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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.

This volume opens to us the second part of the Liturgical Year, beginning the long period of the Time after Pentecost. It treats of the feasts of the most holy Trinity, of Corpus Christi, and of the sacred Heart of Jesus. These three feasts require to be explained apart. Their dates depend on that of Easter; and yet they are detached, if we consider their object, from the moveable cycle, whose aim is to bring before us, each year, the successive, and so to speak historic, memories of our Lord’s mysteries. After the sublime drama, which has, by gradually presenting to us the facts of our Redeemer’s history, shown us the divine economy of the redemption, these feasts immediately follow, and give us a deep and dogmatic teaching: a teaching which is a marvellous synthesis, taking in the whole body of Christian doctrine.

The Holy Ghost has come down upon the earth, in order to sanctify it. Faith being the one basis of all sanctification, and the source of love, the holy Spirit would make it the starting-point of His divine workings in the soul. To this end, He inspires the Church, which has sprung up into life under the influence of His impetuous breathing, to propose at once to the faithful that doctrinal summary, which is comprised in the three feasts immediately coming after Pentecost. The volumes following the present one will show us the holy Spirit continuing His work, and, on the solid foundations of the faith He established at the outset, building the entire superstructure of the Christian virtues.

This was the idea which the author of the Liturgical year was busy developing in the second part of his work, when death came upon him; and the pen that had begun this volume was put by obedience into the hands of one, who now comes before the faithful, asking their prayers for the arduous task he has undertaken, of continuing the not quite finished work of his beloved father and master. He begs of them to beseech our Lord, that He Himself will vouchsafe to bring to a successful termination an undertaking that was begun for His honour and glory, and that has already produced so much fruit in the souls of men.

Br. L.F. O.S.B.

Solesmes, May 10, 1879.

 

For more information on Time after Pentecost, visit here.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

When the number of the Sundays after Pentecost is only twenty-three, the Mass for to-day is taken from the twenty-fourth and last Sunday; and the Mass appointed for the twenty-third is said on the previous Saturday, or on the nearest day of the preceding week which is not impeded by a double or semi-double feast.

But, under all circumstances, the antiphonary ends to-day. The Introits, Graduals, Communions, and Postcommunions, which are given below, are to be repeated on each of the Sundays till Advent, which vary in number each year. Our readers will remember that, in the time of St. Gregory, Advent was longer than we now have it;[1] and that, in those days, its weeks commenced in that part of the cycle which is now occupied by the last Sundays after Pentecost. This is one of the reasons for the lack of liturgical riches in the composition of the dominical Masses which follow the twenty-third.

Even on this one, the Church, without losing sight of the last day, used to lend a thought to the new season which was fast approaching, the season, that is, of preparation for the great feast of Christmas. There was read, as Epistle, the following passage from Jeremias, which was afterwards, in several Churches, inserted in the Mass of the first Sunday of Advent: 'Behold! the days come, saith the Lord, and I will raise up to David a just branch: and a King shall reign, and shall be wise: and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In those days, shall Juda be saved, and Israel shall dwell confidently: and this is the name that they shall call Him: The Lord our Just One. Therefore, behold the days come, saith the Lord, and they shall say no more: The Lord liveth, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt! But: The Lord liveth, who hath brought out, and brought hither, the seed of the house of Israel, from the land of the north, and out of all the lands, to which I had cast them forth! And they shall dwell in their own land.’[2]

As is evident, this passage is equally applicable to the conversion of the Jews and the restoration of Israel, which are to take place at the end of the world. This was the view taken by the chief liturgists of the middle ages, in order to explain thoroughly the Mass of the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost. Bearing in mind that, originally, the Gospel of this Sunday was that of the multiplication of the five loaves, let us listen to the profound and learned Abbot Rupert, who, better than anyone, will teach us the mysteries of this day, which brings to a close the grand and varied Gregorian melodies.

'Holy Church,’ he says,’is so intent on paying her debt of supplication, and prayer, and thanksgiving, for all men, as the apostle demands,[3] that we find her giving thanks also for the salvation of the children of Israel, who, she knows, are one day to be united with her. And, as their remnants are to be saved at the end of the world,[4] so, on this last Sunday of the year, she delights in them, as though they were already her members. In the Introit, calling to mind the prophecies concerning them, she thus sings every year: My thoughts are thoughts of peace, and not of affliction. Verily, His thoughts are those of peace, for He promises to admit to the banquet of His grace the Jews, who are His brethren according to the flesh; thus realizing what had been prefigured in the history of the patriarch Joseph. The brethren of Joseph, having sold him, came to him when they were tormented by hunger; for then he ruled over the whole land of Egypt. He recognized them; he received them; and made, together with them, a great feast. So, too, our Lord, who is now reigning over the whole earth, and is giving the bread of life, in abundance, to the Egyptians (that is, to the Gentiles), will see coming to Him the remnants of the children of Israel. He, whom they had denied and put to death, will admit them to His favour, will give them a place at His table, and the true Joseph will feast delightedly with His brethren.

‘The benefit of this divine Table is signified, in the Office of this Sunday, by the Gospel, which tells us of our Lord’s feeding the multitude with five loaves. For it will be then that Jesus will open to the Jews the five Books of Moses, which are now being carried whole, and not yet broken; yea, carried by a child, that is to say, this people itself, who, up to that time, will have been cramped up in the narrowness of a childish spirit.

‘Then will be fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremias, which is so aptly placed before this Gospel: “They shall say no more: The Lord liveth, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt! But, the Lord liveth, who hath brought out the seed of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands into which they had been cast."

‘Thus delivered from the spiritual bondage which still holds them, they will sing with all their heart the words of thanksgiving as we have them in the Gradual: Thou hast saved us, O Lord, from them that afflict us!"

‘The words we use in the Offertory: “From the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord," clearly allude to the same events; for, on that day, His brethren will say to the great and true Joseph: “We beseech thee to forget the wickedness of thy brethren!”[5] The Communion: “Amen, I say to you, all things whatsoever ye ask, when ye pray," etc., is the answer made by that same Joseph, as it was by the first:[6] “Fear not! Ye thought evil against me : but God turned it into good, that He might exalt me, as at present ye see, and might save many people. Fear not, therefore, I will feed you, and your children.”’[7]

 

Mass

 

The Introit, which we have just had explained to us by Rupert, is taken from the Prophet Jeremias,[8] as was the ancient Epistle.

Introit

Dicit Dominus : Ego cogito cogitationes pacis, et non afflictionis: invocabitis me, et ego exaudiam vos: et reducam captivitatem vestram de cunctis locis.

Ps. Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob. Gloria Patri. Dicit Dominus.

The Lord saith : I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction; ye shall call upon me, and I will hear you: and I will bring back your captive people from all places. 

Ps. Thou, O Lord, hast blessed thy land: thou hast brought back the captive children of Jacob. Glory, etc. The Lord.


Prayer for pardon is continually on the lips of the Christian people, because the weakness of human nature is ever making itself felt, here below, even by the just man.[9] God knows our frailty, and He is always ready to pardon us; but it is on the condition that we humbly acknowledge our faults, and have confidence in His mercy. These are the sentiments which suggest to the Church the words of the Collect.

Collect

Absolve, quæsumus Domine, tuorum delicta populorum : ut a peccatorum nexibus, quæ pro nostra fragilitate contraximus, tua benigniate liberemur. Per Dominum.

Absolve, O Lord, we beseech thee, the sins of thy people; that, by thy clemency, we may be delivered from the bonds of sins contracted by our own frailty. Through, etc.


The other Collects, as on page 120.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Philippenses.
Cap. iii. et iv.

Fratres, Imitatores mei estote, et observate eos, qui ita ambulant, sicut habetis formam nostram. Multi enim ambulant, quos sæpe dicebam vobis (nunc autem et flens dico) inimicos crucis Christi : quorum finis interitus : quorum deus venter est : et gloria in confusione ipsorum, qui terrena sapiunt. Nostra autem conversatio in cœlis est: unde etiam Salvatorem exspectamus Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, qui reformabit corpus humilitatis nostræ, configuratum corpori claritatis suæ, secundum operationem, qua etiam possit subjicere sibi omnia. Itaque, fratres mei charissimi et desideratissimi, gaudium meum et corona mea : sic state in Domino, charissimi. Evodiam rogo, et Syntichen deprecor idipsum sapere in Domino. Etiam rogo et te, germane compar, adjuva illas, quæ mecum laboraverunt in Evangelio, cum Clemente, et ceteris adjutoribus meis, quorum nomina sunt in libro vitæ.

Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Philippians.
Chapters iii. and iv.

Brethren: Be followers of me, and observe them who walk so as you have our model. For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping) that they are enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame: who mind earthly things. But our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will reform the body of our lowness, made like to the body of his glory, according to the operation whereby also he is able to subdue all things unto himself. Therefore, my dearly beloved brethren, and most desired, my joy, and my crown: so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beg of Evodia, and I beseech Syntyche, to be of one mind in the Lord. And I entreat thee also, my sincere companion, help those women that have laboured with me in the Gospel, with Clement and the rest of my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life.


The Clement here mentioned by the apostle was St. Peter’s second successor. Very frequently, the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost comes close upon the feast of this great Pope and Martyr of the first century. Disciple of Paul, and, later on, in close intimacy with Peter, and named by the Vicar of Christ as the fittest to succeed him in the apostolic chair, Clement, as we shall see on November 23, was one of the saints most venerated by the faithful in those early times. The mention made of him in the Office of the time, just before his appearance on the cycle of holy Church, excited the Christian people to joy, and roused their fervour; it reminded them, that one of their best and dearest protectors would soon be visiting them.

At the time when St. Paul was writing to the Philippians, Clement, who was long to survive the apostles, was prominently one of those men spoken of in our Epistle, those illustrious models, who were called to perpetuate in the flock confided to their care[10] the pattern of holy living; and that, not so much by their zealous teaching, as by the force of example. The Church, the one true bride of the divine Word, was known by the incommunicable privilege of possessing within her the truth; not only its dead letter, but its ever-living self. The Holy Ghost has not kept the Books of sacred Scripture from passing into the hands of the sects separated from the centre of unity; but He has reserved to the Church the treasure of tradition, which transmits, surely and fully, from one generation to another, the word which is life and light.[11] This tradition is kept up by the truth and the holiness of the Man-God, ever existing in His members, ever tangible and visible in the Church.[12] Holiness, which is inherent in the Church, is tradition in its purest and strongest form; because it is the truth, not only preached, but reduced to action and work,[13]as it was in Christ Jesus, and as it is in God.[14] It is the deposit,[15] which the disciples of the apostles had the mission to hand faithfully down to their successors, just as the apostles themselves had received it from the Word, who had come upon the earth.

Hence, St. Paul did not content himself with entrusting dogmatic teaching to his disciple Timothy;[16] he said to him : 'Be thou an example to the faithful, in word, and in living.,[17] He said much the same to Titus: ‘Show thyself an example of good works, in doctrine and in integrity of life.’[18] He repeated to all: 'Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ.'[19]He sent Timothy to the Corinthians, that he might remind them, or, where it was necessary, might teach them, not only the dogmas of his Gospel, but likewise his ways in Christ Jesus, that is, his manner of life. For this manner of life of the apostle was, in a certain measure, his teaching everywhere in all the Churches;[20] and he lauded the faithful of Corinth for being mindful to imitate him in all things, which was a keeping to the tradition of Christ.[21] As for the Thessalonians, they had so thoroughly entered into this teaching, taken from their apostle’s life, that, as St. Paul says of them, they had become a pattern to all believers; this silent teaching of Christian revelation, which they showed forth in their conduct, made it superfluous for the messengers of the Gospel to say much.[22]

The Church is a magnificent temple, which is built up, to the glory of God, of the living stones, which let themselves be set into its walls.[23] The constructing of those sacred walls on the plan laid down by Christ is a work in which all are permitted to share. What one does by word,[24] another does by good example;[25] but both of them build, both of them edify the holy city; and, as it was in the apostolic age, so always; example is more powerful than word, unless that word be supported by the authority of holiness in him who speaks it, unless, that is, he lead a life according to the perfection taught by the Gospel.

But, as the giving of edification to those around him is an obligation incumbent on the Christian—an obligation imposed both by the charity he owes to his neighbour, and by the zeal he should have for the house of God—so likewise, under pain of presumption, he should seek his own edification in the conduct of others. The reading of good books, the study of the lives of the saints, the observing, as our Epistle says, those holy people with whom he lives, all this will be an incalculable aid to him, in the work of his own personal sanctification and in the fulfilment of God’s purposes in this regard. This devout intercourse with the elect of earth and of heaven will keep us away from men who are enemies of the cross of Christ and mind earthly things, and put their happiness in carnal pleasures. It will make our conversation be in heaven. Preparing for the day which cannot now be far off, the day of the coming of our Lord, we shall stand fast in Him,in spite of the falling off of so many amongst us, who, by the current of the world’s fashion, are hurried into perdition. The troubles and sufferings of the last times will but intensify our hope in God; for they will make us long all the more ardently for the happy day when our Redeemer will appear and complete the work of the salvation of His servants by imparting to their very flesh the brightness of His own divine Body. Let us, as our apostle says, be of one mind in the Lord; and then, as he bids his dear Philippians, let us rejoice in the Lord always, for the Lord is nigh.[26]

Gradual

Liberasti nos, Domine, ex affligentibus nos : et eos qui nos oderunt, confudisti.
V. In Deo laudabimur tota die, et in nomine tuo confitebimur in sæcula.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine : Domine exaudi orationem meam. Alleluia.

Thou hast saved us, O Lord, from them that afflict us : and hast put them to shame that hate us.
V. In God shall we glory all the day long : and in thy name we will give praise for ever. 
Alleluia, alleluia. V. Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my prayer. Alleluia.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.
Cap. ix.

In illo tempore : Loquente Jesu ad turbas, ecce princeps unus accessit, et adorabat eum, dicens: Domine, filia mea modo defuncta est: sed veni, impone manum tuam super eam, et vivet. Et surgens Jesus sequebatur eum, et discipuli ejus. Et ecce mulier, quæ sanguinis fluxum patiebatur duodecim annis, accessit retro, et tetigit fimbriam vestimenti ejus. Dicebat enim intra se : Si tetigero tantum vestimentum ejus, salva ero. At Jesus conversus, et videns eam, dixit : Confide, filia, fides tua te salvam fecit. Et salva facta est mulier ex illa hora. Et cum venisset Jesus in domum principis, et vidisset tibicines, et turbam tumultuantem, dicebat : Recedite, non est enim mortua puella, sed dormii. Et deridebant eum. Et cum ejecta esset turba, intravit, et tenuit manum ejus. Et surrexit puella. Et exiit fama hæc in universam terram illam.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Ch. ix.

At that time : As Jesus was speaking to the multitude: Behold a certain ruler came up and adored him, saying : Lord, my daughter is even now dead; but come lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus rising up followed him, with his disciples. And behold a woman who was troubled with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment. For she said within herself: If I shall touch only his garment I shall be healed. But Jesus turning and seeing her, said : Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus was come into the house of the ruler, and saw the minstrels and the multitude making a rout, he said : Give place: for the girl is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. And when the multitude was put forth, he went in and took her by the hand. And the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that country.


Although the choice of this Gospel for the twenty-third Sunday is not of great antiquity, yet is it in most perfect keeping with the post-pentecostal liturgy, and confirms what we have stated relative to the character of this portion of the Church’s year. St. Jerome tells us, in the homily selected for the day, that the hemorrhoissa, healed by our Lord, is a type of the Gentile world; whilst the Jewish people is represented by the daughter of the ruler of the Synagogue.[27] This latter is not to be restored to life until the former has been cured; and this is precisely the mystery we are so continually commemorating during these closing weeks of the liturgical year, viz., the fullness of the Gentiles recognizing and welcoming the divine Physician, and the blindness of Israel at last giving way to the light.[28]

The liturgy at this close of the year continually alludes to the end of the world. The earth seems to be sinking away, down into some deep abyss; but it is only that it may shake off the wicked from its surface, and then it will come up again blooming in light and love. After the divine realities of this year of grace, we ought to be capable of feeling a thrill of admiration at the mysterious, yet, at the same time, the strong and sweet ways of eternal Wisdom.[29] At the beginning, when man was first created, sin soon followed, breaking up the harmony of God’s beautiful world, and throwing man off the divine path where his Creator had placed him. Wickedness went on increasing, until God’s mercy fell upon one family. The light which beamed on that privileged favourite only showed more plainly the thick darkness in which the rest of mankind were enveloped. The Gentiles, abandoned to their misery, all the more terrible because they had caused it and loved it, saw God’s favours all bestowed on Israel, whilst they themselves were disregarded, and wished to be so. Even when the time came for original sin to be remedied, it seemed to be the very time for the final reprobation of the Gentiles; for the salvation that came down from heaven in the person of the Man-God was seen to be exclusively directed towards the Jews and the lost sheep of the house of Israel.[30]

But the people that had been treated with so much predilection, and whose fathers and first rulers had so ardently prayed for the coming of the Messias, was no longer in the position to which it had been raised by the holy patriarchs and prophets. Its beautiful religion, founded on desire and hope, was then nothing but a sterile expectancy, which kept it motionless and unable to advance a single step towards its Redeemer. As to its Law, Israel then minded nothing but the letter, and, at last, turned it into a mummy of sectarian formalism. Now, whilst in spite of all this sinful apathy it was mad with jealousy, pretending that no one else had any right to heaven’s favours, the Gentile, whose ever-increasing misery urged him to go in search of some deliverer, found one, and recognized him in Jesus the Saviour of the world. He was confident that this Jesus could cure him; so he took the bold initiative, went up to Him, and had the merit of being the first to be healed. True, our Lord had treated him with an apparent disdain; but that had only had the effect of intensifying his humility, and humility has a power of making way anywhere, even into heaven itself.[31]

Israel, therefore, was now made to wait. One of the Psalms he sang ran thus: ‘Ethiopia shall be the first to stretch out her hands to God.’[32] It is now the turn for Israel to recover, by the pangs of a long abandonment, the humility which had won the divine promises for his fathers, the humility which alone could merit his seeing those promises fulfilled.

By this time, however, the word of salvation has made itself heard throughout all the nations, healing and saving all who desired the blessing. Jesus, who has been delayed on the road, comes at last to the house towards which He first purposed to direct His sacred steps; He reaches, at last, the house of Juda, where the daughter of Sion is in a deep sleep. His almighty compassion drives away from the poor abandoned one the crowd of false teachers and lying prophets, who had sent her into that mortal sleep, by all the noise of their vain babbling: He casts forth for ever from her house those insulters of Himself, who are quite resolved to keep the dead one dead. Taking the poor daughter by the hand, He restores her to life, and to all the charm of her first youth; proving thus, that her apparent death had been but a sleep, and that the long delay of dreary ages could never belie the word of God, which He had given to Abraham, His servant.[33]

Now therefore, let this world hold itself in readiness for its final transformation; for the tidings of the restoration of the daughter of Sion puts the last seal to the accomplishment of the prophecies. It remains now but for the graves to give back their dead.[34] The valley of Josaphat is preparing for the great meeting of the nations;[35] Mount Olivet is once more to have Jesus standing upon it,[36] but this time as Lord and Judge![37]

Offertory

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine : Domine, exaudi orationem meam : de profundis clamavi ad te, Domine.

Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord : Lord, hear my prayer : out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord!


The service we pay to God is, of itself, far beneath what His sovereign Majesty deserves; but the Sacrifice, which every day constitutes part of our service, ennobles it even to an infinite worth, and supplies all our own deficiencies of merit. This is what we are told in this Sunday’s Secret.

Secret

Pro nostræ servitutis augmento sacrificium tibi, Domine, laudis offerimus: ut, quod immeritis contulisti, propitius exequaris. Per Dominum.

We offer thee, O Lord, this sacrifice of praise, as a repeated token of our homage; that thou mayst mercifully accomplish in us, what thou hast already granted beyond our deserts. Through, etc.


The other Secrets, as on page 130.


Communion

Amen dico vobis, quidquid orantes petitis, credite quia accipietis, et fiet vobis.

Amen I say unto you: all things whatsoever ye ask for when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive, and it shall be done unto you.


Having, by these sacred mysteries, entered into a participation of divine life, let us beseech our Lord, that we may no longer be subject to the dangers of this world. Let us say with the Church:

Postcommunion

Quæsumus, omnipotens Deus : ut, quos divina tribuis participatione gaudere, humanis non sinas subjacere periculis. Per Dominum.

We beseech thee, O almighty God, that thou wouldst not permit to be subject to the dangers of this human life, those whom thou hast admitted to the joyful participation of thy divine life. Through, etc.


The other Postcommunions, as on page 131.


VESPERS

 


The psalms, capitulum, hymn, and versicle, as above, pages 71-81.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

At Jesus conversus et videns eam, dixit: Confide, filia, fides tua te salvam fecit. Alleluia.

Oremus.

Absolve, quæsumus Domine, tuorum delicta populorum: ut a peccatorum nexibus, quæ pro nostra fragilitate contraximus, tua benignitate liberemur. Per Dominum.

But Jesus turning, and seeing her, said : Be of good heart, daughter! thy faith hath made thee whole. Alleluia.

Let us Pray.

Absolve, O Lord, we beseech thee, the sins of thy people; that, by thy clemency, we may be delivered from the bonds of sins contracted by our own frailty. Through, etc.


[1] See our ‘Advent,’ chap, i., page 23 et seq.
[2] Jer. xxiii. 5-8.
[3] 1 Tim. ii. 1.
[4] Rom. ix. 27.
[5] Gen. 1. 17.
[6] Ibid. 19-21.
[7] Rup., De Div. Off., xii. 28.
[8] Jer. xxix.
[9] Prov. xxiv. 16.
[10] 1 St. Pet. v. 3.
[11] St. John i. 4.
[12] 1 St. John i. 1.
[13] 1 Thess. ii. 13.
[14] St. John v. 17.
[15] 1 Tim. vi. 20.
[16] 2 Tim. ii. 2.
[17] 1 Tim. iv. 12.
[18] Tit. ii. 7.
[19] 1 Cor. iv. 16.
[20] Ibid, 17.
[21] Ibid. xi. 1-2.
[22] 1 These, i. 5-8.
[23] Eph. ii. 20-22.
[24] 1 Cor. xiv. 3.
[25] Rom. xiv. 19.
[26] Phil. iv. 4, 5.
[27] S. Hieron., in Matt., cap. ix.
[28] Rom. xi. 25.
[29] Wisd. viii.l.
[30] St. Matt. xv. 24.
[31] Ecclus. xxxv. 21.
[32] Ps. lxvii. 32.
[33] St. Luke i. 54, 55.
[34] Dan. xii. 1, 2.
[35] Joel iii. 2.
[36] Acts i. 11.
[37] Zach. xiv. 4.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Introit

Dicit Dominus : Ego cogito cogitationes pacis, et non afflictionis: invocabitis me, et ego exaudiam vos: et reducam captivitatem vestram de cunctis locis.


Ps. Benedixisti, Domine, terramtuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob. Gloria Patri. Dicit Dominus.

The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction; ye shall call upon me, and I will hear you: and I will bring back your captive people from all places.


Pa. Thou, O Lord, hast blessed thy land: thou hast brought back the captive children of Jacob. Glory, etc. The Lord.


Collect

Omnipotens, sempiterne Deus, infirmitatem nostram propitius respice : atque ad protegendum nos, dexteram tuæ majestatis extende. Per Dominum.

O almighty and eternal God, mercifully behold our weakness; and stretch forth the right hand of thy majesty to protect us. Through, etc.


The other Collects, as on page 120.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos.

Cap. xii.

Fratres : Nolite esse prudentes apud vosmetipsos : nulli malum pro malo reddentes : providentes bona non tantum coram Deo, sed etiam coram omnibus hominibus; si fieri potest, quod ex vobis est, cum omnibus hominibus pacem habentes : non vosmetipsos defendentes, diarissimi, sed date locum iræ; scriptum est enim: Mihi vindicta, ego retribuam, dicit Dominus. Sed si esurierit inimicus tuus, ciba ilium; si sitit, potum da illi : hoc enim faciens, carbones ignis congeres super caput ejus. Noli vinci a malo, sed vince in bono malum.

Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Romans.

Ch. xii.

Brethren: Be not wise in your own conceits. To no man rendering evil for evil. Providing good things, not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as is in you, having peace with all men. Not revenging yourselves, my dearly beloved, but give place unto wrath. For, it is written; Revenge to me; I will repay, saith the Lord. But, if thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat : if he thirst, give him to drink: for, doing this, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.


Gradual

Liberasti nos, Domine, ex affligentibus nos: et eos qui nos oderunt, confudisti.

Thou hast saved us, O Lord, from them that afflict us: and hast put them to shame that hate us.


V. In Deo laudabimur tota die, et in nomine tuo confitebimur in sæcula.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine : Domine, exaudi orationem meam. Alleluia.

V. In God shall we glory all the day long; and in thy name we will give praise for ever.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my prayer. Alleluia.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. viii.

In illo tempore : Cum descendisset Jesus de monte, secutæ sunt eum turbæ multæ; et ecce leprosus veniens, adorabat eum dicens : Domine, si vis, potes me mundare. Et extendens Jesus manum, tetigit eum dicens : Volo, mundare. Et confestim mundata est lepra ejus. Et ait illi Jesus : Vide, nemini dixeris; sed vade, ostende te sacerdoti, et offer munus, quod præcepit Moyses, in testimonium illis. Cum autem introisset Caphamaum, accessit ad eum centurio, rogans eum et dicens : Domine puer meus jacet in domo paralyticus, et male torquetur. Et ait illi Jesus : Ego veniam et curabo eum. Et respondens centuno, ait : Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum; sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur puer meus. Nam et ego homo sum sub potestate constitutus, habens sub me milites, et dico huic : Vade, et vadit; et alii : Veni, et venit; et servo meo : Fac hoc, et facit. Audiens autem Jesus, miratus est, et sequentibus se dixit : Amen dico vobis, non inveni tantam fìdem in Israel. Dico autem vobis, quod multi ab Oriente et Occidente venient, et recumbent cum Abraham et Isaac et Jacob in regno cœlorum; filii autem regni ejicientur in tenebras exteriores; ibi erit fletus et stridor dentium. Et dixit Jesus centurioni : Vade, et sicut credidisti, fiat tibi. Et sanatus est puer in illa hora.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. viii.

At that time: When Jesus was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him; and behold, a leper came and adored him, saying: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus stretching forth his hand, touched him, saying: I will! be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith to him : See thou tell no man; but go, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them. And when he had entered into Capharnaum, there came to him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying: Lord, my servant lieth at home sicl of the palsy, and is grievously tormented. And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him. And the centurion making answer, said : Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this: Go! and he goeth; and to another : Come! and he cometh; and to my servant: Do this! and he doeth it. And Jesus hearing this, marvelled, and said to them that followed him: Amen, I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness : there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said to the centurion: Go! and, as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. And the servant was healed at the same hour.


Offertory

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine : Domine, exaudi orationem meam : de profundis clamavi ad te, Domine.

Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my prayer: out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord.


Secret

Hæc hostia, Domine quæsumus, emundet nostra delicta : et ad sacrificium celebrandum subditorum tibi corpora, mentesque sanctificet. Per Dominum.

May this offering, O Lord, we beseech thee, cleanse away our sins : and sanctify the bodies and souls of thy servants, to prepare them for celebrating this sacrifice. Through, etc.


The other Secrets, as on page 130.


Communion

Amen dico vobis, quidquid orantes petitis, credite quia accipietis, et fiet vobis.

Amen I say unto you: all things whatsoever ye ask for when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive, and it shall be done unto you.


Postcommunion

Quos tantis, Domine, largiris uti mysteriis: quæsumus; ut effectibus nos eorum veraciter aptare digneris. Per Dominum.

We beseech thee, O Lord, that we, to whom thou vouchsafest the use of these great mysteries, may be made truly worthy to receive the benefits thereof. Through, etc.


The other Postcommunions, as on page 131.


VESPERS

 


The psalms, capitulum, hymn, and versicle, as above, pages 71-81.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Domine, si vis, potes me mundare; et ait Jesus: Volo, mundare.

Oremus.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, infirmitatem nostram propitius respice : atque ad protegendum nos, dexteram tuæ majestatis extende. Per Dominum.

Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus saith : I will! Be thou made clean!

Let us Pray.

O almighty and eternal God, mercifully behold our weakness; and stretch forth the right hand of thy majesty to protect us. Through, etc.


 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Introit

Dicit Dominus: Ego cogito cogitationes pacis, et non afflictionis : invocabitis me, et ego exaudiam vos: et reducam captivitatem vestram de cunctis locis.

Ps. Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob Gloria Patri. Dicit Dominus.

The Lord saith : I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction : ye shall call upon me, and I will hear you: and I will bring back your captive people from all places.

Ps. Thou, O Lord, hast blessed thy land: thou hast brought back the captive children of Jacob. Glory, etc. The Lord.


Collect

Deus, qui nos in tantis periculis constitutos, pro humana scis fragilitate non posse subsistere : da nobis salutem mentis et corporis; ut ea, quæ pro peccatis nostris patimur, te adjuvante, vincamus. Per Dominum.

O God, who knowest that, through human frailty, we are not able to subsist amidst such great dangers; grant us health of soul and body; that, whatsoever things we suffer because of our sins, we may conquer them, by thine assistance. Through, etc.


The other Collects, as on page 120.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos.

Cap. xiii.

Fratres, Nemini quidquam debeatis, nisi ut invicem diligatis : qui enim diligit proximum, legem implevit. Nam : Non adulterabis; Non occides; Non furaberis; Non falsum testimonium dices; Non concupisces, et si quod est aliud mandatum, in hoc verbo instauratur: Diliges proximum tuum sicut teipsum. Dilectio proximi malum non operatur. Plenitudo ergo legis est dilectio.

Lesson of the Epistle of St. Pau the Apostle to the Romans.

Ch. xiii.

Brethren : Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth his neighbour, hath fulfilled the law. For, thou shalt not commit adultery : Thou shalt not kill: Thou shalt not steal: Thou shalt not bear false witness: Thou shalt not covet: and, if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The love of our neighbour worketh no evil. Love, therefore, is the fulfilling of the law.


Gradual

Liberasti nos, Domine, ex affligentibus nos : et eos, qui nos oderunt, confudisti.

V. In Deo laudabimur tota die, et in nomine tuo confìtebimur in sæcula.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine : Domine, exaudi orationem meam. Alleluia.

Thou hast saved us, O Lord, from them that afflict us; and hast put them to shame that hate us.

V. In God shall we glory all the day long; and in thy name we will give praise for ever.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord : Lord, hear my prayer. Alleluia.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. viii.

In illo tempore : Ascendente Jesu in naviculam, secuti sunt eum discipuli ejus : et ecce motus magnus factus est in mari, ita ut navicula operiretur fluctibus, ipse vero dormiebat. Et accesserunt ad eum discipuli ejus, et suscitaverunt eum dicentes : Domine, salva nos, perimus. Et dicit eis Jesus : Quid timidi estis, modicæ fidei? Tunc surgens, imperavit ventis etmari; et facta est tranquillitas magna. Porro homines mirati sunt, dicentes : Qualis est hic, quia venti et mare obediunt ei?

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. viii.

At that time : When Jesus entered into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat wss covered with waves; but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awaked him, saying: Lord! save us, we perish. And Jesus saith to them : Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up, he commanded the winds and the sea, and there came a great calm. But the men wondered, saying: What manner of man is this? for the winds and the sea obey him!


Offertory

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine : Domine, exaudi orationem meam : de profundis clamavi ad te, Domine.

Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord : Lord, hear my prayer: out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord.


Secret

Concede, quæsumus omnipotens Deus, ut hujus sacrificii munus oblatum, fragilitatem nostram ab omni malo purget semper, et muniat. Per Dominum.

Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that the offering of this sacrifice may always cleanse our frailty from all evil, and be a protection to us. Through, etc.


The other Secrets, as on page 130.


Communion

Amen dico vobis, quidquid orantes petitis, credite quia accipietis, et fiet vobis.

Amen I say unto you; all things whatsoever ye ask for when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive, and it shall be done unto you.


Postcommunion

Munera tua nos, Deus, a delectationibus terrenis expediant, et cœlestibus semper instaurent alimentis. Per Dominum.

May thy gifts, of which we have partaken, O God, detach us from all earthly pleasures, and ever refresh and strengthen us with heavenly food. Through, etc.


The other Postcommunions, as on page 131.


 

VESPERS

 


The psalms, capitulum, hymn, and versicle, as above, pages 71-81.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Domine, salva nos, perimus : impera, et fac, Deus, tranquillitatem.

Oremus.

Deus, qui nos in tantis periculis constitutos, pro humana scis fragilitate non posse subsistere : da nobis salutem mentis et corporis; ut ea, quæ pro peccatis nostris patimur, te adjuvante, vincamus. Per Dominum.

Save us, O Lord, we perish: command, O God, and make the sea calm.

Let us Pray.

O God, who knowest that, through human frailty, we are not able to subsist amidst such great dangers; grant us health of soul and body; that, whatsoever things we suffer because of our sins, we may conquer them, by thine assistance. Through, etc.


 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Introit

Dicit Dominus: Ego cogito cogitationes pacis, et non afflictionis : invocabitis me, et ego exaudiam vos: et reducam captivitatem vestram de cunctis locis.

Ps. Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob. Gloria Patri. Dicit Dominus.

The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction; ye shall call upon me, and I will hear you : and I will bring back your captives from all places.

Ps. Thou, O Lord, hast blessed thy land: thou hast brought back the captive children of Jacob. Glory, etc. The Lord.


Collect

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut semper rationabilia meditantes, quæ tibi sunt placita et dictis exsequamur, et factis. Per Dominum.

Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that, ever meditating on such things as arc reasonable, we may, both in word and deed, carry out the things which are pleasing unto thee. Through, etc.


The other Collects, as on page 120.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Thessalonicenses.
1 Cap. i.

Fratres, Gratias agimus Deo semper pro omnibus vobis, memoriam vestri facientes in orationibus nostris sine intermissione, memores operis fidei vestra, et laboris et charitatis, et sustinentiæ spei Domini nostri Jesu Christi, ante Deum et Patrem nostrum : scientes, fratres, dilecti a Deo, electionem vestram : quia Evangelium nostrum non fuit ad vos in sermone tantum, sed et in virtute, et in Spiritu sancto, et in plenitudine multa, sicut scitis quales fuerimus in vobis propter vos. Et vos imitatores nostri facti estis, et Domini, excipientes verbum in tribulatione multa, cum gaudio Spiritus sancti : ita ut facti sitis forma omnibus credentibus in Macedonia, et in Achaia. A vobis enim diffamatus est sermo Domini, non solum in Macedonia, et in Achaia, sed et in omni loco fìdes vestra, quæ est ad Deum, profecta est, ita ut non sit nobis necesse quidquam loqui. Ipsi enim de nobis annuntiant qualem introitum habuerimus ad vos : et quomodo conversi estis ad Deum a simulacris, servire Deo vivo, et vero, et exspectare Filium ejus de cœlis (quem suscitavit ex mortuis) Jesum, qui eripuit nos ab ira ventura.
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians.
1 Ch. i.

Brethren : We give thanks to God always for you all: making a remembrance of you in our prayers without ceasing: being mindful of the work of your faith, and labour and charity, and of the enduring of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before God and our Father; knowing, brethren beloved of God, your election. For, our Gospel hath not been to you in word only, but in power also, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much fullness, as you know what manner of men we have been among you for your sakes. And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, receiving the word in much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that you were made a pattern to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you was spread abroad the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and in Achaia, but also in every place your faith, which is towards God, is gone forth, so that we need not to speak anything. For they themselves relate of us, what manner of entering in we had unto you : and how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven (whom he raised up from the dead) Jesus, who hath delivered us from the wrath to come.

Gradual

Liberasti nos, Domine, ex affligentibus nos; et eos, qui nos oderunt, confudisti.
V. In Deo laudabimur tota die; et in nomine tuo confitebimur in sæcula.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine : Domine, exaudi orationem meam. Alleluia.

Thou hast saved us, O Lord, from them that afflict us : and hast put them to shame that hate us.
V. In God shall we glory all the day long; and in thy name we will give praise for ever.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. Alleluia.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xiii.

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus turbis parabolam hanc : Simile est regnum cœlorum grano sinapis, quod accipiens homo seminavit in agro suo : quod minimum quidem est omnibus seminibus : cum autem creverit, majus est omnibus oleribus, et fit arbor, ita ut volucres cœli veniant, et habitent in ramis ejus. Aliam parabolam locutus est eis: Simile est regnum cœlorum fermento, quod acceptum mulier abscondit in farinæ satis tribus, donec fermentatum est totum. Hæc omnia locutus est Jesus in parabolis ad turbas et sine parabolis non loquebatur eis : ut impleretur quod dictum erat per prophetam, dicentem: Aperiam in parabolis os meum, eructabo abscondita a constitutione mundi.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xiii.

At that time : Jesus spoke to the multitude this parable : The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Which is the least indeed of all seeds; but, when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and dwell in the branches thereof. Another parable he spoke to them : The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened. All these things Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes, and without parables he did not speak to them : that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying : I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.

 


Offertory

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine : Domine, exaudi orationem meam: de profundis clamavi ad te, Domine.

Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord : Lord, hear my prayer : out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord!


Secret

Hæc nos oblatio, Deus, mundet, quæsumus, et renovet, gubernet, et protegat. Per Dominum.

May this oblation, O God, we beseech thee, cleanse, renew, govern, and protect us. Through, etc.


The other Secrets, as on page 130.


Communion

Amen dico vobis, quidquid orantes petitis, credite quia accipietis, et fiet vobis.

Amen I say unto you: all things whatsoever ye ask for when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive, and it shall be done unto you.


Postcommunion

Cœlestibus, Domine, pasti deliciis, quæsumus, ut semper eadem, per quæ veraciter vivimus, appetamus. Per Dominum,

Being fed, O Lord, with heavenly dainties, we beseech thee, that we may always hunger after them, for by them we have true life. Through, etc.


The other Postcommunions, as on page 131.


 

Vespers

 


The psalms, capitulum, hymn, and versicle, as above, pages 71-81.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Simile est regnum cœlorum fermento, quod acceptum mulier abscondit in farinæ satis tribus, donec fermentatnm est totum.

Oremus

Præsta, quæsumus omnipotens Deus: ut semper rationabilia meditantes: quæ tibi sunt placita et dictis exsequamur, et factis. Per Dominum.

The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened.

Let us Pray

Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that ever meditating on such things as are reasonable, we may, both in word and deed, carry out the things which are pleasing unto thee. Through, etc.



 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Introit

Dicit Dominus: Ego cogito cogitationes pacis, et non afflictionis: invocabitis me, et ego exaudiam vos: et reducam captivitatem vestram de cunctis locis.

Ps. Benedixisti, Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob. Gloria Patri. Dicit Dominus.

The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction; ye shall call upon me, and I will hear you: and I will bring back your captive people from all places.

Ps. Thou, O Lord, hast blessed thy land: thou hast brought back the captive children of Jacob. Glory, etc. The Lord.


Collect

Familiam tuam, quæsumus Domine, continua pietate custodi: ut quæ in sola spe gratiæ cœlestis innititur, tua semper protectione muniatur. Per Dominum.

Preserve, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy family by thy constant mercy; that, as it leans solely on the hope of heavenly grace, it may always be defended by thy protection. Through, etc.


The other Collects, as on page 120.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Colossenses.

Cap. iii.

Fratres, Induite vos sicut electi Dei, sancti, et dilecti, viscera misericordiæ, benignitatem, humilitatem, modestiam, patientiam, supportantes invicem, et donantes vobismetipsis, si quis adversus aliquem habet querelam : sicut et Dominus donavit vobis, ita et vos. Super omnia autem hæc charitatem habete; quod est vinculum perfectionis : et pax Christi exsultet in cordibus vestris, in qua et vocati estis in uno corpore : et grati estote. Verbum Christi habitet in vobis abundanter, in omni sapientia, docentes, et commonentes vosmetipsos, psalmis, hymnis, et canticis spiritualibus, in gratia cantantes in cordibus vestris Deo. Omne quodcumque facitis in verbo aut in opere, omnia in nomine Domini Jesu Christi, gratias agentes Deo et Patri per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum.

Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Colossians.

Ch. iii.

Brethren : Put ye on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another; even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection: and let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God. All whatsoever you do in word, or in work, all things do ye in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Gradual

Liberasti nos, Domine, ex affligentibus nos : et eos, qui nos oderunt, confudisti.

V. In Deo laudabimur tota die, et in nomine tuo confitebimur in sæcula.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: Domine, exaudi orationem meam. Alleluia.

Thou hast saved us, O Lord, from them that afflict us : and hast put them to shame that hate us.

V. In God shall we glory all the day long; and in thy name we will give praise for ever.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord : Lord, hear my prayer. Alleluia.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xiii.

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus turbis parabolam hanc : Simile factum est regnum cœlorum homini, qui seminavit bonum semen in agro suo. Cum autem dormirent homines, venit inimicus ejus, et superseminavit zizania in medio tritici, et abiit. Cum autem crevisset herba, et fructum fecisset, tunc apparuerunt et zizania. Accedentes autem servi patrisfamilias, dixerunt ei : Domine, nonne bonum semen seminasti in agro tuo? Unde ergo habet zizania. Et ait illis : Inimicus homo hoc fecit. Servi autem dixerunt ei : Vis, imus, et colligimus ea? Et ait : Non : ne forte colligentes zizania, eradicetis simul cum eis et triticum. Sinite utraque crescere usque ad messem, et in tempore messis dicam messoribus : Colligite primum zizania, et alligate ea in fasciculos ad comburendum, triticum autem congregate in horreum meum.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xiii.

At that time : Jesus spoke this parable to the multitude, saying: the kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his field. But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat, and went his way. And when the blade was sprung up, and had brought forth fruit, then appeared also the cockle. Then the servants of the goodman of the house, coming, said unto him: Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence, then, hath it cockle? And he said to them: An enemy hath done this. And the servants said to him: Wilt thou that we go and gather it up? And he said: No: lest, perhaps, gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it. Suffer both to grow until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn; but the wheat gather ye into my bam.


Offertory

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: Domine, exaudi orationem meam : de profundis clamavi ad te, Domine.

Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my prayer: out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord!


Secret

Hostias tibi, Domine, placationis offerimus, ut et delicta nostra miseratus absolvas, et nutantia corda tu dirigas. Per Dominum.

We offer thee, O Lord, this sacrifice of propitiation, that thou wouldst mercifully forgive us our sins, and guide our faltering hearts. Through, etc.


The other Secrets, as on page 130.


Communion

Amen dico vobis, quidquid orantes petitis, credite quia accipietis, et fiet vobis.

Amen I say unto you: all things whatsoever ye ask for when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive, and it shall be done unto you.


Postcommunion

Quæsumus omnipotens Deus : ut illius salutaris capiamus effectum, cujus per hæc mysteria pignus accepimus. Per Dominum.

We beseech thee, O almighty God, that we may one day receive the effects of that salvation, of which we have received the pledge in these mysteries. Through, etc.


The other Postcommunions, as on page 131.


 

VESPERS

 


The psalms, capitulum, hymn, and versicle, as above, pages 71-81.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Colligite primum zizania, et alligate ea in fasciculos ad comburendum: triticum autem congregate in horreum meum, dicit Dominus.

Oremus.

Familiam tuam, quæsumus Domine, continua pietate custodi: ut quæ in sola spe gratiæ cœlestis innititur, tua semper protectione muniatur. Per Dominum.

Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn: but, gather the wheat into my barn, saith the Lord.

Let us Pray.

Preserve, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy family by thy constant mercy; that, as it leans solely on the hope of heavenly grace, it may always be defended by thy protection. Through, etc.


 

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The number of the Sundays after Pentecost may exceed twenty-four, and go as far as twenty-eight, according as Easter is each year more or less near to the vernal equinox. But the Mass here given is always reserved for the last; and the intervening ones, be their number what it may, are taken from the Sundays after the Epiphany, which, in that case, were not used at the beginning of the year.[1] This, however, does not apply to the Introit, Gradual, Offertory, and Communion, which, as we have already said, are repeated from the twenty-third Sunday.

We have seen how that Mass of the twenty-third Sunday was regarded, by our forefathers, as really the last of the cycle. Abbot Rupert has given us the profound meaning of its several parts. According to the teaching we have already pondered over,[2] the reconciliation of Juda was shown us as being, in time, the term intended by God: the last notes of the sacred liturgy blended with the last scene of the world’s history, as seen and known by God. The end proposed by eternal Wisdom in the world’s creation, and mercifully continued, after the fall, by the mystery of Redemption, has now (we speak of the Church’s year and God’s workings) been fully carried out. This end was no other than that of divine union with human nature, making it one in the unity of one only body.[3] Now that the two antagonistic people, Gentile and Jew, are brought together in the one same new Man in Christ Jesus their Head,[4] the two Testaments, which so strongly marked the distinction between the ages of time, the one called the old, the other the new, fade away, and give place to the glory of the eternal Alliance.

It was here, therefore, that mother Church formerly finished her liturgical year. She was delighted at what she had done during all the past months; that is, at having led her children, not only to have a thorough appreciation of the divine plan, which she had developed before them in her celebrations, but moreover, and more especially, to unite them themselves, by a veritable union, to their Jesus, by a real communion of views, and interests, and loves. On this account, she used not to revert again to the second coming of the God-Man and the last judgment, two great subjects which she had proposed for her children’s reflexions, at the commencement of the purgative life, that is, in her season of Advent. It is only a few centuries ago that, with a view of giving to her year a conclusion more defined and intelligible to the faithful of these comparatively recent times, she chose to conclude the cycle with the prophetic description of the dread coming of her Lord, which is to put an end to time, and to open eternity. From time immemorial, St. Luke had had the office of announcing, in Advent, the approach of the last judgment;[5] the evangelist St Matthew was selected for this its second, and more detailed, description, on the last Sunday after Pentecost.

 

Mass

 

Introit

Dicit Dominus : Ego cogito cogitationes pacis, et non afilictionis: invocabitis me, et ego exaudiam vos: et reducam captivitatem vestram de cunctis locis.
Ps. Benedixisti, Domine, terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob. Gloria Patri. Dicit Dominus.

The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction; ye shall call upon me, and I will hear you: and I will bring back your captive people from all places.
Ps. Thou, O Lord, hast blessed thy land: thou hast brought back the captive children of Jacob. Glory, etc. The Lord.


The doing of good works, by the help of divine grace, prepares us to receive a still greater grace, for greater works in the future. In the Collect, let us unite with our mother, the Church, in praying for an efficacious influence of the divine Mover upon our wills.

Collect

Excita, quæsumus Domine, tuorum fidelium voluntates, ut divini operis fructum propensius exequentes, pietatis tuæ remedia majora percipiant. Per Dominum.

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful; that, becoming more zealous as to the fruit of the divine work, they may receive the greater remedies of thy goodness. Through, etc.


The other Collects, as on page 120.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Colossenses.

Cap. i.

Fratres, Non cessamus pro vobis orantes et postulantes, ut impleamini agnitione voluntatis Dei in omni sapientia, et intellectu spiritali : ut ambuletis digne Deo per omnia placentes: in omni opere bono fructificantes, et crescentes in scientia Dei : in omni virtute confortati secundum potentiam claritatis ejus, in omni patientia, et longanimitate cum gaudio, gratias agentes Deo Patri, qui dignos nos fecit in partem sortis sanctorum in lumine : qui eripuit nos de potestate tenebrarum, et transtulit in regnum Filii dilectionis suæ; in quo habemus redemptionem per sanguinem ejus, remissionem peccatorum.

Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Colossians.

Ch. i.

Brethren: We cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom, and spiritual understanding: that you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing: being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God: strengthened with all might, according to the power of his glory, in all patience and longsuffering with joy. Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins.


Thanksgiving and prayer! There we have the epitome of our Epistle, and an eloquent conclusion of the apostle’s course of instructions: it is also both the summary and the conclusion of the year of the sacred liturgy. The Doctor of the Gentiles has been zealous, beyond measure, in his fulfilment of the task assigned to him by mother Church. Of a certainty, the fault is not his, if the souls he undertook to guide, on the morrow of the descent of the Spirit of love, have not all reached that summit of perfection, which he longed for us all to attain. Those who have gone bravely forward in the path which, a year since, was opened out to them by holy Church, now, by a happy experience, know that that path most surely leads them to the life of union, where divine charity reigns supreme. Who is there that, with anything like earnestness, has allowed his mind and heart to take an interest in the several liturgical seasons which have been brought before us, and been celebrated by the Church during the past twelve months, has not also felt an immense increase of light imparted to him? Now, light is that indispensable element, which delivers us from the power of darkness, and translates us, by the help of God, into the kingdom of the Son of His love. The work of redemption, which this His beloved Son came down upon earth to accomplish for His Father’s glory, could not do otherwise than make progress in those who have, with more or less fervour, entered into the spirit of His Church, during the whole year, that is, from the opening of Advent right up to these the closing days of the sacred cycle. All of us, then, whosoever we may be, should give thanks to this Father of lights,[6]who hath thus made us worthy to be partakers, somewhat at least, of the lot of the saints.

So, then, all of us, be the share of our participation what it may, must pray that the excellent gift,[7] which has been put into our hearts, may fervently yield itself to the still richer development, which the coming new cycle is intended to produce within us.

The just man cannot possibly remain stationary in this world; he must either descend or ascend; and whatever may be the degree of perfection to which grace has led him, he must be ever going still higher as long as he is left in this life.[8] The Colossians, to whom the apostle was writing, had fully received the Gospel; the word of truth which had been sown in them had produced abundant fruit in faith, hope, and love;[9] and yet, instead of relenting on that account his solicitude in their regard, it is precisely for that reason[10] that St. Paul, who had prayed for them up till then, ceases not to pray for them. So let us do: let us go on praying. Let us beg of God, that He will again, and always, fill us with His divine Wisdom, and with the Spirit of understanding. We need all that, in order to correspond with His merciful designs. If the new year of the Church, which is so soon to begin, finds us faithful and making fresh progress, we shall be repaid with new aspects of truth in the garden of the Spouse, and the fruits we shall produce there will be more plentiful, and far sweeter, than in any bygone year. Therefore, let us make up our minds to walk worthy of God, ‘with dilated hearts,’[11] and bravely; for the eye of His approving love will be ever upon us, as we toil along. Oh, yes! let us run on in that uphill path, which will lead us to eternal repose in the beatific vision!

Gradual

Liberasti nos, Domine, ex affligentibus nos : et eos, qui nos oderunt, confudisti.
V. In Deo laudabimur tota die, et in nomine tuo confitebimur in sæcula.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine; Domine, exaudi orationem meam. Alleluia.

Thou hast saved us, O Lord, from them that afflict us: and hast put them to shame that hate us.
V. In God shall we glory all the day long; and in thy name we will give praise for ever.
Alleluia, Alleluia. V. Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my prayer. Alleluia.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xxiv.

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis suis: Cum videritis abominationem desolationis, quæ dicta est a Daniele propheta, stantem in loco sancto, qui legit intelligat: tunc qui in Judæa sunt, fugiant ad montes: et qui in tecto, non descendat tollere aliquid de domo sua: et qui in agro, non revertatur tollere tunicam suam. Væautemprægnantibus, et nutrientibus in illis diebus. Orate autem ut non fìat fuga vestra in hieme, vel Sabbato. Erit enim tunc tribulatio magna, qualis non fuit ab initio mundi usque modo, neque fiet. Et nisi breviati fuissent dies illi, non fìeret salva omnis caro: sed propter electos breviabuntur dies illi. Tunc si quis vobis dixerit : Ecce hic est Christus, aut illic : nolite credere. Surgent enim pseudochristi, et pseudoprophetæ : et dabunt signa magna et prodigia, ita ut in errorem inducantur (si fieri potest) etiam electi. Ecce prædixi vobis. Si ergo dixerint vobis : Ecce in deserto est, nolite exire: Ecce in penetralibus, nolite credere. Sicut enim fulgur exit ab Oriente, et paret usque in Occidentem : ita erit et adventus Filii hominis. Ubicumque fuerit corpus, illic congregabuntur et aquilæ. Statim autem post tribulationem dierum illorum sol obscurabitur, et luna non dabit lumen suum, et stellæ cadent de cœlo, et virtutes cœlorum commovebuntur : et tunc parebit signum Filii hominis in cœlo: et tunc plangent omnes tribus terræ : et videbunt Filium hominis venientem in nubibus cœli cum virtute multa et majestate. Et mittet angelos suos cum tuba, et voce magna: et congregabunt electos ejus a quatuor ventis, a summis cœlorum usque ad terminos eorum. Ab arbore autem fici discite parabolam : cum jam ramus ejus tener fuerit, et folia nata, scitis quia prope est æstas; ita et vos, cum videritis hæc omnia, scitote quia prope est in januis. Amen dico vobis, quia non præteribit generatio hæc, donec omnia hæc fiant. Cœlum et terra transibunt, verba autem mea non præteribunt.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xxiv.

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: When you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth, let him understand. Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains; and he that is on the house-top, let him not come down to take anything out of his house; and he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat. And wo to them that are with child, and that give suck in those days. But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the Sabbath. For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be. And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect, those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say to you: Lo! here is Christ, or there: do not believe him. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Behold I have told it to you beforehand; if therefore they shall say to you : Behold he is in the desert, go ye not out: Behold he is in the closets, believe it not. For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. Wheresoever the body shall be there shall the eagles also be gathered together. And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be moved: and there shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty. And he shall send his angels with a trumpet, and a great voice: and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them. And from the fig-tree learn a parable: when the branch thereof is now tender and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh. So you also, when you shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh even at the doors. Amen, I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass.


Several times during Advent we meditated on the circumstances which are to accompany the last coming of Christ our Lord; and in a few days the same great teachings will be again brought before us, filling our souls with a salutary fear. May we, then, be permitted, on this last Sunday of our liturgical year, to address ourselves in a prayer of desire and praise to our adorable Lord and King, the solemn hour of whose judgment is to be the consummation of His work, and the signal of His triumph.

O Jesus! who then art to come to deliver Thy Church, and avenge that God who has so long borne every sort of insult from His creature man, that day of Thy coming will indeed be terrible to the sinner! He will then understand how the Lord hath made all things for Himself—all, even the ungodly, who, on the evil day, are to show forth the divine justice.[12] The whole world, fighting on His side against the wicked,[13] shall then at last be avenged for that slavery of sin which had been forced upon it.[14]Vainly will the wicked cry out to the rocks to fall upon them, and hide them from the face of Him that will then be seated on His throne;[15] the abyss will refuse to engulf them; in obedience to Him who holds the keys of death and of hell,[16] it will give forth, to a man, its wretched victims, and set them at the foot of the dread tribunal. O Jesus, how magnificent will Thy power then appear! The heavenly hosts will also be standing around Thee, forming Thy brilliant[17] court, and assembling Thy elect from the four quarters of the earth.

For we also, Thy redeemed who have become Thy members by becoming the members of Thy beloved Church, we are to be there on that day, and our place (O ineffable mystery!) is to be the one Thou hast reserved for Thy bride; it is to be Thy own throne,[18] where seated we shall judge the very angels.[19] Even now, all those blessed of the Father,[20] all those elect whose youth, like that of the eagle, has been so often renewed by receiving Thy precious Blood,[21] have they not had their eyes fitted to gaze without being dazzled on the Sun of justice, when He shall appear in the heavens? The tediousness of their long exile has given such keenness to their hunger that nothing will have power to stay their flight, once the sacred prey of Thy divine Body shall be shown them! What hindrance could be strong enough to check the impetuosity of the love[22] which will bring them all together to the banquet of the eternal Pasch? The trumpet of the Archangel, which will ring through the graves of the just, is to be a summons calling them, not to death, but to life; to the sight of the old enemy’s destruction;[23] to a redemption which is to include their very bodies;[24] to the unimpeded passover to the true Land of promise; in a word, to the Pasch, and this time real, and for all, and for ever. What will be the joy of that true day of the Lord![25] What joy for them that have, by faith, lived in Christ, and loved Him without seeing Him![26] Identifying themselves with Thee, O Jesus, notwithstanding the weakness of the flesh, they have continued here below Thy life of suffering and humiliation. What a triumph when, delivered for ever from sin, and vested in their immortal bodies, they shall be borne aloft before Thy face, that they may for ever be with Thee![27]

But their chiefest joy on that great day will be to assist at the glorification of their most dear Lord, by the manifestation of the power which was given to Him over all flesh.[28] Then, O Emmanuel! crushing the heads of kings, and making Thine enemies Thy footstool,[29] Thou wilt be shown as the one Ruler of all nations.[30] Then will heaven, and earth, and hell bow their knee[31] before that Son of Man, who heretofore appeared on earth as a slave, and was judged, and condemned, and put to death between two thieves. Then, dear Jesus, Thou wilt judge the unjust judges, to whom, even in the midst of all the humiliations they put on Thee, Thou didst foretell this Thy coming on the clouds of heaven.[32] And when, after the irrevocable sentence has been passed, the wicked shall go to everlasting torments, and the just to life eternal,[33] Thy apostle tells us that, having conquered Thine enemies and been proclaimed undisputed King, Thou wilt consign to Thy eternal Father this Thy kingdom won over death; it will be the perfect homage of Thee, the Head, and of all Thy faithful members.[34] God will thus be all in all. It will be the perfect accomplishment of that sublime prayer Thou taughtest mankind to make,[35] which they daily offer up to the Father who is in heaven, saying to Him : 'Hallowed be Thy name! Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven!' O blissfully peaceful day, when blasphemy is to cease, and when this poor earth of ours, cleansed by fire from the filth of sin, shall be turned into a new paradise! Where, then, is the Christian, who would not thrill with emotion at the thought of that last of all the days of time, which is to usher in beautiful eternity? Who would not despise the agonies of his own last hour, when he reflects that those sufferings have really only one meaning in them, that the Son of Man, as the Gospel words it, is nigh even at the very doors!

O sweet Jesus, detach us every year more and more from this world, whose fashion passeth away,[36] with its vain toils, its false glories, and its lying pleasures. It was Thine own foretelling, that, as in the days of Noe and Sodom, men will go on with their feasting, and business, and amusements, without giving any more thought to Thy approaching coming than their forefathers heeded the threat of the Deluge, or of the fire, which came upon them and destroyed them.[37] Let these men go on with their merry-making, and their sending gifts one to the other, as Thine Apocalypse expresses it, because, so they will have it, Christ and His Church are then to be worn-out ideas![38] Whilst they are tyrannizing over Thy holy city in a thousand varied ways, and persecuting her as no past period had ever done, they little think that all this is an announcement of the eternal nuptials, which are nigh at hand. All these trials are the fresh jewels, which the bride is to have given her before her beauty is complete; and the blood of her last martyrs is to incarnadine her already splendid robes with all the richness of royal crimson. As for us, we lend an ear to the echoes of our home above; and, from the throne of our God, we hear going forth the voice heard by Thy beloved prophet of Patmos: 'Give praise unto our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, little and great! Alleluia! For the Lord our God the almighty hath reigned! Let us be glad and rejoice, and give glory unto Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath prepared herself!'[39]Yet a little while, till the number of our brethren be made up;[40] and then, with the Spirit and the bride, we will say to Thee, in all the ardour of our souls that have long thirsted after Thee: ‘Come, Lord Jesus![41] Come, and perfect us in love, by eternal union, unto the glory of the Father, and of Thyself the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever!'

Offertory

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: Domine, exaudi orationem meam : de profundis clamavi ad te, Domine.

Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord : Lord, hear my prayer: out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord!


In the Secret, let us ask of God that, at the approach of the last judgment, He would turn all hearts towards Himself, and vouchsafe to make our earthly desires give place to the desire for, and relish of, heavenly things.

Secret

Propitius esto, Domine, supplicationibus nostris: et populi tui oblationibus precibusque susceptis, omnium nostrum ad te corda converte; ut a terrenis cupiditatibus liberati, ad cœlestia desideria transeamus. Per Dominum.

Mercifully hear our supplications, O Lord: and, having received the offerings and prayers of thy people, turn the hearts of us all unto thee; that, being freed from earthly desires, we may come to desire heavenly things. Through, etc.


The other Secrets, as on page 130.


Communion

Amen dico vobis, quidquid orantes petitis, credite quia accipietis, et tiet vobis.

Amen I say unto you: all things whatsoever ye ask for when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive, and it shall be done unto you.


May the divine Sacrament, as the Church prays in the Postcommunion, fully cure, by its virtue, whatsoever may remain faulty in our souls at this close of the year!

Postcommunion

Concede nobis, quæsumus Domine, ut per hæc sacramenta quæ sumpsimus, quidquid in nostra mente vitiosum est, ipsorum medicationis dono curetur. Per Dominum.

Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord that whatsoever is faulty in our souls may be cured by the virtue of the mysteries we have received. Through, etc.


The other Postcommunions, as on page 131.


VESPERS

 


The psalms, capitulum, hymn and versicle, above, pages 71-81.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Amen dico vobis, quia non præteribit generatio hæc, donec omnia fiant : cœlum et terra transibunt, verba autem mea non transibunt, dicit Dominus.

Oremus.

Excita, quæsumus Domine, tuorum fidelium voluntates, ut divini operis fructum propensius exsequentes, pietatis tuæ remedia majora percipiant. Per Dominum.

Amen, I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done: heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass, saith the Lord.

Let us Pray.

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful; that, becoming more zealous as to the fruit of the divine work, they may receive the greater remedies of thy goodness. Through, etc.


[1] Farther on (vid. inf., pages 496-511) we have given these Sundays, which are the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, after the Epiphany. When there are twenty-five Sundays after Pentecost, it is the sixth after the Epiphany, which is put after the twenty-third; if the number of Sundays be twenty-six, the fifth after the Epiphany becomes the twenty-fourth after Pentecost; if the number be twenty-seven, we go back to the fourth after the Epiphany, and the rest follow; if it be as high as twenty-eight, we begin with the third.
[2] The thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost.
[3] Eph. ii. 16.
[4] Ibid. 15.
[5] First Sunday of Advent.
[6] St. Jas. i. 17.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ps. lxxxiii. 6.
[9] Col. i. 4-6.
[10] Ibid. 9.
[11] St. Benedict, The Holy Rule.
[12] Prov. xvi 4.
[13] Wisd. v. 21.
[14] Rom. viii 21.
[15] Apoc. vi. 16.
[16] Ibid. i. 18.
[17] Apoc. xix. 14.
[18] Ibid. iii. 21.
[19] 1 Cor. vi. 3.
[20] St. Matt. xxv. 3.
[21] Ps. cii. 5.
[22] Cant. viii. 6.
[23] 1 Cor. xv. 28.
[24] Rom. viii. 23.
[25] Ps. cxvii. 24.
[26] 1 St. Pet. i. 8.
[27] 1 Thess. iv. 6.
[28] St. John xvii. 2.
[29] Ps. cix.
[30] Ps. ii.
[31] Phil. ii. 10.
[32] St. Matt. xxvi. 64.
[33] Ibid. xxv. 46.
[34] 1 Cor. xv. 24-28.
[35] St. Matt. vi. 9.
[36] 1 Cor. vii. 31.
[37] St. Luke xvii. 26-30.
[38] Apoc. ix. 10.
[39] Apoc. xix. 5-7.
[40] Ibid. vi. 11.
[41] Ibid. xxii. 17.

 

The name Advent[1] is applied, in the Latin Church, to that period of the year, during which the Church requires the faithful to prepare for the celebration of the feast of Christmas, the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. The mystery of that great day had every right to the honour of being prepared for by prayer and works of penance; and, in fact, it is impossible to state, with any certainty, when this season of preparation (which had long been observed before receiving its present name of Advent) was first instituted. It would seem, however, that its observance first began in the west, since it is evident that Advent could not have been looked on as a preparation for the feast of Christmas, until that feast was definitively fixed to the twenty-fifth of December; which was done in the east only towards the close of the fourth century; whereas it is certain that the Church of Rome kept the feast on that day at a much earlier period.

We must look upon Advent in two different lights: first, as a time of preparation, properly so called, for the birth of our Saviour, by works of penance: and secondly, as a series of ecclesiastical Offices drawn up for the same purpose. We find, as far back as the fifth century, the custom of giving exhortations to the people in order to prepare them for the feast of Christmas. We have two sermons of Saint Maximus of Turin on this subject, not to speak of several others which were formerly attributed to St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, but which were probably written by St. Cesarius of Arles. If these documents do not tell us what was the duration and what the exercises of this holy season, they at least show us how ancient was the practice of distinguishing the time of Advent by special sermons. Saint Ivo of Chartres, St. Bernard, and several other doctors of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, have left us set sermons de Adventu Domini, quite distinct from their Sunday homilies on the Gospels of that season. In the capitularia of Charles the Bald, in 846, the bishops admonish that prince not to call them away from their Churches during Lent or Advent, under pretext of affairs of the State or the necessities of war, seeing that they have special duties to fulfil, and particularly that of preaching during those sacred times.

The oldest document in which we find the length and exercises of Advent mentioned with anything like clearness, is a passage in the second book of the History of the Franks by St. Gregory of Tours, where he says that St. Perpetuus, one of his predecessors, who held that see about the year 480, had decreed a fast three times a week, from the feast of St. Martin until Christmas. It would be impossible to decide whether St. Perpetuus, by his regulations, established a new custom, or merely enforced an already existing law. Let us, however, note this interval of forty, or rather of forty-three days, so expressly mentioned, and consecrated to penance, as though it were a second Lent, though less strict and severe than that which precedes Easter.

Later on, we find the ninth canon of the first Council of Macon, held in 582, ordaining that during the same interval between St. Martin’s day and Christmas, the Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, should be fasting days, and that the Sacrifice should be celebrated according to the lenten rite. Not many years before that, namely in 567, the second Council of Tours had enjoined the monks to fast from the beginning of December till Christmas. This practice of penance soon extended to the whole forty days, even for the laity: and it was commonly called St. Martin’s Lent. The capitularia of Charlemagne, in the sixth book, leave us no doubt on the matter; and Rabanus Maurus, in the second book of his Institution of clerics, bears testimony to this observance. There were even special rejoicings made on St. Martin’s feast, just as we see them practised now at the approach of Lent and Easter.

The obligation of observing this Lent, which, though introduced so imperceptibly, had by degrees acquired the force of a sacred law, began to be relaxed, and the forty days from St. Martin’s day to Christmas were reduced to four weeks. We have seen that this fast began to be observed first in France; but thence it spread into England, as we find from Venerable Bede’s history; into Italy, as appears from a diploma of Astolphus, king of the Lombards, dated 753; into Germany, Spain, &c., of which the proofs may be seen in the learned work of Dom Martène, On the ancient rites of the Church. The first allusion to Advent’s being reduced to four weeks is to be found in the ninth century, in a letter of Pope St. Nicholas I to the Bulgarians. The testimony of Ratherius of Verona, and of Abbo of Fleury, both writers of the tenth century, goes also to prove that, even then, the question of reducing the duration of the Advent fast by one-third was seriously entertained. It is true that St. Peter Damian, in the eleventh century, speaks of the Advent fast as still being for forty days; and that St. Louis, two centuries later, kept it for that length of time; but as far as this holy king is concerned, it is probable that it was only his own devotion which prompted him to this practice.

The discipline of the Churches of the west, after having reduced the time of the Advent fast, so far relented, in a few years, as to change the fast into a simple abstinence; and we even find Councils of the twelfth century, for instance Selingstadt in 1122, and Avranches in 1172, which seem to require only the clergy to observe this abstinence. The Council of Salisbury, held in 1281, would seem to expect none but monks to keep it. On the other hand (for the whole subject is very confused, owing, no doubt, to there never having been any uniformity of discipline regarding it in the western Church), we find Pope Innocent III, in his letter to the bishop of Braga, mentioning the custom of fasting during the whole of Advent, as being at that time observed in Rome; and Durandus, in the same thirteenth century, in his Rational on the Divine Offices, tells us that, in France, fasting was uninterruptedly observed during the whole of that holy time.

This much is certain, that, by degrees, the custom of fasting so far fell into disuse, that when, in 1362, Pope Urban V endeavoured to prevent the total decay of the Advent penance, all he insisted upon was that all the clerics of his court should keep abstinence during Advent, without in any way including others, either clergy or laity, in this law. St. Charles Borromeo also strove to bring back his people of Milan to the spirit, if not to the letter, of ancient times. In his fourth Council, he enjoins the parish priests to exhort the faithful to go to Communion on the Sundays, at least, of Lent and Advent; and afterwards addressed to the faithful themselves a pastoral letter, in which, after having reminded them of the dispositions wherewith they ought to spend this holy time, he strongly urges them to fast on the Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, at least, of each week in Advent. Finally, Pope Benedict XIV, when archbishop of Bologna, following these illustrious examples, wrote his eleventh Ecclesiastical Institution for the purpose of exciting in the minds of his diocesans the exalted idea which the Christians of former times had of the holy season of Advent, and of removing an erroneous opinion which prevailed in those parts, namely, that Advent concerned religious only and not the laity. He shows them that such an opinion, unless it be limited to the two practices of fasting and abstinence, is, strictly speaking, rash and scandalous, since it cannot be denied that, in the laws and usages of the universal Church, there exist special practices, having for their end to prepare the faithful for the great feast of the birth of Jesus Christ.

The Greek Church still continues to observe the fast of Advent, though with much less rigour than that of Lent. It consists of forty days, beginning with November 14, the day on which this Church keeps the feast of the apostle St. Philip. During this entire period, the people abstain from flesh-meat, butter, milk, and eggs; but they are allowed, which they are not during Lent, fish, oil, and wine. Fasting, in its strict sense, is binding only on seven out of the forty days; and the whole period goes under the name of St. Philip’s Lent. The Greeks justify these relaxations by this distinction: that the Lent before Christmas is, so they say, only an institution of the monks, whereas the Lent before Easter is of apostolic institution.

But, if the exterior practices of penance which formerly sanctified the season of Advent, have been, in the western Church, so gradually relaxed as to have become now quite obsolete except in monasteries,[2] the general character of the liturgy of this holy time has not changed; and it is by their zeal in following its spirit, that the faithful will prove their earnestness in preparing for Christmas.

The liturgical form of Advent as it now exists in the Roman Church, has gone through certain modifications. St. Gregory seems to have been the first to draw up the Office for this season, which originally included five Sundays, as is evident from the most ancient sacramentaries of this great Pope. It even appears probable, and the opinion has been adopted by Amalarius of Metz, Berno of Reichnau, Dom Martène, and Benedict XIV, that St. Gregory originated the ecclesiastical precept of Advent, although the custom of devoting a longer or shorter period to a preparation for Christmas has been observed from time immemorial, and the abstinence and fast of this holy season first began in France. St. Gregory therefore fixed, for the Churches of the Latin rite, the form of the Office for this Lent-like season, and sanctioned the fast which had been established, granting a certain latitude to the several Churches as to the manner of its observance.

The sacramentary of St. Gelasius has neither Mass nor Office of preparation for Christmas; the first we meet with are in the Gregorian sacramentary, and, as we just observed, these Masses are five in number. It is remarkable that these Sundays were then counted inversely, that is, the nearest to Christmas was called the first Sunday, and so on with the rest. So far back as the ninth and tenth centuries, these Sundays were reduced to four, as we learn from Amalarius St. Nicholas I, Berno of Reichnau, Ratherius of Verona, &c., and such also is their number in the Gregorian sacramentary of Pamelius, which appears to have been transcribed about this same period. From that time, the Roman Church has always observed this arrangement of Advent, which gives it four weeks, the fourth being that in which Christmas day falls, unless December 25 be a Sunday. We may therefore consider the present discipline of the observance of Advent as having lasted a thousand years, at least as far as the Church of Rome is concerned; for some of the Churches in France kept up the number of five Sundays as late as the thirteenth century.

The Ambrosian liturgy, even to this day, has six weeks of Advent; so has the Gothic or Mozarabic missal. As regards the Gallican liturgy, the fragments collected by Dom Mabillon give us no information; but it is natural to suppose with this learned man, whose opinion has been confirmed by Dom Martène, that the Church of Gaul adopted, in this as in so many other points, the usages of the Gothic Church, that is to say, that its Advent consisted of six Sundays and six weeks.

With regard to the Greeks, their rubrics for Advent are given in the Menæa, immediately after the Office for November 14. They have no proper Office for Advent, neither do they celebrate during this time the Mass of the Presanctified, as they do in Lent. There are only in the Offices for the saints, whose feasts occur between November 14 and the Sunday nearest Christmas, frequent allusions to the birth of the Saviour, to the maternity of Mary, to the cave of Bethlehem, &c. On the Sunday preceding Christmas, in order to celebrate the expected coming of the Messias, they keep what they call the feast of the holy fathers, that is the commemoration of the saints of the old Law. They give the name of Ante-Feast of the Nativity to December 20, 21, 22, and 23; and although they say the Office of several saints on these four days, yet the mystery of the birth of Jesus pervades the whole liturgy.

 


 

[1] From the Latin word Adventus, which signifies a coming.
[2] Our recent English observance of fast and abstinence on the Wednesdays and Fridays in Advent, may, in some sense, bo regarded as a remnant of the ancient discipline. [Note of the Tr.]

 

 

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