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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.

The ceremonies used by the Church for the Office of Tenebræ having been already explained, we deem it unnecessary to repeat our instructions. The reader may refer to them, should he require to refresh his memory. They are given on pages 301—303.

Pater noster, Ave, and Credo, in secret.

 

THE FIRST NOCTURN

 

The first psalm, after having spoken of the eternal generation of the Son of God, prophesies His kingship over the nations, and the vengeance He will take on His enemies, at the last day. As this magnificent canticle also foretells the revolt of earthly princes against Christ, the Church uses it on this day, when the Synagogue has plotted His death.

Ant. Adstiterunt reges terræ, et principes convenerunt in unum, adversus Dominum, et adversus Christum ejus.
Ant. The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

Psalm 2

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

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

Ant. The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord and against his Christ.

The second psalm is pre-eminently the psalm of the Passion. The first verse contains one of the seven words spoken by our Saviour on the cross. The rest of the psalm mentions so many circumstances of the Passion, and with such clearness, that we almost seem to be reading the account of an eyewitness. Thus it tells us, among other particulars of our Lord’s sufferings, of His hands and feet being pierced, of His Body being violently stretched upon the cross, of His garments being divided, of lots being cast for His vesture, of His agony, and of His being insulted by them that crucified Him.

Ant. Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
Ant. They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.

Psalm 21

Deus, Deus meus, respice in me: quare me dereliquisti: longe a salute mea verba delictorum meorum.
Deus meus, clamabo per diem, et non exaudies: et nocte, et non ad insipientiam mihi.
Tu autem in sancto habitas: laus Israël.
In te speraverunt patres nostri: speraverunt, et liberasti eos.
Ad te clamaverunt, et salvi facti sunt: in te speraverunt, et non sunt confusi.
Ego autem sum vermis, et non homo: opprobrium hominum, et abjectio plebis.
Omues videntes me deriserunt me: locuti sunt labiis, et moverunt caput.
Speravit in Domino, eripiat eum: salvum faciat eum, quoniam vult eum.Quoniam tu es, qui extraxisti me de ventre: spes mea ab uberibus matris meæ.
In te projectus sum ex utero: de ventre matris meæ Deus meus es tu: ne discesseris a me.
Quoniam tribulatio proxima est: quoniam non est qui adjuvet.
Circumdederunt me vituli multi: tauri pingues obsederunt me.
Aperuerunt super me os suum: sicut leo rapiens et rugiens.
Sicut aqua effusus sum: et dispersa sunt omnia ossa mea.
Factum est cor meum tamquam cera liquescens: in medio ventris mei.
Aruit tamquam testa virtus mea, et lingua mea adhæsit faucibus meis: et in pulverem mortis deduxisti me.
Quoniam circumdederunt me canes multi: concilium malignantium obsedit me.
Foderunt manus meas et pedes meos: dinumeraverunt omnia ossa mea.
Ipsi vero consideraverunt et inspexerunt me: diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
Tu autem, Domine, ne elongaveris auxilium tuum a me: ad defensionem meam conspice.Erue a framea, Deus, animam meam: et de manu canis unicam meam.
Salva me ex ore leonis: et a cornibus unicornium humilitatem meam.
Narrabo nomen tuum fratribus meis: in medio ecclesiæ laudabo te.
Qui timetis Dominum, laudate eum: universum semen Jacob, glorificate eum.
Timeat eum omne semen Israel: quoniam non sprevit, neque despexit deprecationem pauperis.
Nec avertit faciem suam a me: et cum clamarem ad eum, exaudivit me.
Apud te laus mea in ecclesia magna: vota mea reddam in conspectu timentium eum.
Edent pauperes, et saturabuntur, et laudabunt Dominum qui requirunt eum: vivent corda eorum in sæculum sæculi.
Reminiscentur et convertentur ad Dominum: universi fines terræ.
Et adorabunt in conspectu ejus: universæ familiæ gentium.
Quoniam Domini est regnum: et ipse dominabitur gentium.
Manducaverunt, et adoraverunt omnes pingues terræ: in conspectu ejus cadent omnes, qui descendunt in terram.Et anima mea illi vivet: et semen meum serviet ipsi.
Annuntiabitur Domino generatio ventura: et annuntiabunt cœli justitiam ejus, populo qui nascetur, quem fecit Dominus.

Ant. Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea, et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
O God, my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me: Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.
O my God. I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear: and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me.
But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel.
In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped and thou hast delivered them.
They cried to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.
All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.
He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighted in him.For thou art he that hast drawn me out of the womb: my hope from the breasts of my mother.
I was cast upon thee from the womb: from my mother’s womb thou art my God, depart not from me.
For tribulation is very near: for there is none to help me.
Many calves have surrounded me: fat bulls have besieged me.
They have opened their mouths against me, as a lion ravening and roaring.
I am poured out like water: and all my bones are scattered.
My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaven to my jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death.
For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me.
They have dug my hands and feet: they have numbered all my bones.
And they have looked and stared upon me: they parted my garments amongst them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.
But thou, O Lord, remove not thy help to a distance from me: look towards my defence.Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword: my only one from the hand of the dog.
Save me from the lion’s mouth: and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns.
I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I praise thee.
Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him.
Let all the seed of Israel fear him: because he hath not slighted nor despised the supplication of the poor man.
Neither hath he turned away his face from me: and when I cried to him he heard me.
With thee is my praise in the great church: I will pay vows in the sight of them that fear him.
The poor shall eat and shall be filled, and they shall praise the Lord that seek him: their hearts shall live for ever and ever.
All the ends of the earth shall remember, and shall be converted to the Lord.
And all the kindreds of the Gentiles shall adore in his sight.
For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he shall have dominion over the nations.
All the fat ones of the earth have eaten and have adored: all they that go down to the earth shall fall before him.And to him my soul shall live: and my seed shall serve him.
There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come: and the heavens shall show forth his justice to a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made.

Ant. They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.

The third psalm was composed by David, when fleeing from Saul’s persecution. It shows us how this holy prophet kept up his confidence in the Lord, in spite of all the dangers that threatened him. David is here a figure of Christ in His Passion.

Ant. Insurrexerunt in me testes iniqui, et mentita est iniquitas sibi.
Ant. Unjust witnesses have risen up against me, and iniquity hath belied itself.

Psalm 26

Dominus illuminatio mea, et salus mea: quem timebo?
Dominus protector vitæ meæ: a quo trepidabo?
Dum appropiant super me nocentes: ut edant carnes meas.
Qui tribulant me inimici mei: ipsi infirmati sunt et ceciderunt.
Si consistant adversum me castra: non timebit cor meum.
Si exsurgat adversum me prœlium: in hoc ego sperabo.
Unam petii a Domino, hanc requiram: ut inhabitem in domo Domini omnibus diebus vitæ meæ.
Ut videam voluptatem Domini: et visitem templum ejus.
Quoniam abscondit me in tabernaculo suo: in die malorum protexit me in abscondito tabernaculi sui.
In petra exaltavit me: et nunc exaltavit caput meum super inimicos meos.
Circuivi, et immolavi in tabernaculo ejus hostiam vociferationis: cantabo, et psalmum dicam Domino.
Exaudi, Domine, vocem meam, qua clamavi ad te: miserere mei, et exaudi me.
Tibi dixit cor meum, exquisivit te facies mea: faciem tuam, Domine, requiram.
Ne avertas faciem tuam a me: ne declines in ira a servo tuo.
Adjutor meus esto: ne derelinquas me, neque despicias me, Deus salutaris meus.
Quoniam pater meus et mater mea dereliquerunt me: Dominus autem assumpsit me.
Legem pone mihi, Domine, in via tua: et dirige me in semitam rectam propter inimicos meos.
Ne tradideris me in animas tribulantium me: quoniam insurrexerunt in me testes iniqui, et mentita est iniquitas sibi.
Credo videre bona Domini: in terra viventium.
Exspecta Dominum, viriliter age: et confortetur cor tuum, et sustine Dominum.

Ant. Insurrexerunt in me testes iniqui, et mentita est iniquitas sibi.


The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the protector of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?
Whilst the wicked draw near against me, to eat my flesh.
My enemies that troubled me have been weakened, and have fallen.
If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear.
If a battle should rise up against me, in this will I be confident.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, this will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple.For he hath hid me in his tabernacle; in the day of evils he hath protected me in the secret place of his tabernacle.
He hath exalted me upon a rock: and now he hath lifted up my head above my enemies.
I have gone round, and have offered up in his tabernacle a sacrifice of jubilation: I will sing, and recite a psalm to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to thee: have mercy on me, and hear me.
My heart hath said to thee, my face hath sought thee: thy face, O Lord, will I still seek.
Turn not away thy face from me: decline not in thy wrath from thy servant.
Be thou my helper: forsake me not, do not thou despise
me, O God my Saviour.
For my father and my mother have left me: but the Lord hath taken me up.
Set me, O Lord, a law in thy way: and guide me in the right path, because of my enemies.
Deliver me not over to the will of them that trouble me: for unjust witnesses have risen up against me, and iniquity hath belied itself.
I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
Expect the Lord, do manfully: and let thy heart take courage, and wait thou for the Lord.

Ant. Unjust witnesses have risen up against me, and iniquity hath belied itself.

 


℣. Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea.
℟. Et super vestem meam miserunt sortem.
℣. They parted my garments among them.
℟.. And upon my vesture they cast lots.

Here is said, in secret, the Pater noster.

The lessons of the first nocturn are to-day, also, taken from the Lamentations of Jeremias. We have already (page 311) explained why the Church reads them on these three days. The first two of the following lessons refer to the destruction of Jerusalem; the third we will explain in its proper place.

First Lesson

De Lamentatione Jeremiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. ii.

Heth. Cogitavit Domi nus dissipare murum filiæ Sion: tetendit funiculum suum, et non avertit manum suam a perditione: luxitque antemurale, et murus pariterdissipatus est.

Teth. Defixæ sunt in terra portæ ejus, perdidit et contrivit vectes ejus, regem ejus, et principes ejus, in gentibus. Non est lex: et prophetæ ejus non invenerunt visionem a Domino.

Jod. Sederunt in terra, conticuerunt senes filiæ Sion; consperserunt cinere capita sua, accincti sunt ciliciis; abjecerunt in terram capita sua virgines Jerusalem.

Caph. Defecerunt præ lacrymis oculi mei, conturbata sunt viscera mea. Effusum est in terra jecur meum super contritione filiæ populi mei, cum deficeret parvulus et lactens in plateis oppidi.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
From the Lamentation of Jeremias the Prophet.

Ch. ii.


Heth. The Lord hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Sion: he hath stretched out his line, and hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: and he bulwark hath mourned, and the wall hath been destroyed together.

Teth. Her gates are sunk into the ground: he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles. The law is no more, and her prophets have found no vision from the Lord.

Jod. The ancients of the daughter of Sion sit upon the ground, they have held their peace; they have sprinkled their heads with dust, they are girded with hair-cloth, the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.

Caph. My eyes have failed with weeping, my bowels are troubled. My liver is poured out upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people, when the children and the sucklings fainted away in the streets of the city.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Omnes amici mei dereliquerunt me, et prævaluerunt insidiantes mihi: tradidit me quem diligebam. * Et terribilibus oculis plaga crudelipercutientes, aceto potabant me.
℣. Inter iniquos projecerunt me: et non pepercerunt animæ meæ.
* Et terribilibus oculis plaga crudeli percutientes, aceto potabant me.
℟. All my friends have forsaken me, and they that lay in ambush for me prevailed: he whom I loved has betrayed me. ° And they, with terrible looks, striking me with a cruel wound, gave me vinegar to drink.
℣. They cast me out among the wicked, and spared not my life.
* And they, with terrible looks striking me with a cruel wound, gave me vinegar to drink.

Second Lesson

Lamed. Matribus suis dixerunt: Ubi est triticum et vinum? cum deficerent quasi vulnerati in plateis civitatis, cum exhalarent animas suas in sinu matrum suarum.

Mem. Cui comparabo te, vel cui assimilabo te filia Jerusalem? cui exæquabo te, et consolabor te, virgo filia Sion? Magna est enim velut mare contritio tua: quis medebitur tui?

Nun. Prophetæ tui viderunt tibi falsa et stulta: nec aperiebant iniquitatem tuam, ut te ad pænitentiam provocarent. Viderunt autem tibi assumptiones falsas, et ejectiones.

Samech. Plauserunt super te manibus omnes transeuntes per viam: sibilaverunt, et moverunt caput suum super filiam Jerusalem: Hæccine est urbs, dicentes, perfecti decoris, gaudium universæ terræ?

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
Lamed. They said to their mothers: Where is corn and wine? when they fainted away as the wounded in the streets of the city: when they breathed out their souls in the bosoms of their mothers.

Mem. To what shall I compare thee, or to what shall I liken thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? to what shall I equal thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Sion? For great as the sea is thy destruction: who shall heal thee?

Nun. Thy prophets have seen false and foolish things for thee; and they have not laid open thy iniquity, to excite thee to penance, but they have seen for thee false revelations and banishments.

Samech. All they that passed by the way have clapped their hands at thee: they have hissed and wagged their heads at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying: Is this the city of perfect beauty, the joy of all the earth?

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Velum templi scissum est, * Et omnis terra tremuit: latro de cruce clamabat, dicens: Memento mei, Domine, dum veneris in regnum tuum.
℣. Petræ scissæ sunt, et monumenta aperta sunt, et multa corpora sanctorum, qui dormierant, surrexerunt.
* Et omnis terra tremuit: latro de cruce clamabat, dicene: Memento mei, Domine, dum veneris in regnum tuum.
℟. The veil of the temple was rent, * And all the earth shook: the thief cried out from the cross, saying: Remember me, O Lord, when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.
℣. The rocks were split, and the monuments opened, and many bodies of the saints that were dead rose out of them.
* And all the earth shook: the thief cried out from the cross, saying: Remember me, O Lord, when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.

In the third lesson, which now follows, Jeremias passes to another subject. According to the usage of the prophets, he leaves Jerusalem, to speak of Him who is the expectation of Israel—the Messias. But it is not of the glory of the Messias that he now speaks: it is of the sufferings He endures: He has made Himself the object of God’s severest justice, by taking upon Himself the sins of the whole world.

Third Lesson

Aleph. Ego vir videns paupertatem meam, in virga indignationis ejus.

Aleph. Me minavit et adduxit in tenebras, et non in lucem.

Aleph. Tantum in me vertit, et convertit manum suam tota die.

Beth. Vetustam fecit pellem meam et carnem meam: contrivit ossa mea.

Beth. Ædificavit in gyro meo, et circumdedit me felle et labore.

Beth. In tenebrosis collocavit me, quasi mortuos sempiternos.

Ghimel. Circumædificavit adversum me, ut non egrediar: aggravavit compedem meum.

Ghimel. Sed et cum cla mavero et rogavero, exclusit orationem meam.

Ghimel. Conclusit vias meas lapidibus quadris, semitas meas subvertit.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
Aleph. I am the man that see my poverty by the rod of his indignation.

Aleph. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, and not into light.

Aleph. Only against me he hath turned, and turned again his hand all the day.

Beth. My skin and my flesh he hath made old, he hath broken my bones.

Beth. He hath built round about me, and he hath compassed me with gall and labour.

Beth. He hath set me in dark places as those that are dead for ever.

Ghimel. He hath built against me round about, that I may not get out: he hath made my fetters heavy.

Ghimel. Yea, and when I cry and entreat, he hath shut out my prayer.

Ghimel. He hath shut up my ways with square stones, he hath turned my paths upside down.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Vinea mea electa, ego te plantavi: * Quomodo conversa es in amaritudinem ut me crucifigeres, et Barabbam dimitteres?
℣. Sepivi te, et lapides elegi ex te, et ædificavi turrim.
* Quomodo conversa es in amaritudinem, ut me crucifigeres, et Barabbam dimitteres?
Here is repeated: Vinea mea.
℟. O my chosen vineyard, it is I that have planted thee: * How art thou become so bitter, that thou shouldst crucify me, and release Barabbas?
℣. I have hedged thee in, and picked the stones out of thee, and have built a tower.
* How art thou become so bitter, that thou shouldst crucify me, and release Barabbas?
Here is repeated: O my chosen.

 

THE SECOND NOCTURN

 

In the fourth psalm, David humbly acknowledges that the rebellion of his son Absolom was a just punishment of the sins he himself had committed. He is a figure of the Messias, who, in His agony, confesses that the iniquities, which He has taken upon Himself, are a heavy burthen upon Him, that His heart is troubled, and that His strength hath left Him.

Ant. Vim faciebant, qui quærebant animam meam.
Ant. They used violence that sought my soul.

Psalm 37

Domine, ne in furore tuo arguas me: neque in ira tua corripias me.
Quoniam sagittæ tuæ infixæ sunt mihi: et confirmasti super me manum tuam.Non est sanitas in carne mea a facie iræ tuæ: non est pax ossibus meis a facie peccatorum meorum.
Quoniam iniquitates meæ supergressæ sunt caput meum: et sicut onus grave gravatæ sunt super me.
Putruerunt, et corruptæ sunt cicatrices meæ: a facie insipientiæ meæ.
Miser factus sum, et curvatus sum usque in finem: tota die contristatus ingrediebar.
Quoniam lumbi mei impleti sunt illusionibus: et non est sanitas in carne mea.
Afflictus sum et humiliatus sum nimis: rugiebam a gemitu cordis mei.
Domine, ante te omne degiderium meum: et gemitus meus a te non est absconditus.
Cor meum conturbatum est, dereliquit me virtus mea: et lumen oculorum meorum, et ipsum non est mecum.
Amici mei et proximi mei: adversum me appropinquaverunt et steterunt.
Et qui juxta me erant, de longe steterunt: et vim faciebant qui quærebant animam meam.
Et qui inquirebant mala mihi, locuti sunt vanitates: et dolos tota die meditabantur.
Ego autem tamquam surdus non audiebam: et sicut mutus non aperiens os suum.Et factus sum sicut homo non audiens: et non habens in ore suo redargutiones.
Quoniam in te Domine, speravi: tu exaudies me, Domine Deus meus.
Quia dixi: Nequando supergaudeant mihi inimici mei: et dum commoventur pedes mei super me magna locuti sunt.
Quoniam ego in flagella paratus sum: et dolor meus in conspectu meo semper.
Quoniam iniquitatem meam annuntiabo: et cogitabo pro peccato meo.
Inimici autem mei vivunt, et confirmati sunt super me: et multiplicati sunt qui oderunt me inique.
Qui retribuunt mala pro bonis detrabebant mihi: quoniam sequebar bonitatem.
Ne derelinquas me, Domine Deus meus: ne discesseris a me.
Intende in adjutorium meum: Domine, Deus salutis meæ.

Ant. Vim faciebant qui quærebant animam meam.
Rebuke me not, O Lord, in thy indignation: nor chastise me in thy wrath.
For thy arrows are fastened in me: and thy hand hath been strong upon me.There is no health in my flesh, because of thy wrath: there is no peace for my bones, because of my sins.
For my iniquities are gone over my head: and as a heavy burthen are become heavy upon me.
My sores are putrefied and corrupted, because of my foolishness.
I am become miserable, and am bowed down even to the end: I walked sorrowful all the day long.
For my loins are filled with illusions: and there is no health in my flesh.
I am afflicted and humbled exceedingly: I roared with the groaning of my heart.
Lord, all my desire is before thee: and my groaning is not hid from thee.
My heart is troubled, my strength hath left me: and the light of my eyes itself is not with me.
My friends and my neighbours have drawn near, and stood against me.
And they that were near me stood afar off: and they that sought my soul used violence.
And they that sought evils to me spoke vain things: and studied deceits all the day long.
But I, as a deaf man, heard not: and was as a dumb man not opening his mouth.And I became as a man that heareth not: and that; hath no reproofs in his mouth.
For in thee, O Lord, have I hoped: thou wilt hear me, O Lord my God.
For I said: Lest at any time my enemies rejoice over me: and whilst my feet are moved, they speak great things against me.
For I am ready for scourges: and my sorrow is continually before me.
For I will declare my iniquity: and I will think for my sin.
But my enemies live, and are stronger than I: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.
They that render evil for good have detracted me, because I followed goodness.
Forsake me not, O Lord my God: do not thou depart from me.
Attend unto my help, O Lord, the God of my salvation.

Ant. They used violence that sought my soul.

The fifth psalm also represents David, under persecution, as the figure of the Messias. But there is one verse in it, which refers to Christ only, and not to David: it is the tenth, wherein it is said: burnt-offerings and sin-offerings thou didst not require; then said I;Behold I come!

Ant. Confundantur et revereantur, qui quærunt animam meam, ut auferant eam.
Ant. Let them be confounded and ashamed that seek after my soul, to take it away.

Psalm 39

Exspectans exspectavi Dominum: et intendit mihi.
Et exaudivit preces meas: et eduxit me de lacu miseriæ et de luto fæcis.
Et statuit super petram pedes meos: et direxit gressus meos.
Et immisit in os meum canticum novum: carmen Deo nostro.
Videbunt multi, et timebunt: et sperabunt in Domino.
Beatus vir, cujus est nomen Domini spes ejus: et non respexit in vanitates et insanias falsas.
Multa fecisti tu Domine Deus meus, mirabilia tua: et cogitationibus tuis non est qui similis sit tibi.
Annuntiavi et locutus sum: multiplicati sunt super numerum.
Sacrificium et oblationem noluisti: aures autem perfecisti mihi.
Holocaustum et pro peccato non postulasti: tunc dixi: Ecce venio.
In capite libri scriptum est de me, ut facerem voluntatem tuam: Deus meus, volui, et legem tuam in medio cordis mei.Annuntiavi justitiam tuam in ecclesia magna: ecce labia mea non prohibebo: Domine, tu scisti.
Justitiam tuam non abscondi in corde meo: veritatem tuam et salutare tuum dixi.
Non abscondi misericordiam tuam, et veritatem tuam: a concilio multo.
Tu autem, Domine, ne longe facias miserationes tuas a me: misericordia tua et veritas tua semper susceperunt me.
Quoniam circumdederunt me mala, quorum non est numerus: comprehenderunt me iniquitates meæ, et non potui ut viderem.
Multiplicati sunt super capillos capitis mei: et cor meum dereliquit me.
Complaceat tibi Domine, et eruas me: Domine, ad adjuvandum me respice.
Confundantur et revereantur simul, qui quærunt animam meam: ut auferant eam.
Convertantur retrorsum et revereantur: qui volunt mihi mala.
Ferant confestim confusionem suam: qui dicunt mihi: Euge, euge.
Exsultent et lætentur super te omnes quærentes te: et dicant semper:
Magnificetur Dominus, qui diligunt salutare tuum.Ego autem mendicus sum, et pauper: Dominus sollicitus est mei.
Adjutor meus et protector meus tu es: Deus meus, ne tardaveris.

Ant. Confundanturet revereantur, qui quærunt animam, ut auferant eam.
With expectation I have waited for the Lord, and he was attentive to me.
And he heard my prayers and he brought me out of the pit of misery, and the mire of dregs.
And he set my feet upon a rock, and directed my steps.
And he put a new canticle into my mouth, a song to our God.
Many shall see this, and shall fear: and they shall hope in the Lord.
Blessed is the man whose trust is in the name of the Lord: and who hath not had regard to vanities and lying follies.
Thou hast multiplied thy wonderful works, O Lord my God: and in thy thoughts there is no one like to thee.
I have declared, and I have spoken: they are multiplied above number.
Sacrifice and oblation thou didst not desire: but thou hast pierced ears for me.
Burnt-offerings and sinofferings thou didst not require: then said I: Behold I come.
In the head of the book it was written of me, that I should do thy will: O my God, I have desired it, and thy law in the midst of my heart.I have declared thy justice in the great Church: lo! I will not restrain my lips: O Lord, thou knowest it.
I have not hid thy justice within my heart. I have declared thy truth and thy salvation.
I have not concealed thy mercy and thy truth from the great council.
Withhold not thou, O Lord, thy tender mercies from me: thy mercy and thy truth have always upheld me.
For evils without number have surrounded me: my iniquities have overtaken me, and I was not able to see.
They are multiplied above the hairs of my head: and my heart hath forsaken me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me: look down, O Lord, to help me.
Let them be confounded and ashamed together, that seek after my soul, to take it away.
Let them be turned backward, and be ashamed, that desire evils to me.
Let them immediately bear their confusion that say to me: ’Tis well, ’tis well.
Let all that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation, say always, The Lord be magnified.But I am a beggar and poor: the Lord is careful for me.
Thou art my helper and my protector: O my God, be not slack.

Ant. Let them be confounded and ashamed that seek after my soul, to take it away.

In the sixth psalm, David, persecuted by Saul, is a figure of our Saviour, against whom the Synagogue prepares its wicked plots.

Ant. Alieni insurrexerunt in me, et fortes quæsierunt animam meam.
Ant. Strangers have risen up against me, and the mighty have sought after my soul.

Psalm 53

Deus, in nomine tuo salvum me fac: et in virtute tua judica me.
Deus, exaudi orationem meam: auribus percipe verba oris mei.
Quoniam alieni insurrexerunt adversum me, et fortes quæsierunt animam meam: et non proposuerunt Deum ante conspectum suum.
Ecce enim Deus adjuvat me: et Dominus susceptor est animæ meæ.
Averte mala inimicis meis: et in veritate tua disperde illos.
Voluntarie sacrificabo tibi: et confitebor nomini tuo, Domine, quoniam bonum est.
Quoniam ex omni tribulatione eripuisti me: et super inimicos meos despexit oculus meus.

Ant. Alieni insurrexerunt in me, et fortes quæsierunt animam meam.
Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me in thy strength.
O God, hear my prayer: give ear to the words of my mouth.
For strangers have risen up against me: and the mighty have sought after my soul: and they have not set God before their eyes.
For behold God is my helper: and the Lord is the protector of my soul.
Turn back the evils upon my enemies: and cut them off in thy truth.
I will freely sacrifice to thee, and will give praise, O God, to thy name: because it is good.
For thou hast delivered me out of all trouble: and my eye hath looked down upon my enemies.

Ant. Strangers have risen up against me, and the mighty have sought after my soul.

℣. Insurrexerunt in me testes iniqui.
℟. Et mentita est iniquitas sibi.
℣. Unjust witnesses have risen up against me.
℟. And iniquity hath belied itself.

Here is said, in secret, the Pater noster.


For the second nocturn lessons the Church continues the Enarrations of St. Augustine on the psalms prophetic of our Lord’s Passion.

Fourth Lesson

Ex tractatu Sancti Augustini Episeopi, super Psalmos.

Ps. lxiii.

Protexisti me, Deus, a conventu malignantium, a multitudine operantium iniquitatem. Jam ipsum caput nostrum intueamur. Multi martyres talia passi sunt, sed nihil sic elucet, quomodo caput martyrum: ibi melius intuemur, quod illi experti sunt. Protectus est a multitudine malignantium: protegente se Deo, protegente carnem suam ipso Filio, et homine quem gerebat, quia Filius hominis est, et Filius Dei est: Filius Dei, propter formam Dei: Filius hominis, propter formam servi, habens in potestate ponere animam suam, et recipere earn. Quid ei potuerunt facere inimici? Occiderunt corpus, animam non occiderunt. Intendite. Parum ergo erat Dominum hortari martyres verbo nisi firmaret exemplo.
From the treatise of Saint Augustine, Bishop, upon the Psalms.

Ps. lxiii.

Thou hast protected me, 0 God, from, the assembly of the malignant,from the multitude of the workers of iniquity. Now let us behold our head himself. Many martyrs have suffered such torments, but nothing is so conspicuous as the head of the martyrs; there we see better what they endured. He was protected from the multitude of the malignant: that is, God protected himself; the Son, and the Man assumed by the Son, protected his own flesh. For he is the Son of Man, and the Son of God: the Son of God because of the form of God: the Son of Man because of the form of a servant, having it in his power to lay down his life, and take it up again. What could his enemies do against him? They killed his body, but they did not kill his soul. Take notice, then. It signified little for our Lord to exhort the martyrs by word, if he had not fortified them by his example.

℟. Tanquam ad latronem existis cum gladiis et fustibus comprehendere me. * Quotidie apud vos eram in templo docens, et non me tenuistis: et ecce flagellatum ducitis ad crucifigendum.
℣. Cumque injecissent manus in Jesum, et tenuissent cum, dixit ad eos:
* Quotidie apud vos eram in templo docens et non me tenuistis: et ecce flagellatum ducitis ad crucifigendum.
℟. Ye are come out to take me, as a thief, with swords and clubs. * I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye did not apprehend me: and lo! ye scourge me, and lead me to be crucified.
℣. And when they had laid hands on Jesus, and taken him, he said to them:
* I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye did not apprehend me: and lo! ye scourge me, and lead me to be crucified.

Fifth Lesson

Nostis qui conventus erat malignantium Judæorum, et quæ multitudo erat operantium iniquitatem. Quam iniquitatem? Quia voluerunt occidere Dominum desuni Christum. Tanta opera bona, inquit, ostendi vobis; propter quod horum me vultis occidere? Pertulit omnes infirmos eorum. curavit omnes languidos eorum, prædicavitregnum cœlorum, non tacuit vitia eorum, ut ipsa potius eis displicerent, non medicus a quo sanabantur. His omnibus curationibus ejus ingrati, tamquam multa febre phrenetici, insanientes in medicum qui venerat curare eos, excogitaverunt consilium perdendi eum; tanquam ibi volentes probare, utrum vere homo sit qui mori possit, an aliquid super homines sit, et mori se non permittat. Verbum ipsorum agnoscimus in Sapientia Salomonis. Morte turpissima, inquiunt, condemnemus eum: interrogemus eum: erit enim respectus in sermonibus illius. Si enim vere Filius Dei est, liberet eum.
You know what was the assembly of the wicked Jews, and what the multitude of those that work iniquity. But what was that iniquity? It was that they intended to kill our Lord Jesus Christ. ‘I have done.’ saith he, ‘so many good works among you: for which of them will you kill me?’ He bore with ail their weaknesses, he cured all their sick, he preached the kingdom of heaven, he concealed not their crimes, that they might rather hate them, than the physician that healed them. Yet such was their ingratitude for all these cures, that like men raving in a high fever, they raged against the physician that came to cure them, and formed a design of destroying him: as if they had a mind to try whether he was a real man that could die, or something above men, and would not die. We find their words in the Wisdom of Solomon: ‘Let us condemn him,’ say they, ‘to a most shameful death. Let us examine him: for regard will be had to his words. If he is truly the Son of God, let him deliver him.’

℟. Tenebræ factæ sunt, dum crucifixissent Jesum Judæi: et circa horam nonam exclamavit Jesus voce magna: Deus meus, ut quid me dereliquisti? * Et inclinato capite, emisit spiritum.
℣. Exclamans Jesus voce magna ait: Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum.
* Et inclinato capite, emisit spiritum.
℟. Darkness covered the earth, whilst the Jews crucified Jesus: and about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice: My God! why hast thou forsaken me? * And bowing down his head, he gave up the ghost.
℣. Jesus crying out with a loud voice said: Father! into thy hands I commend my spirit!
* And bowing down his head, he gave up the ghost.

Sixth Lesson

Exacuerunt tamquam gladium linguas suas. Non dicant Judæi: Non occidimus Christum. Etenim propterea eum dederunt judici Pilato, ut quasi ipsi a morte ejus viderentur immunes. Nam cum dixisset eis Pilatus: Vos eum occidite; responderunt: Nobis non licet occidere quemquam. Iniquitatem facinoris sui in judicem hominem refundere volebant: sed numquid Deum judicem fallebant? Quod fecit Pilatus, in eo ipso quod fecit, aliquantum particeps fuit: sed in comparatione illorum, multo ipse innocentior. Institit enim quantum potuit, ut illum ex eorum manibus liberaret: nam propterea flagellatum produxit ad eos. Non persequendo Dominum flagellavit, sed eorum furori satisfacere volens: ut vel sic jam mitescerent, et desinerent velle occidere, cum flagellatum viderent. Fecit et hoc. At ubi perseveraverunt, nostis illum lavisse manus, et dixisse quod ipse non fecisset, mundum se esse a morte illius. Fecit tamen. Sed si reus, quia fecit vel invitus: illi innocentes, qui coegerunt ut faceret? Nullo modo. Sed ille dixit in eum sententiam, et jussit eum crucifigi, et quasi ipse occidit: et vos, O Judæi, occidistis. Unde occidistis? Gladio linguæ; acuistis enim linguas vestras. Et quando percussistis, nisi quando clamastis: Crucifige, crucifige?
They sharpened their tongues like a sword. Let not the Jews say: ‘We did not kill Christ:’ for they delivered him up to Pilate, the judge, that they might seem innocent of his death. Thus when Pilate had said to them: ‘Put him to death yourselves:’ they answered: 'It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.’ Hereby, they pretended to throw the injustice of their crime upon a judge that was a man: but could they deceive a judge that is God? What Pilate did, made him partaker of their crime: but in comparison with them, he was much more innocent. For he laboured what he could to get him out of their hands; and for that reason ordered him to be scourged and shown to them. This he did to our Lord, not by way of persecution, but to satisfy their rage; that the sight of him in that condition might move them to pity, and make them desist from desiring his death. All this he did. But when they still persisted, you know that he washed his hands, and said that he had no hand in it, that he was innocent of his death. And yet he really put him to death. But if he was guilty for doing so against his will: are they innocent that forced him to do it? By no means. He pronounced sentence upon him, and commanded him to be crucified, and so might be said to kill him: but you, O Jews, you also killed him. How? With the sword of your tongues: for ye sharpened your tongues. And when gave you the stroke, but when you cried out: 'Crucify him, crucify him’?

℟. Animam meam dilectain tradidi in manus iniquorum, et facta est mihi hæreditas mea sicut leo in silva: dedit contra me voces adversarius, dicens: Congregamini, et properate ad devorandum illum. Posuerunt me in deserto solitudinis, et luxit super me omnis terra:
* Quia non est inventus qui me agnosceret, et faceret bene.
℣. Insurrexerunt in me viri absque misericordia, et non peperceruntanimæ meæ.
* Quia non est inventus qui me agnosceret, et faceret bene.
Here is repeated: Animara meam dilectam.
℟. I have delivered my beloved soul into the hands of the wicked, and my inheritance is become to me like a lion in the forest: my adversary gave out his words against me, saying: Come together, and make haste to devour him. They placed me in a solitary desert, and all the earth mourned for me:
* Because there was none found that would know me, and do good unto me.
℣. Men without mercy rose up against me, and they spared not my life.
* Because there was none found that would know me, and do good unto me.
Here is repeated: I have delivered.

The Third Nocturn

The seventh psalm was composed by David at the time when he was being persecuted by Saul. The prophet, by describing the fury of his own persecutor, shows us what kind of men were the enemies of the Messias.

Ant. Ab insurgentibus in me, libera me, Domine, quia occupaverunt animam meam.
Ant. From them that rise up against me, deliver me, O Lord: for they are in possession of my soul.

Psalm 58

Eripe me de inimicis meis, Deus meus: et ab insurgentibus in me, libera me.Eripe me de operantibus iniquitatem: et de viris sanguinum salva me.
Quia ecce ceperunt animam meam: irruerunt in me fortes.
Neque iniquitas mea, neque peecatum meum, Domine: sine iniquitate cucurri, et direxi.
Exsurge in occursum meum, et vide: et tu, Domine, Deus virtutum, Deus Israel.
Intende ad visitandas omnes Gentes: non miserearis omnibus qui operantur iniquitatem.
Convertentur ad vesperam, et famem patientur ut canes: et circuibunt civitatem.
Ecce loquentur in ore suo, et gladius in labiis eorum: quoniam quis audivit?
Et tu, Domine, deridebis eos: ad nihilum deduces omnes Gentes.
Fortitudinem meam ad te custodiam, quia Deus susceptor meus es: Deus meus, misericordia ejus præveniet me.
Deus ostendit mihi super inimicos meos, ne occidas eos: nequando obliviscantur populi mei.
Disperge illos in virtute tua: et depone eos, protector meus, Domine.Delictum oris eorum, sermonem labiorum ipsorum: et comprehendantur in superbia sua.
Et de execratione et mendacio annuntiabuntur in consummatione: in ira consummationis, et non erunt.
Et scient quia Deus dominabitur Jacob: et finium terræ.
Convertentur ad vesperam, et famem patientur ut canes: et circuibunt civitatem.
Ipsi dispergentur ad manducandum: si vero non fuerint saturati, et murmurabunt.
Ego autem cantabo fortitudinem tuam: et exaltabo mane misericordiam tuam.
Quia factus es susceptor meus: et refugium meum, in die tribulationis meæ.
Adjutor meus tibi psallam, quia Deus susceptor meus es: Deus meus, misericordia mea.

Ant. Ab insurgentibus in me, libera me, Domine, quia occupaverunt animam meam.
Deliver me from my enemies, O my God: and defend me from them that rise up against me.
Deliver me from them that work iniquity: and save me from bloody men.
For behold they have caught my soul: the mighty have rushed in upon me.
Neither is it for my iniquity, nor for my sin, O Lord: without iniquity have I run and directed my steps.
Rise up thou to meet me, and behold: even thou, O Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel.
Attend to visit all the nations: have no mercy on all them that work iniquity.
They shall return at evening, and shall suffer hunger like dogs: and shall go round about the city.
Behold they shall speak with their mouth, and a sword is in their lips: for who, say they, hath heard us?
But thou, O Lord, shalt laugh at them: thou shalt bring all the nations to nothing.
I will keep my strength to thee, for thou art my protector: my God, his mercy shall prevent me.
God shall let me see over my enemies: slay them not, lest at any time my people forget.
Scatter them by thy power: and bring them down, O Lord, my protector.For the sin of their mouth, and the word of their lips: and let them be taken in their pride.
And for their cursing and lying they shall be talked of, when they are consumed: when they are consumed by thy wrath, and they shall be no more.
And they shall know that God will rule Jacob: and all the ends of the earth.
They shall return at evening, and shall suffer hunger like dogs: and shall go round about the city.
They shall be scattered abroad to eat: and shall murmur if they be not filled.
But I will sing thy strength: and will extol thy mercy in the morning.
For thou art become my support and my refuge, in the day of my trouble.
Unto thee, O my helper, will I sing, for thou art God, my defence: my God, my mercy.

Ant. From them that rise up against me, deliver me, O Lord, for they are in possession of my soul.

In the eighth psalm, the royal prophet shows us the Messias threatened with death, and complaining of His disciples having abandoned Him.

Ant. Longe fecisti notos meos a me: traditus sum, et non egrediebar.
Ant. Thou hast put away my acquaintance far from me: I was delivered up, and I escaped not.

Psalm 87

Domine, Deus salutis meæ: in die clamavi, et nocte coram te.
Intret in conspectu tuo oratio mea: inclina aurem tuam ad precem meam.
Quia repleta est malis anima mea: et vita mea inferno appropinquavit.
Æstimatus sum cum descendentibus in lacum: factus sum sicut homo sine adjutorio, inter mortuos liber.
Sicut vulnerati dormientes in sepulchris, quorum non es memor amplius: et ipsi de manu tua repulsi sunt.
Posuerunt me in lacu inferiori: in tenebrosis, et in umbra mortis.
Super me confirmatus est furor tuus: et omnes fluctus tuos induxisti super me.
Longe fecisti notos meos a me: posuerunt me abominationem sibi.
Traditus sum, et non egrediebar: oculi mei languerunt præ inopia.
Clamavi ad te, Domine, tota die: expandi ad te manus meas.
Numquid mortuis facies mirabilia: aut medici suscitabunt, et confitebuntur tibi?
Numquid narrabit aliquis in sepulchro misericordiam tuam: et veritatem tuam in perditione?Numquid cognoscentur in tenebris mirabilia tua: et justitia tua in terra oblivionis?
Et ego ad te, Domine, clamavi: et mane oratio mea præveniet te.
Ut quid, Domine, repellis orationem meam: avertis faciem tuam a me?
Pauper sum ego, et in laboribus a juventute mea: exaltatus autem, humiliatus sum et conturbatus.
In me transierunt iræ tuæ: et terrores tui conturbaverunt me.
Circumdederunt me sicut aqua tota die: circumdederunt me simul.
Elongasti a me amicum et proximum: et notos meos a miseria.

Ant. Longe fecisti notos meos a me: traditus sum, et non egrediebar.
O God, the God of my salvation, I have cried in the day, and in the night before thee.
Let my prayer come in before thee: incline thy ear to my petition.
For my soul is filled with evils: and my life hath drawn nigh to hell.
I am counted among them that go down to the pit: I am become as a man without help, free among the dead.
Like the slain sleeping in the sepulchres, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cast off from thy hand.
They have laid me in the lower pit: in the dark places and in the shadow of death.
Thy wrath is strong over me: and all thy waves thou hast brought in upon me.
Thou hast put away my acquaintance far from me: they have set me an abomination to themselves.
I was delivered up, and came not forth: my eyes languished through poverty.
All the day I cried to thee, O Lord: I stretched out my hands to thee.
Wilt thou show wonders to the dead: or shall physicians raise to life, and give praise to thee?
Shall any one in the sepulchre declare thy mercy, and thy truth in destruction?Shall thy wonders be known in the dark: and thy justice in the land of forgetfulness?
But I, O Lord, have cried to thee, and in the morning my prayer shall prevent thee.
Lord, why castest thou off my prayer: why turnest thou away thy face from me?
I am poor and in labours from my youth: and being exalted, have been humbled and troubled.
Thy wrath hath come upon me: and thy terrors have troubled me.
They have come round about me like water all the day: they have compassed me about together.
Friend and neighbour thou hast put far from me: and my acquaintance because of misery.

Ant. Thou hast put away my acquaintance far from me: I was delivered up, and I escaped not.

The ninth psalm invokes the vengeance of God upon the unjust judges, who shed the Blood of the innocent Jesus, and forget that there is One in heaven who is witness of their injustice and of His immolation. The high priests, the doctors of the Law, the dastardly Pontius Pilate, are here described as unjust judges, upon whose heads will fall the wrath of heaven.

Ant. Captabunt in animam justi, et sanguinem innocentem condemnabunt.
Ant. They will hunt after the soul of the Just; and will condemn innocent Blood.

Psalm 93

Deus ultionum Dominus: Deus ultionum libere egit.
Exaltare qui judicas terram: redde retributionem superbis.
Usquequo peccatores Domine: usquequo peccatores gloriabuntur?
Effabuntur et loquentur iniquitatem: loquentur omnes qui operantur injustitiam?
Populum tuum, Domine, humiliaverunt: et hæreditatem tuam vexaverunt.
Viduam et advenam interfecerunt: et pupillos occiderunt.
Et dixerunt: Non videbit Dominus: nec intelliget Deus Jacob.
Intelligite insipientes in populo: et stulti aliquando sapite.
Qui plantavit aurem, non audiet: aut qui finxit oculum, non considerat?
Qui corripit gentes, non arguet: qui docet hominem scientiam?
Dominus scit cogitationes hominum: quoniam vanæ sunt.
Beatus homo, quem tu erudieris, Domine: et de lege tua docueris eum.
Ut mitiges ei a diebus malis: donec fodiatur peccatori fovea.
Quia non repellet Dominus plebem suam: et hæreditatem suam non derelinquet.
Quoadusque justitia convertatur in judicium: et qui juxta illam omnes qui recto sunt corde.
Quis consurget mihi adversus malignantes: aut quis stabit mecum adversas operantes iniquitatem?
Nisi quia Dominus adjuvit me: paulo minus habitasset in inferno anima mea.
Si dicebam: Motus est pes meus: misericordia tua, Domine, adjuvabat me.
Secundum multitudinem dolorum meorum in corde meo: consolationes tuæ lætificaverunt animam meam.
Numquid adhæret tibi sedes iniquitatis: qui fingis laborem in præcepto?
Captabunt in animam justi: et sanguinem innocentem condemnabunt.
Et factus est mihi Dominus in refugium: et Deus meus in adjutorium spei meæ.
Et reddet illis iniquitatem ipsorum: et in malitia eorum disperdet eos: disperdet illos Dominus Deus noster.

Ant. Captabunt in animam justi, et sanguinem innocentem condemnabunt.
The Lord is the God to whom revenge belongeth: the God of revenge acted freely.
Lift up thyself, thou that judgest the earth: render a reward to the proud.
How long shall the wicked, O Lord, how long shall the wicked make their boast?
How long shall they utter and speak wrong things: how long shall the workers of iniquity talk?
Thy people, O Lord, they have brought low: and they have afflicted thy inheritance.
They have slain the widow and the stranger: and they have murdered the fatherless.
And they have said: The Lord shall not see: neither shall the God of Jacob understand.
Understand, ye senseless among the people: and you fools be wise at last.
He that planted the ear, shall he not hear: or he that formed the eye, doth he not consider?
He that chastiseth nations, shall he not rebuke: he that teacheth man knowledge?
The Lord knoweth the thoughts of men, that they are vain.
Blessed is the man whom thou shalt instruct, O Lord: and shalt teach him out of thy law.
That thou mayst give him rest from the evil days: till a pit be dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not cast off his people: neither will he forsake his own inheritance.
Until justice be turned into judgment: and they that are near it are all the upright of heart.
Who shall rise up for me against the evil doers? or who shall stand with me against the workers of iniquity?
Unless the Lord had been my helper: my soul had almost dwelt in hell.
If I said: my foot is moved: thy mercy, O Lord, assisted me.
According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart: thy comforts have given joy to my soul.
Doth the seat of iniquity stick to thee, who framest labour in commandment?
They will hunt after the soul of the just: and will condemn innocent blood.
But the Lord is my refuge: and my God the help of my hope.
And he will render to them their iniquity: and in their malice he will destroy them: yea, the Lord our God will destroy them.

Ant. They will hunt after the soul of the Just: and will condemn innocent Blood.

℣. Locuti sunt adversum me lingua dolosa.
℟. Et sermonibus odii circumdederunt me, et expugnaverunt me gratis.
℣. They have spoken against me with a deceitful tongue.
℟. And they have compassed me about with words of hatred, and have fought against me without cause.

Here is said the Pater noster in secret.

For the lessons of this nocturn, the Church has selected a passage from the Epistle to the Hebrews, where St. Paul speaks of the Son of God having become our High Priest and Mediator with the Father, by the shedding of His Blood. This precious Blood blots out our sins, and opens heaven to us, which Adam’s sin had closed against us.

Seventh Lesson

De Epistola Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Hebræos.

Cap. iv. et v.

Festinemus ingredi in illam requiem: ut ne in idipsum quis incidat incredulitatis exemplum. Vivus est enim sermo Dei, et efficax, et penetrabilior omni gladio ancipiti: et pertingens usque ad divisionem animæ ac spiritus, compagum quoque ac medullarum, et discretor cogitationum et intentionum cordis. Et non est ulla creatura invisibilis in conspectu ejus: omnia autem nuda et aperta sunt oculis ejus, ad quem nobis sermo. Habentes ergo Pontificem magnum, qui penetravit cœlos, Jesum Filium Dei, teneamus confessionem. Non enim habemus Pontificem qui non possit compati infirmitatibus nostris: tentatum autem per omnia pro similitudine absque peccata.
From the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle, to the Hebrews.

Ch. iv. and v.

Let us hasten therefore to enter into that rest: lest any man fall into the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any twoedged sword, and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also, and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature invisible in his sight: but all things are naked and open to his eyes, to whom our speech is. Having therefore a great High Priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a High Priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin.

℟. Tradiderunt me in manus impiorum, et inter iniquos projecerunt me, et non pepercerunt animæ meæ: congregati sunt adversum me fortes: * Et sicut gigantes steterunt contra me.
℣. Alieni insurrexerunt adversum me, et fortes quæsierunt animam meam.
* Et sicut gigantes steterunt contra me.
℟. They delivered me into the hands of the impious and cast me out among the wicked, and spared not my life: the powerful gathered together against me: * And like giants they stood against me.
℣. Strangers have risen up against me, and the mighty have sought my soul.
* And like giants they stood against me.

Eighth Lesson

Adeamus ergo cum fiducia ad thronum gratiæ: ut misericordiam consequamur, et gratiam inveniamus in auxilio opportuno. Omnis namque pontifex ex hominibus assumptus, pro hominibus constituiturin iis quæ sunt ad Deum, ut offerat dona et sacrificia pro peccatis: qui condolere possit iis qui ignorant et errant: quoniam et ipse circumdatus est infirmitate. Et propterea debet, quemadmodum pro populo, ita etiam et pro semetipso offerre pro peccatis.
Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid. For every high priest taken from among men, is appointed for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on them that are ignorant, and that err: because he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And therefore he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

℟. Jesum tradidit impius summis principibus sacerdotum, et senioribus populi: * Petrus autem sequebatur eum a longe, ut videret finem.
℣. Adduxerunt autem eum ad Caipham principem sacerdotum, ubi scribæ et pharisæi convenerant.
* Petrus autem sequebatur eum a longe, ut videret finem.
℟. The wicked man betrayed Jesus to the chief priests and elders of the people: ° But Peter followed him afar off, that he might see the end.
℣. And they led him to Caiphas the high priest, where the scribes and pharisees were met together.
* Put Peter followed him afar off, that he might see the end.

Ninth Lesson

Nec quisquam sumit sibi honorem sed qui vocatur a Deo, tanquam Aaron. Sic et Christus non semetipsum clarificavit ut pontifex fieret: sed qui locutus est ad eum: Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te. Quemadmodum et in alio loco dicit: Tu es sacerdos in æternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech. Qui in diebus carnis suae, preces, supplicationesque ad eum, qui possit illum salvum facere a morte, cum clamore valido et lacrymis offerens, exauditus est pro sua reverentia. Et quidem cum esset Filius Dei, didicit ex iis, quæ passusest, obedientiam: et consummatus, factus est omnibus obtemperantibus sibi, causa salutis æternæ, appellatus a Deo pontifex juxta ordinem Melchisedech.
Neither doth any man take the honour to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was. So also Christ did not glorify himself that he might be made a high priest: but he that said unto him: Thou art my Son. this day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech. Whο in the days of his flesh, with a strong cry and tears, offering up prayers and supplications to him that was able to save him from death, was heard for his reverence: and whereas indeed he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered: and being consummated he became, to all that obey him, the cause of eternal salvation, called by God a high-priest according to the order of Melchisedech.

℟. Caligaverunt oculi mei a fletu meo: quia elongatus est a me, qui consolabatur me. Videte omnes populi, * Si est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.
℣. O vos omnes qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte.
* Si est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.
Here is repeated: Caligaverunt oculi mei.
℟. My eyes are darkened by my tears: for he is far from me that comforted me. See all ye people, * If there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.
℣. O all ye that pass by the way, behold and see,
* If there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.
Here is repeated: My eyes are darkened.

 

LAUDS

 

The first psalm of Lauds is the Miserere, as yesterday, page 336. It is sung to the following antiphon:

Ant. Proprio Filio suo non pepercit Deus, sed pro nobis omnibus tradidit illum.
Ant. God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.

The second psalm is one of those that were composed by David during the time of Absalom’s rebellion. It is one of the psalms of Friday’s ferial Lauds throughout the year; and is appropriate to the mystery of to-day, inasmuch as it expresses how the Messias was abandoned by His disciples, and how confidently He hoped in God.

Ant. Anxiatus est super me spiritus meus, in me turbatum est cor meum.
Ant. My spirit is in anguish within me, my heart within me is troubled.

Psalm 142

[...]


The third psalm celebrates the great mystery of the Redemption accomplished on this day, the destruction of sin, and the propitiation of God’s offended majesty. It is sung to the following antiphon:

Ant. Ait latro ad latronem: Nos quidem digna factis recipimus: hic autem quid fecit? Memento mei, Domine, dum veneris in regnum tuum.
Ant. The thief said to the thief: We, indeed, receive the due reward of our deeds; but what has this Man done? Remember me, O Lord, when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.

Psalm 84

[...]


The following canticle is that of the prophet Habacuc; it comes in the ferial Lauds of Friday, for penitential seasons. It celebrates the victory of Christ over His enemies, when He shall come to judge the world; and forms a sublime contrast with the humiliations which the Man-God suffers on this the day of His death.

Ant. Cum conturbata fuerit anima mea, Domine, misericordiæ memor eris.
Ant. When my soul shall be in trouble, O Lord! thou wilt be mindful of thy mercy.

Canticle of Habacuc

 

[...]


The last psalm, which belongs to the Lauds of Fridays, is sung to-day to the following antiphon:

Ant. Memento mei, Domine, dum veneris in regnum tuum.
Ant. Remember me, O Lord, when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.

Psalm 147

[...]


℣. Collocavit me in obscuris.
℟. Sicut mortuos sæculi.
℣. He hath made me to dwell in darkness.
℟. As those that have been dead of old.

After this versicle, is sung the canticle Benedictus (see page 347) with the following antiphon:

Ant. Posuerunt super caput ejus causam ipsius scriptam: Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judæorum.
Ant. They put over his head his cause written: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

This antiphon having been repeated after the canticle, the choir sings, to a touching melody, the following words. She repeats them at the end of all the Canonical Hours of these three days, adding to them each day. The addition for to-day is, that the death which our Saviour deigned to suffer for us was the most disgraceful and painful of all deaths— the death of the cross.

℣. Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis.
℣. Christ became, for our sake, obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.

Then is said, in secret, the Pater noster, which is followed by the Miserere (page 336). This psalm is not sung, but only recited as explained in yesterday’s Tenebræ. As soon as the Miserere is finished, the following prayer is said by the first in dignity:

Respice, quæsumus, Domine, super hanc familiam tuam: pro qua Dominus noster Jesus Christus non dubitavit manibus tradi nocentium, et crucis subire tormentum:
Look down. O Lord, we beseech thee, upon this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ hesitated not to be delivered into the hands of wicked men. and to undergo the punishment of the cross:

(then the rest in secret:)

Qui tecum vivit et regnat, in unitate Spiritus sancti, Deus, per omnia sæeula sæculorum. Amen.
Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost. God, world without end. Amen.

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including descriptions of the following:

The sun has risen upon Jerusalem. But the priests and scribes have not waited all this time without venting their rage upon Jesus. Annas, who was the first to receive the divine Captive, has had Him taken to his son-in-law Caiphas, the high priest. Here He is put through a series of insulting questions, which disdaining to answer, He receives a blow from one of the high priest’s servants. False witnesses had already been prepared: they now come forward, and depose their lies against Him who is the very Truth: but their testimony is contradictory. Then Caiphas, seeing that this plan for convicting Jesus of blasphemy is only serving to expose his accomplices, turns to another. He asks Him a question, which will oblige our Lord to make an answer; and in this answer he, Caiphas, will discover blasphemy, and blasphemy will bring Jesus under the power of the Synagogue. This is the question: ‘I adjure Thee, by the living God, that Thou tell us, if Thou be the Christ the Son of God![1] Our Saviour, in order to teach us that we should show respect to those who are in authority, breaks the silence He has hitherto observed, and answers: ‘Thou hast said it: I am: and hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven.’[2] Hereupon, the impious pontiff rises, rends his garments, and exclaims: ‘He hath blasphemed! What further need have we of witnesses? Behold! now ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye?’ The whole place resounds with the cry: ‘He is guilty of death!’[3]

The Son of God has come down upon the earth in order to restore man to life; and yet, here we have this creature of death daring to summon his divine Benefactor before a human tribunal, and condemning Him to death! And Jesus is silent, and bears with these presumptuous, these ungrateful, blasphemers! Well may we exclaim, in the words wherewith the Greek Church frequently interrupts to-day’s reading of the Passion: ‘Glory be to thy patience, O Lord!’

Scarcely have the terrible words, 'He is guilty of death,’ been uttered, than the servants of the high priest rush upon Jesus. They spit upon Him, and blindfolding Him, they strike Him, saying: ‘Prophesy, who is it that struck Thee?’[4] Thus does the Synagogue treat the Messias, who, they say, is to be their glory! And yet, these outrages, frightful as they are, are but the beginning of what our Redeemer has to go through.

But there is something far more trying than all this to the heart of Jesus, and it is happening at this very time. Peter has made his way as far as the court of the high priest’s palace. He is recognized by the bystanders as a Galilean, and one of Jesus’ disciples. The apostle trembles for his life; he denies his Master, and affirms with an oath that he does not even know Him. What a sad example is here of the punishment of presumption! But Jesus has mercy on His apostle. The servants of the high priest lead Him near to the place where Peter is standing; He casts upon him a look of reproach and pardon; Peter immediately goes forth, and weeps bitterly. From this hour forward he can do nothing but lament his sin; and it is only on Easter morning, when Jesus shall appear to him after His Resurrection, that he will admit any consolation to his afflicted heart. Let us make him our model, now that we are spending these hours, with our holy mother the Church, in contemplating the Passion of Jesus. Peter withdraws, because he fears his own weakness; let us remain to the end, for what have we to fear? May our Jesus give us one of those looks, which can change the hardest and worst of hearts!

Meanwhile, the day-dawn breaks upon the city, and the chief priests make arrangements for taking Jesus before the Roman governor. They themselves have found Him guilty; they have condemned Him as a blasphemer, and according to the Law of Moses a blasphemer must be stoned to death. But they cannot apply the law: Jerusalem is no longer free, or governed by her own laws. The power over life and death may be exercised only by her conquerors, and that in the name of Cæsar. How is it that these priests and scribes can go through all this, and never once remember the prophecy of Jacob, that the Messias would come when the sceptre should be taken away from Juda?[5] They know off by heart, they are the appointed guardians of, those prophecies, which describe the death to which this Messias is to be put; and yet, they are the very ones who bring it about! How is all this? They are blind, and it is jealousy that blinds them.

The rumour of Jesus’ having been seized during the night, and that He is on the point of being led before the Roman governor, rapidly spreads through the city, and reaches Judas’ ears. This wretched man had a passion for money, but there was nothing to make him desire the death of his divine Master. He knew Jesus’ supernatural power. He perhaps flattered himself that He, who could command nature and the elements, would easily escape from the hands of His enemies. But now when he sees that He does not escape, and that He is to be condemned to death, he runs to the temple, and gives back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests. Is it that he is converted, and is about to ask his Master to pardon him? Alas, no! Despair has possession of him, and he puts an end to his existence. The recollection of all the merciful solicitations made to him, yesterday, by Jesus, both during the last Supper, and in the garden, gives him no confidence; it only serves to increase his despair. Surely, he well knew what a merciful Saviour he had to deal with! And yet, he despairs, and this at the very time when the Blood, which washes away the sins of the whole world, is about to be shed! He is lost, because he despaired.

The chief priests, taking Jesus with them present themselves at the governor’s palace, demanding audience for a case of importance. Pilate comes forward, and peevishly asks them: ‘What accusation bring ye against this Man?’ They answer: ‘If He were pot a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up to thee.’ It is very evident, from these first words, that Pilate has a contempt for these Jewish priests; it is not less evident that they are determined to gain their cause. ‘Take Him you,’ says Pilate, ‘and judge Him according to your Law.’ The chief priests answer: ‘It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.’[6]

Pilate leaves the hall, in order to speak with these men. He returns, and commands Jesus to be brought in. The Son of God and the representative of the pagan world are face to face. Pilate begins by asking Him: ‘Art Thou the King of the Jews?’ To this Jesus thus replies: ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews. But now My kingdom is not from hence’. ‘Art Thou a King, then? says Pilate. ‘Thou sayest,’ answers Jesus, ‘that I am a King.’ Having, by these last words, confessed His august dignity, our Lord offers a grace to this Roman; He tells him that there is something worthier of man’s ambition than earthly honours. ‘For this,’ says Jesus, ‘was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice.’ ‘What is truth?’ asks Pilate; but without waiting for the answer, he leaves Jesus, for he is anxious to have done with this case. He returns to the Jews, and says to them: ‘I find no cause in Him.’[7] Pilate fancies that this Jesus must be a leader of some Jewish sect, whose teachings give offence to the chief priests, but which are not worth his examining into them: yet at the same time, he is convinced that He is a harmless Man, and that it would be foolish and unjust to accuse Him of disturbing the state.

Scarcely has Pilate expressed his opinion in favour of Jesus, than a long list of accusations is brought up against Him by the chief priests. Pilate is astonished at Jesus’ making no reply, and says to Him: ‘Dost Thou not hear how great testimonies they allege against Thee?’[8] These words are kindly meant, but Jesus still remains silent: they, however, excite His enemies to fresh fury, and they cry out: ‘He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, even to this place.’[9] This word Galilee suggests a new idea to Pilate. Herod, the tetrarch of Galilee, happens to be in Jerusalem at this very time. Jesus is his subject; He must be sent to him. Thus Pilate will get rid of a troublesome case, and this act of courteous deference will re-establish a good understanding between himself and Herod.

The Saviour is therefore dragged through the streets of Jerusalem, from Pilate’s house to Herod’s palace. His enemies follow Him with relentless fury; but Jesus still observes His noble silence. Herod, the murderer of John the Baptist, insults Him, and ordering Him to be clothed in a white garment, as a fool, he sends Him back to Pilate. Another plan for ridding himself of this troublesome case now strikes the Roman governor. At the feast of the Pasch, he had the power of granting pardon to any one criminal the people may select. They are assembled together at the court-gates. He feels sure that their choice will fall upon Jesus, for it is but a few days ago that they led Him in triumph through the city: besides, he intends to make the alternative one who is an object of execration to the whole people; he is a murderer, and his name Barabbas. ‘Whom will you that I release to you?’ says Pilate:

‘Barabbas, or Jesus, that is called the Christ?’ He has not long to wait for the answer: the crowd exclaim: ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’ ‘What then,’ replies Pilate, ‘shall I do with Jesus, that is called the Christ?’ ‘Crucify Him.’ ‘Why, what evil hath He done? I will chastise Him, therefore, and let Him go.’ But they, growing irritated at this, cry out so much the louder: ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’[10]

Pilate’s cowardly subterfuge has failed, and left him in a more difficult position than he was before. His putting the innocent on a level with a murderer was in itself a gross injustice; and yet, he has not gone far enough for a people that is blind with passion. Neither does his promise to chastise Jesus satisfy them: they want more than His Blood; they insist on His death.

Here let us pause, and offer our Saviour a reparation for the insult He here receives. He is put in competition with a murderer, and the murderer is preferred! Pilate makes an attempt to save Jesus: but on what terms! He must be put on a footing with a vile wretch, and even so be worsted! Those very lips that, a few days back, sang ‘Hosannah to the Son of David,’ now clamour for His cruoifixion! The city magistrate and governor pronounces Him innocent, and yet condemns Him to be scourged, because he fears a disturbance!

Jesus is made over to the soldiers to be scourged. They rudely strip Him of His garments, and tie Him to the pillar which is kept for this kind of torture. Fiercely do they strike Him; the Blood flows down His sacred Body. Let us adore this the second bloodshedding of our Jesus, whereby He expiates the sins we and the whole world have committed by the flesh. This scourging is by the hands of Gentiles: the Jews delivered Him up to be punished, and the Romans were the executioners: thus have we all had our share in the awful deicide.

At last the soldiers are tired; they loose their Victim; but it is not out of anything like pity. Their cruelty is going to rest, and their rest is derision. Jesus has been called King of the Jews: a king, say they, must have a crown! Accordingly, they make one for the Son of David! It is of thorns. They press it violently upon His head, and this is the third boodshedding of our Redeemer. Then, that they may make thier scoffing perfect, the soldiers throw a scarlet cloak over His shoulders, and put a reed, for a sceptre, into His hand; and bending their knee before Him, they thus salute Him: ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ This insulting homage is accompanied with blows upon His face; they spit upon Him; and, from time to time, take the reed from His hand, wherewith to strike the thorns deeper into His head.

Here, the Christian prostrates himself before his Saviour, and says to Him with a heart full of compassion and veneration: ‘Yes! my Jesus! Thou art King of the Jews! Thou art the Son of David, and therefore our Messias and our Redeemer! Israel, that hath so lately proclaimed Thee King, now unkings Thee; the Gentiles scoff at Thy royalty, making it a subject for keener insult; but reign Thou must, and over both Jews and Gentiles: over the Jews, by Thy justice, for they are soon to feel the sceptre of Thy revenge; over the Gentiles, by Thy mercy, for Thine apostles are soon to lead them to Thy feet. Receive, dearest King! our homage and submission! Reign now and for ever over our hearts, yea, over our whole being!’

Thus mangled and bleeding, holding the reed in His hand, and with the scarlet tatters on His shoulders, Jesus is led hack to Pilate. It is just the sight that will soften the hearts of the people; at least, Pilate thinks so; and taking Him with him to a balcony of the palace, he shows Him to the crowd below, saying: ‘Behold the Man!’[11] Little did Pilate know all that these few words conveyed! He says not: ‘Behold Jesus!’ nor, ‘Behold the King of the Jews!’ He says: ‘Behold the Man!’ Man—the Christian understands the full force of the word thus applied to our Redeemer. Adam, the first man, rebelled against God, and, by his sin, deranged the whole work of the Creator: as a punishment for his pride and intemperance, the flesh tyrannized over the spirit; the very earth was cursed, and thorns were to be its growth. Jesus, the new Man, comes into this world, bearing upon Him, not the reality, but the appearance, the likeness, of sin: in Him, the work of the Creator regains the primeval order; but the change was not wrought without violence. To teach us that the flesh must be brought into subjection to the spirit, Jesus’ Flesh was torn by the scourges; to teach us that pride must give way to humility, the only crown that Jesus wears is made of thorns. Yes, ‘Behold the Man!’ the triumph of the spirit over the flesh, the triumph of humility over pride.

Like the tiger that grows fiercer as he sees blood, so is Israel at the sight of Jesus after His scourging. ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’—The cry is still the same. ‘Take Him you,’ says Pilate, ‘and crucify Him; for I find no cause in Him.’ And yet, he has ordered Him to be scourged enough to cause His death! Here is another device of the base coward; but it, too, fails. The Jews have their answer ready; they put forward the right granted by the Romans to the nations that are tributary to the empire.

‘We have,’ say they, ‘a law, and according to the law He ought to die; because He made Himself the Son of God.’ Disconcerted by this reply, Pilate takes Jesus aside into the hall, and says to Him: ‘Whence art Thou?’ Jesus is silent; Pilate was not worthy to hear the answer to his question. This silence irritates him. ‘Speakest Thou not to me?’ says he. ‘Knowest Thou not, that I have power to crucify Thee, and I have power to release Thee?’ Here Jesus deigns to speak; and He speaks in order to teach us that every power of government, even where pagans are in question, comes from God, and not from a pretended social compact: ‘Thou shouldst not have any power against Me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore, he that hath delivered Me to thee, hath the greater sin.’[12]

This dignified reply produces an impression upon Pilate: he resolves to make another attempt to save Jesus. But the people vociferate a threat which alarms him: ‘If thou release this Man, thou art not Cæsar’s friend; for whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Cæsar.’ Still, he is determined to try and pacify the crowd. He leaves the hall, sits upon the judgment-seat, orders Jesus to be placed near him, and thus pleads for Him: ‘Behold your King!’ as though he would say, ‘What have you or Cæsar to fear from such a pitiable object as this?’ The argument is unavailing, and only provokes the cry: ‘Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him!’ As though he did not believe them to be in earnest, Pilate says to them: ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ This time the chief priests answer: ‘We have no king but Cæsar.’[13] When the very ministers of God can talk thus, religion is at an end. No king but Cæsar! Then, the sceptre is taken from Juda, and Jerusalem is cast off, and the Messias is come!

Pilate, seeing that nothing can quell the tumult, and that his honour as governor is at stake, decides on making Jesns over to His enemies. Though against his own inclination, he passes the sentence, which is to cause him such remorse of conscience that he will afterwards seek relief in suicide. He takes a tablet, and with a style writes the inscription which is to be fastened to the cross. The people demand that two thieves should be crucified at the same time; it would be an additional insult to Jesus: this, too, he grants, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaias: And with the wicked was He reputed.[14] Having thus defiled his soul with the most heinous of crimes, Pilate washes his hands before the people, and says to them: ‘I am innocent of the Blood of this just Man; look ye to it!’ They answer him with this terrible self-imprecation: ‘His Blood be upon us and upon our children!’[15] The mark of parricide here fastens on this ungrateful and sacrilegious people; Cain-like, they shall wander fugitives on the earth. Eighteen hundred years have passed since then; slavery, misery, and contempt, have been their portion; but the mark is still upon them. Let us Gentiles—upon whom the Blood of Jesus has fallen as the dew of heaven’s mercy—return fervent thanks to the goodness of our heavenly Father, who hath so loved the world, as to give it His only-begotten Son.[16] Let us give thanks to the Son, who, seeing that our iniquities could not be blotted out save by His Blood, shed it, on this day, even to the very last drop.

Here commences ‘the way of the cross’: the house of Pilate, where our Jesus receives the sentence of death, is the first station. Our Redeemer is consigned, by the governor’s order, into the hands of the Jews. The soldiers seize Him, and drag Him from the court. They strip Him of the scarlet cloak and bid Him clothe Himself with His own garments as before the scourging. The cross is ready and they put it on His wounded shoulders. The place where the new Isaac loads Himself with the wood of His sacrifice, is the second station. To Calvary!—this is the word of command, and it is obeyed: soldiers, executioners, priests, scribes, people—these form the procession. Jesus moves slowly on; but after a few paces, exhausted by the loss of Blood and by His sufferings, He falls under the weight of His cross. It is the first fall, and marks the third station.

He falls, not so much by the weight of His cross, as by that of our sins! The soldiers roughly lay their hands on Him, and force Him up again. Scarcely has He resumed His steps, than He is met by His afflicted Mother. The ‘valiant woman’, whose love is stronger than death, was not to be absent at such an hour as this. She must see her Son, follow Him, keep close to Him, even to His last breath. No tongue can tell the poignancy of her grief. The anxiety she has endured during the last few days has exhausted her strength. All the sufferings of Jesus have been made known to her by a divine revelation; she has shared each one of them with Him. But now she cannot endure to be absent, and makes her way through the crowd. The sacrifice is nigh its consummation; no human power could keep such a Mother from her Jesus. The faithful Magdalene is by her side, bathed in tears; John, Mary the mother of James the Less, and Salome the mother of John, are also with her: they weep for their divine Master, she for her Son. Jesus sees her, but cannot comfort her, for all this is but the beginning of what He is to endure. Oh! what an additional suffering was this for His loving Heart, to see His Mother agonizing with sorrow! The executioners observe the Mother of their Victim, but it would be too much mercy in them to allow her to speak to Him; she may follow, if she please, with the crowd; it is more than she could have expected, to be allowed this meeting, which we venerate as the fourth station of the way of the cross.

But from this to the last there is a long distance, for there is a law that all criminals are to be executed outside the city walls. The Jews are afraid of Jesus’ expiring before reaching the place of sacrifice. Just at this time, they behold a man coming from the country, by name Simon of Cyrene; they order him to help Jesus to carry His cross. It is out of a motive of cruelty to our Lord, but it gives Simon the honour of sharing with Him the fatigue of bearing the instrument of the world’s salvation. The spot where this happens is the fifth station.

A little farther on, an incident occurs which strikes the executioners themselves with astonishment. A woman makes her way through the crowd, and setting the soldiers at defiance, comes close up to Jesus. She holds her veil in her hands, and with it respectfully wipes the face of our Lord, for it is covered with blood, sweat, and spittle. She loves Jesus, and cares not what may happen to her, so she can offer Him this slight comfort. Her love receives its reward: she finds her veil miraculously impressed with the likeness of Jesus’ Face. This courageous act of Veronica marks the sixth station of the way of the cross.

Jesus grows weaker at each step: He falls a second time: it is the seventh station. Again do the soldiers violently raise Him up, and push Him along the road. It is easy to follow in His footsteps, for a streak of Blood shows where He has passed. A group of women is following close behind the soldiers; they heed not the insults heaped upon them; their compassion makes them brave. But the last brutal treatment shown to Jesus is more than they can bear in silence; they utter a cry of pitiful lamentation. Our Saviour is pleased with these women, who, in spite of the weakness of their sex, are showing more courage than all the men of Jerusalem put together. He affectionately turns towards them, and tells them what a terrible chastisement is to follow the crime they are now witnessing. The chief priests and scribes recognize the dignity of the Prophet that had so often spoken to them: they listen with indignation; and, at this the eighth station of the great way, they hear these words: ‘Daughters of Jerusalem! weep not over Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us! And to the hills: Cover us!’[17]

At last, they reach the foot of the hill. Calvary is steep; but it is the place of Jesus’ Sacrifice. He begins the ascent, but falls a third time: the hallowed spot is counted as the ninth station. A third time the soldiers force Jesus to rise and continue His painful journey to the summit of the hill, which is to serve as the altar for the holocaust that is to surpass all others in holiness and power. The executioners seize the cross and lay it upon the ground, preparatory to nailing the divine Victim to it. According to a custom practised both by the Romans and the Jews, a cup containing wine and myrrh is offered to Jesus. This drink, which had the bitterness of gall, was given as a narcotic, in order to deaden, in some degree, the feeling of the criminal, and lessen his pain. Jesus raises to His lips the cup, which is proffered Him rather from custom than from any idea of kindness; but He drinks not its contents, for He wishes to feel the full intensity of the suffering He accepts for our sake. Then the executioners, having violently stripped Him of His garments, which had fastened to His wounds, lead Him to the cross. The place where He was thus stripped of His garments, and where the cup of bitter drink was presented to Him, is venerated as the tenth station of the way of the cross. The first nine, from Pilate’s hall to the foot of Calvary, are still to be seen in the streets of Jerusalem; but the tenth and the remaining four are in the interior of the church of Holy Sepulchre, whose spacious walls enclose the spot where the last mysteries of the Passion were accomplished.

But we must here interrupt our history: we have already anticipated the hours of this great Friday, and we shall have to return, later on, to the hill of Calvary. It is time to assist at the service of our holy mother the Church, in which she celebrates the Death of her divine Spouse. We must not wait for the usual summons of the bells; they are silent; we must listen to the call of our faith and devotion. Let us, then, repair to the house of God.

 

THE MORNING SERVICE

 

The service of this morning consists of four parts which we now proceed to explain. First of all, we have the lessons; next, the prayers; thirdly, the veneration of the cross; and lastly, the Mass of the Presanctified. These solemn and unusual rites announoe to the faithful the sacredness of this day, as also the suspension of the holy Sacrifice, for which they are substituted. The altar is stripped; the cross is covered with a black veil; the candles are of yellow wax; everything in the sanctuary bespeaks mournfulness. As soon as the choir have recited None, the celebrant and sacred ministers approach the altar; their black vestments denote the grief of holy Church. On reaching the foot of the altar, they prostrate, and pray in silence, while the acolytes cover the altar with a single cloth, instead of the three which are always required when Mass is celebrated. The celebrant and ministers then rise, and the lessons are begun.

 

THE LESSONS

 

The first portion of this morning’s function consists of two prophetic passages from the old Testament, and of the Passion according to St. John. The passage from the prophet Osee tells us of the merciful designs of God in favour of His new people, the Gentiles, who were dead, and who, nevertheless, were to rise again in three days with Christ, whom they do not yet so much as know. Ephraim and Juda are to be treated otherwise: their material sacrifices have not been acceptable to a God, who loves mercy above every other gift, and rejects the offerings of those whose hearts are filled with bitterness.

Lesson
(Osee, Chap, vi.)

Hæc dicit Dominus: In tribulatione sua mane coneurgent ad me. Venite et revertamur ad Dominum: quia ipse cœpit et sanabit nos: percutiet, et curabit nos. Vivificabit nos post duos dies: in die tertia suscitabit nos, et vivemus in conspectu ejus. Sciemus sequemurque, ut cognoscamus Dominum. Quasi diluculum præparatus est egressus ejus; et veniet quasi imber nobis temporaneus et serotinus terræ. Quid faciam tibi Ephraïm? Quid faciam tibi Juda? Misericordia vestra quasi nubes matutina: et quasi ros mane pertransiens. Propter hoc dolavi in prophetis, occidi eos in verbis oris mei: et judicia tua quasi lux egredientur. Quia misericordiam volui, et non sacrificium: et scientiam Dei, plus quam holocausta.
Thus saith the Lord: In their affliction they will rise early to me. Come, and let us return to the Lord: For he hath taken us, and he will heal us: he will strike, and he will cure us. He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. We shall know, and we shall follow on, that we may know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning light, and he will come to us as the early and the latter rain to the earth. What shall I do to thee, O Ephraim? what shall I do to thee, O Juda? Your mercy is as a morning cloud, and as the dew that goeth away in the morning. For this reason have I hewed them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of my mouth; and thy judgments shall go forth as the light. For I desired mercy and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than holocausts.

The Tract is taken from the canticle of the prophet Habacuc, which we have already sung at Lauds. It foretells the second coming of Christ, when He shall come in glory and majesty to judge them that have crucified Him.

Tract

Domine, audivi auditum tuum, et timui: consideravi opera tua, et expavi.

℣. In medio duorum animalium innotesceris: dum appropinquaverint anni, cognosceris: dum advenerit tempus, ostenderis.
℣. In eo, dum conturbate fuerit anima mea: in ira misericordiæ memor eris.
℣. Deus a Libano veniet, et sanctus de monte umbroso et condenso.
℣. Operuit cœlos majestas ejus: et laudis ejus plena est terra.
Lord, I have heard thy words, and was afraid: I considered thy works, and trembled.

℣. Thou wilt appear between two animals: when the years draw near, thou wilt be known; when the time shall come thou wilt be shown.
℣. When my soul shall be in trouble, even in thy wrath thou wilt remember thy mercy.
℣. God will come from Libanus, and the Holy One from the dark mountain.
℣. His majesty hath clouded the heavens; and the earth is full of his praise.

The Church sums up, in the following Collect, the prayers of her children She reminds our heavenly Father of His justice towards Judas and His mercy towards the good thief, and begs that every remnant of the old man may be removed from us, and we may rise again with our Lord Jesus Christ.

The deacon says:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Collect

Deus, a quo et Judas reatus sui pœnam, et confessionis suæ latro præmium sumpsit: concede nobis tuæ propitiationis effectum: ut sicut in paesione sua Jesus Christus Dominus noster diversa utrisque intulit stipendia meritorum; ita nobis, ablato vetustatis errore, resurrectionis suæ gratiam largiatur. Qui tecum.
O God, from whom both Judas received the punishment of his sin, and the thief the reward of his confession: grant us the effects of thy mercy; that as our Lord Jesus Christ, at the time of his Passion, bestowed on both different rewards according to their merits: so having destroyed the old man within us, he may give us grace to rise again with him. Who liveth, &c.

The second lesson now follows. It is taken from the Book of Exodus, and desoribes to us the ancient rite of the paschal lamb, which was the figure of the reality that is given us to-day. It is to be a lamb without spot or blemish. Its blood has the power of preserving from death those whose dwellings are sprinkled with it. It is not only to be immolated; it is to be eaten by them that have been saved by it. It is to be the food of the wayfarer; and they who partake of it must stand while they eat, like unto men who have no time to lose during this passing life. Its immolation is the signal of the Pasch; the immolation of our Emmanuel, the Lamb of God, is the signal of our Pasch.

Lesson
(Exod. Chap, xii)

In diebus illis: Dixit Dominus ad Moysen et Aaron in terra Ægypti: Mensis iste vobis principium men sium: primus erit in mensibus anni. Loquimini ad universum cœtum tiliorum Israël, et dicite eis: Decima die mensis hujus tollat unusquisque agnum per familias et domos suas. Sin autem minor est numerus, ut sufficere possit ad vescendum agnum, assumet vicinum suum, qui junctus est domui suæ: juxta numerum animarum, quæ sufficere possunt ad esum agni. Erit autem agnus absque macula, masculus, anniculus: juxta quem rituin toiletis et hædum. Et servabitis eum usque ad quartam decimam diem mensis hujus. Immolabitque eum universa multitudo filiorum Israel ad vesperam. Et sument de sanguine ejus: ac ponent super utrumque postem, et in superliminaribus domorum, in quibus comedent illum. Et edent carnes nocte illa assas igni, et azymos panes, cum lactucis agrestibus. Non comedetis ex eo crudum quid, nec coctum aqua: sed tantum assum igni. Caput cum pedibus ejus et intestinis vorabitis: nec remanebit quidquam ex eo usque mane. Si quid residuum fuerit, igne comburetis. Sic autem comedetis illum. Renes vestros accingetis: et calcea menta habebitis in pedibus, tenentes baculos in manibus: et comedetis festinanter. Est enim Phase (id est transitus) Domini.
In those days: The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall be to you the beginning of months: it shall be the first in the months of the year. Speak ye to the whole assembly of the children of Israel, and say to them: On the tenth day of this month, let every man take a lamb, by their families and houses. But if the number be less than may suffice to eat the lamb, he shall take unto him his neighbour that joineth to his house, according to the number of souls which may be enough to eat the lamb. And it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male of one year; according to which rite also you shall take a kid. And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month: and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood thereof, and put it upon both the sideposts, and on the upper door-posts of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh that night roasted at the fire, and unleavened bread, with wild lettuce. You shall not eat thereof anything raw, nor boiled in water, but only roasted at the fire: you shall eat the head with the feet and entrails thereof. Neither shall there remain anything of it until morning. If there be anything left you shall burn it with fire. And thus you shall eat it: you shall gird your reins, and you shall have shoes on your feet, holding staves in your hands, and you shall eat in haste: for it is the Phase (that is, the passage) of the Lord.

This magnificent prophecy is followed by a Tract taken from Psalm cxxxix, in which the Church represents our Redeemer (who has been betrayed into the hands of His enemies) praying to His eternal Father.

Tract

Eripe me, Domine, ab homine malo: a viro iniquo libera me.

℣. Qui cogitaverunt malitias in corde: tota die constituebant prælia.
℣. Acuerunt linguas suas sicut serpentis: venenum aspidum sub labiis eorum.
℣. Custodi me, Domine, de manu peccatoris: et ab hominibus iniquis libera me.
℣. Qui cogitaverunt supplantare gressus meos: abeconderunt superbi laqueum mihi.
℣. Et funes extenderunt in laqueum pedibus meis: juxta iter scandalum posuerunt mihi.
℣. Dixi Domino: Deus meus es tu: exaudi, Domine, vocem orationis meæ.
℣. Domine, Domine, virtus salutis meæ: obumbra caput meum in die belli.
℣. Ne tradas me, Domine, a desiderio meo peccatori: cogitaverunt adversue me, ne derelinquas me, ne unquam exaltentur.
℣. Caput circuitus eorum: labor labiorum ipsorum operiet eos.
℣. Verumtamen justi confite buntur nomini tuo: et habitabunt recti cum vultu tuo.
Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: rescue me from the unjust man.

℣. Who have devised iniquities in their hearts: all the day long they designed battles.
℣. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent: the venom of asps is under their lips.
℣. Keep me, O Lord, from the hand of the wicked: and from unjust men deliver me.
℣. Who have proposed to supplant my steps: the proud have hid a net for me.
℣. And they have stretched out cords for a snare: they have laid for me a stumblingblock by the way side.
℣. I said to the Lord: Thou art my God: hear, O Lord, the voice of my supplication.
℣. O Lord, Lord, the might of my salvation: cover thou my head in the day of battle.
℣. Give me not up, O Lord, from my desire to the wicked: they have plotted against me: do not thou forsake me, lest they should triumph.
℣. The head of their compassing me about: the labour of their lips shall overwhelm them.
℣. But as for the just, they shall give glory to thy name; and the upright shall dwell with thy countenance.

The prophets have prepared us for the fulfilment of their types. Holy Church is now going to relate to us the history of our Saviour’s Passion. It is St. John, the fourth of the evangelists, and an eyewitness of what took place on Calvary, who is about to describe to us the last moments of Jesus’ mortal life. Let us be all attention, and beg our Lord to give us something of that devotion, which filled the soul of His beloved disciple as he stood at the foot of the cross.

 

THE PASSION

 

Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem.
Cap. xviii. et xix.

In illo tempore: Egressus est Jesus cum discipulis suis, trans torrentem Cedron, ubi erat hortus, in quem introivit ipse, et discipuli ejus. Sciebat autem et Judas, qui tradebat eum, locum: quia frequenter Jesus convenerat illuc cum discipulis suis. Judas ergo cum accepisset cohortem, et a pontificibus et pharisæis ministros: venit illuc cum laternis, et facibus et armis. Jesus itaque sciens omnia, quæ ventura erant super eum, processit, et dixit eis: Quem quæritis? Responderunt ei: Jesum Nazarenum. Dicit eis Jesus: Ego sum. Stabat autem et Judas, qui tradebat eum, cum ipsis. Ut ergo dixit eis: Ego sum, abierunt retrorsum et ceciderunt in terram. Iterum ergo interrogavit eos: Quem quæritis? Illi autem dixerunt: Jesum Nazarenum. Respondit Jesus: Dixi vobis, quia ego sum. Si ergo me quæritis, sinite hos abire. Ut impleretur sermo, quem dixit: Quia quos dedisti mihi, non perdidi ex eis quemquam. Simon ergo Petrus habens gladium, eduxit eum et percussit pontificis servum, et abscidit auriculam ejus dexteram. Erat autem nomen servo Malchus. Dixit ergo Jesus Petro: Mitte gladium tuum in vaginam. Calicem quem dedit mihi Pater, non bibam illum?

Cohors ergo et tribunus et ministri Judæorum comprehenderunt Jesum, et ligaverunt eum, et adduxerunt eum ad Annam primum: erat enim socer Caiphæ, qui erat pontifex anni illius. Erat autem Caiphas, qui consilium dederat Judæis: Quia expedit unum hominem mori pro populo. Sequebatur autem Jesum Simon Petrus, et alius discipulus. Discipulus autem ille erat notus pontifici: et introivit cum Jesu in atrium pontificis. Petrus autem stabat ad ostium foris. Exivit ergo discipulus alius, qui erat notus pontifici: et dixit ostiariæ, et introduxit Petrum. Dicit ergo Petro ancilla ostiaria: Numquid et tu ex discipulis es hominis istius? Dicit ille: Non sum. Stabant autem servi et ministri ad prunas, quia frigus erat: et calefaciebant se. Erat autem cum eis et Petrus stans, et calefaciens se.

Pontifex ergo interrogavit Jesum de discipulis suis, et de doctrina ejus. Respondit ei Jesus: Ego palam locutus sum mundo. Ego semper docui in synagoga, et in templo, quo omnes Judæi conveniunt: et in occulto locutus sum nihil. Quid me interrogas? Interroga eos qui audierunt quid locutus sira ipsis: ecce hi sciunt quæ dixerim ego. Hæc autem cum dixisset, unus assistens ministrorum dedit alapam Jesu dicens: Sic respondes pontifici? Respondit ei Jesus: Si male locutus sum, testimonium perhibe de malo: si autem bene, quid me cædis? Et misit eum Annas ligatum ad Caipham pontificem. Erat autem Simon Petrus stans, et calefaciens se. Dixerunt ergo ei: Numquid et tu ex discipulis ejus es? Negavit ille et dixit: Non sum. Dicit ei unus ex servis pontificis, cognatus ejus cujus abscidit Petrus auriculam: Nonne ego te vidi in horto cum illo? Iterum ergo negavit Petrus: et statim gallus cantavit.

Adducunt ergo Jesum a Caipha in prætorium. Erat autem mane. Et ipsi non introierunt in prætorium, ut non contaminarentur: sed ut manducarent Pascha. Exivit ergo Pilatus ad eos foras, et dixit: Quam accusationem affertis adversus hominem hunc? Responderunt, et dixerunt ei: Si non esset hic malefactor, non tibi tradidissemus eum. Dixit ergo eis Pilatus: Accipite eum vos; et secundum legem vestram judicate eum. Dixerunt ergo ei Judæi: Nobis non licet interficere quemquam. Ut sermo Jesu impleretur, quem dixit, significans qua morte esset moriturus. Introivit ergo iterum in prætorium Pilatus; et vocavit Jesum, et dixit ei: Tu es Rex Judæorum? Respondit Jesus: A temetipso hoc dicis, an alii dixerunt tibi de me? Respondit Pilatus: Numquid ego Judæus sum? Gens tua, et pontifices tradiderunt te mihi. Quid fecisti? Respondit Jesus: Regnum meum non est de hoc mundo. Si ex hoc mundo esset regnum meum, ministri mei utique decertarent, ut non traderer Judæis. Nunc autem regnum meum non est hinc. Dixit itaque ei Pilatus: Ergo Rex es tu? Respondit Jesus: Tu dicis, quia Rex sum ego. Ego in hoc natus sum, et ad hoc veni in mundum: ut testimonium perhibeam veritati. Omnis qui est ex veritate, audit vocem meam. Dicit ei Pilatus: Quid est veritas? Et cum hoc dixisset, iterum exivit ad Judæos, et dicit eis: Ego nullam in eo invenio causara. Eet autem consuetudo vobis, ut unum dimittam vobis in Pascha. Vultis ergo dimittam vobis Regem Judæorum? Clamaverunt ergo rursum omnes dicentes: Non hunc sed Barabbam. Erat autem Barabbas latro.

Tunc ergo apprehendit Pilatus Jesum, et flagellavit. Et milites plectentes coronam de spinis, imposuerunt capiti ejus, et veste purpurea circumdederunt eum. Et veniebant ad eum, et dicebant: Ave, Rex Judæorum. Et dabant ei alapas. Exivit ergo iterum Pilatus foras, et dicit eis: Ecce adduco vobis eum foras, ut cognoscatis quia nullam invenio in eo causam. Exivit ergo Jesus portans coronam spineam et purpureum vestimentum. Et dicit eis: Ecce Homo. Cum ergo vidissent eum pontifices et ministri, clamabant, dicentes: Crucifige, crucifige eum, Dicit eis Pilatus: Accipite eum vos, et crucifigite: ego enim non invenio in eo causam. Responderunt ei Judæi: Nos legem habemus, et secundum legem debet mori: quia Filium Dei se fecit. Cum ergo audisset Pilatus hunc sermonem magis timuit. Et ingressus est prætorium iterum: et dixit ad Jesum: Unde es tu? Jesus autem responsum non dedit ei. Dicit ergo ei Pilatus: Mihi non loqueris? Nescis, quia potestatem habeo crucifigere te, et potestatem habeo dimittere te? Respondit Jesus: Non haberes potestatem adversum me ullam, nisi tibi datum esset desuper. Propterea qui me tradidit tibi, majus peccatum habet. Et exinde quærebat Pilatus dimittere eum. Judæi autem clamabant, dicentes: Si hunc dimittis, non es amicus Cæsaris. Omnis enim qui se regem facit, contradicit Cæsari. Pilatus autem cum audisset hos sermones, adduxit foras Jesum, et sedit pro tribunali in loco qui dicitur Lithostrotos, hebraïce autem Gabbatha.

Erat autem parasceve Paschæ, hora quasi sexta. Et dicit Judæis: Ecce rex vester. Illi autem clamabant: Tolle, tolle, crucifige eum. Dicit eis Pilatus: Regem vestrum crucifigam? Responderunt pontifices: Non habemus regem, nisi Cæsarem. Tunc ergo tradidit eis illum, ut crucifigeretur. Susceperunt autem Jesum: et eduxerunt. Et bajulans sibi crucem, exixit in eum qui dicitur Calvariæ locum, hebraïce autem Golgotha: ubi crucifixerunt eum, et cum eo alios duos hinc et hinc, medium autem Jesum. Scripsit autem et titulum Pilatus: et posuit super crucem. Erat autem scriptum: Jesus Nazarenus, Rex Judæorum. Hune ergo titulum multi Judæorum legerunt: quia prope civitatem erat locus, ubi crucifixus est Jesus. Et erat scriptum hebraïce, græce, et latine. Dicebant ergo Pilato pontifices Judæorum: Noli scribere: Rex Judæorum: sed quia ipse dixit, Rex sum Judæorum. Respondit Pilatus: Quod scripsi, scripsi. Milites ergo cum crucifixissent eum, acceperunt vestimenta ejus (et fecerunt quatuor partes, unicuique militi partem) et tunicam. Erat autem tunica inconsutilis, desuper contexta per totum. Dixerunt ergo ad invicem: Non scindamus eam, sed sortiamur de illa cujus sit. Ut Scriptura impleretur, dicens: Partiti sunt vestimenta mea sibi, et in vestem meam miserunt sortem. Et milites quidem hæc fecerunt.Stabant autem juxta crucem Jesu mater ejus, et soror matris ejus, Maria Cleophæ, et Maria Magdalene. Cum vidisset ergo Jesus matrem et discipulum stantem, quem diligebat, dicit matri suæ: Malier, ecco filius tuus. Deinde dicit, disci palo: Ecce mater tua. Et ex illa hora accepit eam discipulus in sua. Postea sciens Jesus, quia omnia consummata sunt: ut consummaretur Scriptura, dixit: Sitio. Vas ergo erat positum aceto plenum. Illi autem spongiam plenam aceto, hyssopo circumponentes. obtulerunt ori ejus. Cum ergo accepisset Jesus acetum, dixit: Consummatum est. Et inclinato capite, tradidit spiritum.
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to John.
Ch. xviii. and xix.

At that time: Jesus went with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where there was a garden, into which he entered with his disciples. And Judas who betrayed him, knew the place: because Jesus had often resorted thither together with his disciples. Judas therefore having received a band of soldiers, and servants from the chief priests and the pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said to them: Whom seek ye? They answered him: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith to them: I am he. And Judas also, who betrayed him, stood with them. As soon therefore as he had said to them: I am he: they went backward and fell to the ground. Again therefore he asked them: Whom seek ye? And they said: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered: I have told you, that I am he. If therefore you seek me, let these go their way. That the word might be fulfilled which he said: Of them whom thou hast given me, I have not lost any one. Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it: and struck a servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And the name of the servant was Malchus. Jesus therefore said to Peter: Put up thy sword into the scabbard. The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

Then the band, and the tribune, and the servants of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him; and they led him away to Annas first, for he was fatherin-law to Caiphas, who was the high priest of that year. Now Caiphas was he who had given the counsel to the Jews: That it was expedient that one man should die for the people. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. And that disciple was known to the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the court of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. The other disciple therefore, who was known to the high priest, went out, and spoke to the portress, and brought in Peter. The maid therefore that was portress, saith to Peter: Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith: I am not. Now the servants and ministers stood at a fire of coals, because it was cold, and warmed themselves. And with them was Peter also standing and warming himself.

The high priest therefore asked Jesus of his disciples and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him: I have spoken openly to the world: I have always taught in the synagogue, and in the temple whither all the Jews resort; and in secret I have spoken nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them who have heard what I have spoken unto them: behold they know what things I have said. And when he had said these things, one of the servants standing by, gave Jesus a blow, saying: Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him: If I have spoken evil, give testimony of the evil: but if well, why strikest thou me? And Annas sent him bound to Caiphas the high priest. And Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore to him: Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said: I am not. One of the servants of the high priest (a kinsman to him whose ear Peter cut off) saith to him: Did not I see thee in the garden with him? Again therefore Peter denied: and immediately the cock crew.

Then they led Jesus from Caiphas to the governor’s hall. And it was morning: and they went not into the hall, that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the Pasch. Pilate therefore went out to them and said: What accusation bring you against this man? They answered and said to him: If he were not a malefactor we would not have delivered him up to thee. Pilate therefore said to them: Take him you, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said to him: It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. That the word of Jesus might be fulfilled which he said, signifying what death he should die. Pilate therefore went into the hall again, and called Jesus, and said to him: Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus answered: Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others told it thee of me? Pilate answered: Am I a Jew? Thy own nation, and the chief priests have delivered thee up to me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence. Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this I came into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice. Pilate saith to him: What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them: I find no cause in him. But you have a custom that I should release one unto you at the Pasch: will you therefore that I release unto you the king of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying: Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

Then therefore Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. And the soldiers platting a crown of thorns, put it upon his head: and they put on him a purple garment. And they came to him and said: Hail, King of the Jews. And they gave him blows. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith to them: Behold I bring him forth unto you, that you may know that I find no cause in him. Jesus therefore came forth bearing the crowm of thorns, and the purple garment. And he saith to them: Behold the man. When the chief priests therefore and the servants had seen him, they cried out, saying: Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Take him you, and crucify him: for I find no cause in him. The Jews answered him: We have a law; and according to the law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore had heard this saying, he feared the more. And ho entered into the hall again; and he said to Jesus; Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore saith to him: Speakest thou not to me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and I have power to release thee? Jesus answered: Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore be that hath delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin. And from henceforth Pilate sought to release him. But the Jews cried out, saying: If thou release this man, thou art not Cæsar’s friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar. Now when Pilate had heard these words, he brought Jesus forth: and sat down in the judgment-seat in the place that is called Lithostrotos; and in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

And it was the Parasceve of the Pasch, about the sixth hour; and he saith to the Jews: Behold your king. But they cried out: Away with him, away with him, crucify bim. Pilate saith to them: Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered: We have no king but Cæsar. Then therefore he delivered him to them for to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him forth. And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha, where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title also: and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was, Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews. This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am the King of the Jews. Pilate answered: What I have written. I have written. The soldiers therefore when they bad crucified him took his garments (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said then one to another: Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it whose it shall be; that the Scripture might be fulfilled saying: ‘They have parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lots.’ And the soldiers indeed did these things.Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother, and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour the disciple took her to his own. Afterwards Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they putting a sponge full of vinegar about hyssop, put it to his mouth. Jesus, therefore, when he had taken the vinegar said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost.

Here a pause is made, as on Palm Sunday.

All kneel down, and if such be the custom of the place, they prostrate and kiss the ground.

Judæi ergo (quoniam Parasceve erat), ut non remanerent in cruce corpora sabbato (erat enim magnus dies ille sabbati), rogaverunt Pilatum, ut frangerentur eorum crura, et tollerentur. Venerunt ergo milites: et primi quidem fregerunt crura, et alterius qui crucifixus est cum eo. Ad Jesum autem cum venissent, ut viderunt eum jam mortuum, non fregerunt ejus crura; sed unus militum lancea latus ejus aperuit, et continuo exivit sanguis et aqua. Et qui vidit, testimonium perhibuit: et verum est testimonium ejus. Et ille scit, quia vera dicit, ut et vos credatis. Facta sunt enim hæc, ut Scriptura impleretur: Os non comminuetis ex eo. Et iterum alia Scriptura dicit: Videbunt in quem transfixerunt.
Then the Jews (because it was the parasceve), that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the sabbath-day (for that was a great sabbathday), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. The soldiers therefore came; and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he that saw it, bath given testimony; and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true: that you also may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘You shall not break a bone of him.’ And again another Scripture saith: ‘They shall look on him whom they pierced.’

Here the deacon kneels at the foot of the altar, and prays, in silence, that the blessing of God may descend upon him; but he does not ask the blessing, as usual, from the celebrant, either upon the incense or upon himself. Neither do the acolytes hold their torches while he sings the Gospel. The subdeacon does not offer the missal to the priest, at the end of the Gospel. The omission of all these ceremonies is expressive of the grief which fills the soul of the bride of Christ, the Church.

Post hæc autern rogavit Pilatum Joseph ab Arimathæa (eo quod esset discipulus Jesu, occultus autem propter meturn Judæorum) ut tolleret corpus Jesu. Et permisit Pilatus. Venit ergo et tulit corpus Jesu. Venit autem et Nicodemus, qui venerat ad Jesum nocte primum, ferens mixturam myrrhæ et aloes, quasi libras centum. Acceperunt ergo corpus Jesu, et ligaverunt illud linteis cum aromatibus, sicut mosest Judæis sepelire. Erat autem in loco, ubi crucifixus est, hortus; et in horto monumentum novum, in quo nondum quisquam positus erat. Ibi ergo propter Parasceven Judæorum, quia juxta erat monumentum, posuerunt Jesum.
After these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore and took away the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus also came, he who at the first came to Jesus by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. They took therefore the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now there was in the place where he was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the Parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

THE PRAYERS

Having thus described to us the Passion and Death of her divine Spouse, the Church would follow the example set her by this the Mediator of the world. St. Paul tells us that Jesus, when dying on the cross, offered up to His eternal Father, for all mankind, prayers and supplications, with a strong cry and tears.[18] Therefore it is that, from the earliest ages, the Church has presented to the divine Majesty, upon this day, a solemn formula of prayers, in which she intercedes for the necessities of the whole world. How truly is she the mother of men, and the affectionate bride of Jesus! All, even the Jews, are included in this her intercession, which she makes, under the shadow of the cross, to the Father of all ages.

Each of these prayers is prefaced by a few words, which show its object. The deacon then bids the faithful kneel down; and the subdeacon tells them to rise, and unite in the prayer made by the priest.

Oremus, dilectissimi nobis, pro Ecclesia sancta Dei: ut eam Deus et Dominus noster, pacificare, adunare, et custodire dignetur toto orbe terrarum: subjiciens ei principatus, et potestates: detque nobis quietam et tranquillam vitam degentibus, glorificare Deum Patrem omnipotentem.

Oremus.

The deacon: Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui gloriam tuam omnibus in Christo gentibus revelasti: custodi opera misericordiæ tuæ: ut Ecclesia tua toto orbe diffusa, stabili fide in confessione tui nominis perseveret. Per eumdem, &c.
℟. Amen.

Oremus et pro beatissimo Papa nostro N. ut Deus et Dominus noster, qui elegit eum in ordine episcopatus, salvum atque incolumem custodiat Ecclesiæ suae sanctæ, ad regendum populum sanctum Dei.

Oremus.

The deacon:
 Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, cujus judicio universa fundantur: respice propitius ad preces nostras, et electum nobis Antistitem tua pietate conserva: ut Christiana plebs, quæ te gubernatur auctore, sub tanto Pontifice, credulitatis suæ meritis augeatur. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus et pro omnibus episcopis, presbyteris, diaconibus, subdiaconibus, acolythis, exorcistis, lectonbus, ostiariis, confessoribus, virginibus, viduis: et pro omni populo sancto Dei.

Oremus
.

The deacon
: Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, cujus Spiritu totum corpus Ecclesiæ sanctificatur et regitur: exaudi nos pro universis Ordinibus supplicantes: ut gratiæ tuæ munere, ab omnibus tibi gradibus fideliter serviatur. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.
Let us pray, most dearly beloved brethren, for the holy Church of God, that the Lord God would be pleased to grant her peace, maintain her in union, and preserve her all over the earth. That he would likewise bring into her bosom the princes and potentates of the whole world, and grant us peace and tranquillity in this life, so that we may glorify God the Father almighty.

Let us Pray.

The deacon:
 Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, who, by Christ, hast revealed thy glory to all nations; preserve the works of thine own mercy, that thy Church, which is spread over the whole world, may persevere with a constant faith in the confession of thy name. Through the same, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us pray also for our most holy Father Pope N., that our Lord God, who hath made choice of him in the order of the episcopacy, may preserve him in health and safety for the good of his holy Church, to govern the holy people of God.

Let us Pray.

The deacon:
 Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, by whose appointment all things are established and maintained; mercifully regard our prayers, and by thy goodness preserve the Prelate chosen to govern us; that the Christian people who are governed by thy authority, may increase the merits of their faith under so great a Pontiff. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us also pray for all bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, acolytes, exorcists, lectors, doorkeepers, confessors, virgins, widows, and for all the holy people of God.

Let us Pray.

The deacon:
 Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.
O almighty and eternal God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is sanctified and governed; hear our prayers for all Orders thereof; that by the operation of thy grace, thou mayst be served by every rank and condition. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

 


The Church of Rome, in the following prayer, had in view the emperor of Germany, who was formerly the head of the germanic confederation, and, in the middle ages, was entrusted by the Church with the charge of propagating the faith among the northern nations. This prayer is now omitted, excepting in those countries which are subject to Austria.

Oremus et pro Christianissimo imperatore nostro N. ut Deus et Dominus noster subditas illi faciat omnes barbaras nationes, ad nostram perpetuam pacem.

Oremus.

The deacon: Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, in cujus manu sunt omnium potestates, et omnium jura regnorum: respice ad Romanum benignus imperium; ut gentes, quæ in sua feritate confidunt, potentiæ tuæ dextera comprimantur. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus et pro catechumenis nostris: ut Deus et Dominus noster adaperiat aures præcordiorum ipsorum, januamque misericordiæ: ut per lavacrum regenerationis, accepta remissione omnium peccatorum, et ipsi inveniantur in Christo Jesu Domino nostro.

Oremus.

The deacon:
 Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam nova semper prole fœcundas: auge fidem et intellectum catechumenis nostris: ut renati fonte baptismatis, adoptionis tuæ filiis aggregentur. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus, dilectissimi nobis, Deum Patrem omnipotentem, ut cunctis mundum purget erroribus: morbos auferat: famem depellat: aperiat carceres: vincula dissol vat: peregrinantibus reditum. infirmantibus sanitatem, navigantibus portum salutis indulgeat.

Oremus.

The deacon: Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, mœstorum consolatio, laborantium fortitudo, perveniant ad te preces de quacumque tribulatione clamantium: ut omnes sibi in necessitatibue suis misericordiam tuam gaudeant adfuisse. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus et pro hæreticis et schismaticis: ut Deus et Dominus noster eruat eos ab erroribus universis: et ad sanctam matrem Ecclesiam Catholicam atque apostolicam revocare dignetur.

Oremus.

The deacon:
 Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui salvas omnes, et neminem vis perire: respice ad animas diabolica fraude deceptas: ut omni hæretica pravitate deposita, errantium corda resipiscant, ut ad veritatis tuæ redeant unitatem. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus et pro perfidis Judæis: ut Deus et Dominus noster auferat velamen de cordibus eorum, ut et ipsi agnoscant Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum.
Let us pray also for the most Christian emperor Ν., that the Lord God may reduce to his obedience all barbarous nations for our perpetual peace.

Let us Pray.

The deacon:
 Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, in whose hands are the power and right of all kingdoms, graciously look down on the Roman empire: that those nations who confide in their own haughtiness and strength, may be reduced by the power of thy right hand.
℟. Amen.

Let us pray also for our catechumens, that our Lord God may open for them the ears of their hearts, and the gates of mercy; that having received the remission of sin by the laver of regeneration, they may also belong to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us Pray.

The deacon:
 Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, who continually makest the Church fruitful in new children, increase the faith and understanding of our catechumens, that, being born again at the font of Baptism, they may be joined to thy adopted children. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us pray, most dearly beloved brethren, to God the Father almighty, that he would purge the world of all errors, cure diseases, drive away famine, open prisons, break chains, grant a safe return to travellers, health to the sick, and a secure harbour to such as are at sea.

Let us Pray.

The deacon: Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, the comfort of the afflicted, and the strength of those that labour; let the prayers of all such as call upon thee in tribulation, come to thee; that all, with joy, may find the effects of thy mercy in their necessities. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us pray also for all heretics and schismatics, that our Lord God would be pleased to deliver them from all their errors, and call them back to our holy, mother the Catholic and apostolic Church.

Let us Pray.

The deacon: Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, who savest all and wouldst have none to perish: look down on those souls that are seduced by the deceits of the devil; that the hearts of all those who err, laying aside all heretical malice, may repent and return to the unity of the truth. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us pray also for the perfidious Jews; that the Lord God would withdraw the veil from their hearts, that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son.

 

 


Here the deacon does not invite the faithful to kneel. The Church has no hesitation in offering up a prayer for the descendants of Jesus’ executioners; but in doing so she refrains from genuflecting, because this mark of adoration was turned by the Jews into an insult against our Lord during the Passion. She prays for His scoffers; but she shrinks from repeating the act wherewith they scoffed at Him.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui etiam Judaicam perfidiam a tua misericordia non repellis: exaudi preces nostras, quas pro illius populi obcæcatione deferimus: ut agnita veritatis tuæ luce, quæ Christus est, a suis tenebris eruantur. Per eumdem Dominum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus et pro paganis: ut Deus omnipotens auferat iniquitatem a cordibus eorum: ut relictis idolis suis, convertantur ad Deum vivum et verum, et unicum Filium ejus Jesum Christum, Deum et Dominum nostrum.

Oremus.

The deacon:
 Flectamus genua.
The subdeacon: Levate.

Omnipotens sempiterno Deus, qui non mortem peccatorum, sed vitam semper inquiris: suscipe propitius orationem nostram: et libera eos ab idolorum cultura: et aggrega Ecclesiæ tuæ sanctæ, ad laudem et gloriam nominis tui. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.
O almighty and eternal God, who deniest not thy mercy even to the perfidious Jews; hear our prayers which we pour forth for the blindness of that people; that by acknowledging the light of thy truth, which is the Christ, they may be brought out of their darkness. Through the same, &c.
℟. Amen.

Let us pray also for the pagans, that almighty God would remove all iniquity from their hearts; that quitting their idols, they may be converted to the true and living God, and his only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let us Pray.

The deacon:
 Let us kneel down.
The subdeacon: Stand up again.

O almighty and eternal God, who seekest not the death of sinners, but that they should live; mercifully hear our prayers, and deliver them from their idolatry: and, to the praise and glory of thy name, admit them into thy holy Church. Through, &c.
℟. Amen.

 

THE VENERATION OF THE CROSS

 

The prayers are ended. The charity and zeal of the Church have embraced the whole universe of men, invoking upon them the merciful effusion of that precious Blood, which is now flowing from the Wounds of her crucified Lord. She turns next to her faithful children. Filled with holy indignation at the humiliations heaped upon her Jesus, she invites us to a solemn act of reparation: it is to consist in venerating that cross which our divine Lord has borne to the summit of Calvary, and to which He is to be fastened with nails. The cross is a stumblingblock to the Jews, and foolishness to the Gentiles;[19] but to us Christians it is the trophy of Jesus’ victory, and the instrument of the world’s redemption. It is worthy of our deepest veneration, because of the honour conferred upon it by the Son of God: He consecrated it by His own Blood, He worked our salvation by its means. No time could be more appropriate than this for honouring it with the humble tribute of our veneration.

The holy ceremony of venerating the cross on Good Friday was first instituted in Jerusalem, in the fourth century. Owing to the pious zeal of the empress St. Helen, the true cross had then recently been discovered, to the immense joy of the whole Church. The faithful, as might be expected, were desirous of seeing this precious relic, and accordingly it was exposed every Good Friday. This brought a very great number of pilgrims to Jerusalem; and yet how few, comparatively, could hope to have the happiness of such a visit, or witness the magnificent ceremony! An imitation of what was done on this day at Jerusalem was a natural result of these pious desires. It was about the seventh century, that the practice of publicly venerating the cross on Good Friday was introduced into other churches. True, it was but an image of the true cross that these other churches could show to the people; but as the respect that is paid to the true cross refers to Christ Himself, the faithful could offer Him a like homage of adoration, even though not having present before their eyes the sacred wood which had been consecrated by the Blood of Jesus. Such was the origin of the imposing ceremony at which holy Church now invites us to assist.

The celebrant takes off the chasuble; which is the badge of the priesthood; it is in order that the reparation, which he is to be the first to offer to our outraged Jesus, may be made with all possible humility. He then stands on the step near the Epistle side of the altar, and turns his face towards the people. The deacon takes down the cross from the altar, and gives it to the celebrant, who then unveils the upper part as far as the arms. He raises it a little, and sings these words:

Ecce lignum crucis:
Behold the wood of the cross:

Then he continues, joined by the deacon and subdeacon:

in quo salus mundi pependit.
on which hung the salvation of the world.

The people then kneel down, and venerate the cross, while the choir sings these words:

Venite, adoremus.
Come, let us adore.

This first exposition, which is made at the side of the altar, and in a low tone of voice, represents the first preaching of the cross, that, namely, which the apostles made, when, for fear of the Jews, they dared not to speak of the great mystery except to the few faithful disciples of Jesus. For the same reason, the priest but slightly elevates the cross. The homage here paid to it is intended as a reparation for the insults and injuries offered to our Redeemer in the house of Caiphas.

The priest then comes to the front of the step, and is thus nearer to the people. He unveils the right arm of the cross, and holds up the holy sign of our redemption higher than the first time. He then sings. and on a higher note:

Ecce lignum crucis:
Behold the wood of the cross:

Then he continues, joined by the deacon and subdeacon:

in quo salus mundi pependit.
on which hung the salvation of the world.

The people then fall upon their knees, and continue in that posture, while the choir sings:

Venite, adoremus.
Come, let us adore.

This second elevation of the holy cross signifies the apostles’ extending their preaching of the mystery of our redemption to the Jews, after the descent of the Holy Ghost; by which preaching they made many thousand converts, and planted the Church in the very midst of the Synagogue. It is intended as a reparation to our Saviour, for the treatment He received in the court of Pilate.

The priest then advances to the middle of the altar, and, with his face still turned towards the people, he removes the veil entirely from the cross. He elevates it more than he did the two preceding times, and triumphantly sings on a still higher note:

Ecce lignum crucis:
Behold the wood of the cross:

The deacon and subdeacon here unite their voices with his:

in quo salus mundi pependit.
on which hung the salvation of the world.

The people fall down upon their knees, and the choir sings:

Venite, adoremus.
Come, let us adore.

This third and unreserved manifestation represents the mystery of the cross being preached to the whole earth, when the apostles, after being rejected by the majority of the Jewish people, turned towards the Gentiles, and preached Jesus crucified even far beyond the limits of the Roman empire. It is intended as a reparation to our Lord for the outrages offered to Him on Calvary.

There is also another teaching embodied in this ceremony of holy Church. By this gradual unveiling of the cross, she would express to us the contrast of the Jewish and the Christian view. The one finds nothing in Christ crucified but shame and ignominy: the other discovers in Him the power and the wisdom of God.[20] Honour, then, and veneration to His cross, now that the veil is removed by faith! Unveiled let it be upon our altar, for He that died upon it is soon to triumph by a glorious Resurrection! Yea, let every crucifix in our church be unveiled, and every altar beam once more with the vision of the glorious standard!

But the Church is not satisfied with showing her children the cross that has saved them; she would have them approach, and kiss it. The priest leads the way. He has already taken off his chasuble; he now takes off his shoes also, and then advances towards the place where he has put the crucifix. He makes three genuflections at intervals, and finally kisses the cross. The deacon and subdeacon follow him, then the clergy, and lastly the people.

The chants which are used during this ceremony are exceedingly fine. First of all, there are the Improperia, that is, the reproaches made by our Saviour to the Jews. Each of the first three stanzas of this plaintive hymn is followed by the Trisagion, or prayer to the thrice-holy God, who, as Man, suffers death for us. Oh! let us fervently proclaim Him to be the Holythe Immortal! This form of prayer was used at Constantinople, so far back as the fifth century. The Roman Church adopted it, retaining even the original Greek words, to which, however, she adds a Latin translation. The rest of this beautiful chant contains the comparison made by our Lord between the favours He has bestowed upon the Jewish people, and the injuries He has received from them in return.

 

THE ‘IMPROPERIA,’ OR ‘REPROACHES’

 

Popule meus, quid feci tibi, aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi. Quia eduxi te de terra Ægypti, parasti crucem Salvatori tuo.

Agios o Theos.
Sanctus Deus.
Agios ischyros.
Sanctus fortis.

Agios athanatos, eleison imas.
Sanctus immortalis, miserere nobis.

Quia eduxi te per desertum quadraginta annis: et manna cibavi te, et introduxi te in terram satis bonam, parasti crucem Salvatori tuo.
Agios o Theos, &c.

Quid ultra debui facere tibi, et non feci? Ego quidem plantavi te vineam meam speciosissimam: et tu facta es mihi nimis amara: aceto namque sitim meam potasti: et lancea perforasti latus Salvatori tuo.
Agios o Theos, &c.

Ego propter te flagellavi Ægyptum cum primogenitis suis: et tu me flagellatum tradidisti.

Popule meus, quid feci tibi, aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi.

Ego eduxi te de Ægypto, demerso Pharaone in mare Rubrum: et tu me tradidisti principibus sacerdotum.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego ante te aperui mare: et tu aperuisti lancea latus meum.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego ante te præivi in columna nubis: et tu me duxisti ad prætorium Pilati.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego te pavi manna per desertum: et tu me cæcidisti alapis et flagellis.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego te potavi aqua salutis de petra: et tu me potasti felle et aceto.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego propter te Chananæorum reges percussi: et tu percussisti arundine caput meum.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego dedi tibi sceptrum regale: et tu dedisti capiti meo spineam coronam.
Popule meus, &c.

Ego te exaltavi magna virtute: et tu me suspendisti in patibulo crucis.
Popule meus, &c.
My people, what have I done to thee? or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me. Because I brought thee out of the land of Egypt, thou hast prepared a cross for thy Saviour.

O Holy God!
O Holy God!
O Holy and Strong!
O Holy and Strong!

O Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.
O Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us.

Because I was thy guide through the desert for forty years, and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into an excellent land, thou hast prepared a cross for thy Saviour.
O Holy God, &c.

What more should I have done to thee, and have not done? I have planted thee for my most beautiful vineyard: and thou hast proved very bitter to me, for in my thirst thou gavest me vinegar to drink; and piercedst the side of thy Saviour with a spear.
O Holy God, &c.

For thy sake I scourged Egypt with her first-born; and thou hast delivered me up to be scourged.

My people, what have I done to thee? or in what have I grieved thee? Answer me,
I led thee out of Egypt, having drowned Pharaoh in the Red Sea; and thou hast delivered me up to the chief priests.
My people, &c.

I opened the sea before thee; and thou hast opened my side with a spear.
My people, &c.

I went before thee in a pillar of cloud; and thou hast brought me to the court of Pilate.
My people, &c.

I fed thee with manna in the desert; and thou hast beaten me with buffets and stripes.
My people, &c.

I gave thee wholesome water to drink out of the rock, and thou hast given me for my drink gall and vinegar.
My people, &c.

For thy sake I smote the kings of Chanaan; and thou hast smitten my head with a cane.
My people, &c.

I gave thee a royal sceptre, and thou hast given to my head a crown of thorns.
My people, &c.

By great might I raised thee on high; and thou hast hanged me on the gibbet of the cross.
My people, &c.

The Improperia are followed by this solemn antiphon, in which the two great mysteries are blended together: the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. This union eloquently expresses the triumph of our Redeemer.

Crucem tuam adoramus, Domine, et sanctam Resurrectionem tuam laudamus, et glorificamus: ecce enim propter lignum venit gaudium in universo mundo.

Ps. Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis: illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri.

Then is repeated: Crucem tuam, &c.
We adore thy cross, O Lord, and we praise and glorify thy holy Resurrection, for by the wood of the cross the whole earth is filled with joy·

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

Then is repeated: We adore, &c.

If the adoration of the cross is not yet finished, the following hymn is sung. It was composed by Mamertus Claudianus, in the sixth century. One of the stanzas is repeated after each six verses, as the burden of the hymn.

Hymn

Crux fidelis, inter omnes
Arbor una nobilis:
Nulla silva talem profert,
Fronde, flore, germine.
Dulce lignum, dulces clavos,
Dulce pondus sustinet.

Pange lingua gloriosi
Lauream certaminis,
Et super crucis trophæo
Dic triumphum nobilem;
Qualiter Redemptor orbis
Immolatus vicerit.

Repeat:
 Crux fidelis.

De parentis protoplasti
Fraude factor condolens,
Quando pomi noxialis
In necem morsu ruit,
Ipse lignum tunc notavit,
Damna ligni ut solveret.

Repeat:
 Dulce lignum.

Hoc opus nostræ salutis
Ordo depoposcerat,
Multiformis proditoris
Ars ut artem falleret;
Et medelam ferret inde,
Hostis unde læserat.

Repeat:
 Crux fidelis.

Quando venit ergo sacri
Plenitudo temporis,
Missus est ab arce
Patris Natus orbis conditor:
Atque ventre virginali
Carne amictus prodiit.

Repeat:
 Dulce lignum.

Vagit infans, inter arcta
Conditus præsepia:
Membra pannis involuta
Virgo mater alligat,
Et Dei manus, pedesque
Stricta cingit fascia.

Repeat:
 Crux fidelis.

Lustra sex qui jam peregit,
Tempus implens corporis:
Sponte libera Redemptor
Passioni deditus:
Agnus in crucis levatur
Immolandus stipite.

Repeat:
 Dulce lignum.

Felle potus, ecce languit;
Spina, davi, lancea,
Mite corpus perforarunt;
Unda manat et cruor:
Terra, pontus, astra, mundus
Quo lavantur flumine.

Repeat:
 Crux fìdelis.

Flecte ramos arbor alta,
Tensa laxa viscera:
Et rigor lentescat ille,
Quem dedit nativitas:
Et superni membra Regis
Tende miti stipite.

Repeat:
 Dulce lignum.

Sola digna tu fuisti
Ferre mundi victimam,
Atque portum præparare
Arca mundo naufrago:
Quam sacer cruor perunxit,
Fusus Agni corpore.

Repeat:
 Crux fidelis.

Sempiterna sit beatæ
Trinitati gloria:
Æqua Patri, Filioque,
Par decus Paraclito;
Unius Trinique nomen
Laudet universitas.

Amen.

Repeat:
 Dulce lignum.
O faithful cross!
thou noblest of all trees.
No forest yields thy like,
in leaf, or flower, or fruit.
Sweet is the wood, that hath nails so sweet,
and bears so sweet a weight!

O sing, my tongue,
the victory of the glorious combat!
Tell how was won the noble triumph
on the trophy of the cross,
and how the world’s Redeemer,
when immolated, conquered.

Repeat:
 O faithful cross.

Our Creator compassionated his creature,
our first parent, when, being deceived,
he became a victim of death
by eating the fatal fruit:
and even then he chose the tree, whereby to make good
the evils brought on us by that other tree.

Repeat:
 Sweet is the wood.

This was the plan designed for our salvation:
that artifice divine should foil
the artifice of satan, the archseducer;
and turn the very instrument,
wherewith the enemy had wounded us,
into our remedy.

Repeat:
 O faithful cross.

When, therefore, the fulness of God’s
time had come, the Son,
by whom the world was made,
was sent from heaven;
and having clothed himself with our flesh,
in the Virgin’s womb, he came among us.

Repeat:
 Sweet is the wood.

He lies a weeping
Babe in a little crib.
His Virgin Mother
swathes his limbs with clothes.
The hands and feet of God
are tied with bands!

Repeat:
 O faithful cross.

Thirty years he lived on earth,
and his mortal life was nigh its end.
He, our Redeemer,
willingly gave himself up to his Passion;
he, the Lamb of Sacrifice,
was raised upon the cross.

Repeat:
 Sweet is the wood.

His drink is gall: his strength is gone:
his tender flesh is pierced with thorns,
and nails, and spear;
and from it flows a stream of water and blood,
wherewith the earth and sea,
the stars and world, are washed.

Repeat:
 O faithful cross.

Bow down thy branches,
lofty tree!
unstring thy sinews,
soften thine inborn hardness,
and gently welcome the Body
of our almighty King!

Repeat:
 Sweet is the wood.

Thou alone wast found
worthy to bear the Victim of the world!
Thou wast the ark that led this ship-wrecked world
into the haven of salvation!
The sacred Blood that flowed from the Lamb
covered and anointed thee.

Repeat:
 O faithful cross.

To the blessed Trinity
be glory everlasting!
To the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
be equal praise!
May heaven and earth praise
the name of the triune God!

Amen.

Repeat:
 Sweet is the wood.

Towards the end of the veneration of the cross, the candles are lighted, and the deacon spreads a corporal upon the altar, for the blessed Sacrament is to be placed there. As soon as the faithful have finished their adoration, the priest takes the cross and replaces it over the altar.

 

MASS OF THE PRESANCTIFIED

 

So vividly is the Church impressed with the remembrance of the great Sacrifice offered to-day on Calvary, that she refrains from renewing on her altars the immolation of the divine Victim: she contents herself with partaking of the sacred mystery by Communion. The deacon takes the chalice which contains it, and places it on the altar. Formerly the clergy and laity were also permitted to communicate; but the present discipline is that only the priest shall receive. After the priest has resumed his chasuble, the clergy go in procession to the altar, where the consecrated Host has been reserved since yesterday’s Mass. The priest, having offered the homage of his adoration to our Redeemer, takes into his hands the chalice wherein He is inclosed whom heaven and earth cannot contain. The clergy, with lighted tapers in their hands, return to the high altar, and sing, during the procession, the hymn of the cross.

Hymn

Vexilla Regis prodeunt;
Fulget crucis mysterium,
Qua Vita mortem pertulit,
Et morte vitam protulit.

Quæ vulnerata lanceæ
Mucrone diro, criminum
Ut nos lavaret sordibus,
Manavit unda et sanguine.

Impleta sunt quæ concinit
David fideli carmine,
Dicendo nationibus:
Regnavit a ligno Deus.

Arbor decora et fulgida,
Ornata regia purpura,
Electa digno stipite
Tam sancta membra tangere.

Beata cujus brachiis
Pretium pependit sæculi,
Statera facta corporis,
Tulitque prædam tartari.

O crux, ave, spes unica,
Hoc Passionis tempore,
Piis adauge gratiam,
Reisque dele crimina.

Te fons salutis, Trinitas,
Collaudet omnis spiritus:
Quibus crucis victoriam
Largiris, adde præmium.

Amen.
The standard of our King comes forth:
the mystery of the cross shines upon us,
that cross on which Life suffered death,
and by his death gave life.

He was pierced with the cruel spear,
that, by the Water and the Blood
which flowed from the wound,
he might cleanse us from sin.

Here on the cross
was fulfilled the prophecy
foretold in David’s truthful words:
‘God hath reigned from the tree.’

O fair and shining tree!
beautified by the scarlet of the King,
and chosen as the noble trunk
that was to touch such sacred limbs!

O blessed tree! on whose arms
hung the ransom of the world!
It was the balance, wherein was placed the Body of Jesus,
and thereby hell lost its prey.

Hail, O cross! our only hope!
During these days of the Passion,
increase to the good their grace,
and cleanse sinners from their guilt.

May every spirit praise thee,
O holy Trinity, thou fount of salvation!
and by the cross, whereby thou gavest us victory,
give us, too, our recompense.

Amen.

As soon as the priest has reached the altar, the deacon receives the sacred Host upon a paten, and pours wine and water into the chalice. Let us reverently fix our eyes upon the altar. The priest censes the offerings and the altar, as usual; but, to express the grief which now fills the soul of the Church, he himself is not thurified. He says, secretly, the following prayers.

Incensum istud, a te benedictum, ascendat ad te, Domine: et descendat super nos misericordia tua.

Dirigatur, Domine, oratio mea, sicut incensum in conspectu tuo. Elevatio manuum mearuin sacrificium vespertinum. Pone, Domine, custodiam ori meo, et ostium circumstantiæ labiis meis; ut non declinet cor meum in verba malitiæ, ad excusandas excusationes in peccatis.
May this incense, which hath been blessed by thee, O Lord, ascend unto thee, and may thy mercy descend upon us.

Let my prayer, O Lord, ascend like incense in thy sight. May the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Place, O Lord, a guard upon my mouth, and a gate of prudence before my lips; that my heart may not incline to evil words, to make excuses in sins.

Giving the thurible to the deacon, he says:

Accendat in nobis Dominus ignem sui amoris, et flammam æternæcharitatis. Amen.
May the Lord kindle within us the fire of his love, and the flame of everlasting cha rity. Amen.

Here he washes his hands, and then returns to the middle of the altar, where he says the following prayer in secret:

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.
Receive us, O Lord, coming to thee in the spirit of humility. and with a contrite heart: and grant that the sacrifice of this day may be so celebrated by us, as to be well pleasing unto thee, O Lord our God!

He then turns towards the people, and asks their prayers, saying:

Orate fratres: ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud Deum Patrem omnipotentem.
Brethren pray: that this my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Father almighty.

The usual answer, Suscipiat, is omitted; and the celebrant immediately sings, on the ferial tone, the Pater noster. Let us join, with earnest confidence, in the seven petitions. Our Jesus, with His arms extended on the cross, is now offering them for us, to His eternal Father. This is the solemn hour, when every prayer offered to heaven, through His mediation, is sure to be granted.

Pater noster, qui es in cœlis, sauctificetur 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.
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.

The celebrant, having answered Amen in secret, says aloud the following prayer, which is said secretly in every Mass. He there prays that we may be delivered from every evil, set free from sin, and established in peace.

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 etregnat in unitate Spiritus sancti, Deus: per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

℟. Amen.
Deliver us, we beseech thee, O Lord, from all evils, past, present, and to come: and by the intercession of the blessed and ever glorious Virgin Mary Mother of God, and of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and of Andrew, and of all the saints, mercifully grant peace in our days, that through the assistance of thy mercy, we may be always free from sin, and secure from all disturbance. Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth God: world without end.

℟. Amen.

But before receiving the sacred Host in holy Communion, the priest invites us to adore it. Taking, then, in his right hand, the adorable Body of our Redeemer, he raises it on high, as Jesus was raised up on the cross. The faithful, who are kneeling during this part of the Service, bow down in profound adoration before their crucified Lord.

The priest then divides the Host into three parts, one of which he puts into the chalice, that thus he may sanctify the wine and water which he is to take after having communicated. The wine is not changed into the Blood of Jesus by contact with the consecrated particle; but it thereby receives a very special benediction, similar to that which attached to the garments worn by our Saviour.

After this, the celebrant recites, in secret, the last of the three prayers which precede the Communion; and then, taking the two portions of the Host into his left hand, he says thrice:

Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea.
Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof: say but the word, and my soul shall be healed.

He then communicates. After which, he takes also the wine and water, and the sacred particle which he had put into the chalice. He then washes his fingers, returns to the middle of the altar, and says, in secret, the following prayer:

Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine, pura mente capiamus, et de munere temporali fiat nobis remedium sempiternum.
Grant, O Lord, that what we have taken with our mouth, we may receive with a pure mind; that of a temporal gift it may become to us an eternal remedy.

Thus terminates the Mass of the Presanctified. The priest, with the sacred ministers, makes a genuflection at the foot of the altar to the cross, and retires to the sacristy. The choir immediately begins Vespers, which are simply recited.

 

VESPERS

 

After the Pater and Are have been said in secret, the five antiphons and psalms of yesterday are recited: page 384. The Magnificat has the following antiphon:

Antiphon of the Magnificat

Cum accepisset Jesus acetum dixit: Consummatum est. Et inclinato capite, emisit spiritum.
When Jesus had taken the vinegar, he said: It is consummated. And bowing down his head, he gave up the ghost.

Then is said the canticle Magnificat (see page 90). The antiphon is repeated, and the following versicle is added:

℣. Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis.
℣. Christ became, for our sake, obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.

This is followed by the Pater noster, in secret; after which, the Psalm Miserere (page 336) is recited with a suppressed voice; and then the prayer Respice:

Respice, quæsumus, Domine, super hanc familiam tuam: pro qua Dominus noster Jesus Christus non dubitavit manibus tradi nocentium, et crucis subire tormentum:
Look down, O Lord, we beseech thee, upon this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ hesitated not to be delivered into the hands of wicked men. and to undergo the punishment of the cross:

(then the rest in secret:)

Qui tecum vivit et regnat, in unitate Spiritus sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

 

AFTERNOON

 

Holy Church will soon be calling us once more to join with her in the holy Offices: meanwhile, let us, as it behoves us, keep our hearts and thoughts upon our Redeemer, for these are the very hours when He wrought our salvation. Our morning’s meditation brought us to Calvary, where we were considering how the executioners stripped Jesus of His clothes, preparatory to nailing Him to the cross. Let us reverently assist at the consummation of the Sacrifice, which He offers for us to the justice of His eternal Father.

The executioners lead Jesus to the spot where the cross is lying on the ground: it is the eleventh station. Like a lamb destined for a holocaust, He lays Himself on the wood that is to serve as the altar. They violently stretch His hands and feet to the places marked for them, and fasten them with nails to the wood. The Blood gushes forth from these four life-giving founts, wherein our souls are to find their purification. This is the fourth blood-shedding. Mary hears the strokes of the hammer, and every blow wounds her heart. Magdalene’s grief is intensified by her incapability of helping her tortured Master. Jesus is heard to speak: it is His first word on Calvary: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!’[21] O infinite goodness of our Creator! He has come into this world, which is the work of His hands, and men nail Him to a cross: and on that cross He prays for them, and in His prayer He seems to excuse them!

The Victim is fastened to the wood, whereon He is to die. But the cross is not to be left, as it is, lying on the ground. Isaias has foretold that the Root of Jesse is to be raised up as a standard of all nations.[22] Our crucified God must be raised up, and, by that elevation, purify the polluted atmosphere of this world, infested as it is by the spirits of wickedness. He is the Mediator between God and men; He is our High Priest; our Intercessor: He is lifted up[23] between earth and heaven, making reconciliation between them.[24] Not far from the spot where the cross now lies on the ground, they have made a hole in the rock, wherein to fix it, so that all may have a sight of Him that hangs upon it. It is the twelfth station. It needs a great effort to raise and plant the Tree of the world’s Redemption. The soldiers lift it up, and then, with impatient vehemence, let it fall into the hole. The shock tears the four wounds. Oh! see Him now exposed naked before the multitude, this good Jesus who has come to clothe the nakedness that sin had caused in us!

The soldiers have done their work, and now they claim His garments. They tear them into four lots, and each takes a share. But a strange feeling induces them to respect His tunic, which was without a seam, and, as we are told by a pious tradition, was woven by the hand of His blessed Mother. ‘Let us not out it,’ say they, ‘but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be.’[25] It is a symbol of the unity of the Church, which is never to be broken under any pretext whatsoever.

Above our Redeemer’s head there are written these words, in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin: Jesus of nazareth, king of the jews. The people read this inscription, and say it to each other; without wishing it, they are once more proclaiming the royalty of the Son of David. The enemies of Jesus are quick enough to perceive this: they hasten to Pilate, and beseech him to have the title changed. The only answer he deigns to make them is: ‘What I have written, I have written.’[26] The holy fathers have noticed a circumstance of the crucifixion, which expresses how this King of the Jews is, indeed, rejected by His chosen people, but will reign all the more gloriously over the nations of the earth, whom the Father has given to Him for His inheritance. The circumstance we allude to is this: the soldiers, when fixing the cross in the rock, have so placed it that Jesus has His back to Jerusalem, and is stretching out His arms towards the countries of the west. The Sun of truth is setting on the deicide city, and rising upon the new Jerusalem, that proud Rome, which feels that she is destined to be the eternal city, yet knows not that she is to be so by the cross.

The tree of our salvation, as it falls into the hole prepared for it, strikes against a tomb: it is that of our first parent. The Blood of the Redeemer flows down the cross and falls upon a skull: it is the skull of Adam, whose sin has called for this great expiation. In His mercy, the Son of God wills that the instrument wherewith He has gained pardon for the guilty world should rest amidst the very bones of him that first caused its guilt. Thus is satan confounded: the creation is not, as he has hitherto thought, turned by his artifice to the shame of its Creator. The hill on which is raised the standard of our salvation, is called Calvary, which signifies a skull. Here, according to the tradition of the Jews, was buried our first parent, the first sinner. Among the holy fathers of the early ages, who have handed down this interesting tradition to us, we may cite St. Basil, St. Ambrose, Saint John Chrysostom, St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome. Origen, too, who had such opportunities of knowing the Jewish traditions, mentions this among the number.At a very early period Christian art introduced the custom of placing a human skull at the feet of Jesus’ image on the cross: it was done to commemorate the great fact to which we have been alluding.

But let us look up and see our Jesus, whose life is so soon to end upon this instrument of torture. Here we behold Him exposed to the view of the Jewish people, as the serpent was, of old, lifted up by Moses in the desert.[27] His enemies pass before Him, making insulting gestures, and saying: ‘Vah! Thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days dost rebuild it: save Thine own self! If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross!’[28] The chief priests and the ancients continue the blasphemy, adding their own emphasis to it: ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save! If He be King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusted in God; let Him now deliver Him, if He will have Him; for He said: I am the Son of God.’[29] The two thieves crucified with Him insult Him in like manner.

Never had God conferred on His creatures a blessing compared to this: and yet, never did man so boldly insult his God! Let us Christians, who adore Him whom the Jews blaspheme, offer Him, at this moment, the reparation He so infinitely deserves. These impious men cite His own words,. and turn them against Him: let us reverently remind our Jesus of an expression He once deigned to use, which should fill us with hope: ‘And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself.’[30] Sweet Jesus! the time has come; Thou art lifted up from the earth: fulfil Thy promise, draw us to Thyself! Alas! this earth has such hold upon us, we are chained fast to it by so many ties; self-love fetters us; and when we attempt to fly towards Thee, our flight is checked. Oh! break our chains, and draw us to Thyself, that we may at length reach Thee, and Thou mayst be consoled by the conquest of our souls!

It is the sixth hour, or, as we call it, midday. The sun immediately withdraws his light, and darkness covers the face of the earth. The stars appear in the heavens, and a gloomy silence pervades throughout the world. It is said that the celebrated Denys the Areopagite of Athens, who was afterwards a disciple of St. Paul, exclaimed, on witnessing this awful eclipse: ‘Either the God of nature is suffering, or the world is coming to an end.’ Phlegon, a pagan author, who wrote a century later, tells us that this sudden darkness spread consternation throughout the Roman empire, and that the astronomers owned it baffled all their calculations.

So terrible an indication of the wrath of heaven produces a panic of fear among the spectators on Calvary. Blasphemers are struck dumb, and the blasphemies of them that were just now insulting our Redeemer cease. All is silent as death. The thief whose cross is at the right of Jesus’, feels himself touched with repentance and hope. Turning to his companion, he upbraids him for what he has been saying: ‘Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art under the same condemnation? And we, indeed, justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done no evil.’[31] Jesus defended by a thief, at the very time that He is being insulted by those who boast that they know every iota of God’s Law, and are sitting in the chair of Moses! Nothing could give us a dearer idea of the blindness to which the Synagogue has voluntarily brought itself. This poor criminal, whose name is Dimas, represents the Gentile world, which now is steeped in ignorance and crime, yet is soon to be cleansed from all its abominations by confessing Jesus crucified to be the Son of God. Turning his head towards our Saviour’s cross, he thus prays to Him: ‘Lord! remember me, when Thou shalt come into Thy kingdom!’ He believes Jesus to be king; and the chief priests and ancients were, but a moment ago, deriding this King! Dimas sees the divine calmness and dignity of the innocent Victim: it is evidence enough; he gives Him his faith, and begs a remembrance from Him when the day of His glory comes. Grace has made him a true Christian: and who can doubt that the grace was asked and obtained for him by Mary, the Mother of mercy, who is now uniting herself in sacrifice together with her Jesus? Jesus is pleased to find in this poor criminal the faith He had vainly sought for from Israel: He thus grants his humble prayer: ‘Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in paradise.’[32] It is the second of Jesus’ words on the cross. The happy penitent is filled with joy, and awaits in patient silence the blissful moment when death shall set him free.

Meanwhile, Mary draws near to the cross, whereon hangs her Son. She recognizes Him, in spite of all the darkness; her love is her light. The eclipse has dispersed the crowd; all is silent; and the soldiers can find no reason for keeping the afflicted Mother from approaching her Son. Jesus looks with tenderest affection on Mary; the sight of her sorrow is a new grief to His sacred Heart. He is dying, and His Mother cannot console or embrace Him. Magdalene, too, is there, distracted with grief. Those feet, which, a few days before, she had anointed with her most precious perfumes, are now pierced through with nails, and the Blood is clotting round the wounds. They are near enough to the ground for her to reach and bathe them with her tears; but her tears cannot stay the pain. She has come to see the death of Him who forgave her all her sins. John, the beloved disciple, the only apostle that has followed Jesus to Calvary, is overwhelmed with sorrow. He thinks of the favour bestowed upon him last night, when he rested his head on the breast of this dear Master; and the remembrance intensifies his grief. He grieves for the Son, he grieves for the Mother. He little knows the reward he is soon to receive for this his love! Mary of Cleophas has followed the holy Mother up to the foot of the cross. At some distance off there stands a group of women, who loved Jesus and ministered unto Him during His life.[33]

The silence is again broken: Jesus speaks His third word, and it is to His Mother; but He does not call her by that dear name, for it would redouble her pain: 'Woman!' He says, ‘behold thy son!’ Then looking upon John, He says to him: ‘Son! behold thy Mother!’[34] What an exchange was here for Mary! but oh! what a blessing it brought upon John, and through him to all mankind: the Mother of God was made our Mother! This was the subject of our meditation on the Friday of Passion-week: let us, to-day, gratefully receive this last testament of our Jesus, who, having by His Incarnation made us the adopted children of His heavenly Father, now, in His dying moments, makes us children of His own blessed Mother.

It is close upon the ninth hour—the third hour after midday—the hour fixed by the eternal decree of God for the death of Jesus. The feeling of abandonment, which had caused our Redeemer to suffer an agony in the garden, now returns. He has taken upon Himself the sins of mankind: the whole weight of God’s justice now presses upon His Soul. The bitter chalice of God’s anger, which He is drinking to the very dregs, extorts from His lips this plaintive cry: ‘My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken Me?’[35] It is the fourth word. He does not say ‘My Father!’ He speaks as though He were but a poor sinner, trembling before the judgment-seat of God. A burning thirst elicits from Him the fifth word: ‘I thirst!’[36] Whereupon, one of the soldiers presents to His dying lips a sponge full of vinegar; and this is all the refreshment He receives from that earth, on which lie daily pours a heavenly dew, and to which He has given ever-flowing fountains and rivers.

The moment has at length come, when Jesus is to yield up His Soul to His Father. He has fulfilled every single prophecy that bad been foretold of Him, even that of His receiving vinegar when parched with thirst. He therefore speaks this His sixth word: ‘It is consummated!’[37] He has, then, but to die; His death is to put the finishing stroke to our redemption, as the prophet assures us. But He must die as God. This Man, worn out by suffering, exhausted by His three hours’ agony, whose few words were scarce audible to them that stood round His cross, now utters a loud cry, which is heard at a great distance, and fills the centurion, who commands the guard, with fear and astonishment: ‘Father! into Thy hands I commend My Spirit!’[38] This is His seventh and last word; after which He bows down His head and dies.

At this awful moment, the sun reappears in the heavens, and darkness ceases: but the earth is shaken by an earthquake, and the rocks are split. The space between the cross of Jesus and that of the bad thief is violently rent asunder, and the opening is shown to this day. The Jewish priests, who are in the temple, are terrified at seeing the veil, which hides the Holy of holies, torn from top to bottom: the time for figures and types is over, the great realities are come. Many holy personages arise from their graves, and return to life. But it is in hell itself that the death of Jesus is most felt. Satan now sees who He is, against whom he has excited all this persecution. He sees that the Blood, which he has caused to be shed, has saved mankind and opened the gates of heaven. This Jesus, whom he dared to tempt in the desert, he now recognizes as the Son of God, whose precious Blood has purchased for men a redemption that was refused to the rebel angels!

O Jesus! Son of the eternal Father! we adore Thee now lying dead on the wood of Thy sacrifice. Thy bitter death hath given us life. Like those Jews who saw Thee expire and returned to Jerusalem striking their breasts, we, also, confess that our sins have caused Thy death. Thou hast loved us as none but a God could love. Henceforth, we must be Thine, and serve Thee, as creatures redeemed at the infinite price of Thy Blood. Thou art our God; we are Thy people. Accept, we beseech Thee, our most loving thanks for this final proof of Thy goodness towards us. Thy holy Church now silently invites us to celebrate Thy praise. We leave Calvary for a time; but will soon return thither, to assist at Thy holy burial. Mary, Thy Mother, remains immovable at the foot of Thy cross. Magdalene clings to Thy feet. John and the holy women stand around Thee. Once more, dearest Jesus! we adore Thy sacred Body, Thy precious Blood, and Thy holy cross, that have brought us salvation.

 

THE OFFICE OF TENEBRÆ

 

At a late hour in the afternoon, the Night Office of Holy Saturday is anticipated, as on the two previous days. 

The faithful are not summoned to the church by the bells, for, as we have already explained, they are not rung till the Gloria in excelsis of to-morrow’s Mass.

The Office of Tenebræ for Holy Saturday is given below, page 520.

 

THE EVENING

 

Let us return to Calvary, and there close this mournful day. We left Mary there, with Magdalene and other holy women, and the beloved disciple John. An hour has scarcely elapsed since Jesus died, when a troop of soldiers, led on by a centurion, come up the hill, breaking the silence with their tramp and voices. They are sent by Pilate. The chief priests lost no time in returning to the governor’s house: and he, at their request, has sent these men to break the legs of the three crucified, detach them from their crosses, and bury them before night. The Jews count the days of their week from sunset; so that the great Sabbath day is close upon them. The soldiers come to the crosses; they begin with the two theives, and put an end to their sufferings and their life by breaking their legs. Dimas dies in saintly dispositions, for the promise made to him by Jesus is his consolation; his companion dies blaspheming. The soldiers now advance towards Jesus. Mary’s heart sinks within her. What fresh outrage are these men about to offer to the lifeless and bleeding Body of her Son? On inspection, they find that He is dead; but, that no doubt may be left, and no blame for neglect of orders fall upon them, one of the company raises up his spear and thrusts it into the right side of the divine Victim, even to the Heart; and when he draws his spear out, there gushes forth a stream of Water and Blood. This is the fifth bloodshedding, and the fifth wound inflicted on our Jesus upon the cross. The Church honours this mystery on the Feast of the sacred Heart; let us reserve our reflections till then.

The soul of the holy Mother is pierced by this cruel spear; and they that are with her redouble their sobs and tears. How is this terrible day to end? Who will take the Body of her Jesus from His cross? Who will enable her to give it a last embrace? The soldiers return to the city, and with them Longinus, he that pierced Jesus’ side, but is already feeling within himself the workings of that faith for which he is one day to lay down his life as a martyr. But lo! two other men are seen coming towards the cross; they are not enemies, they are faithful disciples of Jesus: one is the wealthy counsellor Joseph of Arimathea; the other is Nicodemus, a ruler among the Jews. Mary gratefully welcomes their arrival: they have come to take the Body of Jesus from the cross, and give it an honourable burial. They have the requisite authorization, for Pilate has given permission to Joseph to take the Body of Jesus.[39]

They lose no time in doing so, for the sun is near to setting, and then begins the Sabbath. Within a few yards from where stands the cross, at the foot of the hillock which forms the summit of Calvary, there is a garden, and in this garden a sepulchre cut into the rock. No one has yet been buried in this tomb. It is to be Jesus’ sepulchre. Hither Joseph and Nicodemus carry the sacred Body: they lay it upon a slab of stone, near to the sepulchre. It is here that Mary receives into her arms the Body of her Jesus: she kisses each wound, and bathes it with her tears. John, Magdalene, and all that are present, compassionate the holy Mother. She resigns it into the hands of the two disciples, for they have but a few moments left. Upon this slab which, even to this day, is called the stone of the anointing, and designates the thirteenth station of the way of the cross, Joseph unfolds a piece of fine linen,[40] and Nicodemus, whose servants have brought a hundred pound weight of myrrh and aloes,[41] makes every arrangement for the embalming. They reverently wash the Body, for it is covered with Blood; they remove the crown of thorns from the Head; and after embalming it with their perfumes, they wrap it in the windingsheet. Mary gives a last embrace to the remains of her Jesus, who is now hidden under these swathing-bands of the tomb.

Joseph and Nicodemus take the Body into their arms, and enter the sepulchre. It is the fourteenth station of the way of the cross. It consists of two open cells; it is into the one on the right hand that they enter, and there, in a cavity cut into the side of the rook, they lay the Body of Jesus. They then retire; and, with the assistance of their servants, they close up the entrance of the sepulchre with a large square stone, which Pilate, at the request of the Jews, orders to be fastened with his own seal, and guarded by a patrol of soldiers.

The sun is just setting; the great Sabbath, with its severe legal prescriptions, is just about to begin. Magdalene and the other women carefully notice the place where Jesus’ Body has been laid, and return with all speed to Jerusalem that they may have time to purchase and prepare a quantity of materials for a more careful embalming of the Body early on the Sunday morning, that is, immediately after the Sabbath is over. The holy Mother takes a farewell-look at the tomb wherein lies her Jesus, and then follows the rest into the city. John, her adopted son, keeps close to her. He is the guardian of her, who, without ceasing to be Mother of God, has been made also Mother of men. But oh! how much this second maternity cost her! She was standing at the foot of the cross, seeing her Jesus die, when she received us as her children. Let us imitate St. John, and keep our blessed Mother company during these trying hours which she has to pass before her Son rises from the grave.

How, O most merciful Redeemer! shall we leave Thy holy sepulchre, without offering Thee the tribute of our adoration and repentance? Death, which is the consequence of sin, has extended its dominion over Thee, for Thou didst submit Thyself to the sentence pronounced against Thee, and wouldst become like to us even to the humiliation of the tomb. It was Thy love for us, that led to all this! What return can we make Thee? The holy angels stand around Thy Body, thus lying in its rooky grave. They are lost in amazement at Thy having loved, to such an excess as this, Thy poor ungrateful creature, man. Thou hast made them, as well as us, out of nothing, and they loved Thee with all the intensity of their mighty spirits; but the sight of Thy tomb reveals to them a fresh abyss of Thine infinite goodness: Thou hast suffered death, not for their fallen fellowangels, but for us men, who are so inferior to the angels! Oh! what a bond of love between us and Thee must result from this sacrifice of Thy life for us! Thou hast died, O Jesus, for us: we must, henceforth, live for Thee. We promise it upon this tomb, which alas! is the handiwork of our sins. We, too, wish to die to sin, and live to grace. For the time to come, we will follow Thy precepts and Thine examples; we will avoid sin, which has made us accomplices in Thy Passion and Death. We will courageously bear, in union with Thine own, the crosses of this life: they are indeed light compared with Thine, but our weakness makes them heavy. And our death, too: when the moment comes for us to undergo that sentence which even Thou didst submit to, we will accept it with resignation. Terrible as that last hour is to nature, our faith tells us that Thy death has merited for it graces rich enough to make it sweet. Thy death, dearest Jesus! has made our death become but a passing into life: and as we now leave Thy holy sepulchre with the certain hope of speedily seeing Thee glorious in Thy Resurruction; so, when our body descends into the tomb, our soul shall confidently mount up to Thee, and there blissfully await the day of the resurrection of the flesh made pure by the humiliation of the grave.

We will close our day by offering to our readers the following stanzas from the Greek liturgy of Good Friday.

Hymn
(In Parasceve)

Hodie in cruce appenditur, qui super aquas terram appendit: corona spinea circumdatur Rex angelorum: falsa purpura operitur, qui operit cœlum nubibus: alapam suscipit, qui in Jordane libertati dedit Adamum: davis confixus est Sponsus Ecclesiæ: lancea punctus est filius Virginis. Adoramus passiones tuas, Christe. Et ostende nobis etiam gloriosam resurrectionem tuam.

Intuens agna agnum suum trahi ad occisionem: sequebatur Maria afflicta una cum aliis mulieribus, hæc damans: Quo progrederis, nate? Cujus rei gratia velocem cursum perficis? Num aliæ nuptiæ rursus fiunt in Cana; et eo tu nunc festinas, ut eis ex aqua vinum facias? Tecum veniam, nate; an te potius exspectabo? Da mihi verbum, O Verbum: ne silens me prætereas, qui me castam servasti filius et Deus meus.

Singula sanctæ carnis tuæ membra ignominiam propter nos sustinuerunt; spinas caput; facies sputa; maxilla alapas; os aceto mistum fel in gustu; impias blasphemias aures; dorsum fiagellationem; et manus arundinem; totiusque corporis extensiones in cruce; artus clavos; et latus lanceam. Qui passus ea pro nobis, et patiens liberos nos fecisti; quique amore erga homines una nobiscum te demisisti, noaque sublimasti, omnipotens Salvator, miserere nostri.

Hodie in cruce te suspensum, O Verbum, inculpata Virgo spectans, maternis visceribus mœrens, corde vulnerabatur amare, et gemena dolenter ex animæ profundo flebiliter exclamabat: Heu me, divine Nate! heu me, O lux mundi! cur ex oculis meis abscessisti, Agne Dei? Inde incorporeorum spirituum exercitus tremore corripiebantur, dicentes: Incomprehensibilis Domine, gloria tibi.

Domine, ascendente te in crucem, timor et tremor cecidit in creaturam: et terram quidem prohibebaa absorbere eoa, qui te crucifigebant: inferno autem permittebas remittere vinctos. Judex vivorum et mortuorum, venisti ut vitam præstares et non mortem: amans hominum, gloria tibi.
To-day, is poised upon a cross he that poised the earth upon the waters. He that is the King of angels, is wreathed with a crown of thorns. He that covereth the heaven with clouds, is covered with a mock scarlet robe. He that, in the Jordan, set Adam free, is buffeted. The Spouse of the Church is pierced with nails. The Son of the Virgin is wounded with a spear. O Jesus! we adore thy sufferings. Show unto us, also, thy glorious Resurrection.

Mary, the Mother, saw her Lamb dragged to the slaughter, and, in company with other women, followed him, saying: ' Whither goest thou, my Son? Wherefore this hurried step? Is it to a second marriage-feast at Cana that thou thus hastenest, there to turn water into wine? Must I come with thee, my Son? or must I wait thy return? O Word of the Father l speak one word to me. Pass me not by in silence, O thou, my Child and my God! who didst make me thy Virgin-Mother!’

For our sake, O Jesus! thou didst permit thy whole sacred Body to be ignominiously tortured: thy head with thorns; thy face with spittle; thy cheeks with blows: thy mouth with vinegar and gall; thine ears with impious blasphemies; thy back with scourges; thy hand with a reed; thy whole body, with the cross; thy hands and feet with nails; thy side with a spear. O almighty Saviour! who didst suffer for us, and by thy sufferings, didst make us free! O thou, that out of love for man didst humble thyself with us, that thus thou mightest exalt us! Have mercy on us!

To-day, the sinless Virgin saw thee, O Word! hanging on the cross: she wept over thee with a mother’s love: her heart was cruelly wounded: andlthus, with doleful sobs and tears, she spake from her inmost soul: ‘Alas! my divine Son! Alas! thou light of the world! why hast thou departed from my sight, O Lamb of God?’—The angel host was seized with trembling, and said: ‘Glory be to thee, O incomprehensible Lord!’

Fear and trembling fell upon thy creatures, O Lord, when thou didst ascend thy cross. Yet wouldst thou not permit the earth to swallow up them that crucified thee; nay, thou gavest leave to death to set its captives free. Thou camest into the world, O Judge of the living and the dead! that thou mightest bring, not death, but life. Glory be to thee, O Lover of mankind!

The ancient Gallican liturgy contains, in to-day’s Office, the following eloquent and devout prayer.

Prayer
(Oratio ad Nonam)

O salutaris hora Passionis, o magna maximarum gratiarum Nona hodierna, maxima horarum hora! Hac nunc tu, noster dilecte Sponse, osculare de cruce, licet post crucis trophæum. Osculare, precamur; salutare tuum impertire nobis, triumphator mirabilis, auriga supreme, Deus pie, gloriosissime propugnator. Avete, valete, invalescite et viriliter agite, confortamini dicito, loquere cordibus nostris inspector Christe. An qui olim hæc fecisti, nunc eadem non potes facere? Potes utique, potes; quia omnipotens es: potes, amantissime, potes facere quod non possumus cogitare; quia nihil tibi impossibile est, Deus omnipotens, Jesu, osculare, quæso, dilectiesime, qui triumphans regressus es ad Patrem, cum quo semper eras et permanes unus; quia osculum tuum dulce est, et ubera tua vino dulciora, fragrantia optimis unguentis: et nomen tuum super oleum; quem adolescentulæ dilexerunt: quem recti diligunt, quos trahis post te: cujus lectus floridns, cujus trophæum crux. Qui hac hora rubens de Edom, de cruce, tinctis vestibus de Bosra, solus quasi calcator magni illius torcularis ad cœlos ascendisti: cui occurrunt Angeli, Archangeli dicentes: Quis est iste, qui ascendit, tinctis vestibus de Bosra? Quibus te interrogantibus: Quare ergo rubrum est vestimentum tuum? Respondisti: Torcular calcavi solus, et vir de gentibus non fuit mecum. Vere Salvator, vere rubrum est tuum propter nos corpus: rubrum est sanguine uvæ; lavasti enim in vino stolam tuam, et pallium tuum in sanguine uvæ: qui es Deus solus, crucifixus pro nobis, quos antiqua prævaricatio morti tradidit: cujus vulnere omnium innumera peccatorum vulnera sanata sunt. Et nos, pie crucifixe Christe, cum tuis redime; salva, pia bonitas Deus. Qui regnas cum Patre et Spiritu sancto, unus in æternum et in sæcula sæculorum.
O saving hour of the Passion! O hour of None, favoured with richest graces! O hour of hours! O beloved Spouse of souls, kiss us at this hour from thy cross, for the cross is the trophy of thy victory. Yea, we beseech, grant us thy kiss, grant us thy salvation, O admirable Conqueror! O heavenly Charioteer! O good God! O most glorious Champion! Do thou, O allseeing Jesus, speak to our hearts, and say: 'Hail, all hail! Be vigorous, act manfully, be courageous!’ Thou, O Lord, that didst these things of old, canst thou not do the same now? Thou canst, yea thou canst, for thou art all-powerful. Thou canst, most loving Jesus! thou canst do beyond what we can think. And whereas nothing is impossible to thee, O almighty God, our Jesus! kiss us, we beseech thee, beloved Lord, who didst triumphantly return to the Father, with whom thou wast, and art for ever, one; for thy kiss is sweet, thy breasts are better than wine, and are fragrant with the best ointments. Thy name is as oil poured out, therefore have our souls loved thee. The righteous, whom thou drawest to thee, love thee. Thy couch is strewn with flowers, the cross is thy trophy. Coming in scarlet, at this hour, from Edom, thy cross—coming with dyed garments from Bosra, treading alone that great winepress—thou didst ascend to heaven. The Angels and Archangels go out to meet thee, and they say: ‘Who is this that cometh up, with dyed garments, from Bosra?’ They ask thee: ‘Why then, is thy apparel red?’ Thou answerest: ‘I have trodden the winepress alone: and of the Gentiles, there is not a man with me.’ Truly, O Saviour! truly is thy body red for our sake: it is red with the blood of the grape, for thou hast washed thy robe in wine, and thy garment in the blood of the grape. Thou alone art God, crucified for us, whom the ancient sin had delivered over to death: and by thy wounds, the countless sins of all men have been healed. O loving crucified Jesus! put us among thy redeemed. Save us, O loving goodness! our God! who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, reignest one God for ever, yea for ever and ever.

 

[1] St. Matt. xxvi. 63.
[2] Ibid. 64.—St. Mark xiv. 62.
[3] St. Matt, xxvi. 65, 66.
[4] St. Luke xxii. 64.
[5] Gen. xlix. 10.
[6] St. John xviii. 29-31.
[7] Ibid. 33, 36, 37, 38.
[8] St. Matt, xxvii. 13.
[9] St. Luke xxiii. 5.
[10] St. Matt, xxvii.—St. Luke xxiii.—St. John xviii.
[11] St. John xix. 5.
[12] St. John xix.
[13] Ibid
[14] Is. liii. 12.
[15] St. Matt, xxvii. 24, 25.
[16] St. John iii. 16.
[17] St. Luke xxiii. 28-30.
[18] Heb. v 7.
[19] 1 Cor. i. 23.
[20] 1 Cor. i. 24.
[21] St. Luke xxiii. 34.
[22] Is. xi. 10.
[23] St. John xii. 32.
[24] Rom. v. 11.
[25] St. John xix. 24.
[26] St. John xix. 22.
[27] St. John iii. 14.
[28] St. Matt, xxvii. 40.
[29] Ibid. 42, 43.
[30] St. John xii. 32.
[31] St. Luke xxiii. 40, 41.
[32] St. Luke xxiii. 42, 43.
[33] St. Matt, xxvii. 65.
[34] St. John xix. 26, 27.
[35]St. Matt, xxvii. 46.
[36] St. John xix. 26, 27.
[37] Ibid. 30.
[38] St. Luke xxiii. 46.
[39] St. John xix. 38.
[40] St. Mark xv. 46.
[41] St. John xix. 39.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The ceremonies used by the Church for the Office of Tenebræ having been already explained, we deem it unnecessary to repeat our instructions. The reader may refer to them, should he require to refresh his memory. They are given on pages 301—303.

Pater noster, Ave, and Credo, in secret.

 

THE FIRST NOCTURN

 

The first psalm is one which the Church daily recites in her Compline, because it expresses the confidence wherewith the Christian takes his rest. She uses it in to-day’s Tenebræ, to remind us of the rest taken by Christ in the sepulchre, where He sleeps with the assurance of wakening to a glorious Resurrection.

Ant. In pace, in idipsum, dormiam et requiescam.
Ant. In peace, in the selfsame, I will sleep, and I will take my rest.

Psalm 4

Cum invocarem, exaudivit me Deus justitiæ meæ: in tribulatione dilatasti mihi.
Miserere mei: et exaudi orationem meam.
Filii hominum usquequo gravi corde: ut quid diligitis vanitatem, et quæritis mendacium?
Et scitote quoniam mirificavit Dominus sanctum suum: Dominus exaudiet me, cum clamavero ad eum.
Irascimini, et nolite peccare: quæ dicitis in cordibus vestris in cubilibus vestris compungimini.
Sacrificate sacrificium justitiae, et sperate in Domino: multi dicunt: Quis ostendit nobis bona?
Signatum est super nos lumen vultis tui, Domine: dedisti lætitiam in corde meo.
A fructu frumenti, vini et olei sui: multiplicati sunt.
In pace in idipsum: dormiam et requiescam.
Quoniam tu, Domine, singulariter in spe: constituisti me.

Ant. In pace in idipsum, dormiam et requiescam.
When I called upon him, the God of my justice heard me: when I was in distress thou hast enlarged me.
Have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
O ye sons of men, how long will ye be dull of heart? why do you love vanity, and seek after lying?
Know ye also that the Lord hath made his Holy One wonderful: the Lord will hear me when I shall cry unto him.
Be ye angry and sin not: the things you say in your hearts, be sorry for them on your beds.
Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord: many say: Who showeth us good things?
The light of thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us: thou hast given gladness in my heart.
By the fruit of their corn, their wine and oil, they are multiplied.
In peace, in the self-same, I will sleep, and I will take my rest.
For thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope.

Ant. In peace, in the selfsame, I will sleep, and I will take my rest.

The second psalm speaks of the happiness that is in reserve for the just man, and of the rest which is to be the reward of his labours. The Church applies it to Christ, the Just One by excellence, who went about doing good.

Ant. Habitabit in tabernaculo tuo: requiescet in monte sancto tuo.
Ant. He shall dwell in thy tabernacle: he shall rest in thy holy hill.

Psalm 14

Domine, quis habitabit in tabernaculo tuo: aut quis requiescet in monte sancto tuo? Qui ingreditur sine macu la: et operatur justitiam.
Qui loquitur veritatem in corde suo: qui non egit dolum in lingua sua.
Nec fecit proximo suo malum: et opprobrium non accepit adversus proximos suos..
Ad nihilum deductus est in conspectu ejus malignus: timentes autem Dominum glorficat.
Qui jurat proximo suo, et non decipit: qui pecuniam suam non dedit ad usuram, et munera super innocentem non accepit:
Qui facit hæc, non movebitur in æternum.

Ant. Habitabit in tabernaculo tuo: requiescet in monte sancto tuo.
Lord, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle? or who shall rest in thy holy hill?
He that walketh without blemish, and worketh justice.
He that speaketh truth in his heart, who hath not used deceit in his tongue.
Nor hath done evil to his neighbour, nor taken up a reproach against his neighbours.
In his sight the malignant is brought to nothing: but he glorifieth them that fear the Lord.
He that sweareth to his neighbour, and deceiveth not: he that hath not put out his money to usury, nor taken bribes against the innocent.
He that doth these things, shall not be moved for ever.

Ant. He shall dwell in thy tabernacle: he shall rest in thy holy hill.

The third psalm, composed by David during his exile under Saul, is a prophecy of our Saviour’s Resurrection, and was quoted as such by St. Peter in his address to the Jews on the day of Pentecost. He that speaks in this psalm, says that his flesh shall rest in hope, and that the Lord will not give him to see corruption. This was not verified in David, but in Christ.

Ant. Caro mea requiescet in spe.
Ant. My flesh shall rest in hope.

Psalm 15

Conserva me, Domine, quoniam speravi in te: dixi Domino, Deus meus es tu, quoniam bonorum meorum non eges.
Sanctis qui sunt in terra ejus: mirificavit omnes voluntates meas in eis.
Multiplicatæ sunt infirmitates eorum: postea acceleraverunt.
Non congregabo conventicula eorum de sanguinibus: nec memor ero nominum eorum per labia mea.
Dominus pars hæreditatis meæ et calicis mei: tu es qui restitues hæreditatem meam mihi.
Funes ceciderunt mihi in præclaris: etenim hæreditas mea præclara est mihi.
Benedicam Dominum, qui tribuit mihi intellectum: insuper et usque ad noctem increpuerunt me renes mei.
Providebam Dominum in conspectu meo semper: quoniam a dextris est mihi ne commovear.
Propter hoc Iætatum est cor meum, et exsultavit lingua mea: insuper et caro mea requiescet in spe.
Quoniam non derelinques animam meam in inferno: nec dabis Sanctum tuum videre corruptionem.
Notas mihi fecisti vias vitæ, adimplebis me lætitia cum vultu tuo: delecta tiones in dextera tua usque in finem.

Ant. Caro mea requiescet in spe.
Preserve me, O Lord, for I have put my trust in thee, I have said to the Lord: thou art my God, for thou hast no need of my goods.
To the saints who are in his land, he hath made wonderful all my desires in them.
Their infirmities were multiplied: afterwards they made haste.
I will not gather together their meetings for blood-offerings: nor will I be mindful of their names by my lips.
The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup: it is thou that wilt restore my inheritance to me.
The lines are fallen unto me in goodly places: for my inheritance is goodly to me.
I will bless the Lord, who hath given me understanding: moreover my reins also have corrected me even till night.
I set the Lord always in my sight: for he is at my right hand that I be not moved.
Therefore my heart hath been glad and my tongue hath rejoiced: moreover my flesh also shall rest in hope.
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell: nor wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption.
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life, thou shalt fill me with joy with thy countenance: at thy right hand are delights even to the end.

Ant. My flesh shall rest in hope.

℣. In pace in idipsum.
℟. Dormiam et requiescam.
℣. In peace, in the selfsame,
℟. I will sleep, and I will take my rest.

The Pater noster is here recited in secret.

The lessons of the first nocturn are again taken from the Lamentations of Jeremias. The first refers to our Saviour. It speaks of His fidelity to His Father, and of His resignation. It foretells the buffets He received during His Passion.

First Lesson

De Lamentatione Jeremiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. iii.


Heth. Misericordiæ Domini, quia non sumus consumpti: quia non defecerunt miserationes ejus.

Heth. Novi diluculo, multa est fides tua.

Heth. Pars mea Dominus, dixit anima mea: propterea exspectabo eum.

Teth. Bonus est Dominus sperantibus in eum, animæ quærenti illum.

Teth. Bonum est præstolari cum silentio salutare Dei.

Teth. Bonum est viro, cum portaverit jugum ab adolescentia sua.

Jod. Sedebit solitarius, et tacebit: quia levavit super se.

Jod. Ponet in pulvere os suum, si forte sit spes.

Jod. Dabit percutienti semaxillam, saturabitur opprobriis.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
From the Lamentation of Jeremias the Prophet.

Ch. iii.


Heth. The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed: because his tender mercies have not failed.

Heth. They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness.

Heth. The Lord is my portion, said my soul: therefore will I wait for him.

Teth. The Lord is good to them that hope in him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Teth. It is good to wait with silence for the salvation of God.

Teth. It is good for a man when he hath borne the yoke from his youth.

Jod. He shall sit solitary, and hold his peace: because he hath taken it up upon himself.

Jod. He shall put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope.

Jod. He shall give his cheek to him that striketh him, he shall be filled with reproaches.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Sicut ovis ad occisionem ductus est, et dum male tractaretur, non aperuit os suum: traditus est ad mortem:
* Ut vivificaret populum suum.
℣. Tradidit in mortem animam suam, et inter sceleratos reputatus est.
* Ut vivificaret populum suum.
℟. He was led like a sheep to the slaughter; and whilst he was ill-used, he opened not his month: he was condemned to death:
* That he might give life to his people.
℣. He delivered himself up to death, and was reckoned among the wicked.
* That he might give life to his people.

 


The second lesson is an elegy upon Jerusalem. The grievousness of the sins of this ungrateful city is expressed in forcible terms.

Second Lesson

Aleph. Quomodo obscuratum est aurum, mutatus est color optimus, dispersi sunt lapides sanctuarii in capite omnium platearum?

Beth. Filii Sion inclyti, et amicti auro primo: quomodo reputati sunt in vasa testea, opus manuum figuli?

Ghimel. Sed et lamiæ nudaverunt mammam, lactaverunt catulos suos: filia populi mei crudelis, quasi struthio in deserto.

Daleth. Adhæsit lingua lactentis ad palatum ejus in siti: parvuli petierunt panem, et non erat qui frangeret eis.

He. Qui vescebantur voluptuose interierunt in viis; qui nutriebantur in croceis, amplexati sunt stercora.

Vau. Et major effecta est iniquitas filiae populi mei peccato Sodomorum: quæ subversa est in momento, et non cœperunt in ea manus.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
Ai.eph. How is the gold become dim, the finest colour is changed, the stones of the sanctuary are scattered in the top of every street?

Beth. The noble sons of Sion, and they that were clothed with the best gold: how are they esteemed as earthen vessels, the work of the potter’s hands?

Ghimel. Even the seamonsters have drawn out the breast, they have given suck to their young: the daughter of my people is cruel, like the ostrich in the desert.

Daleth. The tongue of the sucking child hath stuck to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the little ones have asked for bread, and there was none to break it unto them.

He. They that were fed delicately, have died in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet, have embraced the dung.

Vau. And the iniquity of the daughter of my people is made greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment, and hands took nothing in her.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Jerusalem, surge, et exue te vestibus jucunditatis: induere cinere et cilicio:
* Quia in te occisus est Salvator Israël.
℣. Deduc quasi torrentem lacrymas per diem et noctem, et non taceat pupilla oculi tui.
* Quia in te occisus est Salvator Israël.
℟. Arise, Jerusalem, and put off thy garments of joy: put on ashes and hair-cloth:
* For in thee was slain the Saviour of Israel.
℣. Let tears rain down like a torrent day and night, and let not the apple of thine eye cease.
* For in thee was slain the Saviour of Israel.

 


The third lesson is a portion of the prayer made by the prophet for the Jewish people, after they had been led into captivity. It gives a faithful, but terrible, description of their miseries after they had committed the crime of deicide.

Third Lesson

Incipit Oratio Jeremiæ Prophetæ.

Cap. v.

Recordare, Domine, quid acciderit nobis: intuere, et respice opprobrium nostrum. Hæreditas nostra versa est ad alienos, domus nostræ ad extraneos. Pupilli facti sumus absque patre: matres nostræ quasi viduæ. Aquam nostram pecunia bibimus; ligna nostra pretio comparavimus. Cervicibus nostris minabamur: lassis non dabatur requies. Ægypto dedimus manum, et Assyriis, ut saturaremur pane. Patres nostri peccaverunt, et non sunt: et nos iniquitates eorum portavimus. Servi dominati sunt nostri: non fuit qui redimeret de manu eorum. In animabus nostris afferebamus panem nobis, a facie gladii in deserto. Pellis nostra quasi clibanus exusta est, a facie tempestatum famis. Mulieres in Sion humiliaverunt, et virgines in civitatibus Juda.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
Here beginneth the Prayer of Jeremias the Prophet.

Ch. v.

Remember, O Lord, what is come upon us: consider and behold our reproach. Our inheritance is turned to aliens: our houses to strangers. We are become orphans without a father, our mothers are as widows. We have drunk our water for money: we have bought our wood. We were dragged by the necks, we were weary and no rest was given us. We have given our hand to Egypt, and to the Assyrians, that we might be satisfied with bread. Our fathers have sinned, and are not: and we have borne their iniquities. Servants have ruled over us: there was none to redeem us out of their hand. We fetched our bread at the peril of our lives, because of the sword in the desert. Our skin was burnt as an oven, by reason of the violence of the famine. They oppressed the women in Sion, and the virgins in the cities of Juda.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord thy God.

℟. Plange quasi virgo, plebs mea: ululate pastores in cinere et cilicio:
* Quia venit dies Domini magna et amara valde.
℣. Accingite vos sacerdotes et plangite: ministri altaris, aspergite vos cinere.
* Quia venit dies Domini magna, et amara valde.
Here is repeated: Plange.
℟. Mourn, O my people, as a virgin: howl, ye shepherds, in ashes and hair-cloth:
* For the great and exceeding bitter day of the Lord is coming.
℣. Gird yourselves, ye priests, and mourn; sprinkle yourselves with ashes, ye ministers of the altar.
* For the great and exceeding bitter day of the Lord is coming.
Here is repeated: Mourn, O my people.

 

THE SECOND NOCTURN

 

The fourth psalm speaks of the triumphant entry which the Son of God, after having risen from His tomb, shall make into heaven.

Ant. Elevamini portæ æternales, et introibit Rex gloriæ.
Ant. Be ye lifted up, O ye eternal gates, and the King of glory shall enter in.

Psalm 23

Domini est terra, et plenitudo ejus: orbis terrarum, et universi quihabitantineo.
Quia ipse super maria fundavit eum: et super flumina præparavit eum.
Quis ascendet in montem Domini: aut quis stabit in loco sancto ejus?
Innocens manibus et mundo corde: qui non accepit in vano animam suam, nec juravit in dolo proximo suo.
Hic accipiet benedictionem a Domino: et misericordiam a Deo salutari suo.
Hæc est generatio quærentium eum: quærentium faciem Dei Jacob.
Attollite portas principes vestras, et elevamini portæ æternales: et introibit Rex gloriæ.
Quis est iste Rex gloriæ? Dominus fortis et potens, Dominus potens in prælio.
Attollite portas principes vestras, et elevamini portæ æternales: et introibit Rex gloriæ.
Quis est iste Rex gloriæ? Dominus virtutum, ipse est Rex gloriæ.

Ant. Elevamini portæ æternales, et introibit Rex gloriæ.
The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; the world and all they that dwell therein.
For he hath founded it upon the seas: and hath prepared it upon the rivers.
Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
The innocent in hands, and clean of heart, who hath not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbour.
He shall receive a blessing from the Lord: and mercy from God his Saviour.
This is the generation of them that seek him, of them that seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of glory shall enter in.
Who is this King of glory? the Lord, who is strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of glory shall enter in.
Who is this King of glory? the Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.

Ant. Be ye lifted up, O ye eternal gates, and the King of glory shall enter in.

The fifth psalm was sung in yesterday's Office, and expressed the confidence in His Father’s love and assistance which never left our Jesus during His Passion: we repeat it to-day, because it speaks of His speedy deliverance. The Church changes the antiphon, which gave us the words of our Saviour complaining of His false witnesses, into the following, wherein we have our divine Master telling us that He is soon to be in the land of the living.

Ant. Credo videre bona Domini in terra viventium.
Ant. I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalm 26

Dominus illuminatio mea, et salus mea: quem timebo?
Dominus protector vitæ meæ: a quo trepidabo?
Dum appropiant super me nocentes: ut edant carnes meas.
Qui tribulant me inimici mei: ipsi infirmati sunt et ceciderunt.
Si consistant adversum me castra: non timebit cor meum.
Si exsurgat adversum me prœlium: in hoc ego sperabo.
Unam petii a Domino, hanc requiram: ut inhabitem in domo Domini omnibus diebus vitæ meæ.
Ut videam voluptatem Domini: et visitem templum ejus.
Quoniam abscondit me in tabernaculo suo: in die malorum protexit me in abscondito tabernaculi sui.
In petra exaltavit me: et nunc exaltavit caput meum super inimicos meos.
Circuivi, et immolavi in tabernaculo ejus hostiam vociferationis: cantabo, et psalmum dicam Domino.
Exaudi, Domine, vocem meam qua clamavi ad te: miserere mei, et exaudi me.
Tibi dixit cor meum exquisivit te facies mea: faciem tuam, Domine, requiram.
Ne avertas faciem tuam a me: ne declines in ira a servo tuo.
Adjutor meus esto: ne derelinquas me, neque despicias me, Deus salutaris meus.
Quoniam pater meus et mater mea dereliquerunt me: Dominus autem assumpsit me.
Legem pone mihi, Domine, in via tua: et dirige me in semitam rectam propter inimicos meos.
Ne tradideris me in animas tribulantium me: quoniam insurrexerunt in me testes iniqui, et mentita est iniquitas sibi.
Credo videre bona Domini: in terra viventium.
Exspecta Dominum, viriliter age: et confortetur cor tuum, et sustine Dominum.

Ant. Credo videre bona Domini in terra viventium.
The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the protector of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?
Whilst the wicked draw near against me, to eat my flesh.
My enemies that troubled me have been weakened, and have fallen.
If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear.
If a battle should rise up against me, in this will I be confident.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, this will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple.
For he hath hid me in his tabernacle; in the day of evils, he hath protected me in the secret place of his tabernacle.
He hath exalted me upon a rock: and now he hath lifted up my head above my enemies.
I have gone round, and have offered up in his tabernacle a sacrifice of jubilation: I will sing, and recite a psalm to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to thee: have mercy on me, and hear me.
My heart hath said to thee, my face hath sought thee: thy face, O Lord, will I still seek.
Turn not away thy face from me: decline not in thy wrath from thy servant.
Be thou my helper: forsake me not, do not thou despise me, O God my Saviour.
For my father and my mother have left me: but the Lord hath taken me up.
Set me, O Lord, a law in thy way: and guide me in the right path, because of my enemies.
Deliver me not over to the will of them that trouble me: for unjust witnesses have risen up against me, and iniquity hath belied itself.
I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
Expect the Lord, do manfully, and let thy heart take courage, and wait thou for the Lord.

Ant. I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

The sixth psalm tells us that Jesus, the divine Captive of death, will soon rise from the grave. The prophet speaks of the weeping which shall last till evening, and of the gladness that shall follow in the morning.

Ant. Domine abstraxisti ab inferis animam meam.
Ant. O Lord, thou hast brought forth my soul from hell.

Psalm 29

Exaltabo te, Domine, quoniam suscepisti me: nec delectasti inimicos meos super me.
Domine Deus meus, clamavi ad te: et sanasti me.
Domine eduxisti ab inferno animam meam: salvasti me a descendentibus in lacum.
Psallite Domino sancti ejus: et confitemini memoriæ sanctitatis ejus.
Quoniam ira in indignatione ejus: et vita in voluntate ejus.
Ad vesperum demorabitur fletus: et ad matutinum lætitia.
Ego autem dixi in abundantia mea: Non movebor in æternum.
Domine in voluntate tua: præstitisti decori meo virtutem.
Avertisti faciem tuam a me: et factus sum conturbatus.
Ad te, Domine, clamabo: et ad Deum meum deprecabor.
Quæ utilitas in sanguine meo: dum descendo in corruptionem?
Numquid confitebitur tibi pulvis: aut annuntiabit veritatem tuam?
Audivit Dominus, et misertus est mei: Dominus factus est adjutor meus.
Convertisti planctum meum in gaudium mihi: conscidisti saccum meum, et circumdedisti me lætitia.
Ut cantet tibi gloria mea, et non compungar: Domine Deus meus, in æternum confitebor tibi.

Ant. Domine abstraxisti ab inferis animam meam.
I will extol thee, O Lord, for thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me.
O Lord, my God, I have cried to thee, and thou hast healed me.
Thou hast brought forth, O Lord, my soul from hell: thou hast saved me from them that go down into the pit.
Sing to the Lord, O you his saints: and give praise to the memory of his holiness.
For wrath is in his indignation: and life in his good will.
In the evening, weeping shall have place: and in the morning, gladness.
And in my abundance I said: I shall never be moved.
O Lord, in thy favour, thou gavest strength to my beauty.
Thou turnedst away thy face from me, and I became troubled.
To thee, O Lord, will I cry: and I will make supplication to my God.
What profit is there in my blood, whilst I go down to corruption?
Shall dust confess to thee, or declare thy truth?
The Lord hath heard, and hath had mercy on me: the Lord became my helper.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into joy: thou hast cut my sackcloth, and hast compassed me with gladness.
To the end that my glory may sing to thee, and I may not regret. O Lord my God, I will give praise to thee for ever.

Ant. O Lord thou hast brought forth my soul from hell.

℣. Tu autem, Domine, miserere mei.
℟. Et resuscita me, et retribuam eis.
℣. But thou, O Lord, have mercy on me.
℟. And raise me up again, and I will requite them.

Here is said the Pater noster in secret.

For the second nocturn lessons, the Church continues the Enarrations of St. Augustine on the psalms prophetic of our Lord’s Passion.

Fourth Lesson

Ex tractatu Sancti Augustini Episcopi, super Psalmos.

Ps. lxiii.

Accedet homo ad cor altum, et exaltabitur Deus. Illi dixerunt: Quis nos videbit? Defecerunt scrutantes scrutationes, consilia mala. Accessit homo ad ipsa consilia: passus est se teneri ut homo. Non enim teneretur nisi homo, aut videretur nisi homo, aut cæderetur nisi homo, aut crucifigeretur, aut moreretur nisi homo. Accessit ergo homo ad illas omnes passiones, quæ in illo nihil valerent, nisi esset homo. Sed si ille non esset homo, non liberaretur homo. Accessit homo ad cor altum, id est cor secretum, objiciens aspectibus humanis hominem, servans intus Deum; celans formam Dei, in qua æqualis est Patri, et offerens formam servi, qua minor est Patre.
From the treatise of Saint Augustine, Bishop, upon the Psalms.

Ps. lxiii.

Man shall come to the deep heart, and God shall be exalted. They said: Who will see us? They failed in making diligent search for wicked designs. Christ, as Man, came to those designs, and suffered himself to be seized on as a Man. For he could not be seized on if he were not Man, nor seen if he were not Man, nor scourged if he were not Man, nor crucified nor die if he were not Man. As Man, therefore, he came to all these sufferings, which could have no effect on him if he were not Man. But if he had not been Man, man could not have been redeemed. Man came to the deep heart, that is, the secret heart, exposing his humanity to human view, but hiding his divinity: concealing the form of God, by which he is equal to the Father; and offering the form of the servant, by which he is inferior to the Father.

℟. Recessit Pastor noster. fons aquæ vivæ, ad cujus transitum sol obscuratus est:
* Nam et ille captus est, qui captivum tenebat primum hominem: hodie portas mortis et seras pariter Salvator noster disrupit.
℣. Destruxit quidem claustra inferni, et subvertit potentias diaboli.
* Nam et ille captus est qui captivum tenebat primumhominem: hodie portas mortis et seras pariter Salvator noster disrupit.
℟. Our Shepherd, the fountain of living water, is gone; at whose departure, the sun was darkened.
* For he is taken who made the first man a prisoner. To-day our Saviour broke the gates and bolts of death.
℣. He. indeed, destroyed the prisons of hell, and overthrew the powers of the devil.
* For he is taken who made the first man a prisoner. Today our Saviour broke the gates and bolts of death.

Fifth Lesson

Quo perduxerunt illas scrutationes suas, quas perscrutantes defecerunt, ut etiam mortuo Domino et sepulto, custodes ponerent ad sepulchrum? Dixerunt enim Pilato: Seductor ille. Hoc appellabatur nomine Dominus Jesus Christus, ad solatium servorum suorum, quando dicuntur seductores. Ergo illi Pilato: Seductor ille, inquiunt, dixit adhuc vivens: Post tres dies resurgam. Jube itaque custodiri sepulchrum usque in diem tertium, ne forte veniant discipuli ejus, et furentur eum, et dicant plebi: Surrexit a mortuis: et erit novissimus error pejor priore. Ait illis Pilatus: Habetis custodiam; ite, custodite sicut scitis. Illi autem abeuntes, munierunt sepulchrum, signantes lapidem cum custodibus.
How far did they carry this their diligent search, in which they failed so much, that when our Lord was dead and buried, they placed guards at the sepulchre? For they said to Pilate: This seducer; by which name our Lord Jesus Christ was called, for the comfort of his servants when they are called seducers. This seducer, say they to Pilate, while he was yet living, said: After three days I will rise again. Command therefore the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day, lest perhaps his disciples come and steal him away, and say to the people, he is risen from the dead: and the last error will be worse than the first. Pilate saith to them: Ye have a guard, go, and guard it as ye know. And they went away and secured the sepulchre with guards, sealing up the stone.

℟. O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte,
* Si est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.
℣. Attendite universi populi, et videte dolorem meum.
* Si est dolor similis sicut dolor meus.
℟. O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see,
* If there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.
℣. Attend all ye people, and see my sorrow.
* If there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.

Sixth Lesson

Posuerunt custodes milites ad sepulchrum. Concussa terra Dominus resurrexit: miracula facta sunt talia circa sepulchrum, ut et ipsi milites qui custodes advenerant, testes fierent, si vellent vera nuntiare. Sed avaritia illa, quæ capti vavit discipulum comitem Christi, captivavit et militem custodem sepulchri. Damus, inquiunt, vobis pecuniam, et dicite, quia vobis dormientibus venerunt discipli ejus, et abstulerunt eum. Vere defecerunt scrutantes scrutationes. Quid est quod dixisti, o infelix astutia? Tantumne deseris lucem consilii pietatis, et in profunda versutia demergeris, ut hoc dicas: Dicite, quiavobis dormientibus venerunt discipuli ejus, et abstulerunt eum? Dormientes testes adhibes: vere tu ipse obdormisti, qui scratando talia defecisti.
They placed soldiers to guard the sepulchre. The earth shook, and the Lord rose again: such miracles were done at the sepulchre, that the very soldiers that came as guards might be witnesses of it, if they would declare the truth. But that covetousness which possessed the disciple that was the companion of Christ, blinded also the soldiers that were the guards of his sepulchre. We will give you money, said they: and say, that while ye were asleep, his disciples came and took him away. They truly failed, in making diligent search. What is it thou hast said, O wretched craft? Dost thou shut thy eyes against the light of prudence and piety, and plunge thyself so deep in cunning, as to say this: Say that while ye were asleep, his disciples came and took him away? Dost thou produce sleeping witnesses? Certainly thou thyself sleepedst, that failedst in making search after such things.

℟. Ecce quomodo moritur justus, et nemo percipit corde: et viri justi tolluntur et nemo considerat: a facie iniquitatis sublatus est Justus:
* Et erit in pace raemoria ejus.
℣. Tamquam agnus coram tondente se obmutuit, et non aperuit os suum: de angustia, et de judicio sublatus est.
* Et erit in pace memoria ejus.
Here is repeated; Ecce quomodo.
℟. Behold! how the Just One dieth, and there is none that taketh it to heart: and just men are taken away and no one considereth it: the Just One is taken away because of iniquity:
* And his memory shall be in peace.
℣. He was silent, as a lamb under his shearer, and he opened not his mouth: he was taken away from distress and judgment.
* And his memory shall be in peace.
Here is repeated: Behold!

 

THE THIRD NOCTURN

 

The seventh psalm is one we sang yesterday, when commemorating the persecution our Saviour met with from the Jews. We repeat it, to-day, because of His approaching triumph, for the eternal Father is His helper and protector.

Ant. Deus adjuvat me, et Dominus susceptor est animæ meæ.
Ant. God is my helper, and the Lord is the protector of my soul.

Psalm 53

Deus, in nomine tuo salvum me fac: et in virtute tua judica me.
Deus, exaudi orationem meam: auribus percipe verba oris mei.
Quoniam alieni insurrexerunt adversum me. et fortes quæsierunt animam meam: et non proposuerunt Deum ante conspectum suum.
Ecce enim Deus adjuvat me: et Dominus susceptor est animæ meæ.
Averte mala inimicis meis: et in ventate tua disperde illos.
Voluntarie sacrificabo tibi: et confitebor nomini tuo, Domine, quoniam bonum est.
Quoniam ex omni tribulatione eripuisti me: et super inimicos meos despexit oculus meus.

Ant. Deus adjuvat me, et Dominus susceptor est animæ meæ.
Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me in thy strength.
O God. hear my prayer: give ear to the words of my mouth.
For strangers have risen up against me: and the mighty have sought after my soul: and they have not set God before their eyes.
For behold God is my helper: and the Lord is the protector of my soul.
Turn back the evils upon my enemies: and cut them off in thy truth.
I will freely sacrifice to thee, and will give praise. O God. to thy name: because it is good.
For thou hast delivered me out of all trouble: and my eye hath looked down upon my enemies.

Ant. God is my helper, and the Lord is the protector of my soul.

The eighth psalm is one that was sung in the Tenebræ of Maundy Thursday: then, it was an allusion to the divine vengeance that was to fall on the enemies of Jesus; to-day, we must rejoice in its prophecy of the sleep of peace which this our Saviour is taking in Sion. A few more hours, and He will rise from His tomb. His enemies, who boast of having Him in their power, will find, on awaking, that they have nothing in their hands. The earth shall tremble, and our Lord shall arise, an object of terror to His enemies, but a Saviour to the meek, that is, to the humble and faithful ones, who will then praise Him as the God ever faithful to His word.

Ant. In pace factus est locus ejus, et in Sion habitatio ejus,
Ant. His place is in peace, and his abode in Sion

Psalm 75

Notus in Judæa Deus: in Israël magnum nomen ejus.
Et factus est in pace locus ejus: et habitatio ejus in Sion.
Ibi confregit potentias arcuum: scutum, gladium, et bellum.
Illuminans tu mirabiliter a montibus æternis: turbati sunt omnes insipientes corde.
Dormierunt somnum suum: et nihil invenerunt omnes viri divitiarum in manibus suis.
Ab increpatione tua, Deus Jacob: dormitaverunt qui ascenderunt equos.
Tu terribilis es, et quis resistet tibi: ex tunc ira tua.
De cœlo auditum fecisti judicium: terra tremuit et quievit.
Cum exurgeret in judicium Deus: ut salvos faceret omnes mansuetos terrae.
Quoniam cogitatio hominis confitebitur tibi: et reliquiae cogitationis diem festum agent tibi.
Vovete et reddite Domino Deo vestro: omnes qui in circuitu ejus affertis munera.
Terribili et ei qui aufert spiritum principum: terribili apud reges terræ.

Ant. In pace factus eat locus ejus, et in Sion habitatio ejus.
In Judea God is known, his name is great in Israel.
And his place is in peace, and his abode in Sion.
There hath he broken the power of bows, the shield, the sword, and the battle.
Thou enlightenest wonderfully from the everlasting hills: all the foolish of heart were troubled.
They have slept their sleep: and all the men of riches have found nothing in their hands.
At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, they have all slumbered that mounted on horseback.
Thou art terrible, and who shall resist thee? from that time thy wrath.
Thou hast caused judgment to be heard from heaven: the earth trembled and was still.
When God arose in judgment, to save all the meek of the earth.
For the thought of man shall give praise to thee: and the remainders of the thought shall keep holiday to thee.
Vow ye, and pay to the Lord your God: all you that round about him bring presents.
To him that is terrible, even to him that taketh away the spirit of princes; to the terrible with the kings of the earth.

Ant. His place is in peace, and his abode in Sion.

The ninth psalm is the Domine, Deus salutis meœ, repeated from yesterday’s Office page 437. It shows us our Saviour praying to His Father, that He will raise Him, and free Him from among the dead. The time fixed for His lying in the darkness of the sepulchre is over, the hour of His Resurrection to life is at hand.

It is sung to the following antiphon.

Ant. Factus sum sicut homo sine adjutorio, inter mortuos liber.
Ant. I am become as a man without help, whose life is set free, and he is now numbered among the dead.

 

℣. In pace factus est locus ejus.
℟. Et in Sion habitatio ejus.
℣. His place is in peace.
℟.. And his abode in Sion.

The Pater noster is here recited in secret.

The third nocturn lessons are again from the Epistle to the Hebrews. In the passage chosen for to-day, the apostle shows us the divine efficacy of the Blood of Jesus, and how His testament, or last will, could not be applied to us save by His death.

 

SEVENTH LESSON

 

De Epistola Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Hebræos.

Cap. ix.

Christus assistens Pontifex futurorum bonorum, per amplius et perfectius tabernaculum non manufactum, id est non hujus creationis;neque per sanguinem hircorum aut vitulorum, sed per proprium Sanguinem, introivit semel in sancta, aeterna redemptione inventa. Si enim sanguis hircorum et taurorum, et cinis vitulæ aspersus inquinatos sanctificat ad emundationem carnis: quanto magis Sanguis Christi qui per Spiritimi sanctum semetipsum obtulit immaculatum Deo, emundabit conscientiam nostram ab operibus mortuis ad serviendum Deo viventi?
From the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle, to the Hebrews.

Ch. ix.

Christ being come a High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of thiscreation: neither by the blood of goats, nor of calves, but by his own Blood, entered once into the holies having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh: how much more shall the Blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost offered himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?

℟. Adstiterunt reges terræ, et principes convenerunt in unum,
* Adversus Dominum, et adversus Christum ejus.
℣. Quare fremuerunt gentes, et populi meditati sunt inania?
* Adversus Dominum, et adversus Christum ejus.
℟. The kings of the earth stood, and the princes met together,
* Against the Lord, and against his Christ.
℣. Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things?
* Against the Lord, and against his Christ.

Eighth Lesson

Et ideo novi Testamenti mediator est: ut morte intercedente, in redemptionem earum prævaricationum, quæ erant sub priori testamento, repromissionem accipiant, qui vocati sunt, æternæ hæreditatis. Ubi enim testamelitum est, mors necesse est intercedat testatoris. Testamentum enim in mortuis confirmatum est; alioquin nondum valet, dum vivit qui testatus est. Unde nec primum quidem sine sanguine dedicatum est.
And therefore he is the mediator of the new testament: that by means of his death, for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former testament, they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, the death of a testator must of necessity come in. For a testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is as yet of no strength, whilst the testator liveth. Whereupon neither was the first indeed dedicated without blood.

℟. Æstimatus sum cum descendentibus in lacum.
* Factus sum sicut homo sine adjutorio, inter mortuos liber.
℣. Posuerunt me in lacu inferiori, in tenebrosis, et in umbra mortis.
* Factus sum sicut homo sine adjutorio, inter mortuos liber.
℟. I am counted among them that go dowm to the pit.
* I am become as a man without help, free among the dead.
℣. They have laid me in the lower pit, in the dark places, and in the shadow of death.
* I am become as a man without help, free among the dead.

Ninth Lesson

Lecto enim omni mandato legis a Moyse universo populo, accipiens sanguinem vitulorum et hircorum, cum aqua et lana coccinea et hyssopo: ipsum quoque librum et omnem populum aspersit, dicens: Hic sanguis testamenti, quod mandavit ad vos Deus. Etiam tabernaculum, et omnia vasa ministerii sanguine similiter aspersit. Et omnia pene in sanguine secundum legem mundantur: et sine sanguinis effusione non fit remissio.
For when every commandment of the law had been read by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying: this is the blood of the testament, which God hath enjoined unto you. The tabernacle also, and all the vessels of the ministry, in like manner, he sprinkled with blood. And almost all things, according to the law, are cleansed with blood: and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

℟. Sepulto Domino, signatum est monumentum, volventes lapidem ad ostium monumenti:
* Ponentes milites, qui custodirent illum.
℣. Accedentes principes sacerdotum ad Pilatum, petierunt illum.
* Ponentes milites, qui custodirent illum.
Here is repeated: Sepulto Domino.
℟. Having buried our Lord, they sealed up the sepulchre, rolling a stone before the entrance of the sepulchre:
* Placing soldiers to guard him.
℣. The chief priests went to Pilate, and sought his permission.
* Placing soldiers to guard him.
Here is repeated: Having buried.

 

LAUDS

 

The first psalm of Lauds is the Miserere (page 336 ). Its antiphon is the following:

Ant. O mors, ero mors tua: morsus tuusero, inferne.
Ant. O death! I will be thy death. O hell, I will be thy ruin.

The second psalm, which according to its title in the Psalter is to be sung on the Sabbath day, celebrates the magnificence of the Lord in His works, the fruitlessness of the plots laid by sinners, the triumph of Christ the Just One, and the blessed hope of His followers.

Ant. Plangent eum quasi unigenitum: quia innocens Dominius occisus est.
Ant. They shall mourn for him as for an only son: because the innocent Lord is slain.

Psalm 91

Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.
Ad annuntiandum mane misericordiam tuam: et veritatem tuam per noctem.
In decachordo, psalterio: cum cantico in cithara.
Quia delectasti me, Domine, in factura tua: et in operibus manuum tuarum exsultabo.
Quam magnificata sunt opera tua Domine! nimis profundæ factæ sunt cogitationes tuæ.
Vir insipiens non cognoscet: et stultus non intelliget hæc.
Cum exorti fuerint peccatores sicut fœnum: et apparuerint omnes qui operantur iniquitatem:
Ut intereant in sæculum sæculi: tu autem Altissimus in æternum, Domine.
Quoniam ecce inimici tui, Domine, quoniam ecce inimici tui peribunt: et dispergentur omnes, qui operantur iniquitatem.
Et exaltabitur sicut unicornis cornu meum: et senectus mea in misericordia uberi.
Et despexit oculus meus inimicos meos: et in insurgentibus in me malignantibus audiet auris mea.
Justus ut palma florebit: sicut cedrus Libani multiplicabitur.
Piantati in domo Domini, in atriis domus Dei nostri florebunt.
Adhuc multplicabunturin senecta uberi: et bene patientes erunt, ut annuntient.
Quoniam rectus Dominus Deus noster: et non est iniquitas in eo.

Ant. Plangent eum quasi unigenitum; quia innocens Dominus occisus est.
It is good to give praise unto the Lord; and to sing to thy name, O thou Most High.
To show forth thy mercy in the morning: and thy truth in the night.
Upon an instrument of ten strings, upon the psaltery: with a song upon the harp.
For thou hast given me, O Lord, delight in thy doings: and in the works of thy hands shall I rejoice.
O Lord, how great are thy works! thy thoughts are exceeding deep.
The unwise man shall not know: nor will the fool understand these things.
When the wicked shall spring up as the grass: and all the workers of iniquity shall appear.
That they may perish for ever and ever: but thou, O Lord, art Most High for evermore.
For behold thine enemies, O Lord, for behold thine enemies shall perish: and all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.
But my horn shall be exalted like that of the unicorn: and my old age in plentiful mercy.
Mine eye also hath looked down upon mine enemies: and mine ear shall hear of the downfall of the malignant that rise up against me.
The just shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus.
They that are planted in the house of the Lord: shall flourish in the courts of the house of our God.
They shall still increase in a fruitful old age: and it shall be well with them.
That they may show that the Lord our God is upright: and there is no iniquity in him.

Ant. They shall mourn for him as for an only son: because the innocent Lord is slain.

Psalm 63

Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam cum deprecor: a timore inimici eripe animam meam.
Protexisti me a conventu malignantium: a multitudine operantium iniquitatem.
Quia exacuerunt ut gladium linguas suas: intenderunt arcum rem amaram, ut sagittent in occultis immaculatum.
Subito sagittabunt eum, et non timebunt: firmaverunt sibi sermonem nequam.
Narraverunt ut absconderent laqueos: dixerunt: Quis videbit eos?
Scrutati sunt iniquitates: defecerunt scrutantes scrutinio.
Accedet homo ad cor altum: et exaltabitur Deus.
Sagittæ parvulorum factæ sunt plagæ eorum: et infirmatæ sunt contra eos linguae eorum.
Conturbati sunt omnes qui videbant eos: et timuit omnis homo.
Et annuntiaverunt opera Dei, et facta ejus intellexerunt.
Lætabitur justus in Domino, et sperabit in eo, et laudabuntur omnes recti corde.

Ant. Attendite universi populi, et videte dolorem meum.
Hear my prayer, O God, when I make supplication to thee: deliver my soul from the fear of the enemy.
Thou hast protected me from the assembly of the malignant: from the multitude of the workers of iniquity.
For they have whetted their tongues like a sword: they have bent their bow a bitter thing, to shoot in secret the undefiled.
They will shoot at him on a sudden, and will not fear: they are resolute in words of wickedness.
They have talked of hiding snares: they have said: Who shall see them?
They have searched after iniquities: they have failed in their search.
Man shall come to a deep heart: and God shall be exalted.
The arrows of children are their wounds: and their tongues are made weak against them.
All that saw them were troubled: and every man was afraid.
And they declared the works of God: and understood his doings.
The just shall rejoice in the Lord, and shall hope in him: and all the upright in heart shall be praised.

Ant. Attend, all ye people, and see my sorrow.

The canticle of Ezechias, which is always sung in Tuesday’s Lauds, is here substituted for that of Deuteronomy, which is the proper one for Saturdays, but which is not in harmony with to-day’s mystery. Ezechias lying on his sick-bed, and praying God to restore him to health, is a figure of Christ in His tomb, beseeching His Father to give Him a speedy Resurrection to life.

Ant. A porta inferi erue, Domine, animam meam.
Ant. From the gate of the tomb, O Lord, deliver my soul.

Canticle of Ezechial
(Is. xxxviii)

Ego dixi: in dimidio dierum meorum: vadain ad portas inferi.
Quæsivi residuum annorum meorum: dixi: Non videbo Dominum Deum in terra viventium.
Non aspiciam hominem ultra: et habitatorem quietis.
Generatio mea ablata est, et convoluta est a me: quasi tabernaculum pastorum.
Præcisa est velut a texente vita mea, dum adhuc ordirer succidit me: de mane usque ad vesperam finies me.
Sperabam usque ad mane: quasi leo sic contrivit omnia ossa mea.
De mane usque ad vesperam finies me: sicut pullus hirundinis sic clamabo, meditabor ut columba.Attenuati sunt oculi mei: suspicientes in excelsum.
Domine, vim patior, responde pro me: Quid dicam, aut quid respondebit mihi, cum ipse fecerit?
Recogitabo tibi omnes annos meos: in amaritudine animæ meæ.
Domine, si sic vivitur, et in talibus vita spiritus mei, corripies me, et vivificabis me: ecce in pace amaritudo mea amarissima.
Tu autem eruisti animam meam ut non periret: projecisti post tergum tuum omnia peccata mea.
Quia non infernus confitebitur tibi, neque mors laudabit te: non exspectabunt qui descendunt in lacum veritatem tuam.
Vivens, vivens, ipse confitebitur tibi, sicut et ego hodie: pater filiis notam faciet veritatem tuam.
Domine, salvum me fac, et psalmos nostros cantabimus cunctis diebus vitæ nostræ in domo Domini.

Ant. A porta inferi, erue, Domine, animam meam.
I said: in the midst of my days: I shall go to the gates of hell.
I sought for the residue of my years: I said, I shall not see the Lord God in the land of the living.
I shall behold man no more, nor the inhabitant of rest.
My generation is at an end, and it is rolled away from me as a shepherd’s tent.
My life is cut off as by a weaver; whilst I was but beginning, he cut me off: from morning even till night thou wilt make an end of me.
I hoped till morning: as a lion so hath he broken my bones.
From morning even till night thou wilt make an end of me:I will cry like a young swallow, I will meditate like a dove.My eyes are weakened with looking upward.
Lord, I suffer violence, answer thou for me. What shall I say, or what shall he answer for me, whereas he himself hath done it?
I will recount to thee all my years, in the bitterness of my soul.
O Lord, if man’s life be such, and the life of my spirit be in such things as these, thou shalt correct me, and make me to live. Behold in peace is my bitterness most bitter.
But thou hast delivered my soul that it should not perish: thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.
For hell shall not confess to thee, neither shall death praise thee: nor shall they that go down into the pit look for thy truth.
The living, the living, he shall give praise to thee, as I do this day: the father shall make thy truth known to the children.
O Lord, save me, and we will sing our psalms all the days of our life in the house of the Lord.

Ant. From the gate of the tomb, O Lord, deliver my soul.

The last psalm of Lauds, which is also the last of the Psalter, is a short hymn of praise sung by all creatures to their Creator. It is accompanied by the following antiphon:

Ant. O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte, si est dolor sicut dolor meus.
Ant. O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see, if there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.

Psalm 150

Laudate Dominum in sanctis ejus: laudate eum in firmamento virtutis ejus.
Laudate eum in virtutibus ejus: laudate eum secundum multitudinem magnitudinis ejus.
Laudate eum in sono tubæ: laudate eum in psalterio et cithara.
Laudate eum in tympano et choro: laudate eum in chordis et organo.
Laudate eum in cymbalis benesonantibus: laudate eum in cymbalis jubilationis: omnis spiritus laudet Dominum.

Ant. O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte, si est dolor sicut dolor meus.
Praise ye the Lord in his holy places: praise ye him in the firmament of his power.
Praise ye him for his mighty acts: praise ye him according to the multitude of his greatness.
Praise him with sound of trumpet: praise him with psaltery and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and choir: praise him with strings and organs.
Praise him on high-sounding cymbals: praise him on cymbals of joy: let every spirit praise the Lord.

Ant. O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see, if there be sorrow like unto my sorrow.

℣. Caro mea requiescet in spe.
℟. Et non dabis Sanctum tuum videre corruptionem.
℣. My flesh shall rest in hope.
℟. And thou wilt not suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.

After this versicle, the Benedictus (page 347) is sung, to the following antiphon

Ant. Mulieres sedentes ad monumentum lamentabantur, flentes Dominum.
Ant. The women, sitting near the tomb, mourned, weeping for the Lord.

The antiphon having been repeated after the canticle, the choir sings, to a touching melody, the following words, which are repeated at the end of all the Canonical Hours of these three days. But to-day the Church is not satisfied with announcing the death of her Jesus: she adds the remaining words of the apostle, wherein he tells us of the glory of the ManGod, the Conqueror of the tomb.

℣. Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis.

Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum, et dedit illi nomen, quod est super orane nomen.
℣. Christ became, for our sake, obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.

For which cause, God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name, which is above all names.

Then is said, in secret, the Pater noster, which is followed by the Miserere (page 336). As soon as the psalm is finished, the following prayer is recited by the first in dignity:

Respice, quæsumus, Domine, super hanc. familiam tuam: pro qua Dominus noster Jesus Christus non dubitavit manibus tradi nocentium, et crucis subire tormentum:
Look down, O Lord, we beseech thee, upon this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ hesitated not to be delivered into the hands of wicked men, and to undergo the punishment of the cross:

(then the rest in secret:)

Qui tecum vivit et regnat, in unitate Spiritus sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including descriptions of the following:

A night has passed over the tomb, wherein lies buried the Body of the Man-God. Death is triumphant in that silent cave, and holds captive Him that gives life to every creature: but his triumph will soon be at an end. The soldiers may watch, as best they will, over that grave: they cannot hold Jesus prisoner, as soon as the moment fixed for His Resurrection comes. The holy angels are there, profoundly adoring the lifeless Body of Him, whose Blood is to reconcile all things, both on earth and in heaven.[1] This Body, though for a brief interval separated from the Soul, is still united to the Person of the Son of God; so likewise the Soul, during its separation from the Body, has not for an instant lost its union with the Word. The Divinity remains also united with the Blood which lies sprinkled on Calvary, and which, at the moment of the Resurrection of the Man-God, is to enter once more into His sacred veins.

Let us also return to the sepulchre, and adore the Body of our buried Jesus. Now, at last, we understand what sin has done: by sin, death entered into the world; and it passed upon all men.[2] Though Jesus knew no sin,[3] yet has He permitted death to have dominion over Him, in order that He might make it less bitter to us, and by His Resurrection restore unto us that eternal life, of which we had been deprived by sin. How gratefully we should appreciate this death of our Jesus! By becoming Incarnate, He became a servant;[4] His death was a still deeper humiliation. The sight of this tomb, wherein His Body lies lifeless and cold, teaches us something far more important than the power of death: it reveals to us the immense, the incomprehensible love of God for man. He knew that wo were to gain by His humiliations; the greater His humiliations, the greater our exaltation: this was His principle, and it led Him to what seems like an excess! Let us, then, love this sacred sepulchre, which is to give us life. We have thanked Him for having died for us upon the cross; let us thank Him, but most feelingly, for having humbled Himself, for our sake, even to the tomb!

And now let us visit the holy Mother, who has passed the night in Jerusalem, going over, in saddest memory, the scenes she has witnessed. Her Jesus has been a victim to every possible insult and cruelty; He has been crucified; His precious Blood has flowed in torrents from those five Wounds; He is dead, and now lies buried in yonder tomb, as though He were but a mere man, yea the most abject of men. How many tears have fallen, during these long hours, from the eyes of the daughter of David! And yet, her Son has not come back to her! Near her is Magdalene; heart-broken by yesterday’s events, she has no words to tell her grief, for Jesus is gone, and, as she thinks, for ever. The other women, less loved by Jesus than Magdalene, yet most dear to Him, stand around the disconsolate Mother. They have braved every insult and danger in order to remain on Calvary till all was over, and they intend returning thither with Magdalene, as soon as the Sabbath is over, to honour the tomb and the Body of Jesus.

John, the adopted son of Mary, and the beloved disciple of Jesus, is oppressed with sorrow. Others, also, of the apostles and disciples visit the house of mourning. Peter, penitent and humble, fears not to appear before the Mother of mercy. Among the disciples are Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. We may easily imagine the conversation—it is on the sufferings and death of Jesus, and on the ingratitude of the Jews. The Church, in the seventh responsory of to-day’s Tenebrœ, represents these men as saying: ‘Behold! how the Just One dieth, and there is none that taketh it to heart. Iniquity has had its way. He was silent as a lamb under his shearer, and He opened not His mouth. He was taken away from distress and judgment: but His memory shall be in peace.’

Thus speak the men; the women are thinking of their morrow’s visit to the sepulchre. The saintliness of Jesus, His goodness, His power, His sufferings, His death—everything is remembered, except His Resurrection, which they had often heard Him say should certainly and speedily take place. Mary alone lives in expectation of His triumph. In her was verified that expression of the Holy Ghost, where, speaking of the valiant woman, He says: ‘Her lamp shall not be put out in the night.’[5] Her courage fails not, because she knows that the sepulchre must yield up its Dead, and her Jesus will rise again to life. St. Paul tells us that our religion is vain, unless we have faith in the mystery of our Lord’s Resurrection: where was this faith on the day after our Lord’s death? In one heart only—and that was Mary’s. As it was her chaste womb that had held within it Him whom heaven and earth cannot contain, so, on this day, by her firm and unwavering faith, she resumes within her single self the whole Church. How sacred is this Saturday, which, notwithstanding all its sadness, is such a day of glory to the Mother of Jesus! It is on this account that the Church has consecrated to Mary the Saturday of every week.

But it is time to repair to the house of God. The bells are still silent: our faith must speak to us, and make us eager to assist at the grand mysteries which the liturgy is about to celebrate. Surely the Christian sentiment must be dead in those who can be willingly absent from the church on such a morning as this. No, it cannot be that we, who have followed the celebration of the mysteries of our religion thus far, can flag now, and lose the graces of this morning’s magnificent service.

 

THE MORNING SERVICE 

 

It was the practice of the Church, and one that had been handed down from the earliest ages, that the Sacrifice of the Mass should not be offered up either yesterday or to-day. Yesterday, the anniversary of Jesus’ death, was exclusively devoted to the remembrance of the mystery of Calvary, and a holy fear kept the Church from renewing that Sacrifice upon her altars. For the same reason she abstained to-day, also, from its celebration. The burial of Christ is a sequel of His Passion: and during these hours when His Body lay lifeless in the tomb, it was fitting that the Sacrifice, wherein He is offered as the glorious and risen Jesus, should be suspended. Even the Greek Church, which never fasts on the Saturdays of Lent, follows the practice of the Latin Church for this Saturday: she not only fasts, but she even omits the celebration of the Mass of the Presanctified.

Such was the discipline of the Latin Church for nearly a thousand years: but about the eleventh century, an important change began to be introduced with regard to the celebration of Mass on Holy Saturday. The Mass which, hitherto, had been celebrated during the night preceding Easter Sunday, then began to be anticipated on the Saturday; but it was always considered as the Mass for the hour of our Lord’s Resurrection, and not as the Mass of Holy Saturday. The relaxations that had been introduced with regard to fasting were the occasion of this change in the liturgy. In the first ages, the faithful watched the whole night in the church, awaiting the hour when our Lord rose triumphant from the tomb. They also assisted at the solemn administration of Baptism to the catechumens, which so sublimely expressed the passing from spiritual death to the life of grace. There was no other Vigil of the whole year so solemnly observed as this: but it lost a great portion of its interest, when the necessity of baptizing adults was removed by Christianity having triumphed wheresoever it had been preached. The Orientals have kept up the ancient tradition to this day: but in the west, dating from the eleventh century, the Mass of the Resurrection hour has been gradually anticipated, until it has been brought even to the morning of Holy Saturday. Durandus of Menda, who wrote his Rational of the Divine Offices towards the close of the thirteenth century, tells us that, in his time, there were very few Churches which observed the primitive custom; and even these soon conformed to the general practice of the Latin Church.

As a result of this change, there is an apparent contradiction between the mystery of Holy Saturday and the Divine Service which is celebrated upon it; Christ is still in the tomb, and yet we are celebrating His Resurrection: the hours preceding Mass are mournful, and before midday the paschal joy will have filled our hearts. We will conform to the present order of the holy liturgy, thus entering into the spirit of the Church, who has thought proper to give her children a foretaste of the joys of Easter. We will give a general view of the solemn Service, at which we are going to assist; afterwards, we will explain each portion as it comes.

The great object of the whole of to-day’s Service, and the centre to which every one of the ceremonies converges, is the Baptism of the catechumens. The faithful must keep this incessantly before them, or they will be at a loss how to understand or profit by the liturgy of to-day. First of all, there is the blessing of the new fire, and incense. This is followed by the blessing of the Paschal candle. Immediately after this are read the twelve prophecies, which have reference to the mysteries of to-day’s Service. As soon as the prophecies are finished a procession is formed to the baptistery, and the water is blessed. The matter of Baptism thus prepared, the catechumens receive the Sacrament of regeneration. Confirmation is then administered to them by the bishop. Immediately after this, the holy Sacrifice is celebrated in honour of our Lord’s Resurrection, and the neophytes partake of the divine mysteries. Finally the joyous Vesper-Office comes in, and brings to a termination the longest and most fatiguing Service of the Latin liturgy. In order to assist our readers to enter fully into its spirit, we will go back a thousand years, and imagine ourselves to be celebrating this solemn eve of Easter in one of the ancient cathedrals of Italy, or of our own dear land.

At Rome, the Station is at St. John Lateran, the mother and mistress of all Churches. The Sacrament of regeneration is administered in the baptistery of Constantine. The sight of these venerable sanctuaries carries us back in thought to the fourth century; there, each year, holy Baptism is conferred upon some adult; and a numerous Ordination adds its own splendour to the sacred pomp of this day, whose liturgy, as we have just said, is the richest of the whole year.

 

BLESSING OF THE NEW FIRE AND INCENSE

 

Last Wednesday the catechumens were told to present themselves at the church, for the hour of to-day’s Terce (that is, nine o’clock in the morning).

It is the final scrutiny. The priests are there to receive them; those who have not previously been examined upon the Symbol, are now questioned. The Lord’s Prayer and the biblical attributes of the four evangelists having been explained, one of the priests dismisses the candidates for Baptism, bidding them spend the interval in recollection and prayer.

At the hour of None (our three o’clock in the afternoon), the bishop and all the clergy repair to the Church, and Holy Saturday vigil begins from this moment. The first ceremony consists in the blessing of the new fire, which is to furnish light for the whole Service. It was the daily custom, in the first ages of the Church, to strike a light from a flint before Vespers: from this the lamps and candles were lighted for the celebration of that Hour, and the light thus procured was kept up in the church till the Vespers of the following day. The Church of Rome observed this custom with great solemnity on Maundy Thursday morning, and the new fire received a special blessing. We learn, from a letter written in the eighth century by Pope St. Zachary to St. Boniface archbishop of Mayence, that three lamps were lighted from this fire, which were then removed to some safe place, and care taken that their light was kept in. It was from these lamps that the light for Holy Saturday night was taken. In the following century, under St. Leo IV, whose pontificate lasted from 847 to 855, the custom of every day procuring new fire from a flint was extended also to Holy Saturday.

It is not difficult to understand the meaning of this ceremony, which is no longer observed by the Latin Church save on this day. Our Lord said of Himself: ‘I am the light of the world.’[6] Light, then, is an image of the Son of God. Stone, also, is one of the types under which the Scriptures speak to us of the Messias. St. Peter,[7] and St. Paul,[8] quoting the words of the prophet Isaias,[9] speak of Jesus as the Corner-Stone. The spark which is struck from the flint represents our Lord rising from His rock-hewn sepulchre, through the stone that had been rolled against it.

It is fitting, therefore, that this fire which is to provide light for the Paschal candle, as well as for those that are upon the altar, should receive a special blessing, and be triumphantly shown to the faithful. All the lamps in the church have been extinguished. Formerly, the faithful used to put out the fires in their houses, before going to the church: they lighted them, on their return, with light taken from the blessed fire, which they received as a symbol of our Lord’s Resurrection. Let us not here omit to notice, that the putting out of all the lights in the church is a symbol of the abrogation of the old Law, which ended with the rending of the veil of the temple; and that the new fire represents the preaching of the new Law, whereby our Lord Jesus Christ, the light of the world, fulfilled all the figures of the ancient Covenant.

In order to help our readers to enter more fully into the mystery of the ceremony we are describing, we will here mention a miracle which was witnessed for many centuries. The clergy and people of Jerusalem assembled for the service of Easter eve in the church of holy sepulchre. After waiting for some time in silence, one of the lamps suspended over our Lord’s tomb was miraculously lighted. The other lamps and torches throughout the church were lighted from this, and the faithful took its holy flame with them to their homes. It would seem that this annual miracle first began after the Saracens had taken possession of Jerusalem: God so ordaining, that it might be a proof to these infidels of the divinity of the Christian religion. The historians of those times, who have written upon the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, all speak of this miracle as of an incontestable fact; and when Pope Urban II went to France, there to preach the first Crusade, he brought forward this miracle as one of the motives which should inspire the faithful with zeal for the defence of the sepulchre of Christ. When our Lord, in the unsearchable ways of His justice, permitted Jerusalem to be reconquered by the infidels, the miracle ceased, nor has it ever been witnessed from that time. Our readers have no doubt heard of the scandalous scene, which is now repeated every Holy Saturday in the church of holy sepulchre in Jerusalem: we allude to the deception practised by the schismatic Greek priests, whereby they persuade their deluded people that their ingenious trick for lighting a lamp is the continuation of the miracle.

The Church also blesses the five grains of incense, which are to be used in this morning’s Service. They represent the perfumes prepared by Magdalene and her holy companions for embalming the Body of Jesus. The prayer said by the bishop, when blessing the incense, not only shows us the connection there is between it and the light, but it also teaches us what is the power these several sacred objects have against the wicked spirits.

The bishop, with his attendants, goes in procession from the church to the place where he is to bless the fire and incense. The fire, as we have already said, is the symbol of our Lord Jesus Christ; and the sepulchre, whence He is to rise to life, is outside the walls of Jerusalem. The holy women and the apostles, when they go to the sepulchre, will have to go forth from the city.

The bishop, having come to the appointed place, blesses the fire by the following prayers.

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

Oremus.

Deus, qui per Filium tuum, angularem scilicet lapidem, claritatis tuæ ignem fidelibus contulisti, productum e silice, nostris profuturum usibus. novum hunc ignem sanctifica: et concede nobis, ita per hæc festa Paschalia cœlestibus desideriis inflammari; ut ad perpetuai claritatis. puris mentibus, valeamus festa pertingere. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus.

Domine Deus. Pater omnipotens, lumen indeficiens, qui es conditor omnium luminum: benedic hoc lumen, quod a te sanctificatum atque benedictum est, qui illuminasti omnem mundum: ut ab eo Inmine accendamur, atque illuminemur igne claritatis tuæ; et sicut illuminasti Moysen exeuntem de Ægypto, ita illumines corda et sensus nostros; ut ad vitam et lucem æternam pervenire mereamur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
℟. Amen.

Oremus.

Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, benedicentibus nobis hunc ignem in nomine tuo, et unigeniti Filii tui Dei ac Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et Spiritus sancti, cooperare digneris, et adjuva nos contra ignita tela inimici, et illustra gratia cœlesti. Qui vivis et regnas cum eodem Unigenito tuo et Spiritu sancto, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray.

O God, who by thy Son the corner-stone, hast bestowed on the faithful the fire of thy brightness; sanctify this new fire produced from a flint for our use: and grant that, during this Paschal festival, we may be so inflamed with heavenly desires, that with pure minds we may come to the solemnity of eternal splendour. Through the same Christ our Lord.
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray.

O Lord God, almighty Father, never failing light, who art the author of all light’ bless this light, that is blessed and sanctified by thee, who hast enlightened the whole world: that we may be enlightened by that light, and inflamed with the fire of thy brightness: and as thou didst give light to Moses, when he went out of Egypt, so illumine our hearts and senses, that we may obtain light and life everlasting. Through Christ our Lord,
℟. Amen.

Let us Pray.

O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God: vouchsafe to co-operate with us, who bless this fire in thy name, and in that of thy only Son Christ Jesus, our Lord and God: and of the Holy Ghost: assist us against the fiery darts of the enemy, and illumine us with thy heavenly grace. Who livest and reignest with the same only Son and Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever.
℟. Amen.

The bishop then blesses the incense, thus addressing himself in prayer to God:

Veniat, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, super hoc incensum larga tuæ benedictionis infusio: et hunc nocturnum splendorem invisibilis regenerator accende: ut non solum sacrificium quod hac nocte litatum est, arcana luminis tui admixtione refulgeat: sed in quocumque loco ex hujus sanctificationis mysterio aliquid fuerit deportatum, expulsa diabolicæ fraudis nequitia, virtus tuæ majestatis assistat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

℟. Amen.
Pour forth, we beseech thee, O almighty God, thy abundant blessing on this incense: and kindle, O invisible regenerator, the brightness of this night: that not only the sacrifice that is offered this night may shine by the secret mixture of thy light; but also into whatever place anything of this mysterious sanctification shall be brought, there, by the power of thy majesty, all the malicious artifices of the devil may be defeated. Through Christ our Lord.

℟. Amen.

After these prayers, an acolyte puts some of the blessed fire into the thurible. The bishop then censes the fire and the incense, after having first sprinkled them with holy water. Another acolyte lights a candle from the blessed fire, that the new light may be brought into the church. The deacon then vests in a white dalmatic. This festive colour, which contrasts so strongly with the purple cope worn by the bishop, is used on acoount of the joyful ministry which the deacon is about to fulfil. He takes into his right hand a reed, on the top of which is placed a triple-branched candle. The reed is in memory of our Lord’s Passion: it also expresses the weakness of the human Nature which He assumed to Himself by the Incarnation. The three-branched candle signifies the blessed Trinity, of which the Incarnate Word is the Second Person.

The procession returns. Having entered the church, the deacon, after advancing a few steps, lowers the reed, and the acolyte who carries the new light, lights one of the three branches of the candle. The deacon then kneels, as do also all the clergy and people. Raising the light on high, he sings these words:

Lumen Christi.
The light of Christ!

All answer:

Deo gratias.
Thanks be to God!

This first showing of the light expresses the revelation made to us, by Jesus, of the Divinity of the Father. ‘No one,’ says He, ‘knoweth the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him.’[10]

After this, all rise, and the procession advances as far as mid-way up the church. Here the deacon again lowers the reed, and a second branch of the candle is lighted by the acolyte. The same ceremonies are observed as before, and the deacon sings on a higher note:

Lumen Christi.
The light of Christ!

The whole assembly answers:

Deo gratias.
Thanks be to God!

This second showing of the light signifies the world’s receiving the knowledge of the Divinity of the Son; He appeared and dwelt among us, and, with His own sacred lips, taught us that He was God, equal to the Father in all things

The procession continues as far as the altar-steps. The third branch of the candle on the reed is lighted, and the deacon once more sings, but on a still higher and gladder note:

Lumen Christi.
The light of Christ!

Again, the response is made:

Deo gratias.
Thanks be to God!

This third showing of the light signifies the revelation of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, which was made to us by our Saviour when He commanded His apostles to do what the Church is to do this very night: ‘Teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’[11] It is, then, by Jesus, who is the Light of the world, that mankind has been taught to know the blessed Trinity. The bishop, before administering Baptism to the catechumens, will ask them if they believe in this great mystery. During the whole of this night’s Service, they will have before their eyes the expressive symbol of the Trinity, the three-branched candle.

This, then, is the first use to which the new fire is put: to proclaim the holy Trinity. It is next to publish the glory of the Incarnate Word, by lighting up the glorious symbol which is now to be brought before us. The bishop is seated on his throne. The deacon kneels before him, and asks a blessing, before beginning the great work entrusted to him. The pontiff thus blesses him:

Dominus sit in corde tuo, et in labiis tuis: ut digne et competenter annunties suum Paschale præconium. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti. Amen.
The Lord be in thy heart and on thy lips, that thou mayst worthily and fitly proclaim his Paschal praise. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Thus prepared, the deacon rises and goes to the ambo. The acolytes, holding the triple candle and the five grains of incense, are standing at his side. Near the ambo is a marble pillar, on which is fixed the Paschal candle.

 

THE PASCHAL CANDLE

 

The sun is setting, and our earth will soon be mantled in darkness. The Church has provided a torch, which is to spread its light upon us during the whole of this long vigil. It is of an unusual size. It stands alone, and is of a pillar-like form. It is the symbol of Christ. Before being lighted, its scriptural type is the pillar of a cloud, which hid the Israelites when they went out from Egypt; under this form, it is the figure of our Lord, when lying lifeless in the tomb. When lighted, we must see in it both the pillar of fire which guided the people of God, and the glory of our Jesus risen from His grave. Our holy mother the Church would have us enthusiastically love this glorious symbol, and speaks its praise to us in all the magnificence of her inspired eloquence. As early as the beginning of the fifth century, Pope St. Zozimus extended to all the churches of the city of Rome, the privilege of blessing the Paschal candle, although Baptism was administered no where but in the baptistery of St. John Lateran. The object of this grant was, that all the faithful might share in the holy impressions which so solemn a rite is intended to produce. It was for the same intention that, later, every church, even though it had no baptismal font, was permitted to have the blessing of the Paschal candle.

The deacon proclaims the Easter solemnity to the people, while chanting the praises of this sacred object: and whilst celebrating the glories of Him, whose emblem it is, he becomes the herald of the Resurrection. The altar, the sanctuary, the bishop, all are in the sombre colour of the lenten rite; the deacon alone is vested in white. At other times, he would not presume to raise his voice as he is now going to do, in the solemn tone of a Preface: but this is the eve of the Resurrection; and the deacon, as the interpreters of the liturgy tell us, represents Magdalene and the holy women, on whom our Lord conferred the honour of being the first to know His Resurrection, and to whom He gave the mission of preaching to the very apostles that He had risen from the dead, and would meet them in Galilee.

But let us listen to the thrilling Exsultet of our deacon, and learn from him the joys that await us on this wonderful night.

Exsultet jam angelica turba cœlorum; exsultent divina mysteria: et pro tanti Regis victoria, tuba insonet salutaris. Gaudeat et tellus tantis irradiata fulgoribus: et æterni Regis splendore illustrata, totius orbis se sentiat amisisse caliginem. Lætetur et mater Ecclesia, tanti luminis adornata fulgoribus: et magnis populorum vocibus hæc aula resultet. Quapropter adstantes vos, fratres charissimi, ad tam miram hujus sancti luminis claritatem, una mecum, quæso, Dei omnipotentis misericordiam invocate. Ut qui me non meis meritis intra levitarum numerura dignatus est aggregare: luminis sui claritatem infundens, cerei hujus laudem implere perficiat. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium suum: qui cum eo vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.

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

℣. Sursum corda.
℟. Habemus ad Dominum.

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

Vere dignum et justum est invisibilem Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Filiumque ejus unigenitum, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, toto cordis ac mentis affectu, et vocis ministerio personare. Qui pro nobis æterno Patri Adæ debitum solvit: et veteris piaculi cautionem pio cruore detersit. Hæc sunt enim festa Paschalia, in quibus venis ille Agnus occiditur, cujus sanguine postes fidelium consecrantur.

Hæc nox est, in qua primum patres nostros filios Israël eductos de Ægypto, mare Rubrum sicco vestigio transire fecisti. Hæc igitur nox est quæ peccatorum tenebras columnæ illuminatione purgavit. Hæc nox est quæ hodie per universum mundum, in Christo credentes, a vitiis sæculi, et caligine peccatorum segregatos reddit gratiæ, sociat sanctitati. Hæc nox est in qua destructis vinculis mortis, Christus ab inferis victor ascendit. Nihil enim nobis nasci profuit, nisi redimi profuisset.

O mira circa nos tuæ pietatis dignatio! O inestimabilis dilectio charitatis! ut servum redimeres, filium tradidisti. O certe necessarium Adæ peccatum, quod Christi morte deletum est! O felix culpa, quæ talem ac tantum meruit habere Redemptorem!

O vere beata nox, quæ sola meruit scire tempus et horam, in qua Christus ab inferis resurrexit. Hæc nox est, de qua scriptum est: Et nox sicut dies illuminabitur; et: Nox illuminatio mea in deliciis meis. Hujus igitur sanctificatio noctis, fugat scelera, Culpas lavat: et reddit innocentiam lapsis, et mæstis lætitiam. Fugat odia, concordiam parat, et curvat imperia.
Let now the heavenly troops of angels rejoice: let the divine mysteries be joyfully celebrated: and let a sacred trumpet proclaim the victory of so great a King. Let the earth also be filled with joy, being illuminated with such resplendent rays: and let it be sensible that the darkness, which overspread the whole world, is chased away by the splendour of our eternal King. Let our mother, the Church, be also glad, finding herself adorned with the rays of so great a light: and let this temple resound with the joyful acclamations of the people. Wherefore, beloved brethren, you who are now present at the admirable brightness of this holy light, I beseech you to invoke with me the mercy of almighty God. That he who has been pleased, above my desert, to admit me into the number of his levites, will, by an infusion of his light upon me, enable me to celebrate the praises of this candle. Through our Lord Jesus Christ his Son, who, with him and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth one God for ever and ever.
℟. Amen.

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

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

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

It is truly meet and just to proclaim with all the affection of our heart and soul, and with the sound of our voice, the invisible God the Father almighty, and his only Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Who paid for us, to his eternal Father, the debt of Adam: and by his sacred Blood cancelled the guilt contracted by original sin. For this is the Paschal solemnity, in which the true Lamb was slain, by whose Blood the doors of the faithful are consecrated.

This is the night in which thou formerly broughtest forth our forefathers the children of Israel out of Egypt, leading them dry-foot through the Red Sea. This, then, is the night which dissipated the darkness of sin, by the light of the pillar. This is the night which now delivers, all over the world, those that believe in Christ, from the vices of the world, and darkness of sin, restores them to grace, and clothes them with sanctity. This is the night in which Christ broke the chains of death, and ascended conqueror from hell. For it availed us nothing to be born, unless it had availed to be redeemed.

O how admirable is thy goodness towards us! O how inestimable is thy love! Thou hast delivered up thy Son to redeem a slave. O truly necessary sin of Adam, which the death of Christ has blotted out! O happy fault, that merited such and so great a Redeemer!

O truly blessed night, which alone deserved to know the time and hour when Christ rose again from hell. This is the night of which it is written: And the night shall be as light as the day, and the night is my illumination in my delights. Therefore the sanctification of this night blots out crimes, washes away sins, and restores innocence to sinners, and joy to the sorrowful. It banishes enmities, produces concord, and humbles empires.

Here the deacon pauses, and taking the five grains of incense, he fixes them in the candle in the form of a cross. They represent the five Wounds received by our Lord upon the cross; as also the perfumes which Magdalene and her companions had prepared for embalming His Body in the tomb. Thus far, as we have already explained, the Paschal candle is the figure of the Man-God not yet glorified by the Resurrection.

In hujus igitur noctis gratia, suscipe, sancte Pater, incensi hujus sacrificium vespertinum quod tibi in hac cerei oblatione solemni, per ministrorum manus de operibus apum, sacrosancta reddit Ecclesia. Sed jam columnæ hujus præconia novimus, quam in honorem Dei rutilans ignis accendit.
Therefore, on this sacred night, receive, O holy Father, the evening sacrifice of this incense, which thy holy Church, by the hands of her ministers, presents to thee in the solemn oblation of this wax candle made out of the labour of bees. And now we know the excellence of this pillar, which the sparkling fire lights for the honour of God.

After these words, the deacon again pauses, and taking the reed which holds the triple candle, he lights the Paschal candle with one of its branches. This signifies the instant of our Lord’s Resurrection, when the divine power restored His Body to life, by uniting with it the Soul which death had separated. The glorious symbol of Christ, our Light, is now perfect; and holy Church exults in the thought of soon beholding her heavenly Spouse triumph over death.

Qui licet sit divisus in partes, mutuati tamen luminis detrimenta non novit. Alitur enim liquantibus ce ris, quas in substantiam pretiosæ hujus lampadis, apis mater eduxit.
Which fire, though now divided, suffers no loss from the communication of its light. Because it is fed by the melt ed wax, which its mother the bee made for the composition of the precious torch.

Here are lighted, from the new fire, the lamps of the church. They are lighted after the Paschal candle, to signify that Jesus’ Resurrection was made known gradually. It also tells us that our resurrection is to be a consequence and a likeness of that of our Saviour, who opens to us the way, whereby, after having like Him passed through the tomb, we shall enter into life everlasting.

O vere beata nox quæ exspoliavit Ægyptios, ditavit Hebræos. Nox, in qua terrenis cœlestia, humanis divina junguntur. Oramus ergo te Domine: ut cereus iste in honorem tui nominis consecratus, ad noctis hujus caliginem destruendam, indeficiens perseveret. Et in odorem suavitatis acceptus, supernis luminaribus misceatur. Flammas ejus lucifer matutinus inveniat. Ille, inquam, Lucifer, qui nescit occasum. Ille, qui regressus ab inferis, humano generi serenus illuxit.

Precamur ergo te Domine: ut nos famulos tuos omnemque clerum, et devotissimum populum: una cum beatissimo Papa nostro N. et antistite nostro N. quiete temporum concessa, in his Paschalibus gaudiis, assidua protectione regere, gubernare et conservare digneris. (Respice etiam ad devotissimum imperatorem nostrum N., cujus tu, Deus, desiderii vota prænoscens, ineffabili pietatis et misericordiæ tuæ munere, tranquillum perpetuæ pacis accommoda: et coelestem victoriam cum omni populo suo.) Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

℟. Amen.
O truly blessed night! which plundered the Egyptians, and enriched the Hebrews. Anight, in which things heavenly are united with those of earth, and divine with human. We beseech thee therefore, O Lord, that this candle, consecrated to the honour of thy name, may continue burning to dissipate the darkness of this night. And being accepted as a sweetsmelling savour, may be united with the celestial lights. Let the morning-star find it burning. I mean that Star which never sets. Who being returned from hell shone with brightness on mankind.

We beseech thee therefore, O Lord, to grant us peaceable times during these Paschal solemnities, and with thy constant protection to rule, govern and preserve us thy servants, and all the clergy, and the devout people, together with our holy Father Pope N., and our bishop N. [1] (Regard also our most devout emperor: and since thou knowest, O God, the desires of his heart, grant by the ineffable grace of thy goodness and mercy, that he may enjoy with all his people the tranquillity of perpetual peace and heavenly victory.) Through the same Lord Jesus Christ thy Son: who, with thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth one God for ever and ever.

℟. Amen.

 

THE PROPHECIES

 

The torch of the resurrection now sheds its light from the ambo throughout the holy place, and gladdens the hearts of the faithful. How solemn a preparation for what is now to engage our attention, viz. the Baptism of the catechumens, whose instruction and progress in good works we have followed with such interest during the past forty days! They are assembled together under the outward porch of the Church. The priests are performing over them the preparatory rites, which embody such profound teaching, and which were instituted by the apostles. First of all, the sign of the cross was made upon their foreheads; and then the priest, imposing his hand upon the head of each catechumen, adjures satan to depart from this soul and body, and give place to Christ. Imitating thus our Redeemer, the priest then touches the ears with his spittle, saying: ‘Be ye opened!’ He does the same to the nostrils, and says: ‘Breathe ye in the sweetness of fragrance! ‘The neophyte is next anointed, on the breast and between the shoulders with the oil of catechumens: but, as this ceremony expresses his having to fight the spiritual combat, the priest first receives from him the promise to renounce satan, with his works and pomps.

These rites are performed first over the men, and then over the women. The children of Christian parents are also admitted to take their place among the catechumens. If any of these latter be labouring under any sickness, and have notwithstanding come to the church in order to receive to-night the grace of regeneration, the priest says over them a prayer, in which he fervently begs of God to heal them, and confound the malice of satan.

These ceremonies, which are called the Catechization, occupy a considerable portion of time, on account of the great number of the aspirants to Baptism. It is for this reason that the bishop came to the church at the hour of None (three o’clock in the afternoon), and that the great vigil began so early. Whilst these rites are being administered to the catechumens, the rest of the faithful are listening to appropriate passages from the Scripture, which are being read from the ambo, and which are the complement to the lenten instructions.

These lessons are twelve in number: but in the venerable basilica, where we are now supposing ourselves to be, we may say there are twenty-four, since each of the twelve is read in Latin first, and then in Greek. In order to fix the attention, and excite the devotion of her children to what she reads to them, the Church, after each lesson, recites a prayer, which sums up the doctrine expressed in the preceding prophecy. To some of them is added an appropriate canticle from the old Testament, and it is sung, by the whole assembly, to the well known melody of the Tract. The aspirants to Baptism, as soon as they have received the ceremonies of catechization, are allowed to enter the church, where, in the place assigned to them, they listen to the lessons, and join in the prayers. How could they better continue their preparation for the great Sacrament? And yet, there is an aspect of mournfulness about this portion of the Service, which tells us that the longed-for hour has not yet come. Frequent genuflexions, and the sombre-coloured vestments, strongly contrast with the beautiful flame of the Paschal torch, which sheds its silent beams of light upon the faithful. Their hearts are still throbbing with the emotions excited within them by the Exsultet: they are impatient to see their Jesus’ Resurrection fulfilled in the Baptism of the catechumens.

First Prophecy
(Genesis, Chap, i.)

In principio creavit Deus cœlum et terrain. Terra autem erat inanis, et vacua: et tenebræ erant super faciem abyssi: et Spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas. Dixitque Deus: Fiat lux. Et facta est lux. Et vidit Deus lucem quod esset bona; et divisit lucem a tenebris. Appellavitque lucem, Diem: et tenebras, Noctem. Factumque est vespere et mane, dies unus.

Dixit quoque Deus: Fiat firmamentum in medio aquarum, et dividat aquas ab aquis. Et fecit Deus firmamentum: divisitque aquas, quæ erant sub firmamento ab his quæ erant super firmamentum. Et faotum est ita. Vocavitque Deus firmamentum, Cœlum. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies secundus.

Dixit vero Deus: Congregentur aquæ, quæ sub cœlo sunt, in locum unum et appareat arida. Factumque est ita. Et vocavit Deus aridam, Terram: congregationesque aquarum appellavit, Maria. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum, et ait: Germinet terra herbam virentem, et facientem semen: et lignum pomiferum faciens fructum juxta genus suum, cujus semen in semetipso sit super terram. Et factum est ita. Et protulit terra herbam virentem, et facientem semen juxta genus suum, lignumque faciens fructum: et babens unumquodque semen tem secundum speciem suam. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum: et factum est vespere et mane, dies tertius.

Dixit autem Deus: Fiant luminaria in firmamento coeli, et dividant diem ac noctem: et sint in signa et tempora, et dies, et annos: et luceant in firmamento cœli, et illuminent terram. Et factum est ita. Fecitque Deus duo luminaria magna, luminare majus, ut præesset diei: et luminare minus, ut præesset nocti: et stellas. Et posuit eas in firmamento coeli, ut lucerent super terrain: et præessent diei ac nocti, et dividerent lucem ac tenebras. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies quartus.

Dixit etiam Deus: Producant aquæ reptile animæ viventis, et volatile super terram, sub firmamento coeli. Creavitque Deus cete grandia, et omnem animam viventem atque motabilem, quam produxerant aquæ in species suas: et omne volatile, secundum genus suum. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum: benedixitque eis, dicens: Crescite, et multiplicamini, et replete aquas maria: avesque multiplicentur super terram. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies quintus.

Dixit quoque Deus: Producat terra animam viventem in genere suo: jumenta, et reptilia, et bestias terrae, secundum species suas. Factumque est ita. Et fecit Deus bestias terræ juxta species suas: et jumenta, et omne reptile terræ in genere suo. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum: et ait: Faciamus hominem ad imaginem et similitudinem nostram: et præsit piscibus maris, et volatilibus cœli, et bestiis, universæque terrae omnique reptili quod movetur in terra.

Et creavit Deus hominem ad imaginem suam: ad imaginem Dei creavit illum: masculum et feminam creavit eos. Benedixitque illis Deus, et ait: Crescite, et multiplicamini, et replete terrain, et subjicite eam: et dominamini piscibus maris, et volatilibus cœli, et universis animantibus, quæ moventur super terram. Dixitque Deus: Ecce dedi vobis omnem herbam afferentem semen super terram: et universa ligna, quæ habent in semetipsis sementem generis sui: ut sint vobis in escam, et cunctis animantibus terræ, omnique volucri cœli, et universis quæ moventur in terra, et in quibus est anima vivens, ut habeant ad vescendum. Et factum est ita. Viditque Deus cuncta quæ fecerat: et erant valde bona. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies sextus.

Igitur perfecti sunt cœli et terra, et omnis ornatus eorum. Complevitque Deus die septimo opus suum, quod fecerat: et requievit die septimo ab universo opere quod patrarat.
In the beginning God created heaven and earth. And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God moved over the waters. And God said: Be light made. And light was made. And God saw the light that it was good: and he divided the light from the darkness. And he called the light day, and the darkness night; and there was evening and morning one day.

And God said: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament from those that were above the firmament. And it was so. Aud God called the firmament, Heaven: and the evening and morning were the second day.

God also said: Let the waters that are under the heaven be gathered together into one place: and let the dry land appear. And it was so done. And God called the dry land Earth: and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. And he said: Let the earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done. And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind, and the tree that beareth fruit, having seed each one according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Ana the evening and the morning were the third day.

And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; to shine in the firmament of heaven, and to give light upon the earth. And it was so done. And God made two great lights; a greater light to rule the day, and a lesser light to rule the night; and the stars. And he set them in the firmament of heaven, to shine upon the earth. And to rule the day and the night, and to divide the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And the evening and morning were the fourth day.

God also said: let the waters bring forth the creeping creature having life, and the fowl that may fly over the earth under the firmament of heaven. And God created the great whales, and every living and moving creature, which the waters brought forth, according to their kinds, and every winged fowl according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And he blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the waters of the sea; and let the birds be multiplied upon the earth. And the evening and morning were the fifth day.

And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature in its kind, cattle, and creeping things, the beasts of the earth according to their kinds; and it was so done. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and cattle, and everything that creepeth on the earth after its kind. And God saw that it was good. And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness, and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth.

And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. And God blessed them, saying: Increase and. multiply, and till the earth. And subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth. And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to be your meat: and to all beasts of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to all that move upon the earth, and wherein there is life, that they may have to feed upon. And it was so done. And God saw all the things that he had made, and they were very good. And the evening and morning were the sixth day.

So the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the furniture of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.

After the lesson, the bishop says:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon, addressing the faithful:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

The bishop then says this prayer:

Deus, qui mirabiliter creasti hominem, et mirabilius redemisti: da nobis, quæsumus, contra oblectamenta peccati, mentis ratione persistere: ut mereamur ad æterna gaudia pervenire. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, who didst wonderfully create man, and redeem him by a still greater wonder: grant us, we beseech thee, such strength of mind and reason against ail the allurements of sin, that we may deserve to obtain eternal joys. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

Second Prophecy
(Genesis, Chap. v.)

The second lesson gives us the history of the Deluge. God makes the waters serve as the minister of His justice, those very waters which were afterwards, by Jesus, to become the instrument of His mercy; the ark, which is a type of the Church, is the shelter for those who would be saved from the flood; the human race is preserved by one family, which represents the disciples of Christ, who at first were few in number, but afterwards peopled the whole earth.

Noe vero cum quingentorum esset annorum, genuit Sem, Cham et Japhet. Cumque cœpissent homines multiplican super terram, et filias procreassent: videntes filii Dei filias hominum quod essent pulchræ, acceperunt sibi uxores ex omnibus quas elegerant. Dixitque Deus: Non permanebit spiritus meus in homine in æternum, quia caro est: eruntque dies illius centum vigniti annorum.

Gigantes autem erant super terram in diebus illis. Postquam enim ingressi sunt filii Dei ad filias hominum, illæque genuerunt: isti sunt potentes a sæculo viri famosi. Videns autem Deus, quod multa malitia hominum esset in terra, et cuncta cogitatio cordis intenta esset ad malum omni tempore, pœnituit eum, quod hominem fecisset in terra. Et tactus dolore cordis intrinsecus: Delebo, inquit, hominem quem creavi, a facie terræ, ab homine usque ad animantia, a reptili usque ad volucres cœli: pœnitet enim me fecisse eos.

Noe vero invenit gratiam coram Domino. Hæ sunt generationes Noe. Noe vir justus atque perfectus fuit in generationibus suis, cum Deo ambulavit; et genuit tres filios, Sem, Cham, et Japhet. Corrupta est autem terra coram Deo, et repleta est iniquitate. Cumque vidisset Deus terram esse corruptam (omnis quippe caro corruperat viam suam super terram) dixit ad Noe: Finis universæ carnis venit coram me: repleta est terra iuiquitate a facie eorum: et ego disperdam eos cum terra. Fac tibi arcana de lignis lævigatis. Manaiunculas in arca facies: et bitumine linies intrinsecus et extrinsecus. Et sic facies eam. Trecentorum cubitorum erit longitudo arcæ: quinquaginta cubitorum latitudo: et triginta cubitorum altitudo illius. Fenestram in arca facies: et in cubito consummabis summitatem ejus. Ostium autem arcæ pones ex latere; deorsum, cœnacula, et tristega facies in ea. Ecce ego adducam aquas diluvii super terram: ut interficiam omnem carnem, in qua spiritus vitæ est subter cœlum. Universa quæ in terra sunt, consumentur. Ponamque fœdus meum tecum: et ingredieris arcam tu, et filii tui, uxor tua, et uxores filiorum tuorum tecum. Et ex cunctis animantibus universæ carnis bina induces in arcam, ut vivant tecum, masculini sexus et feminini. De volucribus juxta genus suum, et de jumentis in genere suo, et ex omni reptili terræ secundum genus suum: bina de omnibus ingredientur tecum, ut possint vivere. Tolies igitur tecum ex omnibus escis, quæ mandi possunt, et comportabis apud te: et erunt tam tibi, quam illis in cibum. Fecit igitur Noe omnia quæ præceperat illi Deus.

Eratque sexcentoriim annorum, quando diiuvii aquæ inundaverunt super terram. Rupti sunt omnes fontes abyssi magnæ, et cataractæ cœli apertæ sunt: et facta est pluvia super terram quadraginta diebus et quadraginta noctibus. In articulo diei illius ingressus est Noe, et Sem, et Cham, et Japhet, filii ejus, uxor illius, et tres uxores filiorum ejus, cum eis in arcam: ipsi et omne animal, secundum genus suum, universaque jumenta in genere suo, et omne quod movetur super terram in genere suo, cunctumque volatile secundum genus suum. Porro arca ferebatur super aquas. Et aquæ prævaluerunt nimis super terram: opertique sunt omnes montes excelsi sub universo cœlo. Quindecim cubitis altior fuit aqua super montes quos operuerat. Consumptaque est omnis caro, quæ movebatur super terram, volucrum, animantium, bestiarum, omniumque reptilium quæ reptant super terram. Remansit autem solus Noe, et qui cum eo erant, in arca. Obtinueruntque aquæ terram centum quinquaginta diebus.

Recordatus autem Deus Noe, cunctorumque animantium, et omnium jumentorum quæ erant cum eo in arca: adduxit spintum super terram, et imminutæ sunt aquæ. Et clausi sunt fontes abyssi, et cataractæ cœli: et prohibitæ aunt pluviæ de cœlo. Reversæque sunt aquæ de terra euntes et redeuntes: et cœperunt minui post centum quinquaginta dies. Cumque transissent quadraginta dies, aperiens Noe fenestram arcæ quam fecerat, dimisit corvum. Qui egrediebatur, et non revertebatur, donec siccarentur aquæ super terram. Emisit quoque columbam post eum, ut videret si jam cessassent aquæ super faciem terræ. Quæ cum non invenisset ubi requiesceret pes ejus, reversa est ad eum in arcam. Aquæ enim erant super universam terram. Extenditque manum, et apprehensam intulit in arcam. Exspectatis autem ultra septem diebus aliis, rursum dimisit columbam ex arca. At illa venit ad eum ad vesperam, portans ramum olivæ virentibus foliis in ore suo. Intellexit ergo Noe, quod cessassent aquæ super terram. Exspectavitque nihilominus septem alios dies; et emisit columbam, quæ non est reversa ultra ad eum. Locutus est autem Deus ad Noe, dicens: Egredere de arca tu, et uxor tua: filii tui, et uxores filiorum tuorum tecum. Cuncta animantia, quæ sunt apud te, ex omni carne, tam in volatilibus quam in bestiis, et universis reptilibus quæ reptant super terram, educ tecum, et ingredimini super terram. Crescite, et multiplicamini super eam.

Egressus est ergo Noe et filii ejus, uxor illius, et uxores filiorum ejus cum eo. Sed et omnia animantia, jumenta, et reptilia quæ reptant super terram, secundum genus suum, egressa sunt de arca. Ædificavit autem Noe altare Domino: et tollens de cunctis pecoribus et volucribus mundis, obtulit holocausta super altare. Odoratusque est Dominus odorem suavitatis.
And Noe, when he was five hundred years old, begot Sem, Cham, and Japheth. And after that men began to be multiplied upon the earth, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God seeing the daughters of men, that they were fair, took to themselves wives of all which they chose. And God said: My spirit shall not remain in man for ever, because he is flesh: and his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

Now giants were upon the earth in those days. For after the sons of God went in to the daughters of men, and they brought forth children, these are the mighty men of old, men of renown. And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times, it repented him that he had made man on the earth. And being touched inwardly with sorrow of heart, he said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, from mau even to beasts, from the creeping thing even to the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them.

But Noe found grace before the Lord. These are the generations of Noe: Noe was a just and perfect man in his generations, he walked with God. And he begot three sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth. And the earth was corrupted before God, and was filled with iniquity. And when God had seen that the earth was corrupted (for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth), he said to Noe: The end of all flesh is come before me, and the earth is filled with iniquity through them, and I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of timber planks: thou shalt make little rooms in the ark, and thou shalt pitch it within and without. And thus shalt thou make it. The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits: the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. Thou shalt make a window in the ark. and in a cubit shalt thou finish the top of it: and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side: with lower, middle chambers, and third stories shalt thou make it. Behold I will bring the waters of a great Hood upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, under heaven. All things that are in the earth shall be consumed. And I will establish my covenant with thee: and thou shalt enter into the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife, and the wives of thy sons with thee. And of every living creature of all flesh, thou shalt bring two of a sort into the ark, that they may live with thee; of the male sex, and the female. Of fowls according to their kind, and of beasts in their kind, and of everything that creepeth on the earth according to its kind: two of every sort shall go in with thee, that they may live. Thou shalt take unto thee of all food that may be eaten, and thou shalt lay it up with thee: and it shall be food for thee and them. And Noe did all things which God commanded him.

And he was six hundred years old, when the waters of the flood overflowed the earth. All the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the flood-gates of heaven were opened. And the rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. In the self-same day Noe, and Sem, and Cham, and Japheth, his sons: his wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, went into the ark: they and every beast according to its kind, and all the cattle in their kind, and every thing that moveth upon the earth according to its kind, and every fowl according to its kind, all birds, and all that fly. And the ark was carried upon the waters. And the waters prevailed beyond measure upon the earth: and all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The water was fifteen cubits higher than the mountains, which it covered. And all flesh was destroyed that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beasts, and of all creeping things that creep upon the earth: and Noe only remained, and they that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days.

And God remembered Noe, and all the living creatures, and all the cattle which were with him in the ark, and brought a wind upon the earth, and the waters were abated. The fountains also of the deep, and the floodgates of heaven were shut up, and the rain from heaven was restrained. And the waters returned from off the earth, going and coming: and they began to be abated after a hundred and fifty days. And after that forty days were passed, Noe opening the window of the ark which he had made, sent forth a raven: which went forth and did not return till the waters were dried up upon the earth. He sent forth also a dove after him, to see if the waters had now ceased upon the face of the earth. But she not finding where her foot might rest, returned to him into the ark: for the waters were upon the whole earth: and he put forth his hand, and caught her, and brought her into the ark. And having waited yet seven other days, he again sent forth the dove out of the ark. And she came to him in the evening, carrying a bough of an olive-tree, with green leaves, in her mouth. Noe therefore understood that the waters were ceased upon the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and he sent forth the dove, which returned not any more unto him. And God spoke to Noe, saying: Go out of the ark, thou and thy wife, thy sons, and the wives of thy sons with thee. All living things that are with thee of all flesh, as well in fowls, as in beasts, and all creeping things, that creep upon the earth, bring out with thee, and go ye upon the earth: increase and multiply upon it.

So Noe went out, he and his sons, his wife, and the wives of his sons with him: and all living things, and cattle, and creeping things that creep upon the earth, according to their kinds, went out of the ark. And Noe built an altar unto the Lord: and taking of all cattle and fowls that were clean, offered holocausts upon the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus incommutabilis virtus, et lumen æternum, respice propitius ad totius Ecclesiæ tuæ mirabile sacramentum, et opus salutis humanæperpetuæ dispositionis effectu tranquillius operare: totusque mundus experiatur et videat, dejecta erigi, inveterata renovari, et per ipsum redire omnia in integrum, a quo sumpsere principium: Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum. Qui tecum.

℟. Amen.
O God, whose power is unchangeable, and whose light never faileth, mercifully regard the wonderful sacrament of thy whole church, and by an effect of thy perpetual providence, accomplish in peace the work of human salvation: and let the whole world experience and see, that what was fallen, is raised up again: what was old, is become new; and that all things are again settled by him who gave them their first being, our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son. Who liveth, &c.

℟. Amen.

Third Prophecy
(Genesis, Chap. xxii.)

Abraham, the father of believers, is here offered to our catechumens as a model of faith. They are taught how man should ever depend upon his God, and faithfully serve Him. The obedience shown by Isaac to his father’s orders is a figure of that which our Saviour has shown on Calvary. The wood for the holocaust, carried up the mountain by Abraham’s son, brings to our minds the Son of God carrying His cross.

In diebus illis: Tentavit Deus Abraham, et dixit ad eum: Abraham, Abraham. At ille respondit: Adsum. Ait illi: Tolle filium tuum unigenitum, quem diligis Isaac, et vade in terram visionis: atque ibi offeres eum in holocaustum super unum montium, quem monstravero tibi. Igitur Abraham de nocte consurgens, stravit asinum suum, ducens secum duos juvenes, et Isaac filium suum. Cumque concidisset ligna in holocaustum, abiit ad locum quem præceperat ei Deus. Die autem tertio elevatis oculis, vidit locum procul: dixitque ad pueros suos: Exspectate hic cum asino: ego et puer illuc usque properantes, postquam adoraverimus, revertemur ad vos. Tulit quoque ligna holocausti et imposuit super Isaac filium suum: ipse vero portabat in manibus ignem et gladium. Cumque duo pergerent simul, dixit Isaac patri suo: Pater mi. At ille respondit: Quid vis, fili? Ecce, inquit, ignis et ligna, ubi est victima holocausti? Dixit autem Abraham: Deus providebit sibi victimam holocausti, fili mi.

Pergebant ergo pariter: et venerunt ad locum, quem ostenderat ei Deus: in quo ædificavit altare, et desuper ligna composuit. Cumque alligasset Isaac filium suum, posuit eum in altare super struem lignorum. Extenditque manum, et arripuit gladium, ut immolaret filium suum. Et ecce angelus Domini de cœlo clamavit, dicens: Abraham, Abraham. Qui respondit: Adsum. Dixitque ei: Non extendas manum tuam super puerum: neque facias illi quidquam. Nunc cognovi, quod times Deum: et non pepercisti unigenito filio tuo propter me. Levavit Abraham oculos suos, viditque post tergum arietem inter vepres hærentem cornibus: quem assumens, obtulit holocaustum pro filio. Appellavitque nomen loci illius: Dominus videt. Unde usque hodie dicitur: In monte Dominus videbit.

Vocavit autem angelus Domini Abraham secundo de cœlo, dicens: Per memetipsum juravi, dicit Dominus: quia fecisti hanc rem, et non pepercisti filio tuo unigenito propter me: benedicam tibi, et multiplicabo semen tuum sicut stellas cœli, et velut arenam, quæ est in littore maria. Possidebit semen tuum portas inimicorum suorum: et benedicentur in semine tuo omnes gentes terræ, quia obedisti voci meæ. Reversus est Abraham ad pueros suos: abieruntque Bersabee simul, et habitavit ibi.
In those days: God tempted Abraham, and said to him: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am. He said to him: Take thy only-begotten son Isaac whom thou lovest, and go into the land of vision: and there thou shalt offer him for a holocaust upon one of the mountains which I will shew thee. So Abraham rising up in the night, saddled his ass; and took with him two young men, and Isaac his son; and when he had cut wood for the holocaust, he went his way to the place which God had commanded him And on the third day, lifting up his eyes, he saw the place afar off. And he said to his young men: Stay you here with the ass: I and the boy will go with speed as far as yonder, and after we have worshipped, will return to you. And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son: and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as they two went on together, Isaac said to his father: My father. And he answered: What wilt thou, son? Behold, saith he, fire and wood: where is the victim for the holocaust? And Abraham said: God will provide himself a victim for a holocaust, my son.

So they went on together: and they came to the place which God had shewn him, where he built an altar, and laid the wood in order upon it: and when he had bound Isaac his son, he laid him on the altar, upon the pile of wood. And he put forth his hand, and took the sword to sacrifice his son. And behold an angel of the Lord from heaven called to him saying: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am. And he said to him: Lay not thy hand upon the boy, neither do thou anything to him: now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not spared thy only-begotten son for my sake. Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw behind his back a ram amongst the briers, sticking fast by the horns, which he took and offered for a holocaust instead of his son. And he called the name of that place, The Lord seeth. Whereupon, even to this day, it is said: In the mountain the Lord will see.

And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, saying: By my own self have I sworn, saith the Lord; because thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thy only-begotten son for my sake: I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is by the sea shore: thy seed shall possess the gates of their enemies. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice. Abraham returned to his young men, and they went to Bersabee together, and he dwelt there.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus, fidelium Pater summe, qui in toto orbe terrarum, promissionis tuæ filios diffusa adoptionis gratia multiplicas: et per Paschale sacramentum, Abraham puerum tuum universarum, sicut jurasti, gentium efficis patrem: da populis tuis digne ad gratiam tuæ vocationis introire. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, the sovereign Father of the faithful, who throughout the whole world multipliest the children of the promise by the grace of thy adoption, and makest thy servant Abraham, according to thy oath, the father of all nations by this Paschal Sacrament; grant that thy people may worthily receive the grace of thy vocation. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

Fourth Prophecy
(ExodusChapxiv.)

Here we have the great type of Baptism. The people of God, delivered from Pharao’s tyranny, are saved by the very water that destroys the Egyptian. The catechumens will come forth from the baptismal font freed from satan’s sway; their sins will perish for ever in its saving waters.

In diebus illis: Factum est in vigilia matutina, et ecce respiciens Dominus super castra Egyptiorum per columnam ignis et nubis, interfecit exercitum eorum: et subvertit rotas curruum, ferebanturque in profundum. Dixerunt ergo Ægyptii: Fugiamus Israelem: Dominus enim pugnat pro eis contra nos. Et ait Dominus ad Moysen: Extende manum tuam super mare: ut revertantur aquæ ad Ægyptios super currus et equites eorum. Cumque extendisset Moyses manum contra mare, reversum est primo diluculo ad priorem locum; fugientibusque Ægyptiis occurrerunt aquæ: et involvit eos Dominus in mediis fluctibus. Reversæque sunt aquæ, et operuerunt currus et equites cuncti exercitus Pharaonis, qui sequentes ingressi fuerant mare; nec unus quidem superfuit ex eis. Filii autem Israel perrexerunt per medium sicci maris: et aquæ eis erant quasi pro muro a dextris et a sinistris. Liberavitque Dominus in die illa Israel de manu Ægyptiorum. Et viderunt Ægyptios mortuos super littus maris: et manum magnam, quam exercuerat Dominus contra eos. Timuitque populus Dominum: et crediderunt Domino, et Moysi servo ejus. Tunc cecinit Moyses, et filii Israël, carmen hoc Domino, et dixerunt:
In those days: It came to pass in the morning watch, and behold the Lord looking upon the Egyptian army through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, slew their host: and overthrew the wheels of the chariots, and they were carried into the deep. And the Egyptians said: Let us flee from Israel: for the Lord fighteth for them against us. And the Lord said to Moses: Stretch forth thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and horsemen. And when Moses had stretched forth his hand towards the sea, it returned at the first break of day to the former place; and as the Egyptians were fleeing away, the waters came upon them, and the Lord shut them up in the middle of the waves. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots and the horsemen of all the army of Pharao, who had come into the sea after them, neither did there so much as one of them remain. But the children of Israel marched through the midst of the sea upon dry land, and the waters were to them as a wall on the right hand and on the left: and the Lord delivered Israel on that day out of the hands of the Egyptians. And they saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore, and the mighty hand that the Lord had used against them: and the people feared the Lord, and they believed the Lord, and Moses his servant. Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this canticle to the Lord, and said:

Here the Church sings the canticle of Moses. His sister Mary and the daughters of Israel sang it on the shore of the Red Sea, as they looked upon the dead bodies of the Egyptians.

Tract

Cantemus Domino: gloriose enim honorificatus est: equum et ascensorem projecit in mare: adjutor et protector factus est mihi in salutem.

℣. Hic Deus meus, et honorificabo eum: Deus patris mei, et exaltabo eum.
℣. Dominus conterens bella: Dominus nomen est illi.
Let us sing to the Lord, for he is gloriously magnified: the horse and the rider he hath thrown into the sea: he is become my helper and protector unto salvation.

℣. He is my God, and I will glorify him: the God of my father, and I will exalt him.
℣. The Lord is he that destroyeth war; Almighty is his name.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus, cujus antiqua miracula etiam nostris sæculis coruscare sentimus: dum quod uni populo a persecutione Ægyptiaca liberando, dexteræ tuæ potentia contulisti, id in salutem gentium per aquam regenerationis operaria: præta, ut in Abrahæ filios, et in Israeliticam dignitatem totius mundi transeat plenitudo. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, whose ancient miracles we see renewed in our days: whilst, by the water of regeneration thou performest, for the salvation of the Gentiles, that which by the power of thy right hand thou didst for the deliverance of one people from the Egyptian persecution; grant that all the nations of the world may become the children of Abraham, and partake of the dignity of the people of Isræl. Through &c.

℟. Amen.

Fifth Prophecy
(Isaias, Chap. lv)

Isaias, the most sublime of the prophets, here invites our catechumens to come to the waters, that their thirst may be quenched: he bids them satiate their hunger with the sweetest food: he tells them of the inheritance which God has in store for them: they need not fear their poverty, for the infinitely rich God will overwhelm them with good things.

Hæc est hæreditas servorum Domini, et justitia eorum apud me, dicit Dominus. Omnes sitientes venite ad aquas: et qui non habetis argentum, properate, emite, et comedite. Venite, emite absque argento, et absque ulla commutatione vinum et lac. Quare appenditis argentum non in panibus, et laborem vestrum non in saturitate? Audite audientes me, et comedite bonum: et delectabitur in crassitudine anima vestra. Inclinate aurem vestram, et venite ad me: audite, et vivet anima vestra: et feriam vobiscum pactum sempiternum, misericordias David fideles. Ecce testem populis dedi eum, ducem ac præceptorem gentibus. Ecce gentem quam nesciebas, vocabis; et gentes, quæ te non cognoverunt, ad te current, propter Dominum Deum tuum, et sanctum Israël, quia glorificavit te. Quærite Dominum, dum inveniri potest, invocate eum, dum prope est. Derelinquat impius viam suam, et vir iniquus cogitationes suas: et revertatur ad Dominum, et miserebitur ejus: et ad Deum nostrum, quoniam multus est ad ignoscendum. Non enim cogitationes meæ, cogitationes vestræ, neque viæ vestræ, viæ meæ, dicit Dominus. Quia sicut exaltantur cœli a terra: sic exaltatæ sunt viæmeæ a viis vestris, et cogitationes meæ a cogitationibus vestris. Et quomodo descendit imber, et nix de cœlo, et illuc ultra non revertitur, sed inebriat terram, et infundit eam, et germinare eam facit, et datsemen serenti, et panem comedenti: sic erit verbum meum quod egredietur de ore meo. Non revertetur ad me vacuum, sed faciet quæcumque volui, et prosperabitur in his, ad quæ misi illud: dicit Dominus omnipotens.
This is the inheritance of the servants of the Lord, and their justice with me, saith the Lord. All you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money, make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which doth not satisfy you? Hearken diligently to me, and eat that which is good, and your soul shall be delighted in fatness. Incline your ear and come to me: hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the faithful mercies of David. Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, for a leader and a master to the Gentiles. Behold thou shalt call a nation which thou knewest not: and the nations that knew not thee shall run to thee, because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found: call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he is bountiful to forgive. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts. And as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and return no more thither, but soak the earth and water it, and make it to spring and give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be, which shall go forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void. but it shall do whatever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it, saith the Lord almighty.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, multiplica in honorem nominis tui quod patrum fidei spopondisti: et promissionis filios sacra adoptione dilata: ut quod priores sancti non dubitaverunt futurum, Ecclesia tua magna jam ex parte cognoscat impletum. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O almighty and eternal God, multiply for the honour of thy name, what thou didst promise to the faith of our forefathers: and increase, by thy sacred adoption, the children of that promise: that what the ancient saints doubted not would come to pass, thy Church may now find in great part accomplished. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


 

Sixth Prophecy
(BaruchChap. iii.)

In this admirable passage from the prophet Baruch, God reminds the catechumens, who are about to receive holy Baptism, of their past sins, which made them unworthy of pardon: but by His gratuitous mercy, He has vouchsafed to pour out His Wisdom upon them, and they came unto Him. He then speaks to them of those men of the Gentile world, who were wealthy, and powerful, and enterprising, and have left a name behind them. But they perished, and their earthly wisdom with them. The new people, whom the Lord this day forms to Himself, shall not go astray: Wisdom is to be their portion. Heretofore, God spoke His mysteries to Jacob; but this His word did not reach all men: now, He has come in person upon earth; He conversed with men, and dwelt among them; therefore, the people He now raises up for Himself shall be for ever faithful.

Audi Israel mandata vitæ: auribus percipe, ut scias prudentiam. Quid est Israel quod in terra inimicorum es? Inveterasti in terra aliena, coinquinatus es cum mortuis: deputatus es cum descendentibus in infernum? Dereliquisti fontem sapientiæ. Nam si in via Dei ambulasses, habitasses utique in pace sempiterna. Disce ubi sit prudentia, ubi sit virtus, ubi sit intellectus: ut scias simul ubi sit longiturnitas vitæ et victus, ubi sit lumen oculorum et pax.

Quis invenit locum ejus? Et quis introivit in thesauros ejus? Ubi sunt principes gentium, et qui dominantur super bestias, quæ sunt super terram? Qui in avibus cœli ludunt, qui argentum thesaurizant, et aurum, in quo confidunt homines: et non est finis acquisitionis eorum: qui argentum fabricant, et solliciti sunt: nec est inventio operum illorum? Exterminati sunt, et ad inferos descenderunt: et alii loco eo rum surrexerunt. Juvenes viderunt lumen: et habita verunt super terram. Viam autem disciplinæ ignoraverunt, neque intellexerunt semitas ejus, neque filii eorum susceperunt eam. A facie ipsorum longe facta est. Non est audita in terra Chanaan: neque visa est in Theman. Filii quoque Agar, qui exquirunt prudentiam quæ de terra est, negotiatores Merrhæ et Theman, et fabulatores, et exquisitoresprudentiæ et intelligentiæ; viam autem sapientiæ nescierunt, neque commemorati sunt semitas ejus.

O Israël, quam magna est domus Dei, et ingens locus possessionis ejus! Magnus est, et non habet finem, excelsus et immensus. Ibi fuerunt gigantes nominati illi, qui ab initio fuerunt, statura magna, scientes bellum. Non hos elegit Dominus: neque viam disciplinæ invenerunt: propterea perierunt. Et quoniam non habuerunt sapientiam, interierunt propter suam insipientiam. Quis ascendit in cœlum, et accepit eam, et eduxit eam de nubibus? Quis transfretavit mare, et invenit illam, et attulit illam super aurum electum? Non est qui possit scire vias ejus: neque qui exquirat semitas ejus. Sed qui scit universa, novit eam: et adinvenit eam prudentia sua. Qui præparavit terrain in æterno tempore: et replevit eam pecudibus et quadrupedibus. Qui emittit lumen, et vadit: et vocavit illud, et obedit illi in tremore.Stellæ autem dederunt lumen in custodiis suis, et lætatæ sunt. Vocatæ sunt et dixerunt: Adsumus. Et luxerunt ei cum jucunditate qui fecit illas. Hic est Deus noster et non æstimabitur alius adversus eum. Hic adinvenit omnem viam disciplinæ, et tradidit illam Jacob puero suo, et Israel dilecto suo. Post hæc in terris visus est, et cum hominibus conversatus est.
Hear, O Israel, the commandments of life: give ear, that thou mayst learn wisdom. How happeneth it, O Israel, that thou art in thy enemies’ land? Thou art grown old in a strange country, thou art defiled with the dead: thou art counted with them that go down into hell. Thou hast forsaken the fountain of wisdom; for if thou hadst walked in the way of God, thou hadst surely dwelt in peace for ever. Learn where is wisdom, where is strength, where is understanding: that thou mayst know also where is length of days and fife, where is the fight of the eyes, and peace.

Who hath found out her place? and who hath gone in to her treasures? Where are the princes of the nations, and they that rule over the beasts that are upon the earth? That take their diversion with the birds of the air, that hoard up silver and gold, wherein men trust, and there is no end of their getting? who work in silver and are solicitous, and their works are unsearchable? They are cut off, and are gone down to hell, and others are risen up in their place. Young men have seen the light, and dwelt upon the earth: but the way of knowledge they have not known, nor have they understood the paths thereof, neither have their children received it: it is far from their face. It hath not been heard of in the land of Chanaan, neither hath it been seen in Theman. The children of Agar also, that search after wisdom that is of the earth, the merchants of Merrha, and of Theman, and the tellers of fables, and searchers of prudence and understanding: but the way of wisdom they have not known, neither have they remembered her paths.

O Israel, how great is the house of God, and how vast is the place of his possession! It is great and hath no end: it is high and immense. There were the giants, those renowned men that were from the beginning, of great stature, expert in war. The Lord chose not them, neither did they find the way of knowledge: therefore did they perish. And because they had not wisdom, they perished through their folly. Who hath gone up into heaven, and taken her, and brought her down from the clouds? Who hath passed over the sea, and found her, and brought her preferably to chosen gold? There is none that is able to know her ways, nor that can search out her paths. But he that knoweth all things, knoweth her, and hath found her out with his understanding: he that prepared the earth for evermore, and filled it with cattle, and four-footed beasts: he that sendeth forth light, and it goeth; and hath called it, and it obeyeth him with trembling. And the stars have given light in their watches and rejoiced: they were called, and they said: Here we are. And with cheerfulness they have shined forth to him that made them. This is our God, and there shall no other be accounted of in comparison of him. He found out all the way of knowledge, and gave it to Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved. Afterwards he was seen upon earth, and conversed with men.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam semper gentium vocatione multiplicas: concede propitius: ut quos aqua baptismatis abluis, continua protectione tuearis. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, who continually multipliest thy Church, by the vocation of the Gentiles: mercifully grant thy perpetual protection to those whom thou washest with the water of Baptism. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


Seventh Prophecy.
(EzechielChap. xxxvii.)

This lesson brings before our catechumens the resurrection of the body: a dogma which met with great opposition from the proud and sensual Gentiles. What a fitting occasion is this for remembering the promised resurrection, which God has mercifully made to us! For lo! Christ is about to rise from His grave, showing us hereby what our resurrection is to be, and giving us a pledge of its certainty. Our catechumens, also, are signified by these dry bones, which are to return to life, by the Spirit of God coming upon them: they are to form a numerous people to God.

In diebus illis: Facta est super me manus Domini; et eduxit me in Spiritu Domini, et dimisit me in medio campi, qui erat plenus ossibus: et circumduxit me per ea in gyro. Erant autem multa valde super faciem campi, siccaque vehementer. Et dixit ad me: Fili hominis, putasne vivent ossa ista? Et dixi: Domine Deus, tu nosti. Et dixit ad me: Vaticinare de ossibus istis: et dices eis: Ossa arida, audite verbum Domini. Hæc dicit Dominus Deus ossibus his: Ecce ego intromittam in vos spiritum, et vivetis: et dabo super vos nervos, et succrescere faciam super vos carnes, et superextendam in vobis cutem: et dabo vobis spiritum, et vivetis: et scietis, quia ego Dominns. Et prophetavi sicut præceperat mihi. Factus est autem sonitus, prophetante me, et ecce commotio. Et accesserunt ossa ad ossa: unumquodque ad juncturam su-am. Et vidi: et ecce super ea nervi et carnes ascenderunt, et extenta est in eis cutis desuper: et spiritum non habebant. Et dixit ad me: Vaticinare ad spiritum, vaticinare, fili hominis, et dices ad spiritum: Hæc dicit Dominus Deus: A quatuor ventis veni, spiritus; et insuffla super interfectos istos, et reviviscant. Et prophetavi sicut præceperat mihi. Et ingressus est in ea spiritus, et vixerunt; steteruntque super pedes suos, exercitus grandis nimis valde. Et dixit ad me: Fili hominis, ossa hæc universa domus Israel est. Ipsi dicunt: Aruerunt ossa nostra, et periit spes nostra, et abscissi sumus. Propterea vaticinare, et dices ad eos: Hæc dicit Dominus Deus: Ecce, ego aperiam tumulos vestros, et educam vos de sepulchris vestris, populus meus, et inducam vos in terrain Israel. Et scietis quia ego Dominus, cum aperuero sepulchra vestra, et eduxero vos de tumulis vestris, popule meus: et dedero Spiritum meum in vobis, et vixeritis: et requiescere vos faciam super humum vestram: dicit Dominus omnipotens.
In those days: The hand of the Lord was upon me, and brought me forth in the spirit of the Lord: and set me down in the midst of a plain that was full of bones. And he led me about through them on every side: now they were very many upon the face of the plain, and they were exceeding dry. And he said to me: Son of man, dost tbou think these bones shall live? And I answered: O Lord God, thou knowest. And he said to me: Prophesy concerning these bones: and say to them: Ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will send spirit into you, and you shall live; and I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to grow over you, and will cover you with skin: and I will give you spirit, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord. And I prophesied as he had commanded me: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a commotion: and the bones came together, each one to its joint. And I saw, and behold the sinews and the flesh came up upon them: and the skin was stretched out over them, but there was no spirit in them. And he said to me: Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy, O son of man, and say to the spirit: Thus saith the Lord God: Come spirit, from the four winds, and blow upon these slain, and let them live again. And I prophesied as he had commanded me: and the spirit came into them,and they lived: and they stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. And he said to me: Son of man, all these bones are the house of Israel. They say: Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost, and we are cut off. Therefore prophesy, and say to them: Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves, and will bring you out of your sepulchres, O my people: and will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have opened your sepulchres, and shall have brought you out of your graves, O my people, and shall have put my spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall make you rest upon your own land, saith the Lord almighty.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus, qui nos ad celebrandum Paschale Sacraraentum, utriusque Testamenti paginis instruis: da nobis intelligere misericordiam tuam: ut ex perceptione præsentium munerum, firma sit exspectatio futurorum. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, who by the Scriptures of both testaments teachest us to celebrate the Paschal sacrament: give us such a sense of thy mercy, that, by receiving thy present favours, we may have a firm hope of thy future blessings. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


Eighth Prophecy
(IsaiasChap. iv.)

The seven women here mentioned, as having been set free from ignominy and cleansed from defilement, represent the souls of our catechumens, on whom God is about to pour His mercy. They desire to be called after the name of their Deliverer: their desire shall be granted, for, as they come from the font, they will be called Christians, that is, children of Christ. Henceforth, they will abide on Mount Sion, sheltered from whirlwind and rain. The abode of light and rest, here promised them, is the Church; there will they dwell in company with her divine Spouse.

Apprehendent septem mulieres virum unum in die illa, dicentes: Panem nostrum comedemus, et vestimentis nostris operiemur: tantummodo invocetur nomen tuum super nos: aufer opprobrium nostrum. In die illa erit germen Domini in magnificentia, et gloria: et fructus terræ sublimis: et exsultatio his qui sal vat i fuerint de Israel. Et erit: omnis qui relictus fuerit in Sion, et residuus in Jerusalem, sanctus vocabitur: omnis qui scriptus est in vita in Jerusalem. Si abluent Dominus sordes filiarum Sion: et sanguinem Jerusalem la verit de medio ej us, in spiritu judicii, et spiritu ardoris. Et creabit Dominus super omnem locum montis Sion, et ubi invocatus est, nubem per diem, et fumum et splendorem ignis flammantis in nocte: super omnem enim gloriam protec tio. Et tabernaculum erit in umbraculum diei ab æstu, et in securitatem et absconsionem a turbine et a pluvia.
In that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying: We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, take away our reproach. In that day the bud of the Lord shall be in magnificence and glory, and the fruit of the earth shall be high, and a great joy to them that shall have escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that every one that shall be left in Sion, and that shall remain in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, every one that is written in life in Jerusalem. If the Lord shall wash away the filth of the daughters of Sion, and shall wash away the blood of Jerusalem out of the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every place of mount Sion, and where he is called upon, a cloud by day,and a smoke and the brightness of a flaming fire in the night: for over all the glory shall be a protection. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shade in the day time from the heat, and for a security and covert from the whirlwind, and from rain.

This lesson is followed by a Tract, taken from the same prophet Isaias, wherein he foretells the favours to be lavished by Christ on His Church, His vineyard, the object of His loving and ceaseless care.

Tract 

Vinea facta est dilecto in cornu, in loco uberi.
℣. Et maceriam circumdedit, et circumfodit: et plantavit vineam Sorec, et ædificavit turrim in medio ejus.
℣. Et torcular fodit in ea: vinea enim Domini Sabaoth, domus Israël est.
My Beloved had a vineyard on a hill, in a fruitful place.
℣. He fenced it in, and digged it about: and planted it with Sorec, the choicest of vines, and built a tower in the midst thereof.
℣. And he set up a winepress therein: for the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus, qui in omnibus Ecclesiæ tuæ filiis, sanctorum prophetarum voce man if estasti, in omni loco dominationis tuæ satorem te bonorum seminum, et electorum palmitum esse cultorem: tribue populis tuis, qui et vinearum apud te nomine censentur et segetum: ut, spinarum et tribulorum squalore resecato, digna efficiantur fruge fœcundi. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, who by the mouth of the holy prophets hast declared that through the whole extent of thy empire it is thou that sowest the good seed, and improvest the choicest branches that are found in all the children of thy Church: grant to thy people, who are called by the names of vineyards and corn, that they may root out all thorns and briers, and bring forth good fruit in plenty. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


Ninth Prophecy
(ExodusChapxii.)

It was by the blood of the figurative lamb, that Israel was protected against the sword of the destroying angel, was delivered from Egypt, and began his journey towards the promised land: it is by the Blood of the true Lamb, wherewith they are to be marked, that our catechumens will be delivered from eternal death and from the slavery in which satan has heretofore held them. They shall be guests at that banquet where the Flesh of this divine Lamb is eaten, for the Pasch is close upon us, and they are to join us in its celebration.

In diebus illis: Dixit Dominus ad Moysen et Aaron in terra Ægypti: Mensis iste vobis principium mensium: primus erit in raensibus anni. Loquimini ad universum c œ tum filiorum Israel, et dicite eis: Decima diemensis hujus tollat unusquisque agnum per familias et domos suas. Sin autem minor est numerus, ut sufficere possit ad veecendum agnum, assumet vicinum suum, qui junctus est domui suae: juxta numerum animarum, quae sufficere possunt ad esum agni. Erit autem agnus absque macula, masculus, anniculus: juxta quem ritum tolletis et hœdum. Et servabitis eum usque ad quartam decimam diem mensis hujus. Immolabitque eum universa multitudo filiorum Israel ad vesperam. Et sument de sanguine ejus: ac ponent super utrumque postem, et in superliminaribue domorum, in quibus comedent illum. Et edent carnes nocte illa assas igni et azymos panes, cum lactucis agrestibus. Non comedetis ex eo crudum quid, nec coctum aqua: sed tantum assum igni. Caput cum pedibus ejus et intestinis vorabitis: nec remanebit quidquam ex eo usque mane. Si quid residuum fuerit, igne comburetis. Sic autem comedetis illum. Renes vestros accingetis: et calceamenta habebitis in pedibus, tenontes baculos in manibus: et comedetis festinanter. Est enim Phase, id est transitus, Domini.
In those days: the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall be to you the beginningof months: it shall be the first in the months of the year. Speak ye to the whole assembly of the children of Israel, and say to them: On the tenth day of this month, let every man take a iamb, by their families and houses. But if the number be less than may suffice to eat the lamb, he shall take unto him his neighbour that joineth to his house, according to the number of souls which may be enough to eat the lamb. And it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male of one year; according to which rite also you shall take a kid. And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month: and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood thereof, and put it upon both the sideposts, and on the upper door posts of the houses wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh that night roasted at the fire, and unleavened bread, with wild lettuce. You shall not eat thereof anything raw, nor boiled in water, but only roasted at the fire: you shall eat the head with the feet and entrails thereof: neither shall there remain any thing of it until morning. If there be any thing left, you shall burn it with fire. And thus you shall eat it: you shall gird your reins, and you shall have shoes on your feet, holding staves in your hands, and you shall eat in haste: for it is the Phase (that is, the passage) of the Lord.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui in omnium operum tuorum dispensatione mirabilis es: intelligant redempti tui non fuisse excellentiue quod initio factus est mundus, quam quod in fine sæculorum Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christ us. Qui tecum.

℟. Amen.
O almighty and eternal God, who art wonderful in the performance of all thy works: let thy servants whom thou hast redeemed understand that the creation of the world, in the beginning, was not a more excellent work than the sacrificing of Christ, our Passover, at the end of the world. Who liveth, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


Tenth Prophecy
(Jonas, Chap. iii.)

Ninive is the Gentile world, debased by every crime, and a prey to false doctrines. God took compassion upon her and sent her His apostles, in the name of His own Son. She heard their preaching, abjured her errors and vices, and did Penance: and God made her the city of His elect. Our cateohumens were once children of Ninive: they are soon to be numbered among the children of Jerusalem. The grace of God, and their works of penance, have Drought about this wondrous adoption.

In diebus illis: Factum est verbum Domini ad Jonam prophetam secundo, dicens: Surge et vade in Niniven civitatem magnam, et prædica in ea prædicationem quam ego loquor ad te. Et surrexit Jonas, et abiit in Niniven, juxta verbum Domini. Et Ninive erat civitas magna, itinere trium dierum. Et cœpit Jonas introire in civitatem, itinere diei unius: et clamavit, et dixit: Adhuc quadraginta dies, et Ninive subvertetur. Et erediderunt viri Ninivitæ in Deum, et praedicaverunt jejunium, et vestiti sunt saccis a majore usque ad minorem. Et pervenit verbum ad regem Ninive. Et surrexit de solio suo, et abjecit vestimen tum suum a se: et indutus est sacco, et sedit in cinere. Et clamavit, et dixit in Ninive ex ore regis, et principum ejus, dicens: Homines, et jumenta, et boves, et pecora non gustent quidquam: nec pascantur, et aquam non bibant. Et operiantur saccis homines, et jumenta: et clament ad Dominum in fortitudine. Et convertatur vir a via sua mala, et ab iniquitate, quæ est in manibus eorum. Quis scit, si convertatur, et ignoecat Deus: et revertatur a furore iræ suæ, et non peribimus? Et vidit Deus opera eorum, quia conversi sunt de via sua mala: et misertus est populo suo Dominus Deus noster.
In those days: The word of the Lord came to Jonas the second time, saying: Arise and go to Ninive the great city: and preach in it the preaching that I bid thee. And Jonas arose, and went to Ninive according to the word of the Lord: now Ninive was a great city of three days’ journey. And Jonas began to enter into the city one day’s journey: and he cried and said: Yet forty days and Ninive shall be destroyed. And the men of Ninive believed in God: and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least. And the word came to the king of Ninive: and he rose up out of his throne, and cast away his robe from him, and was clothed with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published in Ninive, from the mouth of the king and of his princes, saying: Let neither men nor beasts, oxen nor sheep, taste anything: let them not feed nor drink water. And 'et men and beasts be covered with sackcloth, and cry to the Lord with all their strength, and let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the iniquity that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and forgive: and will turn away from his fierce anger, and we shall not perish? And God saw their works, that they were turned from their evil way: and the Lord our God had mercy on his people.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus, qui diversitatem gentium in confessione tui nominis adunasti: da nobis et velle et posse quæ præcipis: ut populo ad æternitatem vocato una sit fides mentium, et pietas actionum. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, who hast united the several nations of the Gentiles in the profession of thy name; give us both a will and a power to obey thy commands: that all thy people, who are called to eternity, may have the same faith in their minds, and piety in their actions. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


Eleventh Prophecy
(DeuteronomyChap. xxxi.)

The holy Church instructs the catechumens, by this lesson, upon the obligation they are about to contract with God. The grace of regeneration is not to be conferred upon them, until they have made a solemn promise that they renounce satan, the enemy of their God. Let them be faithful to their promise, and remember that God is the avenger of every infringement of so solemn a vow.

In diebus illis: Scripsit Moyses canticum et docuit filios Israël, Præcepitque Dominus Josue filio Nun, et ait: Confortare, et esto robustus. Tu enim introduces filios Israel in terram, quam pollicitus sum, et ego ero tecum. Postquam ergo scripsit Moyses verba legis hujus in volumine, atque complevit; præcepit levitis, qui portabant arcam fœderis Domini, dicens: Tollite librum istum, et ponite eum in latere arcæ fœderis Domini Dei vestri: ut sit ibi contra te in testimonium. Ego enim scio contentionem tuam, et cervicem tuam durissimam. Adhuc vivente me, et ingrediente vobiscum, semper contentiose egietis contra Dominum: quanto magis cum mortuus fuero? Congregate ad me omnes majores natu per tribus vestras, atque doctores: et loquar audientibus eis sermones istos, et invocabo contra eos cœlum et terram. Novi enim quod post mortem meam inique agetis: et declinabitis cito de via, quam præcepi vobis. Et occurrent vobis mala in extremo tempore, quando feceritis malum in conspectu Domini: ut irritetis eum per opera manuum vestrarum. Locutus est ergo Moyses, audiente universa cœtu Israel, verba carminis hujus: et ad finem usque complevit.
In those days: Moses wrote a canticle, and taught it to the children of Israel. And the Lord commanded Josue, the son of Nun and said: Take courage and be valiant: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I have promised, and I will be with thee. Therefore after Moses had wrote the words of this law in a volume, and finished it, he commanded the levites, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying: Take this book and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God: that it may be there for a testimony against thee. For I know thy obstinacy, and thy most stiff neck. While I am yet living, and going in with you, you have always been rebellious against the Lord: how much more when I shall be dead? Gather unto me all the ancients of your tribes, and your doctors, and I will speak these words in their hearing, and will call heaven and earth to witness against them. For I know that, after my death, you will do wickedly, and will quickly turn aside from the way that I have commanded you: and evils shall come upon you in the latter times, when you shall do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him by the works of your hands. Moses therefore spoke, in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel, the words of this canticle, and finished it even to the end.

This lesson is followed by a Tract, which is taken from the sublime canticle sung by Moses, before quitting this earth. The whole assembly of Israel was present, and he put before them, in words of earnest zeal, the chastisements which God exercises against them that break the Covenant He vouchsafes to make with them,

Tract

Attende coelum, et loquar: et audiat terra verba ex ore meo.
℣.Exspectetur sicut pluvia eloquium meum: et descendant sicut ros verba mea.
℣.Sicut imber super gramen, et sicut nix super fœnum: quia nomen Domini invocabo.
℣.Date magnitudinem Deo nostro; Deus, vera opera ejus, et omnes viæ ejus judicia.
℣.Deus fidelis, in quo non est iniquitas: justus et sanctus Dominus.
Hear, O ye heavens, and I will speak: and let the earth give ear to the words of my mouth.
℣.Let what I say be looked for like rain: and let my words drop down like dew.
℣.Like the shower upon the grass, and the snow upon the dry herb: for I will call upon the name of the Lord.
℣.Publish the greatness of our God; he is God; his works are true and all his ways are justice.
℣.God is faithful, in whom there is no iniquity: the Lord is just and holy.

The bishop:

Oremus.
Let us pray.

The deacon:

Flectamus genua.
Let us kneel down.

The subdeacon:

Levate.
Stand up again.

Deus celsitudo humilium et fortitudo rectorum: qui per sanctum Moysen puerum tuum, ita erudire populum tuum sacri carminis tui decantatione voluisti, ut illa legis iteratio fieret etiam nostra directio: excita in omnem justificatarum gentium plenitudinem potentiam tuam, et da læætitiam, mitigando terrorem: ut omnium peccatis tua remissione deletis, quod denuntiatum est in ultionem, transeat in salutem. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
O God, who raisest the humble, and givest strength to the righteous: and who, by thy holy servant Moses, wast pleased so to instruct thy people by the singing of the sacred canticle, that the repetition of the law might be also our direction: show thy power to all the multitude of Gentiles justified by thee, and by mitigating thy terrors, grant them joy: that all their sins being pardoned by thee, the threatened vengeance may contribute to their salvation. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 


Twelfth Prophecy
(Daniel, Chap. iii.)

Here is the last instruction given to our oatechumens, before they descend into the font of salvation. It is requisite that they should have a clear knowledge of what the Christian warfare will demand of them. Perhaps they will one day have to confess their God before the potentates of earth. Are they resolved to suffer every torture, even death itself, rather than deny His holy name? Have there not been apostates among those whose Baptism was once a source of joy to the Church? It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that they should know the trials that await them. Our holy mother the Church tells them .the history of the three young Jews, who refused to adore the statue of the king of Babylon, though their refusal was to be punished by their being cast into a fiery furnace. Since the promulgation of the Christian law, millions of martyrs have followed their example. The representation of these three heroes of the true God is a favourite subject among the paintings of of the catacombs. It is true, peace has been given to the Church; but the world is ever the enemy of Christ, and who knows but that Julian the apostate may succeed Constantine?

In diebus illis: Nabuchodonosor rex fecit statuam auream, altitudine cubitorum sexaginta, latitudine cubitorum sex: et statuit eam in campo Dura prov inciæ Babylonis. Itaque Nabuchodonosor rex misit ad congregandos satrapas, magistratus et judices, duces et tyrannos, et præfectos omnesque principes regionum: ut convenirent ad dedicationem statuæ, quam erexerat Nabuchodonosor rex. Tunc congregati sunt satrapæ, magistratus, et judices, duces et tyranni, et optimates, qui erant in potestatibus constituti, et universi principes regionum: ut convenirent ad dedicationem statuæ, quam erexerat Nabuchodonosor rex. Stabant autem in conspectu statuæ, quam posuerat Nabuchodonosor rex, et præco clamabat valenter: Yobis dicitur populis, tribubus et linguis: In hora qua audieritis sonitum tubæ et fistulæ, et citharae, sambucæ et psalterii, et symphoniæ, et universi generis musicorum, cadentes adorate statuam auream, quam constituit Nabuchodonosor rex. Si quis autem non prostratus adora ver i t, eadem hora mittetur in fornacem ignis ardentis.

Post hæc igitur statim ut audierunt omnes populi sonitum tubæ, fistulæ et citharæ, sambucæ, et psalterii, et symphoniæ, et omnis generis musicorum, cadentes omnes populi, tribus, et linguae, adoraverunt statuam auream, quam constituerat Nabuchodonosor rex. Statimque in ipso tempore accedentes viri Chaldæi accusaverunt Judæos, dixeruntque Nabuchodonosor regi: Rex in æternum vive. Tu rex posuisti decretum: ut omnis homo, qui audierit sonitum tubæ, fistulæ, et citharæ, sambucæ, et psalterii, et symphoniæ, et universi generis musicorum, prosternat se, et adoret statuam auream. Si quis autem non procidens adoraverit, mittatur in fornacem ignis ardentis. Sunt ergo viri Judæi, quos constituisti super opera regionis Babylonis, Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago: viri isti contempserunt, rex, decretum tuum: deos tuos non colunt, et statuam auream quam erexisti non adorant.

Tunc Nabuchodonosor in furore et in ira, præcepit ut adducerentur Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago. Qui confestim adducti sunt in conspectu regis. Pronuntiansque Nabuchodonosorrex, ait eis: Verene, Sidrach, Mieach, et Abdenago, deos meos non colitis, et statuam auream quam constitui, non adoratis? Nunc ergo, si estisparati, quacumque hora audieritis sonitum tubæ, fistulæ, citharæ, sambucæ, et psalterii, et symphoniæ, omnisque generis musicorum, prosternite vos, et adorate statuam quam feci. Quod si non adoraveritis, eadem hora mittemini in fornacem ignis ardentis: et quis est Deus, qui eripiet vos de manu mea?

Respondentes Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago, dixerunt regi Nabuchodonosor: Non oportet nos de hac re respondere tibi. Ecce enim Deu3 noster quem colimus, potest eripere nos de camino ignis ardentis, et de manibus tuis, o rex, liberare. Quod si noluerit, notum sit tibi rex: quia deos tuos non colimus, et statuam auream quam erexisti, non adoramus. Tunc Nabuchodonosor repletus est furore; et aspectus faciei illius immutatus est super Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago. Et præcepit, ut succenderetur fornax septuplum, quam succendi consueverat. Et viris fortissimis de exercitu suo jussit, ut ligatis pedibus Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago, mitterent eos in fornacem ignis ardentis. Et confestim viri illi vincti, cum braccis suis, et tiaris, et calceamentis, et vestibus, missi sunt in medium fornacis ignis ardentis; nam jussio regis urgebat. Fornax autem succensa erat nimis. Porro viros illos, qui miserant Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago, interfecit flamma ignis. Viri autem hi tres, id est Sidrach, Misach, et Abdenago, ceciderunt in medio camino ignis ardentis, colligati. Et ambulabant in medio flammæ laudantes Deum, et benedicentes Domino.
In those days: King Nabuchodonosor made a statue of gold, of sixty cubits high, and six cubits broad, and he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then Nabuchodonosor the king sent to call together the nobles, the magistrates, and the judges, the captains, the rulers, and governors, and all the chief men of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the statue which king Nabuchodonosor had set up. Then the nobles, the magistrates, and the judges, the captains and rulers, and the great men that were placed in authority, and all the princes of the provinces were gathered together to come to the dedication of the statue which king Nabuchodonosor had set up. And they stood before the statue which king Nabuchodonosor had set up. Then a herald cried with a strong voice: To you it is commanded, O nations, tribes, and languages: that in the hour that you shall hear the sound of the trumpet, and of the flute, and of the harp, of the sackbut, and of the psaltery, and of the symphony, and of all kind of music; ye fall down and adore the golden statue which king Nabuchodonosor hath set up. But if any man should not fall down and adore, he shall the same hour be cast into a furnace of burning fire.

Upon this, therefore, at the time when all the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the flute, and the harp, of the sackbut, and the psaltery, of the symphony, and of all kind of music; all the nations, tribes and languages, fell down and adored the golden statue which king Nabuchodonosor had set up. And presently, at that very time, some Chaldeans came and accused the Jews: and said to king Nabuchodonosor: O king, live for ever! Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the trumpet, the flute, and the harp, of the sackbut. and the psaltery, of the symphony, and of all kind of music, shall prostrate himself, and adore the golden statue: and that if any man shall not fall down and adore, he should be cast into a furnace of burning fire. Now there are certain Jews, whom thou hast set over the works of the province of Babylon, Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago: these men, O king, have slighted thy decree: they worship not thy gods, nor do they adore the golden statue which thou hast set up.

Then Nabuchodonosor, in fury and in wrath, commanded that Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago should be brought: who immediately were brought before the king. And Nabuchodonosor the king spoke to them and said: Is it true, O Sidrach, Mieach, and Abdenago, that you do not worship my gods, nor adore the golden statue that I have set up? Now therefore if you be ready, at what hour soever you shall hear the sound of the trumpet, flute, harp, sackbut, and psaltery, and symphony, and of all kind of music, prostrate yourselves, and adore the statue which I have made: but if you do not adore, you shall be cast the same hour into the furnace of burning fire: and who is the God that shall deliver you out of my hand?

Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, answered and said to king Nabuchodonosor: We have no occasion to answer thee concerning this matter. Forbehold our God, whom we worship, is able to save us from the furnace of burning tire, and to deliver us out of thy hands, O king. But if he will not, be it known to thee, O king, that we will not worship thy gods, nor adore the golden statue which thou hast set up. Then was Nabuchodonosor filled with fury: and the countenance of his face was changed against Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, and he commanded that the furnace should be heated seven times more than it had been accustomed to be heated. And he commanded the strongest men that were in his army, to bind the feet of Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, and to cast them into the furnace of burning fire. And immediately these men were bound, and were cast into the furnace of burning fire, with their coats and their caps, and their shoes, and their garments. For the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace was heated exceedingly. And the flame of the fire slew those men that had cast in Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago. But these three men, that is, Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, fell down bound in the midst of the furnace of burning fire. And they walked in the midst of the flame, praising God and blessing the Lord.

The bishop says a prayer after this, as well as after the other prophecies: but the deacon gives not his invitation to kneel. The Church omits the genuflexion, in order to inspire the catechumens with a horror for the idolatry of the Babylonians, who bend their knee before the statue of Nabuchodonosor.

Oremus.

 Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, spes unica mundi, qui prophetarum tuorum præconio, præsentium temporum declarasti mysteria: auge populi tui vota placatus: quia in nullo fidelium, nisi ex tua inspiratione, proveniunt quarumlibet incrementa virtutum. Per Dominum.

℟. Amen.
Let us Pray.

O almighty and eternal God, the only hope of the world, who by the voice of thy prophets, hast manifested the mysteries of this present time: graciously increase the desires of thy people: since none of the faithful can advance in any virtue, without thy inspiration. Through, &c.

℟. Amen.

 

THE BLESSING OF THE FONT

 

These lessons, and prayers, and chants, have taken up a considerable portion of time: the sun has long since set, and the night is far advanced. All the preparatory exercises are over, and it is time to repair to the baptistery. During the prophecies, seven subdeacons went thither, and there they have thrice recited the litany; in the first recitation, they repeated each invocation seven times; in the second, five times; and in the third, three times. A procession is formed towards this building, which is detached from the church, and is either circular, or octagonal, in form. In the centre is a large font, with several steps leading down to it. A stream of clear water flows into it from the mouth of a metal stag. Over the font is suspended a canopy or cupola, in the centre of which is a dove with extended wings, which represents the Holy Ghost giving virtue to the water beneath. Round the font is a railing, within which none may enter but those who are to be baptized, the sponsors, the bishop, and the priests. Two pavilions—one for the men, the other for the women—have been put up; they are for the baptized, wherein, after they come from the font, they may change their garments.

The procession moves from the church to the baptistery in the following order. The Paschal candle (which represents the pillar of fire that guided the Israelites, by night, to the Red Sea, in whose waters they found salvation) goes first, leading on the catechumens. These follow, having their sponsors on their right hand, for each candidate for Baptism is to be presented by a Christian. Then come two acolytes; one carries the holy chrism, the other the oil of catechumens. Next, the clergy; and lastly, the bishop and his assistant ministers. The procession is by torch-light. The stars are brightly shining in the canopy of heaven, and the air resounds with the melodious chanting. They are singing those verses of the psalm, in which David compares his soul’s pining after her God to the panting of a stag that thirsts for a fount of water. The stag, an image of which is in the font, is a figure of the catechumen who longs for Baptism.

Tract

Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum: ita desiderat anima mea ad te Deus.
℣.Sitivit anima mea ad Deum vivum: quando veniam, et apparebo ante faciem Dei?
℣.Fuerunt mihi lacrymæ meæ panes die ac nocte, dum dicitur mihi per singulos dies: Ubi est Deus tuus?
As the stag panteth after the fountains of water, so my soul panteth after thee, O God.
℣.My soul hath thirsted after the living God: when shall I come and appear before the face of God?
℣.My tears have been my bread day and night, while it is said to me daily: Where is thy God?

They soon reach the baptistery. The bishop, having come within sight of the font, prefaces his blessing by a prayer, in which he again uses the comparison of a panting stag, to express to God the longing of this people after the new life of which Christ is the source.

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

Oremus.

Omnipotens sempiterno Deus, respice propitius ad devotionem populirenascentis, qui, sicut cervus, aquarum tuarum expetit fontem: et concede propitius ut fidei ipsius sitis, baptismatis mysterio, animam corpusque sanctificet. Per Dominum.
℟. Amen.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, look mercifully on the devotion of the people desiring a new birth, who pant, as the hart, after the fountain of thy waters: and mercifully grant that the thirst of their faith may, by the sacrament of Baptism, sanctify their souls and bodies. Through, etc.
℟. Amen.

The blessing of water for Baptism is of apostolic institution, as we learn from many of the holy fathers, among whom we may mention St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, and St. Basil. It is just, that the instrument of so divine a work should receive every mark of honour, that could secure to it the respeot of mankind: and, after all, does not this honour and respect redound to God, who chose this creature to be, as it were, the co-operator of His mercies to us? It is from water that we came forth Christians. The early fathers allude to this, when they call Christians the fish of Christ. We cannot be surprised, after this, that the sight of the element that gave us our spiritual life should excite us to joy, or that we should pay to this element an honour, which is referred to the Author of all the graces about to be bestowed.

The prayer used by the bishop for blessing the water, is so full of elevation of thought, energy of diction, and authority of doctrine, that we may, without hesitation, attribute it to the earliest ages of the Church. The ceremonies which accompany it bespeak its venerable antiquity. It is sung to the solemn tone of the Preface, which imparts such a lyric effect. The pontiff first recites a preliminary prayer, and then begins his magnificent blessing. He is filled with the holy enthusiasm of the Church. He turns to the faithful, and they respond. He is going to lead them to such grand mysteries: Sursum corda!

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

Oremus.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, adesto magnæ pie ta tis tuæ mysteriie, adesto sacramentis; et ad recreandos novos populos, quos tibi fons Baptismatis parturit, Spiritum adoptionis emitte: ut quod nostræ humilitatis gerendum est ministerio, virtutie tuæ impleatur effectu. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate ejusdem Spiritus sancti Deus,
Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

℟. Amen.

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

℣. Sursum corda.
℟. Habemus ad Domi num

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

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare; nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine sanete, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, qui invisibili potentia, sacramentorum tuorum mirabiliter operaris effectum; et licet nos tantis mysteriis exsequendis simus indigni: tu tamen gratiæ tuæ dona non deserens, etiam ad nostras preces, aures tuæ pietatis inclinas. Deus, cujus Spiritus super aquas, inter ipsa mundi primordia, ferebatur: ut jam tunc virtutem sanctificationis aquarum natura conciperet. Deus, qui nocentis mundi crimina per aquas abluens, regenerationis speciem in ipsa diluvii effusione signasti; ut unius ejusdemque elementi mysterio, et finis esset vitiis, et origo virtutibus; respice, Domine, in faciem Ecclesiæ tuæ; et multiplica in ea regenerationes tuas, qui gratiæ tuæ affluentis impetu lætificas civitatem tuam, fontemque Baptismatis aperis toto orbe terrarum gentibus innovandis: ut tuæ majestatie imperio, sumat Unigeniti tui gratiam de Spiritu sancto.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us Pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, be present at these mysteries, be present at these sacraments of thy great goodness: and send forth the Spirit of adoption to regenerate the new people, whom the font of Baptism brings forth: that what is to be done by our weak ministry, may be accomplished by the effect of thy power. Through our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, who liveth and reign eth with thee, in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, God,
For ever and ever.

℟. Amen.

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

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

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

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, who by thy invisible power dost wonderfully produce the effect of thy sacraments: and though we are unworthy to administer so great mysteries: yet as thou dost not forsake the gifts of thy grace, so thou inclinest the ears of thy goodness, even to our prayers. O God, whose Spirit, in the very beginning of the world, moved over the waters, that even then the nature of water might receive the virtue of sanctification. O God, who by water didst wash away the crimes of the guilty world, and by the overflowing of the deluge didst give a figure of regeneration, that one and the same element might, in a mystery, be the end of vice and the origin of virtue. Look, O Lord, on the face of thy Church, and multiply in her thy regenerations, who by the streams of thy abundant grace fillest thy city with joy: and openest the font of baptism all over the world, for the renovation of the Gentiles: that by the command of thy Majesty she may receive the grace of thy only Son from the Holy Ghost.

Here the pontiff pauses a moment, and putting his hand into the water divides it in the form of a cross, to signify that it is by the cross that this element receives the power of regenerating the souls of men. This wonderful power had been promised to water; but the promise was not fulfilled until Christ had shed His Blood upon the cross. It is this Blood which operates by the water on the souls of men; and with the action of this precious Blood is joined that of the Holy Ghost, as the pontiff tells us in his prayer, which he thus continues.

Qui hanc aquam regenerandis hominibus præparatam, arcana sui numinis admixtione fœcundet: ut sanctificati one concepta, ab immaculato divini fontis utero, in novam renata creaturam, progenies cœlestis emergat: et quos aut sexus in corpore, aut ætas discernit in tempore, omnes in unam pariat gratia mater infantiam. Procul ergo hinc, jubente te Domine, omnis spiritus immundus abscedat: procul tota nequitia diaboliæ fraudis absistat. Nihil hic loci habeat contrariæ virtu tis admixtio: non insidiando circumvolet, non latendo subrepat, non inficiendo corrumpat.
Who, by a secret mixture of his divine virtue, may render this water fruitful for the regeneration of men, to the end that those who have been sanctified in the immaculate womb of this divine font, being born again a new creature, may come forth a heavenly offspring: and that all that are distinguished either by sex in body, or by age in time, may be brought forth to the same infancy by grace, their spiritual mother. Therefore may all unclean spirits, by thy command, O Lord, depart far from hence: may the whole malice of diabolical deceit be entirely banished: may no power of the enemy prevail here: may he not fly about to lay his snares: may he not creep in by his secret artifice: may he not corrupt with his infection.

After having thus besought God to protect the water of the font from the influence which satan seeks to exercise over every creature, the bishop puts his hand upon it. The august character of a pontiff or priest is a source of sanctification: the mere contaot of his consecrated hand produces a salutary effect, as often as he acts in virtue of the priesthood of Christ, which dwells within him.

Sit hæc sancta et innocens creatura libera ab omni impugnatoris incursu, et totius nequitiæ purgata discessu. Sit fons vivus, aqua regenerans, unda purificans: ut omnes hoc lavacro salutifero diluendi, operante in eis Spiritu sancto, perfectæ purgationis indulgentiam con-sequantur.
May this holy and innocent creature be free from all the assaults of the enemy, and purified by the destruction of all his malice. May it be a living fountain, a regenerating water, a purifying stream: that all those that are to be washed in this saving bath, may obtain, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, the grace of a perfect purification.

While pronouncing the following words, the bishop blesses the water, thrice making over it the sign of the cross.

Unde benedico te, crea tura aquae, per Deum vivum, per Deum verum, per Deum sanctum: per Deum qui te, in principio, verbo separavit ab arida: cu jus Spiritus super te ferebatur.
Therefore I bless thee, O creature of water, by the living God, by the true God, by the holy God: by that God who in the beginning separated thee by his word from the dry land, whose Spirit moved over thee.

The bishop next makes an allusion to the four rivers which watered the earthly paradise. He again divides the water with his hand, and sprinkles it towards the north, south, east and west, for the four parts of the world received the preaching of Baptism. While performing this expressive ceremony, he continues his prayer as follows:

Qui te de paradisi fonte manare fecit, et in quatuor fluminibus totam terram rigare præcepit; qui te in deserto amaram, suavitate indita fecit esse potabilem, et sitienti populo de petra produxit. Benedico te, et per Jesum Christum Filium ejus unicum Dominum nostrum: qui te in Cana Galilææ, signo admirabili, sua potentia convertit in vinum. Qui pedibus super te ambulavit: et a Joanne in Jordane in te baptizatus est. Qui te una cum sanguine de latere suo produxit: et discipulis suis jussit, ut credentes baptizaren tur in te, dicens: Ite, docete omnes gentes, baptizantes eos in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti.
Who made thee flow from the fountain of paradise, and commanded thee to water the whole earth with thy four rivers. Who, changing thy bitterness in the desert into sweetness, made thee fit to drink, and produced thee out of a rock to quench the thirst of the people. I bless thee also by our Lord Jesus Christ, his only Son, who in Cana of Galilee changed thee into wine, by a wonderful miracle of his power. Who walked upon thee dry-foot, and was baptized in thee by John in the Jordan. Who made thee flow out of his side together with his Blood, and commanded his disciples, that such as believed should be baptized in thee, saying: Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Here the bishop interrupts the solemn and triumphant tone of the Preface, and simply reads the following words. He has signed the water with the sign of the cross; he now invokes upon it the vivifying action of the Holy Ghost.

Hæc nobis præcepta servantibus, tu, Deus omnipotens, demens adesto: tu benignus adspira.
Do thou, almighty God, mercifully assist us who observe this command: do thou graciously inspire us.

The Holy Ghost is called Spirit, which means a breath: He is the divine Breathing, that mighty Wind, which was heard in the cenacle. The pontiff to express this character of the Third Person of the blessed Trinity, thrice breathes, in the form of a cross, over the water of the font, and then continues in the same reading tone:

Tu has simplices aquas tuo ore benedicito: ut præter naturalem emundationem, quam lavandis possunt adhibere corporibus, sint etiam purificandis mentibus eficaces.
Do thou with thy mouth bless these clear waters: that besides their natural virtue of cleansing the body, they may also be effectual for the purifying of the soul.

Then taking the Paschal candle, he dips the lower end of it into the font. This rite signifies the mystery of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan, whereby the element of water received the pledge of its future sanctifying power. The Son of God went down into the stream, and the Holy Ghost came upon Him in the form of a Dove. But now, it is something more than a promise: the water receives the reality, the virtue; and it receives it by the action of these two divine Persons. The bishop, therefore resuming the tone of the Preface, chants these words, while plunging into the font the Paschal candle, the symbol of Christ, over whom hovers the celestial Dove:

Descendat in hanc plenitudinem fontis virtus Spiritus sancti.
May the virtue of the Holy Ghost descend into all the water of this font.

After these words, the pontiff takes the candle out of the water, and then plunges it in again still deeper, singing the same words, but on a higher note:

Descendat in hanc plenitudinem fontis virtus Spiritus sancti.
May the virtue of the Holy Ghost descend into all the water of this font.

Having again withdrawn the candle, he plunges it a third time into the water, even to the bottom of the font: he sings the same words to a still higher note:

Descendat in hanc plenitud inem fontis virtus Spiritus sancti.
May the virtue of the Holy Ghost descend into all the water of this font.

Before taking the candle from the water the third time, the bishop leans forward over the font: and that he may signify the union of the power of the Holy Ghost with that of Christ, he breathes again upon the water, not, this time, in the form of a cross, but in that of the Greek letter ψ, which is the initial of the Greek word for Spirit. This done, he resumes his prayer by the following words:

Totamque hujue aquæ substantiam, regenerandi fœcundet effectu.
And make the whole substance of this water fruitful and capable of regenerating.

The Paschal candle is then raised out of the font, and the bishop thus continues:

Hic omnium peccatorum maculæ deleantur: hic natura ad imaginem tuam condita, et ad honorem sui reformata principii, cunctis vetustatis squaloribus emundetur: ut omnis homo sacramentum hoe regenerationisingressus, in veræ innocentiæ novam infantiam renascatur.
Here may the stains of all sins be washed out: here may human nature, created to thy image, and reformed to the honour of its author, be cleansed from all the filth of the old man: that all who receive this sacrament of regeneration, may be born again new children of true innocence.

The bishop recites the rest in the simple reading tone:

Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum: qui venturus est judieare vivos et mortuos, et sæculum per ignem.

℟. Amen.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son: who shall come to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.

℟. Amen.

As soon as the people have answered Amen, one of the priests sprinkles them with the water, that has thus been blessed; and an acolyte fills a large vessel with it, that it may be used in the service of the Church, and in sprinkling the houses of the faithful.

But the Church is not satisfied with having given her blessing to the water. On Thursday, she was put in possession of the graces of the Holy Ghost by receiving the holy oils: with these she would now honour the font, mingling a portion of them with the water. The faithful—seeing how every symbol expressive of divine adoption is made to bear upon the water, whence men receive salvation—will learn what is the reverence they should have for the font. The bishop, taking the oil of catechumens, pours it into the water, saying:

Sanctificetur et foecundetur fons iste oleo salutis renascentibus ex eo, in vitam ætemam.

℟. Amen.
May this font be sanctified and made fruitful by the oil of salvation, for such as are regenerated therein unto life everlasting.

℟. Amen.

Then, taking the holy chrism, he pours it into the font, saying:

Infusio chrismatis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et Spiritus sancti Paracliti, fiat in nomine sanctæ Trinitatis.

℟. Amen.
May this infusion of the chrism of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost the Comforter, be made in the name of the holy Trinity.

℟. Amen.

Finally, taking the chrism in his right hand, and the oil of catechumens in his left, he pours from the two phials at once. This sacred rite signifies the superabundant grace of Baptism. While pouring in the two oils together, the bishop says:

Commixtio chrismatis sanctificationis, et olei unctionis, et aquæ baptismatis, pariter fiat, in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti.

℟. Amen.
May this mixture of the chrism of sanctification, and of the oil of unction, and of the water of Baptism, be made in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

℟. Amen.

After these words, the bishop puts his hand into the font, and mixes the holy oils with the water, that thus every portion of it may come into contact with this additional source of sanctification. Having wiped his hand, he takes off such of his vestments as would inconvenienoe him in the administration of Baptism.

 

BAPTISM

 

The pontiff returns to the font, and the catechumens are called in turns. They come one by one, led by their sponsors. The bishop stands upon a platform, that reaches over the font. The catechumen dentes baptizaren tur in te, dicens: Ite, docete omnes gentes, baptizantes eos in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti.off all garments as far as the waist, descends the stepsand goes into the water, within reach of the bishop’s hand. The bishop then asks the catechumen: ‘Dost thou believe in God the Father almighty. Creator of heaven and earth?’ The catechumen answers: ‘I do believe.’— Dost thou believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was born and suffered for us?’—‘I do believe.’—‘Dost thou 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?’—‘I do believe.’ And having thus received the oonfession of the catechumen’s faith, the bishop asks him or her: ‘Wilt thou be baptized?’—‘I will,’ answers the catechumen. Then the bishop places his hand upon the catechumen’s head, and thrice immerges him, or her, under the water, saying: ‘I baptize thee, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’

Thrice, then, has the catechumen entirely disappeared under the water: it has closed over and shrouded him. We have the explanation of this given us by the great apostle: the water of Baptism is the tomb, in which we are buried together with Christ; and, together with Him, we rise again to life: the death we had suffered, was the death of sin; the life we are henceforth to live, is the life of grace.[13] Thus is the mystery of Jesus’ Resurrection repeated, with all its fulness, in them that are baptized. But before the baptized comes from the font, a sacred rite is performed over him, which completes his resemblance with Christ. While Jesus was yet standing in the waters of the Jordan, the Holy Ghost descended upon Him in the form of a Dove: and before the neophyte comes forth from the font, a priest anoints his head with the chrism, which is a gift received from the holy Spirit. This anointing expresses the kingly and priestly character that resides in the Christian, for by his union with Jesus Christ, his Head, he partakes, in some degree, of the royalty and the priesthood of this divine Mediator. Thus loaded with honours by the divine Word and the Holy Ghost, and adopted by the eternal Father, who sees in him a member of His own Son, the neophyte comes up from the font by the steps of the side opposite to that by which he descended, beautiful in grace and spotless as the flocks of which the Canticle speaks such praises.[14] The sponsor is ready to receive him from the font: he stretches out his hand to help him to mount the steps, and covers his shoulders with a cloth.

Thus goes on the divine work of the holy font: each Baptism is a resurrection from sin to justification. But the pontiff has to administer to the neophytes another sacrament, which is to confirm them by the gift of the Holy Ghost, and which he alone can confer. Were he to wait till all are baptized, Easterday would dawn upon them, before the whole of tonight’s service is over. He therefore baptizes a few himself—men, women, and children—and leaves his priests to administer Baptism to all the rest. In the baptistery, there is a part which is called the chrismarium, because the Sacrament of chrism, or Confirmation, is given there. Thither the pontiff now repairs, and sits upon the throne prepared for him. He resumes the vestments he had laid aside when descending to the font; and immediately they bring to him the neophytes he has baptized, and after them, those baptized by the priests. He gives to each a white robe, which they must wear till the following Saturday; and as he gives it, he says: ‘Receive this white garment, which is holy and unspotted: and see thou carry it before the judgment-seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, that thou mayst have eternal life!’ As soon as the neophytes have received it, they retire to the pavilions prepared in the baptistery. There they change their wet clothes for others, and, aided by their sponsors, they vest themselves with the white robes. They then repair to the chrismarium, where they are to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

 

CONFIRMATION

 

On Thursday last, when consecrating the chrism, the pontiff told us how, when the waters of the deluge had fulfilled their office of purifying the earth, the dove appeared, bearing an olive-branch in her beak; it was a symbol of peace, and of the reign of Him, whose sacred name signifies the Anointed: His name is Christ. Our neophytes have been purified from their sins by the water of Baptism: they are now kneeling before the pontiff, awaiting the gift of the Dove, and longing for the pledge of peace whereof the olive is the symbol. The holy chrism has been already marked upon their heads; but then it was only a sign of the dignity to which they had been raised. Now, it does more than signify grace, it works it in the soul. Neither is it in the power of a priest to give this anointing, which confirms the Christian; it requires the hand of a bishop, for he alone can consecrate the chrism.

The neophytes are arranged before him; on one side the men, on the other the women; the infants are in their sponsors’ arms. The adults place their right foot on the right foot of their godfather or godmother, showing, by this sign of union, their spiritual filiation in the Church.

The sight of this innocent flock gladdens the heart of the pontiff. He rises from his throne, and thus addresses them: ‘May the Holy Ghost come down upon you, and may the power of the Most High kecp you from sin!' Then stretching forth his hands, he invokes upon them the seven gifts of the holy Spirit, whose action is to confirm, in our neophytes, the graces they have reoeived in the font of baptism.

Led by their sponsors, they come, one by one, before the bishop. Their faces express the eagerness, wherewith they long to receive what will make them perfect Christians. The pontiff signs the forehead of each of them with the holy chrism; and by this he imprints an indelible character on the soul. The words he uses are these: ‘I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’ Then giving a slight blow on the cheek (which, with the ancients, was the sign of emancipating a slave), he signifies that the neophyte is admitted into the liberty of the children of God; and he says: ‘Peace be with thee!’ The assistant ministers tie a bandlet round the forehead, so that nothing may touch the part which has been anointed with holy chrism. The neophytes have to wear this bandlet until the Saturday following, when they will lay aside the white garments received at their Baptism.

The night has passed away during the solemnization of these sublime mysteries: the hour has come for the glad celebration of the holy Sacrifice in honour of our Lord’s Resurrection from the tomb. It is time for the pastor to lead back to the temple his happy flock, which has received such a glorious addition. It is time for him to give to his dear sheep the divine nourishment, to which they have henceforth a claim. The gates of the baptistery are thrown open, and all return in procession to the church. The Paschal candle, the pillar of fire, goes before the troop of neophytes, whose white robes glitter in the daydawn of Easter. The faithful people follow after the bishop and clergy, and all enter, with an air of triumph, into the church. During the procession, they again chant the canticle that was sung by Moses and the children of Israel after the passage through the Red Sea. The bishop repairs to the secretariurm, where he is robed in the richest vestments of the treasury. During this interval, the cantors recommence the litany, repeating each invocation thrice over. According to the present arrangement of the liturgy, it is sung but once during the whole of to-day’s Service—that is, as soon as the clergy return to the choir after the blessing of the font—and each invocation is sung twice. In churches where there is no font, the litany is sung after the prayer which follows the twelfth prophecy; and as far as the words, Peccatores, te rogamus audi nos, the celebrant and ministers lie prostrate on the altar steps, praying for the neophytes who are this day added to the Church, throughout the world. We here give the litany as it is now sung, with the additions that have been made to it at various times.

 

THE LITANY

 

Kyrie, eleison.
Christe, eleïson.
Kyrie, eleïson.
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 pro nobis.
Sancta Virgo virginum, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Michael, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Gabriel,
Sancte Raphael,
Omnes sancti Angeli et Archangeli, orate pro nobis.
Omnes sancti beatorum spirituum ordines, orate pro nobis.
Sancte Joannes Baptista, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Joseph,
Omnes sancti patriarchæ et prophetæ, orate pro nobis
Sancte Petre, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Paule,
Sancte Andrea,
Sancte Joannes,
Omnes sancti apostoli et evangelistæ, orate pro nobis.
Omnes sancti discipuli Domini, orate pro nobis
Sancte Stephane, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Laurenti,
Sancte Vincenti,
Omnes sancti martyres, orate pro nobis.
Sancte Sylvester, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Gregori,
Sancte Augustine,
Omnes sancti pontifices et confessores, orate.
Omnes sancti doctores, orate pro nobis.
Sancte Antoni, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Benedicte,
Sancte Dominice,
Sancte Francisce,
Omnes sancti sacerdotes et levitæ, orate pro nobis.
Omnes sancti monachi et eremitae.
Sancta Maria Magdalena, ora pro nobis.
Sancta Agnes,
Sancta Cæcilia,
Sancta Catharina,
Sancta Agatha,
Sancta Anastasia,
Omnes sanctae virgines et viduæ, orate pro nobis.
Omnes sancti et sanctæ Dei, intercedite pro nobis.
Propitius esto, parce nobis Domine.
Propitius esto, exaudi nos Domine.
Ab omni malo, libera nos Domine.
Ab omni peccato, libera nos Domine.
A morte perpetua, libera nos Domine.
Per mysterium sanctæ Incarnationis tuæ, libera nos Domine.
Per adventum tuum, libera nos Domine.
Per nativitatem tuam, libera nos Domine.
Per baptismum et sanctum jejunium tuum, libera nos Domine.
Per crucem et Passionem tuam, libera nos Domine.
Per mortem et sepulturam tuam, libera nos Domine.
Per sanctam Resurrectionem tuam, libera nos Domine.
Per admirabilem Ascensionem tuam, libera nos Domine.
Per adventum Spiritus Sancti Paracliti, libera nos Domine.
In die judicii, libera nos Domine.
Peccatores, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut nobis parcas, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut Ecclesiam tuam sanctam regere et conservare digneris, te rogamus audi nös.
Ut domnum apostolicum, et omnes ecclesiasticos Ordines, in sancta religione conservare digneris, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut inimicos sanctæ Ecclesiæ humillare digneris, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut regibus et principibus Christiania pacem et veram concordiam donare digneris, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut nosmetipaos in tuo sancto servitio confortare et conservare digneris, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut omnibus benefactoribus nostris sempiterna bona retribuas, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut frac tus terræ dare et conservare digneris, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut omnibus fidelibus defunctis requiem æternam do nare digneris, te rogamus audi nos.
Ut nos exaudire digneris, terogamus audi nos.
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.
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 for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
Saint Michael, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel,
Saint Raphael,
All ye holy Angels and Archangels,
All ye holy orders of blessed spirits,
Saint John Baptist,
Saint Joseph,
All ye holy patriarchs and prophets,
Saint Peter,
Saint Paul,
Saint Andrew,
Saint John,
All ye holy apostles and evangelists,
All ye holy disciples of our Lord,
Saint Stephen,
Saint Lawrence,
Saint Vincent,
All ye holy martyrs,
Saint Sylvester,
Saint Gregory,
Saint Augustine,
All ye holy bishops and confessors,
All ye holy doctors,
Saint Antony,
Saint Benedict,
Saint Dominic,
Saint Francis,
All ye holy priests and levites,
All ye holy monks and hermits,
Saint Mary Magdalene,
Saint Agnes,
Saint Cecily,
Saint Catharine,
Saint Agatha,
Saint Anastasia,
All ye holy virgins and widows.
All ye saints of God, make intercession for us.
Be merciful to us, spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful to us, graciously hear us, O Lord.
From all evil, deliver us, O Lord.
From all sin, deliver us, O Lord.
From everlasting death,
Through the mystery of thy holy Incarnation,
Through thy coming,
Through thy nativity,
Through thy baptism and holy fasting,
Through thy cross and Passion,
Through thy death and burial,
Through thy holy Resurrection,
Through thy admirable Ascension,
Through the coming of the Holy Ghost the Comforter,
In the day of judgment,
We sinners, beseech thee, hear us.
That thou spare us, we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou vouchsafe to govern and preserve thy holy Church,
That thou vouchsafe to preserve our apostolic Prelate, and ail ecclesiastical Orders, in holy religion,
That thou vouchsafe to humble the enemies of thy holy Church,
That thou vouchsafe to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes.
That thou vouchsafe to strengthen and preserve us in thy holy service,
That thou render eternal good things to all our benefactors,
That thou vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth,
That thou vouchsafe to give eternal rest to ail the faithful departed,
That thou vouchsafe graciously to hear us,
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.

 

MASS

 

The solemn litany is drawing to its end, and the choir has already begun its closing invocation, the Kyrie eleison! The pontiff comes forth from the secretarium, with all the pomp that marks the principal feasts of the Church. The chant becomes more majestic, and lingers on the brief words of supplication. Kyrie eleison! thrice to the Father: Christe eleison! thrice to the Son: Kyrie eleison! thrice to the Holy Ghost. During this time, the bishop is reciting, at the foot of the altar, the usual psalm and prayers; and then, ascending to the altar, he offers the homage of incense to the Most High. Hence, an Introit, which on other occasions, is sung by the choir during the procession from the secretarium to the altar, is not needed.

The morning-star has blended its rays with those of our Paschal candle, as the deacon prayed might be; but now, the morning-star itself begins to pale, for the star of day—the figure of our Jesus, the Sun of justice—is soon to rise. The assembly of the faithful people—the men on the right, the women on the left—is now greater than it was at first. The space near the doors, for catechumens, is vacant. In a prominent part of the aisles, we see the neo-phytes, in their white robes and bandlets, and with lighted tapers in their hands.

The censing of the altar is finished: and then— Oh glorious triumph of our risen Jesus!—the pontiff sings forth, in a transport of joy: Gloria in excelsis Deo! The hitherto silent bells peal to the glad angelic hymn. The enthusiasm of our holy faith has mastered every heart, making it beat with emotion. The people take up the heavenly canticle, and continue it to the end; and then the bishop sings the following prayer for the newly baptized:

Collect

Deus, qui hanc sacratiseimam noctem gloria Dominicæ Resurrectionis illustras: conserva in nova familiæ tuæ progenie adoptionis Spiriitum quem dedisti: ut corpore et mente renovad, puram tibi exhibeant servitutem. Per eumdem Dominum.
O God, who enlightenest this most sacred night, by the glory of the Resurrection of the Lord; preserve in the new offspring of thy family the spirit of adoption thou hast given them: that being renewed in body and soul, they may serve thee with purity of heart. Through the same, &c.

After the Collect, the subdeacon ascends the Epistle ambo, and chants these impressive words addressed by the great apostle to the neophytes who have just risen, by Baptism, with Christ.

Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ bead Pauli A postoli ad Colossenses.

Cap. iii.

Fratres: si consurrexistis cum Christo, quæ sursum sunt quærite, ubi Christus est in dextera Dei sedens; quæ sursum sunt sapite, non quæ super terrain. Mortui enim estis: et vita vestra est abscondita cum Christo in Deo. Cum autem Christus apparuerit vita vestra: tunc et vos apparebitis cum ipso in gloria.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Colossians.

Ch. iii.

Brethren: if you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God: mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. For you are dead; and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, who is your life; then you also shall appear with him in glory.

Having chanted these few, but telling, words, the subdeacon comes down from the ambo, and goes to the bishop’s throne. He bows before the pontiff, and thus addresses him; and as’ he speaks, the souls of the faithful, yea, the very walls of the church echo with the joyful tidings: ‘Venerable Father! I bring you tidings of great joy: it is the Alleluia!' The bishop rises and, filled with holy ardour, intones the Alleluia to the well known melody. The choir repeats it after him. Thrice (and each time with an increase of joy) is the heavenly word interchanged between the pontiff and the choir. At this moment all mournfulness is at an end. One feels that God has accepted the expiatory works of our Lent; and that, by the merits of His Son now risen from the grave, He pardons our earth, since He permits us to hear once more the song of heaven. The choir subjoins this verse of the psalm, which celebrates the mercy of Jehovah.

Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus: quoniam in saeculum misericordia ejus.
Praise the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

But something is still wanting to the joy of our Easter. Jesue has risen from the tomb; but, so far, He has not shown Himself to all. His blessed Mother, Magdalene, and the other holy women, are the only ones who have as yet seen Him: it is not till the evening, that He will appear to His apostles. We have but just begun the day. Therefore it is that the Church once more offers her praise to her God, under the lenten formula of the Tract.

Tract

Laudate Dominum omnes gentes: et collaudate eum omnes populi.

℣. Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia ejus: et veritas Domini manet in æternum.
Praise the Lord all ye nations; join in his praise, all ye people.

℣. For his mercy is confirmed upon us; and the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever.

While the choir is singing this psalm to a melody which has something of mournfulness about it, the deacon goes to the ambo, from which he is to chant the Gospel. The acolytes do not accompany him with their torches, but the thurifer goes with him, as usual, with the incense. Here again we have an allusion to the events which took place on this great morning: the women went to the sepulchre, carrying sweet spices with them, but the light of faith in the Resurrection was not as yet in their hearts. The incense signifies their spices, the absence of light signifies their want of faith.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xxvii.

Vespere autem Sabbati quae lucescit in prima Sabbati: venit Maria Magdalene, et altera Maria videre sepulchrum. Et ecce terræ mo tus factus est magnus. Angelus enim Domini descendit de cœlo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et sedebat super eum. Erat autem aspectus ejus, sicut fulgur: et vestimentum ejus, sicut nix. Præ timore autem ejus, exterriti sunt custodes: et facti sunt velut mortui. Respondens autem angelus, dixit mulieribus: Nolite timere vos. Scio enim quod Jesum, qui crucifixus est, quæritis. Non est hic: surrexit enim, sicut dixit. Venite, etvidete locum, ubi positus erat Dominus. Et cito euntes, dicite discipulis ejus, quia surrexit. Etecce præcedit vos in Galilæam; ibi eum videbitis: ecce prædixi vobis.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xxviii.

In the end of the Sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to the sepulchre. And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven: and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it; and his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come and see the place where the Lord was laid. And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen: and behold he will go before you into Galilee: there you shall see him. Lo, I have foretold it to you.

The bishop does not intone the glorious Symbol of faith: it is reserved for the second Mass, which is to be sung at a later hour in the morning. By this omission of the Creed, the Church would remind us of the hours which elapsed before the apostles, who were to preach to the world the mystery of the Resurrection, had themselves honoured it by their faith.

After having saluted the people with the usual Dominus vobiscum, the pontiff at once proceeds to offer to the divine Majesty the bread and wine, which are to be used in the Sacrifice; and the choir omits the antiphon, called the Offertory, which is sung or recited in every other Mass. The Offertory is intended as a chant to be sung while the people go up to the sanotuary to offer the bread and wine for the holy Sacrifice, which they are to receive, at the Communion, changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. But the Service of Holy Saturday is so long that this ceremony of the offering is omitted. The spirit is as prompt and fervent as ever, but the body begins to feel exhausted; and the little children, who are kept fasting, on account of having to go to holy Communion, show by their cries that they, too, are suffering from want of food. To save time, therefore, the bread and wine, the matter of the Sacrifice, are provided this morning by the Church. The neophytes will, nevertheless, approach to holy Communion, although they themselves have not brought bread and wine to the sanctuary.

After having made an offering, and censed, first the bread and the wine, then the altar, the pontiff recites the Secret, which is followed by the Easter Preface.

Secret

Suscipe quæsumus. Domine, preces populi tui cum oblationibus hostiarum: ut Paschalibus initiata mysteriis, ad æternitatis nobis medelam, te operante, proficiant. Per Dominum.
Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.
℟. Amen.

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

℣. Sursum corda.
℟. Habemus ad Dominum.

℣. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
℟. Dignum et justum est.
Receive, O Lord, we beseech thee, the prayers of thy people, together with the offering of these hosts, that what is consecrated by these Paschal mysteries, may, by the help of thy grace, avail us to eternal life. Through, &c.
For ever and ever.
℟. Amen.

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

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

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

Preface

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, te quidem Domine, omni tempore, sed in hac potissimum nocte gloriosius prædicare, cum Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus. Ipse euim 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 tuæcanimus, sine fine dicentes: Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, to publish thy praise, O Lord, at all times; but chiefly and more gloriously on this night, when Christ our Pasch is sacrificed. For he is the true Lamb, that has taken away the sins of the world. Who, by dying, destroyed our death, and by rising again, 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: Holy, holy, holy!

The Canon commences, and the divine mystery is effected. Nothing in the sacred rites is changed, until close upon the Communion. It is a custom, which has come down from the times of the apostles, that, before receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord in Communion, the faithful should give to each other the kiss of peace, saying: ‘Peace be with thee!’ This ceremony is omitted in this first Mass. It was not till the evening of the day of His Resurrection, that Jesus spoke these words to His disciples. Holy Church, reverencing as she does every detail of her Jesus’ life, loves to imitate them in her own practice. For the same reason, she omits the Agnus Dei,[15] which, in its third repetition, has these words: ‘Give us peace.’

And now the moment has come, when our neophytes are to receive, for the first time, the Bread of life and the heavenly Chalice, which were instituted by Jesus at the last Supper. Baptized in water and the Holy Ghost, they have a right to approach the holy Table; and their white robes are the outward expression of their souls’ possessing the wedding garment, which all must have on, who would partake of the Banquet of the Lamb. They go up to the altar with joy and reverence. The deacon gives them the Body of our Lord, and then the Chalice of His precious Blood. The infants are also admitted to Communion: the deacon dips his finger into the Chalice, and then puts it into their innocent mouths. Lastly, to signify that all are now, by their Baptism, those new-born babes of whom St. Peter speaks,[16] they receive after holy Communion a little milk and honey; it is a symbol of infancy, and at the same time, an allusion to the promised land.

The Communion over, the bishop ends the holy Sacrifice with a prayer, in which he beseeches God to unite us all to each other in a spirit of fraternal charity, seeing that we all participate in the celebration of the Pasch. We have all the same mother, the Church; the same font of Baptism has given to us all the same life of grace; we are all members of Jesus, our Head; the same holy Spirit has signed us all with His seal, and the Father has made us all one family by adopting us as His children. The signal for departure being given by the deacon, in the bishop’s name, the faithful leave the church, and return to their homes, there to remain till they reassemble for the holy Sacrifice, which is again to be offered up in a still more solemn celebration of this the Feast of feasts, the Pasch of the Resurrection.

 

VESPERS

 

During the centuries, when the Church celebrated the vigil of Easter in the manner we have been describing, Holy Saturday had no Vespers. The vigil began towards the hour of None, and continued, as we have seen, till the early morning of the Sunday. It was not till later—when custom had authorized the anticipation of the Easter mid-night Mass on the morning of Holy Saturday—that this last day of Holy Week was provided with the Office of Vespers. In consequence of the service being so long, the Church made these Vespers as short as possible, and gave them a joyous character, in keeping with the return of the Alleluia. They are drawn up so as to form part of the Mass. They begin immediately aftethe Communion, and the Postcommunion serves as a conclusion both to them and to the Mass itself· This Postcommunion prayer is the one of which we have just been speaking, as terminating the ancient celebration of the Easter vigil.

After the Communion, then, the choir sings the following antiphon and psalm:

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

Psalm 116

Laudate Dominum omnes gentes: laudate eum omnes populi.
Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia ejus: et veritas Domini manet in æternum.
Gloria Patri, &c.

Ant. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him all ye people.
For his mercy is confirmed upon us: and the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever.
Glory, &c.

Ant. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Antiphon of the Magnificat

Vespere autem Sabbati quæ lucescit in prima Sabbati, venit Maria Magdalene, et altera Maria videre sepulchrum, alleluia.
In the evening of the Sabbath which dawns on the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre, alleluia.

During the Magnificat (see page 90), the celebrant censes the altar; and as soon as the antiphon has been repeated, he sings, at the altar, the following prayer:

Postcommunion

Spiritum nobis, Domine, tuas chari tat is infunde: ut quos sacramentis Paschalibue satiasti, tua facias pietate concordes. Per Dominum.
Pour forth on us, O Lord, the spirit of thy love; that those whom thou hast filled with the Paschal sacrament, may, by thy goodness, live in perfect concord. Through, &c.

When the deacon turns to the people, to give them the signal for departure, he adds two Allelus to the usual formula. The same is observed in every Mass till the following Saturday inclusively.

℣. Ite missa est, alleluia, alleluia.
℟. Deo gratias, alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Go, the Mass is finished, alleluia, alleluia.
℟. Thanks be to God, alleluia, alleluia.

The Mass concludes, as usual, with the blessing of the celebrant, and the Gospel of St. John.

Such is the Service of this great Saturday. The prayers and ceremonies are precisely the same as in former times: but its being celebrated so early in the day, and the Baptism of catechumens having ceased to be a part of the function, rendered it almost a necessity that we should have embodied in our explanation the ancient ceremonial, otherwise the faithful would lose much of the meaning and grandeur of to-day’s Service.

During the day, the priest visits the houses of his parishioners, and sprinkles them with the baptismal water, taken from the font before the holy oils were put into it. This pious practice is an allusion to the command given by God to His people, on occasion of the first Passover, that they should mark their houses with the blood of the lamb, as a protection against the destroying angel. In a country like our own, it may be difficult to observe this holy custom; but where it can be done, the faithful should eagerly avail themselves of it, as it brings a special blessing upon our houses.

 

THE EVENING

 

The description we have been giving of the magnificent ceremonies of Baptism, has made us forget the sepulchre wherein reposes the Body of our crucified Jesus. Let us return thither in thought, for the hour of His Resurrection has not yet come. Let us devote a few moments to meditating on the mystery of the three days, during which the Soul of our Redeemer was separated from His Body. We went, this morning, to visit the tomb, where lies our buried Jesus; we adored that sacred Body, which Magdalene and her companions are preparing to honour, by anointing it early on the morrow. Now let us offer the tribute of our profound adoration to the Soul of our divine Master. It is not in the tomb, where His Body is: let us follow it to the place where it lives during these hours of separation.

In the centre of the earth there are four immense regions, into which no one living can ever enter: it it is only by divine revelation that we know of their existence. The farthest from us is the hell of the damned, the frightful abode where satan and his angels and the reprobate are suffering eternal torments. It is here that the prince of darkness is ever forming his plots against God and His creatures. Nearer to us, is the limbo wherein are detained the souls of children, who departed this world before being regenerated. The opinion which has met most favour from the Church is that these souls suffer no torment; and that, although they can never enjoy the beatific vision, yet are they enjoying a natural happiness, and one that is proportionate to their desires. Above the abode of these children, is the place of expiation, where souls that have departed this life in the state of grace cleanse themselves from any stains of lesser sins, or satisfy for the debt of temporal punishment still due to divine justice. And lastly, still nearer to us, is the limbo where are kept from heaven the saints who died under the old Law. Here are our first parents, Abel, Noe, Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets; the just Gentiles, such as that great saint of Arabia, Job; and those holy personages who were closely connected with our Lord, such as Joachim and Anne, the parents of His blessed Mother, Joseph her spouse and His own foster-father, and John His precursor, together with his holy parents Zachary and Elizabeth.

Until such time as the gate of heaven shall have been opened by the Blood of the Redeemer, none of the just can ascend thither. How holy soever they might have been during this life, they must descend into limbo after death. We meet with innumerable passages of the old Testament, where mention is made of hell (that is, that portion of the regions in the centre of the earth which we call limbo) as being the abode of even the holiest of God’s servants: it is only in the new Testament that heaven is spoken of as being the abode of men. The limbo of the just is not one of torment, beyond that of expectation and captivity. The souls that dwell there are confirmed in grace, and are sure of enjoying, at some future period, an infinite happiness; they resignedly bear this long banishment, which is a consequence of Adam’s sin; and, as they see the time drawing nigh for their deliverance, their joy is beyond all we can imagine.

The Son of God has subjected Himself to every thing, save sin, that our human nature has to suffer or undergo: it is by His Resurrection that He is to triumph, it is by His Ascension alone that He is to open the gates of heaven: hence, His Soul, having been separated from His Body by death, was to descend into the depths of the earth, and become a companion with the holy exiles there. He had said of Himself: ‘The Son of Man shall be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.'[17] What must have been the joy of these countless saints! And how majestic must have been the entrance of our Emmanuel into their abode! No sooner did our Jesus breathe His last upon the cross, than the limbo of the saints was illumined with heavenly splendour. The Soul of the Redeemer, united to the Divinity of the Word, descended thither, and changed it from a place of banishment into a very paradise. Thus did He fulfil the promise He had made to the good thief: ‘This day shalt thou be with Me in paradise'

The happy hour, so long expected by these saints, has come! What tongue could tell their joy, their admiration, and their love, as they behold the Soul of Jesus, who thus comes among them to share and close their exile! He looks complacently on this countless number of His elect, this fruit of four thousand years of His grace, this portion of His Church purchased by His Blood, and to which the merits of His Blood were applied by the mercy of His eternal Father even before it was shed on Calvary! Let us who hope, on our departure from this world, to ascend to Him, who has gone to prepare a place for us in heaven,[18] joyfully congratulate these our holy ancestors. Let us also adore the condescension of our Emmanuel, who deigns to spend these three days in the heart of the earth, that so He might sanctify every condition of our nature, and take upon Himself even what was but a transient state of our existence.

But the Son of God would have this His visit to the regions beneath our earth to be a manifestation of His sovereign power. His soul does not, it is true, descend into the hell of satan, but He makes His power felt there. The prince of this world is now forced to bend his knee and humble himself.[19] In this Jesus, whom he has instigated the Jews to crucify, he now recognizes the Son of God. Man is saved, death is conquered, sin is effaced. Henceforth, it is not to the ‘bosom of Abraham', but to heaven itself, that the souls of the just made perfect shall ascend, there to reign, together with the faithful angels, with Christ their divine Head. The reign of idolatry is to be at an end: the altars, whereon men have offered incense to satan, are to be destroyed. The house of the strong one is to be entered by his divine Adversary, and his goods are to be rifled.[20] The hand-writing of our condemnation is snatched from the serpent.[21] The cross, which he had so exultingly prepared for the Just One, has been his overthrow; or, as St. Anthony so forcibly expresses it, it is the bait thrown out to the leviathan, which he took, and taking it, was conquered.

The Soul of our Jesus makes its presence felt also by the just who dwell in the abode of expiation. It mercifully alleviates their sufferings, and shortens their purgatory. Many of them are delivered altogether, and numbered with the saints in limbo, where they spend the forty days, between this and the Ascension, in the happy expectation of ascending to heaven with their Deliverer. It is not contrary to the principles of faith to suppose, as several learned theologians have taught, that the visit of the Man-God to limbo was a source of blessing and consolation to the abode of unregenerated children, and that they then received a promise that the time would come, when they should be reunited to their bodies, and, after the day of judgment, be placed in a happier land than that in which divine justice now holds them captives.

We adore Thee, O holy Soul of our Redeemer, for having deigned to pass these hours with Thy saints, our fathers, in the heart of the earth. We extol Thy goodness and love shown towards these Thy elect, whom Thou hast made to be Thine own brethren. We give Thee thanks for that Thou didst humble our enemy: oh, give us grace to conquer him! But now, dearest Jesus, it is time for Thee to rise from Thy tomb, and reunite Thy Soul to Thy Body. Heaven and earth await Thy Resurrection; the Church, Thy bride, has already sung the Alleluia of her glad expectation: rise, then, from Thy grave, O Jesus, our Life! Triumph over death, and reign our King for ever!

Let us close our day and our volume with the following Preface, taken from the Ambrosian missal. It is one of the finest pieces of this venerable liturgy, and is the blessing of the Paschal candle. The mystery of this great night is here treated with an eloquenoe and poetry worthy of the subject.

Preface

Vere quia dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare nos tibi semper hic et ubique gratias agere, Domine sanete, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus. Qui populorum Pascha cunctorum, non pecudum cruore, nec adipe, sed Unigeniti tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi sanguine, corporeque dedicasti; ut supploso ritu gentis ingratæ legi gratia succederet, et una victima, per semetipsam tuæ Majestati semel oblata, mundi totius expiaret offensam.

Hic est Agnus lapideis præfiguratus in tabulis: non abductus e gregibus, sed evectus e cœlo: non pastore indigene, sed Pastor bonus ipse tantummodo: qui animam suam pro suis posuit ovibus, et rursus assumpsit; ut nobis et humilitatem divina dignatio, et spem resurrectio corporalis ostenderet. Qui coram tondente se non vocem queruli balatus emisit, sed evangelico proclamavit oraculo, dicens: Amodo videbitis Filium hominie sedentem ad dexteram Majestatis. Ipse nobis et te reconciliet, Pater omnipotens, et pari tecum maj estate fultus indulgeat.

Nam quæ patribus in figura contingebant, nobis in veritate proveniunt. Ecce jam ignis columna resplendet, quæ plebem Domini beatæ noctis tempore ad salutaria fluenta præibat: in quibus persecutor mergitur, et Christi populus liberatus emergit. Nam sancti Spiritus unda conceptus, per Adam natus ad mortem, per Christum regignitur ad vitam. Solvamus igitur voluntarle celebrata jejunia, quia Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus: nec solum corpore epulemur Agni, sed etiam inebriemur et sanguine. Hujus enim tantummodo cruor non creat piaculum bibentibue, sed salutem. Ipso quoque vescamur et Azymo, quoniam non de solo pane vivit homo, sed de omni verbo Dei.Siquidem hic est Panis, qui descendit e cœlo, longe præstantior illo quondam mannæ imbre frugifluo, quo tunc Israël epulatus interiit. Hoc vero qui vescitur corpore, vitæ perennis possessor existit.

Ecce vetera transierunt: facta sunt omnia nova. Nam circumcisionis Mosaicæ muero jam scabruit, et Jesu Nave acuta lapidum obsolevit asperitas: Christi vero populus insignitur in fronte, non inguine: lavacro, non vulnere: chrismate, non cruore.

Decet ergo in hoc Domini Salvatoris nostri vespertinæResurrectionis adventu ceream nos adolere pinguedinem, cui suppetit candor in specie, suavitas in odore, splendor in lumine: quæ nec marcescenti liquore defluit, nec offensam tetri nidoris exhalat. Quid enim magis accomodum, magis festivum, quam ut Jesseico flori floreis excubemus et tædie? Præsertim cum et Sapientia de semetipsa cecinerit: Ego sum flos agri, et lilium convallium. Ceras igitur nec pinus exusta desudat, nec crebris sauciata bipennibus cedrus illacrymat; sed est illis arcana de virginitate creatio; et ipsæ transfiguratione nivei candoris albescunt. Eamdem vero papyrum liquida fontis unda producit: quæ instar insontis animæ nullis articulatur sinuata compagibus; sed virginali circumsepta materie fit hospitalis ignibus alumna rivorum.

Decet ergo adventum Sponsi dulcatis Ecclesiam luminaribus opperiri: et largitatem sanctitatis acceptam quanta valet devotionis dote, pensare: nec sanctas interpolare tenebris excubiae; sed tædam sapienter perpetuis præparare luminibus: ne, dum oleum candelis adjungitur, adventum Domini tardo prosequamur obsequio: qui certe in ictu oculi, ut coruscus, adveniet.

Igitur in hujus diei veepere cuneta venerabilis sacramenti plenitudo colligitur: et, quæ diversis sunt præfigurata, vel gesta temporibus, hujus noctis curriculo devoluta supplentur. Nam primum hoc vespertinum lumen, sicut ilia dux Magorum stella, præcedit. Deinde mysticæ regenerationis unda subeequitur, velut, dignante Domino, fluenta Jordanis. Tertio resurrectionem Christi vox apostolica sacerdotis annuntiat. Tum ad totius myeterii supplementum, Christo vescitur turba fidelium. Quæ summi sacerdotis, et antistitis tui Ambrosii oratione sanctificata et meritis, resurrectionis Dominicæ diem, Christo in omnibus prosperante, suscipiat.
Truly it is meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should here and in all places give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God! Thou hast consecrated the Pasch, unto which thou invitest all mankind, not by the gore and fat of sheep, but by the Blood and Flesh of thine only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord: that thus the rite of an ungrateful people being abolished, grace should succeed the law, and the sins of the whole world be expiated by one Victim, offered up once, and by himself, to thy Majesty.

This is the Lamb that was prefigured on tablets of stone. He was not taken from the flock, but was brought from heaven. He needed not a shepherd, but was himself the one Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep, and again assumed it, that his divine condescension might show us how to be humble, and his body’s Resurrection teach us to hope. No plaintive voice came from him when under his shearer, but thus spake he the prophecy of his Gospel: 'Hereafter, ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of Majesty.’ May he, O almighty Father! reconcile us with thee, and, by the majesty wherewith he is coequal with thee, may he be merciful unto us.

For those things which happened in figure to our fathers, have become realities to us. Lo! now shineth that pillar of fire, which on that blessed night, went before the people of God, leading to waters that saved them: for in them was the persecutor drowned, and from the same came liberated the people of Christ. Conceived in the stream made fruitful by the Holy Ghost, man, that was born of Adam unto death, is regenerated by Christ unto life. Let us, therefore, bid farewell to the fast we have been voluntarily keeping, for Christ, our Pasch, is slain. Let us not only feast on the Flesh of the Lamb, but let us also be enebriated with his Blood. Yes, let us also eat the Unleavened, for not by bread alone doth man live, but by every word of God. For Christ is the Bread that came down from heaven, more excellent far than that manna of old which fell in abundant showers and of which the Israelites, who then were, ate, yet died. Whereas he that eats of this Body, is made a possessor of everlasting life.

Lo! the old things have passed away: all things are made new. The knife of the Mosaic circumcision has become blunted, and the cruel sharp stone of Josue has gone out of use: but the people of Christ is signed on the forehead, and not secretly; by a Baptism, not by a wound; by chrism, not by blood.

Rightly, therefore, during this night—when we are awaiting the Resurrection of the Lord our Saviour—do we burn a rich waxen torch, whose properties are fair whiteness, sweet fragrance and bright light: which flows not down as it melts, nor sends forth an offensive smell as it burns. For what could be more appropriate, what more festive, than that we should keep watch for the Flower of Jesse with torches that are the juice of flowers? The more so as Wisdom thus sang in her own praise: I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valley.’ Wax is not the sweat that oozes from a burnt pine, nor the tear that trickles from the cedar when wounded with many blows of the axe: it is a mysterious virginal production; and one that is transfigured into the whiteness of snow. Its fount-like melted stream feeds the (wick of) papyrus, which, as a guileless soul, stands, with its unbent, unjointed oneness, surrounded by the virginal substance, and becomes, by the flame, the stream’s much cherished guest.

Therefore doth it behove the Church to await, with sweet lights, the coming of the Spouse, and with all possible devotion, to weigh the holy gift she has received. Holy vigils, such as this, should have no fellowship with darkness. We should be wise, and make the light of our lamp be unceasing; lest, while we are preparing to trim it with oil, our Lord should come, and we be too late to do him homage, for we are assured that he will come in the twinkling of the eye, as a flash of light.

Therefore, this day's evening is rich in the fulness of the most august mysteries, which, though prefigured or accomplished at various times, are all brought before us during the course of this night. For firstly, we have this evening torch, which leads the way, as did the star that guided the Magi. Then follows the font of spiritual regeneration, as it were the river of Jordan, in which our Lord vouchsafed to be baptized. Thirdly, we have the priest’s apostolic words announcing the Resurrection of Christ. Then, to complete the mysteries, the faithful flock feeds on the flesh of Christ. Being sanctified by the prayer and merits of thy high priest and pontiff Ambrose, and being prospered in all things by Christ, may this flock enjoy the day of our Lord’s Resurrection.

 

End of Passiontide and Holy Week


[1] Col. i. 20.
[2] Rom. v. 12.
[3] 2 Cor. v. 21.
[4] Phil. ii. 7.
[5] Prov. xxxi. 18.
[6] St. John viii. 12.
[7] 1 St. Peter ii. 6.
[8] Eph. ii. 20.
[9] Is. xxviii. 16.
[10] St. Matt. xi. 27.
[11] St. Matt. xi. 27.
[12] The words here put in parentheses are said only in those countries, which are subject to the emperor of Austria. See above, page 482.
[13] Rom. vi. 4.
[14] Cant. iv. 2.
[15] This formula does not date beyond the seventh century.
[16] 1 St. Peter ii. 2.
[17] St. Matt. xii. 40.
[18] St. John xiv. 2.
[19] Phil. ii. 10.
[20] St. Matt. xii. 29.
[21] Col. ii. 14.

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Including descriptions of the following:

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

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

MORNING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE OFFICE OF MATINS

 

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.

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

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

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

Amen.

Alleluia.

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

Invitatory

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

Psalm 94

 

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

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia.

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

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

The Lord hath truly risen, Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

The Lord hath truly risen. Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

The Lord hath truly risen, Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.
The Lord hath truly risen, Alleluia.

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

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

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

Psalm 1

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

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

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


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

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

Psalm 2

 

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 3

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

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

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

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

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

Pater noster.
Our Father.

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

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

The choir answers:

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

Then the priest:

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

The choir answers:

Amen.
Amen.

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

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

Blessing

The priest gives his blessing in these words:

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

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

Lectio sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum.

Cap. xvi.

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

Ch. xvi.

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

Lesson I

Homilia sancti Gregorii Papæ.

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

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

℟. Angelus Domini descendit de cœlo, et accedens revolvit lapidem, et super eum sedit, et dixit mulieribus:
* Nolite timere: scio enim quia crucifixum quæritis, jam surrexit: venite et videte locum, ubi positus erat Dominus, alleluia.
℣. Et introeuntes in monumentum, viderunt juvenem sedentem in dextris, coopertum stola candida, et obstupuerunt; qui dixit illis:
* Nolite timere, etc. Gloria Patri, etc. Repeat: Angelus Domini.
℟. The angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it, and said to the women:
* Fear not: for I know that ye seek the Crucified: he is risen: come and see the place where the Lord was laid, alleluia.
℣. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe; and they were astonished: who saith to them:
* Fear not, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. Repeat: The angel of the Lord.

Blessing

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

Lesson II

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

℟. Cum transisset Sabbatum, Maria Magdalene, et Maria Jacobi, et Salome, emerunt aromata: Ut venientes ungerent Jesum, alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Et valde mane una sabbatorum veniunt ad monumentum, orto jam sole.

Ut venientes.
Gloria Patri.
Ut venientes.
℟. When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalen, and Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus, alleluia, alleluia.
℣. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen.

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

Blessing

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

Lesson III

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

Hymn of Thanksgiving

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

All kneel at the following verse:

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

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

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

The clerics answered:

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

Then the deacons:

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

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

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

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

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

The first cleric, who represented Magdalen, answered:

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

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

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

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

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

The two cantors answered with this protest of faith:

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

Then the whole of the clergy joined in this acclamation:

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

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

℟. Christus resurgens ex mortuis, jam non moritur: mors illi ultra non dominabitur; quod enim mortuus est peccato, mortuus est semel: Quod autem vivit, vivit Deo, alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Dicant nunc Judæi, quomodo milites custodientes sepulchrum perdiderunt Regem, ad lapidis positionem; quare non servabant Petram justitiæ? Aut sepultum reddant, aut resurgentem adorent nobiscum dicentes:
Quod autem vivit, vivit Deo, alleluia, alleluia.
℟. Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more; death shall no more have dominion over him; for in that he died, he died once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God, alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Let the Jews now tell us, how the soldiers, who guarded the sepulchre, lost the King, though they had placed a rock over him. Why kept they not the Rock of justice? Either let them restore the buried One, or adore with us the risen One, saying:
But in that he liveth, he liveth unto God, alleluia, alleluia.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

LAUDS

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 92

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 99

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 62

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

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

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

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

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

Canticle of the Three Children
(Dan. iii)

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 148

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

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

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

Immediately after the Psalms is sung the Paschal Anthem:

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

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

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

Canticle of Zachary
(St Luke i)

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

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

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


Oremus.

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

℣. Benedicamus Domino. Alleluia, alleluia.
℟. Deo gratias. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let us Pray.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

MASS

 

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

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

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

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

Antiphon

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

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

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.

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

Easter Song

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

Repeat.
Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, testa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

Salve, festa dies.

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

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

Repeat.
Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

Hail, thou festive.

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

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

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

Introit

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

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

℣. Glory, etc. I have risen, etc.

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

Collect

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

Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios.

I Cor. v.

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

I Cor. v.

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

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

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

Gradual

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sequence

Victimæ paschali laudes
Immolent christiani.

Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri
Reconciliavit peccatores.

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

Dic nobis, Maria,
Quid vidisti in via?

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

Surrexit Christus spes mea:
Præcedet vos in Galilæam.

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

Amen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.

Alleluia.

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

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum.

Cap. xvi.

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

Ch. xvi.

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

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

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

Offertory

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

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

Secret

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

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

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

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

Invitation of the People to Communion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Communion

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

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

Postcommunion

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

Paschal Blessings

 

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

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

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

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

 

Blessing of the Paschal Lamb

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

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

Amen.

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

Blessing Of The Paschal Eggs

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

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

Amen.

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

AFTERNOON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE EASTER VESPERS

 

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

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

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

Psalm 109

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

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

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

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

Psalm 110

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 111

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 112

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

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

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

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

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

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

To which all answered:

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

Then the bishop:

Oremus.

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 113

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

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

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

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

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

The bishop then addressed this prayer to God:

Oremus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Lady’s Canticle
(St Luke i)

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

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

Oremus.

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

Amen.

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

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

Let us Pray.

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

Amen.

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

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

The Joyful Canticle

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

A Magdalena moniti,
Ad ostium monumenti
Duo currunt discipuli.

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

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

Alleluia.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

EVENING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Capitula

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

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

Hymn
(In Dominica Resurrectionis)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Easter Monday

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

SO ample and so profound is the mystery of the glorious Pasch, that an entire week may well be spent in its meditation. Yesterday, we limited ourselves to our Redeemer’s rising from the tomb, and showing himself, in six different apparitions, to them that were dear to him. We will continue to give him the adoration, gratitude, and love, which are so justly due to him for the triumph, which is both his and ours; but it also behoves us respectfully to study the lessons conveyed by the Resurrection of our divine Master, that thus the light of the great mystery may the more plentifully shine upon us, and our joy be greater.

And first of all, what is the Pasch? The Scriptures tell us that it is the immolation of the lamb. To understand the Pasch, we must first understand the mystery of the lamb.

From the earliest ages of the Christian Church, we find the lamb represented, in the mosaics and frescoes of the basilicas, as the symbol of Christ’s sacrifice and triumph. Its attitude of sweet meekness expressed the love wherewith our Jesus shed his Blood for us; but it was put standing on a green hill, with the four rivers of Paradise flowing from beneath its feet, signifying the four Gospels which have made known the glory of his name throughout the earth. At a later period, the lamb was represented holding a cross, to which was attached a banner: and this is the form in which we now have the symbol of the Lamb of God.

Ever since sin entered the world, man has need of the lamb. Without the lamb he never could have inherited heaven, but would have been, for all eternity, an object of God’s just anger. In the very beginning of the world, the just Abel drew down upon himself the mercy of God, by offering on a sod-made altar the fairest lamb of his flock: he himself was sacrificed, as a lamb, by the murderous hand of his brother, and thus became a type of our divine Lamb. Jesus, who was slain by his own Israelite brethren. When Abraham ascended the mountain to make the sacrifice commanded him by God, he immolated, on the altar prepared for Isaac, the ram he found amidst the thorns. Later on, God spoke to Moses, and revealed to him the Pasch: it consisted of a lamb that was to be slain and eaten. A few days back, we had read to us the passage from the Book of Exodus where God gives this rite to his people. The Paschal Lamb was to be without blemish; its blood was to be sprinkled as a protection against the destroying angel, and its flesh was to be eaten. This was the first Pasch. It was most expressive as a figure, but void of reality. For fifteen hundred years was it celebrated by God’s people, and the spiritual-minded among the Jews knew it to be the type of a future Lamb.

In the age of the great prophets, Isaias prayed God to fulfil the promise he made at the beginning of the world. We united in this his sublime and inspired prayer, when, during Advent, the Church read to us his magnificent prophecies. How fervently did we repeat those words: ‘Send forth, O Lord, the Lamb, the ruler of the earth!’[1] This Lamb was the long-expected Messias; and we said to ourselves: Oh what a Pasch will that be, wherein such a Lamb is to be victim! What a feast wherein he is to be the food of the feasters!

‘When the fulness of time came and God sent his Son’[2] upon our earth, this Word made Flesh, after thirty years of hidden life, manifested himself to men. He came to the river Jordan, where John was baptizing. No sooner did the holy Baptist see him, than he said to his disciples: ‘Behold the Lamb of God! Behold him who taketh away the sin of the world!’[3] By these words the saintly Precursor proclaimed the Pasch; for he was virtually telling men that the earth then possessed the true Lamb, the Lamb of God, of whom it had been in expectation four thousand years. Yes, the Lamb who was fairer than the one offered by Abel, richer in mystery than the one slain by Abraham on the mount, and more spotless than the one the Israelites were commanded to sacrifice in Egypt, had come. He was the Lamb so earnestly prayed for by Isaias; the Lamb sent by God himself; in a word, the Lamb of God. A few years would pass, and then the immolation. But three days ago we assisted at his sacrifice; we witnessed the meek patience wherewith he suffered his executioners to slay him; we have been laved with his precious Blood, and it has cleansed us from all our sins.

The shedding of this redeeming Blood was needed for our Pasch. Unless we had been marked with it, we could not have escaped the sword of the destroying angel. It has made us partake of the purity of the God who so generously shed it for us. Our neophytes have risen whiter than snow from the font, wherein that Blood was mingled. Poor sinners that had lost the innocence received in their Baptism have regained their treasure, because the divine energy of that Blood has been applied to their souls. The whole assembly of the faithful are clad in the nuptial garment, rich and fair beyond measure, for it has been ‘made white in the Blood of the Lamb.’[4]

But why this festive garment? It is because we are invited to a great banquet: and here, again, we find our Lamb. He himself is the food of the happy guests, and the banquet is the Pasch. The great Apostle St Andrew, when confessing the name of Christ before the pagan proconsul Ægeas, spoke these sublime words: ‘I daily offer upon the altar the spotless Lamb, of whose flesh the whole multitude of the faithful eat; the Lamb that is sacrificed remains whole and living.’ Yesterday this banquet was celebrated throughout the entire universe; it is kept up during all these days, and by it we contract a close union with the Lamb, who incorporates himself with us by the divine food he gives us.

Nor does the mystery of the Lamb end here. Isaias besought God to ‘send the Lamb ‘who was to be ‘the ruler of the earth.’ He comes, therefore, not only that he may be sacrificed, not only that he may feed us with his sacred Flesh, but likewise that he may command the earth and be King. Here, again, is our Pasch. The Pasch is the announcement of the reign of the Lamb. The citizens of heaven thus proclaim it: ‘Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David hath conquered!’[5] But, if he be the Lion, how is he the Lamb? Let us be attentive to the mystery. Out of love for man, who needed redemption, and a heavenly food that would invigorate, Jesus deigned to be as a lamb: but he had, moreover, to triumph over his own and our enemies; he had to reign, for ‘all power was given to him in heaven and in earth.’[6] In this his triumph and power, he is a lion; nothing can resist him; his victory is celebrated this day throughout the whole world. Listen to the great deacon of Edessa, St Ephrem: ‘At the twelfth hour, he was taken down from the Cross as a lion that slept.’[7] Yea, verily, our Lion slept; for his rest in the sepulchre ‘was more like sleep than death,’ as St Leo remarks.[8] Was not this the fulfilment of Jacob’s dying prophecy? This patriarch, speaking of the Messias that was to be bom of his race, said: ‘Juda is a lion’s whelp. To the prey, my son, thou art gone up! Resting thou hast couched as a lion. Who shall rouse him?’[9] He has roused himself by his own power. He has risen; a lamb for us, a lion for his enemies; thus uniting, in his Person, gentleness and power. This completes the mystery of our Pasch: a Lamb, triumphant, obeyed, adored. Let us pay him the homage so justly due. Until we be permitted to join, in heaven, with the millions of angels and the four-and-twenty elders, let us repeat, here on earth, the hymn they are for ever singing: ‘The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction!’[10]

Formerly, the whole of this week was kept as a feast, with the obligation of resting from servile work. The edict, published by Theodosius in 389, forbidding all law proceedings during the same period, was supplementary to this liturgical law, which we find mentioned in the Sermons of St Augustine,[11] and in the Homilies of St John Chrysostom. The second of these two holy Fathers thus speaks to the newly baptized: ‘You are enjoying a daily instruction during these seven days. We put before you a spiritual banquet, that thus we may teach you how to arm yourselves and fight against the devil, who is now preparing to attack you more violently than ever; for the greater is the gift you have received, the greater will be the combat you must go through to preserve it. . . . During these following seven days, you have the word of God preached to you, that you may go forth well prepared to fight with your enemies. Moreover, you know it is usual to keep up a nuptial feast for seven days: you are now celebrating a spiritual marriage, and therefore we have established the custom of a seven days’ solemnity.’[12]

So fervently did the faithful of those times appreciate and love the Liturgy, so lively was the interest they took in the newly made children of holy mother Church, that they joyfully went through the whole of the services of this week. Their hearts were filled with the joy of the Resurrection, and they thought it but right to devote their whole time to its celebration. Councils laid down canons, changing the pious custom into a formal law. The Council of Mâcon, in 585, thus words its decree: ‘It behoves us all fervently to celebrate the feast of the Pasch, in which our great High Priest was slain for our sins, and to honour it by carefully observing all it pre-scribes. Let no one, therefore, do any servile work during these six days (which followed the Sunday), but let all come together to sing the Easter hymns, and assist at the daily Sacrifice, and praise our Creator and Redeemer in the evening, morning, and mid-day.’[13] The Councils of Mayence (813) and Meaux (845) lay down similar rules. We find the same prescribed in Spain, in the seventh century, by the edicts of kings Receswind and Wamba. The Greek Church renewed them in her Council in Trullo; Charlemagne, Louis the Good, Charles the Bald, sanctioned them in their Capitularia; and the canonists of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Burchard, St Ivo of Chartres, Gratian, tell us they were in force in their time. Finally, Pope Gregory IX inserted them in one of his decretals in the thirteenth century. But their observance had then fallen into desuetude, at least in many places. The Council held at Constance, in 1094, reduced the solemnity of Easter to the Monday and Tuesday. The two great liturgists, John Beleth in the twelfth, and Durandus in the thirteenth century, inform us that, in their times, this was the practice in France. It gradually became the discipline of the whole of the western Church, and continued to be so, until relaxation crept still further on, and a dispensation was obtained by some countries, first for the Tuesday, and finally for the Monday.

In order fully to understand the Liturgy of the whole Easter Octave (Low Sunday included), we must remember that the neophytes were formerly present, vested in their white garments, at the Mass and Divine Office of each day. Allusions to their Baptism are continually being made in the chants and Lessons of the entire week.

At Rome, the Station for to-day is at the basilica of St Peter. On Saturday, the catechumens received the Sacrament of regeneration in the Lateran basilica of our Saviour; yesterday, they celebrated the Resurrection in the magnificent church of St Mary; it is just that they should come, on this third day, to pay their grateful devotions to Peter, on whom Christ has built his whole Church. Jesus our Saviour, Mary Mother of God and of men, Peter the visible head of Christ’s mystical Body, these are the three divine manifestations whereby we first entered, and have maintained our place in, the Christian Church.

MASS

The Introit, which is taken from the Book of Exodus, is addressed to the Church’s new-born children. It reminds them of the milk and honey which were given to them on the night of Saturday last, after they had received Holy Communion. They are true Israelites, brought into the Promised Land. Let them, therefore, praise the Lord, who has chosen them from the pagan world, that he might make them his favoured people.

Introit

Introduxit vos Dominus in terram fluentem lac et mel, alleluia: et ut lex Domini semper sit in ore vestro. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Confitemini Domino et invocate nomen ejus: annuntiate inter gentes opera ejus.
℣. Gloria Patri. Introduxit.
The Lord hath brought you into a land flowing with milk and honey, alleluia: let then the law of the Lord be ever in your mouth. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ps. Praise the Lord, and call upon his name: publish his works among the gentiles.
℣. Glory, etc. The Lord, etc.

At the sight of Jesus, her Spouse, now freed from the bonds of death, holy Church prays God, that we, the members of this divine Head, may come to that perfect liberty of which the Resurrection is the type. Our long slavery to sin should have taught us the worth of that liberty of the children of God, which our Pasch has restored to us.

Collect

Deus, qui solemnitate paschali mundo remedia contulisti: populum tuum quæsumus cœlesti dono prosequere: ut et perfectam libertatem consequi mereatur, et ad vitam proficiat sempiternam. Per Dominum.
O God, who by the mystery of the Paschal solemnity hast bestowed remedies on the world; continue, we beseech thee, thy heavenly blessings on thy people, that they may deserve to obtain perfect liberty, and advance towards eternal life. Through, etc.

Epistle

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.

Cap. X.

In diebus illis: Stans Petrus in medio plebis, dixit: Viri fratres, vos scitis quod factum est verbum per universam Judæam: incipiens enim a Galilæa post baptismum quod praedicavit Joannes, Jesum a Nazareth: quomodo unxit eum Deus Spiritu Sancto et virtute, qui pertransiit benefaciendo, et sanando omnes oppressos a diabolo, quoniam Deus erat cum illo. Et nos testes sumus omnium, quæ fecit in regione Judæorum et Jerusalem, quem occiderunt suspendentes in ligno. Hunc Deus suscitavit tertia die, et dedit eum manifestum fieri, non omni populo, sed testibus præordinatis a Deo: nobis, qui manducavimus et bibimus cum illo, postquam resurrexit a mortuis. Et præcepit nobis prædicare populo, et testifican quia ipse est qui constitutus est a Deo judex vivorum et mortuorum. Huic omnes prophetæ testimonium perhibent, remissionem peccatorum accipere per nomen ejus omnes qui credunt in eum.
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.

Ch. X.

In those days: Peter standing up in the midst of the people, said: You know the word that hath been published through all Judea: for it began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached, Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed him with the Holy Ghost, and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things that he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed hanging him upon a tree. Him God raised up the third day, and gave him to be made manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses preordained by God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose again from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead. To him all the prophets give testimony, that through his name all receive remission of sins who believe in him.

St Peter spoke these words to Cornelius, the centurion, and to the household and friends of this gentile, who had called them together to receive the Apostle whom God had sent to him. He had come to prepare them for Baptism, and thus make them the first-fruits of the gentile world, for up to this time the Gospel had been preached only to the Jews. Let us take notice how it is St Peter, and not any other of the Apostles, who throws open to us gentiles the door of the Church, which Christ has built upon him as upon the impregnable rock. This passage from the Acts of the Apostles is an appropriate Lesson for this day, whose Station is in the basilica of St Peter: it is read near the confession of the great Apostle, and in presence of the neophytes, who have been converted from the worship of false gods to the true faith. Let us observe, too, the method used by the Apostle in the conversion of Cornelius and the other gentiles. He begins by speaking to them concerning Jesus. He tells them of the miracles he wrought; then, having related how he died the ignominious death of the Cross, he insists on the fact of the Resurrection as the sure guarantee of his being truly God. He then instructs them on the mission of the Apostles, whose testimony must be received—a testimony which carries persuasion with it, seeing it was most disinterested, and availed them nothing save persecution. He, therefore, that believes in the Son of God made Flesh, who went about doing good, working all kinds of miracles; who died upon the Cross, rose again from the dead, and entrusted to certain men, chosen by himself, the mission of continuing on earth the ministry he had begun—he that confesses all this, is worthy to receive, by holy Baptism, the remission of his sins. Such is the happy lot of Cornelius and his companions; such has been that of our neophytes.

Then is sung the Gradual, which repeats the expression of Paschal joy. The verse, however, is different from yesterday’s, and will vary every day till Friday. The Alleluia verse describes the angel coming down from heaven, that he may open the empty sepulchre, and manifest the self-gained victory of the Redeemer.

Gradual

Hæc dies, quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus, et lætemur in ea.
℣. Dicat nunc Israel, quoniam bonus: quoniam in sæculum misericordia ejus.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Angelus Domini descendit de cœlo: et accedens revolvit lapidem, et sedebat super eum.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.
℣. Let Israel now say, that the Lord is good: that his mercy endureth for ever.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. An angel of the Lord descended from heaven; and coming he rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.

The Sequence, Victimœ Paschali, p. 145.


GOSPEL

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.

Cap. xxiv.

In illo tempore: Duo ex discipulis Jesu ibant ipsa die in castellum, quod erat in spatio stadiorum sexaginta ab Jerusalem, nomine Emmaus. Et ipsi loquebantur ad invicem de his omnibus, quæ acciderant. Et factum est, dum fabularentur, et secum quærerent: et ipse Jesus appropinquans ibat cum illis: oculi autem illorum tenebantur ne eum agnoscerent. Et ait ad illos: Qui sunt hi sermones, quos confertis ad invicem ambulantes, et estis tristes? Et respondens unus, cui nomen Cleophas, dixit ei: Tu solus peregrinus es in Jerusalem, et non cognovisti quæ facta sunt in illa his diebus? Quibus ille dixit: Quæ? Et dixerunt: De Jesu Nazareno, qui fuit vir propheta, potens in opere et sermone, coram Deo et omni populo: et quomodo eum tradiderunt summi sacerdotes, et principes nostri in damnationem mortis, et crucifixerunt eum. Nos autem sperabamus quia ipse esset redempturus Israel: et nunc super hæc omnia, tertia dies est hodie quod hæc facta sunt. Sed et mulleres quædam ex nostris terruerunt nos, quæ ante lucem fuerunt ad monumentum, et non invento corpore ejus, venerunt, dicentes se etiam visionem angelorum vidisse, qui dicunt eum vivere. Et abierunt quidam ex nostris ad monumentum, et ita invenerunt, sicut mulieres dixerunt; ipsum vero non invenerunt. Et ipse dixit ad eos: O stulti, et tardi corde ad credendum in omnibus, quæ locuti sunt prophetæ! Nonne hæc oportuit pati Christum, et ita intrare in gloriam suam? Et incipiens a Moyse, et omnibus prophetis, interpretabatur illis in omnibus Scripturis, quæ de ipso erant. Et appropinquaverunt castello, quo ibant: et ipse se finxit longius ire. Et coegerunt illum, dicentes: Mane nobiscum, quoniam advesperascit, et inclinata est jam dies. Et intravit cum illis. Et factum est, dum recumberet eum eis, accepit panem, et benedixit, ac fregit, et porrigebat illis. Et aperti sunt oculi eorum, et cognoverunt eum: et ipse evanuit ex oculis eorum. Et dixerunt ad invicem: Nonne cor nostrum ardens erat in nobis, dum loqueretur in via et aperiret nobis Scripturas? Et surgentes eadem hora regressi sunt in Jerusalem: et invenerunt congregatos undecim, et eos, qui cum illis erant, dicentes: Quod surrexit Dominus vere, et apparuit Simoni. Et ipsi narrabant quæ gesta erant in via: et quomodo cognoverunt eum in fractione panis.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.

Ch. xxiv.

At that time: Two of the disciples of Jesus went the same day to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also drawing near, went with them. But their eyes were held that they should not know him. And he said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering said to him: Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days? To whom he said: What things? And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in work and word before God and all the people. And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we hoped that it was he that should have redeemed Israel: and now besides all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company affrighted us, who before it was light were at the sepulchre. And not finding his body, came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive. And some of our people went to the sepulchre: and found it so as the women had said, but him they found not. Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things that were concerning him. And they drew nigh to the town whither they were going: and he made as though he would go farther. But they constrained him, saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them. And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in the way, and opened to us the Scriptures? And rising up the same hour they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were with them, saying, the Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way: and how they knew him in the breaking of bread.

Let us attentively consider these three travellers on the road to Emmaus, and go with them in spirit and affection. Two of them are frail men like ourselves, who are afraid of suffering; the Cross has disconcerted them; they cannot persevere in the faith, unless they find it brings them glory and success. 0 foolish and slow of heart I says the third: ought not Christ to have suffered, and so to enter into his glory? Hitherto, we ourselves have been like these two disciples. Our sentiments have been more those of the Jew than of the Christian. Hence our love of earthly things, which has made us heedless of such as are heavenly, and has thereby exposed us to sin. We cannot, for the time to come, be thus minded. The glorious Resurrection of our Jesus eloquently teaches us how to look upon the crosses sent us by God. However great may be our future trials, we are not likely to be nailed to a cross, between two thieves. It is what the Son of God had to undergo: but did the sufferings of the Friday mar the kingly splendour of the Sunday’s triumph? Nay, is not his present glory redoubled by his past humiliations?

Therefore let us not be cowards when our time for sacrifice comes; let us think of the eternal reward that is to follow. These two disciples did not know that it was Jesus who was speaking to them; and yet he no sooner explained to them the plan of God’s wisdom and goodness, than they understood the mystery of suffering. Their hearts burned within them at hearing him explain how the cross leads to the crown; and had he not held their eyes that they should not know him, they would have discovered from his words that their instructor was Jesus. So will it be with us, if we will allow him to speak to us. We shall understand how ‘the disciple is not above the Master.’[14] Let us, this Easter, delight in gazing at the resplendent glory of our risen Lord, and we shall exclaim with the Apostle: No! ‘the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.’[15]

Now that the efforts made by the Christian for his conversion are being recompensed with the honour of approaching the holy banquet clothed in the nuptial garment, there is another consideration that forces itself upon our attention from the reading of to-day’s Gospel. It was during the breaking of the bread that the eyes of the two disciples were opened to recognize their Master. The sacred Food which we receive, and whose whole virtue comes from the word of Christ, gives light to our souls, and enables them to see what before was hidden. Yes, this is the effect produced in us by the divine mystery of our Pasch, provided we be of the number of those who are thus described by the pious author of the Imitation of Christ: ‘They truly know their Lord in the breaking of bread, whose heart burneth so mightily within them from Jesus’ walking with them.’[16] Let us, therefore, give ourselves unreservedly to our risen Jesus. We belong to him now more than ever, not only because of his having died, but also for his having risen for us. Let us imitate the disciples of Emmaus, and, like them, become faithful, joyful, and eager to show forth by our conduct that ‘newness of life ‘of which the Apostle speaks,[17] and which alone befits us, seeing that Christ has so loved us as to wish his own Resurrection to be ours also.

The reason for the choice of this Gospel for to-day is that the Station is held in the basilica of St Peter. St Luke here tells us that the two disciples found the Apostles already made cognizant of the Resurrection of their Master: He hath, said they, appeared to Simon! We spoke yesterday of the favour thus shown to the prince of the Apostles, which the Roman Church so justly commemorates in to-day’s Office.

The Offertory consists of a text from the holy Gospel, referring to the circumstances of our Lord’s Resurrection.

Offertory

Angelus Domini descendit de cœlo, et dixit mulieribus: Quem quæritis surrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.
An angel of the Lord came down from heaven, and said to the women: He whom you seek is risen, as he told you, alleluia.

In the Secret, the Church prays that the Paschal Sacrament may be to her children a food nourishing them to immortality, and may unite them as members to their divine Head, not only for time, but even for eternity.

Secret

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

During the Communion, the Church reminds the faithful of the visit paid by the Saviour, after his Resurrection, to St Peter. The faith of the Resurrection is the faith of Peter, and the faith of Peter is the foundation of the Church, and the bond of Catholic unity.

Communion

Surrexit Dominus, et apparuit Petro, alleluia.
The Lord hath risen, and appeared to Peter, alleluia.

In the Postcommunion, the Church again prays that her children, who have been fellow-guests at the feast of the Lamb, may have that spirit of concord which should reign among the members of one and the same family, whose union has been again cemented by this year’s Pasch.

Postcommunion

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

VESPERS

The Vespers are the same as yesterday, with the exception of the Magnificat Antiphon and the Collect.

Antiphon of the Magnificat

Ant. Qui sunt hi sermones quos confertis ad invicem ambulantes et estis tristes? Alleluia.

Oremus.

Deus, qui solemnitate paschali mundo remedia contulisti: populum tuum, quæsumus, cœlesti dono prosequere; ut et perfectam libertatem consequi mereatur, et ad vitam proficiat sempiternam. Per Dominum.
Ant. What are these discourses that ye hold one with another, and are sad? Alleluia.

Let us Pray.

O God, who by the mystery of the Paschal solemnity hast bestowed remedies on the world; continue, we beseech thee, thy heavenly blessings on thy people, that they may deserve to obtain perfect liberty, and advance towards eternal life. Through, etc.

Let us glorify the Son of God for having, on this the second day of the creation, made the firmament, and divided the waters that were under from those that were above it. The holy Fathers have, in commenting these mysterious words, preferred the spiritual to the material sense. Here we recognize the powerful hand of God, who strengthened his work, and established an equilibrium between those elements which lay confounded together in chaos. The Mozarabic Liturgy gives us the following beautiful prayer, wherewith to praise our Creator in this portion of his work:

Capitula

Christe Deus noster, qui secundo die firmamentum formans, quasi solidamentum Scripturarum in Ecclesia præparas, quo cœlestes populos Angelorum ab infirmitate inferiorum hominum, quasi aquas ab aquis, discernere voluisti: quique duo testamenta constituens, figuram veteris sacrificii per testamentum novum immolatione tui corporis complevisti; da nobis, ut intellectu prudentiæ angelicis Potestatibus, quasi aquis superioribus sociemur, et semper ad superna tendamus: qualiter ita solidamentum utriusque legis in corde nostro præpolleat, ut resurrectionis tuæ potentia ad gaudia nos pertrahat infinita.
O Christ, our God, who, by creating the firmament on the second day, didst prefigure the solidity of the Scriptures on which rests thy Church; and who, by separation of the waters from the waters, didst designate the separation of the heavenly choirs of angels from man, the weak and inferior creation: O thou, the Author of the two Testaments, who didst fulfil the figure of the ancient sacrifice by the new covenant of the immolation of thy Body: grant that by understanding and wisdom we may be associated to the angelic powers, as to the waters that are above us, and may ever tend to heavenly things. May the solidity of the two laws be so fixed in our hearts, that the power of thy Resurrection may lead us to infinite joy.

Let us close the day with two Prefaces on the mystery of the Resurrection. The first is the one used by the Ambrosian Liturgy on Easter Sunday.

Preface

Vere quia dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi, sancte Deus omnipotens, gratias agere, nos devotas laudes referre, Pater inclyte, omnium Auctor et Conditor. Quia, cum Dominus esset majestatis Christus Jesus Filius tuus, ob liberationem humani generis crucem subire dignatus est. Quem dudum Abraham præfigurabat in filio, turba mosaica immaculati agni immolatione signabat. Ipse est enim, quem sacra tuba cecinerat prophetarum: qui omnium peccata portaret, aboleret et crimina. Hoc est illud Pascha, Christi nobilitatum cruore, in quo fidelis populus præcipua devotione exsultat. O mysterium gratia plenum I O ineffabile dvini imuneris sacramentum! O solemnitatum omnium honoranda solemnitas! In qua, ut servos redimeret, mortalibus se præbuit occidendum. Quam utique beata mors, quæ mortis nodos resolvit! Jam nunc sentiat se tartareus princeps attritum: et nos de profundi labe educti ad cœleste regnum conscendisse gratulemur.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should give thanks and devout praise to thee, O holy and almighty God, adorable Father, Author and Creator of all things! for that Christ Jesus, thy Son, though the Lord of majesty, did deign to suffer the Cross, for the redemption of mankind. It was this that Abraham, so many ages past, prefigured in his son; it was this that the Mosaic people typified by the immolation of a spotless lamb. This is he of whom sang the holy prophets, who was to bear upon him the sins of all men, and wipe away their crimes. This is the Pasch, ennobled by the Blood of Christ, which makes the faithful exult with especial devotion. O mystery full of grace! O ineffable mystery of God’s munificence! O ever to be honoured feast of feasts! whereon Christ gave himself to men that they might slay him, and this that he might ransom slaves. O truly blessed death, which loosed the bonds of death! Now let the prince of hell feel that he is crushed; now let us, who have been snatched from the abyss, rejoice that we have been exalted to the kingdom of heaven.

The following Preface is the one used by the ancient Church of Gaul in celebrating the mystery of our Paschal Lamb:

Immolatio

Dignum et justum est, nos tibi gratias agere, omnipotens sempiterneDeus, per Jesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum. Per quem humanum genus vivificans, Pascha etiam per Moysen et Aaron famulos tuos agni immolatione jussisti celebran: consequentibus temporibus usque ad adventum Domini nostri Jesu Christi (qui sicut agnus ad victimam ductus est) eamdem consueudinem in memoriam observare præcepisti. Ipse est Agnus immaculatus, qui prions populi prima Pascha in Ægypto fuerat immolatus. Ipse est aries in verticem montis excelsi de vepre prolatus, sacrificio destinatus. Ipse est vitulus saginatus, qui in tabernaculo patris nostri Abrahæ propter hospites est victimatus. Cujus Passionem et Resurrectionem celebramus, cujus et adventum sperarous.
It is right and just that we give thanks to thee, O almighty and eternal God, through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord; by whom thou gavest life to mankind, and wouldst have thy servants Moses and Aaron celebrate the Pasch by the sacrifice of a lamb. This same rite thou commandedst to be observed and remembered in after times, even to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was led like a lamb to the slaughter. He is the spotlessLamb, that was slain by God’s first people, when they kept their first Pasch in Egypt. He is the ram taken from the thorns on the top of a high mountain, destined for sacrifice. He is the fatted calf, slain under the tent of our father Abraham, that it might be served up to his guests. We celebrate his Passion and Resurrection; we look forward with hope to his last coming.

And now let us warm our hearts to the Paschal mystery by this admirable sequence of Adam of Saint-Victor:

Sequence

Salve, dies dierum gloria,
Dies felix Christi victoria,
Dies digna jugi lætitia,
Dies prima!

Lux divina cæcis irradiat,
In qua Christus infernum spoliat,
Mortem vincit et reconciliat
Summis ima.

Sempiterni regis sententia
Sub peccato conclusit omnia,
Ut infirmis superna gratia
Subveniret.

Dei virtus et sapientia
Temperavit iram dementia,
Cum jam mundus in praecipitia
Totus iret.

Insultabat nostræ miseriæ
Vetus hostis, auctor malitiæ,
Quia nulla spes erat veniæ
De peccatis.

Desperante mundo remedium,
Dum tenerent cuncta silentium,
Deus Pater emisit Filium
Desperatis.

Prædo vorax, monstrum tartareum,
Carnem videns, nec cavens laqueum,
In latentem mens aculeum
Aduncatur.

Dignitatis primæ conditio
Reformatur nobis in Filio,
Cujus nova nos resurrectio
Consolatur.

Resurrexit liber ab inferis
Restaurator humani generis,
Ovem suam reportans humeris
Ad superna.

Angelorum pax fit et hominum;
Plenitudo succrescit ordinum:
Triumphantem laus decet Dominum,
Laus æterna.

Harmoniæ cœlestis patriæ
Vox concordet matris Ecclesiæ;
Alleluia frequentet hodie
Plebs fidelis.

Triumphato mortis imperio,
Triumphali fruamur gaudio:
In terra pax, et jubilatio
Sit in cœlis!

Amen.
Hail, thou day of days!
happy day of Jesus' victory!
day worthy of ceaseless joy!
O first of days!

It was on this day that the divine light gladdened the blind with its brightness:
that Christ robbed hell of its spoils,
conquered death, and made peace
between heaven and earth.

The sentence of the eternal King
concluded all under sin,
that the weak might be made strong
by heavenly grace.

And when the whole world
was going headlong to the abyss,
the power and wisdom of God softened his anger
by his mercy.

The old enemy, the author of sin,
insulted us in our misery,
for that there was no hope left us
of the pardon of our sins.

The world despaired of a remedy:
when lo! whilst all things were in quiet silence,
God the Father sent his Son
to them that had no hope.

The greedy thief, the hellish monster saw the Flesh,
but not the snare:
he grasped at the hook,
and was caught.

We were restored
to our former dignity by Jesus,
whose Resurrection now
gladdens us.

He, the restorer of mankind,
rose again free from the dead;
he carried his sheep, on his shoulders,
back to heaven.

Peace is made between angels and men;
the heavenly ranks are filled up:
praise, eternal praise is due
to our triumphant Lord.

Let the voice of mother Church
blend in harmony with that of heaven;
let the faithful sing now, without ceasing,
their Alleluia.

A triumph has been won over the power of death;
let us rejoice in the triumph.
Peace on earth,
and jubilee in heaven!

Amen.

[1] Isa, xvi 1.
[2] Gal, iv. 4.
[3] St John i 29.
[4] Apoc. vii 14.
[5] Apoc. v 5.
[6] St Matt, xxviii 18.
[7] In sanctam Parasceven, et in Crucem et Latronem.
[8] First Sermon, On the Resurrection.
[9] Gen. xlix 9.
[10] Apoc. v 12.
[11] On our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount.
[12] Homil. v. de Resurrectione.
[13] Canon II, Labbe, t. v.
[14] St Matt. X 24.
[15] Rom. viii 18.
[16] Book iv, ch. xiv.
[17] Rom. vi 4.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

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

OUR Pasch is the Lamb, and we meditated upon the mystery yesterday: now let us attentively consider those words of sacred Scripture, where, speaking of the Pasch, it says: 'It is the Phase, that is, the passage of the Lord.' God himself adds these words: 'I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and will kill every first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements.’[1] So that the Pasch is a day of judgement, a day of terrible justice upon the enemies of God; but for that very reason, it is a day of deliverance for Israel. The lamb is slain; but his immolation is the signal of redemption to the holy people of the Lord.

The people of Israel are slaves to the cruel Pharaoh. Their bondage is the heaviest that can be. Their male children are to be put to death. The race of Abraham, on which repose the promises of the world’s salvation, is doomed. It is time for God to interpose: the Lion of the tribe of Juda, he whom none can resist, must show himself.

But in this, the Israelites are a type of another and a far more numerous people, the whole human race; and it is the slave of Satan, a tyrant worse than Pharaoh. Its bondage is at its height. It is debased by the vilest idolatry. It has made every base thing its god; and the God that made all things is ignored or blasphemed. With a few rare exceptions out of each generation, men are the victims of hell. Has God's creation of man, then, been a failure? Not so. The time is come for him to show the might of his arm: he will pass over the earth, and save mankind.

Jesus, the true Israelite, the true Man come down from heaven, he too is made a captive. His enemies have prevailed against him, and his bleeding, lifeless Body has been laid in the tomb. The murderers of the just One have even fixed a seal upon the sepulchre, and set a guard to watch it. Here again the Lord must pass, and confound his enemies by his triumphant passage.

In that Egypt of old, each Israelite family was commanded to slay and eat the Paschal Lamb. Then at midnight the Lord passed, as he had promised, over this land of bondage and crime. The destroying angel followed, slaying with his sword the first-born of the Egyptians, 'from the first-born of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, unto the first-born of the captive woman that was in prison, and all the first-born of the cattle.’[2] A cry of mourning resounded through Mesraïm: but God is just, and his people was made free!

The same victory was gained in the Resurrection which now gladdens us. The midnight was over, and the last shades of darkness were fleeing from before the rising light: it was then that our Lord passed through the sealed stone of his tomb, unperceived by his guards. His Resurrection was a stroke of death to his first-born people, who had refused to receive him as their Messias, or to ‘know the time of their visitation.’[3] The Synagogue was hard of heart, like Pharaoh; it would fain have held captive him of whom the prophet had said, that he would be 'free among the dead.’[4] Hereupon a cry of impotent rage was heard in Jerusalem: but God is just, and Jesus made himself free!

And oh! what a happiness was this passage of our Lord for the human race! He had adopted us as his brethren, and loved us too tenderly to leave us slaves of Satan: therefore, he would have his own Resurrectionbe ours too, and give us light and liberty. The firstborn of Satan were routed by such a victory; the power of hell was broken. Yet a little while, and the altars of the false gods shall everywhere be destroyed; yet a little while, and man, regenerated by the preaching of the Apostles, shall acknowledge his Creator and abjure his idols: for this is the day which the Lord hath made: ‘it is the Phase, that is, the passage of the Lord’!

But observe how the two mysteries—the Lamb and the Passover—are united in our Pasch. The Lord passes, and bids the destroying angel slay the first-born in every house, the entrance of which is not marked with the blood of the lamb. This is the shield of protection; where it is, there divine justice passes by and spares. Pharaoh and his people are not signed with the blood of the lamb: yet have they witnessed the most extraordinary miracles, and suffered unheard-of chastisements. All this should have taught them that the God of Israel is not like their own gods, which have no power; but their heart is hard as stone, and neither the works nor the words of Moses have been able to soften it. Therefore does God strike them and deliver his people.

But this very people, this Israel, ungratefully turns against his deliverer; he is content with the types of the good things promised; he will have no other lamb but the material one. In vain do the prophets tell him that ‘a Lamb is to be sent forth, who shall be King of the earth; that he shall come from the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion.’[5] Israel refuses to acknowledge this Lamb as his Messias; he persecutes him and puts him to death; and persists in putting all his confidence in the blood of victims that have no longer the power to propitiate the anger of God. How terrible will be the Passage of the Lord over Jerusalem, when the sword of the Roman legions shall destroy a whole people!

Satan, too, and his wicked angels, had scoffed at this Lamb; they had despised him, as being too meek and humble to be dreaded; and when they saw him shedding his Blood on the Cross, a shout of exultation rang through the regions of hell. But what was their dismay, when they saw this Lamb descending like a lion into limbo, and setting free from their bondage the countless prisoners of the four thousand previous years? and after this returning to our earth, and inviting all mankind to receive 'the liberty of the glory of the children of God’?[6]

O Jesus! how terrible is thy Passover to thine enemies! but how glorious for them that serve thee! The people of Israel feared it not, because their houses were marked with the blood of the figurative lamb. We are more favoured than they: our Lamb is the Lamb of God, and thy Blood is signed, not upon our dwellings, but upon our souls. Thy prophet foretold the great mystery when he said that on the day of thy vengeance upon Jerusalem, they would be spared whose foreheads should be marked with the Tau.[7] Israel despised the prophecy, which is our joy. The Tau is the sign of thy Cross, dear Jesus! It is thy Cross that shields, and protects, and gladdens us in this Pasch of thy Passover, wherein thy anger is all for thine enemies, and thy blessings all for us!

At Rome, the Station for to-day is in the basilica of St Paul. The church is impatient to lead her white-robed troop of neophytes to the Apostle of the gentiles. Though he is not the foundation of the Church, yet is he companion of Peter's labours in Rome, his fellow-martyr, and the preacher of the Gospel to the gentiles. As he says of himself,[8] he has laboured to form children in God—who could tell the number he has given to Christ? How must he rejoice to see these newly made Christians approach his sacred shrine, there to receive instruction from his epistles, wherein he still speaks to all generations!

MASS

The Introit, taken from the Book of Ecclesiasticus, celebrates the sublime wisdom of St Paul, who is the ever pure source whereat the people of God drink instruction and strength, and so prepare their souls for eternal life.

Introit

Aqua sapientiæ potavit eos, alleluia: firmabitur in illis, et non flectetur, alleluia: et exaltabit eos in æternum. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Confitemini Domino, et invocate Nomen ejus: annuntiate inter gentes opera ejus. ℣. Gloria Patri. Aqua sapientiæ.
He hath given them the water of wisdom to drink, alleluia: this wisdom shall be strengthened in them, and shall not be moved, alleluia: and it shall raise them up for ever. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Praise the Lord, and call upon his Name: declare his deeds among the gentiles, ℣. Glory, etc. He hath given, etc.

In the Collect, the Church gives thanks to God for rendering her fruitful, and thus giving her, every Easter, a mother's joy. She then prays for her new children, that they may have the grace to persevere in the imitation of their risen Lord.

Collect

Deus, qui Ecclesiam tuam novo semper fœtu multiplicas: concede famulis tuis, ut sacramentum vivendo teneant, quod fide perceperunt. Per Dominum.
O God, who by a new increase dost continually enlarge thy Church: grant that thy servants may keep up, by their manner of living, the mystery they have received by believing. Through, etc.

Epistle

Lectio Actuum Apostolorum.

Cap. xiii.

In diebus illis: Surgens Paulus, et manu silentium indicens, ait: Viri fratres, filii generis Abraham, et qui in vobis timent Deum, vobis verbum salutis hujus missum est. Qui enim habitabant Jerusalem, et principes ejus ignorantes Jesum, et voces prophetarum, quæ per omne sabbatum leguntur, judicantes impleverunt, et nullam causam mortis invenientes in eo, petierunt a Pilato, ut interficerent eum. Cumque consummassent omnia quæ de eo scripta erant, deponentes eum de ligno, posuerunt eum in monumento. Deus vero suscitavit eum a mortuis tertia die; qui visus est per dies multos his, qui simul ascenderant eum eo de Galilæa in Jerusalem: qui usque nunc sunt testes ejus ad plebem. Et nos vobis annuntiamus eam, quæ ad patres nostros repromissio facta est: quoniam hanc Deus adimplevit filiis nostris, resuscitans Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum.
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.

Ch. xiii.

In those days: Paul standing up, and with his hand bespeaking silence, said: Men, brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you fear God, to you the word of this salvation is sent. For they that inhabited Jerusalem, and the rulers thereof, not knowing him nor the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, judging him have fulfilled them, and finding no cause of death in him, they desired of Pilate that they might kill him. And when they had fulfilled all things that were written of him, taking him down from the tree, they laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him up from the dead the third day: who was seen for many days by them who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who to this present are his witnesses to the people. And we declare unto you, that the promise which was made to our fathers, this same God hath fulfilled to our children, raising up Jesus Christ our Lord.

This discourse, which was made at Antioch in Pisidia, in the synagogue, shows us that the Doctor of the gentiles followed the same method in his instructions as did the prince of the Apostles. The great subject of their preaching was the Resurrection of Christ; for it is the fundamental truth, it is the fact above all others, which proves the divine mission of the Son of God upon earth. It is not enough to believe in Christ crucified; we must also believe in Christ risen. The Resurrection is not only the indisputable fact on which rests the whole certainty of our faith, but it is also the dogma which energizes the whole Christian world. Nothing ever happened on this earth which produced a like impression. See how throughout the whole world it is now celebrated by millions of men of every race and nation! Nineteen centuries have passed away since the relics of St Paul were first laid in this tomb on the Ostian Way: during that time, how many events have happened which in their time were looked on as of momentous importance, and are now completely forgotten? For more than two hundred years the storm of persecution was almost ceaseless over Christian Rome; it even became necessary, in the third century, to remove these sacred remains, and hide them, for a time, in the catacombs. After this came Constantine, who built this basilica, and erected the triumphal arch near the altar, under which lies the body of the Apostle. Since then, how many changes have taken place in the world! Dynasties, empires, forms of government, have succeeded each other, and only one institution has stood unchanged—the Church. Every year, during these fifteen centuries, she has gone to the basilica of St Paul, and there, near his tomb, has read this discourse in which the Apostle proclaimed the Resurrection of Christ to the Jews. Seeing such perpetuity, such unchangeableness, even in things like this, we cannot help exclaiming: Oh! truly, Christ is risen! He is the Son of God! for man could never have given duration to any work of his hand. Our Pasch alone tells us who Jesus is. Let us learn from the circumstance suggested to us by to-day’s Epistle how the dazzling beauty of our risen Jesus is reflected even in the minutest details of our happy worship, the Liturgy.

Gradual

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus: exsultemus, et lætemur in ea.
℣. Dicant nunc, qui redempti sunt a Domino, quos redemit de manu inimici, et de regionibus congregavit eos.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro, qui pro nobis pependit in ligno.
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.
℣. Let them now say so, that have been redeemed by the Lord from the hand of the enemy: and he hath gathered them out of the countries.
Alleluia, alleluia.
℣. The Lord hath risen from the tomb, who for our sake was nailed to the Cross.

The Sequence, Victimæ Paschali, p. 145.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.

Cap. xxiv.

In illo tempore: Stetit Jesus in medio discipulorum suorum, et dixit eis: Pax vobis: ego sum, nolite timere. Conturbati vero, et conterriti, existimabant se spiritum videre. Et dixit eis: Quid turbati estis, et cogitationes ascendunt in corda vestra? Videte manus meas, et pedes, quia ego ipse sum: palpate et videte: quia spiritus carnem et ossa non habet, sicut me videtis habere. Et cum hoc dixisset, ostendit eis manus et pedes. Adhuc autem illis non credentibus, et mirantibus præ gaudio, dixit: Habetis hic aliquid, quod manducetur? At illi obtulerunt ei partem piscis assi, et favum mellis. Et cum manducasset coram eis, sumens reliquias, dedit eis. Et dixit ad eos: Hæc sunt verba, quæ locutus sum ad vos, cum adhuc essem vobiscum, quoniam necesse est impleri omnia, quæ scripta sunt in lege Moysi, et prophetis, et Psalmis de me. Tunc aperuit illis sensum ut intelligerent Scripturas. Et dixit eis: quoniam sic scriptum est, et sic oportebat Christum pati, et resurgere a mortuis tertia die: et prædicari in nomine ejus pœnitentiam et remissionem peccatorum in omnes gentes.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.

Ch. xxiv.

At that time: Jesus stood in the midst of his disciples, and said to them: Peace be to you: it is I, fear not. But they being troubled and frighted, supposed they saw a spirit. And he said to them: Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have. And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. But while they yet believed not, and wondered for joy, he said: Have you here anything to eat? And they offered him a piece of broiled fish, and a honey-comb. And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains he gave to them. And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. And he said to them: thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead the third day: and that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all nations.

Jesus shows himself to all his Apostles, on the evening of the day on which he rose from the grave; and he greets them with the wish of peace. He wishes the same to us, during this feast of the Pasch. He desires to establish peace among us—peace between man and God, peace in the conscience of the repentant sinner, peace between man and man by the forgiveness of injuries. Let us welcome this wish of our risen Lord, and jealously preserve the peace he thus deigns to bring us. At his birth in Bethlehem, the angels announced this peace to men of good will; but now it is Jesus himself who brings it to us, for he has accomplished his work of pacification by dying for us on the Cross. The first word he addresses to his Apostles, and through them to us, is Peace!Let us lovingly accept the blessing, and show ourselves to be, in all things, children of peace.

The conduct of the Apostles, on this occasion, deserves our attention. They believe in their Lord's Resurrection; they eagerly announced the great event to the two disciples of Emmaus: but how weak is their faith! They are troubled and frighted at Jesus' sudden apparition; and when he graciously permits them to handle him, they are overpowered with joy, and yet there is a certain inexplicable doubt still lingering in their minds. Our Lord has to condescend even to eat in their presence, in order fully to convince them that it is really himself and not a phantom. What a strange inconsistency there is in all this! Had they not already believed and confessed the Resurrection of their Master, before receiving this visit? We have a lesson to learn here: it is, that there are some people who believe, but their faith is so weak that the slightest shock would endanger it; they say they have faith, but it is of the most superficial kind. And yet, without a lively and vigorous faith, what can we do in the battle we have to be incessantly waging against the devil, the world, and our own selves? He who wrestles with an enemy is desirous to have a sure footing; if he stand on slippery ground, he is sure to be thrown. Nothing is so common nowadays as unstable faith, which believes as long as there is nothing to try it: but let it be put to the test, and it gives way.

One principal cause of this weakness of faith is that subtle naturalism, which now fills the atmosphere in which we live, and which it is so difficult not to imbibe. Let us earnestly pray for an invincible and supernatural faith, which may be the ruling principle of our conduct, which may never flinch, and may triumph over both our internal and external enemies. Thus shall we be able to apply to ourselves those words of the Apostle St John: ‘This is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith.’[9]

In the Offertory, the Church speaks to us, in the words of the royal prophet, of the fountains of water which sprang up at the thunder of God’s bidding. This voice of the Most High was made known to the earth by the preaching of the Apostles, and, in a special manner, by that of St Paul. The fountains are the baptismal fonts, from which our neophytes came regenerated unto life everlasting.

Offertory

Intonuit de cœlo Dominus, et Altissimus dedit vocem suam: et apparuerunt fontes aquarum, alleluia.
The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High sent forth his voice: and the fountains of waters appeared, alleluia.

The Church prays, in the Secret, that the Sacrifice she is about to offer may aid us to pass safely on to that infinite glory to which Baptism first opened to us the way.

Secret

Suscipe, Domine, fidelium preces cum oblationibus hostiarum: ut per hæc piæ devotionis officia, ad cœlestem gloriam transeamus. Per Dominum.
Receive, O Lord, we beseech thee, the prayers of the faithful, together with these oblations: that by these duties of piety they may pass to eternal life. Through, etc.

In the Communion Anthem we have St Paul himself speaking to the neophytes, and telling them what manner of life they must henceforth lead, in order to resemble their divine model, their risen Jesus.

Communion

Si consurrexistis cum Christo, quæ sursum sunt quærite, ubi Christus est in dextera Dei sedens, alleluia: quæ sursum sunt sapite, alleluia.
If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, alleluia; mind the things that are above, alleluia.

The Church makes the above words of the Apostle the subject of her concluding Prayer: she begs that her new children, who have just partaken of the Paschal Mystery, may persevere in the new life of which this holy Sacrament is the chief support.

Postcommunion

Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut paschaJis perceptio Sacramenti, continua in nostris mentibus perseveret. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that the virtue of the Paschal Sacrament which we have received may always remain in our souls. Through, etc.

VESPERS

The Vespers are the same as on Easter Sunday, excepting the Magnificat Antiphon, and the Collect, which are as follows:

Antiphon of the Magnificat

Ant. Videte manus meas et pedes meos, quia ego ipse sum. Alleluia, alleluia.
Ant. See my hands and my feet, for it is I myself. Alleluia, alleluia.

The Collect is given above, in the Mass, p. 200.


On the third day of the creation, the waters, which covered the earth, were gathered together at the word of the Son of God, and flowed into the hollows prepared for them. The seas thus formed, the surface of the earth became habitable for those beings that were soon to be called forth from nothingness. On this day, then, the angels first beheld the place where we are to have a temporary sojourn. The time will come when this very Son of God, who now separates the waters from the earth, will himself inhabit it, after having assumed our human nature. Let us offer him our earth, as his rightful domain, over which, as also over heaven, all power has been given to him.[10] The Mozarabic breviary gives us the following beautiful prayer, in which are explained the mysteries hidden under the text that describes this third day’s creation:

Capitula

Omnipotens Deus Pater, qui die tertio ab infidelium cordibus, quasi ab inferioribus salsis aquis aridam, id est populum fontem fidei sitientem, segregare dignatus es; da nobis, ut ab infidelium laqueis segregati, resurrectionem Filii tui prædicemus indubii: ut qui tertio ab inferis suscitatus est die, trina nos virtutum copulatione resuscitet: quo fide, spe et charitate robusti, de æterno resurrectionis mereamur munere consolari.
O almighty God, the Father! who on the third day didst vouchsafe to separate the dry land from the briny waters that were on the earth, hereby prefiguring how, at a future time, thou wouldst separate the people that thirsted after the fount of faith from them that had unbelieving hearts: grant that we who are freed from the fetters of unbelief may proclaim without doubting the Resurrection of thy Son. May he that rose from the grave on the third day give us to rise by the union of three virtues: and that thus made strong by faith, hope, and charity, we may merit the eternal happiness of the Resurrection.

Let us again borrow from the ancient Liturgies the formulas used in the celebration of Easter. We find in the Missal of the Gothic Church of Spain this magnificent Preface; it is an eloquent and fervent summary of all the grand things said by the Fathers regarding the Pasch.

Illatio

Dignum et justum est nos tibi semper cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto individua divinitate regnanti gratias agere, Domine Jesu Christe. Qui nos tam admirabiliter condidisti, tam clementer redemisti. Non laboribus in faciendo fatigatus, non passionibus in redimendo consumptus. Fecit virtus potentialiter quos redemit pietas tam clementer. Totum tibi est in veritate possibile, quia hoc ipsum tibi, excepto huma nitatis privilegio, cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto est essentialiter coæquale. Ita tamen posse te manet, quod velle te decet. Id est ut omnipotens cuneta facias facienda; justus, æquitate censeas judicanda; misericors, elementer perficias coronanda.

Qui, cum solo majestatis terribili nutu, nostrum potueris conterere vexatorem, maluisti eum humilitatis abjectione prosternere. Ex hoc magis approbans nullam majestati tuæ contrariam nobis subsistere aereorum principum tyrannidem, cum sic nostrorum infirmitate membrorum omnem inimici ad nihilum redegeris vanitatem. Etenim superbus se ingemuit gravius corruisse, quando se elisum sensit ab humilitate fuisse. Atque ideo tali divina sapientia antiqui serpentis astutiam consilio vicit, ne violenter addiceret, sed legaliter quateretur. Ut qui transgressorem eo se jure possidere jactabat, quem suis consentientem persuasionibus obligaverat: sic eum justo superatus judicio redderet, cum istum in quo suum nihil repererat occidisset. Quapropter amisit merito reum, qui tollentem mundi peccata crucis supplicio Agnum non timuit mortificare divinum. Disruptis igitur cruce inferni catenis legibusque solutis, ad cœlos migrant cum Christo credentes in Christo. Et cruciandi permanent in inferno qui delectati sunt inviscerati diabolo.

Rediit ecce post triduum victor, ex mortuis vivus, qui ad hoc pro nobis est crucifixus. Innumeris captivorum ovantium stipatur agminibus, qui passionis tempore etiam discipulorum suorum fuerat societate nudatus. Agitatur eo resurgente tremefacta funditus terra, quo descendente concussa sunt et inferna. Cohors militum terrenorum cœlestis regis terribili regressu perculsa diffugiit, et quem dudum incluserat velut reum, jam et ipsa terribilem victa judicem verum confitetur et Deum. Sanctorum corpora vivificata consurgunt: habitaculum quos paulisper jacuerat resurgit gloriosum, eodem resuscitante a quo anima derelicta in inferno non fuerat. Angeli proprio famulantur auctori; splendificus universo mundo oritur dies.

Tripudiant inspirato resurrectionis die, qui mœstificati fuerant passionis ejus vulnere repentino. Agnoscit Mater membra quæ genuit. Maria Magdalene angelo increpante resipuit, ne viventem cum mortuis quærere debuisset. Ad monumentum Petrus cum Johanne concurrit, recentiaque in linteaminibus defuncti et resurgentis vestigia cernit. Latro Christum confessus possessor paradisi factus est primitivus. Impletum est quod dictum fuerat de Filio hominis, tot ante sæcula prophetatum, ut scilicet peccatorum pro nobis manibus traderetur: crucifigeretur, moreretur: inferna terribiliter penetraret, superbos dejiceret, humiles misericorditer exaltaret: cum triumpho inenarrabili a mortuis resurgeret, et cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto omnipotentialiter cunctis dominando regnaret.


Cujus virtutis immensitate permoti, etiam septem vexilla regia beatorum innumeras lucifluarum mittit plebium catervas ad laudem, ac suum quisque pio præveniens officio locum, debitum exsolvit, carnem triumphantis Regis per ævum submisseque adorat, et glorificatis vultibus Agnum, suasque rutilantibus gemmis eximias præfert cum laude coronas. Seraphim quoque divinæ sedis terribilem thronum alarum trino tegmine velant sui famulatus, unum te fatendo cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto Deum trinæ confessionis præconio declarandum, in sede siderea permanentem regnantemque in sæcula sæculorum, incessabili jugitate dicunt: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
It is meet and just that we should ever give thanks to thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, who reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost in one undivided Godhead. Thou didst wonderfully create, and mercifully redeem us. In the creation, thou wast not fatigued by labour; in the redemption, thou wast not consumed by suffering. Thy power powerfully made, thy mercy mercifully redeemed us. Everything is, indeed, possible to thee, for whatsoever is in the Father and the Holy Ghost is equally in thee, who hast nought which they have not, save the privilege of thy human nature. Therefore canst thou do whatsoever it beseemeth thee to wish. As omnipotent, thou doest what thou wiliest to do; as just, thou judgest all things with equity; as merciful, thou crownest with clemency them that deserve a crown.

Though thou couldst have crushed our enemy by a single look of thy dread majesty, yet wouldst thou the rather prostrate him by the excess of thy humility: hereby teaching us, that the princes of this air have no further power against us save that which thy Majesty permits, seeing that by the weakness of our flesh thou didst reduce to nought the haughtiness of the enemy. Verily, the proud one felt his fall the more, in that he knew it was by humility he was crushed. Thus did divine wisdom plan the overthrow of the old and crafty serpent; he would have it to be not a violent but a legal defeat; and that, as Satan boasted that man was legally his slave, because he had persuaded him to consent to the fetters, so he might be forced, by a just judgement, to give up his prey, when he killed him over whom he had no claim. Hence when he made bold to put to the death of the cross the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, he deservedly lost the guilty one. Therefore, the bonds of hell being broken, and its laws abrogated, by the Cross, they that believe in Christ pass with Christ to heaven; and they remain to be tormented in hell, who put their happiness in making themselves the devil’s prey.

Lo! Christ, after three days, has returned conqueror and living from the grave, for unto this was he crucified for us. He that during his Passion was deprived of the company of his disciples, is now surrounded by a countless number of glad captives whom he has set free. He that made hell itself tremble when he descended, now, by his Resurrection, makes the earth shake to its foundations. The soldiers of earth take to flight at the return of heaven’s King; and him whom they had just before guarded as a guilty captive, they now confess to be the terrible Judge and true God, who has conquered them. The bodies of the saints return to life, and rise; their earthly tabernacle, which for a time had lain in dust, rises glorious with him, who permitted not the soul to abide in limbo. The angels pay court to their Creator. A glorious day rises upon the whole earth.

Let them that mourned because of the swift and bloody Passion, now exult with exceeding gladness on this blessed day of the Resurrection. The Mother recognizes the Son of her womb, Mary Magdalen is rebuked by the angel, and ceases to seek among the dead him that is living. Peter, accompanied by John, runs to the sepulchre, and in the windingsheet and cloths sees the traces of his Master, who was dead, but now is risen. The thief that confessed Christ to be God is made the first possessor of Paradise. All that was prophesied long ages before of the Son of Man is now fulfilled; to wit, that for our sake he would be delivered into the hands of sinners; that he would be crucified and put to death; that he would descend into hell, with awful majesty, cast down the proud, and mercifully exalt the humble; that with ineffable triumph he would rise again from the dead, and would reign together with the Father and the Holy Ghost, governing all creatures with great power.

Filled with admiration at the immensity of his power, the seven standard-bearers of the heavenly kingdom send upon the earth countless hosts of bright spirits to give him praise. Each angel hastes to his post, paying the debt of his homage, and humbly adoring the Flesh of the eternally triumphant King, casts at his feet with praise the crown of his glittering gems. The seraphim, who with their six wings veil in reverent worship the awful throne of the Godhead; who, by their triple hymn of praise, confess thee to be one God with the Father and the Holy Ghost, and acknowledge thee as the King that reigns for ever and ever on the throne of heaven; they also say in ceaseless song: Holy, Holy, Holy!

We subjoin to this Mozarabic Preface a hymn taken from the Roman-French Missal of the Middle Ages. It was a favourite Easter hymn with the people of those days; and though somewhat unpolished, is full of vigour. The chant that accompanied it, and which would fatigue any singer of modem times, is, in spite of its occasional want of smoothness, very melodious and expressive.

Sequence

Fulgens præclara
Rutilat per orbem
Hodie dies in qua
Christi lucida
Narrantur ovanter prælia.

De hoste superbo
Quem Christus triumphavit pulchre,
Castra
Illius perimens teterrima.

Infelix culpa Evæ,
Qua caruimus omnes vita.
Felix proles Mariæ,
Qua epulamur modo una.

Benedicta
Sit celsa
Regina illa,
Generans regem
Spoliantem tartara,
Pollentem
Jam in æthera.

Rex in æternum,
Suscipe benignus
Præconia nostra
Sedule tibi canentia.

Patris sedens ad dexteram,
Victor ubique,
Morte superata,
Polorum possidens
Gaudia.

O magna,
O celsa,
O pulchra dementia
Christi melliflua,
O alma.

Laus tibi honorque ac virtus,
Qui nostram antiquam
Leviasti sarcinam.

Roseo cruore
Agni benignissimi
Empta,
Florida
Micat hæc aula.

Potenti virtute nostra
Qui lavit facinora,
Tribuit dona fulgida.

Stupens valde in memet,
Jam miror hodierna,
Tanta
Indignus pandere
Modo sacramenta.

Stirpe Davidica
Ortus de tribu Juda,
Leo potens surrexisti in gloria.
Agnus visus es in terra.

Fundans olim arva:
Regna petens supera:
Justis reddens præmia,
In sæcula
Dignantur ovantia.

Dic impie Zabule,
Quid valet nunc fraus tua?
Igneis nexus loris
A Christi victoria.

Tribus, linguæ, admiramini:
Quis audivit talia
Miracula?
Ut mors mortem sic superaret:
Rei perciperent talem gratiam?

Judæa incredula,
Cur manes adhuc inverecunda?
Respice christicolas,
Qualiter læti canunt inclyta
Redemptori carmina.

Ergo pie Rex Christe,
Nobis laxans crimina,
Solve nexorum vincula.

Electorum agmina
Fac tecum resurgere
Ad beatam gloriam,
Digna rependens merita.

Amen.
Now shines
through the world
the bright fair day,
whereon are triumphantly told
the splendid combats of Christ.

He gloriously conquered
the haughty enemy,
and routed his most
wicked hosts.

Unhappy sin of Eve,
whereby we were all deprived of life!
Happy the fruit of Mary,
whereon we all now feed together!

Blessed
be that noble
Queen,
The mother of the King,
who robbed hell
of its prey,
And now reigns in heaven above.

O eternal King !
graciously receive
the hymns
we devoutly sing to thee.

Thou sittest on the right hand of thy Father.
Universal Conqueror!
thou didst vanquish death,
and enter into the joys
of heaven.

O mercy of Christ! how great,
how sublime,
how beautiful,
how sweet,
how tender art thou!

Praise, honour and power be to thee
that didst lighten
our heavy weight of old!

Purchased by the Blood
of the infinitely merciful Lamb,
the Church glitters
with the ruby flowers
of her redemption.

He who by his mighty power
washed away our sins,
loads us with precious gifts.

Bewildered in my admiration
of this day's wonders,
I am unworthy
to proclaim
its great mysteries.

Son of David!
Child of the tribe of Juda!
thou didst rise in glory, a lion in strength.
Thou wast seen on earth as a gentle lamb.

It was thou that in the beginning didst create the world.
Thou hast ascended to the kingdom above:
And there thou mercifully rewardest
the just with the rewards
of everlasting joy.

Say, Satan, thou wicked spirit,
what now hath thy craft profited thee?
The victory of Christ
has bound thee fast in fetters of fire.

O ye tribes and nations, be astounded!
Who hath heard
of miracles like these?
That death should so conquer death?
That criminals should receive favour like unto this?

O incredulous Jew!
hast thou no shame, that thou canst continue so?
See how the Christians rejoice,
singing to the Redeemer
their holy hymns.

Therefore, O Jesus, our merciful King!
forgive us our sins,
loosen our fetters.

Grant that thy elect:
may rise with thee to heavenly glory,
and to their just merits
give recompense.

Amen.

[1] Exod. xii 11.
[2] Exod. xii 29.
[3] St Luke xix 44.
[4] Ps. lxxxvii 6.
[5] Isa. xvi 1.
[6] Rom. viii 21.
[7] Ezech. ix 6.
[8] Gal. iv 19.
[9] 1 St John v 4.
[10] St Matt, xxviii 18.

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