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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.

WE give the name of Paschal Time to the period between Easter Sunday and the Saturday following Whit Sunday. It is the most sacred portion of the liturgical year, and the one towards which the whole cycle converges. We shall easily understand how this is, if we reflect upon the greatness of Easter, which is called the feast of feasts, and the solemnity of solemnities, in the same manner, says St. Gregory,[1] as the most sacred part of the Temple was called the Holy of holies; and the book of sacred scripture, wherein are described the espousals between Christ and the Church, is called the Canticle of Canticles. It is on this day that the mission of the Word Incarnate attains the object towards which it has hitherto been tending: man is raised up from his fall and regains what he had lost by Adam’s sin.

Christmas gave us a Man-God; three days have scarcely passed since we witnessed his infinitely precious Blood shed for our ransom; but now, on the day of Easter, our Jesus is no longer the victim of death: He is a conqueror, who destroys death, the child of sin, and proclaims life, that undying life which he has purchased for us. The humiliation of his swathing-bands, the sufferings of his agony and cross, these are passed; all is now glory—glory for himself, and glory also for us. On the day of Easter, God regains, by the Resurrection of the Man-God, his creation such as he made it at the beginning; the only vestige now left of death is sin, the likeness of which the Lamb of God deigned to take upon himself. Neither is it Jesus alone that returns to eternal life; the whole human race also has risen to immortality together with our Jesus. ‘By a man came death,’ says the Apostle; ‘and by a Man the Resurrection of the dead; and as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.’[2]

The anniversary of this Resurrection is, therefore, the great day, the day of joy, the day par excellence; the day to which the whole year looks forward in expectation, and on which its whole economy is formed. But as it is the holiest of days—since it opens to us the gate of Heaven, into which we shall enter because we have risen together with Christ—the Church would have us come to it well prepared by bodily mortification and by compunction of heart. It was for this that she instituted the fast of Lent, and that she bade us, during Septuagesima, look forward to the joy of her Easter, and be filled with sentiments suitable to the approach of so grand a solemnity. We obeyed; we have gone through the period of our preparation; and now the Easter sun has risen upon us!

But it was not enough to solemnize the great day when Jesus, our Light, rose from the darkness of the tomb: there was another anniversary which claimed our grateful celebration. The Incarnate Word rose on the first day of the week—that same day whereon, four thousand years before, he, the uncreated Word of the Father, had begun the work of creation, by calling forth light, and separating it from darkness. The first day was thus ennobled by the creation of light. It received a second consecration by the Resurrection of Jesus; and from that time forward Sunday, and not Saturday, was to be the Lord’s Day. Yes, our Resurrection in Jesus, which took place on the Sunday, gave this first day a pre-eminence above the others of the week: the divine precept of the Sabbath was abrogated together with the other ordinances of the Mosaic Law, and the Apostles instructed the faithful to keep holy the first day of the week, which God had dignified with that twofold glory, the creation and the regeneration of the world. Sunday, then, being the day of Jesus’ Resurrection, the Church chose that day, in preference to every other, for its yearly commemoration. The Pasch of the Jews, in consequence of its being fixed on the fourteenth of the moon of March (the anniversary of the going out of Egypt), fell by turns on each day of the week. The Jewish Pasch was but a figure; ours is the reality, and puts an end to the figure. The Church, therefore, broke this last tie with the Synagogue; and proclaimed her emancipation, by fixing the most solemn of her feasts on a day which should never agree with that on which the Jews keep their now unmeaning Pasch. The Apostles decreed that the Christian Pasch should never be celebrated on the fourteenth of the moon of March, even were that day to be a Sunday; but that it should be everywhere kept on the Sunday following the day on which the obsolete calendar of the Synagogue still marks it.

Nevertheless, out of consideration for the many Jews who had received baptism, and who formed the nucleus of the early Christian Church, it was resolved that the law regarding the day for keeping the new Pasch should be applied prudently and gradually. Jerusalem was soon to be destroyed by the Romans, according to our Saviour’s prediction; and the new city, which was to rise up from its ruins and receive the Christian colony, would also have its Church, but a Church totally free from the Jewish element, which God had so visibly rejected. In preaching the Gospel and founding Churches, even far beyond the limits of the Roman Empire, the majority of the Apostles had not to contend with Jewish customs; most of their converts were from among the Gentiles. St Peter, who in the Council of Jerusalem had proclaimed the cessation of the Jewish Law set up the standard of emancipation in the city of Rome; so that the Church, which through him was made the Mother and Mistress of all Churches, never had any other discipline regarding the observance of Easter than that laid down by the Apostles, namely, that it should be kept on a Sunday.

There was, however, one province of the Church which for a long time stood out against the universal practice: it was Asia Minor. The Apostle St John, who lived for many years at Ephesus—where indeed he died—had thought it prudent to tolerate, in those parts, the Jewish custom of celebrating the Pasch; for many of the converts had been members of the Synagogue. But the Gentiles themselves, who, later on, formed the mass of the faithful, were strenuous upholders of this custom, which dated from the very foundation of the Church of Asia Minor. In the course of time, however, this anomaly became a source of scandal: it savoured of Judaism, and it prevented unity of religious observance, which is always desirable, but particularly so in what regards Lent and Easter.

Pope St Victor, who governed the Church from the year 193, endeavoured to put a stop to this abuse; he thought the time had come for establishing unity in so essential a point of Christian worship. Already, that is in the year 160, under Pope St Anicetus, the Apostolic See had sought, by friendly negotiations, to induce the Churches of Asia Minor to conform to the universal practice; but it was difficult to triumph over a prejudice, which rested on a tradition held sacred in that country. St Victor, however, resolved to make another attempt. He would put before them the unanimous agreement which reigned throughout the rest of the Church. Accordingly, he gave orders that councils should be convened in the several countries where the Gospel had been preached, and that the question of Easter should be examined. Everywhere there was perfect uniformity of practice; and the historian Eusebius, who lived a hundred and fifty years later, assures us that the people of his day used to quote the decisions of the Councils of Rome, of Gaul, of Achaia, of Pontus, of Palestine, and of Osrhoene in Mesopotamia. The Council of Ephesus, at which Polycrates, the bishop of that city, presided, was the only one that opposed the Pontiff, and disregarded the practice of the universal Church.

Deeming it unwise to give further toleration to the opposition, Victor separated from communion with the Holy See the refractory Churches of Asia Minor. This severe penalty, which was not inflicted until Rome had exhausted every other means of removing the evil, excited the commiseration of several bishops. St Irenæus, who was then governing the see of Lyons, pleaded for these Churches, which, so it seemed to him, had sinned only through a want of light; and he obtained from the Pope the revocation of a measure which seemed too severe. This indulgence produced the desired effect. In the following century St Anatolius, bishop of Laodicea, in his book on the Pasch, written in 276, tells us that the Churches of Asia Minor had then, for some time past, conformed to the Roman practice.

About the same time, and by a strange coincidence, the Churches of Syria, Cilicia, and Mesopotamia gave scandal by again leaving the Christian and Apostolic observance of Easter, and returning to the Jewish rite of the fourteenth of the March moon. This schism in the Liturgy grieved the Church; and one of the points to which the Council of Nicæa directed its first attention was the promulgation of the universal obligation to celebrate Easter on the Sunday. The decree was unanimously passed, and the Fathers of the Council ordained that ‘all controversy being laid aside, the brethren in the East should solemnize the Pasch on the same day as the Romans, the Alexandrians, and the rest of the faithful.’[3] So important seemed this question, inasmuch as it affected the very essence of the Christian Liturgy, that St Athanasius, assigning the reasons which had led to the calling of the Council of Nicæa, mentions these two: the condemnation of the Arian heresy, and the establishment of uniformity in the observance of Easter.[4]

The bishop of Alexandria was commissioned by the Council to see to the drawing up of astronomical tables, whereby the precise day of Easter might be fixed for each future year. The reason of this choice was that the astronomers of Alexandria were looked upon as the most exact in their calculations. These tables were to be sent to the Pope, and he would address letters to the several Churches, instructing them as to the uniform celebration of the great festival of Christendom. Thus was the unity of the Church made manifest by the unity of the holy Liturgy; and the Apostolic See, which is the foundation of the first, was likewise the source of the second. But, even previous to the Council of Nicæa, the Roman Pontiff had addressed to all the Churches, every year, a Paschal Encyclical, instructing them as to the day on which the solemnity of the Resurrection was to be kept. This we learn from the synodical Letter of the Fathers of the great Council held at Arles in 314. The Letter is addressed to Pope St Sylvester, and contains the following passage: ‘In the first place, we beg that the observance of the Pasch of the Lord may be uniform, both as to time and day, in the whole world, and that You would, according to the custom, address Letters to all concerning this matter.’[5]

This custom, however, was not kept up for any length of time after the Council of Nicæa. The want of precision in astronomical calculations occasioned confusion in the method of fixing the day of Easter. It is true, this great festival was always kept on a Sunday; nor did any Church think of celebrating it on the same day as the Jews; but, since there was no uniform understanding as to the exact time of the vernal equinox, it happened some years, that the feast of Easter was not kept, in all places, on the same day. By degrees, there crept in a deviation from the rule laid down by the Council, of taking March 21 as the day of the equinox. A reform in the Calendar was needed, and no one seemed competent to undertake it. Cycles were drawn up contradictory to one another; Rome and Alexandria had each its own system of calculation; so that, some years, Easter was not kept with that perfect uniformity for which the Nicene Fathers had so strenuously laboured: and yet this variation was not the result of anything like partyspirit.

The West followed Rome. The Churches of Ireland and Scotland, which had been misled by faulty cycles, were at length brought into uniformity. Finally, science was sufficiently advanced in the sixteenth century for Pope Gregory XIII to undertake a reform of the Calendar. The equinox had to be restored to March 21, as the Council of Nicæa had prescribed. The Pope effected this by publishing a Bull, dated February 24, 1581, in which he ordered that ten days of the following year, namely from October 4 to October 15, should be suppressed. He thus restored the work of Julius Cæsar, who had, in his day, turned his attention to the rectification of the year. Easter was the great object of the reform, or, as it is called, the New Style, achieved by Gregory XIII. The principles and regulations of the Nicene Council were again brought to bear on this the capital question of the liturgical year; and the Roman Pontiff thus gave to the whole world the intimation of Easter, not for one year only, but for centuries. Heretical nations were forced to acknowledge the divine power of the Church in this solemn act, which interested both religion and society. They protested against the Calendar, as they had protested against the Rule of Faith. England and the Lutheran States of Germany preferred following, for many years, a Calendar which was evidently at fault, rather than accept the New Style, which they acknowledged to be indispensable, because it was the work of a Pope![6]

All this shows us how important it was to fix the precise day of Easter; and God has several times shown by miracles that the date of so sacred a feast was not a matter of indifference. During the ages when the confusion of the cycles and the want of correct astronomical computations occasioned great uncertainty as to the vernal equinox, miraculous events more than once supplied the deficiencies of science and authority. In a letter to St Leo the Great, in the year 444, Paschasinus, bishop of Lilybæa[7] in Sicily, relates that under the Pontificate of St Zosimus—Honorius being consul for the eleventh, and Constantius for the second time—the real day of Easter was miraculously revealed to the people of one of the churches there. ‘In the midst of a mountainous and thickly wooded district of the island was a village called Meltinas. Its church was of the poorest, but it was dear to God. Every year, on the night preceding Easter Sunday, as the priest went to the baptistery to bless the font, it was found to be miraculously filled with water, for there were no human means wherewith it could be supplied. As soon as baptism was administered, the water disappeared of itself, and left the font perfectly dry. In the year just mentioned, the people, misled by a wrong calculation, assembled for the ceremonies of Easter Eve. The Prophecies having been read, the priest and his flock repaired to the baptistery—but the font was empty. They waited, expecting the miraculous flowing of the water, wherewith the catechumens were to receive the grace of regeneration: but they waited in vain, and no baptism was administered. On the following April 22 the font was found to be filled to the brim, and thereby the people understood that that was the true Easter for that year.[8]

Cassiodorus, writing in the name of king Athalaric to a certain Severus, relates a similar miracle, which happened every year on Easter Eve, in Lucania, near the small island of Leucothea, at a place called Marcilianum. There was a large fountain there, whose water was so clear that the air itself was not more transparent. It was used as the font for the administration of baptism on Easter Night. As soon as the priest, standing under the rock wherewith nature had canopied the fountain, began the prayers of the blessing, the water, as though taking part in the transports of the Easter joy, arose in the font; so that, if previously it was to the level of the fifth step, it was seen to rise up to the seventh, impatient, as it were, to effect those wonders of grace whereof it was the chosen instrument. God would show by this, that even inanimate creatures can share, when he so wills it, in the holy gladness of the greatest of all days.[9]

St Gregory of Tours tells us of a font, which existed even then, in a church of Andalusia, in a place called Osen, whereby God miraculously certified to his people the true day of Easter. On the Maundy Thursday of each year, the bishop, accompanied by the faithful, repaired to this church. The bed of the font was built in the form of a cross, and was paved with mosaics. It was carefully examined, to see that it was perfectly dry; and after several prayers had been recited, everyone left the church, and the bishop sealed the door with his seal. On Holy Saturday the pontiff returned, accompanied by his flock; the seal was examined, and the door was opened. The font was found to be filled, even above the level of the floor, and yet the water did not overflow. The bishop pronounced the exorcisms over the miraculous water, and poured the chrism into it. The catechumens were then baptized; and as soon as the sacrament had been administered the water immediately disappeared, and no one could tell what became of it.[10] Similar miracles were witnessed in several churches in the East. John Moschus, a writer in the seventh century, speaks of a baptismal font in Lycia, which was thus filled every Easter Eve; but the water remained in the font during the whole fifty days, and suddenly disappeared after the festival of Pentecost.[11]

We alluded, in our History of Passiontide, to the decrees passed by the Christian emperors, which forbade all law proceedings during the fortnight of Easter, that is from Palm Sunday to the octave day of the Resurrection. St Augustine, in a sermon he preached on this octave, exhorts the faithful to extend to the whole year this suspension of lawsuits, disputes, and enmities, which the civil law interdicted during these fifteen days.

The Church imposes upon all her children the obligation of receiving holy Communion at Easter. This precept is based upon the words of our Redeemer, who left it to his Church to determine the time of the year when Christians should receive the blessed Sacrament. In the early ages Communion was frequent, and, in some places, even daily. By degrees the fervour of the faithful grew cold towards this august mystery, as we gather from a decree of the Council of Agatha (Agde), held in 506, where it is defined that those of the laity who shall not approach Communion at Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, are to be considered as having ceased to be Catholics.[12] This decree of the Council of Agatha was accepted as the law of almost the entire Western Church. We find it quoted among the regulations drawn up by Egbert, Archbishop of York, as also in the third Council of Tours. In many places, however, Communion was obligatory for the Sundays of Lent, and for the last three days of Holy Week, independently of that which was to be made on the Easter festival.

It was in the year 1215, in the fourth General Council of Lateran, that the Church, seeing the ever-growing indifference of her children, decreed with regret that Christians should be strictly bound to Communion only once in the year, and that that Communion of obligation should be made at Easter. In order to show the faithful that this is the uttermost limit of her condescension to lukewarmness, she declares, in the same council, that he that shall presume to break this law may be forbidden to enter a church during life, and be deprived of Christian burial after death, as he would be if he had, of his own accord, separated himself from the exterior link of Catholic unity.[13] These regulations of a General Council show how important is the duty of the Easter Communion; but, at the same time, they make us shudder at the thought of the millions, throughout the Catholic world, who brave each year the threats of the Church, by refusing to comply with a duty, which would both bring life to their souls, and serve as a profession of their faith. And when we again reflect upon how many even of those who make their Easter Communion have paid no more attention to the Lenten penance than if there were no such obligation in existence, we cannot help feeling sad, and we wonder within ourselves how long God will bear with such infringements of the Christian Law.

The fifty days between Easter and Pentecost have ever been considered by the Church as most holy. The first week, which is more expressly devoted to celebrating our Lord’s Resurrection, is kept as one continued feast; but the remainder of the fifty days is also marked with special honours. To say nothing of the joy, which is the characteristic of this period of the year, and of which the Alleluia is the expression—Christian tradition has assigned to Eastertide two practices, which distinguish it from every other season. The first is, that fasting is not permitted during the entire interval: it is an extension of the ancient precept of never fasting on a Sunday, and the whole of Eastertide is considered as one long Sunday. This practice, which would seem to have come down from the time of the Apostles, was accepted by the Religious Rules of both East and West, even by the severest. The second consists in not kneeling at the Divine Office, from Easter to Pentecost. The Eastern Churches have faithfully kept up the practice, even to this day. It was observed for many ages by the Western Churches also; but now it is little more than a remnant. The Latin Church has long since admitted genuflexions in the Mass during Easter time. The few vestiges of the ancient discipline in this regard which still exist are not noticed by the faithful, inasmuch as they seldom assist at the Canonical Hours.

Eastertide, then, is like one continued feast. This was remarked by Tertullian in the third century. He is reproaching those Christians who regretted having renounced, by their baptism, the festivities of the pagan year, and thus addresses them: ‘If you love feasts, you will find plenty among us Christians; not merely feasts that last only for a day, but such as continue for several days together. The pagans keep each of their feasts once in the year; but you have to keep each of yours many times over, for you have the eight days of its celebration. Put all the feasts of the Gentiles together, and they do not amount to our fifty days of Pentecost.’[14] St Ambrose, speaking on the same subject, says: ‘If the Jews are not satisfied with the Sabbath of each week, but keep also one which lasts a whole month, and another which lasts a whole year;—how much more ought not we to honour our Lord’s Resurrection? Hence our ancestors have taught us to celebrate the fifty days of Pentecost as a continuation of Easter. They are seven weeks, and the feast of Pentecost commences the eighth. . . . During these fifty days the Church observes no fast, nor does she on any Sunday, for it is the day on which our Lord rose: and all these fifty days are like so many Sundays.’[15]

 

[1] Homilia, xxii.
[2] 1 Cor. xv 21, 22.
[3] Spicilegium Solesmense, t. iv, p. 341.
[4] Epist. ad Afros episcopos.
[5] 2 Concil. Galilæ. t. i.
[6] Great Britain adopted the New Style, by Act of Parliament, in the year 1752.—Tr.
[7] The modern Marsala.
[8] S Leonis, Opera, Epist. iii.
[9] Cassiodorus, Variarum, lib. vii, epist. xxxiii.
[10] De Gloria Martyrum, lib. i cap. xxiv.
[11] Pratum spirituale, cap. ccxv.
[12] Concil. Agath. Canon xviii.
[13] Two centuries after this, Pope Eugenius IV, in the Constitution Digna Fide, given in the year 1440, allowed this annual Communion to be made on any day between Palm Sunday and Low Sunday inclusively. This remains the law of the Church, but individual bishops may now extend the period from the Fourth Sunday in Lent until Trinity Sunday inclusively, and in England they may still use the former permission granted by Holy See for the further extension from Ash Wednesday to Low Sunday inclusively.
[14] De Idololatria, cap. xiv.
[15] In Lucam, lib. viii cap. xxv.

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

OF all the seasons of the liturgical year Eastertide is by far the richest in mystery. We might even say that Easter is the summit of the Mystery of the sacred Liturgy. The Christian who is happy enough to enter, with his whole mind and heart, into the knowledge and love of the Paschal Mystery, has reached the very centre of the supernatural life. Hence it is that the Church uses every effort in order to effect this: what she has hitherto done was all intended as a preparation for Easter. The holy longings of Advent, the sweet joys of Christmas, the severe truths of Septuagesima, the contrition and penance of Lent, the heart-rending sight of the Passion—all were given us as preliminaries, as paths, to the sublime and glorious Pasch, which is now ours.

And that we might be convinced of the supreme importance of this solemnity, God willed that the Christian Easter and Pentecost should be prepared by those of the Jewish Law—a thousand five hundred years of typical beauty prefigured the reality: and that reality is ours!

During these days, then, we have brought before us the two great manifestations of God’s goodness towards mankind—the Pasch of Israel, and the Christian Pasch; the Pentecost of Sinai, and the Pentecost of the Church. We shall have occasion to show how the ancient figures were fulfilled in the realities of the new Easter and Pentecost, and how the twilight of the Mosaic Law made way for the full daylight of the Gospel; but we cannot resist the feeling of holy reverence, at the bare thought that the solemnities we have now to celebrate are more than three thousand years old, and that they are to be renewed every year from this till the voice of the angel shall be heard proclaiming: ‘Time shall be no more!’[1] The gates of eternity will then be thrown open.

Eternity in heaven is the true Pasch: hence, our Pasch here on earth is the feast of feasts, the solemnity of solemnities. The human race was dead; it was the victim of that sentence, whereby it was condemned to lie mere dust in the tomb; the gates of life were shut against it. But see! the Son of God rises from his grave and takes possession of eternal life. Nor is he the only one that is to die no more, for, as the Apostle teaches us, ‘He is the first-born from the dead.’[2] The Church would, therefore, have us consider ourselves as having already risen with our Jesus, and as having already taken possession of eternal life. The holy Fathers bid us look on these fifty days of Easter as the image of our eternal happiness. They are days devoted exclusively to joy; every sort of sadness is forbidden; and the Church cannot speak to her divine Spouse without joining to her words that glorious cry of heaven, the Alleluia, wherewith, as the holy Liturgy says,[3] the streets and squares of the heavenly Jerusalem resound without ceasing. We have been forbidden the use of this joyous word during the past nine weeks; it behoved us to die with Christ—but now that we have risen together with him from the tomb, and that we are resolved to die no more that death which kills the soul and caused our Redeemer to die on the cross, we have a right to our Alleluia.

The providence of God, who has established harmony between the visible world and the supernatural work of grace, willed that the Resurrection of our Lord should take place at that particular season of the year when even Nature herself seems to rise from the grave. The meadows give forth their verdure, the trees resume their foliage, the birds fill the air with their songs, and the sun, the type of our triumphant Jesus, pours out his floods of light on our earth made new by lovely spring. At Christmas the sun had little power, and his stay with us was short; it harmonized with the humble birth of our Emmanuel, who came among us in the midst of night, and shrouded in swaddling clothes; but now he is ‘as a giant that runs his way, and there is no one that can hide himself from his heat.’[4] Speaking, in the Canticle, to the faithful soul, and inviting her to take her part in this new life which he is now imparting to every creature, our Lord himself says: ‘Arise, my dove, and come! Winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land. The voice of the turtle is heard. The fig-tree hath put forth her green figs. The vines, in flower, yield their sweet smell. Arise thou, and come!’[5]

In the preceding chapter we explained why our Saviour chose the Sunday for his Resurrection, whereby he conquered death and proclaimed life to the world. It was on this favoured day of the week that he had, four thousand years previously, created the light; by selecting it now for the commencement of the new life which he graciously imparts to man, he would show us that Easter is the renewal of the entire creation. Not only is the anniversary of his glorious Resurrection to be, henceforward, the greatest of days, but every Sunday throughout the year is to be a sort of Easter, a holy and sacred day. The Synagogue, by God’s command, kept holy the Saturday or the Sabbath in honour of God’s resting after the six days of the creation; but the Church, the Spouse, is commanded to honour the work of her Lord. She allows the Saturday to pass—it is the day on which her Jesus rested in the sepulchre: but, now that she is illumined with the brightness of the Resurrection, she devotes to the contemplation of his work the first day of the week; it is the day of light, for on it he called forth material light (which was the first manifestation of life upon chaos), and on the same, he that is the ‘Brightness of the Father,’[6] and ‘the Light of the world,’[7] rose from the darkness of the tomb.

Let, then, the week with its Sabbath pass by; what we Christians want is the eighth day, the day that is beyond the measure of time, the day of eternity, the day whose light is not intermittent or partial, but endless and unlimited. Thus speak the holy Fathers, when explaining the substitution of the Sunday for the Saturday. It was, indeed, right that man should keep, as the day of his weekly and spiritual repose, that on which the Creator of the visible world had taken his divine rest; but it was a commemoration of the material creation only. The Eternal Word comes down in the world that he has created; he comes with the rays of his divinity clouded beneath the humble veil of our flesh; he comes to fulfil the figures of the first Covenant. Before abrogating the Sabbath, he would observe it as he did every tittle of the Law; he would spend it as the day of rest, after the work of his Passion, in the silence of the sepulchre: but, early on the eighth day, he rises to life, and the life is one of glory. ‘Let us,’ says the learned and pious Abbot Rupert, ‘leave the Jews to enjoy the ancient Sabbath, which is a memorial of the visible creation. They know not how to love or desire or merit aught but earthly things. . . . They would not recognize this world’s creator as their king, because he said: "Blessed are the poor!” and "Woe to the rich!” But our Sabbath has been transferred from the seventh to the eighth day, and the eighth is the first. And rightly was the seventh changed into the eighth, because we Christians put our joy in a better work than the creation of the world. . . . Let the lovers of the world keep a Sabbath for its creation: but our joy is in the salvation of the world, for our life, yea and our rest, is hidden with Christ in God.’[8]

The mystery of the seventh followed by an eighth day, as the holy one, is again brought before us by the number of weeks which form Eastertide. These weeks are seven; they form a week of weeks, and their morrow is again a Sunday, the glorious feast of Pentecost. These mysterious numbers—which God himself fixed when he instituted the first Pentecost after the first Pasch—were adopted by the Apostles when they regulated the Christian Easter, as we learn from St Hilary of Poitiers, St Isidore, Amalarius, Rabanus Mauras, and from all the ancient interpreters of the mysteries of the holy Liturgy. ‘If we multiply seven by seven,’ says St Hilary, ‘we shall find that this holy season is truly the Sabbath of sabbaths; but what completes it, and raises it to the plenitude of the Gospel, is the eighth day which follows, eighth and first both together in itself. The Apostles have given so sacred an institution to these seven weeks that, during them, no one should kneel, or mar by fasting the spiritual joy of this long feast. The same institution has been extended to each Sunday; for this day which follows the Saturday has become, by the application of the progress of the Gospel, the completion of the Saturday, and the day of feast and joy.’[9]

Thus, then, the whole season of Easter is marked with the mystery expressed by each Sunday of the year. Sunday is to us the great day of our week, because beautified with the splendour of our Lord’s Resurrection, of which the creation of material light was but a type. We have already said that this institution was prefigured in the Old Law, although the Jewish people were not in any way aware of it. Their Pentecost fell on the fiftieth day after the Pasch; it was the morrow of the seven weeks. Another figure of our Eastertide was the year of Jubilee, which God bade Moses prescribe to his people. Each fiftieth year the houses and lands that had been alienated during the preceding forty-nine returned to their original owners; and those Israelites who had been compelled by poverty to sell themselves as slaves recovered their liberty. This year, which was properly called the sabbatical year, was the sequel of the preceding seven weeks of years, and was thus the image of our eighth day, whereon the Son of Mary, by his Resurrection, redeemed us from the slavery of the tomb, and restored us to the inheritance of our immortality.

The rites peculiar to Eastertide, in the present discipline of the Church, are two: the unceasing repetition of the Alleluia, of which we have already spoken, and the colour of the vestments used for its two great solemnities, white for the first and red for the second. White is appropriate to the Resurrection: it is the mystery of eternal light, which knows neither spot nor shadow; it is the mystery that produces in a faithful soul the sentiment of purity and joy. Pentecost, which gives us the Holy Spirit, the ‘consuming Fire,’[10] is symbolized by the red vestments, which express the mystery of the divine Paraclete coming down in the form of fiery tongues upon them that were assembled in the Cenacle. With regard to the ancient usage of not kneeling during Paschal Time, we have already said that there is a mere vestige of it now left in the Latin Liturgy.

The feasts of the saints, which were interrupted during Holy Week, are likewise excluded from the first eight days of Eastertide; but when these are ended, we shall have them in rich abundance, as a bright constellation of stars round the divine Sun of Justice, our Jesus. They will accompany us in our celebration of his admirable Ascension; but such is the grandeur of the mystery of Pentecost, that from the eve of that day they will be again interrupted until the expiration of Paschal Time.

The rites of the primitive Church with reference to the Neophytes, who were regenerated by baptism on the night of Easter, are extremely interesting and instructive. But as they are peculiar to the two octaves of Easter and Pentecost, we will explain them when they are brought before us by the Liturgy of those days.

 

[1] Apoc. x 6.
[2] Coloss. i 18.
[3] Pontificale Rom. In Dedicat. Eccles.
[4] Ps. xviii 6, 7.
[5] Cant, ii 10, 13.
[6] Heb. i 3.
[7] St John viii 12.
[8] De Divinis Officiis, lib. vii cap. xix.
[9] Prologus in Psalmos.
[10] Heb. xii 29.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

THE practice for this holy season mainly consists in the spiritual joy which it should produce in every soul that is risen with Jesus. This joy is a fore-taste of eternal happiness, and the Christian ought to consider it a duty to keep it up within him, by ardently seeking after that life which is in our divine Head, and by carefully shunning sin which causes death. During the last nine weeks we have mourned for our sins and done penance for them; we have followed Jesus to Calvary; but now, our holy Mother the Church is urgent in bidding us rejoice. She herself has laid aside all sorrow; the voice of her weeping is changed into the song of a delighted Spouse.

In order that she might impart this joy to all her children, she has taken their weakness into account. After reminding them of the necessity of expiation, she gave them forty days wherein to do penance; and then, removing the restraint of Lenten mortification, she brings us to Easter as to a land where there is nothing but gladness, light, life, joy, calm, and the sweet hope of immortality. Thus does she produce, in those of her children who have no elevation of soul, sentiments in harmony with the great feast, such as the most perfect feel; and by this means all, both fervent and tepid, unite their voices in one same hymn of praise to our risen Jesus.

The great liturgist of the twelfth century, Rupert, Abbot of Deutz, thus speaks of the pious artifice used by the Church to infuse the spirit of Easter into all; ‘There are certain carnal minds that seem unable to open their eyes to spiritual things, unless roused by some unusual excitement; and for this reason the Church makes use of such means. Thus, the Lenten fast, which we offer up to God as our yearly tithe, goes on till the most sacred night of Easter; then follow fifty days without so much as one single fast. Hence it happens, that while the body is being mortified, and is to continue to be so till Easter Night, that holy night is eagerly looked forward to even by the carnal-minded; they long for it to come; and, meanwhile, they carefully count each of the forty days, as a wearied traveller does the miles. Thus, the sacred solemnity is sweet to all, and dear to all, and desired by all, as light is to them that walk in darkness, as a fount of living water is to them that thirst, and as “a tent which the Lord hath pitched” for wearied wayfarers.’[1]

What a happy time was that when, as St Bernard expresses it, there was not one in the whole Christian army that neglected his Easter duty, and when all, both just and sinners, walked together in the path of the Lenten observances! Alas! those days are gone, and Easter has not the same effect on the people of our generation! The reason is that a love of ease and a false conscience lead so many Christians to treat the law of Lent with as much indifference as if there were no such law existing. Hence, Easter comes upon them as a feast—it may be as a great feast—but that is all; they experience little of that thrilling joy which fills the heart of the Church during this season, and which she evinces in everything she does. And if this be their case even on the glorious day itself, how can it be expected that they should keep up, for the whole fifty, the spirit of gladness, which is the very essence of Easter? They have not observed the fast, or the abstinence, of Lent: the mitigated form in which the Church now presents them to her children, in consideration of their weakness, was too severe for them! They sought, or they took, a total dispensation from this law of Lenten mortification, and without regret or remorse. The Alleluia returns, and it finds no response in their souls: how could it? Penance has not done its work of purification; it has not spiritualized them; how, then, could they follow their risen Jesus, whose life is henceforth more of heaven than of earth?

But these reflections are too sad for such a season as this: let us beseech our risen Jesus to enlighten these souls with the rays of his victory over the world and the flesh, and to raise them up to himself. No, nothing must now distract us from joy. ‘Can the children of the Bridegroom mourn, as long as the Bridegroom is with them?’[2] Jesus is to be with us for forty days; he is to suffer no more, and die no more; let our feelings be in keeping with his now endless glory and bliss. True, he is to leave us, he is to ascend to the right hand of his Father; but he will not leave us orphans; he will send us the divine Comforter, who will abide with us for ever.[3] These sweet and consoling words must be our Easter text: ‘The children of the Bridegroom cannot mourn, as long as the Bridegroom is with them.’ They are the key to the whole Liturgy of this holy season. We must have them ever before us, and we shall find by experience that the joy of Easter is as salutary as the contrition and penance of Lent. Jesus on the cross, and Jesus in the Resurrection, it is ever the same Jesus; but what he wants from us now is that we should keep near him, in company with his blessed Mother, his disciples, and Magdalen, who are in ecstasies of delight at his triumph, and have forgotten the sad days of his Passion.

But this Easter of ours will have an end; the bright vision of our risen Jesus will pass away; and all that will be left to us is the recollection of his ineffable glory, and of the wonderful familiarity wherewith he treated us. What shall we do, when he who was our very life and light leaves us and ascends to heaven? Be of good heart, Christians! you must look forward to another Easter. Each year will give you a repetition of what you now enjoy. Easter will follow Easter, and bring you at last to that Easter in heaven which is never to have an end, and of which these happy ones of earth are a mere foretaste. Nor is this all. Listen to the Church. In one of her prayers she reveals to us the great secret, how we may perpetuate our Easters even here in our banishment—’Grant to thy servants, O God, that they may keep up, by their manner of living, the Mystery they have received by believing![4] So, then, the Mystery of Easter is to be ever visible on this earth; our risen Jesus ascends to heaven, but he leaves upon us the impress of his Resurrection, and we must retain it within us until he again visits us.

And how could it be that we should not retain this divine impress within us? Are not all the mysteries of our divine Master ours also? From his very first coming in the Flesh, he has made us sharers in everything he has done. He was born in Bethlehem: we were born together with him. He was crucified: our ‘old man was crucified with him.’[5] He was buried: ‘we were buried with him.’[6] And therefore, when he rose from the grave, we also received the grace that we should ‘walk in the newness of life.’[7]

Such is the teaching of the Apostle, who thus continues: ‘We know that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more; death shall no more have dominion over him: for in that he died to sin, (that is, for sin,) he died once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.’[8] He is our head, and we are his members: we share in what is his. To die again by sin would be to renounce him, to separate ourselves from him, to forfeit that Death and Resurrection of his which he mercifully willed should be ours. Let us, therefore, preserve within us that life, which is the life of our Jesus, and which yet belongs to us as our own treasure; for he won it by conquering death, and then gave it to us, with all his other merits. You, then, who before Easter were sinners, but have now returned to the life of grace, see that you die no more; let your actions bespeak your resurrection. And you to whom the Paschal solemnity has brought growth in grace, show this increase of more abundant life by your principles and your conduct. ‘Tis thus all will ‘walk in the newness of life.’

With this, for the present, we take leave of the lessons taught us by the Resurrection of Jesus; the rest we reserve for the humble commentary we shall have to make on the Liturgy of this holy season. We shall then see, more and more clearly, not only our duty of imitating our divine Master’s Resurrection, but the magnificence of this grandest Mystery of the Man-God. Easter—with its three admirable manifestations of divine love and power, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and the Descent of the Holy Ghost—yes, Easter is the perfection of the work of our Redemption. Everything, both in the order of time and in the workings of the Liturgy, has been a preparation for Easter. The four thousand years that followed the promise made by God to our first parents were crowned by the event that we are now to celebrate. All that the Church has been doing for us from the commencement of Advent had this same glorious event in view; and now that we have come to it, our expectations are more than realized, and the power and wisdom of God are brought before us so vividly that our former knowledge of them seems nothing in comparison with our present appreciation and love of them. The angels themselves are dazzled by the grand Mystery, as the Church tells us in one of her Easter hymns, where she says: ‘The angels gaze with wonder on the change wrought in mankind: it was flesh that sinned, and now Flesh taketh all sin away, and the God that reigns is the God made Flesh.’[9]

Eastertide, too, belongs to what is called the Illuminative Life; nay, it is the most important part of that life, for it not only manifests, as the last four seasons of the liturgical year have done, the humiliations and the sufferings of the Man-God: it shows him to us in all his grand glory; it gives us to see him expressing in his own sacred humanity the highest degree of the creature’s transformation into his God. The coming of the Holy Ghost will bring additional brightness to this illumination; it shows us the relations that exist between the soul and the Third Person of the blessed Trinity. And here we see the way and the progress of a faithful soul. She was made an adopted child of the Heavenly Father; she was initiated into all the duties and mysteries of her high vocation by the lessons and examples of the Incarnate Word; she was perfected by the visit and indwelling of the Holy Ghost. From this there result those several Christian exercises which produce within her an imitation of her divine Model, and prepare her for that Union to which she is invited by him who gave to them that received him, power to be made sons of God,’ by a birth that is ‘not of blood, nor of the flesh, but of God.’[10]

 


[1] De Divinis Officiis, lib. vi, cap. xxvii.
[2] St Matth ix 15.
[3] St John xiv 16-18.
[4] Collect for Tuesday in Easter Week.
[5] Rom. vi 6.
[6] Rom. vi 4.
[7] Rom. vi 4.
[8] Rom. vi 9, 10.
[9] Hymn for the Matins of Ascension Day.
[10] St John i 12, 13.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

DURING Paschal time, the Christian, on waking in the morning, will unite himself with the Church, who in her Office of Matins says to us these solemn words, which choirs of religious men and women, throughout the universe, have been chanting during the deep silence of the night:

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

He will profoundly adore the Son of God rising from the tomb, and surrounded with the dazzling rays of his grand triumph. He will hail him with delighted joy, as being the divine Sun of Justice, who rises on the world that he may rescue it from the darkness of sin and illuminate it with the light of grace. It is with these ideas deeply impressed upon his mind that he must perform his first acts of religion, both interior and exterior, wherewith he begins the day. The time for Morning Prayer being come, he may use the following method, which is formed upon the very prayers of the Church:

MORNING PRAYERS

 

First, praise and adoration of the Most Holy Trinity:

℣. Benedicamus Patrem et Filium, cum Sancto Spiritu.
℟. Laudemus et superexaltemus eum in sæcula.

℣. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
℟. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
℣. Let us bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
℟. Let us praise him and extol him above all, for ever.

℣. 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.

Then, praise to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ:

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

Thirdly, invocation of the Holy Ghost:

Veni, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

After these fundamental acts of religion, recite the Lord’s Prayer, begging of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he would mercifully establish here upon earth the kingdom of his divine Son, who has won for himself all power, in heaven and on earth, by the triumph gained over death and hell by his Resurrection; and that he vouchsafe to deliver us from evil, that is, from sin, which brought death into this world, and made it necessary for Jesus himself to suffer that very death over which he gained victory both for himself and for us.

The Lord’s Prayer

Pater noster, qui es in cœlis, sanctificetur nomen tuum: adveniat regnum tuum: fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cœlo, et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie: et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris: et ne nos inducas in tentationem: sed libera nos a malo.

Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

Amen.

Then, address our Blessed Lady, using the words of the Angelical Salutation. Congratulate her on the happiness which her maternal heart must have felt when she saw her Jesus after his Resurrection. How she must have exulted at the sight of her Son, all radiant with the splendour of his triumph! Her joy was the greater, because the Agony and cruel Death of this dear Fruit of her womb had pierced her soul with a sword of sorrow.

The Angelical Salutation

Ave Maria, gratia plena: Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostræ.

Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace: the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

After this, you should recite the Creed, that is the symbol of faith. It contains the dogmas we are to believe; and amongst these are the Resurrection of Christ, which is the foundation of the Christian religion, and the Ascension, which raises up our thoughts and hopes to heaven. You should dwell, with devout attention, on those words: I believe in the Holy Ghost, for it was during this season that the Spirit of love came down upon the earth in order to sanctify us. Repeat with enthusiasm the words, I believe in the Holy Catholic Church, because this our Mother was installed in her glorious ministry by our Saviour, before his Ascension, and was made fruitful by the Holy Ghost descending upon her. Finally, put on all the ardour of your faith when you pronounce the words, I believe in the resurrection of the body; it will be a homage most pleasing to our Redeemer, who vouchsafed to communicate to our poor flesh the reality and the glory of his own Resurrection.

The Apostles’ Creed

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem cœli et terræ. Et in Jesum Christum Filium ejus unicum, Dominum nostrum: qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus: descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis: ascend it ad cœlos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis: inde venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos.

Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam Catholicam, sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam æternam.

Amen.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell, the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the Holy Catholic Church; the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

Amen.

After having thus made the profession of your faith, give praise to your divine Lord, who, early on the Sunday morning, rose from the tomb by his own power. He hereby invited all men to share in the Easter joy, and from the very midst of death enriched them with life. With this before you, recite the following hymn given you by the Church in her Office of Lauds during Paschal Time.

Hymn

Aurora cœlum purpurat,
Æther resultat laudibus,
Mundus triumphans jubilat,
Horrens avernus infremit.

Rex ille dum fortissimus
De mortis inferno specu
Patrum senatum liberum
Educit ad vitæ jubar.

Cujus sepulchrum plurimo
Custode signabat lapis,
Victor triumphat, et suo
Mortem sepulchro funerat.

Sat funeri, sat lacrymis.
Sat est datum doloribus:
Surrexit exstinctor necis,
Clamat coruscans Angelus.

Ut sis perenne mentibus
Paschale, Jesu, gaudium,
A morte dira criminum
Vitæ renatos libera.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito,
In sempiterna sæcula.

Amen.
Day-dawn gilds the heavens;
the air re-echoes with our hymns,
the world is triumphant and glad,
and hell howls with fear and rage.

This is the hour when our most mighty King
freed from the deep prison of death
the venerable host of the fathers,
and led them to the light of life.

A numerous body of soldiers keep watch at the tomb;
a stone is rolled against it, and all is sealed.
But Jesus triumphs over death,
and buries it in his own grave.

A bright angel cries out;
‘Away with mourning,
tears, and grief!
The conqueror of death is risen!’

That thou, O Jesus, mayst be an endless
Paschal joy to our hearts,
free us, who have been regenerated unto life,
from the dread death of sin.

Glory be to God the Father,
and to the Son who rose from the dead,
and to the Paraclete,
for everlasting ages.

Amen.

Here make a humble confession of your sins, reciting the general formula made use of by the Church.

The Confession of Sins

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatæ Mariæ semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Joanni Baptistæ, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus sanctis, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo, et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Joannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, et omnes sanctos, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.

Misereatur nostri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis nostris, perducat nos ad vitam æternam.

Amen.

Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.

Amen.
I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the saints, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed; through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech the blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, to pray to the Lord our God for me.

May Almighty God have mercy on us, and, our sins being forgiven, bring us to life everlasting.

Amen.

May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins.

Amen.

This is the proper place for making your meditation, as no doubt you practise this holy exercise. During Paschal Time the following should form the leading subjects of our meditations: The power and glory of the Man-God in his Resurrection; the love he has shown us by giving us to share in his victory over death; the apparitions wherewith he consoled his blessed Mother, Magdalen and the other holy women, the Apostles and disciples; the forty days he passed on earth, previous to his Ascension; the glorious qualities of his body after his Resurrection; our own Resurrection; the magnificence of the Ascension; the Descent of the Holy Ghost, and the preparation we should make for it; and lastly, the obligation we are under of walking in that new life which Easter brings with it, and which is the absolutely necessary means of our benefiting by the sublime Mysteries now brought before us.

The next part of your Morning Exercise must consist in asking of God, by the following prayers, grace to avoid every kind of sin. Say, then, with the Church, whose prayers must ever be preferred to all others:

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

Oremus

Domine, Deus omnipotens, qui ad principium hujus diei nos pervenire fecisti, tua nos hodie salva virtute, ut in hac die ad nullum declinemus peccatum, sed semper ad tuam justitiam faciendam nostra procedant eloquia, dirigantur cogitationes et opera. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.
℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

Let us Pray

Almighty Lord and God, who hast brought us to the beginning of this day, let thy powerful grace so conduct us through it, that we may not fall into any sin, but that all our thoughts, words, and actions may be regulated according to the rules of thy heavenly justice, and tend to the observance of thy holy law. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then beg the divine assistance for the actions of the day, that you may do them well, and say thrice:

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

Oremus

Dirigere et sanctificare, regere et gubernare dignare, Domine Deus, Rex cœli et terræ, hodie corda et corpora nostra, sensus, sermones, et actus nostros in lege tua, et in operibus mandatorum tuorum, ut hic et in æternum, te auxiliante, salvi et liberi esse mereamur, Salvator mundi. Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.
℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.
℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Let us Pray

Lord God, and King of heaven and earth, vouchsafe this day to rule and sanctify, to direct and govern our souls and bodies, our senses, words, and actions in conformity to thy law, and strict obedience to thy commands; that by the help of thy grace, O Saviour of the world! we may be fenced and freed from all evils. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

During the day you will do well to use the instructions and prayers which you will find in this volume for each day of the season, both for the Proper of the Time and the Proper of the Saints. In the evening you may use the following Prayers:

 

NIGHT PRAYERS

 

After having made the sign of the cross, adore that Sovereign Lord, who has so mercifully preserved you during this day, and blessed you every hour with his grace and protection. For this end, recite the following hymn, which the Church sings in her Vespers for Paschal Time.

Hymn

Ad regias Agni dapes,
Stolis amicti candidis,
Post transitum maris Rubri,
Christo canamus principi.

Divina cujus charitas
Sacrum propinat sanguinem,
Almique membra corporis
Amor sacerdos immolat.

Sparsum cruorem postibus
Vastator horret Angelus;
Fugitque divisum mare,
Merguntur hostes fluctibus.

Jam Pascha nostrum Christus est,
Paschalis idem victima,
Et pura puris mentibus
Sinceritatis azyma.

O vera cœli victima,
Subjecta cui sunt tartara,
Soluta mortis vincula,
Recepta vitae præmia.

Victor subactis inferis
Trophæa Christus explicat,
Cœloque aperto, subditum
Regem tenebrarum trahit.

Ut sis perenne mentibus
Paschale, Jesu, gaudium,
A morte dira criminum
Vitæ renatos libera.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito,
In sempiterna sæcula.

Amen.
Having passed the Red Sea,
and now seated at the royal banquet of the Lamb,
clad in our white robes,
let us sing a hymn to Christ our King.

In his divine love for us,
he gives us to drink of his precious Blood.
Love is the priest
that immolates his sacred Body.

The destroying angel looks with awe upon the Blood
that is sprinkled on the thresholds.
The sea divides its waters,
and buries our enemies in its waves.

Christ is now our Pasch;
he is our Paschal Lamb;
he is the unleavened Bread of sincerity,
pure food for pure souls.

O truly heavenly Victim!
by whom hell was vanquished,
the fetters of death were broken,
and life was awarded to mankind.

Christ, our Conqueror, unfolds his banner,
for he has subdued the powers of hell.
He opens heaven to man,
and leads captive the prince of darkness.

That thou, O Jesus,
mayst be an endless Paschal joy to our hearts, free us,
who have been regenerated unto life,
from the dread death of sin.

Glory be to God the Father,
and to the Son who rose from the dead,
and to the Paraclete,
for everlasting ages.

Amen.

After this hymn say the Our Father, Hail Mary and the Apostles’ Creed, as in the morning.

Then make the examination of conscience, going over in your mind all the faults committed during the day. Think how opposed sin is to that new life which we ought now to be leading with our risen Lord: make a firm resolution to avoid sin for the time to come, to do penance for it, and to shun the occasions which might again lead you into it.

The examination of conscience concluded, recite the Confiteor (or ‘I confess’) with heartfelt contrition, and give expression to your sorrow by the following Act, which we have taken from the Blessed Cardinal Bellarmine’s Catechism:

Act of Contrition

O my God, I am exceedingly grieved for having offended thee, and with my whole heart I repent of the sins I have committed: I hate and abhor them above every other evil, not only because by so sinning I have lost Heaven and deserve Hell, but still more because I have offended thee, O infinite Goodness, who art worthy to be loved above all things. I most firmly resolve, by the assistance of thy grace, never more to offend thee for the time to come, and to avoid those occasions which might lead me into sin.


You may then add the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity, to the recitation of which Pope Benedict XIV has granted an indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines for each time.

Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe whatsoever the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church requires me to believe; I believe it, because thou hast revealed it to her, thou who art the very Truth.


Act of Hope

O my God, knowing thy almighty power, and thy infinite goodness and mercy, I hope in thee that by the merits of the Passion and Death of our Saviour Jesus Christ thou wilt grant me eternal life, which thou hast promised to all such as shall do the works of a good Christian; and these I resolve to do, with the help of thy grace.


Act of Charity

O my God, I love thee with my whole heart and above all things, because thou art the sovereign Good: I would rather lose all things than offend thee. For thy love also, I love, and desire to love, my neighbour as myself.


Then say to our Blessed Lady the following Anthem, which the Church uses during Paschal Time:

Anthem to the Blessed Virgin

Regina cœli, lætare, alleluia,
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,
Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

℣. Gaude et lætare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
℟. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus.

Deus, qui per Resurrectionem Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi, mundum lætificare dignatus es: præsta, quæsumus, ut per ejus Genitricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuæ capiamus gaudia vitæ. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.

Amen.
Rejoice, O Queen of heaven, alleluia,
For he whom thou didst deserve to bear, alleluia.
Hath risen, as he said, alleluia.
Pray to God for us, alleluia.

℣. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
℟. For the Lord hath truly risen, alleluia.

Let us Pray.

O God, who, by the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, didst vouchsafe to make the world rejoice, grant, we beseech thee, that, by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, his Mother, we may receive the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord.

Amen.

You would do well to add the Litany of our Lady. An indulgence of three hundred days for each time it is recited has been granted by the Church.

The Litany of the Blessed Virgin

Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Christe, audi nos.
Christe, exaudi nos.
Pater de cœlis, Deus, miserere nobis.
Fili, Redemptor mundi, Deus, miserere nobis.
Spiritus Sancte, Deus, miserere nobis.
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, miserere nobis.
Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis.
Sancta Dei Genitrix, ora, etc.
Sancta Virgo Virginum,
Mater Christi,
Mater divinæ gratiæ,
Mater purissima,
Mater castissima,
Mater inviolata,
Mater intemerata,
Mater amabilis,
Mater admirabilis,
Mater Boni Consilii,
Mater Creatoris,
Mater Salvatoris,
Virgo prudentissima,
Virgo veneranda,
Virgo prædicanda,
Virgo potens,
Virgo clemens,
Virgo fidelis,
Speculum justitiæ,
Sedes sapientiæ,
Causa nostræ lætitiæ,
Vas spirituale,
Vas honorabile,
Vas insigne devotionis,
Rosa mystica,
Turris Davidica,
Turris eburnea,
Domus aurea,
Fœderis arca,
Janua cœli,
Stella matutina,
Salus infirmorum,
Refugium peccatorum.
Consolatrix afflictorum,
Auxilium Christianorum,
Regina Angelorum,
Regina Patriarcharum,
Regina Prophetarum,
Regina Apostolorum,
Regina Martyrum,
Regina Confessorum,
Regina Virginum,
Regina Sanctorum omnium,
Regina sine labe originali concepta,
Regina sacratissimi Rosarii.
Regina pacis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, parce nobis, Domine.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, exaudi nos, Domine.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Christe, audi nos.
Christe, exaudi nos.

℣. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix.
℟. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Oremus.

Concede nos famulos tuos, quæsumus Domine Deus, perpetua mentis et corporis sanitate gaudere: et gloriosa beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis intercessione, a præsenti liberari tristitia, et æterna perfrui lætitia. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Amen.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray, etc.
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of Good Counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Redeemer,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful.
Virgin most faithful.
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honour,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical Rose,
Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning Star,
Health of the weak,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted.
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of peace.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

℣. Pray for us, O holy. Mother of God.
℟. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray.

Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we thy servants may enjoy constant health of body and mind, and by the glorious intercession of blessed Mary ever a Virgin, be delivered from all present affliction, and come to that joy which is eternal. Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Here invoke the holy angels, whose protection is, indeed, always so much needed by us, but never so much as during the hours of night. Say with the Church:

Sancti angeli, custodes nostri, defendite nos in prælio, ut non pereamus in tremendo judicio.

V. Angelis suis Deus mandavit de te.
R. Ut custodiant te in omnibus viis tuis.

Oremus

Deus, qui ineffabili providentia sanctos angelos tuos ad nostram custodiam mittere dignaris: largire supplicibus tuis, et eorum semper protectione defendi, et æterna societate gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Amen.
Holy angels, our loving guardians, defend us in the hour of battle, that we may not be lost at the dreadful judgment.

V. God hath given his angels charge of thee.
R. That they may guard thee in all thy ways.

Let us Pray

O God, who in thy wonderful providence, hast been pleased to appoint thy holy angels for our guardians: mercifully hear our prayers, and grant we may rest secure under their protection, and enjoy their fellowship in heaven for ever. Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Then beg the assistance of the saints by the following antiphon and prayer of the Church:

Ant. Sancti Dei omnes, intercedere dignemini pro nostra omniumque salute.
Ant. All ye Saints of God, vouchsafe to intercede for us and for all men, that we may be saved.

And here you may add a special mention of the saints to whom you bear a particular devotion, either as your patrons or otherwise; as also of those whose feast is kept in the Church that day, or who have been at least commemorated in the Divine Office.

This done, remember the necessities of the Church Suffering, and beg of God that he will give to the souls in Purgatory a place of refreshment, light, and peace. For this intention recite the usual prayers.

Psalm 129

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: Domine, exaudi vocem meam.
Fiant aures tuæ inten dentes: in vocem deprecationis meæ.
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine: Domine, quis sustinebit?
Quia apud te propitiatio est: et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.
Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus: speravit anima mea in Domino.
A custodia matutina usque ad noctem: speret Israel in Domino.
Quia apud Dominum mi sericordia: et copiosa apud eum redemptio.
Et ipse redimet Israel: ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat eis.

V. A porta inferi.
R. Erue, Domine, animas eorum.

V. Requiescant in pace. R. Amen.

V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

Oremus.

Fidelium Deus omnium Conditor et Redemptor, animabus famulorum famularum que tuarum remissionem cunctorum tribue peccatorum; ut indulgentiam, quam semper optaverunt, piis supplicationibus consequantur. Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum.

Amen.
From the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
If thou wilt observe iniquities, O Lord, Lord, who shall endure it?
For with thee there is merciful forgiveness; and by reason of thy law I have waited for thee, O Lord.
My soul hath relied on his word; my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
Because with the Lord there is mercy, and with him plentyful redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
Eternal rest give to them, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.

V. From the gate of hell.
R. Deliver their souls, O Lord.

V. May they rest in peace. R. Amen.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto thee.

Let us Pray.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, give to the souls of thy servants departed the remission of all their sins: that through the help of pious supplications, they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

Amen.

Here make a special memento of such of the faithful departed as have a particular claim upon your charity; after which, ask of God to give you his assistance, whereby you may pass the night free from danger. Say, then, still keeping to the words of the Church:

Ant. Salva nos, Domine, vigilantes, custodi nos dormientes: ut vigilemus cum Christo, et requiescamus in pace.

V. Dignare, Domine, nocte ista.
R. Sine peccato nos custodire.

V. Miserere nostri, Domine.
R. Miserere nostri.

V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos.
R. Quemadmodum speravimus in te.

V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

Oremus.

Visita, quæsumus, Domine, habitationem istam, et omnes insidias inimici ab ca longe repelle: angeli tui sanctì habitent in ea, qui nos in pace custodiant, et benedictio tua sit super nos semper. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

Amen.
Ant. Save us, 0 Lord, while awake, and watch us as we sleep; that we may watch with Christ, and rest in peace.

V. Vouchsafe, 0 Lord, this night.
R. To keep us without sin.

V. Have mercy on us, 0 Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.

V. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us.
R. As we have hoped in thee.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto thee.

Let us Pray.

Visit, we beseech thee, O Lord, this house and family, and drive from it all snares of the enemy: let thy holy angels dwell herein, who may keep us in peace, and may thy blessing be always upon us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

Amen.

 

And that you may end the day with sentiments suitable to the joyous season, repeat, with the Church, these beautiful words of the two disciples of Emmaus:

. Mane nobiscum, Domine, alleluia.
℟. Quoniam advesperascit, alleluia.
℣. Stay with us, O Lord, alleluia.
℟. For it is now evening, alleluia.

 

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

WHEN we assisted at the holy Sacrifice during Passiontide. our attention was fixed on the real immolation of the Lamb; we looked upon the altar as a new Calvary; and our devotion was centred upon the divine Victim slain for our ransom. During Eastertide the Lamb presents himself to us in another aspect; he is living, he is resplendent with glory, he is the Conqueror. He still deigns to be immolated; but it is that he may invite us to a joyous banquet—the banquet of the Pasch—wherein he gives us to eat of his Flesh. In her chants during the Mass the Church is untiring in her Alleluia; she affectionately kisses the Wounds of her Jesus, which now dart forth rays of dazzling brightness. Her altar is the throne of the risen God; she approaches it without fear, for the divine Conqueror of death, though so resplendent in his glory, is more loving and affable than ever.

Another source of joy to the Church, when at the holy altar, is the sight of her children partaking of the banquet of the Paschal Lamb. Each church is now a Cenacle, where Jesus celebrates the Pasch with his disciples. The holy Table is no longer the feast of a chosen few; the guests come in in crowds, and the House is filled. Now is the great figure of the Old Law changed into a reality. ‘At this Table of the great King, the new Pasch of the New Law puts an end to the ancient Passover. The new excludes the old; reality puts the shadow to flight; light expels night.’[1] We are the children of the promise; we have not denied Christ, as did the Jews; but we acknowledged him to be our King, while his faithless people were dragging him to execution. He, in return, has invited us to his Pasch, and there he is our host and our food.

During Eastertide, then, the holy Sacrifice puts these two spectacles before us in a most special way: a Victim who is risen from the dead, and yet is still immolated in a real though unbloody manner; and a Table prepared for the eating of the Lamb, which is, indeed, offered during the whole year to the faithful for the life of their souls, but which is now frequented by all. At this Table is likewise fulfilled the prophetic symbol of the ancient Paschal Lamb. For fifteen hundred years it was the figurative Lamb; the true Lamb has now reigned nineteen hundred; and this is the Lamb whom the holy Mass reproduces in all the efficacy of his Sacrifice and in all the magnificence of his glory.

We ought, therefore, during Paschal Time, to assist at holy Mass with these great truths present before our minds; and whilst thinking of the beauty of the ancient types we should be most grateful to our Heavenly Father for having given us to live under the reign of the new Pasch. Let us be present at this great act of the Christian Religion with extreme joy of soul, for it is here that we have, in all his reality, the same Jesus who rose again from the dead, to die no more. Let us unite with his holy Mother Mary, with Magdalen, and with his disciples. They had the immense happiness of seeing and conversing with him for forty days after his Resurrection: he shows himself to us, also, in this august Sacrifice. Let us give him our adoration and love, and with all possible fervour.

We will now endeavour to embody these sentiments in our explanation of the Mysteries of the holy Mass, and initiate the faithful into these divine secrets; not, indeed, by indiscreetly presuming to translate the sacred formulae, but by suggesting such acts as will enable those who hear Mass to enter into the ceremonies and spirit of the Church and of the priest.

During a considerable portion of Paschal Time the Mass is celebrated in commemoration of the great Mysteries which were accomplished at this season of the liturgical year; the prayers used by the Church on these several feasts are given in their proper places. On other days the holy Sacrifice is generally said in honour of the saints, except when a Sunday occurs.

On the Sundays, if the Mass at which the faithful assist be the Parochial, or as it often is called the public Mass, two solemn rites precede it, and they are full of instruction and blessing: the Asperges, or sprinkling of the Holy Water, and the procession.

During the Asperges let us recall to our minds the baptism received on Easter Eve by the Neophytes. Let us also think of our own, whereby we were made members of Christ. The water that thus regenerated us was made fruitful by the Blood of the Lamb and by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Antiphon of the Asperges

 

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.

Oremus.

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.

The procession, which immediately precedes the Mass, represents the holy women going to the Sepulchre, with the intention of re-embalming the body of their divine Master. They found it not there; but Jesus at once showed himself to them, and they returned filled with wonder and joy.

But see, Christians; the Sacrifice begins! The priest is at the foot of the altar; God is attentive, the angels are in adoration, the whole Church is united with the priest, whose priesthood and action are those of the great High Priest, Jesus Christ. Let us make the sign of the cross with him.

 

THE ORDINARY OF THE MASS

 

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

℣. Introibo ad altare Dei.
℟. Ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me.

Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea: quare me repulisti? et quare tristis incedo, dum affiigit me inimicus?

Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua.

Et introibo ad altare Dei: ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

Confitebor tibi in cithara Deus, Deus meus: quare tristis es anima mea? et quare conturbas me?

Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

℣. Introibo ad altare Dei.
℟. Ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

℣. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
℟. Qui fecit cœlum et terram.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

I unite myself, O my God, with thy Church whose heart is filled with the hope of soon seeing, in all the splendour of his Resurrection, Jesus Christ thy Son, who is the true Altar.

Like her I beseech thee to defend me against the malice of the enemies of my salvation.

It is in thee that I have put my hope; yet do I feel sad and troubled at being in the midst of the snares which are set for me.

Send me, then, him who is light and truth: it is he who will open to us the way to thy holy mount, to thy heavenly tabernacle.
He is the Mediator, and the living Altar: I will draw nigh to him and be filled with joy.

When he shall have come, I will sing in my gladness: Be not sad, O my soul! Why wouldst thou be troubled?

Hope in thy Jesus, who will soon show himself to thee as the conqueror of that death which he suffered in thy stead; and thou wilt rise again together with him.

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.

I am to go to the altar of God, and feel the presence of him who desires to give me a new life!

This my hope comes not to me as thinking that I have any merits, but from the all-powerful help of my Creator.

 


The thought of being about to appear before his God excites in the soul of the priest a lively sentiment of compunction. He cannot go further in the holy Sacrifice without confessing, and publicly, that he is a sinner, and deserves not the grace he is about to receive. Listen with respect to this confession of God’s minister, and earnestly ask our Lord to show mercy to him; for the priest is your father; he is answerable for your salvation, for which he every day risks his own. When he has finished, unite with the servers or the sacred ministers in this prayer:

Misereatur tui omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis tuis, perducat te ad vitam æternam.
May Almighty God have mercy on thee, and, forgiving thy sins, bring thee to everlasting life.

The priest having answered Amen, make your confession, saying with a contrite spirit:

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatæ Mariæ semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Joanni Baptistæ, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, omnibus sanctis, et tibi, Pater: quia peccavi nimis, cogitatione, verbo, et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Joannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, omnes sanctos, et te, Pater, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.
I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to thee, Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech the blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, and thee, Father, to pray to the Lord our God for me.

Receive with gratitude the paternal wish of the Priest, who says to you:

Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis vestris, perducat vos ad vitam æternam.
℟. Amen.

Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.
℟. Amen.
May Almighty God be merciful to you, and forgiving your sins, bring you to everlasting life.
℟. Amen.

May the almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins.
℟. Amen.

 

Invoke the divine assistance, that you may approach to Jesus Christ.

℣. Deus, tu conversus vivificabis nos.
℟. Et plebs tua lætabitur in te.
℣. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam.
℟. Et Salutare tuam da nobis.
℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.
℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
℣. O God, it needs but one look of thine to give us life.
℟. And thy people shall rejoice in thee.
℣. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.
℟. And give us the Saviour whom thou hast prepared for us.
℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.
℟. And let my cry come unto thee.


The Priest here leaves you to ascend to the altar; but first he salutes you:

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℣. The Lord be with you.

 

Answer him with reverence:

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.
℣. Oremus.
℟. And with thy spirit.
℣. Let us pray.

Aufer a nobis quæsumus, Domine, iniquitates nostras; ut ad Sancta sanctorum puris mereamur mentibus introire. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Take from our hearts, O Lord, all those sins, which make us unworthy to appear in thy presence; we ask this of thee by thy divine Son, our Lord.

When the priest kisses the altar, out of reverence for the relics of the martyrs which are there, say:

Oramus te Domine, per merita sanctorum tuorum, quorum reliquiæ hic sunt, et omnium sanctorum: ut indulgere digneris omnia peccata mea. Amen.
Generous soldiers of Jesus Christ, who have mingled your own blood with his, intercede for us that our sins may be forgiven: that so we may, like you, approach unto God.

If it be a High Mass at which you are assisting, the priest here blesses the incense, saying:

Ab illo benedicaris, in cujus honore cremaberis. Amen.
Mayst thou be blessed by him, in whose honour thou art to be burned. Amen.

If it be a High Mass at which you are assisting, the priest incenses the altar in a most solemn manner; this white cloud which you see ascending from every part of the altar signifies the prayer of the Church, who addresses herself to Jesus Christ, while the divine Mediator causes that prayer to ascend, united with his own, to the throne of the majesty of his Father.

The priest then says the Introit. It is a solemn opening anthem, in which the Church, at the very commencement of the holy Sacrifice, gives expression to the sentiments which fill her heart.

It is followed by nine exclamations which are even more earnest, for they ask for mercy. In addressing them to God the Church unites herself with the nine choirs of angels who are standing round the altar of Heaven, which is one and the same as this before which you are kneeling.

To the Father:

Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!

To the Son:

Christe eleison.
Christe eleison.
Christe eleison.
Christ, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!

To the Holy Ghost:

Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!

Then, mingling his voice with that of the heavenly host, the priest intones the sublime Canticle of Bethlehem, which announces glory to God and peace to men. Instructed by the revelations of God, the Church continues, in her own words, the hymn of the angels. She celebrates with rapture the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world; and, as it were in return for the humiliations he suffered in his Passion, she proclaims that he alone is Holy, he alone is Lord, he alone Most High. Enter, Christians, into these sentiments of profound adoration, confidence, and tender love, towards the Paschal Lamb.

The Angelic Hymn

Gloria in excelsis Deo, Et in terra pax homibus bonæ voluntatis.
Laudamus te: benedicimus te: adoramus te: glorificamus te: gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.
Domine Deus, Rex cœlestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.
Domine, Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe.
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris.
Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram.
Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.
Quoniam tu solus sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe, cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.
Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace to men of good will.
We praise thee: we bless thee: we adore thee: we glorify thee: we give thee thanks for thy great glory.
O Lord God, Heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.
O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son.
O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father.
Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Who takest away the sins of the world, receive our humble prayer.
Who sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.
For thou alone art holy, thou alone art Lord, thou alone, O Jesus Christ, together with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

The priest then turns towards the people, and again salutes them, as it were to make sure of their pious attention to the sublime act for which all this is but the preparation.

Then follows the Collect or Prayer, in which the Church formally expresses to the divine Majesty the special intentions she has in the Mass which is being celebrated. You may unite in this prayer, by reciting with the priest the Collects which you will find in their proper places: but on no account omit to join with the server of the Mass in answering Amen.

After this comes the Epistle, which is generally a portion of one or other of the Epistles of the Apostles, or a passage from some book of the Old Testament. While it is being read, ask of God that you may profit by the instructions it conveys.

The Gradual is an intermediate formula of prayer between the Epistle and the Gospel. It again brings to us the sentiments already expressed in the Introit. Read it with devotion, that so you may enter more and more into the spirit of the mystery proposed to you by the Church.

During Paschal Time the Gradual is not said, except for the first six days: we have elsewhere explained the reason of this exception. On all other days of the season the interval between the Epistle and Gospel is filled up by two Verses, to each of which is added Alleluia, the word that is now ceaselessly on the Church’s lips. After the fifty days of Paschal joy the Gradual will be resumed in the Liturgy.

Next follows the Gospel. It was the Holy Ghost who guided the four Evangelists; their Gospel, which is our light and life, is one of the fruits of the glorious Pentecost. Let us prepare for hearing the words of our risen Lamb: it is he himself that is about to speak to us, as he did to his disciples, when he appeared to them during the days between his Resurrection and Ascension.

If it be a High Mass, the deacon meanwhile prepares to fulfil his noble office—that of announcing the Good Tidings of salvation. He prays God to cleanse his heart and lips. Then, kneeling before the priest, he asks a blessing: and, having received it, at once goes to the place where he is to sing the Gospel.

As a preparation for hearing it worthily, you may thus pray, together with both priest and deacon:

Munda cor meum ac labia mea, omnipotens Deus, qui Jabia Isaiæ Prophetæ calculo mundasti ignito: ita me tua grata miseratione dignare mundare, ut sanctum Evangelium tuum digne valeam nuntiare. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Dominus sit in corde meo et in labiis meis: ut digne et competenter annuntiem Evangelium suum: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Saucti. Amen.
Alas! these ears of mine are but too often defiled with the world’s vain words; cleanse them, O Lord, that so I may hear the words of eternal life, and treasure them in my heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Grant to thy ministers thy grace, that they may faithfully explain thy law; that so all, both pastors and flock, may be united to thee for ever. Amen.

You will stand during the Gospel, as though you were waiting the orders of your Lord; and at the commencement make the sign of the cross on your forehead, lips, and breast; and then listen to every word of the priest or deacon. Let your heart be ready and obedient. ‘While my beloved was speaking,’ says the Spouse in the Canticle, ‘my soul melted within me.’[2] If you have not such love as this, have at least the humble submission of Samuel, and say: ‘Speak, Lord! thy servant heareth.’[3]

After the Gospel, if the priest says the Symbol of Faith, the Credo, you will say it with him. Faith is that gift of God without which we cannot please him. It is Faith that initiates us into the sublime Easter Mysteries, which divinize our whole life, and put us in possession of the good things of eternity. Like the holy women at the Sepulchre, let us believe with a lively and simple faith. Let us not wait for experience, as Thomas did; for our Lord has said: ‘Blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.’[4] Let us, then, say with the Catholic Church our Mother:

The Nicene Creed

Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem cœli et terræ, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.
Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum. Et ex Patre natum ante omnia sæcula, Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero. Genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri, per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostram salutem, descendit de cœlis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine; et homo factus est. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est. Et resurrexit tertia die secundum Scripturas. Et ascendit in cœlum; seder ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria judicare vivos et mortuos; cujus regno non erit finis.
Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur; qui locutus est per Prophetas. Et unam sanctam Catholicam et Apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum Baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi sæculi. Amen.
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. And born of the Father before all ages; God of God, light of light; true God of true God. Begotten, not made; consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. And became incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary; AND WAS MADE MAN. He was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried. And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures. And ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father. And he is to come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; of whose kingdom there shall be no end.
And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son. Who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified; who spoke by the Prophets. And one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins. And I expect the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Priest and the people should by this time have their hearts ready: it is time to prepare the offering itself. And here we come to the second part of the holy Mass, called the Oblation, and immediately following that which was called the Mass of Catechumens, on account of its being formerly the only part at which the candidates for baptism had a right to be present.

See, then, dear Christians! bread and wine are about to be offered to God, as being the noblest of inanimate creatures, since they are made for the nourishment of man; and even that is only a poor material image of what they are destined to become in our Christian Sacrifice. Their substance will soon give place to God himself, and of themselves nothing will remain but the appearances. Happy creatures, thus to yield up their own being, that God may take its place! We, too, are to undergo a like transformation, when, as the Apostle expresses it, ‘that which is mortal shall put on immortality.’[5] Until that happy change shall be realized, let us offer ourselves to God as often as we see the bread and wine presented to him in the holy Sacrifice; and let us glorify him, who, by assuming our human nature, has made us ‘partakers of the divine nature.’[6]

The priest again turns to the people with the usual salutation, as though he would warn them to redouble their attention. Let us read the Offertory with him, and when he offers the Host to God let us unite with him in saying:


Suscipe, sancte Pater, omnipotens æterne Deus, hanc immaculatam hostiam, quam ego indignus famulus tuus offero tibi Deo meo vivo et vero, pro innumerabilibus peccatis et offensionibus et negligentiis meis, et pro omnibus circumstantibus, sed et pro omnibus fidelibus christianis vivis atque defunetis; ut mihi et illis proficiat ad salutem in vitam æternam. Amen.
All that we have, O Lord, comes from thee, and belongs to thee; it is just, therefore, that we return it unto thee. But, how wonderful art thou in the inventions of thy immense love! This Bread which we are offering to thee is to give place in a few moments to the sacred Body of Jesus. We beseech thee, receive, together with this oblation, our hearts which long to live by thee, and to cease to live their own life of self.

When the priest puts the wine into the chalice, and then mingles with it a drop of water, let your thoughts turn to the divine mystery of the Incarnation, which is the source of our hope and our salvation, and say:

Deus qui humanæ substantiæ dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti, et mirabilius reformasti: da nobis per hujus aquæ et vini mysterium, ejus divinitatis esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostræ fieri dignatus est particeps, Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
O Lord Jesus, who art the true Vine, and whose Blood, like a generous wine, has been poured forth under the pressure of the Cross! thou hast deigned to unite thy divine nature to our weak humanity, which is signified by this drop of water. O come and make us partakers of thy divinity, by showing thyself to us in thy sweet and wondrous visit.

The Priest then offers the mixture of wine and water, beseeching God graciously to accept this oblation, which is so soon to be changed into the reality of which it is now but a figure. Meanwhile, say in union with the Priest:


Offerimus tibi, Domine, calicem salutaris, tuam deprecantes clementiam: ut in conspectu divinæ Majestatis tuæ, pro nostra et totius mundi salute, cum odore suavitatis ascendat. Amen.
Graciously accept these gifts, O sovereign Creator of all things. Let them be fitted for the divine transformation,which will make them, from being mere offerings of created things, the instrument of the world's salvation.


After having thus held up the sacred gifts towards heaven, the Priest bows down: let us also humble ourselves, and say:

In spiritu humilitatis, et in animo contrito suscipiamur a te, Domine: et sic fiat sacrificium nostrum in conspectu tuo hodie, ut placeat tibi, Domine Deus.
Though daring, as we do, to approach thy altar, O Lord, we cannot forget that we are sinners. Have mercy on us, and delay not to send us thy Son, who is our saving Host.

Let us next invoke the Holy Ghost, whose operation is about to produce on the altar the presence of the Son of God, as it did in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the divine mystery of the Incarnation:

Veni, Sanctificator, omnipotens æterne Deus, et benedic hoc sacrificium tuo sancto nomini præparatum.
Come, O Divine Spirit, make fruitful the offering which is upon the altar, and produce in our hearts him whom they desire.

If it be a High Mass, the priest, before proceeding any further with the Sacrifice, takes the thurible a second time. He first incenses the bread and wine which have been just offered, and then the altar itself; hereby inviting the faithful to make their prayer, which is signified by the incense, more and more fervent the nearer the solemn moment approaches.

But the thought of his own unworthiness becomes more intense than ever in the heart of the priest. The public confession, which he made at the foot of the altar, is not enough; he would now at the altar itself express to the people, in the language of a solemn rite, how far he knows himself to be from that spotless sanctity wherewith he should approach to God. He washes his hands. Our hands signify our works; and the priest, though by his priesthood he bear the office of Jesus Christ, is, by his works, but man. Seeing your father thus humble himself, do you also make an act of humility, and say with him these verses of the Psalm:

PSALM 25

 

Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas: et circumdabo altare tuum, Domine.
Ut audiam vocem laudis: et enarrem universa mirabilia tua.
Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuæ, et locum habitationis gloriæ tuæ.
Ne perdas cum impiis, Deus, animam meam, et cum viris sanguinum vitam meam.
In quorum manibus iniquitates sunt: dextera eorum repleta est muneribus.
Ego autem in innocentia mea ingressus sum: redime me, et miserere mei.
Pes meus stetit in directo: in ecclesiis benedicam te, Domine.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
I, too, would wash my hands, O Lord, and become like unto those who are innocent, that so I may be worthy to come near thy altar, and hear thy sacred Canticles, and then go and proclaim to the world the wonders of thy goodness. I love the beauty of thy House, which thou art about to make the dwellingplace of thy glory. Leave me not, O God, in the midst of them that are enemies both to thee and me. Thy mercy having separated me from them, I entered on the path of innocence, and was restored to thy grace; but have pity on my weakness still; redeem me yet more, thou who hast so mercifully brought me back to the right path. In the midst of these thy faithful people, I give thee thanks. 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 Priest, taking encouragement from the act of humility he has just made, returns to the middle of the altar, and bows down full of respectful awe, begging of God to receive graciously the Sacrifice which is about to be offered to him, and expresses the intentions for which it is offered. Let us do the same.

Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam tibi ofterimus ob memoriam Passionis, Resurrectionis et Ascensionis Jesu Christi Domini nostri: et in honore beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis, et beati Joannis Baptistæ, et sanctorum Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et istorum, et omnium Sanctorum: ut illis proficiat ad honorem, nobis autem ad salutem: et illi pro nobis intercedere dignentur in cœlis, quorum memoriam agimus in terris. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
O Holy Trinity, graciously accept the Sacrifice we have begun. We offer it in remembrance of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. Permit thy Church to join with this intention that of honouring the ever glorious Virgin Mary, the Blessed Baptist John, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, the Martyrs whose relics lie here under our altar awaiting their resurrection, and the Saints whose memory we this day celebrate. Increase the glory they are enjoying, and receive the prayers they address to thee for us.

The Priest again turns to the people; it is for the last time before the sacred Mysteries are accomplished. He feels anxious to excite the fervour of the people. Neither does the thought of his own unworthiness leave him; and before entering the cloud with the Lord, he seeks support in the prayers of his brethren who are present. He says to them:

Orate, fratres: ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptable fiat apud Deum Patrem omnipotentem.
Brethren, pray that my Sacrifice, which is yours also, may be acceptable to God, our Almighty Father.

With this request he turns again to the altar, and you will see his face no more until our Lord himself shall have come down from heaven upon that same altar. Assure the Priest that he has your prayers, and say to him:

Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram, totiusque Ecclesiæ suæ sanctæ.
May our Lord accept this Sacrifice at thy hands, to the praise and glory of his name, for our benefit and that of his holy Church throughout the world.

Here the priest recites the prayers called the Secrets, in which he presents the petition of the whole Church for God’s acceptance of the Sacrifice, and then immediately begins to fulfil that great duty of religion, thanksgiving. So far he has adored God and has sued for mercy; he has still to give thanks for the blessings bestowed on us by the bounty of our heavenly Father, the chief of which, during this season, is his gracious fulfilment of the promise he made after the sin of our first parents: he fulfilled it by the Resurrection of the Lamb, who thereby conquered death. The priest, in the name of the Church, is about to give expression to the gratitude of all mankind. In order to excite the faithful to that intensity of gratitude which is due to God for all his gifts, he interrupts his own and their silent prayer by terminating it aloud, saying:

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum!
For ever and ever

In the same feeling, answer your Amen! Then he continues:

℣. Dominus vobiscum.
℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

℣. Sursum corda!
℣. Lift up your hearts!

Let your response be sincere:

℟. Habemus ad Dominum.
℟. We have them fixed on God.

And when he adds:

℣. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
℣. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God,

Answer him with all the earnestness of your soul:

℟. Dignum et justum est.
℟. It is meet and just.

Then the Priest:

The Preface[7]

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, te quidem Domine omni tempore, sed in hoc potissimum gloriosius prædicare, cum Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus. Ipse enim verus est Agnus, qui abstulit peccata mundi. Qui mortem nostram moriendo destruxit, et vitam resurgendo reparavit. Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omni militia cœlestis exercitus, hymnum gloriæ tuæ canimus, sine fine dicentes:
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, to praise thee, O Lord, at all times, but chiefly at this time, when Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. For he is the true Lamb, who hath taken away the sins of the world. Who, by dying, hath destroyed our death, and by rising again, hath restored us to life. And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominations, and with all the heavenly host, we sing a hymn to thy glory, saying unceasingly:

Here unite with the Priest, who on his part unites himself with the blessed Spirits, in giving thanks to God for the unspeakable Gift: bow down and say:

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus sabaoth!
Pleni sunt cœli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis!
Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.
Hosanna in excelsis!
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed be the Saviour whom we were expecting, and who is coming to us in the name of the Lord who sends him.
Hosanna be to him in the highest!

After these words commences the Canon, that mysterious prayer, in the midst of which heaven bows down to earth, and God descends unto us. The voice of the priest is no longer heard; yea, even at the altar all is silence. Let a profound respect stay all distractions and keep our senses in submission to the soul. Let us fix our eyes on what the priest does in the holy place.

 

THE CANON OF THE MASS

 

In this mysterious colloquy with the great God of heaven and earth, the first prayer of the sacrificing Priest is for the Catholic Church, his and our Mother.

Te igitur, clementissime Pater, per Jesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum supplices rogamus ac petimus, uti accepta habeas et benedicas hæc dona, hæc munera, hæc sancta sacrificia illibata, in primis quæ tibi offerimus pro Ecclesia tua sancta Catholica: quam pacificare, custodire, adunare et regere digneris toto orbe terrarum, una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro N. et Antistite nostro N., et omnibus orthodoxis, atque catholicæ et apostolicæ fidei cultoribus.
O God, who manifestest thyself unto us by means of the mysteries which thou hast entrusted to thy holy Church, our Mother; we beseech thee, by the merits of this sacrifice, that thou wouldst remove all those hindrances which oppose her during her pilgrimage in this world. Give her peace and unity. Do thou thyself guide our Holy Father the Pope, thy Vicar on earth. Direct thou our Bishop, who is our sacred link of unity; and watch over all the orthodox children of the Catholic Apostolic Roman Church.

Here pray, together with the Priest, for those whose interests should be dearest to you.

 

Memento, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N., et omnium circumstantium, quorum tibi fides cognita est, et nota devotio: pro quibus tibi offerimus, vel qui tibi offerunt hoc sacrificium laudis, pro se, suisque omnibus, pro redemptione animarum suarum, pro spe salutis et incolumitatis suæ; tibique reddunt vota sua æterno Deo, vivo et vero.
Permit me, O God, to intercede with thee in more earnest prayer for those for whom thou knowest that I have a special obligation to pray: * * * Apply to them the fruits of this divine Sacrifice, which is offered unto thee in the name of all mankind. Visit them by thy grace, pardon them their sins, grant them the blessings of this present life and of that which is eternal.

Here let us commemorate the Saints: they are that portion of the Body of Jesus Christ which is called the Church Triumphant.

Communicantes, et memoriam venerantes, in primis gloriosæ semper Virginis Mariæ, Genitricis Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et beatorum Apostolorum ac Martyrum tuorum, Petri et Pauli, Andreæ, Jacobi, Joannis, Thomæ, Jacobi, Philippi, Bartholomæi, Matthæi, Simonis et Thaddæi: Lini, Cleti, Clementis, Xysti, Cornelii, Cypriani, Laurentii, Chrysogoni, Joannis et Pauli, Cosmæ et Damiani, et omnium sanctorum tuorum, quorum meritis precibusquec oncedas, ut in omnibus protectionis tuæ muniamur auxilio. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
But the offering of this Sacrifice, O my God, does not unite us with those only of our brethren who are still in this transient life of trial: it brings us closer to those also, who are already in possession of heaven. Therefore it is that we wish to honour by it the memory of the glorious and ever Virgin Mary, of whom Jesus is born to us; of the Apostles, Confessors, Virgins, and of all the Saints; that so they may assist us, by their powerful intercession, to become worthy to see Jesus in Bethlehem, and to contemplate thee, as they now do, in the mansion of thy glory.

The Priest, who, up to this time, had been praying with his hands extended, now joins them, and holds them over the bread and wine, as the High Priest of the Old Law did over the figurative victim: he thus expresses his intention of bringing these gifts more closely under the notice of the Divine Majesty, and of marking them as the material offering whereby we profess our dependence, and which is, in a few instants, to yield its place to the living Host, upon whom all our iniquities are to be laid.

Hanc igitur oblationem servitutis nostræ, sed et cunctæ familiæ tuæ, quæsumus Domine, ut placatus accipias: diesque nostros in tua pace disponas, atque ab æterna damnatione nos eripi, et in electorum tuorum jubeas grege numerari. Per Christum Dominuin nostrum. Amen.

Quam oblationem tu Deus in omnibus, quæsumus, benedictam, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris; ut nobis Corpus et Sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi.
Vouchsafe, O God, to accept this offering which this thy assembled family presents to thee as the homage of its most happy servitude. In return, give us peace, save us from thy wrath and number us among thy elect, through him who is coming to us, thy Son our Saviour.

Yea, Lord, this is the moment when this bread is to become his sacred Body, which is our food; and this wine is to be changed into his Blood, which is our drink. Ah! delay no longer, but send to us this divine Son our Saviour!

And here the Priest ceases to act as man; he now becomes more than a mere minister of the Church. His word becomes that of Jesus Christ, with all its power and efficacy. Prostrate yourself in profound adoration; for Emmanuel, God with us, is coming down from heaven.

Qui pridie quam pateretur, accepit panem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas: et elevatis oculis in cœlum, ad te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem, tibi gratias agens, benedixit, fregit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite, et manducate ex hoc omnes. Hoc est Enim Corpus meum.
What, O God of heaven and earth, my Jesus, the long expected Messias, what else can I do at this solemn moment but adore thee in silence as my sovereign Master, and open my whole heart to thee, as to its dearest King! Come then, Lord Jesus, come!

The Divine Lamb is now lying on our altar! Glory and love be to him for ever! But he is come that he may be immolated. Hence, the priest, who is the minister of the will of the Most High, immediately pronounces over the chalice those sacred words which will produce the great mystical immolation, by the separation of the Victim’s Body and Blood. The substances of bread and wine have ceased to exist; the species alone are left, veiling, as it were, the Body and Blood, lest fear should keep us from a mystery which God gives us in order to give us confidence. Let us associate ourselves to the angels, who look upon this deepest wonder with awe and trembling

.

Simili modo postquam cœnatum est, accipiens et hunc præclarum Calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas: item tibi gratias agens, benedixit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite et bibite ex eo omnes. HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI, NOVI ET ÆTERNI TESTAMENTI: MYSTERIUM FIDEI: QUI PRO VOBIS ET PRO MULTIS EFFUNDETUR IN REMISSIONEM PECCATORUM. Hæc quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis.
O Precious Blood! thou price of my salvation! I adore thee! Wash away my sins, and make me whiter than snow. Lamb ever slain, yet ever living, thou comest to take away the sins of the world! Come also and reign in me by thy power and by thy love.

The Priest is now face to face with God. He again raises his hands towards heaven, and tells our heavenly Father that the oblation now on the altar is no longer an earthly offering, but the Body and Blood, the whole Person, of his divine Son.

Unde et memores, Domine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta, ejusdem Christi Filii tui Domini nostri tam beatæ Passionis, nec non et ab inferid Resurrectionis, sed et in cœlos gloriosæ Ascension's: offerimus præclaræ majestati tuæ de tuis donis ac datis Hostiam puram, Hostiam sanctam, Hostiam immaculatam: Panem sanctum vitæ æternæ, et Calicem salutis perpetuæ.

Supra quæ propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris: et accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et sacrificium Patriarchænostri Abrahæ, et quod tibi obtulit summus Sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.
Father of infinite holiness, the Host so long expected is here before thee! Behold this thy eternal Son, who suffered a bitter passion, rose again with glory from the grave, and ascended triumphantly into heaven. He is thy Son; but he is also our Host—Host pure and spotless—our Meat and Drink of everlasting life.

Heretofore thou didst accept the sacrifice of the innocent lambs offered to thee by Abel; and the sacrifice which Abraham made thee of his son Isaac, who, though immolated, yet lived; and lastly, the sacrifice, which Melchisedech presented to thee, of bread and wine. Receive our Sacrifice, which is above all those others. It is the Lamb, of whom all others could be but figures: it is the undying Victim: it is the Body of thy Son, who is the Bread of Life, and his Blood, which, whilst a Drink of immortality for us, is a tribute adequate to thy glory.

The Priest bows down to the altar, and kisses it as the throne of love on which is seated the Saviour of men.

 

Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus: jube hæc perferri per manus sancti Angeli tui in sublime Altare tuum, in conspectu divinæ Majestatis tuæ: ut quotquot ex hac altaris participatione, sacrosanctum Filii tui Corpus et Sanguinem sumpserimus, omni benedictione cœlesti et gratia repleamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
But, O God of infinite power, these sacred gifts are not only on this altar here below; they are also on that sublime Altar in heaven, which is before the throne of thy divine Majesty. These two altars are but one and the same, on which is accomplished the great mystery of thy glory and our salvation. Vouchsafe to make us partakers of the Body and Blood of the august Victim, from whom flow every grace and blessing.

Nor is the moment less favourable for making supplication for the Church Suffering. Let us, therefore, ask the divine Liberator who has come down among us that he mercifully visit by a ray of his consoling light the dark abode of Purgatory and permit his Blood to flow, as a stream of mercy, from this our altar, and refresh the panting captives there. Let us pray expressly for those among them who have a claim on our suffrages.

.

Memento etiam, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N., qui nos præcesserunt cum signo fidei, et dormiunt in somno pacis. Ipsis, Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Dear Jesus! let the happiness of this thy visit extend to every portion of thy Church. Thy face gladdens the elect in the holy City; even our mortal eyes can see beneath the veil of our delighted faith: ah! hide not thyself from those brethren of ours, who are imprisoned in the place of expiation. Be thou refreshment to them in their flames, light in their darkness, and peace in their agonies of torment.

This duty of charity fulfilled, let us pray for ourselves, sinners, alas! who profit so little by the visit which our Saviour pays us. Let us, together with the priest, strike our breast,

saying:

Nobis quoque peccatoribus famulis tuis, de multitudine miserationum tuarum sperantibus, partem aliquam et societatem donare digneris cum tuis sanctis Apostolis et Martyribus: cum Joanne, Stephano, Mathia, Barnaba, Ignatio, Alexandro, Marcellino, Petro, Felicitate, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucia, Agnete, Cæcilia, Anastasia, et omnibus Sanctis tuis; intra quorum nos consortium, non æstimator meriti, sed veniæ, quæsumus, largitor admitte. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem hæc omnia, Domine, semper bona creas, sanctificas, vivificas, benedicis, et præstas nobis: per ipsum, et cum ipso et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti, in unitate Spiritus Sancti, omnis honor et gloria.
Alas! we are poor sinners, O God of all sanctity! yet do we hope that thy infinite mercy will grant us to share in thy kingdom, not, indeed, by reason of our works, which deserve little else than punishment, but because of the merits of this Sacrifice, which we are offering to thee. Remember, too, the merits of thy holy Apostles, of thy holy Martyrs, of thy holy Virgins, and of all thy Saints. Grant us, by their intercession, grace in this world, and glory eternal in the next: which we ask of thee, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son. It is by him thou bestowest upon us thy blessings of life and sanctification; and by him also, with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, may honour and glory be to thee!

Whilst saying these last few words, the priest has taken up the sacred Host, which was on the altar; he has held it over the chalice, thus reuniting the Body and Blood of the divine Victim, in order to show that he is now immortal. Then raising up both chalice and Host, he offers to God the most noble and perfect homage which the divine majesty could receive.

This solemn and mysterious rite ends the Canon. The silence of the Mysteries is broken. The priest concludes his long prayers, by saying aloud, and so giving the faithful the opportunity of expressing their desire that his supplications be

granted:

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
For ever and ever.

Answer him with faith, and in a sentiment of union with your holy Mother the Church:

Amen.
Amen! I believe the mystery which has just been accomplished. I unite myself to the offering which has been made, and to the petitions of the Church.

It is time to recite the prayer which our Saviour himself has taught us. Let it ascend up to heaven together with the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. How could it be otherwise than heard, when he himself who made it for us is in our very hands now whilst we say it? As this prayer belongs in common to all God’s children, the Priest recites it aloud, and begins by inviting us all to join in it.

Oremus

Præceptis salutaribus moniti, et divina institutione formati, audemus dicere:
Let us Pray

Having been taught by a saving precept, and following the form given us by a divine instruction, we thus presume to speak:

The Lord's

Prayer

Pater noster, qui es in cœlis: Sanctificetur nomen tuum: Adveniat regnum tuum: Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cœlo, et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie: Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily Bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation.

Let us answer with deep feeling of our misery:

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

The Priest falls once more into the silence of the holy Mysteries. His first word is an affectionate Amen to your last petition—deliver us from evil—on which he forms his own next prayer: and could he pray for anything more needed? Evil surrounds us everywhere, and the Lamb on our altar has been sent to expiate it and deliver us from it.

Libera nos, quæsumus Domine, ab omnibus malis, præteritis, præsentibus et futuris: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andrea, et omnibus Sanctis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris: ut ope misericordiæ tuæ adjuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus.
How many, O Lord, are the evils which beset us! Evils past, which are the wounds left on the soul by our sins, and strengthen her wicked propensities. Evils present, that is, the sins now at this very time upon our soul; the weakness of this poor soul; and the temptations which molest her. There are also future evils, that is, the chastisement which our sins deserve from the hand of thy justice. In presence of this Host of our Salvation, we beseech thee, O Lord, to deliver us from all these evils, and to accept in our favour the intercession of Mary the Mother of Jesus, of thy holy Apostles Peter and Paul and Andrew. Liberate us, break our chains, give us peace: through Jesus Christ, thy Son, who with thee liveth and reigneth God.

The Priest is anxious to announce the Peace which he has asked and obtained; he therefore finishes his prayer aloud, saying:

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

℟. Amen.
World without end.

℟. Amen.

Then he says:

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.
May the Peace of our Lord be ever with you.

To this paternal wish reply:

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.
℟. And with thy spirit.

The Mystery is drawing to a close: God is about to be united with man, and man with God, by means of Communion. But first, an imposing and sublime rite takes place at the altar. So far the Priest has announced the Death of Jesus; it is time to proclaim his Resurrection. To this end, he reverently breaks the sacred Host, and having divided it into three parts, he puts one into the Chalice, thus reuniting the Body and Blood of the immortal Victim. Do you adore, and say:

Hæc commixtio et consecratio Corporis et Sanguinis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, fiat accipientibus nobis in vitam æternam. Amen.
Glory be to thee, O Saviour of the world, who didst, in thy Passion, permit thy precious Blood to be separated from thy sacred Body, afterwards uniting them again together by thy divine power.

Offer now your prayer to the ever-living Lamb, whom St John saw on the Altar of Heaven standing as though slain: say to this your Lord and King:

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, give us Peace.

Peace is the grand object of our Saviour’s coming into the world: He is the ‘Prince of Peace.’ The divine Sacrament of the Eucharist ought therefore to be the mystery of peace, and the bond of Catholic unity; for as the Apostle says, ‘all we who partake of one Bread, are all one Bread and one Body.’[9] It is on this account that the priest, now that he is on the point of receiving, in Communion, the sacred Host, prays that fraternal peace may be preserved in the Church, and more especially in this portion of it which is assembled round the altar. Pray with him, and for the same

blessing:

Domine Jesu Christe, qui dixisti Apostolis tuis: Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis: ne respicias peccata mea, sed fidem Ecclesiæ tuæ: eamque secundum voluntatem tuam pacificare et coadunare digneris. Qui vivis et regnas Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst to thy Apostles, “my peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you”: regard not my sins, but the faith of thy Church, and grant her that peace and unity which is according to thy will. Who livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

If it be a High Mass, the priest here gives the kiss of peace to the deacon, who gives it to the sub-deacon, and he to the choir. During this ceremony, you should excite within yourself feelings of Christian charity, and pardon your enemies, if you have any. Then continue to pray with the

Priest:

Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, qui ex voluntate Patris, cooperante Spiritu Sancto, per mortem tuam mundum vivificasti: libera me per hoc sacrosanctum Corpus et Sanguinem tuum, ab omnibus iniquitatibus meis, et universis malis, et fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis, et a te nunquam separari permittas. Qui cum eodem Deo Patre et Spiritu Sancto vivis et regnas Deus in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, according to the will of thy Father, through the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, hast by thy death given life to the world; deliver me by this thy most sacred Body and Blood from all my iniquities, and from all evils; and make me always adhere to thy commandments, and never suffer me to be separated from thee, who with the same God the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

If you are going to Communion at this Mass, say the following Prayer; otherwise, prepare yourself to make a Spiritual Communion:

Perceptio Corporis tui, Domine Jesu Christe, quod ego indignus sumere præsumo, non mihi proveniat in judicium et condemnationem: sed pro tua pietate prosit mihi ad tutamentum mentis et corporis, et ad medelam percipiendam. Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Let not the participation of thy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgement and condemnation; but through thy mercy may it be a safeguard and remedy both to my soul and body. Who with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

When the Priest takes the Host into his hands, in order to his receiving it in Communion, say:

Panem cœlestem accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo.
Come, my dear Jesus, come!

When he strikes his breast, confessing his unworthiness, say thrice with him these words, and in the same disposition as the Centurion of the Gospel, who first used them:

Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea.
Lord, I am not worthy thou shouldst enter under my roof; say it only with one word of thine, and my soul will be healed.

Whilst the Priest receives the sacred Host, if you also are to communicate, adore profoundly your God, who is ready to take up his abode within you, and again say to him with the spouse: Come, Lord Jesus, come!

But should you not be going to receive sacramentally, make a Spiritual Communion. Adore Jesus Christ who thus visits your soul by his grace, and say to him:

Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam æternam. Amen.
I give thee, O Jesus, this heart of mine, that thou mayest dwell in it, and do with me what thou wilt.

Then the Priest takes the Chalice, in thanksgiving, and says:

Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus, quæ retribuit mihi? Calicem salutaris accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo. Laudans invocabo Dominum, et ab inimicis meis salvus ero.
What return shall I make to the Lord for all he hath given to me? I will take the Chalice of salvation, and will call upon the name of the Lord. Praising I will call upon the Lord, and I shall be saved from mine enemies.

But if you are to make a Sacramental Communion, you should, at this moment of the Priest’s receiving the precious Blood, again adore the God who is coming to you, and keep to your canticle: Come, Lord Jesus, come!

If, on the contrary, you are going to communicate only spiritually, again adore your divine Master, and say to him:

Sanguis Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam æternam. Amen.
I unite myself to thee, my beloved Jesus! do thou unite thyself to me! and never let us be separated.

It is here that you must approach to the altar, if you are going to Communion. The dispositions suitable for holy Communion during this season of Paschal Time are given in the next chapter.

The Communion being finished, whilst the Priest is purifying the Chalice the first time, say:

Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine, pura mente capiamus: et de munere temporali fiat nobis remedium sempiternum.
Thou hast visited me, O God, in these days of my pilgrimage; give me grace to treasure up the fruits of this visit for my future eternity.

Whilst the Priest is purifying the Chalice the second time, say:

Corpus tuum, Domine, quod sumpsi, et Sanguis quem potavi, adhæreat visceribus meis: et præsta ut in me non remaneat scelerum macula, quem pura et sancta refecerunt Sacramenta. Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Be thou for ever blessed, O my Saviour, for having admitted me to the sacred mystery of thy Body and Blood. May my heart and senses preserve, by thy grace, the purity which thou hast imparted to them: and I be thus rendered less unworthy of thy divine visit.

The Priest having read the Antiphon called the Communion, which is the first part of his thanksgiving for the favour just received from God, whereby he has renewed his divine presence among us, turns to the people with the usual salutation; after which he recites the prayers called the Postcommunion, which are the completion of the thanksgiving. You will join him here also, thanking God for the unspeakable gift he has just lavished on you, and asking him, with most earnest entreaty, that he will bestow upon you perseverance in the joy of Paschal Time, and vigilance over yourself during the whole course of this day, that so you may keep up within you the love of that new life which gives you a right to the company of our risen Jesus.

These Prayers having been recited, the Priest again turns to the people, and full of joy for the immense favour he and they have been receiving, he says:

Dominus vobiscum.
The Lord be with you.

Answer him:

Et cum spiritu tuo.

Ite, Missa est.

℟. Deo gratias.
And with thy spirit.

Go, the Mass is finished.

℟. Thanks be to God.

The Priest makes a last Prayer, before giving you his blessing: pray with him:

Placeat tibi, sancta Trinitas, obsequium servitutis meæ, quod oculis tuæ majestatis indignus obtuli, tibi sit acceptabile, mihique, et omnibus, pro quibus illud obtuli, sit, te miserante, propitiabile. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Eternal thanks be to thee, O adorable Trinity, for the mercy thou hast showed to me in permitting me to assist at this divine Sacrifice. Pardon me the negligence and coldness wherewith I have received so great a favour, and deign to confirm the blessing which thy Minister is about to give me in thy Name.

The Priest raises his hand, and thus blesses you:

Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.

℟. Amen.
May the Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless you!

℟. Amen.

He then concludes the Mass, by reading the first fourteen verses of the Gospel according to St John, which tell us of the eternity of the Word, and of the mercy which led him to take upon himself our flesh, and to dwell among us. The Evangelist tells us that this divine Word, the Creator of light, is himself the true Light. This Light suddenly shone forth from the darkness of the tomb. The Jew refused to see it; the Christian hails it with joy, for it is the Life of men

.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

Initium sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.
Cap. I.

In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt; et sine ipso factum est nihil quod factum est. In ipso vita erat, et vita erat lux hominum: et lux in tenebris lucet, et tenebræ eam non comprehenderunt. Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes. Hic venit in testimonium, ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine, ut omnes crederent per illum. Non erat ille lux, sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine. Erat lux vera, quæ illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum. In mundo erat, et mundus per ipsum factus est, et mundus eum non cognovit. In propria venit, et sui eum non receperunt. Quotquot autem receperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri, his, qui credunt in nomine ejus: qui non ex sanguinibus, neque ex voluntate carnis, neque ex voluntate viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt. Et Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis: et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi Unigeniti a Patre, plenum gratiæ et veritatis.

℟. Deo gratias.
℣. The Lord be with you.

℟. And with thy spirit.

The beginning of the Holy Gospel according to John.
Ch. I.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men; and the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. That was the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them he gave power to he made the sons of God; to them that believe in his name, who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw his glory, as it were the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

℟. Thanks be to God.

[1] Sequence for the Feast of Corpus Christi.
[2] Cant. v 6.
[3] 1 Kings iii 10.
[4] St John xx 29.
[5] 1 Cor. xv 53.
[6] 2 St Pet. i 4.
[7] The Prefaces for the Ascension, Pentecost, the Annunciation, and the Solemnity of St Joseph, are given in the Masses for those feasts.
[8] Apoc. v 6.
[9] 1 Cor. x 17.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

IN Passiontide, the Christian went to holy Communion impressed with these words of the Apostle: ‘As often as ye shall eat this Bread, and drink the Chalice, ye shall show the death of the Lord.’[1] He united himself with the divine Victim immolated for the sins of the world, and he died with his Saviour. During Paschal Time, the heavenly Food produces its effects in another manner; it fortifies the life of the soul, and gives to the body the germ of immortality. It is true that in each season of the liturgical year this twofold effect is produced in those who worthily receive Communion, namely, immolation and resurrection; but as, during the days consecrated to the Passion, the application of the mystery of immolation and sacrifice is more direct and more in accordance with the sentiments of the communicant, so also, during Paschal Time, the divine contact of the Body of our risen Jesus makes us feel, in a way that Easter alone can do, that to the holy Eucharist we owe the future resurrection of our bodies.

Our Saviour himself teaches us this, where he says: ‘Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the Bread which cometh down from heaven, that if any man eat of it, he may not die. . . . He that eateth my Flesh, and drinketh my Blood, hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up in the last day.’[2]

We shall all resume these bodies of ours on the Last Day, either for glory or punishment eternal; but he that worthily unites himself by holy Communion with the glorious and risen Body of the Man-God contracts an alliance and intimacy with him which forbid this divine Guest to leave in corruption these members made his own by the sublime Mystery.

We must, therefore, approach the holy Table during Eastertide with an ardent ambition for our resurrection, knowing as we do that we then receive into our bodies an element which is to preserve them even when turned into dust; and which, moreover, confers on them a right to the qualities of glorified bodies, whose beauty and happiness will be like those of our Jesus, after he had risen from the grave.

Now, if our Redeemer does all this for our bodies by means of holy Communion—giving them, by it, the pledge of immortality—what must he not do for our souls, in order to strengthen and increase within them that ‘new life,’ that Resurrection-life, which is the fruit of Easter, the object of all our past efforts, the reward of all the victories we have gained over ourselves during the campaign of Lent? Nay, unless this new life be fostered by frequent Communion, it is in danger of growing weak, perhaps even of becoming extinct within us. The Apostle tells us that ‘Christ, having risen from the dead, dieth now no more;’[3] we, then, must die no more, for we are risen with him. To this end, we must hunger after the Bread of Heaven, of which our Jesus says: ‘If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever.’[4]

We offer to our readers the following Preparation for holy Communion during Easter. There are souls that feel the want of some such assistance as this; and, for the same reason, We will add a form of Thanksgiving for after Communion.

BEFORE COMMUNION

 

Act of Faith

O Saviour of mankind! the magnificence of thy works shines so brightly that we are compelled to give glory to thy name and proclaim thee to be the Son of God. We believed in thee, when thou didst show thyself a weak Babe in the Crib of Bethlehem; there was a mysterious power that attracted us, and, with the Angels, we adored thee wrapped in thy humble swathing-bands. When we saw thee hanging on the Cross, outraged and blasphemed by a whole people, we still acknowledged thee to be our King, and said to thee, with the Good Thief; ‘Remember us, O Lord, when thou shalt come into thy Kingdom!’ But now that thou hast triumphed over death, and art risen glorious from the tomb; now that the whole earth resounds with thy praise, and the tidings of thy Resurrection fill all nations with a gladness as fresh as though thy triumph were but of this very year: who can refuse to confess thy Divinity, adore thy Mysteries, and cry out with thy disciple: ‘My Lord and my God!’ Though my eyes see thee not, though my hands cannot touch thy sacred wounds, yet do I most firmly believe thee to be my Lord and my God. Thou hast said: ‘Happy they that have not seen, and have believed:’ of these happy believers I would be one, O Jesus! I confess that thou hast verily risen, the Son of God and the Son of Man. I believe, also, that thou art the living Bread come down from heaven to give life to the world, and that I am about to receive thee into myself. Increase this my faith, O my Lord and my God! that so I may render thee the worship thou claimest from me, thy poor but happy creature.

Act of Humility

O divine Conqueror of death! who could see thee in the splendour of thy majesty, and not tremble? Before thy Passion, thou grantedst a mere glimpse of thy glory to the three disciples on Thabor, and they fell down as though they were dead: and now, when the brightness of thy Resurrection dazzles even the eyes of the Angels, thou wishest to do far more than show thyself to me. Thou vouchsafest to come down to my nothingness, to unite me, a weak unworthy creature, with thyself, who art no longer in the Crib or on the Cross, and art soon to ascend to the right hand of thy eternal Father! Thou, the Author of light, and thyself the infinite Light, art about to shine amidst such darkness as mine! If I reflect upon my nothingness, this thy condescension fills me with delighted wonder; but when I remember that I have been so great a sinner, this union with thee overpowers me. How can thy sovereign holiness and my sinfulness be brought thus together? Thine Evangelist tells me, that ‘the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness doth not comprehend it,’ for the darkness of pride ever thinks itself to be the light, and sees not the ‘true Light’: let it not be thus with me, my Jesus! I humble myself before thee; I acknowledge my misery—it is immense; deign then, O divine Light! to pour out on me the riches of thine infinite mercy.

Act of Contrition

O Saviour of the world! O Conqueror of death! thou art coming to me, and I am but a sinner. Thou wiliest to treat me as thou didst thy disciples on the day of thy Resurrection. They had basely abandoned thee in thy Passion, and thou didst return to them: thou wast all affection to them; thou badest them not fear; not a word of reproach fell from thy lips. Thou wouldst have them learn from this thy loving forgiveness how guilty they had been in leaving such a Master. O thou best of masters! I, too, must learn the same lesson. But how much more grievous my sins have been than were theirs! They knew so little of thee when they sinned; whereas I sinned with all the fulness of light upon me, knowing my Jesus so well. Thy Apostles were not initiated into all thy Mysteries, when they lost their courage; they had not as yet received the Holy Ghost, who has been so unreservedly given to me. I will, then, imitate them in the sorrow they felt when they found that he whom they had offended was so deserving of their love. Yes, I detest my sins whereby I have so cruelly wounded thy Sacred Heart; I acknowledge that sin is death, and the enemy of that life which thou renewest within us by thy Resurrection. I wish to die to sin, and live to grace. By the Mystery of life which thou art about to apply to my repentant heart, deign, I beseech thee, to preserve me from the misery of ever again forfeiting thy grace.

Act of Love

O Jesus! thy Resurrection is not only the trophy of thy victory, it is moreover, and more evidently, the grand triumph of thy love. It was out of love for us that thou didst assume our flesh and suffer the cruel Passion; and yet these proofs of thine adorable goodness towards us are but a preparation of the last great act of God’s love for sinful man, his creature. Thou risest from the tomb, thou takest possession of immortality; it is a triumph well merited by thy humiliations and sufferings: but it is all for our sake. What need hadst thou of the Crib or the Cross, O eternal and infinitely happy God? Why wouldst thou die, and then return to life? Why descend into the grave, and then leave it by a glorious Resurrection? Ah yes, I understand thee, my Jesus! it was because thou lovest us, who had merited death by our sins. In thine incomprehensible love, thou wouldst share in our death, that we might share in thy Resurrection. Whether nailed to the Cross, or rising from the tomb, thou art ever our own dearest Jesus, ever working for us; but the last act of thy almighty love is the greatest. What return can I make thee, O my Saviour, if not that of the warmest love? And when should I give it more fervently than now, when thou art about to give me that Bread of Heaven which is thyself, and by which thou unitest me to thy Resurrection, in order to make me a sharer of thy glory and immortality? Thou art mine, O Jesus! both in thy death and thy life! I wish to be thine, for time and for eternity. Amen.

In order to make your preparation complete, follow, with a lively faith and attention, all the mysteries of the Mass at which you are to receive Communion; using for this purpose the method we have given in the preceding chapter. For your thanksgiving after Communion, you may sometimes recite the following Acts:

AFTER COMMUNION


Act of Adoration

O infinite majesty! thou art in me, and I am in thee. The earth shook when thou didst rise from the tomb; and now, at this blissful moment, feeling thee within me, my whole being thrills with delight. Thou art here in my heart; thou the great God, whose will alone created the light and whose almighty power reunited thy Soul and Body for a glorious Resurrection. I most profoundly adore thine omnipotence, which is now united to my poor nature. No, my Almighty Father! thou shalt find no resistance here; thou art my Sovereign Lord, and I delightedly confess it. Thou hast come down from heaven to this lowly dwelling of my misery, my nothingness, in order to receive my adoration; thou shalt have it, dear Lord! the humblest and best I can give: for my soul is overpowered by the wondrous honour thou art now conferring upon me! Thou art the infinite Being, the Creator and Preserver of all things! I adore thee as my King and Lord and Master: my happiness and glory is in my total dependence upon thee; the one ambition of my heart is to serve thee.

Act of Thanksgiving

O my Jesus! would that I had power to acknowledge as it deserves the favour of this thy visit. Thou art come to me in order to give me a share in thine own life. I am weak: the mere remembrance of thy Resurrection would not suffice to give me perseverance in the new life it has merited for me: I needed thee, and thou hast graciously come to me, silently and humbly, and yet with all thine omnipotence and glory. When thou didst visit thine Apostles on the day of thy Resurrection, thou saidst to them: ‘It is I, fear not!’ So, too, thou speakest to my soul: thou biddest me fear not at the sight of thy majesty and mine own misery and unworthiness. The sweet greeting given to them is now given to me: ‘Peace be with thee!’ Most gratefully do I receive it. Blessed be thou, my Jesus, for the provident and tender love wherewith thou hast visited me, broken the chains of my captivity, made me a partaker in thy triumph, fortified me against my enemies; and all this by putting within me thine own immortal life by the Communion I have just received! I will say, then, with the Royal Prophet: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul! and let all that is within me bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul! and never forget all he hath done for thee! He hath redeemed thy life from destruction: he hath renewed thy youth as that of the eagle.’

Act of Love

O Jesus! laden thus with thy choicest favours, I must repay thy love by all the love this heart of mine can give. When Magdalen was at thy tomb, and heard the sound of thy voice, her soul melted within her; throwing herself at thy feet, she could say nothing but call thee ‘Master!’ And I, dear Jesus, my Master! I who not only hear thy words, but feel thee within me, what must I say to thee that will tell thee my love for thee? The disciples of Emmaus had but a conversation with thee, and they said to each other: ‘Was not our heart burning within us whilst he spoke in the way?’ What must I say, who have thee now resting in my heart? I must take courage, and tell thee that I love thee, my risen Jesus! Thou didst take Magdalen’s love, thou didst encourage that of thy disciples; deign also to receive mine. If it be weak, thou canst add to its ardour. I am firmly resolved by the aid of thy grace never to admit anything that could lessen my love of thee; I will do all in my power to give it increase; and, for this end. I will frequently approach this adorable Sacrament, for it is indeed the Sacrament of Love.

Act of Oblation

O Jesus! I belonged to thee, because I was redeemed by thee: I am thine now, because thou hast restored life to me by thy Resurrection, and because, by this happy Communion, thou hast made me a partaker in all the glory of thy victory over death. Henceforth, thy lot and mine are one; like thee, I am dead to sin and alive unto God. Take me, then, my dearest Jesus! I offer and give myself to thee, nor will I ever again leave thee. Do with me what thou wiliest; I am thy redeemed, and the companion of thy glory; my present, my future, my eternity, all are in thy hands. Therefore do I renounce myself, that I may be guided by thee; I renounce the world and its maxims, for they are enemies to the new life I am resolved to lead. But that I may be faithful, I have need of a powerful and never-failing aid. This aid, my Jesus! is thy Holy Spirit. Thou hast promised him to us. Our Easter joy will not be perfect until he come and dwell within us. Send him, then, I beseech thee, to me. Thou art to ascend into heaven: leave me not an orphan. I know that I have thee in this adorable Sacrament; but I cannot receive it as often as I wish, and my necessities recur at every hour. Vouchsafe, then, to renew within me the presence of this Holy Spirit, who will preserve and give efficacy to the graces thou hast bestowed upon me by this Communion.

O Mary! by the joy that filled thy maternal heart at the Resurrection of thy Jesus, I beseech thee to intercede for me with him, that I may never lose the grace of the visit he has this day granted me. Ye holy angels of God, who adore him now dwelling within me, be solicitous for the holiness and purity of my soul and body! All ye Saints of God, pray for me, that I may ever be faithful to him whom ye loved on earth, and now possess as your infinite Good and your eternal happiness! Amen.

 

[1] 1 Cor. xi 26.
[2] St John vi 49, 50, 55.
[3] Rom. vi 9.
[4] St John vi 52.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

THE Office of Vespers, or Evensong, consists firstly of the five following Psalms. According to our custom, we preface each Psalm with a short explanation, in order to draw attention to what is most in harmony with the spirit of the Easter mysteries.

After the Pater and Ave have been said in secret, the Church commences this Hour with her favourite supplication:

 

℣. 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.

Ant. Dixit Dominus.
℣. 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.

Ant. The Lord said.

 

Ant. Alleluia.
Ant. Alleluia.

Under this single Antiphon all the Psalms are sung, if the Vespers are of the Sunday; but on feasts the Antiphons are proper, and will be given on their respective days.


The first Psalm is a prophecy of the future glory of the Messias. It celebrates his Eternal Generation, his being equal with the Father, his Kingship and Priesthood. He was humbled for a while, even so as to drink of the torrent: but now he has triumphed over his enemies, and will come in glory at the end of the world to iudge them

.

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 poenitebit eum: * Tu es Sacerdos in æternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech.
Dominus a dextris tuis: * confregit in die iræ suæ reges.
Judicabit in nationibus, implebit ruinas: * conquassabit capita in terra multorum.
De torrente in via bibet: * propterea exaltabit caput.

Ant. Dixit Dominus Domino meo, sede a dextris meis.
Ant. Magna opera Domini.
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! 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 God-Man: 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 cometh now in humility; he shall drink in the way of the* torrent of sufferings: therefore shall he lift up the head.

Ant. The Lord said to my Lord, sit thou at my right hand.
Ant. Great are the works of the Lord.

The following Psalm commemorates the mercies of God to his people, the promised Covenant, the Redemption, his fidelity to his word. The Resurrection of Christ (of which our own is a consequence) was one of God’s promises; and we are now celebrating its accomplishment.

psalm 110

 

Confitebor tibi, Domine, in toto corde meo: * in concilio 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 haereditatem 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. Magna opera Domini: exquisita in omnes voluntates ejus.
Ant. Qui timet Dominum.
I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart: in the council 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: and being the bread of life, he hath given food to them that fear him.
He will be mindful for ever of his covenant with men: he is come and will show forth to his people the power of his works.
That he may give them, Ais 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. Great are the works of the Lord: sought out according to all his wills.
Ant. He that feareth the Lord.

The next Psalm sings the happiness and hopes of the just man. The light that rises up in darkness is our risen Jesus, who appears to us in his mercy. The wicked one, who is angry at the triumph of him who is par excellence the just, is the Jew, to whom the Resurrection was a source of the most bitter regret and confusion.

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. Qui timet Dominum, in mandatis ejus cupit nimis.
Ant. Sit nomen Domini.
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: he is born and dwells amongst us.
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. He that feareth the Lord delighteth exceedingly in his commandments.
Ant. May the name of the Lord.

The Psalm Laudate pueri is a Canticle of praise to the Lord, who from his high heaven has taken pity on the fallen human race, and humbled himself by taking our nature, which he afterwards raised up by his Resurrection.

psalm 112

 

Laudate, pueri, Dominum: * laudate nomen Domini.
Sit nomen Domini bene* dictum: * 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. Sit nornen Domini benedictum in sæcula.
Ant. Deus autem noster.
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, nay, who cometh down amidst us?
Raising up the needy from the earth: and 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. May the name of the Lord be for ever blessed.
Ant. But our God.

The fifth PsalmIn exitu, speaks of the ancient Pasch (the exodus from Egypt) and the prodigies that accompanied and followed it; of the Red Sea, the figure of Baptism; of the water which issued from the rock in the desert; and of the abolition of idol-worship. Our Christian Pasch and Pentecost are the fulfilment of all these figures; they bring a blessing upon all, Jews or Gentiles, who love or fear Christ. In consequence of our sins, we were condemned to go down into hell, where we should never have heard the glad hymns of praise sung to our God in the heavenly Jerusalem: but the Resurrection of Christ has restored us to life, and we sing, to his and his Father’s praise, the joyous 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 terrain.
Cœlum cœli Domino: * terram 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. Deus autem noster in cœlo: omnia quæcumque voluit, fecit.
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 ailed 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. But our God is in heaven: he hath done all things whatsoever he would.

After these five Psalms, a short Lesson from the holy Scriptures is read. It is called Capitulum, because it is always very short. Those for the Sundays of Eastertide are given in the Proper.

After the Capitulum, follows the Hymn, Ad regias, which was written by St Ambrose, though somewhat changed in the seventeenth century.

Hymn[1]

 

Ad regias Agni dapes,
Stolis amicti candidis,
Post transitum maris Rubri,
Christo canamus principi.

Divina cujus charitas
Sacrum propinat sanguinem,
Almique membra corporis
Amor sacerdos immolat.

Sparsum cruorem postibus
Vastator horret Angelus;
Fugitque divisum mare,
Merguntur hostes fluctibus.

Jam Pascha nostrum Christus est,
Paschalis idem victima,
Et pura puris mentibus
Sinceritatis azyma.

O vera cœli victima,
Subjecta cui sunt tartara,
Soluta mortis vincula,
Recepta vitae præmia.

Victor subactis inferis
Trophæa Christus explicat,
Cœloque aperto, subditum
Regem tenebrarum trahit.

Ut sis perenne mentibus
Paschale, Jesu, gaudium,
A morte dira criminum
Vitæ renatos libera.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito,
In sempiterna sæcula.

Amen.
Having passed the Red Sea,
and now seated at the royal banquet of the Lamb,
clad in our white robes,
let us sing a hymn to Christ our King.

In his divine love for us,
he gives us to drink of his precious Blood.
Love is the priest
that immolates his sacred Body.

The destroying angel looks with awe upon the Blood
that is sprinkled on the thresholds.
The sea divides its waters,
and buries our enemies in its waves.

Christ is now our Pasch;
he is our Paschal Lamb;
he is the unleavened Bread of sincerity,
pure food for pure souls.

O truly heavenly Victim!
by whom hell was vanquished,
the fetters of death were broken,
and life was awarded to mankind.

Christ, our Conqueror, unfolds his banner,
for he has subdued the powers of hell.
He opens heaven to man,
and leads captive the prince of darkness.

That thou, O Jesus,
mayst be an endless Paschal joy to our hearts, free us,
who have been regenerated unto life,
from the dread death of sin.

Glory be to God the Father,
and to the Son who rose from the dead,
and to the Paraclete,
for everlasting ages.

Amen.

Then is said the Magnificat Antiphon, which is to be found in the Proper for the several days. After this the Church sings the Canticle of Mary, the Magnificat. This exquisite Canticle is an essential part of the Vespers throughout the year. It gives us the words of our blessed Lady, wherein she expresses to St Elizabeth the transports of her joy and gratitude at bearing God within her womb. Let us join her in celebrating the ineffable honour bestowed upon her, the merits of that profound humility which rendered her worthy of such an honour, the overthrow of the proud spirits who were driven from heaven, and the exaltation of human nature, of itself so poor and miserable, to that high place from which the angels fell.

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.
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 heart.
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.

The Magnificat Antiphon is then repeated. The Prayer, or Collect, will be found in the Proper of each Sunday.

The Vespers end with the following Versicles:

℣. Benedicamus Domino.
. Deo gratias.

℣. Fidelium animæ per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace.
. Amen.
℣. Let us bless the Lord.
. Thanks be to God.

℣. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
℟. Amen.

 

[1] According to the Monastic Rite, it is as originally composed. It is preceded by the following Responsory:

R. breve.—Surrexit Dominus vere. * Alleluia, Alleluia. Surrexit. ℣. Et apparuit Simoni. Alleluia. Gloria Patri, etc. Surrexit.

Ad cœnam Agni providi,

Et stolis albis candidi,

Post transitum maris Rubri Christo canamus Principi.

Cujus corpus sanctissimum In ara Crucis torridum,

Cruore ejus roseo Gustando vivimus Deo.

Protecti Paschæ vespere A devastante Angelo,

Erepti de durissimo Pharaonis imperio.

Jam Pascha nostrum Christus est, Qui immolatus Agnus est,

Sinceritatis azyma Caro ejus oblata est.

O vere digna hostia,

Per quam fracta sunt tartara, Redempta plebs captivata, Reddita vitæ præmia.

Consurgit Christus tumulo, Victor redit de barathro, Tyrannum tradens vinculo Et paradisum reserans.

Quæsumus, Auctor omnium, In hoc Paschali gaudio,

Ab omni mortis impetu Tuum defende populum.

Gloria tibi Domine,

Qui surrexisti a mortuis,

Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu, In sempiterna sæcula. Amen.

 

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