thou festive.

Light, firmament, fields and sea, give justly praise to the God
that defeats the laws of death, and rises above the stars.

Hail, thou festive.

The crucified God now reigns over all things;
and every creature to its Creator tells a prayer.

Hail, thou festive.

O Jesus! Saviour of the world! Loving Creator and Redeemer!
Only-begotten Son of God the Father!

Hail, thou festive.

Seeing the human race was sunk in misery deep,
thou wast made Man, that thou mightest rescue man.

Hail, thou festive.

Nor wouldst thou be content to be born;
but being born in the flesh, in the same wouldst thou suffer death.

Hail, thou festive.

Thou, the author of life and of all creation, wast buried in the tomb;
treading the path of death, to give us salvation.

Hail, thou festive.

The gloomful bonds of hell were broken;
the abyss shook with fear, as the light shone upon its brink.

Hail, thou festive.

The brightness of Christ put darkness to flight,
and made to fall the thick veils of everlasting night.

Hail, thou festive.

But redeem thy promise, I beseech thee, merciful King!
This is the third day; arise, my buried Jesus!

Hail, thou festive.

‘Tis not meet that thy Body lie in the lowly tomb,
or that a sepulchral stone should keep imprisoned the ransom of the world.

Hail, thou festive.

Throw off thy shrouds, I pray thee! Leave thy windingsheet in the tomb.
Thou art our all; and all else, without thee, is nothing.

Hail, thou festive.

Set free the spirits that are shackled in limbo’s prison.
Raise up all fallen things.

Hail, thou festive.

Show us once more thy face, that all ages may see the light!
Bring back the day, which fled when thou didst die.

Hail, thou festive.

But thou hast done all this, O loving conqueror, by returning to our world:
death lies defeated, and its rights are gone.

Hail, thou festive.

The greedy monster, whose huge throat had swallowed all mankind,
is now thy prey, O God!

Hail, thou festive.

The savage beast now trembling vomits forth the victims he had made,
and the lamb tears the sheep from the jaw of the wolf.

Hail, thou festive.

O King divine! lo! here a bright ray of thy triumph
—the souls made pure by the holy font.

Hail, thou festive.

The white-robed troop comes from the limpid waters;
and the old iniquity is cleansed in the new stream.

Hail, thou festive.

The white garments symbolize unspotted souls;
and the Shepherd rejoices in his snowlike flock:

Hail, thou festive, ever venerable day!
whereon hell is conquered and heaven is won by Christ.

The preparations completed, the cantors intone the majestic melody of the Introit. Meanwhile, the pontiff, accompanied by the priests, deacons, and other ministers, advances in procession to the altar steps. This opening chant is the cry of the Man-God as he rises from the tomb: it is the hymn of Jesus’ gratitude to his eternal Father.


Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sum, alleluia: posuisti super me manum tuam, alleluia: mirabilis facta est scientia tua. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Domine, probasti me et cognovisti me: tu cognovisti sessionem meam et resurrectionem meam.

℣. Gloria Patri. Resurrexi.
I have risen, and am as yet with thee, alleluia: thou hast stretched forth thy hand to me, alleluia: thy knowledge is become wonderful. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Lord, thou hast tried me and known me: thou hast known my sitting down and my uprising.

℣. Glory, etc. I have risen, etc.

In the Collect, the Church proclaims the grace of immortality, which our Redeemer’s victory over death restored to mankind. She prays that her children may desire the glorious destiny thus won for them.


Deus, qui hodierna die per Unigenitum tuum, æternitatis nobis aditum, devicta morte, reserasti: vota nostra, quæ præveniendo aspiras, etiam adjuvando prosequere. Per eumdem.
O God, who, on this day, by thy only-begotten Son’s victory over death, didst open for us a passage to eternity; grant that our prayers, which thy preventing grace inspireth, may by thy help become effectual. Through the same, etc.


Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.

I Cor. v.

Fratres, expurgate vetus fermentum, ut sitis nova conspersio, sicut estis azymi. Etenim Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus. Itaqueepulemur, non in fermento veten, neque in fermento malitiæ et nequitiæ: sed in azymis sinceritatis et veritatis.
Lesson of the Epistle of St Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

I Cor. v.

Brethren: Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleavened. For Christ, our Pasch, is sacrificed. Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

God commanded the Israelites to use unleavened bread when they ate the Paschal Lamb; hereby teaching them that, before partaking of this mysterious food, they should abandon their sins, which are signified by leaven. We Christians, who are called to the new life which Jesus has created for us by his Resurrection, must henceforth be intent on good works, as the unleavened breadwherewith we must receive the Paschal Lamb, our Easter banquet.

The Gradual is formed of those joyous words, which the Church untiringly repeats in all her Offices of this solemnity of the Pasch. They are taken from the 117th Psalm. Joy, on such a day as this, is a duty incumbent on every Christian, both because of the triumph of our beloved Redeemer, and because of the blessings that triumph has won for us. Sadness would be a criminal protestation against the grand things wherewith God has graced us through his Son, who not only died, but also rose from the grave, for us.


Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus et lætemur in ea.

℣. Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus: quoniam in sæculum misericordia ejus.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.

℣. Praise ye the Lord, for he is good: and his mercy endureth for ever.

The Alleluia verse expresses one of the motives we have for rejoicing: a banquet is prepared for us! Jesus is our Lamb. He was slain; now he is living: slain, that we might be redeemed by his Blood; living, that we may share his immortality.

Alleluia, alleluia. ℣. Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus.
Alleluia, alleluia. ℣. Christ, our Pasch, is sacrificed.

The better to encourage her children to be glad, the Church adds to her ordinary chants a hymn full of enthusiastic admiration for her risen Jesus. It is called a Sequence, because it is a continuation of the Alleluia.


Victimæ paschali laudes
Immolent christiani.

Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri
Reconciliavit peccatores.

Mors et vita duello
Conflixere mirando:
Dux vitae mortuus
Regnat vivus.

Dic nobis, Maria,
Quid vidisti in via?

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

Surrexit Christus spes mea:
Præcedet vos in Galilæam.

Scimus Christum surrexisse
A mortuis vere;
Tu nobis victor Rex,


Let Christians offer to the Paschal Victim
the sacrifice of praise.

The Lamb hath redeemed the sheep:
the innocent Jesus hath reconciled
sinners to his Father.

Death and life fought against each other,
and wondrous was the duel:
the King of life was put to death;
yet now he lives and reigns.

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

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

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

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



The Church gives her preference to-day to the Evangelist St Mark, who was a disciple of St Peter, and wrote his Gospel at Rome, under the eye of this prince of the Apostles. It was fitting that, on such a festival as Easter, we should, in some manner, hear him speaking to us, whom our divine Master appointed to be the Rock of his Church, and the supreme pastor of all, both sheep and lambs.


Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum.

Cap. xvi.

In illo tempore: Maria Magdalene, et Maria Jacobi, et Salome, emerunt aromata ut venientes ungerent Jesum. Et valde mane una sabbatorum, veniunt ad monumentum, orto jam sole. Et dicebant ad invicem: Quis revolvet nobis lapidem ab ostio monumenti? Et respicientes viderunt revolutum lapidem. Erat quippe magnus valde. Et introeuntes in monumentum, viderunt juvenem sedentem in dextris, coopertum stola candida, et obstupuerunt. Qui dixit illis: Nolite expavescere: Jesum quæritis Nazarenum, crucifixum: surrexit, non est hic; ecce locus ubi posuerunt eum. Sed ite, dicite discipulis ejus, et Petro, quia præcedit vos in Galilæam: ibi eum videbitis, sicut dixit vobis.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Mark.

Ch. xvi.

At that time: Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming they might anoint Jesus. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen. And they said one to another: Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And looking, they saw the stone rolled back. For it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side clothed with a white robe: and they were astonished. Who saith to them: Be not affrighted: you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen, he is not here, behold the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, that he goeth before you into Galilee: there you shall see him, as he told you.

He is risen: He is not here! The Corpse, laid by the hands of them that loved their Lord, on the slab that lies in that cave, is risen; and, without removing the stone that closed the entrance, has gone forth, quickened with a life which can never die. No man has helped him. No prophet has stood over the dead Body, bidding it return to life. It is Jesus himself, and by his own power, that has risen. He suffered death, not from necessity, but because he so willed; and again, because he willed, he has delivered himself from its bondage. O Jesus! Thou, that thus mockest death, art the Lord our God! We reverently bend our knee before this empty tomb, which is now for ever sacred, because, for a few hours, it was the place of thy abode. Behold the place where they laid him!Behold the winding-sheet and bands, which remain to tell the mystery of thy having once been dead! The angel says to the women: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified! The recollection makes us weep. Yes, it was but the day before yesterday that his Body was carried hither, mangled, wounded, bleeding. Here, in this cave, from which the angel has now rolled back the stone—in this cave, which his presence fills with a more than mid-day brightness—stood the afflicted Mother. It echoed with the sobs of them that were at the burial, John and the two disciples, Magdalen and her companions. The sun sank beneath the horizon, and the first day of Jesus’ burial began. But the prophet had said: ‘In the evening weeping shall have place; and in the morning gladness.’[30] This glorious, happy morning has come, O Jesus! and great indeed is our gladness at seeing that this same sepulchre, whither we followed thee with aching hearts, is now but the trophy of thy victory! Thy precious wounds are healed! It was we that caused them; permit us to kiss them. Thou art now living, more glorious than ever, and immortal. And because we resolved to die to our sins, when thou wast dying in order to expiate them, thou wiliest that we, too, should live eternally with thee; that thy victory over death should be ours; that death should be for us, as it was for thee, a mere passage to immortality, and should one day give back, uninjured and glorified, these bodies which are to be lent for a while to the tomb. Glory, then, and honour, and love, be to thee, O Jesus! who didst deign not only to die, but to rise again for us!

The Offertory is composed of the words wherein David foretold that the earth would tremble when the ManGod arose. This earth of ours has not only witnessed the grandest manifestations of God’s power and goodness, but, by the sovereign will of its Maker, has been frequently made to share in them, by preternatural movements.


Terra tremuit et quievit, dum resurgeret in judicio Deus, alleluia.
The earth trembled, and was silent, when God arose in judgement, alleluia.

The whole assembly of the faithful is about to partake of the Paschal banquet; the divine Lamb invites them to it. The altar is laden with the offerings they have presented. The holy Church, in her Secret, invokes upon these favoured guests the graces which will procure for them the blissful immortality whereof they are about to receive a pledge.


Suscipe, quæsumus, Domine, preces populi tui cum oblationibus hostiarum: ut paschalibus initiata mysteriis, ad æternitatis nobis medelam, te operante, proficiant. Per Dominum.
Receive, O Lord, we beseech thee, the prayers of thy people, together with the offerings of these hosts: that what is consecrated by these paschal mysteries may by the help of thy grace avail us to eternal life. Through, etc.

At the papal Mass, during the Middle Ages, while the pontiff recited the Secret, the two youngest cardinal-deacons came forward, vested in white dalmatics, and stood at each end of the altar, with their faces turned towards the people. They represented the two angels who kept guard over our Saviour’s tomb, and announced to the holy women that he had risen. The two deacons remained in that position until the pontiff left the altar at the Agnus Dei, in order to receive the Holy Communion on the throne.

Another impressive custom was observed at St Mary Major’s. When the Pope, after breaking the Host, addressed to the faithful the wish of peace, with the usual greeting of Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum, the choir did not answer the usual Et cum spiritu tuo. It was the tradition, that St Gregory the Great was once officiating in this church on Easter Sunday, when, having sung these words, which bring down the Spirit of peace on the assembled people, a choir of angels responded with such sweet melody, that the singers of earth were silent, for they feared to join in the celestial music. The year following the cantors awaited the angelic response to the words of the pontiff: the favour, however, was never renewed, but the custom of not answering the Et cum spiritu tuo was observed for several centuries.

The moment has at length come for the faithful to partake of the divine Banquet. It was the practice in the ancient Church of Gaul to chant the following solemn appeal to the people, who were about to receive the Bread of life.[31] The music, which accompanied the Antiphon, is most impressive and appropriate. We give the words, as they will assist the devotion of the faithful.

Invitation of the People to Communion

Venite populi ad sacrum et immortale mysterium, et libamen agendum.

Cum timore, et fide accedamus manibus mundis, pœnitentiæ munus communicemus, quoniam propter nos Agnus Dei Patris sacrificium propositum est.

Ipsum solum adoremus, ipsum glorificemus: cum angelis clamantes, alleluia.
Come, O ye people, to the sacred and immortal mystery! Come and receive the sacred libation!

Let us approach with fear and faith, and hands undefiled. Let us unite ourselves with him who is the reward of our repentance, for it is for us that the Lamb of God the Father offered himself in sacrifice.

Let us adore him alone, and glorify him, singing with the angels, alleluia.

While the sacred ministers are distributing the divine Food, the Church celebrates, in her Communion Anthem, the true Paschal Lamb, which has been mystically immolated on the altar, and requires, from them who receive it, that purity of soul which is signified by the unleavened bread under whose accidents the reality lies hid.


Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus, alleluia: itaque epulemur in azymis sinceritatis et veritatis. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Christ, our Pasch, is immolated, alleluia: therefore, let us feast on the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

The last prayer made by the Church for them that have received their God is that the spirit of fraternal charity, which is the spirit of our Pasch, may abide in them. The Son of God, by assuming our nature in the mystery of the Incarnation, has made us to be his brothers; by shedding his Blood for us upon the Cross, he has united us to one another by the bond of the redemption; and, by his Resurrection, he has linked us together in one glorious immortality.


Spiritum nobis, Domine, tuæ charitatis infunde: ut quos sacramentis paschalibus satiasti, tua facias pietate Concordes. Per Dominum.
Pour forth on us, O Lord, the spirit of thy love; that those whom thou hast filled with the Paschal Sacrament, may, by thy goodness, live in perfect concord. Through, etc.

Paschal Blessings


The pontiff then gives his blessing to the people. They leave the house of God, to return thither for the Vespers, which most solemn Office will conclude the magnificent functions of our solemnity.

At Rome, the Pope descends from the throne, wearing his triple crown. He ascends the sedia gestatoria, which is borne on the shoulders of the servants of the palace, and is carried to the great nave. Having reached the appointed place, he descends and humbly kneels down. Then, from the tribune of the cupola, are shown by priests, vested in their stoles, the wood of the true Cross, and the Veil, called the Veronica, on which is impressed the face of our Redeemer. This commemoration of the sufferings and humiliations of the Man-God, at the very moment when his triumph over death has been celebrated with all the pomp of the Liturgy, eloquently proclaims the glory and power of our risen Jesus, and shows us how faithfully and how lovingly he fulfilled the mission he had so graciously taken upon himself, of working our salvation. It was on this very day, that he himself said to the disciples of Emmaus: ‘Thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead the third day.’[32] The Christian world, in the person of its supreme pastor, hereby pays its homage to the sufferings and glory of its Redeemer. The pontiff then resumes the triple Crown, and is carried, on the sedia, to the balcony, where he gives the papal benediction to the people assembled in the piazza of St Peter’s. We have already described this solemn rite.[33]

Formerly, when the Lateran palace was the papal residence, and the Station of Easter Sunday was held at St Mary Major’s, the sovereign Pontiff, vested in a cope, and wearing the tiara, went to the basilica on a horse caparisoned in white. After the Mass, he proceeded to the banquet-hall, called the Triclinium Leonianum. It was built by St Leo III, and was decorated with mosaics representing Christ, St Peter, Constantine and Charlemagne. A repast was prepared, to which were invited, as guests of the pontiff, five cardinals, five deacons, and the first in dignity (the Primicerius) of the clergy attached to the church of St John Lateran. Near to the Pope’s own table, a seat was prepared for twelfth guest—the prior, called basilicarius. The Paschal Lamb was then served up, laid on a rich dish. The Pope blessed it, and thus signified that the severe law of abstinence was at an end. He himself cut it into portions and sent one to each of his guests; but first of all he cut off a small piece, and gave it to the basilicarius, saying to him what would have seemed a harsh allusion, but for the words that followed: ‘What thou hast to do, do quickly! But what was said as a condemnation, I say to thee as a pardon.’ The repast began with joyous conversation; but, after some time, the archdeacon gave a signal, and a deacon began to read. The papal choristers were afterwards introduced, and sang such of the favourite sequences as the Pope called for. This done, the choristers kissed the feet of the pontiff, who gave to each of them a cup full of wine from his own table; and each received a piece of money, called a besant, from the treasurer.

Our object in mentioning such customs as this, is to show our readers the simple manners of the Middle Ages. The custom of blessing and eating lamb on Easter Sunday still continues, though, in many instances, it conveys very little meaning. For those who, from idle pretexts, have scarcely observed a day’s abstinence during the whole of Lent, the Paschal Lamb is a reproach rather than a consolation. We here give the blessing as a completion to our Easter rites. The venerable prayer, used by the Church, will take us back in thought to other ages and prompt us to ask of God that he will grant us a return to the simple and practical faith, which gave such soul and grandeur to the everyday life of our Catholic forefathers.


Blessing of the Paschal Lamb

Deus, qui per famulum tuum Moysen, in liberatione populi tui de Egypto, agnum occidi jussisti in similitudinem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et utrosque postes domorum de sanguine ejusdem agni perungi præcepisti: ita benedicere, et sanctificare digneris hanc creaturam carnis, quam nos famuli tui ad laudem tuam sumere desideramus, per resurrectionem ejusdem Domini nostri Jesu Christi. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculorum.

O God, who, on the deliverance of thy people from Egypt, didst command, by thy servant Moses, that a lamb should be slain as a type of our Lord Jesus Christ, and didst ordain that both side-posts of the houses should be sprinkled with its blood: vouchsafe also to bless and sanctify this creature of flesh, which we thy servants desire to eat for thy glory, and in honour of the Resurrection of the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, for ever and ever.


The law of Lent formerly forbade not only flesh-meat, but also eggs. It was only by a dispensation that they were allowed to be eaten during that holy season of penance. The Churches of the East have strictly maintained the ancient discipline on this point, and no dispensation is admitted. Here, again, the faithful show their joy, by asking the Church to bless the eggs that are to appear at their Easter repast. The following is the prayer used for this blessing:

Blessing Of The Paschal Eggs

Subveniat, quæsumus Domine, tuæ benedictionis gratia huic ovorum creaturæ: ut cibus salubris fiat fidelibus tuis in tuarum gratiarum actione sumentibus, ob resurrectionem Domini nostri Jesu Christi. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculorum.

We beseech thee, O Lord, to give the favour of thy blessing to these eggs; that so they may be a wholesome food to thy faithful, who gratefully take them in honour of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who liveth and reigneth with thee, for ever and ever.


Yes, let our Easter repast, blessed as it is by our mother the Church, be one of joy, and add to the gladness of this great day! The feasts of religion should always be kept as feasts by Christian families: but there is not one, throughout the year, that can be compared to this of Easter, which we have waited for so long and in such sorrow, and which has at length come, bringing with it the riches of God’s pardon, and the hope of our immortality.


The day is fast advancing, and Jesus has not yet shown himself to his disciples. The holy women are overpowered with joy and gratitude at the favour they have received. They have told it to the Apostles, assuring them that not only have they seen angels, but Jesus himself; that he has spoken to them; that they have kissed his sacred feet. But all their assurances fail to convince these men, who are oppressed with what they have seen of their Master’s Passion. They are cruelly disappointed, and their disappointment makes them deaf to everything that speaks of consolation. And yet, we shall soon find them laying down their very lives in testimony of the Resurrection of that Master whose name and remembrance is now a humiliation to them.

We may form some idea of their feelings from the conversation of two who have been spending a part of the day with them, and who themselves were disciples of Jesus. This very evening, while returning to Emmaus, they thus express their disappointment: ‘We hoped that Jesus would have redeemed Israel: and now, besides all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company affrighted us; who, before it was light, were at the sepulchre; and not finding his Body, came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive. And some of our people went to the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said; but him they found not.’[34] How strange, that the Resurrection of which Jesus had so often spoken to them, even in the presence of the Jews, does not recur to their minds! They are still carnal-minded men, and the awful fact of his death stifles within them every idea of that new birth which our bodies are to receive in the tomb.

But our risen Jesus must now show himself to these men, who are to preach his divinity to the furthest ends of the world. So far, his manifestations have been made to satisfy his affection for his blessed Mother, and his infinite love for those souls, that had done all in their power to testify their gratitude towards him. It is now time for him to provide for his own glory; at least, so it would seem to us. But no; having rewarded those that love him, he would now show the generosity of his heart; and then, after this, proclaim his triumph. The apostolic college, of which every member fled at the hour of danger, has seen its very head so forgetful of his duty as to deny his divine Master. But, from the moment when Jesus cast upon his disciple a look of reproach and pardon, Peter has done nothing but shed bitter tears over his fall. Jesus would now console the humble penitent; tell him, with his own lips, that he has pardoned him; and confirm, by this mark of his divine predilection, the sublime prerogatives that he so recently conferred upon him in the presence of all the other Apostles. As yet Peter doubts of the Resurrection; Magdalen’s testimony has not convinced him; but now that his offended Master is about to appear to him, his faith will acknowledge the grand mystery.

We have already heard the angel sending Jesus’ message by the three women. ‘Go,’ said he, ‘tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee.’[35] Why this express mention of Peter, but that he may know that although he has denied Jesus, Jesus has not denied him? Why is he not, on this occasion, mentioned before the others, except to spare him the humiliation of the contrast between his high position and the unworthy conduct he has shown? But this special mention of his name tells him that he is still dear to Jesus, and that he will soon have an opportunity of expiating his sin, by expressing his regret and repentance at the very feet of his ever-loving, and now glorified, Master. Yes, Peter is tardy in believing; but his conversion is sincere, and Jesus would reward it.

Suddenly, then, in the course of this afternoon, the Apostle sees standing before him that divine Master, whom, three days previously, he had beheld bound and led away by the servants of Caiphas. This Jesus is now resplendent with light; he is the conqueror, the glorious Messias: and yet what most affects the Apostle is the ineffable goodness of this his Lord, who comes to console him, rather than to show him the splendours of his Resurrection. Who could describe the interview between the penitent and his offended Master; the sorrow of Peter, now that he finds himself treated with such generosity; the loving pardon which comes from Jesus’ lips, and fills the Apostle’s heart with Paschal joy? Blessed be thy name, O Jesus! who thus raisest up from his fall him whom thou art to leave us for our chief pastor and father, when thou ascendest into heaven!

It is, indeed, just that we adore the infinite mercy which dwells in the heart of our risen Jesus, and which he shows with the same profusion and power as during his mortal life: but let us also admire how, by this visit, he continues in St Peter the mystery of the unity of the Church—a mystery which is to be perpetuated in this Apostle and his successors. At the Last Supper, Jesus spoke these words to him, in the presence of the other Apostles: ‘I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.’[36] The time is now come for establishing Peter in this faith which is never to fail: Jesus gives it to him. He himself instructs Peter: he makes him the foundation of his Church. In a few hours hence he will manifest himself to the other Apostles; but Peter will be present with his brethren. Thus, if Peter receive favours not granted to the rest, they never receive any but he has a share in them. It is their duty to believe on Peter’s word: they do so. On Peter’s testimony, they believe in the Resurrection, and proclaim it to others, as we shall soon see. Jesus is to appear likewise to them, for he loves them; he calls them his brethren; he has chosen them to be the preachers of his name throughout the world: but he will find them already instructed in the faith of his Resurrection, because they have believed Peter’s testimony; and Peter’s testimony has effected in them the mystery of that unity, which he will effect in the Church to the end of time.

Jesus’ apparition to the prince of the Apostles rests on the authority of St Luke’s Gospel[37] and St Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians.[38] It is the fourth of those that took place on the day of the Resurrection.




The Evening Office, called on that account Vespers, has brought an immense concourse of the faithful to the church. We continue our description of to-day’s services as they were formerly celebrated, in order that our readers may the more fully enter into the spirit of the feast. The solemn administration of Baptism having ceased to form an essential part of the Easter functions, the ancient rites which had reference to it, and especially those used during the Vespers, have fallen almost universally into disuse. We will endeavour to give an idea of them, by blending the ancient ceremonies with those that are now in use, and which, in most places, are the same as those of other solemnities throughout the year. It was not so eight hundred years ago.

The bishop vested in his pontifical robes, and accompanied by all the clergy, went to what we should now call the rood-screen, which was richly decorated, and on which stood the crucifix. Here the cantors intoned the Kyrie elcison, which was repeated nine times. Immediately after this began the Vespers. The Antiphons of the Psalms were not the same as those we now sing, and which are taken from Lauds. Of course, we only give the latter.

Ant. Angelus autem Domini descendit de cœlo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et sedebat super eum. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. And the angel of the Lord descended from heaven; and going to the stone, rolled it back, and sat on it. Alleluia, alleluia.

Psalm 109

Dixit Dominus Domino meo: Sede a dextris meis.
Donec ponam inimicos tuos: scabellum pedum tuorum.
Virgam virtutis tuæ emittet Dominus ex Sion: dominare in medio inimicorum tuorum.
Tecum principium in die virtutis tuæ in splendoribus sanctorum: ex utero ante luciferum genui te.
Juravit Dominus, et non pœnitebit eum: Tu es sacerdos in æternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech.
Dominus a dextris tuis: confregit in die iræ suae reges.
Judicabit in nationibus, implebit ruinas: conquassabit capita in terra multorum.
De torrente in via bibet: propterea exaltabit caput.

Ant. Angelus autem Domini descendit de cœlo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et sedebat super eum. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord said to my Lord, his son: Sit thou at my right hand, and reign with me.
Until on the day of thy last coming, I make thy enemies thy footstool.
O Christ I the Lord, thy Father, will send forth the sceptre of thy power out of Sion: from thence rule thou in the midst of thy enemies.
With thee is the principality in the day of thy strength, in the brightness of the saints: For the Father hath said to thee: From the womb before the day-star I begot thee.
The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: he hath said, speaking of thee, the GodMan: Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech.
Therefore, O Father, the Lord thy Son is at thy right hand: he hath broken kings in the day of his wrath.
He shall also judge among nations: in that terrible coming, he shall fill the ruins of the world: he shall crush the heads in the land of many.
He shall drink, in the way, of the torrent of sufferings: therefore shall he lift up the head, on the day of his triumph over death.

Ant. And the angel of the Lord descended from heaven; and going to the stone, rolled it back, and sat on it. Alleluia, alleluia.

Ant. Et ecce terræmotus factus est magnus: Angelus enim Domini descendit de cœlo, alleluia.
Ant. And behold! there was a great earthquake: for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, alleluia.

Psalm 110

Confitebor tibi, Domine, in toto corde meo: in consilio justorum et congregatione.
Magna opera Domini: exquisita in omnes voluntates ejus.
Confessio et magnificentia opus ejus: et justitia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi.
Memoriam fecit mirabilium suorum, misericors et miserator Dominus: escam dedit timentibus se.
Memor erit in sæculum testamenti sui: virtutem operum suorum annuntiabit populo suo.
Ut det illis hereditatem gentium: opera manuum ejus veritas et judicium.
Fidelia omnia mandata ejus, confirmata in sæculum sæculi: facta in veritate et æquitate.
Redemptionem misit populo suo: mandavit in æternum testamentum suum.
Sanctum et terribile nomen ejus: initium sapientiæ timor Domini.
Intellectus bonus omnibus facientibus eum: laudatio ejus manet in sæculum sæculi.

Ant. Et ecce terræmotus factus est magnus: Angelus enim Domini descendit de cœlo, alleluia.

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart: in the counsel of the just, and in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord: sought out according to all his wills.
His work is praise and magnificence: and his justice continueth for ever and ever.
He hath made a remembrance of his wonderful works, being a merciful and gracious Lord: he hath given food to them that fear him.
He will be mindful for ever of his covenant with men: he will show forth to his people the power of his works.
That he may give them his Church, the inheritance of the gentiles: the works of his hand are truth and judgement.
All his commandments are faithful, confirmed for ever and ever: made in truth and equity.
He hath sent redemption to his people; he hath thereby commanded his covenant for ever.
Holy and terrible is his name: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
A good understanding to all that do it: his praise continueth for ever and ever.

Ant. And behold! there was a great earthquake: for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, alleluia.

Ant. Erat autem aspectus ejus sicut fulgur, vestimenta autem ejus sicut nix. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment was as snow. Alleluia, alleluia.

Psalm 111

Beatus vir, qui timet Dominum: in mandatis ejus volet nimis.
Potens in terra erit semen ejus: generatio rectorum benedicetur.
Gloria, et divitiæ in domo ejus: et justitia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi.
Exortum est in tenebris lumen rectis: misericors, et miserator, et justus.
Jucundus homo, qui miseretur et commodat, disponet sermones suos in judicio; quia in æternum non commovebitur.
In memoria æterna erit justus: ab auditione mala non timebit.
Paratum cor ejus sperare in Domino, confirmatum est cor ejus: non commovebitur donec despiciat inimicos suos.
Dispersit, dedit pauperibus, justitia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi; cornu ejus exaltabitur in gloria.
Peccator videbit, et irascetur, dentibus suis fremet et tabescet: desiderium peccatorum peribit.

Ant. Erat autem aspectus ejus sicut fulgur, vestimenta autem ejus sicut nix. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: he shall delight exceedingly in his commandments.
His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the righteous shall be blessed.
Glory and wealth shall be in his house: and his justice remaineth for ever and ever.
To the righteous a light is risen up in darkness: he is merciful, and compassionate, and just.
Acceptable is the man that showeth mercy and lendeth; he shall order his words with judgement: because he shall not be moved for ever.
The just shall be in everlasting remembrance: he shall not fear the evil hearing.
His heart is ready to hope in the Lord; his heart is strengthened; he shall not be moved until he look over his enemies.
He hath distributed, he hath given to the poor; his justice remaineth for ever and ever: his horn shall be exalted in glory.
The wicked shall see, and shall be angry; he shall gnash with his teeth, and pine away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.

Ant. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment was as snow. Alleluia, alleluia.

After having sung these three Psalms, the Office of Vespers was interrupted, and the faithful exulted in the expectation of the sublime ceremony which was now to be performed. They remembered what holy emotions filled their souls when they were neophytes, and shared in the triumph that was now preparing for the newly baptized of this Easter. Meanwhile, the cantors sang the Alleluia, which had so gladdened all hearts, this morning, at the Mass.

Alleluia. Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus. Alleluia.
Alleluia. Christ, our Pasch, is sacrificed. Alleluia.

The Canticle Magnificat was then chanted; after which, the bishop sang the Collect of the feast. Immediately after this, the neophytes were taken in procession to the font, from whose sacred waters they had risen, last night, as Christ from his tomb; they came forth, cleansed from their sins, yea, radiant with light and immortality. By this visit to the scene of their happy deliverance, the Church wished to impress them with a lifelong appreciation of the graces they had received at their Baptism, and of the resemblance they then contracted with their risen Lord, who ‘dieth now no more.’

The Paschal Candle was taken from its marble column, and carried at the head of the procession. Now, as well as during last night’s procession to the baptistery, it represented the pillar of fire that guided the Israelites amidst the Egyptian darkness. Closely after it followed a deacon, in a white dalmatic, carrying the silver phial of holy chrism, by whose anointing the neophytes had, but a few hours since, received the Holy Ghost with his seven wondrous Gifts. Next came the cross, and seven acolytes carrying seven torches, symbolic of the heavenly vision described in the Apocalypse.[39] The sacred ministers and priests advanced under the guidance of the holy standard: and after them, the bishop, his face beaming with the heavenly joy wherewith these two great mysteries had filled his soul—the triumphant Resurrection of Christ, and the fecundity of holy Church. Immediately after the pontiff came the neophytes, walking two and two, and attracting all eyes by their recollected demeanour and the beauty of their white robes. The rest of the faithful closed the procession, during which was sung the following Antiphon:

Ant. In die resurrectionis meæ, dicit Dominus, alleluia: congregabo gentes, et colligam regna, et effundam super vos aquam mundam. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. In the day of my Resurrection, saith the Lord, alleluia: I will assemble the gentiles, and will gather the kingdoms, and will pour out upon you a clean water. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Antiphon was followed by the fourth Psalm of Vespers, which magnifies the name of the Lord, and celebrates the joys of that mother, to whom our Lord has given so many children.

Ant. Præ timore autem ejus exterriti sunt custodes, et facti sunt velut mortui, alleluia.
Ant. The guards were terrified with fear of him, and became as men struck dead, alleluia.

Psalm 112

Laudate pueri Dominum: laudate nomen Domini.
Sit nomen Domini benedictum: ex hoc nunc et usque in sæculum.
A solis ortu usque ad occasum: laudabile nomen Domini.
Excelsus super omnes gentes Dominus: et super cœlos gloria ejus.
Quis sicut Dominus Deus noster qui in altis habitat: et humilia respicit in cœlo et in terra?
Suscitans a terra inopem: et de stercore erigens pauperem.
Ut collocet eum cum principibus: cum principibus populi sui.
Qui habitare facit sterilem in domo: matrem filiorum lætantem.

Ant. Præ timore autem ejus exterriti sunt custodes, et facti sunt velut mortui, alleluia.
Praise the Lord, ye children: praise ye the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the name of the Lord, from henceforth, now, and for ever.
From the rising of the sun, unto the going down of the same, the name of the Lord is worthy of praise.
The Lord is high above all nations; and his glory above the heavens.
Who is as the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high: and looketh down on the low things in heaven and in earth?
Raising up the needy from the earth, lifting up the poor out of the dunghill.
That he may place him with princes: with the princes of his people.
Who maketh a barren woman to dwell in a house, the joyful mother of children.

Ant. The guards were terrified with fear of him, and became as men struck dead, alleluia.

Meanwhile, the procession advanced down the nave, descended the steps of the portico, and traversed the space between the cathedral and the baptistery. People, clergy, and pontiff, all entered beneath the spacious dome. In the centre, surrounded by a balustrade, was the font, reflecting in its crystal waters the rays of the evening sun. The neophytes were placed immediately round the balustrade, and were permitted to fix their delighted gaze on that sacred element, which had cleansed them from all their sins.

As soon as the Psalm Laudate was finished, the bishop left the platform, where he had been sitting; and taking the thurible in his hand, he walked round the font, covering with clouds of incense the water he had so solemnly blessed on the previous night, and to which he was indebted for the happy increase of all these children newly born to grace. When he had returned to his throne, two cantors sang this verse:

℣. Apud te, Domine, est fons vitæ, alleluia.
℣. With thee, O Lord, is the fountain of life, alleluia.

To which all answered:

℟. Et in lumine tuo videbimus lumen, alleluia.
℟. And in thy light we shall see light, alleluia.

Then the bishop:


Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens, Deus, ut qui Resurrectionis Dominicæ solemnia colimus, ereptionis nostræ suscipere lætitiam mereamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Let us Pray. Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we, who celebrate the solemnity of our Lord’s Resurrection, may deserve to receive the joy of our deliverance. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

After this prayer, the following Antiphon was sung, in which is celebrated the salvation given to man by water:

Ant. Vidi aquam egredientem de templo a latere dextro, alleluia: et omnes, ad quos pervenit aqua ista, salvi facti sunt, et dicent: Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. I saw water flowing from the right side of the temple, alleluia: and all to whom that water came were saved, and they shall say: Alleluia, alleluia.

The Antiphon was followed by the fifth Psalm of Sunday’s Vespers, which celebrates Israel’s deliverance from Egypt by passing through the waters of the Red Sea, and his journey towards the Promised Land. The procession then left the baptistery to return to the cathedral.

Ant. Respondens autem angelus dixit mulieribus: Nolite timere: scio enim quod Jesum quæritis, alleluia.
Ant. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not: for I know that ye seek Jesus, alleluia.

Psalm 113

In exitu Israel de Ægypto; domus Jacob de populo barbaro.
Facta est Judæa sanctificatio ejus: Israel potestas ejus.
Mare vidit, et fugit: Jordanis conversus est retrorsum.
Montes exsultaverunt ut arietes: et colles sicut agni ovium.
Quid est tibi, mare, quod fugisti: et tu, Jordanis, quia conversus es retrorsum?
Montes exsultastis sicut arietes: et colles sicut agni ovium?
A facie Domini mota est terra: a facie Dei Jacob.
Qui convertit petram in stagna aquarum: et rupem in fontes aquarum.
Non nobis, Domine, non nobis: sed nomini tuo da gloriam.
Super misericordia tua, et veritate tua: nequando dicant gentes: Ubi est Deus eorum?
Deus autem noster in cœlo: omnia quæcumque voluit, fecit.
Simulacra gentium argentum et aurum: opera manuum hominum.
Os habent, et non loquentur: oculos habent, et non videbunt.
Aures habent, et non audient: nares habent, et non odorabunt.
Manus habent, et non palpabunt, pedes habent, et non ambulabunt: non clamabunt in gutture suo.
Similes illis fiant qui faciunt ea: et omnes qui confidunt in eis.
Domus Israel speravit in Domino: adjutor eorum, et protector eorum est.
Domus Aaron speravit in Domino: adjutor eorum, et protector eorum est.
Qui timent Dominum, speraverunt in Domino: adjutor eorum, et protector eorum est.
Dominus memor fuit nostri: et benedixit nobis.
Benedixit domui Israel: benedixit domui Aaron.
Benedixit omnibus qui timent Dominum: pusillis cum majoribus.
Adjiciat Dominus super vos: super vos, et super filios vestros.
Benedicti vos a Domino: qui fecit cœlum et terram.
Cœlum cœli Domino: terrain autem dedit filiis hominum.
Non mortui laudabunt te, Domine: neque omnes qui descendunt in infernum.
Sed nos qui vivimus, benedicimus Domino: ex hoc nunc et usque in sæculum.

Ant. Respondens autem angelus dixit mulieribus: Nolite timere; scio enim quod Jesum quæritis, alleluia.
When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a barbarous people.
Judea was made his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
The sea saw and fled; Jordan was turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams; and the hills like the lambs of the flock.
What aileth thee, O thou sea, that thou didst flee: and thou. O Jordan, that thou wast turned back?
Ye mountains that ye skipped like rams: and ye hills like lambs of the flock?
At the presence of the Lord the earth was moved, at the presence of the God of Jacob.
Who turned the rock into pools of water, and the stony hills into fountains of waters.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us: but to thy name give glory.
For thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake: lest the gentiles should say: Where is their God?
But our God is in heaven: he hath done all things whatsoever he would.
The idols of the gentiles are silver and gold: the works of the hands of men.
They have mouths, and speak not: they have eyes, and see not.
They have ears, and hear not: they have noses, and smell not.
They have hands, and feel not: they have feet, and walk not: neither shall they cry out through their throat.
Let them that make them become like unto them: and all such as trust in them.
The house of Israel hath hoped in the Lord: he is their helper and their protector.
The house of Aaron hath hoped in the Lord: he is their helper and their protector.
They that feared the Lord have hoped in the Lord: he is their helper and their protector.
The Lord hath been mindful of us, and hath blessed us.
He hath blessed the house of Israel: he hath blessed the house of Aaron.
He hath blessed all that fear the Lord, both little and great.
May the Lord add blessings upon you: upon you, and upon your children.
Blessed be you of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The heaven of heaven is the Lord’s: but the earth he has given to the children of men.
The dead shall not praise thee, O Lord: nor any of them that go down to hell.
But we that live bless the Lord: from this time now and for ever.

Ant. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not: for I know that ye seek Jesus, alleluia.

While singing this Psalm, which offers so many allusions to the favours received by the neophytes, the procession had reached the porch of the cathedral. Entering the holy place, it passed up the nave, as far as the rood-screen. There, the neophytes arranged themselves, and the following prayer was sung in honour of him who had saved them by his Cross and tomb:

℣. Dicite in nationibus, alleluia.
℟. Quia Dominus regnavit a ligno, alleluia.
℣. Say ye among the gentiles, alleluia.
℟. That the Lord hath reigned from the Wood, alleluia.

The bishop then addressed this prayer to God:


Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut qui gratiam Dominicæ Resurrectionis agnovimus, ipsi per amorem Sancti Spiritus a morte animæ resurgamus. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Let us Pray.

Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we, who acknowledge the grace of our Lord’s Resurrection, may rise from the death of the soul, by the love that cometh of the Holy Ghost. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

It was thus, in the first eight centuries of the Church, that the Easter Vespers concluded; and with a few slight variations here and there, such was the ceremony observed. In some churches the Magnificat was sung twice, in others thrice, and even four times. The essential rite of these Vespers was the procession to the baptistery, during which were sung the Antiphons we have given, and the Psalms Laudate, pueri, and In exitu. We will now resume the Office of Vespers, at which we are assisting.

The five usual Psalms being finished, there is sung the solemn Antiphon, which the Church repeats in all the canonical hours of this feast.

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

It is followed by the Canticle of our blessed Lady, which forms an essential part of the Evening Office; and while it is being sung, the celebrant solemnly censes the altar.

Ant. Et respicientes, viderunt revolutum lapidem ab ostio monumenti: erat quippe magnus valde, alleluia.
Ant. And looking, they saw the stone rolled away from the door of the sepulchre; for it was very large, alleluia.

Our Lady’s Canticle
(St Luke i)

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum:
Et exsultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillæ suæ: ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est: et sanctum nomen ejus.
Et misericordia ejus a progenie in progenies: timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo: dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede: et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis: et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum: recordatus misericordiæ suæ.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros: Abraham et semini ejus in sæcula.

Ant. Et respicientes, viderunt revolutum lapidem ab ostio monumenti: erat quippe magnus valde, alleluia.


Deus, qui hodierna die per Unigenitum tuum æternitatis nobis aditum, devicta
morte, reserasti: vota nostra, quæ præveniendo aspiras, etiam adjuvando prosequere. Per eumdem.


Benedicamus Domino. Alleluia, alleluia.
Deo gratias. Alleluia, alleluia.
My soul doth magnify the Lord;
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid: for, behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation unto generation, to them that fear him.
He hath showed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy.
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

Ant. And looking, they saw the stone rolled away from the door of the sepulchre; for it was very large, alleluia.

Let us Pray.

O God, who, on this day, by thy only-begotten Son’s victory over death, didst open
for us a passage to eternity: grant that our prayers, which thy preventing grace inspireth, may by thy help become effectual. Through the same, etc.


Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.

During the Benediction of the most blessed Sacrament, the following joyous Canticle is sung in some churches:

The Joyful Canticle

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

O filii et filiæ,
Rex cœlestis, Rex gloriæ,
Morte surrexit hodie.


Et Maria Magdalene,
Et Jacobi et Salome,
Venerunt corpus ungere.


A Magdalena moniti,
Ad ostium monumenti
Duo currunt discipuli.


Sed Joannes Apostolus
Cucurrit Petro citius,
Ad sepulchrum venit prius.


In albis sedens angelus,
Respondit mulieribus.
Quia surrexit Dominus.


Discipulis astantibus,
In medio stetit Christus,
Dicens: Pax vobis omnibus.


Postquam audivit Didymus,
Quia surrexerat Jesus,
Remansit fide dubius.


Vide, Thoma, vide latus,
Vide pedes, vide manus;
Noli esse incredulus.


Quando Thomas Christi latus,
Pedes vidit atque manus,
Dixit: Tu es Deus meus.


Beati qui non viderunt,
Et firmiter crediderunt:
Vitam æternam habebunt.


In hoc festo sanctissimo
Sit laus et jubilatio:
Benedicamus Domino.


De quibus nos humillimas,
Devotas atque debitas
Deo dicamus gratias.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

O ye young men and maidens!
on this day, the King of heaven, the King of glory,
rose from the dead.


And Mary Magdalen,
and Mary (mother of James), and Salome,
went that they might anoint the body.


Having been told by Magdalen,
two of the disciples ran
to the door of the sepulchre.


But the Apostle John
out-ran Peter,
and was the first at the sepulchre.


An angel clad in white was sitting there,
and said to the women
that the Lord was risen.


As the disciples were standing together,
Christ stood in their midst,
and said: Peace be to you all!


Didymus, having heard
that Jesus had risen,
was incredulous.


See, Thomas, see my side,
see my feet, see my hands!
Be not incredulous.


As soon as Thomas saw Jesus’ side
and feet and hands,
he said: Thou art my God.


Blessed are they that have not seen,
and have firmly believed!
They shall have eternal life.


Let us sing hymns of praise and joy
on this most holy feast!
Let us bless the Lord!


Let us give to God our most humble,
devout and due thanks,
for all these his favours.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.


The day of Jesus’ Resurrection is fast drawing to its close. It is the day honoured by God with the greatest of all miracles; it is the most important day that has ever dawned upon the world since light was first created; but the night will soon be upon us, shadowing the brightness of the great day. Four times has our Redeemer appeared. He would now manifest himself to all his Apostles, and thus enable them to know by their own experience what they have, a few hours since, learned from Peter’s testimony. But, leaving for a few moments longer these men whom he honours with the name of brethren, and who now believe in his Resurrection, he would first console two hearts that are grieving on his account, though their grief comes from their want of faith.

Two men are traversing the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, slowly and sadly. They are evidently suffering from some cruel disappointment; nay, they give one the idea that a motive of fear impels them to leave the city. They were disciples of Jesus; but the ignominious and violent death of this Master, in whom they had such confidence, has filled their hearts with bitter despondency. They are ashamed of having joined themselves with one who is not what they took him to be. They hid themselves after his execution; but the report having been spread of his sepulchre having been broken into, and the Body taken away, they resolve to seek a safer refuge. Jesus’ enemies have great power, and are doubtless busy taking proceedings against those who have dared to break the seal of the sepulchre. Perhaps all that have had any connection with this Jesus will be arraigned before the public tribunal.

While they are thus conferring with each other on the sad events of the last few days, a stranger overtakes them and walks with them. It is Jesus; but so absorbed are they in their own sorrow, that they do not recognize him. The same happens to us, when we give way to feelings of human grief: we lose sight of that God who comes to cheer us by his presence along the path of our exile. Jesus asks these two men the cause of their sadness. They tell him with all simplicity, and this King of glory, who has, this very day, triumphed over death, deigns to enter into a long conversation with them, and explain to them, as they walk along, the scriptural prophecies concerning the humiliations, the death, and the glory of the Messias. The two wayfarers are delighted with his words. As they afterwards say to each other, their hearts bum within them as the stranger goes on telling them these grand truths. Jesus feigns to bid them farewell, but they will not hear of it: ‘Stay with us,’ they say to him, ‘for the evening cometh on, and the day is far spent.’[40] They take him into their house at Emmaus, constrain him to sit down to table with them, and yet, strange to say, they have not an idea who this heavenly instructor is, who has solved all their doubts with such persuasive wisdom and eloquence! Do not we resemble these two disciples, when we allow ourselves to be influenced by human thoughts and feelings? Jesus is near us, he speaks to us, he instructs us, he consoles us; and yet, oftentimes, it is long before we recognize him!

At length, Jesus makes himself known to our two incredulous disciples. They have placed him at the head of the table; it is for him to break the bread. He takes it into his divine hands, as he did at the Last Supper; and no sooner has he divided the bread and given them their portion, than their eyes are opened, and they recognize their guest as Jesus, the risen Jesus. They would throw themselves at his feet—but he has disappeared, leaving them mute with surprise, and yet transported with exceeding joy. It is the fifth apparition. It is described by St Luke, and forms the Gospel of to-morrow’s Mass.

The two disciples cannot wait; though so late in the evening, they must hurry back to Jerusalem, and tell the Apostles that their Master is living, that they have seen him, and talked with him. They therefore leave Emmaus, where they thought to pass the night, and are soon back in the city from which they had tremblingly fled. They are soon with the Apostles; but they find them already aware of the glad tidings, and fervent in their faith of the Resurrection. Before they have time to open their lips, the Apostles exclaim: ‘The Lord hath truly risen, and hath appeared unto Simon!’[41] The two disciples then relate what has just happened to themselves.

Such is the conversation of the Apostles—men now unknown, but whose names are, in a short time hence, to be published and loved throughout the whole universe. The doors of the house where the little flock is assembled are kept carefully closed, for they are afraid of being discovered. The soldiers, who had kept watch at the sepulchre, went early this morning to the chief priests, and told them what had happened. They were, hereupon, bribed to perjure themselves, and say that, while they were asleep, the disciples of Jesus came and took away the Body. The Jewish authorities hereby hoped to screen themselves from confusion; but such a plot was likely to excite the people’s indignation against the Apostles, and these thought it necessary to take precautions. Ten of them are now together in the house; for Thomas, who was present when the two disciples came in from Emmaus, has taken the opportunity, afforded by the darkness of the hour, to go forth into the city.

The Apostles, then, are speaking to one another of the great events of this day, when lo! Jesus stands before them, and yet the door has not been opened. That well-known voice and figure and face!—yes, it is Jesus! He speaks to them with an accent of tenderest love, and says: ‘Peace be to you!’[42] What can they say? This sudden and mysterious visit robs them of self-possession. They have no idea yet of the qualities of a glorified body; and, though firmly believing in the mystery of their Lord’s Resurrection, they are not quite sure that what they now behold is not a phantom. Jesus knows this. During the whole day, he seems to have been more anxious to show his love than to proclaim his glory; and, therefore, he permits them to touch him; yea, in order to convince them of the reality of his divine Body, he asks them to give him to eat, and he eats in their presence. This loving familiarity of their Master makes them weep with joy, and when Thomas returns to them, they express their delight in these simple words: ‘We have seen the Lord!’[43] It is the sixth apparition of Jesus on the day of his Resurrection. It is related in the Gospel of St John, and is read in the Mass of Low Sunday.

Be thou blessed and glorified, O conqueror of death! for that, on this day, thou didst six times appear to thy creatures, so to content thy love, and confirm our faith in thy Resurrection! Be thou blessed and glorified for having consoled thy afflicted Mother by thy dear presence and caresses! Be thou blessed and glorified for having, with a single word of thine, brought joy to Magdalen’s heart! Be thou blessed and glorified for having gladdened the holy women, and permitted them to kiss thy sacred feet! Be thou blessed and glorified for having with thine own lips given Peter the assurance of his pardon, and for having confirmed in him the gifts of the primacy, by revealing to him, before all others, the fundamental dogma of faith! Be thou blessed and glorified for having encouraged the drooping confidence of the two disciples of Emmaus, by revealing thyself to them! Be thou blessed and glorified for having visited thine Apostles, and removed all their doubts by thy loving condescension! And lastly, O Jesus! be thou blessed and glorified for that, on this day, thou hast so mercifully given us, by thy holy Church, to share in the joy of thy holy Mother, of Magdalen and her companions, of Peter, of the disciples of Emmaus, and of thine Apostles! This year’s Easter is as full of reality and life and joy, yea, and of thyself, as was that whereon thou didst rise from the grave. All times and seasons belong to thee: and as the material world has ever been supported by thy power, so the spiritual world lives by thy mysteries. Praise, then, and honour, and benediction be to thee, O Jesus! for thy Resurrection, which makes this day the grandest and gladdest of the year I

Let us to-day celebrate the first of the six days of creation—namely, the Sunday, when light was made at the sovereign bidding of the Word of God. This Word is the uncreated light of the Father, and he began his work of creation by calling into existence this material image of his own brightness. He himself calls the just, children of light; and sinners children of darkness. When he took flesh and showed himself to men, he said to them: ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’[44] And lastly—to show us that there exists a sacred harmony between the two orders of nature and grace—he rose from the gloomy sepulchre on that same day whereon he had created the visible light, the most precious of material blessings.

The Gothic Church of Spain thus expresses, in the following beautiful prayer of her breviary, the gratitude felt by man for the twofold favour granted to us, by the Creator, on this ever-blessed day:


Deus, cujus unum hunc ex omnibus duximus diem, in quo creatis rebus omnibus voluisti esse et præsentis lucis indicem, et æterni luminis testem, ut in eo exsurgeret illuminatio temporum, atque resurgeret illuminatio animarum: quique Dominicæ et operationis primus, et resurrectionis idoneus revolutus in circulo, et redactus in calculo, paschalis solemnitatis inciperet mysterium, et concluderet sacramentum; respice in hoc tempore acceptabili, et in hac die salutis super servos tuos, Domine, quos redemisti de captivitate nequitiæ spirituali trophæo Dominicæ passionis: quos Agni tui sanguine tinctos, ne vastator læderet, liberasti; esto nobis prævius in solitudine vitæ hujus, quo et in die calorem tentationis nostræ quasi nubes protegens obumbres, et in nocte a tenebris peccatorum nos quasi columna ignis inlumines: ut, dum ades ad salutem, perducas ad requiem.
O God, to whom we owe this the first of days, whereon thou wouldst manifest to all created things both the visible light, and him who is the witness of eternal light, that on this one same day there might rise the light of the seasons and the light of souls: which day, being the first of our Lord’s creation, and (by a heavenly calculated revolution) the one chosen as fittest for his Resurrection, both begins and ends the mystery of the Paschal solemnity: mercifully, O Lord (for now is the acceptable time, the day of salvation), mercifully look upon thy servants, whom thou hast redeemed from the spiritual bondage of sin by the victory of our Lord’s Passion. Look upon them whom thou hast freed from the destroying angel, by sprinkling them with the Blood of thy Lamb. Be unto us our guide in the wilderness of this life; that during the day, thou mayest be to us a cloud protecting and shadowing us from the heat of temptation; and, during the night, a pillar of fire, enlightening us amidst the darkness of sin. Here save us, that so thou mayst lead us to our rest.

We would fain close this glorious solemnity by delighting our readers with selections from the various Liturgies in honour of our risen Jesus; but we have already exceeded our usual limits, though we have only said what was necessary to explain the Offices. We therefore reserve these liturgical riches for the days of our Octave, contenting ourselves for to-day with a few stanzas from the hymn used by the Greek Church in her morning Office for Easter Sunday.

(In Dominica Resurrectionis)

Dies est Resurrectionis: splendescamus populi. Pascha Domini, Pascha: etenim ex morte ad vitam, atque ex terra ad cœlum Christus Deus deduxit nos, triumphale carmen canentes.

Sensus emundemus, et Christum inaccesso lumine resurrectionis fulgentem videbimus, et Salvete dicentem perspicue audiemus, triumphale carmen canentes.

Cœli digne lætentur, terraque glorietur: festum solemniter agat mundus, visibilis totus et invisibilis; surrexit enim Christus, lætitia æterna.

Venite, potum in quo corroboramur bibamus novum, non ex infœcunda rupe mirabiliter eductum; et immortalitatis fontem ex Christi sepulchro manentem.

Omnia lumine nunc repleta sunt, cœlum, terra et inferni; solemniter igitur agat omnis creatura Christi resurrectionem in qua firmatur.

Heri tecum, Christe, sepeliebar; hodie tecum resurgente surgo: heri crucifigebar tecum; tu me conglorifica, Salvator, in regno tuo.

Deiparens David coram adumbrante arca subsiliebat saltans; nos vero, populus Dei sanctificatus, figurarum exitum videntes in afflatu divino gaudeamus, quia surrexit Christus tamquam omnipotens.

Valde mane eamus, et pro myrrha hymnum offeramus Domino; et Christum videbimus, justitiæ solem, vitam cunctis renascentem.

Infinitam misericordiam tuam aspicientes illi quos alligabant inferni vincula, ad lucem læto pede properarunt, Christe, Paschati plaudentes æterno.

Adeamus lampadarii ad Christum, ex sepulchro progredientem tanquam sponsum; et in festivis agminibus Pascha Dei salutare concelebremus.
It is the Resurrection day; let us be radiant with joy, O ye people! It is the Pasch of the Lord, the Passover: for Christ our God has led us, singing our song of triumph, from death to life and from earth to heaven.

Let us purify our senses, and we shall see Christ refulgent in the inaccessible light of his Resurrection. We, singing our song of triumph, shall hear him saying to us: ‘All hail!’

Let the heavens worthily rejoice, and let earth be in her glory. Let the whole world, visible and invisible, solemnize the feast; for Christ, the eternal joy, hath risen.

Come, let us receive the new drink, which strengthens us; it has not been miraculously drawn from a barren rock, but is a fount of immortality, flowing from the sepulchre of Christ.

All things, heaven, earth, and what is beneath the earth, all are now filled with light; let every creature, therefore, solemnize Christ’s Resurrection, whereby all are strengthened.

Yesterday, O Jesus! I was buried together with thee; today, I rise with thee. Yesterday, I was crucified with thee; do thou, my Saviour, give me to share with thee in the glory of thy kingdom.

David, the ancestor of Christ our God, danced before the figurative Ark; but we, the holy people of God, we who witness the fulfilment of the figures, must rejoice in the divine Spirit that is within us, for Christ has risen, as the omnipotent One.

Let us go at dawn of day, and offer to our Lord the myrrh of our hymns: we shall see him who is the Sun of justice, and gives life to all creatures.

They, whom the fetters of limbo kept bound, saw thy infinite mercy, O Jesus! and, with a joyful step, hastened to meet the light, thus celebrating the eternal Pasch.

Let us, with lamps in our hands, go forth to meet Christ, coming forth, as a Bridegroom, from his sepulchre. Let us, in festive groups, celebrate together the saving Pasch of God.

[1] Osee xiii 14.
[2] St Matt, xii 39.
[3] St John x 18.
[4] Apoc. i 5
[5] 1 Cor xv 26.
[6] Ibid. 55.
[7] Life of St Teresa, written by Herself; in the Additions. See p. 402 in the translation by David Lewis, 1870.
[8] St Mark xvi 6.
[9] Ibid. 8.
[10] St Luke xxiv 5, 6, 7·
[11] St Mark xvi 7·
[12] St Luke xxiv 11.
[13] St John xx 2.
[14] Ibid. 6.
[15] Ibid. 8.
[16] St John xx.
[17] St John xx 15.
[18] Ibid. 16.
[19] Ibid. 17.
[20] St John xx 18.
[21] St Matt, xxviii 9.
[22] Wisd. viii 1.
[23] Isa. lv 8.
[24] 1 Cor. i 24.
[25] Exod. xv 1.
[26] The modern appellation of Matins has been given to this portion of the Divine Office because it is now celebrated in the morning.
[27] Coloss, i 18.
[28] Councils of Agatha, of Orleans I and IV, of Epaon, etc.
[29] Isa. xlii 3.
[30] Ps. xxix 6.
[31] It was sung in cathedral churches even after the introduction of the Roman Liturgy into France by Pepin and Charlemagne. It was not entirely discontinued until the last century came with its unsanctioned and ever-to-be-regretted innovations.
[32] St Luke xxiv 46.
[33] See Passiontide: Maundy Thursday, p. 359.
[34] St Luke xxiv 21-24.
[35] St Mark xvi 7.
[36] St Luke xxii 32.
[37] St Luke xxiv 34.
[38]1 Cor. xv 5.
[39] Apoc. i 12, etc.
[40] St Luke xxiv 29.
[41] St Luke xxiv 34.
[42] St John xx 19.
[43] Ibid. xx 25.
[44] St John viii 12.


From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

We open our Proper of Saints for Advent with St. Andrew, because, although his feast frequently occurs before this holy season has begun, it sometimes happens that we have entered Advent when the memory of this great apostle has to be celebrated by the Church. This feast is therefore destined to terminate with solemnity the cycle which is at its close, or to add lustre to the new one which has just begun. It seems, indeed, fitting that the Christian year should begin and end with the cross, which has merited for us each of the years that it has pleased the divine goodness to grant us, and which is to appear, on the last day, in the clouds of heaven, as the seal put on time.

We should remember that Saint Andrew is the apostle of the cross. To Peter, Jesus has given firmness of faith; to John, warmth of love; the mission of Andrew is to represent the cross of his divine Master. Now it is by these three, faith, love, and the cross, that the Church renders herself worthy of her Spouse. Everything she has or is, bears this threefold character. Hence it is that after the two apostles just named, there is none who holds such a prominent place in the universal liturgy as Saint Andrew.

But let us read the life of this glorious fisherman of the lake of Genesareth, who was afterwards to be the successor of Christ Himself, and the companion of Peter, on the tree of the cross. The Church has compiled it from the ancient Acts of the martyrdom of the holy apostle, drawn up by the priests of the Church of Patras, which was founded by the saint. The authenticity of this venerable piece has been contested by Protestants, inasmuch as it makes mention of several things which would militate against them. Their sentiment has been adopted by several critics of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. On the other hand, these Acts have been received by a far greater number of Catholic writers of eminence; amongst whom may be mentioned the great Baronius, Labbe, Natalis Alexander, Gallandus, Lumper, Morcelli, &c. The Churches, too, of both east and west, which have inserted these Acts in their respective Offices of St. Andrew, are of some authority, as is also St. Bernard, who has made them the groundwork of his three admirable sermons on St. Andrew.

Andreas apostolus Bethsaidæ natus, qui est Galilææ vicus, frater Petri, discipulus Joannis Baptistae, quum eum de Christo dicentem audisset, Ecce Agnus Dei, secutus Jesum, fratrem quoque suum ad eumdem perduxit. Quum postea una cum fratre piscaretur in mari Galilææ, ambo a praetereunto Christo Domino ante alios apostolos vocati illis verbis: Venite post me, faciam vos fieri piscatores hominum: nullam interponentes moram, et relictis retibus secuti sunt eum. Post cujus Passionem et Resurrectionem Andreas cum in Scythiam Europæ, quæ ei provincia ad Christi fidem disseminandam obtigerat, venisset, deinde Epirum ac Thraciam peragrasset, doctrina et miraculis innumerabiles homines ad Christum convertit. Post Patras Achaiæ profectus, et in ea urbe plurimis ad veritatem Evangelicam perductis, Ægeam proconsulem prædicationi Evangeliæ resistentem, liberrime increpavit quod qui judex hominum haberi vellet, Christum Deum omnium Judicem a dæmonibus elusus non agnosceret.

Tunc Ægeas iratus: Desine, inquit, Christum jactare, cui similia verba nihil profuerunt, quominus a Judæis crucifigeretur. Andream vero do Christo nihilominus libere praedicantem, quod pro salute humani generis se crucifigendum obtulisset, impia oratione interpellat; ac demum hortatur, ut sibi consulens, diis velit immolare. Cui Andreas: Ego omnipotenti Deo, qui unus et verus est, immolo quotidie, non taurorum carnes, nec hircorum sanguinem, sed immaculatum Agnum in altari, cujus carnem posteaquam omnis populus credentium manducaverit, Agnus, qui sacrificatus est, integer perseverat et vivus. Quamobrem ira accensus Ægeas jubet eum in carcerem detrudi: unde populus Andream facile liberasset, nisi ipse sedasset multitudinem; vehementius rogans, ne se ad optatissimam martyrii coronam properantem impedirent.

Igitur paulo post in tribunal productum, cum Ægeas crucis extollentem mysteria, sibique suam impietatem exprobrantem diutius ferre non posset, in crucem tolli, et Christi mortem imitari jussit. Adduotus Andreas ad locum martyrii, cum crucem vidisset longe, exclamare cœpit: O bona crux, quæ decorem ex membris Domini suscepisti, diu desiderata, sollicite amata, sine intermissione quaesita, et aliquando cupienti animo praeparata: accipe me ab hominibus, et redde me magistro meo; ut per te me recipiat, qui per te me redemit. Itaque cruci affixus est: in qua biduum vivus pendens, et Christi fidem prædicare numquam intermittens, ad eum migravit, cujus mortis similitudinem concupierat. Quæ omnia presbyteri et diaconi Achaiæ qui ejus passionem scripserunt, se ita ut commemorata sunt audisse et vidisse testantur. Ejus ossa primum Constantio imperatore Constantinopolim, deinde Amalphim translata sunt. Caput, Fio secundo Pontifice, Romam allatum, in basilica sancti Petri collocatum est.
Andrew, the apostle, born at Bethsaida, a town of Galilee, was brother of Peter, and disciple of John the Baptist. Having heard his master say, speaking of Christ: Behold the Lamb of God! he followed Jesus, and brought to him his brother also. When, afterwards, he was fishing with his brother in the sea of Galilee, they were both called, before any of the other apostles, by our Lord, who, passing by, said to them: Come after me; I will make you to be fishers of men. Without delay, they left their nets and followed him. After the Passion and Resurrection, Andrew went to spread the faith of Christ in Scythia in Europe, which was the province assigned to him; then he travelled through Epirus and Thrace, and by his teaching and miracles converted innumerable souls to Christ. Afterwards, having reached Patras in Achaia, he persuaded many in that city to embrace the truth of the Gospel. Finding that the proconsul Ægeas resisted the preaching of the Gospel, he most freely upbraided him for that he, who desired to be considered as a judge of men, should be so far deceived by devils as not to acknowledge Christ to bo God, the Judge of all.

Then Ægeas being angry, said: Cease to boast of this Christ, whom such words as these kept not from being crucified by the Jews. But finding that Andrew continued boldly preaching that Christ had offered himself to be crucified for the salvation of mankind, he interrupts him by an impious speech, and at length exhorts him to look to his own interest and sacrifice to the gods. Andrew answered him: I offer up every day to almighty God, who is one and true, not the flesh of oxen, nor the blood of goats, but the spotless Lamb upon the altar; of whose flesh the whole multitude of the faithful eat, and the Lamb that is sacrificed, remains whole and living. Whereupon Ægeas being exceedingly angry, orders him to be thrust into prison, whence the people would easily have freed Andrew, had he not himself appeased the multitude, begging of them, with most earnest entreaty, that they would not keep him from the long-desired crown of martyrdom, to which he was hastening.

Not long after this, he was brought before the tribunal; where he began to extol the mystery of the cross, and rebuke the judge for his impiety. Ægeas, no longer able to contain himself on hearing these words, ordered him to be hoisted on a cross, and so to die like Christ. Andrew, having been brought to the place of execution, seeing the cross at some distance, began to cry out: O good cross, made beautiful by the body of my Lord! so long desired, so anxiously loved, so unceasingly sought after, and now at last ready for my soul to enjoy! take me from amidst men, and restore me to my Master; that by thee he may receive me, who by thee redeemed me. He was therefore fastened to the cross, on which he hung alive two days, preaching without cessation the faith of Christ: after which he passed to him, whose death he had so coveted. The priests and deacons of Achaia, who wrote his passion, attest that all the things which they have recorded were heard and seen by them. His relics were first translated to Constantinople under the emperor Constantius, and afterwards to Amalfi. During the Pontificate of Pius II., the head was taken to Rome, and placed in the basilica of St. Peter.

Let us now listen to the several Churches on earth, celebrating the grand triumph of our apostle. Let us begin with Rome, the mother and mistress of all Churches. Nothing could be more expressive than the language she uses in praise of the apostle of the cross. First, she employs the words of the Gospel, which record the circumstances of his vocation; then, she selects the most touching passages from the Acts of his martyrdom, drawn up by the priests of Patras; and both are intermingled with appropriate sentiments of her own. Our first selection shall be from the responsories of Matins.

R. Cum perambularet Dominus juxta mare Galilææ, vidit Petrum et Andream retia mittentes in mare: et vocavit eos, dicens: * Venite post me, faciam vos fieri piscatores hominum.

V. Erant enim piscatores, et ait illis: * Venite post me, faciam vos fieri piscatores hominum.

R. Mox ut vocem Domini prædicantis audivit beatus Andreas, relictis retibus, quorum usu actuque vivebat, * Æternæ vitæ secutus est præmia largientem. V. Hic est qui pro amore Christi pependit in cruce, et pro lege ejus sustinuit passionem. * Æternæ vitae secutus est præmia largientem.

R. Doctor bonus, et amicus Dei Andreas ducitur ad crucem; quam a longe aspiciens dixit: Salve, crux! * Suscipe discipulum ejus, qui pependit in te, magister meus Christus. V. Salve, crux, quæ in corpore Christi dedicata es; et ex membris ejus tamquam margaritis ornata. * Suscipe discipulum ejus qui pependit in te, magister meus Christus.

R. Videns crucem Andreas exclamavit, dicens: O crux admirabilis! O crux desiderabilis! O crux quae por totum mundum rutilas! * Suscipe discipulum Christi, ac per te me recipiat, qui per te moriens me redemit. V. O bona crux, quæ decorem et pulchritudinem de membris Domini suscepisti. * Suscipe discipulum Christi, ac per te me recipiat, qui per te moriens me redemit.

R. Oravit sanctus Andreas, dum respiceret in cœlum, et voce magna clamavit et dixit: Tu es Deus meus, quem vidi: ne me patiaris ab impio judico deponi: * Quia virtutem sanctæ crucis agnovi. V. Tu os magister meus Christus, quem dilcxi, quem cognovi, quem confessus sum: tantummodo in ista voce, exaudi me. * Quia virtutem sanctæ crucis agnovi.
R. When the Lord was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw Peter and Andrew casting nets into the sea, and he called them, saying: * Come after me, I will make you to be fishers of men.

V. For they were fishers, and he saith to them: * Come after me, I will make you to be fishers of men.

R. As soon as blessed Andrew heard the voice of the Lord calling him, leaving his nets, by the use and working of which he lived, * He followed him who gives the reward of eternal life. V. This is he who, for the love of Christ, hung upon a cross, and for his law endured a passion. * He followed him who gives the reward of eternal life.

R. Andrew, the good teacher, and the friend of God, is led to the cross; which seeing afar off, he says: Hail, O cross! * Receive the disciple of him who hung upon thee, Christ, my Master. V. Hail, O cross, which art consecrated by the body of Christ, and art adorned by his members, as with pearls. * Receive the disciple of him who hung upon thee, Christ, my Master.

R. Andrew seeing the cross, cried out, saying: O admirable cross; O desirable cross! O cross which shinest throughout the whole world! * Receive the disciple of Christ, and by thee may he receive me, who dying by thee redeemed me. V. O good cross, which art made fair and beautiful by the body of the Lord. * Receive the disciple of Christ, and by thee may he receive me, who dying by thee redeemed me.

R. Saint Andrew prayed, as he looked up to heaven, and with a loud voice, cried out and said: Thou art my God, whom I have seen: suffer me not to be detached by the impious judge: * For I have learnt the power of the holy cross. V. Thou art the Christ my master, whom I have loved, whom I have known, whom I have confessed: graciously hear me in this one prayer. * For I have learnt the power of the holy cross.

The antiphons of Vespers are full of a lyric gracefulness and unction.


Salve crux pretiosa! suscipe discipulum ejus qui pepondit in te, magister meus Christus.

Beatus Andreas orabat, dicens: Domine, Rex æternæ gloriæ, suscipe me pendentem in patibulo.

Andreas Christi famulus, dignus Dei apostolus, germanus Petri, et in passione socius.

Maximilla Christo amabilis, tulit corpus apostoli, optimo loco cum aromatibus sepelivit.

Qui persequebantur justum, demersisti eos, Domine, in inferno, et in ligno crucis dux justi fuisti.
Hail, O precious cross! receive the disciple of him who hung upon thee, Christ my master.

The blessed Andrew prayed saying: O Lord, King of eternal glory, receive me hanging on this gibbet.

Andrew, the servant of Christ, the worthy apostle of God, the brother of Peter, and his companion in the cross.

Maximilla, a woman dear to Christ, took the body of the apostle, and embalming it, buried it in a most honoured place.

Thou, O Lord, didst plunge into hell them that persecuted thy just one, and wast his guide and helper on the wood of the cross.

The following hymn was composed in honour of the holy apostle, by Pope St. Damasus, the friend of St. Jerome. There is an allusion in it to the name Andrew, which amongst its many meanings has that of beauty.


Decus sacrati nominis,
Vitamque nomen exprimens,
Hoc to decorum prædicat
Crucis beatæ gloria.

Andrea, Christi apostolo,
Hoc ipso jam vocabulo
Signaris, isto nomine
Decorus idem mystice.

Quem crux ad alta provehit,
Crux quem beata diligit,
Cui crux amara præparat
Lucis futurae gaudia.

In te crucis mysterium
Cluit gemello stigmate,
Dum probra vincis per crucem,
Crucisque pandis sanguinem.

Jam nos foveto languidos,
Curamque nostri suscipe,
Quo por crucis victoriam
Cœli potamus patriam.

The beauty of thy sacred name,
expressive of thy life,
declares how beautiful thou art
in the glory of thy blessed cross.

Andrew, apostle of Christ,
thy very name
points to the mystic
beauty of thy soul.

The cross exalts thee,
the blessed cross loves thee,
the bitter cross prepares for thee
the joys of the light to come.

The mystery of the cross
shines in thee with a twofold beauty:
for by the cross thou dost vanquish insults,
and thou preachest to men the divine blood shed on the cross.

Then warm up our languid hearts,
and take us under thy care;
that so, by the victory of the cross,
we may reach our heavenly country.


The two following sequences, in honour of the apostle of the cross, were written in the middle ages. The first belongs to the eleventh century. Like all the sequences of that period, it has no regular rhythm.


Sacrosancta hodiernae festivitatis praeconia,
Digna laude universa categorizet Ecclesia.
Mitissimi sanctorum sanctissima extollenda merita,
Apostoli Andreæ, admiranda praefulgentis gratia.
Hic accepto a Joanne Baptista quod venisset qui tolleret peccata:
Mox ejus intrans habitacula, audiebat eloquia.
Inventoque fratre suo Barjona: Invenimus, ait ovans, Messiam.
Et duxit eum ad dulcifluam Salvatoris presentiam.
Hunc perscrutantem maria, Christi vocavit clementia.
Artem piscandi commutans dignitate apostolica.
Hujus animam post clara festi Paschalis gaudia,
Sancti Spiritus præclara perlustravit potentia;
Ad prædicandum populis pœnitentiam, et Dei Patris per Filium clementiam.
Gratulare ergo tanto patre, Achaia;
Illustrata ejus salutari doctrina;
Honorata multimoda signorum frequentia.
Et tu gemens plora, trux carnifex Ægea.
Te lues inferna et mors tenet æterna.
Sed Andream felicia per crucem manent gaudia.
Jam Regem tuum spectas, jam in ejus conspectu, Andrea, stas.
Odorem suavitatis jam adspiras, quem divini amoris aroma dat.
Sis ergo nobis inclyta dulcedo, spirans intima cœlestis vitæ balsama.

The most holy praises of this day’s solemnity,
Let the universal Church sing in worthy strains.
The most holy merit of the meekest of saints is to be extolled,
Of the apostle Andrew, so bright in his admirable graces.
Having learned from John the Baptist, that he had come who would take sin away,
He straightway entered his dwelling, and listened to his words;
And finding his own brother, Barjona, he said to him with great joy: We have found the Messias.
And he led him to the loved presence of the Saviour.
As Andrew was fishing in the sea, the mercy of Christ called him,
Giving him, in exchange for his art of fishing, the dignity of an apostle.
His soul, after the grand joys of the Paschal feast,
Was visited by the glorious power of the Holy Ghost,
That he might go and preach penance to the world, and tell it of the mercy of the Father by the Son.
Rejoice, then, O Achaia! that thou hast such an apostle,
Who enlightened thee with his saving doctrine,
And honoured thee with his many and manifold miracles.
But thou fierce torturer, Ægeas, cry and weep:
The pains of hell and eternal death are thine:
Whilst Andrew has won happiness and joy by his cross.
O Andrew! now thou seest thy King: now thou art in his presence;
Now thou art breathing the odour of sweetness, which comes from the aroma of divine love.
Be, then, unto us a delicious sweetness, giving out the hidden balsam of the celestial life.


The second sequence, written in rhythm and correct metre, is the composition of the pious Adam of Saint Victor, the greatest lyric poet of the middle ages.


Exsultemus et lætemur:
Et Andreae delectemur
Laudibus apostoli.
Hujus fidem, dogma, mores,
Et pro Christo tot labores,
Digne decet recoli.
Hic ad fidem Petrum duxit,
Cui primum lux illuxit,
Joannis indicio.
Secus mare Galilaeæ,
Petri simul et Andreæ
Sequitur electio.
Ambo prius piscatores,
Verbi fiunt assertores,
Et forma justitiæ.
Rete laxant in capturam;
Vigilemque gerunt curam
Nascentis Ecclesiæ.
A fratre dividitur,
Et in partes mittitur
Andreas Achaiæ.
In Andreæ retia
Currit, Dei gratia,
Magna pars provinciæ.
Fide, vita, verbo, signis,
Doctor pius et insignis
Cor informat populi.
Ut Ægeas comperit
Quid Andreas egerit,
Iræ surgunt stimuli.
Mens secura, mens virilis,
Cui præsens vita vilis,
Viget patientia.
Blandimentis aut tormentis
Non enervat robur mentis
Judicis insania.
Crucem videns præparari,
Suo gestit conformari
Magistro discipulus.
Mors pro morte solvitur,
Et crucis appetitur
Triumphalis titulus.
In cruce vixit biduum,
Victurus in perpetuum:
Neo vult volente populo
Deponi de patibulo.
Hora fere dimidia,
Luce perfusus nimia,
Cum luce, cum lætitia,
Pergit ad lucis atria.
O Andrea gloriose,
Cujus preces pretiosæ,
Cujus mortis luminosae
Dulcis est memoria,
Ab hac valle lacrymarum,
Nos ad illud lumen clarum,
Pie pastor animarum,
Tua transfer gratia.

Let us exult and rejoice,
and be delighted in the praises
sung to Andrew the apostle.
His faith and teachings, and actions,
and all his labours for Christ,
deserve a worthy celebration.
’Twas he led Peter to the faith.
’Twas he on whom the light first shone;
the Baptist showed it him.
Near the sea of Galilee,
our Lord called Peter and Andrew
by the one same election.
They who were once fishermen,
are become heralds of the Word,
and models of every virtue.
They let down their nets for a draught of men;
and carefully watch over
the infant Church.
Andrew is separated
from his brother, and sent
into the country about Achaia.
A great portion of that province enters,
by the grace of God,
into Andrew’s net.
The holy and learned doctor
forms the hearts of his people
by his faith, life, preaching, and miracles.
When Ægeas discovered
what Andrew had done,
he was excited to great anger.
But Andrew’s mind, ever calm and manly,
set little value on this life,
and armed itself with patience.
The senseless judge offers him his favour,
or threatens him with tortures,
but cannot shake his constant soul.
Seeing the cross being prepared,
Andrew, as a true disciple, is proud
to be thus made like his Master.
He repays the death of Jesus by his own,
ambitious to have
the trophy of triumph, the cross.
He lived two days hanging on that cross,
which was to make him live for ever;
the people resolve to loose him from it:
but he would not have it so; and clings to his cross.
An exceeding bright light surrounds him
for nearly half an hour;
and then, in this light, and in this joy,
he mounts to the realms of light.
O glorious Andrew,
whose prayers are so precious,
and whose bright death
is so sweet to think on,
Take us, by thy loving prayers,
from this vale of tears,
and transfer us to that fair land of light,
O thou good shepherd of souls.


The pieces so far given belong to the Roman liturgy, being taken from the books of this mother of Churches, or from those of the different Churches of the west, which follow the form of her Offices. We will now give, in honour of our holy apostle, some of the formulæ which the other ancient liturgies used for his feast; we will begin with the Ambrosian rite, from which we take the following beautiful preface.


Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus. Adest enim nobis dies sacri votiva mysterii: qua beatus Andreas germanum se Petri apostoli tam prædicatione Christi tui, quam confessione monstravit; et apostolicæ numerum dignitatissimul passione supplevit et gloria; ut id, quod libera prædicaverat voce, nec pendens taceret in cruce: auctoremque vitae perennis tam in hac vita sequi, quam in mortis genere meruit imitari: ut cujus præcepto terrena in semetipso crucifixerat desideria, ejus exemplo ipse patibulo figeretur. Utrique igitur germani piscatores, ambo cruce elevantur ad cœlum; ut, quos in hujus vitae cursu tua gratia tot vinculis pietatis constrinxerat, hos similis in regno cœlorum necteret et corona: et quibus erat una causa certaminis, una retributio esset et praemii.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God; for we are keeping the feast of a sacred mystery, a day on which the blessed Andrew showed himself to be indeed the brother of Peter the apostle, both by his preaching and his confession of thy Christ: and filled up the measure of the apostolic dignity by his passion and his glory; for what he had loudly and boldly preached, he would not cease to proclaim even on his cross: and he deserved to follow, during life, the author of eternal life, and to imitate him in the manner of his death; that thus having, in obedience to his precept, crucified in himself all earthly desires, he might, in accordance with his example, be fastened to a cross. The two brothers, the two fishermen, are both, therefore, raised up to heaven by a cross; that so, having been, by thy grace, bound together by so many ties during this life, they might also be like each other by the crown they wear in heaven; and as their combat was the same, their reward might be the same.

The Gallican liturgy also celebrated the glories of St. Andrew. Amongst the few fragments which have been handed down to us of this liturgy, there is not a single piece in poetry. The following preface, or, as it was then called, Contestation, will show that the Church of Gaul, from the fourth to the eighth century, shared the enthusiasm of the Roman and Ambrosian Churches for the glorious apostle of the cross.


Dignum et justum est; æquum et justum est; piotati tuæ ineffabiles gratias referre, omnipotens sempiterne Deus; et inæstimabili gaudio passionem tuorum prædicare sanctorum, per Christum Dominum nostrum. Qui beato Andreæ in prima vocatione dedit fidem; et in passione donavit victoriam. Acceperat hæc utraque beatus Andreas; ideo habebat et in prædicatione constantiam, et in passione tolerantiam. Qui post iniqua verbera, post carceris septa, alligatus suspendio se purum sacrificium tibi obtulit Deo. Extendit mitissimus brachia ad cœlos; amplectitur crucis vexillum; defigit in osculis ora: Agni cognoscit arcana. Denique dum ad patibulum duceretur, in cruce suspenderetur, carne patiebatur, et Spiritu loquebatur. Obliviscitur crucis tormenta; dum de cruce Christum præconat. Quantum enim corpus ejus in ligno extendebatur: tantum in lingua ejus Christus exaltabatur: quia pendens in ligno, sociari se ei gratulabatur. Absolvi se non patitur a cruce, ne tepescat certamen in tempore. Turba circumspicit, et lamentat: demitti a vinculo petit, quem reparatorem mentis intelligit. Laxari postulat justum, ne pereat populus hoc delicto. Interea fundit martyr spiritum, possessurus sempiterni Judicis regnum: pro cujus meritis concede nobis, omnipotens Deus, ut a malis omnibus tuti atque defensi, tibi Domino nostro, Deo martyrum et Principi apostolorum, laudes semper et gratias referamus.
It is meet and just; it is right and just, that we should give ineffable thanks to thy mercy, O almighty and eternal God! and celebrate with incomparable joy the sufferings of thy saints, through Christ our Lord. Who gave to the blessed Andrew, at his first calling him, the gift of faith; and in his martyrdom, victory. Both had the blessed Andrew received; therefore had he constancy in his preaching, and patience in his passion. After being unjustly scourged, and thrust into prison, he was tied to a gibbet, and on it offered himself a pure sacrifice to thee his God. Most gentle saint, he lifts up his hands to heaven; he embraces the standard of the cross; he kisses it; he understands the secrets of the Lamb. When, at last, he was led to the cross, and fastened to it, his flesh suffered, but he spoke by the holy Spirit. He forgot the torture of the cross whilst he preached Christ from the cross; for the more his body was being stretched on the wood, the more did his tongue extol Christ, seeing that by thus hanging on the cross he was honoured with being made a companion of Christ. He suffers not himself to be loosened from the cross, lest the combat should lose intensity by the delay. The crowd looks upon him, and is in lamentation; it knows him to be the physician of the soul, and demands that he be freed from his chains. It demands that the just man be liberated, lest this crime should destroy the people. Meanwhile the martyr breathes forth his soul, and goes to take possession of the kingdom of the eternal Judge. Grant us, O almighty God, by his merits, that we, being safe and protected from all evils, may for ever give praise and thanks to thee, our Lord, the God of the martyrs, and the Prince of the apostles.

The Mozarabic liturgy is extremely rich in its praises of St. Andrew, both in the missal and the breviary: we must limit ourselves to the following beautiful prayer.


Christe Dominus noster, qui beatissimum Andream, et apostolatus gratia, et martyrii decorasti corona; hoc illi specialiter in munere præstans, ut crucis prædicando mysterium, ad crucis mereretur pervenire patibulum: da nobis, ut sanctae crucis tuæ verissimi amatores effecti, abnegantes nosmetipsos tollamus crucem nostram, et sequamur te: ut passionibus tuis in hac vita communicantes, ad æternam vitam pervenire mereamur felices.
O Christ, our Lord, who didst beautify the most blessed Andrew with the grace of apostleship, and the crown of martyrdom, by granting to him this special gift, that by preaching the mystery of the cross, he should merit the death of the cross: grant us to become most true lovers of thy holy cross, and, denying ourselves, to take up our cross and follow thee; that by thus sharing thy sufferings in this life, we may deserve the happiness of obtaining life everlasting.

The Greek Church is as fervent as any of the Churches of the west in celebrating the prerogatives and merits of St. Andrew. He is the more dear to it, because Constantinople considers him as her patron apostle. It would, perhaps, be difficult for the Greeks to give any solid proofs of St. Andrew’s having founded, as they pretend, the Church of Byzantium; but this is certain, that Constantinople enjoyed, for many centuries, the possession of the precious treasure of the saint’s relics. They were translated to that city in the year 357, through the interest of the emperor Constantius, who placed them in the basilica of the apostles built by Constantine. Later on, that is, about the middle of the sixth century, Justinian caused them to be translated a second time, but only from one part of that same basilica to another. We borrow the two following beautiful hymns from the Menæa of the Greeks; the first is sung in the evening Office, the second in the morning Office.

In the solemn evening office

Luci antelucanæ assimilatus, quem splendorem hypostaticum Paternæ gloriæ dicimus, hominum genus per suam magnam misericordiam salvare cum voluisset, tunc primus, gloriose illi occurristi, illustratus interius perfectissima ejus Deitatis claritate: unde et præco et apostolus vocaris Christi Dei nostri; quem deprecare salvare et illuminare animas nostras.

Præcurrenti voce insonans, quando omnisanctum Verbum caro factum est, quando nobis vitam donavit, salutemque in terris evangelizavit, tunc, sanctissime, istud secutus es, et teipsum primitias et sacrificium quasi primam ipsi oblationem constituisti: quem cognoscere fecisti, fratri que tuo monstrasti Deum nostrum; hunc deprecare salvare animas nostras.

Qui carnem e sterili florescenti induit, quando Virginalis Filius apparuit, præceptor pietatis puritatem demonstrans, tunc tu, ardentissime virtutis amator, Andrea, beatus effectus es; ascensiones in tuo corde disponens, a gloria in gloriam sublimatus es inauditam Domini Dei nostri: quem deprecare salvare et illuminare animas nostras.

Piscium piscationem derelinquens, homines carpis calamo prædicationis, mittens hamum pietatis, et extrahens e profundo erroris omnes Gentes, Andrea apostolo, coryphæi frater, et terræ dux celeberrime, excellens et non deficiens; tenebrosos homines illustra tua veneranda memoria.

Primovocatus discipulus et imitator passionis tuæ, assimilatus tibi, Domine, Andreas apostolus in abysso degentes ignorantiæ olimque errantes, hamo tuae crucis cum abstraxisset, tibimetipsi adduxit: et ideo salvati fideles ad te clamamus precibus illius, optime, Domine, vitam nostram pacifica, et salva animas nostras.

Ignis illuminans mentes et comburens peccata, in corde interius arripiens, apostolus Christi discipulus fulget mysticis radiis instructionum in Gentium tenebrosis cordibus. Urit autem iterum surculosas impiorum fabulas; ignis enim Spiritus tantam habet energiam! O mirabiliter terribile! Cœnosa lingua, fictilis natura, corpus pulverinum, intellectualem et immaterialem praebuit Gnosim. Sed tu, O initiate rerum ineffabilium, et contemplator cœlestium, deprecare illuminari animas nostras.

Gaudeas, disertum cœlum, gloriam Dei passim enarrans. Primus Domino obediens ardenter effectus, ipsi immediate adhærens, ab ipso accensus, lumen apparuisti alterum, et degentes in tenebris, tuis illuminasti radiis, hanc Domini benignitatem imitatus: unde tuam omni8anctam perficimus laudem et reliquiarum thecam cum gaudio magno deosculamur, ex qua scaturit salus petentibus et magna misericordia.

Gentes nescientes Deum quasi ex abysso ignorantiæ vivas carpsisti sagena tuorum oraculorum, salsaque commoves æquora sapienter, equus optimus visus Dominatoris maris, celebrande; qui siccasti putredinem impietatis, sal honorandum, spargens sapientiam tuam: quam stupentes admirati sunt, apostole gloriose, qui malesanam sapientiam inflati amplexi erant, ignorantes Dominum donantem mundo magnam misericordiam.
When he, who is likened to the star of early mom, whom we call the hypostatic splendour of the Father’s glory, willed in his great mercy to save the human race: thou, O glorious Andrew, wast the first to meet him, being enlightened interiorly with the most perfect brightness of his Divinity; hence thou art called the herald and apostle of Christ our Lord. Pray to him for us, that he may save and enlighten our souls.

When he, whom the Precursor’s voice had proclaimed, the all-holy Word, was made flesh, and gave us life, and gave the good tidings of salvation to the earth; then didst thou, most holy Andrew, follow him, and make thyself his first-fruits, and sacrifice, and as it were the first oblation of men: thou didst make him known to thy brother, telling him that this was our God. Pray to Jesus for us, that he save our souls.
When he appeared who clothed himself with our flesh in a virginal yet fruitful womb, and was thus the Son of a Virgin, the teacher of piety, giving us this model of purity; then wast thou happy, O Andrew, most ardent lover of virtue; disposing in thy heart to ascend step by step, and wast raised up from glory to the unspeakable glory of the Lord our God. Beseech him, that he save and enlighten our souls.

Leaving thy fishing of fish, thou catchest men by the rod of thy preaching, throwing to them the bait of virtue, and dragging all nations from the depths of error. O Andrew, the apostle, brother of the leader, most honoured prince of the earth, excelling and unfailing! may the venerable remembrance of thee enlighten them that are in darkness.

Andrew, the apostle, the first-called of thy disciples, O Lord, and the imitator of thy Passion, and made like to thee, drew out with the hook of thy cross them that lived and wandered in the sea of ignorance, and then brought them unto thee: therefore do we thy faithful. who have been saved, cry to thee by his prayers, O infinitely good Lord: grant us peaceful lives, and save our souls.

The apostle, disciple of Christ, is a fire which inflames men’s minds and bums out their sins, penetrating into the very depth of their hearts: and by the mystic rays of his instructions he shines in the dark hearts of the Gentiles. Then, too, he bums the wild brambles of pagan fables, for the fire of the Spirit has such energy! And is it not a wonder to be trembled at, that a tongue of slime, a nature of clay, a body of dust, should make known the intellectual and the immaterial Knowledge? Do thou, the initiated into unspeakable things, the contemplator of heavenly truths, pray that our minds be illumined.

Be glad, O thou heaven of eloquence, everywhere telling the glory of God! The first to obey our Lord with ardour, immediately uniting thyself to him, thou wast set on fire by him, and didst appear as a second light, enlightening with thy rays them that sat in darkness, thus imitating the mercy of Jesus for man. Therefore do we celebrate thy most holy memory, and kiss with great joy the shrine of thy relics, from which flows health and every sort of boon to thy clients.

By the nets of thy oracles thou didst draw from the abyss of ignorance the nations that knew not God, and gavest them life. Like the splendid courser of the Ruler of the sea, thou, O worthy of all praise, didst stir up the bitter waves by thy wisdom. Thou, the venerable salt of earth, didst season with thy penetrating wisdom what ungodliness was corrupting. This thy wisdom, O glorious apostle, struck dumb with admiration those who had become imbued and puffed up with an unsound wisdom, and ignored the Lord that showed his great mercy to the world.

In the morning office

Accurristi siti non vocatus, Andrea, sed voluntarie, sicut cervus ad fontem vitæ. Fide innixus, de incorruptionis fontibus siti fatigatas extremas usque regiones potasti.

Cognovisti naturæ leges, Andrea admirande, et comparticipem accepisti fratrem, clamans: Invenimus Desideratum; atque ei qui iter fecerat secundum camis generationem, accersisti Spiritus cognitionem.

Verbum cum dixisset: 'Hic retro mei,' Christum alacer secutus est cum Andrea et Cephas, genitori valedicentes, et naviculæ, et retibus, tanquam fidei propugnacula.

Deifica inexhaustaque potentis omnifactoris atque flammantis Spiritus virtus in te, Andrea divine, inhabitans in igneæ linguæ forma, ineffabilium te indicavit praeconem.

Non arma ad defensionem attulit carnea, et ad destructionem terribilium inimici propugnaculorum, Andreas honoratissimus; sed ad Christum loricatus, quas captivitate redegerat Gentes, adduxit submissas.

Tuam ineffabilem pulchritudinem Andreas videns primus, Jesu, fratrem clara voce vocavit: Petre ardenter desiderans, invenimus Messiam, qui in Lege et in Prophetis proclamatus est; veni, veræ Vitæ agglutinemur.

Hunc pro mercede recuperasti quem desiderabas, Andrea apostole, ligatis cum eo laborum manipulis, tuisque digne cum eo collectis: unde te hymnis glorificamus.

Magistrum desiderasti, et illum insecutus es, qui illius vestigiis ad vitam ambulasti, et illius passiones, vere honorande Andrea, usque ad mortem imitatus.

Spiritualem vitæ tranquille navigatus abyssum, apostole, perambulasti cum velo Spiritus, fide Christi: ideoque ad vitæ portum pervenisti gaudens in cuncta sæcula.

Spiritali Sole in cruce occidente, voluntate propria, solis jubar cum illo quaerens dissolvi et occidere in Christum, in ligno suspensus est Andreas, fax magna et fulgida Ecclesiae.

Velut discipulus omnium optimus, illius qui voluntarie affixus est cruci, magistrum tuum usque ad mortem secutus, cum gaudio in altitudinem ascendisti crucis, viam instruens ad cœlos, beate apostole.

Gaude nunc, Bethsaida; in te enim floruerunt e materno fonte nimis odorifera lilia, Petrus et Andreas, universo mundo fidei prædicationis odorem ferentes gratia Christi, cujus passionibus communicaverunt.

Te patrum civitas pastorem possidet, et divinum præsidem, et periculorum omnium liberatorem, et custodem te, Andrea sapiens; gratanter honoravit te: sed tu deprecare incessanter pro ea, ut sorvetur ab omni perditione.
Not by thirst but by love wast thou urged, O Andrew, when thou didst run, as a stag, to the fountain of life. Leaning on faith, thou didst give to drink of the fountains of incorruption to the distant nations that were parched with thirst.

Thou didst feel the law of nature, O admirable Andrew, and thou didst take thy brother into partnership, crying out to him: ‘We have found the Desired One!’ and thus he who was walking in the ways of the flesh, was brought by thee to the knowledge of the Spirit.

When the Word said: ‘Now, follow me,' Cephas also joyfully followed Christ with Andrew, and bidding farewell to father, boat, and nets, they became the citadels of the faith.

The deifying and exhaustless virtue of the mighty Creator of all things, and of the burning Spirit, dwelt in thee in the form of a fiery tongue; showing that thou, O divine Andrew, wast a herald of unspeakable things.

Most honoured Andrew! he boro not weapons of the flesh for his defence, or for the destruction of the formidable ramparts of the enemy; but with a breast plate on him, he led subject to Christ the nations which had been redeemed by Christ from captivity.

Thy ineffable beauty, O Jesus, was first seen by Andrew, who then called out with a loud voice to his brother: 'Peter,' he said, 'thou man of ardent desires! we have found the Messias, whom the Law and the Prophets have foretold. O come, let us cling to this true life.’

As thy reward, O apostle Andrew, thou hast regained him whom thou desiredst: him with whom thou didst bind up and worthily garner the sheaves of thy labours. Therefore do we sing to thee our hymns of praise.

Thou desiredst the Master, and thou hast followed him, walking unto life in his footsteps, and imitating, even unto death, his passion, O verily venerable Andrew!

Calmly sailing the sea of the spiritual life, O apostle, thou didst cross it with the sails of the Spirit and the faith of Christ. Therefore didst thou enter with joy into the port of life for ever.

The spiritual Sun having, by his own will, sunk on the cross, Andrew, that Sun’s reflection, the great and bright light of the Church, wishing also to be dissolved and to set with him, was hung upon a cross.

As the best of all the disciples of him, who, of his own will, was fastened to the cross, thou, O blessed apostle, following thy Master even unto death, didst ascend with joy to the summit of the cross, showing us the way that leads to heaven.

Rejoice now, O Bethsaida! for in thee and thy maternal fount bloomed the two most fragrant lilies, Peter and Andrew, bearing by the grace of Christ, whom they resembled in his passion, the odour of the preaching of the faith to the whole world.

The city of the fathers possesses thee as its pastor, and its divine chief, and its liberator in all dangers, and its keeper, O Andrew, full of wisdom! Gratefully has it kept thy feast; but do thou unceasingly pray for it, that it may be preserved from all danger.

The Church of Constantinople, so devoted, as we have seen, to the glory of St. Andrew, was at length deprived of the precious treasure of his relics. This happened in the year 1210, when the city was taken by the crusaders. Cardinal Peter of Capua, the legate of the holy See, translated the body of St.

Andrew into the cathedral of Amalfi, a town in the kingdom of Naples, where it remains to this day, the glorious instrument of numberless miracles, and the object of the devout veneration of. the people. It is well known how, at the same period, the most precious relics of the Greek Church came, by a visible judgement of God, into the possession of the Latins. Byzantium refused to accept those terrible warnings, and continued obstinate in her schism. She was still in possession of the head of the holy apostle, owing, no doubt, to this circumstance, that in the several translations which had been made, it had been kept in a separate reliquary by itself. When the Byzantine empire was destroyed by the Turks, divine Providence so arranged events, as that the Church of Rome should be enriched with this magnificent relic. In 1462, the head of St. Andrew was, therefore, brought thither by the celebrated Cardinal Bessarion; and on Palm Sunday, the twelfth of April, the heroic Pope Pius II. went in great pomp to meet it as far as the Milvian bridge (Ponte Molle), and then placed it in the basilica of St. Peter, on the Vatican, where it is at present, near the confession of the prince of the apostles. At the sight of this venerable head, Pius II. was transported with a religious enthusiasm, and before taking up the glorious relic in order to carry it into Rome, he pronounced the following magnificent address, which we give as a conclusion to the liturgical praises given by the several Churches to St. Andrew.

‘At length thou hast arrived, O most holy and venerable head of the saintly apostle! The fury of the Turks has driven thee from thy resting-place, and thou art come as an exile to thy brother, the prince of the apostles. Thy brother will not fail thee; and by the will of God, the day will come when men shall say in thy praise: O happy banishment, which caused thee to receive such a welcome! Meanwhile, here shalt thou dwell with thy brother, and share in his honours.

‘This is Rome, the venerable city, which was dedicated by thy brother’s precious blood. The people thou seest, are they whom the blessed apostle, thy most loving brother, and St. Paul, the vessel of election, regenerated unto Christ our Lord. Thus the Romans are thy kinsmen. They venerate, and honour, and love thee as their father’s brother; nay, as their second father; and are confident of thy patronage in the presence of the great God.

‘O most blessed apostle Andrew! thou preacher of the truth, and defender of the dogma of the most holy Trinity! with what joy dost thou fill us on this day, whereon it is given us to behold thy sacred and venerable head, which deserved that, on the day of Pentecost, the holy Paraclete should rest upon it in the form of fire!

‘O ye Christians that visit Jerusalem out of reverence for your Saviour, that there ye may see the places where His feet have stood; lo! here is the throne of the Holy Ghost. Here sat the Spirit of the Lord. Here was seen the Third Person of the Trinity. Here were the eyes that so often saw Jesus in the flesh. This was the mouth that so often spake to Jesus; and on these cheeks did that same Lord doubtless impress His sacred kisses.

‘O wondrous sanctuary, wherein dwelt charity, and kindness, and gentleness, and spiritual consolation. Who could look upon such venerable and precious relics of the apostle of Christ, and not be moved? and not be filled with tender devotion? and not shed tears for very joy? Yea, O most admirable apostle Andrew! we rejoice, and are glad, and exult, at this thy coming, for we doubt not that thou thyself art present here, and bearest us company as we enter with thy head into the holy city.

‘The Turks are indeed our enemies, as being the enemies of the Christian religion: but in that they have been the occasion of thy coming amongst us, we are grateful to them. For what greater blessing could have befallen us than that we should be permitted to see thy most sacred head, and that our Rome should be filled with its fragrance? Oh! that we could welcome thee with the honours which are due to thee, and receive thee in a way becoming thy exceeding holiness! But accept our good will, and our sincere desires to honour thee, and suffer us now to touch thy relics with our unworthy hands, and, though sinners, to accompany thee within the walls of the city.

‘Enter, then, the holy city, and show thy love to her people. May thy coming be a boon to Christendom. May thy entrance be peaceful, and thy abode amongst us bring happiness and prosperity. Be thou our advocate in heaven, and, together with the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, defend this city, and protect, with thy love, all Christian people; that, by thy intercession, the mercy of God may be upon us; and if His indignation be enkindled against us by reason of our manifold sins, let it fall upon the impious Turks and the pagan nations that blaspheme our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.’

Thus has the glory of St. Andrew been blended, in Rome, with that of St. Peter. But the apostle of the cross, whose feast was heretofore kept in many Churches with an octave, has also been chosen as patron of one of the kingdoms of the west. Scotland, when she was a Catholic country, had put herself under his protection. May he still exercise his protection over her, and, by his prayers, hasten her return to the true faith!

Let us now, in union with the Church, pray to this holy apostle, for this is the glorious day of his feast: let us pay him that honour which is due to him, and ask him for the help of which we stand in need.

We have scarce begun our mystic journey of Advent, seeking our divine Saviour Jesus, when lo! God grants us to meet thee, O blessed Andrew, at our very first step. When Jesus, our Messias, began His public life, thou hadst already become the obedient disciple of His Precursor, who preached His coming: thou wast among the first of them who received the Son of Mary as the Messias foretold in the Law and the Prophets. But thou couldst not keep the heavenly secret from him who was so dear to thee; to Peter, then, thou didst bear the good tidings, and didst lead him to Jesus.

O blessed apostle! we also are longing for the Messias, the Saviour of our souls; since thou hast found Him, lead us also unto Him. We place under thy protection this holy period of expectation and preparation, which is to bring us to the day of our Saviour’s Nativity, that divine mystery in which He will manifest Himself to the world. Assist us to render ourselves worthy of seeing Him on that great night. The baptism of Penance prepared thee for receiving the grace of knowing the Word of life; pray for us that we may become truly penitent and may purify our hearts, during this holy time, and thus be able to behold Him, who has said: ‘Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.’

Thou hast a special power of leading souls to Jesus, O glorious saint! for even he, who was to be made the pastor of the whole flock, was presented to the Messias by thee. By calling thee to Himself on this day, our Lord has given thee as the patron of Christians who, each year at this season, are seeking that God in whom thou art now living: they must begin it with praying to thee to show them the way which leads to Jesus.

Thou teachest us this way; it is that of fidelity, of fidelity even to the cross. In that way thou didst courageously walk: and because the cross leads to Jesus Christ, thou didst passionately love the cross. Pray for us, O holy apostle! that we may begin to understand this love of the cross; and that, having understood it, we may put it in practice. Thy brother says to us in his Epistle: ‘Christ having suffered in the flesh, be you also armed with the same thought.’[1] Thy feast, O blessed Andrew! shows us thee as the living commentary of this doctrine. Because thy Master was crucified, thou wouldst also be crucified. From the high throne to which thou hast been raised by the cross, pray for us, that the cross may be unto us the expiation of the sins which are upon us, the quenching of the passions which burn within us, and the means of uniting us by love to Him, who, through love alone for us, was nailed to the cross.

Important, indeed, and precious are these lessons of the cross: but the cross, O blessed apostle, is the perfection and the consummation, and not the first commencement. It is the Infant God, it is the God of the crib that we must first know and love; it was the Lamb of God that St. John pointed out to thee; and it is that Lamb whom we so ardently desire to contemplate. The austere and awful time of Jesus’ Passion has not come; we are now in Advent. Fortify us for the day of combat; but the grace we now most need is compunction and tender love. We put under thy patronage this great work of our preparation for the coming of Jesus into our hearts.

Remember also, O blessed Andrew, the holy Church, of which thou wast the pillar, and which thou hast beautified by the shedding of thy blood: lift up thy hands for her to Him, whose battle she is for ever fighting. Pray that the cross she has to bear in this her pilgrimage may be lightened; that she may love this cross, and that it may be the source of her power and her glory. Remember with especial love the holy Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all Churches; and by reason of that fervent love she has for thee, obtain for her victory and peace by the cross. Visit anew, in thy apostolic zeal, the Church of Constantinople, which has forfeited true light and unity, because she would not render homage to Peter, thy brother, whom thou honouredst as thy chief, out of love to Him who is the common Master of both him and thee. And lastly, pray for Scotland, that has dishonoured thy protection for these three past ages; obtain for her that the days of her rebellion from the faith may be shortened, and, with the rest of our isle of saints, she may soon return to the fold of the one Shepherd.

We will close this day with a prayer to the Saviour, whom we are expecting; and celebrate, by this ancient and venerable hymn, the mystery of His coming.

Hymn for the time of Advent
(In the Mozarabic breviary; in the hymnarium)

Gaudete, flores martyrum!
Salvete, plebes gentium,
Visum per astra mittite,
Sperate signum gloriæ.

Voces prophetarum sonant,
Venire Jesum nuntiant,
Redemptionis praevia
Quæ nos redemit gratia.

Hic mane nostrum promicat,
Et corda laeta exaestuant,
Cum vox fidelis personat
Praenuntiatrix gloriam.

Tantæ salutis gaudium,
Quo est redemptum saeculum,
Exceptionis inclytum
Abhinc ciamus canticum.

Adventus hic primus fuit,
Punire quo non saeculi
Venit, sed ulcus torgere,
Salvando quod perierat.

At hunc secundus præmonet
Adesse Christum januis,
Sanctis coronas reddere,
Cœli que regna pandere.

Æterna lux promittitur,
Sidusque salvans promitur;
Jam nos jubar præfulgidum
Ad jus vocat cœlestium.

Te, Christe, Solum quaerimus
Videre sicut es Deus,
Ut laeta nos haec visio
Evellat omni tartaro.

Quo dum Redemptor veneris,
Cum candidato martyrum
Globo, adunes cœlibi
Nos tunc beato cœtui.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Eljusque soli Filio,
Cum Spiritu Paraclito,
Et nunc et in perpetuum.

Rejoice, ye flowers of the martyrs!
Hail, all ye people and nations!
lift up your eyes to heaven,
and await the sign of glory.

The voice of the prophets is heard,
announcing the coming of Jesus;
it is the harbinger of our redemption,
of the grace which saved us.

How bright is our morn,
and how do our hearts swell with joy,
when the faithful voice comes
heralding in our glory!

May the joy of so great a salvation,
whereby the world is redeemed,
inspire us with a solemn canticle
in praise of Jesus’ coming.

It was his first:
and he came not to punish,
but to heal the sores and sins of the world,
saving his creature that was lost.

But when the second Advent comes,
it will tell the world that Christ is at its very doors,
to give the saints their crowns,
and throw open the kingdom of heaven.

We have a promise of eternal light:
the star of our salvation is rising;
and even now its splendid rays are calling us
to our right to heaven.

Thee alone, O Jesus, do we seek,
and wish to see thee as thou art, God.
Happy vision,
which will put us out of all reach of hell!

That thus, when thou comest, O Redeemer,
surrounded by the white-robed army of martyrs,
thou mayst admit us also
into their pure company.

To God the Father,
and to his only Son,
and to the holy Paraclete,
be glory both now and for over.


[1] 1 St. Peter iv. 1.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Church of Rome does not keep this day as a feast of any saint; she simply recites the Office of the feria, unless it happen that the first Sunday of Advent fall on this first day of the month, in which case the Office of that Sunday is celebrated, as given above in the Proper of the Time.

But should this first day of December be a simple feria of Advent, we shall do well to begin at once our considerations upon the preparations which were made for the merciful coming of the Saviour of the world.

Four thousand years of expectation preceded that coming, and they are expressed by the four weeks of Advent, which we must spend before we come to the glorious festivity of our Lord’s Nativity. Let us reflect upon the holy impatience of the saints of the old Testament, and how they handed down, from age to age, the grand hope, which was to be but hope to them, since they were not to see it realized. Let us follow, in thought, the long succession of the witnesses of the promise: Adam, and the first patriarchs, who lived before the deluge; then, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve patriarchs of the Hebrew people; then Moses, Samuel, David, and Solomon; then, the prophets and the Machabees; and, at last, John the Baptist and his disciples. These are the holy ancestors, of whom the Book of Ecclesiasticus speaks, where it says: ‘Let us praise men of renown, and our fathers in their generation’:[1] and of whom the apostle thus speaks to the Hebrews: ‘All these being approved by the testimony of faith, received not the promise; God providing some better thing for us, that they should not be perfected without us their faith was tried and approved, and yet they received not the object of the promises made to them. It is for us that God had reserved the stupendous gift, and therefore He did not permit them to attain the object of their desires.[2]

Let us honour them for their faith; let us honour them as our veritable fathers, since it is in reward of their faith, that our Lord remembered and fulfilled His merciful promise; let us honour them, too, as the ancestors of the Messias in the flesh. We may imagine each of them saying, as he lay on his dying bed, this solemn prayer to Him who alone could conquer death: ‘I will look for Thy Salvation, O Lord!’ It was the exclamation of Jacob, at his last hour, when he was pronouncing his prophetic blessings on his children: ‘and then,’ says the Scripture, ‘he drew up his feet upon his bed, and died, and he was gathered unto his people.’[3]

Thus did all these holy men, on quitting this life, go to await, far from the abode of eternal fight, Him who was to come in due time and reopen the gate of heaven. Let us contemplate them in this place of expectation, and give our grateful thanks to God, who has brought us to His admirable light, without requiring us to pass through a limbo of darkness. It is our duty to pray ardently for the coming of the Deliverer, who will break down, by His cross, the gates of the prison, and will fill it with the brightness of His glory. During this holy season, the Church is continually borrowing the fervent expressions of these fathers of the Christian people, making them her own prayer for the Messias to come. Let us turn to those great saints, and beg of them to pray, that our work of preparation for Jesus’ coming to our hearts may be blessed by God.

We will make use, for this end, of the beautiful hymn wherein the Greek Church celebrates the memory of all the saints of the old Testament, on the Sunday immediately preceding the feast of Christmas.

Hymn for the Feast of the Holy Fathers
(Taken from the Menæa of the Greeks)

Avorum hodie, fideles, perficientes memorias, renymnificemus Christum Redemptorem, qui illos magnificavit in omnibus gentibus, et qui incredibilia in eis per fidem operatus est; Dominum, utpote fortem et potentem; et ex illis manifestavit virgam potentiae nobis, unicam virum nescientem et Deiparam, Mariam castam, ex qua flos prodiit, Christus germinans omnibus vitam, et salutem aeternam.

Tu es qui sanctos pueros ex igne liberasti, Domine, et ex ore leonum Daniel; qui Abraham benedixisti, et Isaac servum tuum, et filium ejus Jacob; qui dignatus es ex illorum semine nasci apud nos, ut prius lapsos salvares proavos nostros, crucifigi autem et sepeliri; et rupisti mortis vincula, et consurgere facis omnes qui a saeculo inter mortuos erant, adorantes tuum, Christe, regnum aeternum.

Adam primum veneremur, manu honoratum Creatoris et omnium nostrum proavum, jam nunc habitantem in cœlestibus tabernaculis, inter sanctos electos quiescentem.

Abel dona proferentem mente generosa, admisit omnium Deus et Dominus; eumque homicida olim manu peremptum, in altum recepit ad lumen, ut divinum martyrem.

Canitur in mundo Seth pro suo erga Creatorem ardore: nam in irreprehensibili vitæ ratione et animæ dispositione illum vere sanavit; et in regione vivorum clamat: Sanctus es, Domine.

Ore et lingua et corde Enos admirabilis cognominatus prophetice, in omnium Dominum speravit in spiritu, et optime vita in terris acta, gloriosus decessit.

Sacris eloquiis et orationibus Henoch beatum prædicemus; qui, cum Deo placuisset, translatus est in gloriam, visus, ut fertur, mortem superasse, sicut Dei servus fidelissimus.

Laudem proferamus Deo, honorantes melodiis Noe, qui fuit justus: in omnibus enim divinis mandatis ornatus, visus est Christo beneplacitus; cui canamus cum fide: Gloria virtuti tuæ, Domine.

Videns tuam Deus nobilem indolem et mentis tuæ sinceritatem, et te in omnibus, Noe, perfectum, secundi mundi ducem te signat, salvantem ex omni genere contra diluvium, sensibile semen, ut ipse mandaverat.

Noe, Dei legem incorruptam servantem, justum que inventum in generatione sua, et qui lignea salvavit olim in arca irrationabilia genera, ordinatione omnimoda, beatum piis prædicemus hymnis.

Vinum compunctionis nobis scaturire facit honorantibus te, Noe beate, memoria tua, lætificans et animas et corda undique beatificantium sincere mores tuos honestos, et divinam agendi rationem.

Laudibus honoretur Sem, qui fructificare fecit paternam benedictionem, et ante Deum placidus demonstratus, et proavorum choris adscriptus, et in regione vivorum laetantissime requiescens.

Videre meruit, tamquam Dei amicus, Abraham diem Creatoris sui, plenus factus lætitiæ paternæ; hunc ergo recto corde honorantes, beatum dicamus omnes, ut Dei fidelem servum.

Vidisti, ut homini videre fas est, Trinitatem, et illam hospitatus es: undo mercedem recopisti hospitalitatis, factus immensarum gentium in fide pater.

Typus Christi passionis factus es sapienter, Isaac beatissime, patris bona fide ad immolandum adducte: ideoque beatus effectus es et amicus Dei visus es fidelissimus, et cum omnibus justis sedem consecutus es.

Visus est Jacob omnium Dei servorum fidelissimus: ideoque pugnavit cum angelo, in mente videns Deum, et nomen mutavit, dormiensque divinam contemplatus est scalam, cui insidebat Deus, carni in bonitate sua adhærens.

Patris obedientiam cum amore amplectens Joseph in puteum demissus, tamquam illius prototypus venditur qui immolatus est, et in puteum demissus est Christus; et Ægypto frumenta distribuens monstratus est, sapiens et justus effectus, rexque concupiscentiarum verissimus.

Legitime incessantium certamini tentationum luctatus, celebratus est Job Dei servus verissimus, mitis, vir sine malitia, rectus, perfectus, irreprehensibilis, clamans: Benedictus es, Deus.

In fide Moysen Aaronque et Hor honoremus, adhuc celebrantes Josue et Levi sanctissimum, Gedeonque et Samson, et clamemus: Deus patrum, benedictus es.

Phalangem Deo gratam divinorum patrum celebremus, Baruch et Nathan, et Eleazarum, Josiam et David, Jephte, Samuel qui anteacta videbat, et clamabat: Benedicat omnis creatura Dominum.

Laudem melodiæ Dei prophetis feramus, celebrantes Osee, Michæam, Sophoniam et Habacuc, Zachariam, Jonam, Aggæum et Amos, et cum Abdia, Malachia, Nahum, Isaiam, et Jeremiam, et Ezechiel, et simul Daniel, Eliam et Elisæum.

Fortitudine tua, Domine, virtutes operatæ sunt sorores nostrae Anna, Judith et Debbora, Olda, Jahelque, et Esther, Sara, Maria Moysis, et Rachel, et Rebecca, et Ruth, magnanimes.

Venite omnes, cum fide panegyrim dicamus patribus ante Legem: Abrahæ, et eorum qui cum illo sunt festivam memoriam celebremus; Judæ tribum digne honoremus; juvenes in Babylone qui flammam in camino exstinxerunt, ut Trinitatis typum, cum Daniele celebremus; prophetarum vaticinia tuto servantes, cum Isaia magna voce clamemus: Ecce Virgo in utero concipiet et pariet Filium, Emmanuel, quod est, Nobiscum Deus.
Celebrating, O ye faithful, on this day, the memory of the ancient fathers, let us sing a new hymn to our Redeemer Christ, who magnified them in all nations, and worked incredible things in them by faith, for he is the strong and mighty Lord. By them did he manifest to us the sceptre of his power, the unparalleled Virgin-Mother of God, the chaste Mary, from whom came Christ, the Flower that buds forth life and eternal salvation to all.

It is thou, O Lord, that didst deliver the holy children from the furnace, and Daniel from the mouth of the lions; that didst bless Abraham, and Isaac thy servant, and Jacob his son: that didst vouchsafe to be bora among us from their seed, so to save our first parents who had fallen, and to be crucified and buried; that didst break the bonds of death, and gavest resurrection to all them who had died from the beginning, and who adored, O Christ, thy eternal kingdom.

And first let us venerate Adam, who was honoured by the Creator’s hand, and was the first father of us all: who now dwells in the heavenly tabernacles, and rests amidst the holy elect.

The God and the Lord of all things received Abel, who offered his gifts with a generous heart; and took him into the heavenly light as a divine martyr, when he was slain by the murderer’s hand.

Seth is celebrated throughout the world for his ardour towards the Creator: who saved him for his irreproachable life and this holy disposition of mind; and now, m the region of the living, he sings: Holy art thou, O Lord!

Enos, prophetically called the admirable, for his words and voice and heart, hoped in spirit in the Lord of all, and after a life spent on earth in exceeding goodness, he departed full of glory.

Let us praise, in our sacred canticles and prayers, the blessed Henoch; who, when he had pleased God, was translated to glory, and, as became so faithful a servant of God, without being overcome by death, as it is written of him.

Let us give praise to God by celebrating, with our hymns, Noah, who was just: in all things, God honoured him with his divine commands, and he was well pleasing to Christ, to whom let us sing with faith: Glory be to thy power, O Lord!

God, seeing thy noble heart, and the sincerity of thy mind, and how in all things thou wast perfect, O Noah, makes thee the father of the second world, and bids thee save from the deluge a remnant of every species of animal.

Let us in our holy hymns praise Noah, who kept the law of God without reproof, and was found just in his generation, and who, by an admirable arrangement, saved, in the wooden ark, all the brute creation.

Thy memory, O blessed Noah, fills us with the wine of compunction, which gladdens our souls and hearts, whilst we devoutly extol thy holy life and thy divine manner of acting.

Sem is worthy of our praise, who brought forth plentiful fruit from his father’s blessing, and by his meekness found favour with God, and was numbered in the choir of the fathers, and now rests in perfect joy in the land of the living.

Abraham merited, as the friend of God, to see the day of his Creator, and was filled with the joy promised to the fathers: him, therefore, let us honour with sincere devotion, and let us all proclaim him the blessed Abraham, God’s faithful servant.

Thou didst see, as far as it is permitted man to see, the Trinity, and thou didst make it thy guest: wherefore thou receivedst the reward of thy hospitality, and wast made the father, in the faith, of countless nations.

Most blessed Isaac, the divine wisdom made thee the type of Jesus in his Passion, when thy father’s sublime faith led thee to the sacrifice: therefore art thou blest, and loved of God as a most faithful friend, and seated on a throne with all the just.

Of all the servants of God Jacob was the most faithful: therefore is it that he wrestled with the angel, seeing God in spirit, and his name was changed; and as he slept, he beheld the divine ladder, on which God was leaning; it was God, assuming to himself, in his mercy, human flesh.

Joseph, when he lovingly obeyed his father, was let down into a well and sold, and was the prototype of him that was sacrificed, and thrown down into a pit. He gave com to Egypt and saved it; he was wise and just, and a most true king over his passions.

Job lawfully endured the combat of ceaseless temptations, and deserves to be praised; he was God’s most true servant, he was meek, and a man without guile, upright, perfect, without reproof, ever saying: Blessed art thou, O God!

Let us faithfully honour Moses, and Aaron, and Hor: let us commemorate Josue, and the most holy Levi, and Gedeon, and Samson; and let us sing: Blessed art thou, O God of our fathers!

Let us celebrate the memory of that group of fathers so loved of God, Baruch and Nathan and Eleazar; Josias, David, Jephte, and Samuel who had the vision of what had passed, and cried out: Lot every creature bless the Lord!

Lot our melodies praise God’s prophets, celebrating Osee, Micheas, Sophonias, Habacuc, Zacharias, Jonas, Aggeus, Amos, Abdias, Malachias, Nahum, Isaias, Jeremias, Ezechiel, Daniel, Elias, Eliseus.

By thy power, O Lord, virtuous exploits were achieved by those magnanimous women, our sisters, Anna, Judith, Debbora, Olda, Jahel, Esther, Sara, Mary, sister of Moses, Rachel, Rebecca and Ruth.

Come, all ye people, let us, with faith, give praise to the fathers who were before the Law; let us celebrate the festive memory of Abraham and them that are with him; let us give due honour to the tribe of Juda; let us celebrate the children who quenched the fiery furnace in Babylon, the blessed three, the type of the Trinity, and with them Daniel; let us hold fast to the oracles of the prophets, and with Isaias sing with a loud voice: Lo! a Virgin shall conceive in her womb and shall bring forth a Son, Emmanuel, that is, God with us.

A responsory for Lent
(The Roman breviary, first Sunday of Advent, at Matins)

R. Adspiciens a longe, ecco video potentiam Dei venientem et nebulam totam terram tegentem: * Ite obviam ei, et dicite: * Nuncia nobis si tu es ipse, * Qui regnaturus es in populo Israel.

V. Quique terrigenæ et filii hominum, simul in unum dives et pauper,

* Ite obviam ei et dicite,

V. Qui regis Israel intende, qui deducis velut ovem Joseph,

* Nuncia nobis si tu es ipse.

V. Tollite portas, principes, vestras, et elevamini, portæ ætern ales, et introibit Rex gloriæ.

* Qui regnaturus es in populo Israel.
R. Looking afar off, lo! I see the power of God coming and a cloud that covereth the whole earth: * Go ye out to meet him and say: Tell us, if thou be he, * Who art to rule over the people of Israel.

V. All ye that are earthborn and children of men, both rich and poor together,

* Go ye out to meet him, and say:

V. Give ear, O thou that rulest Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep,

* Tell us if thou be he.

V. Lift up your gates, O ye princes; and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of glory shall enter in.

* Who art to rule over the people of Israel.

[1] Ecclus. xliv. 1.
[2] Heb. xi. 39, 40.
[3] Gen. xlix. 32.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Of the saints whose feasts are kept during Advent, five are virgins. The first, St. Bibiana, whom we honour to-day, is a daughter of Rome; the second, St. Barbara, is the glory of the eastern Churches; the third, St. Eulalia of Merida, is one of Spain’s richest treasures; the fourth, St. Lucy, belongs to beautiful Sicily; the fifth, St. Odilia, is claimed by France. These five wise virgins lighted their lamps and watched, waiting for the coming of the Spouse. Such was their constancy and fidelity, that four of them shed their blood for the love of Him, after whom they longed. Let us take courage by this noble example; and since we have not, as the apostle expresses it, as yet resisted unto blood, let us not think it hard if we suffer fatigue and trouble in the holy exercises of this penitential season of Advent: He, for whom we do them all, will soon be with us and repay us. To-day, it is the chaste and courageous Bibiana, who instructs us by her glorious example.

Bibiana, virgo Romana, nobili genere nata, Christiana fide nobilior fuit. Ejus enim pater Flavianus sub Juliano apostata impiissimo tyranno expræfectus, servilibusque notis compunctus, ad Aquas Taurinas deportatus, martyr occubuit. Mater Dafrosa, et ftliæ primum condusse domi, ut inedia conficerentur; mox relegata mater extra urbem capite plexa est. Mortuis autem piis parentibus, Bibiana cum sorore sua Demetria bonis omnibus spoliatur. Apronianus, urbis prætor, pecuniis inhians, sorores persequitur, quas humana prorsus ope destitutas, Deo mirabiliter, qui dat escam esurientibus, enutriente, quum vivaciores vegetioresque conspexisset, vehementer est admiratus.

Suadet nihilominus Apronianus, ut venerentur deos Gentium; amissas ideo opes, imperatoris gratiam, præclarissimas nuptias consecuturae. Si secus fecerint, minatur carceres, virgas, secures. At illæ neque blanditiis neque minis a recta fide declinantes, paratæ potius mori, quam fœdari moribus ethnicorum, prætoris impietatem constantissime detestantur. Quare Demetria ob oculos Bibianæ repente corruens, obdormivit in Domino: et Bibiana Rufinæ mulieri vaferrimae seducenda traditur: quæ ab incunabulis edocta Christianas leges, et illibatum servare virginitatis florem, seipsa fortior, feminæ superavit insidias, et prætoris astus delusit.

Nihil autem proficiente Rufina, quæ praeter dolosa verba, illam quotidie verberibus affligebat, ut de sancto proposito dimoveret, spe sua frustratus prætor, accensus ira, quod in Bibiana perdidisset operam, a lictoribus eam denudari, vinctisque manibus columnæ alligari, eam que plumbatis cædi jubet donec efflaret animam. Cujus sacrum corpus objectum canibus biduo jacuit in foro Tauri, illaesum tamen, et divinitus servatum: quod deinde Joannes presbyter sepelivit noctu juxta sepulchrum sororis et matris ad palatium Licinianum, ubi usque in præsens extat ecclesia Deo, sanctæ Bibianæ nomine dicata; quam Urbanus octavus instauravit, sanctarum Bibianæ, Demetriæ et Dafrosæ corporibus in ea repertis, et sub ara maxima collocatis.
Bibiana was a Roman virgin, noble by birth, but more noble by her profession of the Christian faith. For under the most wicked tyrant Julian the apostate, Flavian, her father, was deprived of his dignity of prefect, and being branded with the mark of slavery, he was banished to Aquae Taurinae, and there died a martyr. Her mother, Dafrosa, was first shut up in her own house with her daughters, that she might die by starvation; but shortly afterwards was banished from Rome and beheaded. The virtuous parents thus put to death, Bibiana was deprived of all her possessions, as also was her sister, Demetria. Apronianus, the city prætor, thirsting after their wealth, persecutes the two sisters. They are bereaved of every human help. But God, who gives food to them that are in hunger, wonderfully nourishes them; and the prætor is exceedingly astonished on finding them in better health and strength than before.

Apronianus, notwithstanding, endeavours to induce them to venerate the gods of the Gentiles. If they consent, he promises them the recovery of all their wealth, the emperor’s favour, and marriage to the noblest in the empire: but should they refuse, he threatens them with prison and scourgings, and the sword. But neither promises nor threats can make them abandon the true faith; they would rather die than be defiled by the idolatrous practices of paganism; and they resolutely resist the impious prætor. Whereupon, Demetria was struck down in the presence of Bibiana, and slept in the Lord. Bibiana was delivered over to a woman by name Rufina, who was most skilled in the art of seduction. But the virgin, taught from her infancy to observe the Christian law, and to preserve with the utmost jealousy the flower of her virginity, rose above nature, defeated all the artifices of the wretched Rufina, and foiled the craft of the prætor.

Finding, therefore, that Rufina could in no wise shake the virgin’s holy resolution, and that both her wicked words and frequent blows were of no avail; and seeing his hopes disappointed and his labour thrown away; the prætor became violently enraged, and ordered Bibiana to be stripped by the lictors, to be fastened to a pillar with her hands bound, and to be beaten to death with leaded whips. Her sacred body was left for two days in the Bull-Forum, as food for dogs; but received no injury, being divinely preserved. A priest called John then buried it during the night, close to the grave of her sister and mother, near the palace of Licinius, where there stands at this day a church consecrated to God under the title of St. Bibiana. Urban VIII. restored this church, having there discovered the bodies of saints Bibiana, Demetria, and Dafrosa, which he placed under the high altar.

Holy Bibiana, most wise virgin! thou hast gone through the long unbroken watch of this life; and when! suddenly, the Spouse came, thy lamp was bright and richly fed with oil. Now thou art dwelling in the abode of the eternal marriage-feast, where the Beloved feeds among the lilies. Remember us who are still living in the expectation of that same divine Spouse, whose eternal embrace is secured to thee for ever. We are awaiting the birth of the Saviour of the world, which is to be the end of sin and the beginning of justice; we are awaiting the coming of this Saviour into our souls, that He may give them life and union with Himself by love; we are awaiting our Judge, the Judge of the living and the dead. Most wise virgin! intercede for us, by thy fervent prayers, with this our Saviour, our Spouse, and our Judge; pray that each of these three visits may work and perfect in us that divine union, for which we have all been created. Pray also, G faithful virgin, for the Church on earth, which gave thee to the Church in heaven, and which so devoutly watches over thy precious remains. Obtain for her that strict fidelity, which will ever render her worthy of Him, who is her Spouse as He is thine. Though He has enriched her with the most magnificent gifts, and given her confidence by His promises which cannot fail, yet does He wish her to ask, and us to ask for her, the graces which will lead her to the glorious destiny which awaits her.

We will to-day consider the state of nature at this season of the year. The earth is stripped of her wonted verdure, the flowers are gone, the fruits are fallen, the leaves are torn from the trees and scattered by the wind, and every living thing stiffens with the cold. It seems as though the hand of death had touched creation. We see the sun rise after the long night of his absence; and scarcely have we felt his warmth at noon, than he sets again, and leaves us in the chilly darkness. Each day he shortens his visit. Is the world to become sunless, and are men to live out the rest of life in gloom? The old pagans, who witnessed this struggle between light and darkness, and feared the sun was going to leave them, dedicated the twenty-fifth day of December, the winter solstice, to the worship of the sun. After this day their hopes revived on seeing the glorious luminary again mounting up in the sky, and gradually regaining his triumphant position.

We Christians can have no such feelings as these; our light is the true faith, which tells us that there is a Sun to be sought for which never sets, and is never eclipsed. Having Him, we care little for the absence of any other brightness; nay, all other light, without Him, can only lead us astray. O Jesus! Thou true light, that enlightenest every man coming into this world! Thou didst choose, for Thy birth among us, a time of the year which forces us to reflect upon the miserable state of the world when Thou didst come to save it. ‘The evening was coming on, and the day was far spent,’ says St. Bernard: 'the Sun of justice had all but set, so that exceeding scanty was His light or warmth on earth: for the light of divine knowledge was very faint, and, sin abounding, the heat of charity had grown cold. There was neither angel to visit men, nor prophet to speak to them; both seemed in despair, for the hardness and obstinacy of man had made every effort useless: then I said —they are the words of our Redeemer—then I said, lo! I come!’[1] O Jesus! O Sun of justice! give us a clear knowledge of what the world is without Thee; what our understanding is without Thy light; and what our heart, without Thy divine heat. Open Thou the eyes of our faith; that whilst seeing with the eyes of the body the gradual decrease of the material light, we may think of that other darkness, which is in the soul that has not Thee. Then, indeed, will the cry which comes from the depths of our misery make its way to Thee, and Thou wilt come on the day Thou hast fixed, dispelling every shadow of darkness by Thy irresistible brightness.

Prayer for the Time of Advent
(The Mozarabic breviary, Wednesday of the second week of Advent, Capitula)

Domine, Jesu Christe, qui assumpto homine, hominum susceptor effectus, in lucem gentium datus es; aperi oculos cordium in te credentium populorum, atque abstrahe misericors de conclusione religatos adhuc vinculis diffidentiæ: et quos in domo carceris detineri conspicis in tenebris ignorantiæ, tuæ, quæsumus, scientiæirradies splendore.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who having assumed human nature, and becoming the Saviour of the human race, wast given as a light to the nations; open the eyes of the hearts of them that believe in thee, and mercifully set free from their prison them that are bound in the fetters of unbelief; and whom thou seest captives in prison in the darkness of ignorance, enlighten them, we beseech thee, by the splendour of the knowledge of thee.

[1] First Sermon of Advent.

From Dom Gueranger's The Liturgical Year.

The apostles being the heralds of the coming of the Messias, it was fitting that Advent should have in its calendar the name of some one among them. Divine Providence has provided for this; for, to say nothing of St. Andrew, whose feast is oftentimes past before the season of Advent has commenced, St. Thomas’s day is unfailingly kept immediately before Christmas. We will explain, later on, why St. Thomas holds that position rather than any other apostle; at present, we simply assert the fitness of there being at least one of the apostolic college, who should announce to us, in this period of the Catholic cycle, the coming of the Redeemer. But God has not wished that the first apostolate should be the only one to appear on the first page of the liturgical calendar; great also, though in a lower degree, is the glory of that second apostolate, whereby the bride of Jesus Christ multiplies her children, even in her fruitful old age, as the psalmist expresses it.[1] There are Gentiles who have still to be evangelized; the coming of the Messias is far from having been announced to all nations. Now of all the valiant messengers of the divine Word who have, during the last few hundred years, proclaimed the good tidings among infidel nations, there is not one whose glory is greater, who has worked greater wonders, or who has shown himself a closer imitator of the first apostles, than the modern apostle of the Indies, St. Francis Xavier.

The life and apostolate of this wonderful man were a great triumph for our mother the holy Catholic Church; for St. Francis came just at a period when heresy, encouraged by false learning, by political intrigues, by covetousness, and by all the wicked passions of the human heart, seemed on the eve of victory. Emboldened by all these, this enemy of God spoke, with the deepest contempt, of that ancient Church which rested on the promises of Jesus Christ; it declared that she was unworthy of the confidence of men, and dared even to call her the harlot of Babylon, as though the vices of her children could taint the purity of the mother. God’s time came at last, and He showed Himself in His power: the garden of the Church suddenly appeared rich in the most admirable fruits of sanctity. Heroes and heroines issued from that apparent barrenness; and whilst the pretended reformers showed themselves to be the most wicked of men, two countries, Italy and Spain, gave to the world the most magnificent saints.

One of these is brought before us to-day, claiming our love and our praise. The calendar of the liturgical year will present to us, from time to time, his contemporaries and his companions in divine grace and heroic sanctity. The sixteenth century is, therefore, worthy of comparison with any other age of the Church. The so-called reformers of those times gave little proof of their desire to convert infidel countries, when their only zeal was to bury Christianity beneath the ruin of her churches. But at that very time, a society of apostles was offering itself to the Roman Pontiff, that he might send them to plant the true faith among people who were sitting in the thickest shades of death. But, we repeat, not one of these holy men so closely imitated the first apostles as did Francis, the disciple of Ignatius. He had all the marks and labours of an apostle: an immense world of people evangelized by his zeal, hundreds of thousands of infidels baptized by his indefatigable ministration, and miracles of every kind, which proved him, to the infidel, to be marked with the sign which they received who, living in the flesh, planted the Church, as the Church speaks in her liturgy. So that, in the sixteenth century, the east received from the ever holy city of Rome an apostle, who, by his character and his works, resembled those earlier ones sent her by Jesus Himself. May our Lord Jesus be for ever praised for having vindicated the honour of the Church, His bride, by raising up Francis Xavier, and giving to men, in this His servant, a representation of what the first apostles were, whom He sent to preach the Gospel when the whole world was pagan.

Let us now read the short account given us, in the words of the Church, of this new apostle.

Franciscus in Xaverio diœcesis Pampelonensis nobilibus parentibus natus, Parisiis sancto Ignatio sese comitem et discipulum junxit. Ipso magistro, eo brevi devenit, ut in rerum divinarum contemplatione defixus a terra aliquando sublimis elevaretur: quod illi sacrificanti coram populi multitudine aliquoties evenit. Has animi delicias magnis sui corporis cruciatibus merebatur. Nam, interdicto sibi, non camis solum et vini, sed panis quoque triticei usu, vilibus cibis vesci solitus, per biduum subinde triduumque omni prorsus alimento abstinuit. Ferreis in se flagellis ita sæviit, ut sæpe copioso cruore difflueret: somnum brevissimum humi jacens capiebat.

Vitae austeritate, ac sanctitate apostolico muneri jam maturus, quum Joannes tertius Lusitaniae rex aliquot nascentis Societatis viros a Paulo tertio pro Indiis postulasset, Sancti Ignatii hortatu ab eodem Pontifice ad tantum opus cum apostolici nuncii potestate deligitur. Eo appulsus, illico variarum gentium difficillimis et variis linguis divinitus instructus apparuit. Quin eum quandoque unico idiomate ad diversas gentes condonantem, unaquaeque sua lingua loquentem audivit. Provincias innumeras pedibus semper, et saepe nudis, peragravit. Fidem Japoniæ et sex aliis regionibus invexit. Multa centena hominum millia ad Christum in Indiis convertit; magnosque principes, regesque complures sacro fonte expiavit. Et quum tam magna pro Deo ageret, ea erat humilitate, ut sancto Ignatio, tunc præposito suo, flexis genibus scriberet.

Hunc dilatandi Evangelii ardorem multitudine, et excellentia miraculorum Dominus roboravit. Caeco visum reddidit. Tantum marinæ aquæ signo crucis convertit in dulcem, quantum quingentis vectoribus, qui siti adigebantur ad mortem, diu suffecit. Qua in varias quoque regiones asportata, ægri plurimi subito curati sunt. Plures mortuos revocavit ad vitam, inter quos pridie sepultum erui jussum e tumulo suscitavit, duosque alios dum efferebantur, apprehensa eorum manu, parentibus e feretro vivos restituit. Prophetiae spiritu passim afflatus, plurima et loco et tempore remotissima enuntiavit. Demum in Sanciano Sinarum insula, die secunda Decembris obiit plenus meritis laboribusque confectus. Demortui cadaver viva calce per multos menses bis obrutum, sed penitus incorruptum, odore et sanguine manavit, et ubi Malacam delatum est, pestem sævissimam confestim exstinxit. Denique ubique terrarum novis maximisque fulgentem miraculis, Gregorius decimus quintus sanctis adscripsit. Pius autom decimus ipsum sodalitati et operi Propagandæ Fidei cœlestempatronum elegit atque constituit.

Francis was born of noble parents, at Xavier, in the diocese of Pampelona. Having gone to Paris, he there became the companion and disciple of Saint Ignatius. Under such a master, he arrived at so high a contemplation of divine things, as to be sometimes raised above the ground: which occasionally happened to him whilst saying Mass before crowds of people. He had merited these spiritual delights by his severe mortifications of the body; for he never allowed himself either flesh meat, or wine, or even wheaten bread, and ate only the coarsest food; he not unfrequently abstained, for the space of two or three days, from every sort of nourishment. He scourged himself so severely with disciplines, to which were fastened pieces of iron, as to be frequently covered with blood. His sleep, which he took on the ground, was extremely short.

Such austerity and holiness of life had fitted him for the labours of an apostle; so that when John III., king of Portugal, asked of Paul III. that some of the newlyfounded Society might be sent to the Indies, that Pontiff, by the advice of St. Ignatius, selected Francis for so important a work, and gave him the powers of apostolic nuncio. Having reached those parts, he was found to be, on a sudden, divinely gifted with the knowledge of the exceedingly difficult and varied languages of the several countries. It sometimes even happened, that whilst he was preaching in one language to the people of several nations, each heard him speaking in their own tongue. He travelled over innumerable provinces, always on foot, and not unfrequently bare-footed. He carried the faith into Japan, and six other countries. He converted to Christ many hundred thousands in the Indies, and baptized several princes and kings. And yet, though he was doing such great things for God, he was so humble, that he never wrote to St. Ignatius, then General of the Society, but on his knees.

God blessed this zeal for the diffusion of the Gospel by many and extraordinary miracles. The saint restored sight to a blind man. By the sign of the cross he changed sea-water into fresh, sufficient for many days, for a crew of five hundred men, who were dying from thirst. This water was afterwards taken into several countries, and being given to sick people, they were instantly cured. He raised several dead men to life; one of these had been buried on the previous day, so that the corpse had to be taken out of the grave; two others were being carried to the grave, when the saint took them by the hand, and, raising them from the bier, restored them to their parents. Being continually gifted with the spirit of prophecy, he foretold many future events, or such as were happening in most distant parts. At length, full of merit, and worn out by his labours, he died on the second day of December, in Saneian, an island off the coast of China. His corpse was twice buried in unslaked lime, but was found, after several months, to bo incorrupt: blood flowed from it, and it exhaled a pleasing fragrance: when it was brought to Malacca, it instantly arrested a raging pestilence. At length, fresh and extraordinary miracles being everywhere wrought through the intercession of the man of God, he was enrolled among the saints by Gregory XV; and Pope Pius X declared him heavenly patron of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and its work.

Glorious apostle of Jesus Christ, who didst impart His divine light to the nations that were sitting in the shadows of death! we, though unworthy of the name of Christians, address our prayers to thee, that by the charity which led thee to sacrifice everything for the conversion of souls, thou wouldst deign to prepare us for the visit of the Saviour, whom our faith and our love desire. Thou wast the father of infidel nations; be the protector, during this holy season, of them that believe in Christ. Before thy eyes had contemplated the Lord Jesus, thou didst make Him known to countless people; now that thou seest Him face to face, obtain for us that, when He is come, we may see Him with that simple and ardent faith of the Magi, those glorious first-fruits of the nations to which thou didst bear the admirable light.[2]

Remember also, O great apostle, those nations which thou didst evangelize, and where now, by a terrible judgement of God, the word of life has ceased to bring forth fruit. Pray for the vast empire of China, on which thou didst look when dying, but which was not blessed with thy preaching. Pray for Japan, thy dear garden which has been laid waste by the savage wild beast, of which the psalmist speaks. May the blood of the martyrs, which was poured out on that land like water, bring it the long-expected fertility. Bless, too, all the missions which our holy mother the Church has undertaken in those lands where the cross has not yet triumphed. May the heart of the infidel be opened to the grand simplicity and light of faith; may the seed bring forth fruit a hundred-fold; may the number of thy successors in the new apostolate ever increase; may their zeal and charity fail not; may their toil receive its reward of abundant fruit; and may the crown of martyrdom, which they receive, be not only the recompense but the perfection and the triumph of their apostolic ministry. Recommend to our Lord the innumerable members of that Association, which is the means of the faith being propagated through the world, and which has thee for its patron. Pray, with a filial affection and earnestness, for that holy Society, of which thou art so bright an ornament, and which reposes on thee its firmest confidence. May it more and more flourish under the storm of trial which never leaves it at rest; may it be multiplied, that so the children of God may be multiplied by its labours; may it ever have ready, for the service of the Christian world, zealous apostles and doctors; may it not be in vain that it bears the name of Jesus.

Let us consider the wretched condition of the human race, at the time of Christ’s coming into the world. The diminution of truths[3] is emphatically expressed by the little light which the earth enjoys at this season of the year. The ancient traditions are gradually becoming extinct; the Creator is not acknowledged, even in the very work of His hands; everything has been made God, except the God who made all things. This frightful pantheism produces the vilest immorality, both in society at large, and in individuals. There are no rights acknowledged, save that of might. Lust, avarice, and theft, are honoured by men in the gods of their altars. There is no such thing as family, for divorce and infanticide are legalized; mankind is degraded by a general system of slavery; nations are being exterminated by endless wars. The human race is in the last extreme of misery; and unless the hand that created it reform it, it must needs sink a prey to crime and bloodshed. There are indeed some few just men still left upon the earth, and they struggle against the torrent of universal degradation; but they cannot save the world; the world despises them, and God will not accept their merits as a palliation of the hideous leprosy which covers the earth. All flesh has corrupted its way, and is more guilty than even in the days of the deluge: and yet, a second destruction of the universe would but manifest anew the justice of God; it is time that a deluge of His divine mercy should flood the universe, and that He who made man, should come down and heal him. Come then, O eternal Son of God! give life again to this dead body; heal all its wounds; purify it; let grace superabound, where sin before abounded; and having converted the world to Thy holy law, Thou wilt have proved to all ages that Thou, who camest, wast in very truth the Word of the Father; for as none but a God could create the world, so none but the same omnipotent God could save it from satan and sin, and restore it to justice and holiness.

A Responsory in Advent
(The Roman breviary, fourth Sunday of Advent)

R. Intuemini quantus sit iste, qui ingreditur ad salvandas gentes: ipse est Rex justitiæ, * Cujus generatio non habet finem.

V. Praecursor pro nobis ingreditur, secundum ordinem Melchisedech Pontifex factus in aeternum; * Cujus generatio non habet finem.
R. Behold! how great is he that cometh in to save the nations; he is the King of justice, * Whose generation hath no end.

V. He comes in as our precursor, made Priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech; * Whose generation hath no end.

[1] Ps. xci. 15.
[2] 1 St. Peter ii. 9.
[3] Ps. xi. 2.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The same divine Providence, which would not that the Church should be deprived of the consolation of keeping, during Advent, the feast of some of the apostles, who announced to the Gentiles the coming of the Messias, has also willed that the holy doctors, who defended the true faith against heretics, should be represented in this important season of the Ca holic year. Two of them, Saint Ambrose and Saint Peter Chrysologus, shine as two brilliant stars in the firmament of the Church during Advent. It is worthy of note, that both of them were the zealous avengers of that Son of God whom we are preparing to receive. The first was the valiant opponent of the Arians, whose impious doctrine taught that Jesus, the object of our hopes, is merely a creature and not God; the second was the adversary of Eutyches, whose sacrilegious system robs the Incarnation of the Son of God of all its glory, by asserting that, in this mystery, the human nature was absorbed by the Divinity.

It is this second doctor, the holy bishop of Ravenna, that we are to honour to-day. His pastoral eloquence gained for him a great reputation, and a great number of his sermons have been handed down to us. In almost every page we find passages of the most exquisite beauty, though we also occasionally meet with indications of the decay of literature, which began in the fifth century. The mystery of the Incarnation is a frequent subject of the saint’s sermons, and he always speaks upon it with a precision and enthusiasm, which show his learning and piety. His veneration and love towards Mary, the Mother of God, who, in that very age, had triumphed over her enemies by the decree of the Council of Ephesus, inspire him with thoughts and language which are extremely fine. Let us take a passage from the sermon on the Annunciation. ‘God sends to the Virgin an angelic messenger, who, whilst he brings graces, gives her the entrusted pledge, and receives hers. Then does Gabriel return with Mary’s plighted troth. But, before ascending to heaven, there to tell the consent promised him by the Virgin, he delivers to her the gifts due to her virtues. Swiftly does this ambassador fly to the bride, that he may assert God’s claim to her as His own. Gabriel takes her not from Joseph, but he restores her to Christ, to whom she was espoused when she was first formed in the womb.[1] Christ, therefore, did but take His own, when He thus made Mary His bride. It is not a separation that He thus produces, but a union with Himself of His own creature by becoming Incarnate in her womb.

‘But let us hearken to the angel’s words. Being come in, he said unto her: Hail, full of grace! the Lord is with thee! These words are not a mere salutation; they convey the heavenly gift. Hail! that is, Take, O Mary, the grace I bring thee; fear not; this is not the work of nature. Full of grace! that is, thou art not in grace as others are; thou art to be filled with it. The Lord is with thee!What means this, but that He is coming to thee not merely to visit thee, but to enter within thee by the new mystery of becoming thy Child? Blessed art thou among women. How fittingly does he add these words! They imply, that they who heretofore were mothers with the curse of Eve upon them, now have the blessed Mary as their joy, and honour, and type: and whereas Eve was by nature the mother of children of death, Mary is by grace the mother of children of life.’[2]

In the following passage from another sermon, the holy doctor teaches us with what profound veneration we ought to contemplate Mary during these days when God is still residing in her womb. ‘What reverence and awe are shown to that inner chamber of a king, where he sits in all the majesty of his power! Therein no man may enter that is a stranger, or unclean, or unfaithful. The usages of courts require, that when men come to pay their homage, everything must be the best, and fairest, and most loyal. Who would go to the palace-gate in rags? Who would go, that knew he was odious to the prince? So it is with the sanctuary of the divine Spouse. No one is permitted to come nigh, but he that is of God’s family, and is intimate, and has a good conscience, and has a fair name, and leads a holy life. Within the holy place itself God receives but the Virgin, and spotless virginity. Hence learn, O man, to examine thyself: who thou art, and what thou art, and what merits thou hast. Ask thyself, after this, if thou mayst dare to penetrate into the mystery of the birth of thy Lord, or canst be worthy to approach that living sanctuary, wherein reposes the whole majesty of thy King, and thy God.’[3] Let us now listen to our holy mother the Church, who thus speaks of our saint:

Petrus, qui ob auream ejus eloquentiam Chrysologi cognomen adeptus est, ForoCornelii in Æmilia honestis parentibus natus, a prima ætate animam ad religionem adjiciens, Cornelio Romano, tunc ejusdem urbis Corneliensis episcopo, operam dedit: a quo etiam scientia et vitæ sanctitate quum brevi profecisset, diaconus creatus est. Postmodum contigit, ut Ravennates ob mortem archipræsulis sui, alium, ut moris erat, ab eis electum, Romam ad sanctum Sixtum Papam tertium pro confirmatione miserint una cum legatis suis, et cum prædicto Cornelio, qui eumdem levitam secum perduxit. Interim sanctus Petrus apostolus, et martyr Apollinaris summo Pontifici in somnis apparuerunt, mediumque habentes hunc juvenem, jusserunt, ut illum et non alium, in archiepi8copum Ravennæ crearet. Hinc pontifex, mox ut vidit Petrum, cognovit eum a Domino Deo præelectum: propterea rejecto illo quem ipsi offerebant, hunc solum anno Christi quadringentesimo trigesimo tertio, illi metropolitanæ præfecit Ecclesiae. Quod quum legati Ravennatenses ægre ferrent, audita visione, divinæ voluntati libenter acquiescentes, novum archiepiscopum maxima cum reverentia susceperunt.

Petrus igitur, licet invitus, in archipræsulem consecratus Ravennam deducitur: ubi a Valentiniano imperatore, et a Galla Placidia ejus matre, et ab universo populo maxima lætitia exceptus est. Et ille ab eis id unum petere dixit, ut quando tantum oneris pro ipsorum salute subire non recusaret, studerent ipsi monitis suis obtemperare, divinisque præceptis non obsistere. Suorum sanctorum tunc ibi defunctorum corpora optimis unguentis condita sepelivit; Barbatiani videlicet presbyteri, et Germani Antissiodorensis episcopi, cujus etiam cucullam et cilicium sibi vindicavit in hæreditatem. Projectum et Marcellinum episcopos ordinavit. In Classe fontem exstruxit magnitudinis vero admirabilis, et templa quædam magnifica ædificavit, tum beato Andreæ apostolo, tum aliis sanctis. Ludos ab hominibus personatis cum variis saltationibus, Kalendis Januarii fieri solitos, concione cohibuit acerrima, ubi inter alia illud præclare dixit: Qui jocari voluerit cum diabolo, non poterit gaudere cum Christo. Jussu sancti Leonis Papæ primi scripsit ad Chalcedonense Concilium adversus hæresim Eutychetis. Respondit præterea ad Eutychen ipsum et alia epistola, quæ eidem Concilio in novis editionibus praefixa, et in annales ecclesiasticos rolata fuit.

Dum publice sermones haberet ad populum, adeo vehemens erat in dicendo, ut præ nimio ardore vox illi interdum defecerit: sicut contigit in concione mulieris hæmorrhoissæ. Unde Ravennates commoti, tot lacrymis, clamoribus et orationibus locum repleverunt, ut postea ipse gratias ageret Deo, quod in lucrum amoris verterit damnum ejusdem sermonis. Cum tandem annos circiter decem et octo eam Ecclesiam sanctissime rexisset, laborum suorum finem adesse divinitus praenoscens, in patriam se contulit; ubi sancti Cassiani templum ingressus, magnum diadema aureum, gemmis distinctum pretiosissimis offerens, super altare majus posuit; neenon aureum craterem et patenam argenteam, quam tum rabidi canis morsus, tum febres sanare expertum est, aqua inde demissa. Ex tunc Ravennates qui eumdem secuti fuerant dimisit, admonens, ut in eligendo optimo pastore invigilarent attente. Mox Deum humiliter precatus, et sanctum Cassianum patronum, ut benigne animam ejus exciperet, tertio Nonas Decembris, placide ex hac vita migravit, anno Domini circiter quadringentesimo quinquagesimo. Sacrum illius corpus communi totius civitatis fletu ac pietate prope corpus ejusdem sancti Cassiani honorifice conditum, nostris etiam temporibus religiose colitur: cujus tamen brachium, auro et gemmis ornatum, Ravennam delatum in Ursicana æde veneratur.
Peter, surnamed, for hia golden eloquence, Chrysologus, was born at Forum Cornelii (Imola) in Æmilia, of respectable parents. Turning his mind to religion from his childhood, he put himself under Cornelius, the bishop of that city, who was a Roman, In a short while he made such progress in learning and holiness of life, that, in due time, the bishop ordained him deacon. Not long after, it happened that the archbishop of Ravenna having died, the inhabitants of that city sent, as usual, to Rome the successor they had elected, that this election might be confirmed by the holy Pope Sixtus III. Cornelius, who was also sent in company with the deputies of Ravenna, took with him the young deacon. Meanwhile, the apostle Saint Peter, and the holy martyr Apollinaris, appeared to the Roman Pontiff in his sleep. They stood with the young levite between them, and ordered the Pontiff to create him, and none other, archbishop of Ravenna. The Pontiff, therefore, no sooner saw Peter than he recognized him as the one chosen by God; and rejecting the one presented to him, he appointed Peter to the metropolitan Church of that city, in the year of our Lord 433. At first, the deputies from Ravenna were dissatisfied at this decision of the Pope; but, having been told of the vision, they readily acquiesced in the divine will, and received the new archbishop with the greatest reverence.

Peter, therefore, being, though reluctant, consecrated archbishop, was conducted to Ravenna, where he was received with the greatest joy by the emperor Valentinian, and Galla Placidia the emperor’s mother, and the whole people. On his part, he told them that he asked of them but this, that since he had not refused this great burden for their salvation’s sake, they would make it their study to follow his counsels, and to obey the commandments of God. He then buried in the city the bodies of two saints, after having embalmed them with the most precious perfumes; Barbatian, a priest, was one; and the other, Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, whose cowl and hair-shirt he claimed as his own inheritance. He ordained Projectus and Marcellinus bishops. In the town of Classis he erected a fountain of an incredible size, and built some magnificent churches in honour of several saints, of Saint Andrew among the rest. The people had a custom of assisting at certain games, on the first day of January, which consisted of theatrical performances and dances; the saint repressed these by the severity with which he preached against them. One of his expressions deserves to be handed down: He that would play with the devil, can never enjoy the company of Jesus. At the command of Pope St. Leo I., he wrote to the Council of Chalcedon against the heresy of Eutyches. He answered Eutyches himself by another epistle, which has been added to the acts of that same Council in the new editions, and has been inserted in the ecclesiastical annals.

In his sermons to the people he was so earnest, that at times his voice completely failed him, as in his sermon on the woman healed by our Lord, as mentioned in the ninth chapter of St. Matthew; on which occasion his people of Ravenna were so affected, and so moved to tears, that the whole church rang with their sobbings and prayers, and the saint afterwards thanked God that he had turned the failure of his speech into the gain of so much love. After having governed that Church, in a most holy manner, about eighteen years, and having received a divine warning that his labours were soon to end, he withdrew to his native town. There he visited the church of St Cassian, and presented an offering of a largo golden diadem, set with most precious stones, which he placed upon the high altar: he also gave a golden cup, and a silver paten, which imparts to water poured on it the virtue of healing the bites of mad dogs, and of assuaging fevers, as frequent instances have attested. He then took leave of those who had accompanied him from Ravenna, admonishing them to spare no pains in electing for their pastor him who was the most worthy. Immediately after this he turned in humble prayer to God, that, through the intercession of his patron St. Cassian, he would mercifully receive his soul; and calmly passed out of this life, on the third of the Nones of December (Dec. 3), about the year 450. His holy body was buried, amidst the tears and prayers of the whole city, near the body of the same St. Cassian: there it is venerated even at this day; though Ravenna possesses and venerates one of the arms, which was enshrined in gold and gems and placed in the basilica Ursicana.

Holy pontiff, who didst open thy lips and pour out on the assembly of the faithful, in the streams of thy golden eloquence, the knowledge of Jesus, cast an eye of compassion on the Christians throughout the world, who are watching in expectation of that same God-Man, whose two Natures thou didst so courageously confess. Obtain for us grace to receive Him with the sovereign respect which is due to a God who comes down to His creatures, and with the loving confidence which is due to a Brother who comes to offer Himself in sacrifice for His most unworthy brethren. Strengthen our faith, most holy doctor! for the love we stand in need of comes from faith. Destroy the heresies which lay waste the vineyard of our Father; and uproot that frightful pantheism, which is the form under which the heresy thou didst combat is still among us. May the numerous Churches of the East abjure that heresy of Eutyches which reigns so supreme amongst them, and gives them the knowledge of the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation only to blaspheme it. Pray that the children of the Church may show to the judgements of the apostolic See that perfect obedience, to which thou didst so eloquently urge the heresiarch Eutyches, in the epistle thou didst address to him, and which will ever be precious to the world: ‘We exhort thee above all things, most honoured brother, that thou receive with obedience whatsoever has been written by the most blessed Pope of the city of Rome: for, blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own See, shows the truth of faith to all them that seek it.’ (Letter 25.)

[1] St. Peter Chrysologus here asserts the mystery of the Immaculate Conception. If Mary was espoused to the Son of God from the first moment of her existence, how could original sin ever have been upon her?
[2] Sermon 140.
[3] Sermon 141.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Although, in the Roman liturgy, St. Barbara is merely commemorated in the Office of St. Peter Chrysologus, yet the Church has approved an entire Office for the use of those Churches which honour the memory of this illustrious virgin in a special manner. The legend which follows, although of considerable weight, has not, consequently, the authority of those which are promulgated for the use of the whole Church, in the Roman breviary. Let us not, on this account, be less fervent in honouring this glorious martyr, so celebrated in the east, and whose feast has been for so many ages admitted, with more or less solemnity, into the Roman Church. The acts of her martyrdom, though not of the highest antiquity, contain nothing in them but what redounds to the glory of God and the honour of the saint. We have already shown the liturgical importance which attaches to St. Barbara in this season of Advent. Let us admire the constancy wherewith this virgin waited for her Lord, who came at the appointed hour, and was for her, as the Scripture speaks, a Spouse of blood, because He put the strength of her love of Him to the severest of all tests.

Barbara, virgo Nicomediensis, Dioscori nobilis sed superstitiosi hominis filia, per ea quæ visibilia facta sunt ad invisibilia, divina opitulante gratia, facile pervenit. Quapropter soli Deo rebusque divinis vacare cœpit. Eam pater, utpote forma venustiori nitentem, a quocumque virorum occursu tutari cupiens, turri inclusit: ubi pia virgo meditationibus et precibus addicta, soli Deo, quem sibi in sponsum elegerat, placere studebat. Oblata a patre pluries nobilium connubia fortiter sprevit. Pater vero per sui absentiam filiae animum posse facilius emolliri confidens, jussit primo balneum extrui, ne quid ei deesset ad commoditatem; deinde peregre in exteras regiones profectus est.

Absente patre, jussit Barbara duabus fenestris quæ in turri erant, tertiam addi in honorem divinæ Trinitatis, labiumque balnei sacrosanctæ crucis signo muniri: quod ubi rediens Dioscorus inspexit, audita novitatis causa, adeo in filiam excanduit ut stricto ense eam appetens, parum abfuerit ut eam dire confoderet; sed præsto adfuit Deus; nam fugienti Barbaræ saxum ingens se patefaciens viam aperuit, per quam montis fastigium petere, et sic in specu latere potuit; sed paulo post quum a nequissimo genitore reperta fuisset, ejus latera pedibus dorsumque pugnis immaniter percussit, et crinibus per loca aspera difficilesque vias raptatam Marciano præsidi puniendam tradidit. Itaque ab ipso omnibus modis, sed incassum tentata nudam nervis cædi et inflicta vulnera testulis confricari, deinde in carcerem trahi præcepit: ubi immensa luce circumdatus ei Christus apparens, mirifice confortatam in passionum tolerantia confirmavit: quod animadvertens Juliana matrona, ad fidem conversa ejusdem palmæ particeps effecta est.

Barbaræ demum ferreis unguibus membra laniantur, facibus latera incenduntur, et malleolis caput contunditur: quibus in cruciatibus consortem solabatur, et hortabatur ut ad finem usque constanter certaret. Præcisis tandem utrique uberibus, nudæ per loca publica tractæ, filiæque cervicem ipse scelestissimus pater, humanitatis expers, propriis manibus amputavit; cujus fera crudelitas non diu inulta remansit; nam statina eo ipso in loco fulmine percussus interiit. Corpus hujus beatissimæ virginis Justinus Imperator Nicomedia auferens, Constantinopolim primum transportavit. Illud idem, cum in progressu temporis ab Imperatoribus Constantino et Basilio impetrassent Veneti, Constantinopoli deductum in sancti Marci basilica fuit deinde solemniter collocatum. Postremo et ultimo, supplicantibus Torcellano episcopo ejusque sorore abbatissa, ad ecclesiam monialium Sancti Joannis Evangelistæ Torcellanæ diœcesis, anno salutis millesimo nono defertur: ubi et honorifice conditum, perpetuo cultu ad præsens usque tempus summopere veneratur.
Barbara, a virgin of Nicomedia, the daughter of Dioscorus, a nobleman but a superstitious pagan, came readily, by the assistance of divine grace, from the contemplation of the visible things of creation to the knowledge of the invisible. Wherefore, she devoted herself to God alone and to the things of God. Her father, desirous to preserve her from all danger of insult, to which he feared her great beauty might expose her, shut her up in a tower. There the pious virgin passed her days in meditation and prayer, studying to please God alone, whom she had chosen as her Spouse. She courageously rejected several offers of marriage, which were made to her, through her father, by rich nobles. But her father hoped that, by separating himself by a long absence from his child, her intentions would easily change. He first ordered that a bath should be built for her in the tower, so that she might want for nothing; and then he set out on a journey into distant countries.

During her father’s absence, Barbara ordered that to the two windows already in the tower a third should be added, in honour of the blessed Trinity; and that on the edge of the bath the sign of the most holy cross should be drawn. When Dioscorus returned home, and saw these changes, and was told their meaning, he became so incensed against his daughter, that he went in search of her with a naked sword in his hand, and, but for the protection of God, he would have cruelly murdered her. Barbara had taken to flight: an immense rock opened before her, and she found a path by which she reached the top of a mountain, and there she hid herself in a cave. Not long after, however, she was discovered by her unnatural father, who savagely kicked and struck her, and dragging her by the hair over the sharp rocks, and rugged ways, he handed her over to the governor Marcian, that he might punish her. He, therefore, having used every means to shake her constancy, and finding that all was in vain, gave orders for her to be stripped and scourged with thongs, to have her wounds scraped with potsherds, and then to be dragged to prison. There Christ, surrounded by an immense light, appearing to her, strengthened her in a divine manner for the sufferings she was yet to endure. A matron, named Juliana, who witnessed this, was converted to the faith, and became her companion in martyrdom.

At length Barbara had her body tom with iron hooks, her sides burnt with torches, and her head bruised with mallets. During these tortures she consoled her companion, and exhorted her to fight manfully to the last. Both of them had their breasts cut off, were dragged naked through the streets, and beheaded. The head of Barbara was cut off by her own father, who in his excessive wickedness had hardened his heart thus far. But his ferocious cruelty was not long left unpunished, for instantly, and on the very spot, he was struck dead by lightning. The emperor Justinus had the body of this most holy virgin translated from Nicomedia to Constantinople. It was afterwards obtained by the Venetians from the emperors Constantine and Basil; and having been translated from Constantinople to Venice, was deposited with great solemnity in the basilica of St. Mark. Lastly, at the earnest request of the bishop of Torcello and his sister, who was abbess, it was translated in the year of grace 1009, to the nuns’ church of St. John the Evangelist, in the diocese of Torcello; where it was placed in a worthy sepulchre, and from that time has never ceased to be the object of most fervent veneration.

Such is the account of the life and martyrdom of the courageous virgin of Nicomedia. She is invoked in the Church against lightning, on account of the punishment inflicted by divine justice on her execrable father. This same incident of the saint’s history has suggested several Catholic customs: thus her name is sometimes given to the hold of men-of-war where the ammunition is stowed; she is the patroness of artillery men, miners, etc.; and she is invoked by the faithful against the danger of a sudden death.

Of the liturgical pieces, used in our western Churches in honour of St. Barbara, we will content ourselves with the following beautiful antiphon, composed in the days of chivalry.


O divinæ bonitatis immensa dementia, quae Barbaram illustravit vero claritatis lumine, ut terrenae dignitatis contempto splendore, divinitatisconscia effici mereretur: hæc velut lilium inter spinis enituit, et lux in tenebris eluxit. Alleluia.
O immeasurable mercy of divine goodness, which did enlighten Barbara with the brightness of the true light, making her worthy, by her contempt for what was dazzling in earthly grandeur, to be admitted to a union with God! As the lily among thorns, as light in darkness, so shone Barbara. Alleluia.

The Greek Church is profuse in its praises of St. Barbara. We will take from the Menæa a few out of the many strophes which are sung in honour of the holy martyr:

Hymn of the Greek Church

Quando coram te, veneranda martyr Barbara, dulcis mors apparuit, gaudens et festinans cursum complevisti, impiique genitoris injustis manibus sacrificata es, et Deo oblata es victima: unde vere prudentium virginum conjuncta choris, tui Sponsi contemplaris splendorem.

Agna tua, Jesu, magna voce clamat: Te, Sponse mi, desidero, et quærens te pugno, et confixa sum et consepulta tuo baptismati, et patior propter te, ut regnemtecum; et morior pro te, ut et vivam in te: igitur ut sacrificium irreprehensibile suscipe amanter sacrificatam tibi. Illius precibus, ut misericors, salva animas nostras.

E spinosa exorta radice, rosa sacratissima, Ecclesiam suaviter inodorans, te rubore prælii per sanguinem purpuratam, gloriosa Barbara, nunc dignissime beatam celebramus.

Non deliciarum jucunditas, non pulchritudinis flos, neque divitiæ, neque juventutis voluptates te mulserunt, Barbara gloriosa, Christo desponsata, pulcherrima virgo.

In certamine tuo omnes obstupefecisti; nam tolerasti tyrannorum cruciatus, vincula, tormenta, Barbara celeberrima; quapropter et corona Deus te donavit quam desiderasti: cum animo cucurristi, et ille sanam te fecit.

Sponsum tuum Christum adamata, lampadis tuse fulgore præparato, virtutibus refulsisti, laude digna: unde ingressa es cum eo ad nuptias, ab eo recipiens certaminis coronam: sed a periculis libera nos celebrantes, Barbara, tui memoriam.

Tribus ostiolis lavacrum illustrari jubens mystice indicasti Baptisma, O Barbara, Trinitatis lumine animabus splendidam suppetens purgationem.

Furore terribili patris declinato, Barbaram statim se scindens mons recepit, ut olim illustrem protomartyrem Theclam, miraculum operante Christo.

Gladio te, martyr Barbara, immolans pater, Abraham alter, sed diabolo favit.

Apparuit Christus in lumine inaccessibili tibi inclusæ, O Barbara, in carcere, ut confidentem te incitans et vibices sanans et lætitiam præbens: unde alas accepisti Sponsi tui amore.

Angelus fulgidus te, propter Christum denudatam veneranda Barbara, vestivit, ut sponsam, veste splendida quæ vulnera texit; stolam enim induisti divinam afferentem mutationem.

Demonstrata est evidenter, Christe, prophetia tua adimpleta: pater namque filiam ad caedem tradit, ipse artifex jugulationis; qui improbus genitor tuæ martyris stupendo modo e cœlo igne consumitur.

Athleticam ingressa viam, paternam renuisti voluntatem, tota honorabilis, et virgo quidem sapiens lampadem ferens, egressa es ad mansiones Domini tui; et ut martyr generosa, gratiam accepisti sanandi carnis putidam pestilentiam: et nos hymnificantes te spiritualibus doloribus libera, tuis ad Deum precibus.
When welcome death came before thee, O venerable martyr Barbara! joyously and nimbly didst thou run thy course, and being immolated by the wicked hands of an impious parent, thou wast offered a victim to God. Now, therefore, art thou in the choir of the truly wise virgins, and contemplatest the beauty of thy Spouse.

This lamb of thine, O Jesus, cries to thee with a loud voice: Thee, O my Spouse, do I desire, thee do I seek by my combat; I am immolated and buried in thy baptism; I suffer for thee, that I may reign with thee; I die for thee, that I may live in thee; receive me, therefore, as an unreserved sacrifice lovingly sacrificed to thee. Save our souls, O merciful Jesus, by her prayers.

Glorious Barbara! most sacred rose grown out of a thorny stem, sweetly perfuming the Church, and ruddy by the blood of thy battle! we this day most fervently proclaim thee blessed.

Neither the sweetness of luxury, nor the flower of beauty, nor riches, nor the pleasures of youth, could rob thee of thy energy, O glorious Barbara, most fair virgin, espoused to Christ.

All stood in amazement at witnessing thy combat; for thou didst endure the tortures, and chains, and cruelties, of thy persecutors, O Barbara, of wide-world fame! Therefore, did God give thee the crown thou didst covet; thou didst run thy course with courage, and he healed thee.

Full of love for Jesus thy Spouse, thy bright lamp was well trimmed, and thy virtues shed forth their splendour, O virgin worthy of praise! Therefore didst thou enter in with Christ to the marriage-feast, and he wreathed thee with the crown of thy combat. We celebrate thy memory, O Barbara! Deliver us from danger.

By those three apertures, which thou wouldst have to thy bath, thou didst symbolize, O Barbara, the mystery of Baptism, which, by the light of the Trinity, imparts to our souls a cleansing that illuminates.

Fleeing the terrible violence of her father, a rock immediately opened a reception of safety to Barbara, as happened heretofore to the illustrious protomartyr of her sex, Thecla, for whom Christ worked a like miracle.

O martyr Barbara! thou wast sacrificed with a sword, by thy father; like in this to Abraham, but his devotedness was to the devil.

Jesus appeared to thee, O Barbara, in thy prison: he was surrounded by light inaccessible, but he came to animate thy confidence, heal thy wounds and make thee glad: this gave wings to thy love of thy Lord.

When for Christ’s sake thou wast stripped of thy garments, O venerable Barbara! a bright angel clothed thee, as a bride, with a splendid robe, which covered thy wounds; for thou hast put on the stole which gives creatures a divine transformation.

Thy prophecy, O Christ, has been evidently fulfilled: for the father delivers his daughter up to death, nay himself becomes her murderer; but this cruel parentof thy martyr is, in a wonderful manner, consumed by fire from heaven.

Thou, most honoured virgin, having entered the path of combatants, didst resist thy father’s demands, and, as a wise virgin bearing her lamp, thou didst go into the mansions of thy Lord; he gave thee, O generous martyr, the power to drive away pestilence; pray to God for us who hymn thy praises, and deliver us from our spiritual diseases.

To this the voice of so many Churches we join ours, O faithful virgin! and though we are unworthy, yet do we offer thee our praise and our prayers. Behold! our Lord cometh, and the darkness of the night is upon us; give to our lamp both the light which will guide us, and the oil which will keep in the light. Thou knowest that He who came for love of thee, and with whom thou art now united for all eternity, is coming to visit us too; pray for us that nothing may keep us from receiving Him. May we go towards Him courageously and swiftly as thou didst; and being once with Him, may we never be separated from Him again, for He is the centre where we creatures find our only rest. Pray also, O glorious martyr, that the faith in the blessed Trinity may be ever increasing in this world. May our enemy, satan, be confounded by every tongue confessing the threefold light, and the triumphant cross which sanctifies the waters of Baptism. Remember, O blessed Barbara, thou bride of Jesus, that He has put in thy gentle hands the power not of hurling, but of staying and averting, the thunderbolt. Protect our ships against the fires of heaven and of war. Shield by thy protection the arsenals where are placed the defences of our country. Hear the prayers of them that invoke thee, whether in the fierceness of the storm, or in the dark depths of the earth; and save us all from the awful chastisement of a sudden death.

Let us consider how the various nations on the face of the earth, though differing in customs, and speech, and interests, are all united in the expectation of a Deliverer soon to come. Neither the frightful corruption of morals, nor the long ages which have passed since the promises were given, have been able to efface the tradition, or the hope it inspired. At the very time when the world seems crumbling into dissolution, a strong symptom of vigour is evinced, and from one end of the earth to the other there is heard this cry: The King of the universe is soon to appear; a new empire, holy and everlasting, is to bring all peoples into one. It is thus, O Jesus! that Jacob prophesied on his dying bed, when he said, speaking of Thee: 'He shall be the expectation of nations.’[1] Men have, indeed, searched after, and found, the way to the lowest degradation; but they could not prevent the fulfilment of this prophecy: and by their expectation of a happier state of things, they themselves fulfil it; and by fulfilling it, are confessing that their misery has no remedy save Thyself. Come, then, O Son of God! and cherish this ray of hope of the ancient world, which renders Thee this its only homage, even whilst falling under the weight of its own wretchedness. The expectation of a Deliverer is the bond of union between the two great divisions of the human race, those who preceded and those who have lived since Thy Nativity. But if the pagan world, from the depth of its vices and errors, could sigh after Thee, O Jesus! what shall we not do, who have inherited what was promised, now that Thou art preparing to come and take possession of our souls? We already know Thee, for Thou hast initiated us into Thy mysteries; we cannot do less, dear Jesus! we are longing for Thee during these days of Advent. When the beautiful day of Thy visit comes, mayst Thou find that Thy love is already in our hearts. Make our expectation more fervid, increase our faith, and come!

A Responsory of Advent
(The Roman breviary, Matins of the first Sunday)

R. Salvatorem exspectamus Dominum Jesum Christum; * Qui reformabit corpus humilitatis nostræ configuratum corpori claritatis suæ. V. Sobrie, juste, et pie, vivamus in hoc sæculo, exspectantes beatam spem, et adventum gloriæ magni Dei, * Qui reformabit corpus humilitatis nostræ configuratum corpori claritatis suæ.
R. We look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ; * Who will reform the body of our lowliness made like to the body of his glory. V. Let us live soberly, and justly, and piously in this world, looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God, * Who will reform the body of our lowliness made like to the body of his glory.

[1] Gen. xlix. 10.