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The Liturgical Year

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Chapter 1: The History of Christmas)

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on Lent, visit here.

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on Paschal Tide, visit here.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Station, at Rome, is in the church oi Saint Xystus on the Appian Road. It now goes under the name of Saint Xystus the Old, in order to distinguish it from another church that is dedicated to the same holy Pope and Martyr.

Collect

Præsta nobis, quæsumus, Domine, ut salutaribus jejuniis eruditi a noxiis quoque vitiis abstinentes, propitiationem tuam facilius impetremus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that being taught by this wholesome fast, we may abstain from all pernicious vice, and by that means, more easily obtain thy mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle

Lectio libri Exodi.

Cap. xx.

Hæc dicit Dominus Deus: Honora patrem tuum, et matrem tuam, ut sis longævus super terram, quam Dominus Deus tuus dabit tibi. Non occides. Non moechaberis. Non furtum facies. Non loqueris contra proximum tuum falsum testimonium. Non concupisces domum proximi tui, nec desiderable uxorem ejus, non servum, non ancillam, non bovem, non asinum, nec omnia quæ illius , sunt. Cunctus autem populus videbat veces, et lampades, et sonitum buccmæ, montem que fumantem et perterriti, ao pa vore concussi steterunt procul, dicentes Moysi: Loquere tu nobis, et audiemus: non loquatur nobis Dominus, ne forte moriamur. Et ait Moyses ad populum: Nolite timere: ut enim probaret vos venit Deus; et ut terror illius esset in vobis, et non peccaretis. Stetitque populus de longe. Moyses autem accessit ad caliginem, in qua erat Deus. Dixit præterea Dominus ad Moysen: Hæc dices filiia Israël: Vos vidistis quod de oælo locutus sim vobis. Non facietis deos argenteos, nec deos aureos facietis vobis. Altare de terra facietis mibi, et offeretis super eo holocausta et pacifica vestra, oves vestras, et boves, in omni loco in quo memoriam fuerit nominis men
Lesson from the Book of Exodus.

Ch. xx.

Thus saith the Lord God: Honour thy father and thy mother, that thou mayst be long-lived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal.Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his. And all the people saw the voices and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mount smoking: and being terrified and struck with fear, they stood afar off, saying to Moses: Speak thou to us, and we will hear; let not the Lord speak to us, lest we die. And Moses said to the people: Fear not; for God is come to prove you, and that the dread of him might be in you, and you should not sin. And the people stood afar off. But Moses went to the dark cloud wherein God was. And the Lord said to Moses: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: You have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven. You shall not make gods of silver, nor shall you make to yourselves gods of gold. You shall make an altar of earth unto me, and you shall offer upon it your holocausts and peace-offerings, your sheep and oxen, in every place where the memory of my name shall be.

The Church reminds us to-day of the divine commandments which relate to our duties towards our neighbour, beginning with that which enjoins respect to parents. Now that the faithful are intent on the great work of the conversion and amendment of their lives, it is well that they should be reminded that their duties towards their fellow-men are prescribed by God Himself. Hence, it is God whom we offended, when we sinned against our neighbour. God first tells us what He Himself has a right to receive from our hands. He bids us adore and serve Him; He forbids the worship of idols; He enjoins the observance of the Sabbath, and prescribes sacrifices and ceremonies: but, at the same time, He commands us to love our neighbours as ourselves, and assures us that He will be their avenger when we have wronged them, unless we repair the injury. The voice of Jehovah on Sinai is not less commanding when it proclaims what our duties are to our neighbour, than when it tells us our obligations to our Creator. Thus enlightened as to the origin of our duties, we shall have a clearer view of the state of our conscience, and of the atonement required of us by divine justice. But if the old Law, that was written on tablets of stone, thus urges upon us the precept of the love of our neighbour; how much more will the new Law, that was signed with the Blood of Jesus when dying upon the cross for His ungrateful brethren, insist on our observance of fraternal charity! These are the two Laws, on which we shall be judged; let us, therefore, carefully observe what they command on this head, that thus we may prove ourselves to be Christians, according to those words of our Saviour: ‘By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another.’[1]

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Matthæum.

Cap. xv.

In illo tempore: Accesserunt ad Jesum ab Jerosolymis scribæ et pharisæi, dicentes: Quare discipuli tui transgrediuntur traditionem seniorum? non enim lavant manus su.as cum panem manducant. Ipse autem respondens, ait illis: Quare et vos transgredimini mandatum Dei propter traditionem vestram? Nam Deus dixit: Honora patrem et matrem. Et: Qui maledixerit patri vel matri, morte moriatur. Vos autem dicitis: Quicumque dixerit patri vel matri: Munus quodcumque est ex me tibi proderit: et non honorificabit patrem suum aut matrem suam: et irritum fecistis mandatum Dei, propter traditionem vestram. Hypocritæ, bene prophetavit de vobis Isaias, dicens: Populus hic labiis me honorat: cor autem eorum longe est a me. Sine causa autem colunt me, docentes doctrinas et mandata hominum. Et convocatis ad se turbis, dixit eis: Audite, et intelligite. Non quod iritrat in os, coinquinat hominem: sed quod procedit ex ore, hoc coinquinat hominem. Tune accedentes discipuli ejus, dixerunt ei: Seis quia pharisæi, audito verbo hoc, scandalizati sunt? At lile respondens, ait: Omnis plantatio quam non plantavit Pater meus cælestis, eradicabitur. Sinite illos: cæci sunt, et duces cæcorum. Cæcus autem si cæco ducatum præstet, ambo in foveam cadunt. Respondens autem Petrus, dixit ei: Edissere nobis parabola istam. At ille dixit: Adhuc et vos sine intellectu estis? Non intelligitis quia omne quod in os intrat, in ventrem vadit, et in secessum emittitur? Quæ autem procedunt de ore, de corde exeunt, et ea coinquinant hominem: de corde enim exeunt cogitationes malæ, homicidia, adulteria, fornicationes, furta, falsa testimonia, blasphemiæ. Hæc sunt quæ coinquinant hominem. Non lotis autem manibus manducare, non coinquinat hominem.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xv.

At that time: The scribes and pharisees came from Jerusalem to Jesus, saying: Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the ancients? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answering, said to them: Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for your tradition? For God said: Honour thy father and mother; and: He that shall curse father or mother, let him die the death. But you say: Whosoever shall say to father or mother, The gift whatsoever proceedeth from me, shall profit thee. And he shall not honour his father or his mother; and you have made void the commandment of God for your tradition. Hypocrites, well hath Isaias prophesied of you, saying: This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men. And having called together the multitudes unto him, he said to them: Hear ye and understand. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said to him: Dost thou know that the pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized? But he answering, said: Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit. And Peter answering, said to him: Expound to us this parable. But he said: Are you also yet without understanding? Do you not understand that whatsoever entereth into the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy? But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man. For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands doth not defile a man.

The Law that was given by God to Moses enjoined a great number of exterior practices and ceremonies; and they that were faithful among the Jews, zealously and carefully fulfilled them. Jesus Himself, though He was the divine Law-Giver, most humbly complied with them. But the pharisees had added their own superstitious traditions to these divine laws and ordinances, and made religion consist in the observance of these fanciful inventions. Our Saviour here tells the people not to be imposed upon by such teaching, and instructs them as to what is the real meaning of the external practices of the Law. The pharisees prescribed a great many ablutions or washings to be observed during the course of the day. They would have it, that they who eat without having washed their hands (and indeed the whole body some time during the day), were defiled, and that the food they thus partook of was unclean, because, as they said, they themselves had become defiled by having come near or touched objects which were specified by their whims. According to the Law of God, these objects were perfectly innocent; but according to the law of the pharisees, almost everything was contagious, and the only escape was endless washings! Jesus would have the Jews throw off this humiliating and arbitrary yoke, and reproaches the pharisees for having corrupted and made void the Law of Moses.

He tells them that there is no creature which is intrinsically, and of its own nature, unclean; and that a man’s conscience cannot be defiled by the mere fact of his eating certain kinds of food. Evil thoughts, and evil deeds, these, says our Saviour, are the things that defile a man. Some heretics have interpreted these words as being an implicit condemnation of the exterior practices ordained by the Church, and more especially of abstinence. To such reasöners and teachers we may justly apply what our Saviour said to the pharisees: They are blind and leaders of the blind. From this, that the sins into which a man falls by his use of material things are sins only on account of the malice of the will, which is spiritual, it does not follow that therefore man may, without any sin, make use of material things, when God or His Church forbids their use. God forbade our first parents, under pain of death, to eat the fruit of a certain tree; they ate it, and sin was the result of their eating. Was the fruit unclean of its own nature? No; it was a creature of God as well as the other fruits of Eden; but our first parents sinned by eating it, because their doing so was an act of disobedience. Again, when God gave His Law on Mount Sinai, He forbade the Hebrews to eat the flesh of certain animals; if they ate it, they were guilty of sin, not because this sort of food was intrinsically evil or cursed, but because they that partook of it disobeyed the Lord. The commandments of the Church regarding fasting and abstinence are of a similar nature. It is that we may secure to ourselves the blessing of Christian penance— in other words, it is for our spiritual interest—that the Church bids us abstain and fast at certain times. If we violate her law, it is not the food we take that defiles us, but the resisting a sacred power, which our Saviour, in yesterday's Gospel, told us we are to obey under the heavy penalty which He expressed in those words: He that will not hear the Churchshall be counted as a heathen and publican.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

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

Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we who beg the favour of thy protection, being delivered from all evils, may serve thee with a secure mind. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us take for to-day one of the solemn supplications offered to God by the Gothic Church of Spain during Lent.

Supplication
(BreviarMozarah. Ad Sextam in IV. fer. V. hebdomadœ)

V. Ad te, Redemptor omnium, rex summe, oculos nostros sublevamus flentes: exaudi, Christe, supplicantium preces.
R. Et miserere.

V. Dextra Patris, lapis angularis, via salutis, janua cœlestis, ablue nostri maculas delicti.
R. Et miserere.

V
. Rogamus, Deus, tuam majestatem; auribus sacris gemitus exaudi; crimina nostra placidus indulge.
R. Et miserere.

V
. Tibi fatemur crimina admissa, contrito corde pandimus occulta: tua, Redemptor, pietas ignoscat.
R. Et miserere.

V
. Innocens captus, nec repugnans ductus: testibus falsis pro impiis damnatus: quos redemisti, tu conserva, Christe.
R. Et miserere.
V. To thee, O Redeemer of all mankind! O sovereign King! we raise up our tearful eyes. Graciously hear, O Christ, the prayers of thy suppliants.
R. And have mercy.

V. O thou who art the right hand of the Father, the corner stone, the way of salvation, the gate of heaven, wash away the stains of our sin.
R. And have mercy.

V
. We beseech thy Majesty, O God! Bow down thy divine ear to our sighs, and mercifully pardon our crimes.
R. And have mercy.

V
. We confess unto thee the crimes we have committed; we make known to thee, with a contrite heart, what is hidden in our conscience. Do thou, O Redeemer, in thy clemency forgive.
R. And have mercy.

V
. Thou wast led captive though innocent; thou wast led, and didst not resist. Thou wast condemned by false witnesses for the wicked. O Jesus save us, whom thou hast redeemed.
R. And have mercy.

[1] St. John xiii. 35

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

This day brings us to the middle of Lent, and is called mid-Lent Thursday. It is the twentieth of the forty fasts imposed upon us, at this holy season, by the Church. The Greeks call the Wednesday of this week Mesonestios, that is, the mid-fast. They give this name to the entire week, which, in their liturgy, is the fourth of the seven that form their Lent. But the Wednesday is, with them, a solemn feast, and a day of rejoicing, whereby they animate themselves to courage during the rest of the season. The Catholic nations of the west, though they do not look on this day as a feast, have always kept it with some degree of festivity and joy. The Church of Rome has countenanced the custom by her own observance of it; but, in order not to give a pretext to dissipation, which might interfere with the spirit of fasting, she postpones to the following Sunday the formal expression of this innocent joy, as we shall see further on. Yet, it is not against the spirit of the Church that this mid-day of Lent should be marked by some demonstration of gladness; for example, by sending invitations to friends, as our Catholic forefathers used to do; and serving up to table choicer and more abundant food than on other days of Lent, taking care, however, that the laws of the Church are strictly observed. But alas! how many even of those calling themselves Catholics have been breaking, for the past twenty days, these laws of abstinence and fasting! Whether the dispensations they trust to be lawfully or unlawfully obtained, the joy of mid-Lent Thursday scarcely seems made for them. To experience this joy, one must have earned and merited it, by penance, by privations, by bodily mortifications; which is just what so many, nowadays, cannot think of doing. Let us pray for them, that God would enlighten them, and enable them to see what they are bound to do, consistently with the faith they profess.

At Rome, the Station is at the church of Saints Cosmas and Damian, in the forum. The Christians of the middle ages (as we learn from Durandus, in his Rational of the Divine Offices) were under the impression that this Station was chosen because these two saints were, by profession, physicians. The Church, according to this explanation, would not only offer up her prayers of this day for the souls, but also for the bodies of her children: she would draw down upon them—fatigued as she knew they must be by their observance of abstinence and fasting—the protection of these holy martyrs, who, whilst on earth, devoted their medical skill to relieving the corporal ailments of their brethren. The remarks made by the learned liturgiologist Gavantus, in reference to this interpretation, lead us to conclude that, although it may possibly not give us the real motive of the Church’s selecting this Station, yet it is not to be rejected. It will, at least, suggest to the faithful to recommend themselves to these saints, and to ask of God, through their intercession, that they may have the necessary courage and strength for persevering to the end of the holy season in what they have, so far, faithfully observed.

Collect

Magnificat te, Domine, sanctorum tuorum Cosrnæ et Damiani beata solemnitas: qua et illis gloriara sem pi temara, et opem nobis ineffabili providentia contulisti. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
May this sacred solemnity of thy servants, Cosmas and Damian, show thy greatness, O Lord; by which, in thy unspeakable providence, thou hast granted them eternal glory, and us the aid of their prayers. Through Christ our Lord Amen.

Epistle

Lectio Jeremiæ Prophetæ. 

Cap. vii.

In diebus illis: Factum est verbum Domini ad me dicens: Sta in porta domus Domini, et prædica ibi verbum istud, et die: Audite verbum Domini, omnis Juda, qui ingredimini per portas has, ut adoretis Dominum. Hæc dicit Dominus exercituum, Deus Israël: Bonas facite vias vestras, et studia vestra: et habitabo vobiseum in loco isto. Nolite confidere in verbis mendaeii, dicentes: Templum Domini, templum Domini, templum Dominiest. Quoniam si bene direxeritis vias vestras, et studia vestra: ei feceritis judicium inter virum et proximum ejus: ad venae et pupillo, et viduae non foceritis calumniam, nec sanguinem innoeentem effuderitis in loco hoc, et post deos alienos non ambulaveritis in malum vobismetipeis: habitabo vobiscum in loco isto, in terra quam dedi patribus vestris, a sæculo et usque in saeculum, ait Dominus omnipotens.
Lesson from the Prophet Jeremias.

Ch. vii

In those days: The word of the Lord came to me, saying: Stand in the gate of the house of the Lord, and proclaim there this word, and say: Hear ye the word of the Lord, all ye men of Juda, that enter in at these gates, to adore the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Make your ways and your doings good; and I will dwell with you in this place. Trust not in lying words, saying: The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, it is the temple of the Lord. For if you will order well your ways and your doings; if you will execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; if you oppress not the stranger, the fatherless and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, and walk not after strange gods to your own hurt; I will dwell with you in this place, in the land which I gave to your fathers from the beginning and for ever more, saith the Lord almighty.

There is not a single duty in which the Church does not instruct her children. If, on the one hand, she insists on their fulfilling certain exterior practices of penance, she, on the other, warns them against the false principle of supposing that exterior observances, however carefully complied with, can supply the want of interior virtues. God refuses to accept the homage of the spirit and the heart, if man, through pride or sensuality, refuse that other service which is equally due to his Creator, namely, his bodily service; but to make one’s religion consist of nothing but material works, is little better than mockery; for God bids us serve Him in spirit and in truth.[1] The Jews prided themselves on having the temple of Jerusalem, which was the dwelling-place of God’s glory; but this privilege, which exalted them above other nations, was not unfrequently turned against themselves, inasmuch as many of them were satisfied with a mere empty respect for the holy place; they never thought of that higher and better duty, of showing themselves grateful to their divine Benefactor, by observing His Law. Those Christians would be guilty of a like hypocrisy, who, though most scrupulously exact in the exterior duty of fasting and abstinence, were to take no pains to amend their lives, and to follow the rules of justice, charity, and humility. They would deserve that our Lord should say of them what He said of Israel: ‘This people glorify Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me.’[2] This Christian pharisaism is very rare now-a-days. What we have to fear is a disregard for the exterior practices of religion. Those of the faithful who are diligent in the fulfilment of the laws of the Church, are not, generally speaking, behindhand in the practice of other virtues. Still, this false conscience is sometimes to be met with, and is a scandal which does much spiritual injury. Let us, therefore, observe the whole law. Let us offer to God a spiritual service, which consists in the heart's obedience to all His commandments; and to this let us join the homage of our bodies, by practising those things which the Church has prescribed. The body is intended to be an aid to the soul, and is destined to share in her eternal happiness; it is but just that it should share in the service of God.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.

Cap. iv.

In illo tempore: Surgens Jesus de synagoga, introivit in domum Simonis.Socrus autem Simonis tenebatur magnis febribus: et rogaverunt ilium pro ea. Et stans super illam, imperavit febri: et dimisit illam. Et continuo surgens, minist ra bat illis. Cum autem sol occidisset, omnes qui habebant infirmos variis languoribus, ducebant illos ad eum. At file singulis manus imponens, curabat eos. Exibant autem dæmonia a multis, clamantia et dicentia: Quia tu ee Filius Dei. Et increpans non sinebat ea loqui, quia sciebant ipsum esse Christum. Facta autem die egreseus ibat in desertum locum, et turbæ requirebant eum, et venerunt usque ad ipsum: et detinebant ilium ne discederet ab eis. Quibus file ait: Quia et aliis eivitatibus oportet me evangelizare regnum Dei, quia ideo missus sum; et erat prædicans in synagogis Galilææ.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.

Ch. iv.

At that time: Jesus rising up out of the synagogue, went into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever, and they besought him for her. And standing over her, he commanded the fever, and it left her. And immediately rising, she ministered to them. And when, the sun was down, all they that had any sick with divers diseases, brought them to him. But he, laying his hands on every one of them, healed them. And devils went out from many, crying out and saying: Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them, he suffered them not to speak, for they knew that he was Christ. And when it was day, going out, he went into a desert place, and the multitude sought him, and came unto him; and they stayed him that he should not depart from them. To whom he said: To other cities also I must preach the kingdom of God; for therefore am I sent. And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.

Let us here admire the goodness of our Redeemer, who deigns to exercise His power for the cure of bodily infirmities. How much more ready will He be to heal our spiritual ailments! Our fever is that of evil passions; Jesus alone can allay it. Let us imitate the eagerness of these people of Galilee, who brought all their sick to Jesus; let us beseech Him to heal us. See with what patience He welcomes each poor sufferer! Let us also go to Him. Let us implore of Him not to depart from us, but abide with us for ever; He will accept our petition, and remain. Let us pray for sinners: the days of the great fast are quickly passing away: we have reached the second half of Lent, and the Passover of our deliverance will soon be here. Look at the thousands that are unmoved, with their souls still blind to the light, and their hearts hardened against every appeal of God’s mercy and justice; they seem resolved on making their eternal perdition lees doubtful than ever, by neglecting both the Lent and the Easter of this year. Let us offer up our penances for them; and beg of Jesus by the merits of His sacred Passion, to redouble His mercies towards them, and to deliver from satan these souls, for whose sake He is about to shed His Blood.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Subjectum tibi populum, quæsumus Domine, propitiatio cœlestis amplificet: et tuis semper faciat servire mandatis. Per Christum Dominnm nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

May thy heavenly mercy, O Lord, always increase thy people, and make them ever obedient to thy commandments. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Mozarabic liturgy offers us this beautiful exhortation. It will inspire us to persevere in our lenten penances and duties.

Missa
(Missale Gothicum. Dominica IV. in Quadragesima)

Expectantes beatam illam spem passionis ac resurrectionis Filii Dei, fratres charisgimi: et manifestationem gloriæ beati et Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi, resumite virium fortitudinem: et non quasi futuro terreamini de labore: qui ad Paschalis Dominicæ eupitis anhelando pervenire celebritatem. Sacratæ etenim Quadragesimæ tempore mediante, arripite de futuro labore fiduciam: qui præteriti jejunii jam transegietis ærumnas. Dabit Jesus lassis fortitudinem: qui pro nobis dignatus est infirman. Tribuet perfectionem futuri: qui initia donavit præteriti. Aderit in auxilio, filii: qui suæ nos cupit præstolari gloriam Pasaionis. A men.
Looking forward, dearly beloved brethren, to the hope of the Passion and Resurrection of the Son of God, as also to the manifestation of the glory of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: resume your strength and courage. Be not daunted by the labour you have to go through, but remember the solemnity of the holy Pasch, for which you are so ardently longing. One half of holy Lent is over: you have gone through the difficulties of the past, why should you not be courageous about the future fast T Jesus, who deigned to suffer fatigue for our sake, will give strength to them that are fatigued. He that granted us to begin the past, will enable us to complete the future. Children! He will be with us to assist us, who wishes us to hope for the glory of his Passion. Amen.

[1] St. John iv. 24.
[2] Is. xxix. 13.

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Station is at the church of Saint Laurence in Lucina. In this venerable and celebrated church is kept the gridiron, on which the holy archdeacon consummated his martyrdom.

Collect

Jejunia nostra, quæsumus, Domine, benigno favore prosequere: ut, sicut ab alimentis abstinemus in corpore, ita a vitiis jejunemus in mente. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Let thy kind favour, O Lord, accompany our fast, that as we abstain from corporal food, so we may likewise refrain from all vice. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle

Lectio libri Numeri.

Cap. xx.

In diebus illis: Convenerunt filii Israël adversum Moysen et Aaron: et versi in seditionem, dixerunt: Date nobis aquam, ut bibamus. Ingressusque Moyses et Aaron, dimissa multitudine, tabernaculum fœderis, corruerunt proni in terram, clamaveruntque ad Dominura, atque dixerunt: Domine Deus, audi clamorem hujus populi, et aperi eis thesaurum tuum, fontem aquæ vivæ, ut satiati, cesset murmuratio eorum. Et apparuit gloria Domini super eos. Locutusque est Dominus ad Moysen, dicens: Tolle virgam, et congrega populum, tu et Aaron frater tuus, et loquimini ad petram coram eis, et ilia dabit aquas. Cumque eduxeris aquam de petra, bibet omnis multitudo, et jumenta ejus. Tulit igitur Moyses virgam, quæ erat in conspectus Domini, sicut præceperat ei, congregata multitudine ante petram, dixitque eis: Audite, rebelles et increduli: num de petra hac vobis aquam poterimus ejicere? Cumque elevasset Moyses manum, percutiens virga bis silicem, egressæ sunt aquæ largissimæ, ita ut populus biberet, et jumenta. Dixitque Dominus ad Moysen et Aaron: Quia non credidistis mihi, ut sanctificaretis me coram filiis Israël, non introducetis hos populos in terram quam dabo eis. Hæc est aqua contradictionis, ubi jurgati sunt filii Israël contra Dominum, et sanctificatus est in eis.
Lesson from the Book of Numbers.

Ch. xx.

In those days: The children of Israël came together against Moses and Aaron: and making a sedition they said: Give us water to drink. And Moses and Aaron leaving the multitude, went into the tabernacle of the oovenant, and fell flat upon the ground, and cried to the Lord and said: O Lord God, hear the cry of this people, and open to them thy treasure, a fountain of living water, that being satisfied, they may cease to murmur. And the glory of the Lord appeared over them. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Take the rod, and assemble the people together, thou and Aaron thy brother, and speak to the rock before them, and it shall yield waters. And when thou hast brought forth water out of the rock, all the multitude and their cattle shall drink. Moses therefore took the rod which was before the Lord, as he had commanded him, and having gathered together the multitude before the rock, he said to them: Hear, ye rebellious and incredulous; can we bring you forth water out of this rock? And when Moses had lifted up his hand, and struck the rock twice with the rod, there came forth water in great abundance, so that the people and their cattle drank. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron: Because you have not believed me, to sanctify me before the children of Israël, you shall not bring these people into the land which I will give them. This is the water of contradiction, where the children of Israël strove with words against the Lord, and he was sanctified in them.

Here we have one of the most expressive figures of the old Testament: it symbolizes the Sacrament of Baptism, for which our catechumens are now preparing. A whole people asks for water; if it be denied them, they must perish in the wilderness. St. Paul, the sublime interpreter of the types of the old Testament, tells us that the rock is Christ,[1] from whom came forth the fountain of living water, which quenches the thirst of our souls, and purifies them. The holy fathers observe that the rock yielded not its waters until it had been struck with the rod, which signifies the Passion of our Redeemer. The rod itself, as we are told by some of the earliest commentators of the Scriptures, is the symbol of the cross; and the two strokes, wherewith the rock was struck, represent the two parts of which the cross was formed. The paintings which the primitive Church has left us in the catacombs of Rome, frequently represent Moses in the act of striking the rock, from which flows a stream of water; and a glass, found in the same catacombs, bears an inscription, telling us that the first Christians considered Moses as the type of St. Peter, who, in the new Covenant, opened to God’s people the fountain of grace, when he preached to them on the day of Pentecost; and gave also to the Gentiles to drink of this same water when he received Cornelius, the centurion, into the Church. This symbol of Moses striking the rock, and the figures of the old Testament which we have already come across, or shall still meet with, in the lessons given by the Church to the catechumens, are not only found in the earliest frescoes of the Roman catacombs, but we have numerous proofs that they were represented in all the Churches both of the east and of the west. Up to the thirteenth century and even later, we find them in the windows of our cathedrals, and in the traditional form or type which was given to them in the early times. It is to be regretted that these Christian symbols, which were so dear to our Catholic forefathers, should now be so forgotten as to be almost treated with contempt. Let us love them, and, by the study of the holy liturgy, let us return to those sacred traditions, which inspired our ancestors with heroic faith, and made them undertake such grand things for God and for their fellow-men.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. iv.

In illo tempore: Venit Jesus in civitatem Samariæ, quæ dicitur Sichar, juxta prædium quod dedit Jacob Joseph filio suo. Erat autem ibi fons Jacob. Jesus ergo fatigatus ex itinere, sedebat sic supra fontem. Hora erat quasi sexta. Venit mulier de Samaria haurire aquam. Dicit ei Jesus: Da mihi bibere. (Discipuli enim ejus abierant in civitatem ut cibos emerent.) Dicit ergo ei mulier illa Samaritana: Quomodo tu, Judaeus cum sis, bibere a me poscis, quæ sum mulier Samaritana? Non enim coutuntur Judæi Samaritanis. Respondit Jesus, et dixit ei: Si scires donum Dei, et quis est qui dicit tibi: Da mihi bibere: tu forsitan petisses ab eo, et dedisset tibi aquam vivam. Dicit ei mulier: Domine, neque in quo haurias, habes, et puteus altus est: unde ergo habes aquam vivam? Numquid tumajor es patre nostro Jacob, qui dedit nobis puteum, et ipse ex eo bibit, et filii ejus, et pecora ejus? Respondit Jesus, et dixit ei: Omnis qui bibit ex aqua hac, sitiet iterum: qui autem biberit ex aqua, quam ego dabo ei, non sitiet in æteraum; sed aqua, quam ego dabo ei, fiet in eo fons aquæ salientis in vitam ætemam.Dicit ad cum mulier: Domine, da mihi hanc aquam, ut non sitiam, neque veniam huc haurire. Dicit ei Jesus: Vade, voca virum tuum, et veni huc. Respondit mulier, et dixit: Non habeo virum. Dicit ei Jesus: Bene dixisti, quia non habeo virum: quinque enim viros habuisti, et nunc quem habes, non est tuus vir: hoc vere dixisti. Dicit ei mulier: Domine, video quia propheta es tu. Patres nostri in monte hoc adoraverunt, et vos dicitis, quia Jerosolymis est locus, ubi adorare oportet. Dicit ei Jesus: Mulier, crede mihi, quia venit hora, quando neque in monte hoc neque in Jerosolymis adorabitis Patrem. Vos adoratis quod nescitis: nos adoramus quod scimus, quia salus ex Judæis est. Sed venit hora, et nunc est, quando veri adoratores adorabunt Patrem in spiritu et veritate. Nam et Pater tales quærit, qui adorent eum. Spiritus est Deus: et eos qui adorant eum, in spiritu et veritate oportet adorare. Dicit ei mulier: Scio quia Messias venit (qui dicitur Christus). Cum ergo venerit ille, nobis anmmtiabit omnia. Dioit ei Jesus: Ego sum, qui loquor tecum. Et continuo venerunt discipuli ejus: et mirabantur quia cum muliere loquebatur. Nemo tamen dixit: Quid quæris, aut quid loqueris cum ea? Reliquit ergo hydriam suam mulier, et abiit in civitatem, et dicit illis hominibus: Venite, et videte hominem qui dixit mihi omnia quæcumque feci: numquid ipse est Christus? Exierunt ergo de civitate, et veniebant ad eum. Interea rogabant cum discipuli dicentes: Rabbi, manduca. Ille autem dicit eis: Ego cibum habeo manducare, quem vos nescitis. Dicebant ergo discipuli ad invicem: Numquid aliquis attulit ei manducare? Dicit eis Jesus: Meus cibus est ut faciam voluntatem ejus qui misit me, ut perficiam opus ejus. Nonne vos dicitis, quod adhuc quatuor menses sunt, et messis venit? Ecce dico vobis: Levate oculos vestros, et videte regiones, quia albæ sunt jam ad messem. Et qui metit, mercedem accipit, et congregat fructum in vitam æternam: ut et qui seminat, simul gaudeat, et qui metit. In hoc enim est verbum verum: quia alius est qui seminat, et alius est qui metit. Ego misi vos metere, quod vos non laborastis: alii laboraverunt, et vos in labores eorum introistis. Ex civitate autem ilia multi crediderunt in cum Samaritanorum, propter verbum mulieris testimonium perhibentis: Quia dixit mihi omnia quæcumque feci. Gum venissent ergo ad ilium Samaritani, rogaverunt cum ut ibi maneret. Et mansit ibi duos dies. Et multo plures crediderunt in cum propter sermonem ejus. Et mulieri dicebant: Quia jam non propter tuam loquelam credimus: ipsi enim audivimus, et scimus quia hic est vere Salvator mundi.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. iv.

At that time: Jesus came to a city of Samaria which is called Sichar, near the land which Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well. It was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus saith to her: Give me to drink. For his disciples were gone into the city to buy meats. Then that Samaritan woman saith to him: How dost thou, being a Jew, ask of me to drink, who am a Samaritan woman? For the Jews do not communicate with the Samaritans. Jesus answered, and said to her: If thou didst know the Gift of God, and who he is that saith to thee, Give me to drink: thou perhaps wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith to him: Sir, thou hast nothing wherein to draw, and the well is deep; from whence then hast thou living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered, and said to her: Whosoever drinketh of this water, shall thirst again: but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst for ever. But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water springing up into life everlasting. The woman saith to him: Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come hither to draw. Jesus saith to her: Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered, and said: I have no husband. Jesus said to her: Thou hast said well, I have no husband; for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast, is not thy husband. This thou hast said truly. The woman saith to him: Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers adored on this mountain, and you say that at Jerusalem is the place where men must adore. Jesus saith to her: Woman, believe me, that the hour cometh, when you shall neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, adore the Father. You adore that which you know not; we adore that which we know, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him. God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith to him: I know that the Messias cometh, who is called Christ; therefore when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith to her: I am he, who am speaking with thee. And immediately his disciples came; and they wondered that he talked with the woman. Yet no man said: What seekeet thou, or why talkest thou with her? The woman therefore left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men there: Come, and see a man who has told me all things whatsoever I have done. Is not he the Christ? They went therefore out of the city, and came unto him. In the meantime the disciples prayed him, saying: Rabbi, eat. But he said to them: I have meat to eat which you know not. The disciples therefore said one to another: Hath any man brought him to eat? Jesus saith to them: My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, that I may perfect his work. Do not you say, there are yet four months and then the harvest cometh? Behold I say to you, lift up your eyes, and see the countries, for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life everlasting; that both he that soweth, and he that reapeth may rejoice together. For in this is the saying true: that it is one man that soweth, and it is another that reapeth. I have sent you to reap that in which you did not labour; others have laboured, and you have entered into their labours. Now of that city many of the Samaritans believed in him, for the word of the woman giving testimony: He told me all things whatsoever I had done. So when the Samaritans were come to him, they desired him that he would tarry there. And he abode there two days. And many more believed in him because of his own word. And they said to the woman: We now believe, not for thy `saying; for we ourselves have heard him, and know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.

Our Gospel shows us the Son of God continuing the ministry of Moses, by revealing to the Samaritan woman, who represents the Gentiles, the mystery of the water that gives life everlasting. We find this subject painted on the walls of the catacombs, and carved on the tombs of the Christians, as far back as the fifth, and even the fourth century. Let us, then, meditate upon this event of our Lord’s life, for it tells us of His wonderful mercy. Jesus is wearied with His journey; He, the Son of God, who had but to speak and the world was created, is fatigued seeking after His lost sheep. He is obliged to rest His wearied limbs; He sits; but it is near a well. He finds a Samaritan woman there; she is a Gentile, an idolatress; she comes to draw water from the well; she has no idea of a water of eternal life: Jesus intends to reveal the mystery to her. He begins by telling her that He is tired and thirsty. A few days hence, when expiring on His cross, He will say:’I thirst’: and so now, He says to this woman: Give me to drink. So true is it that, in order to appreciate the grace brought us by our Redeemer, we must first know this Redeemer in His weakness and sufferings.

But before the woman has time to give Jesus what He asks, He tells her of a water, of which he that drinks shall not thirst for ever: He invites her to draw from a fountainthat springeth up into life everlasting. The woman longs to drink of this water; she knows not who He is that is speaking with her, and yet she has faith in what He says. This idolatress evinces a docility of heart, which the Jews never showed to their Messias; and she is docile, notwithstanding that He who speaks to her belongs to a nation which despises all Samaritans. The confidence wherewith she listens to Jesus is rewarded by His offering still greater graces. He begins by putting her to the test. Go, He says, eall thy husbandand come hither. She was living in sin, and Jesus would have her confess it. She does so without the slightest hesitation; her humility is rewarded, for she at once recognizes Jesus to be a Prophet, and she begins to drink of the living water. Thus was it with the Gentiles. The apostles preached the Gospel to them; they reproached them with their crimes, and showed them the holiness of the God they had offended; but the Gentiles did not therefore reject their teaching; on the contrary, they were docile, and only wanted to know what they should do to render themselves pleasing to their Creator. The faith had need of martyrs; and they were found in abundance amidst these converts from paganism and its abominations.

Jesus seeing such simple-heartedness in the Samaritan, mercifully reveals to her who He is. He tells this poor sinner that the time has come when all men shall adore God; He tells her that the Messias has come upon the earth, and that He Himself is that Messias. It is thus that Christ treats a soul that is simple and obedient. He shows Himself to her without reserve. When the disciples arrived, they wondered; they had as yet too much of the Jew in them; they, therefore, could not understand how their Master could show anything like mercy to this Samaritan. But the time will soon come, when they will say with the great apostle St. Paul: ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female; for all are one in Christ Jesus.’[2]

Meanwhile, the Samaritan becomes an apostle, for she is filled with heavenly ardour. She leaves her pitcher at the well: what cares she for its water, now that Jesus has given her to drink of the living water? She goes back to the city; but it is that she may preach Jesus there, and bring to Him, if she can, all the inhabitants of Samaria. In her humility, she gives this proof of His being a great Prophet: that He has told her all the sins of her life! These pagans, whom the Jews despised, hasten to the well, where Jesus has remained speaking to His disciples on the coming harvest. They acknowledge Him to be the Messias, the Saviour of the world; and Jesus condescends to abide two days in this city, where there was no other religion than that of idolatry, with a fragment here and there of some Jewish practice. Tradition tells us that the name of the Samaritan woman was Photina. She and the Magi were the first-fruits of the new people of God. She suffered martyrdom for Him who revealed Himself to her at Jacob’s well. The Church honours her memory each year, in the Roman martyrology, on March 20.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut qui in tua protectione confidimus, cuncta nobis adversantia, te adjuvante, vincamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we who confide in thy protection, may, through thy grace, overcome all the enemies of our salvation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Mozarabic liturgy celebrates the vocation of the Samaritan woman in the following beautiful Preface:

Illatio
(In DominicaIQuadrajesimæ)

Dignum et justum est nos tibi semper gratias agere, Domine sanete, Pater æterne, omnipotens Deus, per Jesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum. Qui ad salvationem humani generis veniens e cœlo: sitiens atque fatigatus sedisse ad puteum dicitur. Ille etenim in quo omnis plenitudo divinitatis corporaliter permanebat: quia nostræ mortalitatis corpus assumpserat: veritatem assumptæ carnis quibusdam significationibus demonstrabat. Fatigatum enim cum non aliter credimus ab itinere, nisi infirmatum in carne. Exivit quippe ad currendam viam, per significationem carnis assumptæ; ideo igitur etsi fatigatus ille in carne, non tamen uos sinit infirmari in sua infirmitate. Nam quod infirmum est iliius, fortius est hominibus. Ideoque per humilitatem veniens eripere mundum a potestate tenebrarum: sedit et sitivit quando aquam mulieri petivit. Ille etenim humiliatus erat in carne: quando sedens ad puteum loquebatur cum muliere: sitivit aquam, et exegit fidem ab ea. In ea quippe muliere, fidem quam quæsivit, quamque petivit, exegit: atque venientibus dicit de ea discipulis: Ego cibum habeo manducare quem vos nescitis. Ille jam qui in ea creaverat fidei donum: ipse poscebat aquæ sibi ab ea porrigi potum. Quique eam dilectionis suæ flamma cremabat: ipse ab ea poculum quo refrigeraretur sitiens postulabat. Ob hoc nos ad ista tantarum virtutum miracula quid apponemus, sancte et immaculate et piisime Deus: nisi conscientiam mundam et voluntatem dilectioni tuæ omni modo præparatam? Tuo igitur nomini offerentes victimam mundam: rogamus atque exposcimus: ut opereris in nobis salutem: sicut in muliere illa operatus es fidem. Operare in nobis extirpationem carnalium vitiorum, qui in illa idololatriæ pertulisti figmentum. Sentiamus quoque te in ilia futura examinatione mitissimum: sicut ilia te promeruit invenire placatum. Opus enim tuum sumus: qui nisi per to salvari non possumus. Subveni nobis, vera redemptio: pietatis indeficiens plenitudo. Non perdas quod tuum est: quibus dedisti rationis naturam, da æternitatis gloriamindefessam. Ut qui te in hac vita laudamus, in æterna quoque beatitudine multo magis glorificemus. Tu es enim Deus noster: non nos abjicias a facie tua: sed jam respice quos creasti miseratione gratuita: ut cum abstuleris a nobis omne debitum culpæ: et placitos reddideris aspectibus gratiæ tuæ: eruti ab illa noxialis putei profunditate facinorum, hydriam nostrarum relinquentes cupiditatum, ad illam æternam civitatem Hierusalem post hujus vitæ transitum convolemus.
It is meet and just that we should always give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, eternal Father, almighty God, through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Who, having come from heaven for the salvation of mankind, sat near a well, thirsting and wearied. For this is he, in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead corporally. But whereas he had assumed the body of our mortality, he wished to show, by certain signs, the reality of the flesh thus assumed; for when we say that he was wearied with a journey, we believe that this weakness was only in the flesh. He went forth to run the way, that he might show that he had taken a truo body; hence, although he was wearied in the flesh, yet would he not that our faith should grow weak at the sight of this his weakness; for that which is weak in him, is stronger than men. Having, therefore, come in humility, that he might deliver the world from the power of darkness, he sat and thirsted, when he asked the woman to give him to drink. For he was humbled in the flesh, when, sitting at the well, he spoke with the woman, and thirsted after water, and required of her her faith. Yea, he required from her the faith, which he sought and asked for; and when his disciples came he said to them concerning it: I have meat to eat which you know not of. He that had already created in her the gift of faith, asked her to give him water to drink: and he that had enkindled within her the fire of his love, asked her to give him a cup, whereby to refresh his thirst. Seeing these miracles of divine power, what else shall we offer unto thee, O holy and immaculate and most merciful God, but a pure conscience and a heart that is well prepared to receive thy love? Now, therefore, whilst offering to thy name this clean oblation, we pray and beseech thee, that thou mayst work salvation in us, as thou didst work faith in that woman. Thou didst destroy in her the delusion of idolatry; produce in us the extirpation of our carnal vices. May we find thee full of most tender mercy when thou comest to judge us, as she deserved to find thee. We are the work of thy hands, neither can we be otherwise saved than by thee. Come to our assistance, O thou our true Redeemer, the fulness of whose mercy faileth not. Destroy not what is thine own. Thou hast given us a rational nature; bestow upon us exhaustless glory of eternity, that so we who praise thee in this life, may still more fervently glorify thee in a blessed eternity. Thou art our God; cast us not away from thy face, but look upon us, whom thou didst create out of thy pure mercy: that when thou hast taken from us the whole debt of out guilt, and rendered us worthy of thy gracious sight, we, being drawn out from the deep well of our sins, and leaving behind us the pitcher of our evil desires, may, after passing through this life, take our flight to Jerusalem, the eternal city.

[1] Cor. x. 4.
[2] Gal. iii.28

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Station is in the church of Saint Susanna, virgin and martyr of Rome. The reason of this church having been chosen is that the history of the chaste Susanna, the daughter of Helcias, is read to-day.

Collect

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut qui se, affligendo carnem, ab alimentis abstinent, sectando justitiam, a culpa jejunent. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that they who mortify themselves by abstinence from food, may, by observing thy holy law, also fast from all sin. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle

Lectio Danielis Prophetæ.

Cap. xiii.

In diebus illis: Erat vir habitans in Babylone, et nomen ejus Joachim: et accepit uxorem nomine Susannam, filiam Helciæ, pulchram nimis, et timentem Deum: parentes enim illius, cum essent justi, erudierunt filiam suam secundum legem Moysi. Erat autem Joachim dives valde, et erat illi pomarium vicinum domui sues: et ad ipsum confluebant Judæi, eo quod esset honorabilior omnium. Et constituti sunt de populo duo senes judices in illo anno; de quibus locutus est Dominus: Quia egreesa est iniquitas de Babylone a senioribus judicibus, qui videbantur regere populum. Isti frequentabant domum Joachim, et veniebant ad eos omnes qui habebant judicia. Cum autem populus revertisset per meridiem, ingrediebatur Susanna, et deambulabat in pomario viri sui. Et videbant eam senes quotidie ingredientem et deambulantem: et exarserurrt in concupiscentiam ejus: et everterunt sensum suum, et declinaverunt oculos suos ut non viderent cœlum, neque recordarentur judiciorum justorum. Factum est autem, cum observarent diem aptum, ingressa est aliquando sicut heri et nudius tertius, cum duabus solis puellis, voluitque lavari in pomario: æstusquippe erat: et non erat ibi quisquam, præter duos senes absconditos et contemplantes eam. Dixit ergo puellis: Afferte mihi oleum, et smigmata, et ostia pomarii claudite, ut laver. Cum autem egressæ essent puellæ, surrexerunt duo senes, et accurrerunt ad eam, et dixerunt: Ecce ostia pomarii clausa sunt, et nemo nos videt, et nos in concupiscentia tui sumus: quamobrem assentire nobis, et commiscere nobiscum. Quod si nolueris, dicemus contra te testimonium, quod fuerit tecum juvenis, et ob hanc causam emiseris puellas a te. Ingemuit Susanna, et ait: Augustiæ sunt mihi undique: si enim hoc egero, mors mihi est: si autem non egero, non effugiam manus vestras. Sed melius est mihi absque opere incidere in manus vestras, quam peccare in conspectu Domini. Et exclamavit voce magna Susanna; exclamaverunt autem et senes adversus eam. Et cucurrit unus ad ostia pomarii, et aperuit. Cum ergo audissent clamorem famuli domus in pomario, irruerunt per posticum, ut viderent quidnam esset. Postquam autem senes locuti sunt, erubuerunt servi vehementer: quia numquam dictus fuerat sermo hujuscemodi de Susanna. Et facta est dies crastina. Cumque venisset populus ad Joachim virum ejus, venerunt et duo seniores pleni iniqua cogitations adversus Susannam, ut interficerent eam. Et dixerunt coram populo: Mittite ad Susannam filiam Helciæ uxorem Joachim. Et statim miserunt. Et venit cum parentibus, et filiis, et universis cognatis suis. Flebant igitur sui, et omnes qui noverant eam. Consurgentes autem duo seniores in medio populi, posuerunt manus suas super caput ejus. Quæ flens suspexit ad cœlum: erat enim cor ejus fiduciam habens in Domino. Et dixerunt seniores: Cum deambularemus in pomario soli, ingressa est hæc cum duabus puellis: et clausit ostia pomarii, et dimisit a se puellas. Venitque ad eam adolescens, qui erat absconditus, et concubuit cum ea. Porro nos, cum essemus in angulo pomarii, videntes iniquitatem, cucurrimus ad eos, et vidimus eos pariter commisceri. Et ilium quidem non quivimus comprehendere, quia fortior nobis erat, et apertis ostiis exilivit: hanc autem cum apprehendissemus, interrogavimus, quisnam esset adolescens, et noluit indicare nobis: hujus rei testes sumus. Credidit eis multitudo quasi senibus et judicibus populi, et condemnaverunt eam ad mortern. Exclamavit autem voce magna Susanna, et dixit: Deus æterne, qui absconditorum es cognitor, qui nosti omnia antequam fiant, tu scis quoniam falsum testimonium tulerunt contra me: et ecce morior, cum nihil horum fecerim, quæ isti malitiose composuerunt adversum me. Exaudivit autem Dominus vocem ejus. Cumque duceretur ad mortern, suscitavit Dominus spiritum sanctum pueri junioris, cujus nornen Daniel. Et exclama vit voce magna: Mundus ego sum a sanguine hujus. Et conversus omnis populus ad eum, dixit: Quis est iste sermo, quem tu locutus es? Qui cum staret in medio eorum, ait: Sic fatui, filii Israël, non judicantes, neque quod verum est cognoscentes, condemnastis filiam Israël? Revertimini ad judicium, quia falsum testimonium locuti sunt adversus eam. Reversus est ergo populus cum festinatione. Et dixit ad eos Daniel: Separate illos ab invicem procul, et dijudicabo eos. Cum ergo divisi essent alter ab altero, vocavit unum de eis, et dixit ad eum: Inveterate dierum malorum, nunc venerunt peccata tua, quæ operabaris prius, judicans judicia injusta, innocentes opprimens, et dimittens noxios, dicente Domino: Innocentem et justum non interficies. Nunc ergo si vidisti eam, dic sub qua arbore videris eos colloquentes sibi. Qui ait: Sub schino. Dixit autem Daniel: Recte mentitus es in caput tuum. Ecce enim angelus Dei, accepta sententia ab eo, scindet te medium. Et, amoto eo, jussit venire alium, et dixit ei: Semen Chanaan, et non Juda, species decepit te, et concupiscentia subvertit cor tuum: sic faciebatis filiabus Israël, et illæ timentes loquebantur vobis; sed filia Juda non sustinuit iniquitatem vestram. Nunc ergo die mihi, sub qua arbore comprehenderis eos loquentes sibi. Qui ait: Sub prino. Dixit autem ei Daniel: Recte mentitus es et tu in caput tuum: manet enim angelus Domini, gladium habens, ut secet te medium, et interficiat vos. Exclamavit itaque omnis cœtus voce magna, et benedixerunt Deum, qui salvat sperantes in se. Et consurrexerunt adversus duos seniores(convicerat enim eos Daniel ex ore suo falsum dixisse testimonium), feceruntque eis sicut male egerant adversus proximum, et interfecerunt eos; et salvatus est sanguis innoxius in die ilia.
Lesson from the Prophet Daniel.

Ch. xiii.

In those days: There was a man that dwelt in Babylon, and his name was Joakim; and he took a wife whose name was Susanna, the daughter of Helcias, a very beautiful woman, and one that feared God. For her parents being just, had instructed their daughter according to the law of Moses. Now Joakim was very rich, and had an orchard near his house; and the Jews resorted to him, because he was the most honourable of them all. And there were two of the ancients of the people appointed judges that year, of whom the Lord said: Iniquity came out from Babylon from the ancient judges, that seemed to govern the people. These men frequented the house of Joakim, and all that had any matters of judgment came to them. And when the people departed away at noon, Susanna went in, and walked in her husband’s orchard. And the old men saw her going in every day, and walking; and they were inflamed with lust towards her; and they perverted their own mind, and turned away their eyes, that they might not look unto heaven, nor remember just judgments. And it fell out, as they watched a fit day, she went in on a time, as yesterday and the day before, with two maids only, and was desirous to wash herself in the orchard, for it was hot weather. And there was nobody there but the two old men, that had hid themselves and were beholding her. So she said to the maids: Bring me oil and washing balls, and shut the doors of the orchard, that I may wash me. Now when the maids were gone forth, the two elders arose, and ran to her, and said: Behold the doors of the orchard are shut, and nobody seeth us, and we are in love with thee; wherefore consent to us, and lie with us. But if thou wilt not, we will bear witness against thee, that a young man was with thee, and therefore thou didst send away thy maids from thee. Susanna sighed and said: I am straitened on every side; for if I do this thing, it is death to me, and if I do it not, I shall not escape your hands. But it is better for me to fall into your hands without doing it, than to sin in the sight of the Lord. With that Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and the elders also cried out against her; and one of them ran to the door of the orchard, and opened it. So when the servants of the house heard the cry in the orchard, they rushed in by the back door, to see what was the matter. But after the old men had spoken, the servants were greatly ashamed, for never had there been any such word said of Susanna. And on the next day, when the people were come to Joakim her husband, the two elders also came, full of their wicked device against Susanna, to put her to death. And they said before the people: Send to Susanna, daughter of Helcias, the wife of Joakim. And they presently sent; and she came with her parents, and children, and all her kindred. Therefore her friends and all her acquaintance wept. But the two elders, rising up in the midst of the people, laid their hands upon her head. And she weeping looked up to heaven, for her heart had confidence in the Lord. And the elders said: As we walked in the orchard alone, this woman came in with two maids, and shut the doors of the orchard, and sent away the maids from her. Then a young man that was there hid, came to her, and lay with her. But we that were in the corner of the orchard, seeing this wickedness, ran up to them, and we saw them lie together. And as for him we could not take him, because he was stronger than we, and opening the doors he leaped out; but having taken this woman, we asked who the young man was, but she would not tell us. Of this thing we are witnesses. The multitude believed them as being the elders and judges of the people, and they condemned her to death. Then Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and said: O eternal God, who knowest hidden things, who knowest all things before they come to pass, thou knowest that they have borne false witness against me; and behold I must die, whereas I have done none of these things, which these men have maliciously forged against me. And the Lord heard her voice. And when she was led to be put to death, the Lord raised up the holy spirit of a young boy, whose name was Daniel; and he cried out with a loud voice: I am clear from the blood of this woman. Then all the people turning towards him, said: What meaneth this word that thou hast spoken? But he standing in the midst of them, said: Are ye so foolish, ye children of Israel, that without examination or knowledge of the truth, ye have condemned a daughter of Israel? Return to judgment, for they have borne false witness against her. So all the people turned again in haste. And Daniel said to the people: Separate these two far from one another, and I will examine them. So when they were put asunder one from the other, he called one of them and said to him: O thou that art grown old in evil days, now are thy sins come out which thou hast committed before, in judging unjust judgments, oppressing the innocent, and letting the guilty go free, whereas the Lord saith: The innocent and the just thou shalt not kill. Now then, if thou sawest her, tell me under what tree thou sawest them conversing together. He said: Under a mastick tree. And Daniel said: Well hast thou lied against thy own head; for behold the angel of God, having received the sentence of him, shall cut thee in two. And having put him aside, he commanded that the other should come, and he said to him: O thou seed of Chanaan, and not of Juda, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust hath perverted thy heart; thus did you do to the daughters of Israel, and they for fear conversed with you; but a daughter of Juda would not abide yourwickedness. Now, therefore, tell me under what tree didst thou take them conversing together? And he answered: Under a holm tree. And Daniel said to him: Well hast thou also lied against thy own head; for the angel of the Lord waiteth with a sword to cut thee in two, and to destroy thee. With that all the assembly cried out with a loud voice, and they blessed God, who saveth them that trust in him. And they rose up against the two elders (for Daniel had convicted them of false witness by their own mouth), and they did to them as they had maliciously dealt against their neighbour, and they put them to death, and innocent blood was saved in that day.

Yesterday, we shared in the joy felt by our catechumens, as they listened to the Church describing that limpid and life-giving fountain, which flows from the Saviour; in these waters they were soon to receive a new life. To-day the instruction is for the penitents, whose reconciliation is drawing near. But how can they hope for pardon, who have sullied the white robe of their Baptism, and trampled on the precious Blood that redeemed them? And yet, they are really to be pardoned and saved. If you would understand the mystery, read and meditate upon the sacred Scriptures; for there you will leam that there is a salvation which comes from justice, and a salvation that proceeds from mercy. To-day we have an example of both. Susanna, who is unjustly accused of adultery, receives from God the recompense of her virtue; He avenges and saves her; another woman, who is really guilty of the crime, is saved from death by Jesus Christ Himself. Let the just, therefore, confidently and humbly await the reward they have merited; but let sinners also hope in the mercy of the Redeemer, who has come for them rather than for the just. Thus does the holy Church encourage her penitents, and call them to conversion, by showing them the riches of the Heart of Jesus, and the mercies of the new Covenant, which this same Saviour has signed with His Blood.

In this history of Susanna the early Christians saw a figure of the Church, which, in their time, was solicited by the pagans to evil, but remained faithful to her divine Spouse, even though death was the punishment of her resistance. A holy martyr of the third century, St. Hippolytus, mentions this interpretation.[1] The carvings on the ancient Christian tombs, and the frescoes of the Roman catacombs, represent this history of Susanna’s fidelity to God’s law in spite of the death that threatened her, as a type of the martyrs preferring death to apostasy; for apostasy, in the language of the sacred Scriptures, is called adultery, which the soul is guilty of by denying her God, to whom she espoused herself when she received Baptism.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. viii.

In illo tempore: Perrexit Jesus in montem Oliveti: et diluculo iterum venit in templum, et omnis populus venit ad eum. Et sedens docebat eos. Adducunt autem scribæ et pharisæi mulierem in adulterio deprehensam: et statuerunt eam in medio, et dixerunt ei: Magister, hæo mulier modo deprehensa est in adulterio. In lege autem Moyses mandavit nobis hujusmodi lapidare. Tu ergo quid dicis? Hoc autem dicebant tentantes eum, ut possent accueare eum. Jesus autem inclinans se deorsum, digito scribebat in terra. Cum ergo perseverarent interrogantes eum, erexit se, et dixit eis: Qui sine peccato est vestrum, primus in illam lapidem mittat. Et iterum se inclinans, scribebat in terra. Audientes autem, unus post unum exibant, incipientes a senioribus: et remansit solus Jesus, et mulier in medio stans. Erigens autem se Jesus, dixit ei: Mulier, ubi sunt, qui te accusabant? Nemo te condemnavit? Quæ dixit: Nemo, Domine. Dixit autem Jesus: Nec ego te condemnabo. Vade, et jam amplius noli peccare.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. viii.

At that time: Jesus went to Mount Olivet. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him, and sitting down he taught them. And the scribes and pharisees bring unto him a woman taken in adultery, and they set her in the midst, and said to him: Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery. Now, Moses in the law commanded us to stone such a one: but what sayest thou? And this they said tempting him, that they might accuse him. But Jesus, bowing himself down, wrote with his finger on the ground. When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again stooping down, he wrote on the ground. But they hearing this, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest; and Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee? Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.

This is the salvation that proceeds from mercy. The woman is guilty; the Law condemns her to be put to death; her accusers are justified in insisting on her being punished: and yet, she shall not die. Jesus saves her; and all He asks of her is, that she sin no more. What must have been her gratitude! How must she have desired to obey, henceforward, that God, who would not condemnher, and to whom she owed her life! Let us enter into the like dispositions towards our Redeemer, for we, too, are sinners. Is it not He that has stayed the arm of divine justice, when it was raised to strike us? Has He not turned the blow upon Himself? Our salvation, then, has been one of mercy; let us imitate the penitents of the primitive Church, and, during these remaining days of Lent, consolidate the foundations of the new life we have begun.

The answer made by Jesus to the pharisees, who accused this woman, deserves our respectful attention. It not only shows His compassion for the humble sinner, who stood trembling before Him; it contains a practical instruction for us. He that is without sin among youlet him be the first to cast a stone at her. During these days of conversion and repentance, let us recall to mind the detractions we have been guilty of against our neighbour. Alas! these sins of the tongue are looked upon as mere trifles; we forget them almost as soon as we have committed them; nay, so deeply rooted in us is the habit of finding fault with everyone, that we scarcely know ourselves to be detractors. If this saying of our Redeemer had made the impression it ought to have made upon us; if we had thought of our own numberless defects and sins; how could we have dared to criticize our neighbour, publish his faults, and pass judgment upon his very thoughts and intentions? Jesus knew what sort of life these men had led, who accused the woman; He knows what ours has been! Woe to us if, henceforth, we are not indulgent with others!

And lastly, let us consider the malice of Jesus’enemies; what they said, they saidtempting Himthat they might accuse Him.If He pronounce in the woman’s favour, they will accuse Him of despising the Law of Moses, which condemns her to be stoned: if He answer in conformity with the Law, they will hold Him up to the people as a man without mercy or compassion. Jesus, by His divine prudence, eludes their stratagem; but we can foresee what He will have to suffer at their hands, when, having put Himself in their power, that they may do with Him what they please, He will make no other answer to their calumnies and insults than the silence and patience of an innocent Victim condemned to death.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Prætende, Domine, fidelibus tuis dexteram cœlestis auxilii: ut te toto corde perquirant; et quæ digne postulant, consequi mereantur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

Stretch forth, O Lord, over thy people, the right hand of thy heavenly aid, that they may seek thee with their whole heart, and mercifully obtain what they ask for as they ought. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us offer to Mary, as we are accustomed to do on the last day of each week, some special expression of our love. Let us say, in her honour, the following sequence, which is taken from the ancient RomanFrench missals:

Sequence

Mariæ præconio
Serviat cum gaudio,
Fervens desiderio,
Verus amor.

Amoris suffragio
Præsentetur Filio,
Matris in obsequio,
Cordis clamor.

Ave salus hominum,
Virgo decus virginum,
Te decet post Dominum
Laus et honor.

Tu rosa, tu lilium,
Cujus Dei Filium
Carnis ad connubium
Traxit odor.

Ave manans satie
Fons misericordiæ,
Vera mentis sauciæ
Medicina.

Tu pincerna veniæ,
Tu lucerna gratiae,
Tu supemæ gloriæ
Es regina.

Ave carens carie
Speculum munditiæ,
Venuatans Ecclesiæ
Sacramentum.

Tu finis miseriæ,
Tu ver es lætitiæ,
Pacis et concordiæ
Condimentum.

O felix puerpera,
Nostra pians scelera,
Jure Matris impera
Redemptori.

Da fidei fædera,
Da salutis opera,
Da in vitæ vespera
Bene mori.

Amen.
Let this be our
joyous praise of Mary:
true and
fervent love.

Let the cry of our heart,
as it sings in the Mother's honour,
be presented to her Son
as a tribute of love.

Hail thou that broughtest salvation to men!
O Virgin, and Queen of virgins!
to thee, after God,
are due praise and honour.

Thou art the fair rose and lily,
whose fragrance drew
the Son of God to assume
our human nature.

Hail overflowing
fount of mercy!
Hail true balm
of the wounded heart!

Thou art the ministress of pardon,
the flame richly
fed with grace,
the Queen of matchless glory.

Hail spotless
mirror of purity,
that givest beauty
to the holy Church of God!

Where thou art,
there can be no sadness,
for thou art the spring-time of joy;
thou art the bond of peace and concord.

O happy Mother!
use a Mother’s right;
and bid thy Son, our Redeemer,
forgive us our sins.

These are the gifts we ask of thee:
firmness of faith,
works available to salvation,
and in the evening of life, a happy death.

Amen.

 

[1] In Danielem, page 27. Edit Fabricius.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

This Sunday, called, from the first word of the Introit, Lætare Sunday, is one of the most solemn of the year. The Church interrupts her lenten mournfulness; the chants of the Mass speak of nothing but joy and consolation; the organ, which has been silent during the preceding three Sundays, now gives forth its melodious voice; the deacon resumes his dalmatic, and the subdeacon his tunic; and instead of purple, rose-coloured vestments are allowed to be used. These same rites were practised in Advent, on the third Sunday, called Gaudete. The Church’s motive for introducing this expression of joy into to-day’s liturgy is to encourage her children to persevere fervently to the end of this holy season. The real mid-Lent was last Thursday, as we have already observed; but the Church, fearing lest the joy might lead to some infringement on the spirit of penance, has deferred her own notice of it to this Sunday, when she not only permits, but even bids, her children to rejoice!

The Station at Rome is in the basilica of Holy Cross in Jerusalem, one of the seven principal churches of the holy city. It was built in the fourth century, by the emperor Constantine, in one of his villas called Sessorius, on which account it goes also under the name of the Sessorian basilica. The emperor’s mother, St. Helen, enriched it with most precious relics, and wished to make it the Jerusalem of Rome. With this intention she ordered a great quantity of earth taken from Mount Calvary to be put on the site. Among the other relics of the instruments of the Passion which she gave to this church was the inscription which was fastened to the cross; it is still there, and is called the Tide of the Cross. The name of Jerusalem, which has been given to this basilica, and which recalls to our minds the heavenly Jerusalem towards which we are tending, suggested the choice of it as to-day’s Station. Up to the fourteenth century, when Avignon became for a time the city of the Popes, the ceremony of the golden rose took place in this church; at present, it is blessed in the palace where the sovereign Pontiff happens to be residing at this season.

The blessing of the golden rose is one of the ceremonies peculiar to the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is called on this account Rose Sunday. The thoughts suggested by this flower harmonize with the sentiments wherewith the Church would now inspire her children. The joyous time of Easter is soon to give them a spiritual spring, of which that of nature is but a feeble image. Hence, we cannot be surprised that the institution of this ceremony is of a very ancient date. We find it observed under the pontificate of St. Leo IX. (eleventh century); and we have a sermon on the golden rose preached by the glorious Pope Innocent III., on this Sunday, and in the basilica of Holy Cross in Jerusalem. In the middle ages, when the Pope resided in the Lateran palace, having first blessed the rose, he went on horseback to the church of the Station. He wore the mitre, was accompanied by all the Cardinals, and held the blessed flower in his hand. Having reached the basilica, he made a discourse on the mysteries symbolized by the beauty, the colour, and the fragrance of the rose. Mass was then celebrated. After the Mass, the Pope returned to the Lateran palace. Surrounded by the sacred college, he rode across the immense plain which separates the two basificas, with the mystic flower still in his hand. We may imagine the joy of the people as they gazed upon the holy symbol. When the procession had reached the palace gates, if there were a prince present, it was his privilege to hold the stirrup, and assist the Pontiff to dismount; for which filial courtesy he received the rose, which had received so much honour and caused such joy.

At present, the ceremony is not quite so solemn; still the principal rites are observed. The Pope blesses the golden rose in the vestiary; he anoints it with holy chrism, over which he sprinkles a scented powder, as formerly; and when the hour for Mass has come, he goes to the palace chapel, holding the flower in his hand. During the holy Sacrifice, it is fastened to a golden rose-branch prepared for it on the altar. After the Mass, it is brought to the Pontiff, who holds it in his hand as he returns from the chapel to the vestiary. It is usual for the Pope to send the rose to some prince or princess, as a mark of honour; sometimes, it is a city or a Church that receives the flower.

We subjoin a free translation of the beautiful prayer used by the sovereign Pontiff when blessing the golden rose. It will give our readers a clearer appreciation of this ceremony, which adds so much solemnity to the fourth Sunday of Lent. ‘O God! by whose word and power all things were created, and by whose will they are all governed! O Thou that art the joy and gladness of all Thy faithful people! we beseech Thy divine Majesty, that Thou vouchsafe to bless and sanctify this rose, so lovely in its beauty and fragrance. We are to bear it, this day, in our hands, as a symbol of spiritual joy; that thus the people that is devoted to Thy service, being set free from the captivity of Babylon by the grace of Thine only-begotten Son who is the glory and the joy of Israel, may show forth, with a sincere heart, the joys of that Jerusalem, which is above, and is our mother. And whereas Thy Church, seeing this symbol, exults with joy for the glory of Thy Name; do Thou, O Lord! give her true and perfect happiness. Accept her devotion, forgive us our sins, increase our faith; heal us by Thy word, protect us by Thy mercy; remove all obstacles; grant us all blessings; that thus this Same Thy Church may offer unto Thee the fruit of good works; and walking in the odour of the fragrance of that Flower, which sprang from the root of Jesse, and is called the Flower of the field, and the Lily of the valley, may she deserve to enjoy an endless joy in the bosom of heavenly glory, in the society of all the saints, together with that divine Flower, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.’

We now come to the explanation of another name given to the fourth Sunday of Lent, which was suggested by the Gospel of the day. We find this Sunday called in several ancient documents, the Sunday of the five loaves. The miracle alluded to in this title not only forms an essential portion of the Church’s instructions during Lent, but it is also an additional element of to-day’s joy. We forget for an instant the coming Passion of the Son of God, to give our attention to the greatest of the benefits He has bestowed on us; for under the figure of these loaves multiplied by the power of Jesus, our faith sees that Bread which came down from heaven, and giveth life to the world.[1] ‘The Pasch,’ says our Evangelist, ‘was near at hand’; and, in a few days, our Lord will say to us: ‘With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you.’[2] Before leaving this world to go to His Father, Jesus desires to feed the multitude that follows Him; and in order to this, He displays His omnipotence. Well may we admire that creative power, which feeds five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes, and in such wise that even after all have partaken of the feast as much as they would, there remain fragments enough to fill twelve baskets. Such a miracle is, indeed, an evident proof of Jesus’ mission; but He intends it as a preparation for something far more wonderful; He intends it as a figure and a pledge of what He is soon to do, not merely once or twice, but every day, even to the end of time; not only for five thousand men, but for the countless multitude of believers. Think of the millions, who, this very year, are to partake of the banquet of the Pasch; and yet, He whom we have seen born in Bethlehem (the house of bread) is to be the nourishment of all these guests; neither will the divine Bread fail. We are to feast as did our fathers before us; and the generations that are to follow us, shall be invited as we now are, to come and taste how sweet is the Lord.[3]

But observe, it is in a desert place, as we leam from St. Matthew,[4] that Jesus feeds these men, who represent us Christians. They have quitted the bustle and noise of cities in order to follow Him. So anxious are they to hear His words, that they fear neither hunger nor fatigue; and their courage is rewarded. A like recompense will crown our labours, our fasting and abstinence, which are now more than half over. Let us, then, rejoice, and spend this day with the light-heartedness of pilgrims who are near the end of their journey. The happy moment is advancing, when our soul, united and filled with her God, will look back with pleasure on the fatigues of the body, which, together with our heart’s compunction, have merited for her a place at the divine banquet.

The primitive Church proposed this miracle of the multiplication of the loaves as a symbol of the Eucharist, the Bread that never fails. We find it frequently represented in the paintings of the catacombs and on the bas-reliefs of the ancient Christian tombs. The fishes, too, that were given together with the loaves, are represented on these venerable monuments of our faith; for the early Christians considered the fish to be the symbol of Christ, because the word ‘fish’ in Greek is made up of five letters, which are the initials of these words: Jesus Christ Son (of) Gody Saviour.

In the Greek Church this is the last day of the week called, as we have already noticed, Mesonestios. Breaking through her rule of never admitting a saint’s feast during Lent, she keeps this mid-Lent Sunday in honour of the celebrated abbot of the monastery of Mount Sinai, St. John Climacus, who lived in the sixth century.

 

MASS

 

The seventy years’ captivity will soon be over. Yet a little while, and the captives shall return to Jerusalem. This is the idea expressed by the Church in all the chants of to-day’s Mass. She ventures not to pronounce the heavenly Alleluia; but all her canticles bespeak jubilation; for, in a few days hence, the house of the Lord will lay aside her mourning, and will be keeping the gladdest of her feasts.

Introit

Lætare, Jerusalem; et conventum facite omnes, qui diligitis eam: gaudete eum lætitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: ut exsultetis et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestræ.

Ps. Lætatus sum in his quæ dicta sunt mihi: In domum Domini ibimus. V. Gloria Patri. Lætare.
Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and meet together all you who love her; rejoice exceedingly, you who have been in sorrow, that you may leap for joy, and be satiated with comfort from her breasts.

Ps. I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. V. Glory. Rejoice.

In the Collect, the Church acknowledges that her children deserve the penance they are going through; but she begs that, to-day, the hope of the coming divine consolations may refresh their spirits. The full force of the closing word of her prayer, is that they may breathe awhile.

Collect

Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus; ut qui ex merito nostræ actionis affligimur, tuæ gratiæ consolations respiremus. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee,O almighty God, that we, who are justly afflicted according to our demerits, may be relieved by thy comforting grace. Through, &c.

The second and third Collects are given on the first Sunday of Lent, page 129.


Epistle

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Galatas. 

Cap. iv.

Fratres, scriptum est: Quoniam Abraham duos filios habuit: unum de ancilia, et unum de libera. Sed qui de ancilla, secundum carnem natus est: qui autem de libera, per repromissionem: quæ sunt per allegoriam dicta. Hæc enim sunt duo testamenta. Unum quidem in monte Sina, in servitutem generans: quæ est Agar: Sina enim mons est in Arabia, qui conjunctus est ei quæ nunc est Jerusalem, et servit cum filiis suis. Ilia autem, quæ sursum est Jerusalem, libera est, quæ est mater nostra. Scriptum est enim: Lætare, sterilis, quæ non paris: erumpe et clama, quæ non parturis: quia multi filii desertæ, magis quam ejus quæ habet virum. Nos autem, fratres, secundum Isaac, promissionis filii sumus. Sed quomodo tunc is, qui secundum camem natus fuerat, persequebatur eum, qui secundum spiritum: ita et nunc. Sed quid dicit Scriptura? Ejice ancillam et filium ejus: non enim hæres erit filius ancillæ cum filio liberæ. Itaque, fratres, non sumus ancillæ filii, sed liberæ: qua libertate Christus nos liberavit.
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Galatians.

Ch. iv.

Brethren: It is written that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bond-woman, and the other by a free-woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh; but he by the free-woman, was by promise. Which things are said by an allegory. For these are the two testaments. The one from Mount Sina, engendering unto bondage, which is Agar; for Sina is a mountain in Arabia, which hath affinity to that Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But that Jerusalem, which is above, is free; which is our mother. For it is written: Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not: break forth and cry, thou that travailest not; for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he, that was born according to the flesh, persecuted him that was after the spirit, so also is it now. But what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bond-woman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free-woman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond-woman, but of the free; by the freedom wherewith Christ hath made us free.

Let us, then, rejoice! We are children, not of Sina, but of Jerusalem. Our mother, the holy Church, is not a bond-woman, but free; and it is unto freedom that she has brought us up. Israel served God in fear; his heart was ever tending to idolatry, and could be kept to duty only by the heavy yoke of chastisement. More happy than he, we serve God through love; our yoke is sweet, and our burden is light![5] We are not citizens of the earth; we are but pilgrims passing through it to our true country, the Jerusalem which is above. We leave the earthly Jerusalem to the Jew, who minds only terrestrial things, is disappointed with Jesus, and is plotting how to crucify Him. We also have too long been grovelling in the goods of this world; we have been slaves to sin; and the more the chains of our bondage weighed upon us, the more we talked of our being free. Now is the favourable time; now are the days of salvation: we have obeyed the Church’s call, and have entered into the practice and spirit of Lent. Sin seems to us, now, to be the heaviest of yokes; the flesh, a dangerous burden; the world, a merciless tyrant. We begin to breathe the fresh air of holy liberty, and the hope of our speedy deliverance fills us with transports of joy. Let us, with all possible affection, thank our divine Liberator, who delivers us from the bondage of Agar, emancipates us from the law of fear, and making us His new people, opens to us the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem, at the price of His Blood.

The Gradual expresses the joy felt by the Gentiles, when invited to enter the house of the Lord, which has now become their own. The Tract shows God protecting His Church, the new Jerusalem, which is not to be conquered and destroyed as was that first one. This holy city communicates her own stability and security to them that are in her, for the Lord watches over both the mother and her children.

Gradual

Lætatus sum in his quæ dicta sunt mihi: in domum Domini ibimus. V. Fiat pax in virtute tua: et abundantia in turribus tuis.
I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. V. Let peace be in thy strength, and abundance in thy towers.

Tract

Qui confidunt in Domino, sicut mons Sion: non cornmovebitur in æternum, qui habitat in Jerusalem. V. Montes in circuitu ejus: et Dominus in circuitu populi sui, ex hoc, nunc, et usque in sæculum. 
They that trust in the Lord, shall be as Mount Sion; he shall not be moved for ever that dwelleth in Jerusalem. V. Mountains are round about it; so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth now and for ever.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. vi.

In illo tempore: Abiit Jesus trans mare Galilææ, quod est Tiberiadis: et sequebatur cum multitudo magna, quia videbant signa quæ faciebat super his qui infirmabantur. Subiit ergo in montem Jesus: et ibi sedebat cum discipulis suis. Erat autem proximum Pascha, dies festus Judæorum. Cum sublevasset ergo oculos Jesus, et vidisset quia multitudo maxima venit ad eum, dixit ad Philippum: Unde ememus panes, ut manducent hi? Hoc autem dicebat tentans eum: ipse enim soiebat quid esset facturus. Respondit ei Philippus: Ducentorum denariorum panes non sufficiunt eis, ut unusquisque modicum quid accipiat. Dicit ei unus ex discipulis ejus, Andreas, frater Simonis Petri: Est puer unus hie, qui habet quinque panes hordeaceos, et duos pieces: sed hæc quid sunt inter tantos? Dixit ergo Jesus: Facite homines discumbere. Erat autem feenum multum in loco. Discubuerunt ergo viri, numero quasi quinque millia. Accepit ergo Jesus panes: et cum gratias egisset, distribuit discumbentibus: similiter et ex piscibus quantum vole bant. Ut autem impleti sunt, dixit discipulis suls: Colligite quæ superaverunt fragmenta, ne pereant. Collegerunt ergo, et impleverunt duodecim cophinos fragmentorum ex quinque panibus hordeaceis, quæ superfuerunt his qui manducaverant. Illi ergo homines cum vidissent quod Jesus fecerat signum, dicebant: Quia hic est vere propheta, qui venturus est in mundum. Jesus ergo cum cognovisset quia venturi essent ut raperent eum, et facerent cum regem, fugit iterum in monternipse solus.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. vi.

At that time: Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias; and a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. Now the Pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes, and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat? And this he said to try him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him: Two hundred penny-worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves, and two fishes; but what are these among so many? Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were sat down. In Like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would; and when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost. They gathered up therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten. Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet that is to come into the world. Jesus therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force and make him king, fled again into the mountain himself alone.

These men, whom Jesus has been feeding by a miracle of love and power,are resolved to make Him their King. They have no hesitation in proclaiming Him worthy to reign over them; for where can they find one worthier? What, then, shall we Christians do, who know the goodness and the power of Jesus incomparably better than these poor Jews? We must beseech Him to reign over us, from this day forward. We have just been reading in the Epistle, that it is He who has made us free, by delivering us from our enemies.Oglorious liberty! But the only way to maintain it, is to live under His Law. Jesus is not a tyrant, as are the world and the flesh; His rule is sweet and peaceful, and we are His children rather than His servants. In the court of such a King ‘to serve is to reign.’ What, then, have we to do with our old slavery? If some of its chains be still upon us, let us lose no time, let us break them, for the Pasch is near at hand; the great feastday begins to dawn. Onwards, then, courageously to the end of our journey! Jesus will refresh us; He will make us sit down as He did the men of the Gospel; and the Bread He has in store for us will make us forget all our past fatigues.

In the Offertory, the Church again borrows the words of David, wherewith to praise the Lord; but, to-day, it is mainly His goodness and power that she celebrates.

Offertory

Laudate Dominum, quia benignus est; psallite nomini ejus, quoniam suavis est: omnia quæcumque voluit, fecit in cœlo et in terra.
Praise ye the Lord, for he is good, sing ye to his name, for he is sweet: what he pleased he hath done, in heaven and on earth.

The Secret is a prayer for the increase of devotion. We ask it by the merits of the Sacrifice at which we are assisting, for it is the source of our salvation.

Secret

Sacrificiis præsentibus, Domine, quæeumus, intende placatas: ut et devotioni nostræ proficiant et saluti. Per Dominum.
We beseech thee, O Lord, mercifully regard this present Sacrifice, that it may both increase our devotion, and advance our salvation. Through, &c.

The second and third Secrets are given on the first Sunday of Lent, page 136.


In the Communion anthem, the Church sings the praise of the heavenly Jerusalem, which is figured by the basilica of Holy Cross, as we have already explained. She speaks of the joy of the tribes of the Lord, who are assembled in this venerable temple, and are contemplating, under the graceful symbol of the rose, the divine Spouse, Jesus. The fragrance of His perfections draws our hearts after Him.

Communion

Jerusalem quæ ædificatur ut civitas, cujus participatio ejus in idipsum: illuc enim ascenderunt tribus, tribus Domini, ad confitendum nomini tuo, Domine.
Jerusalem, which is built as a city, which is compact together; for thither did the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to praise thy name, O Lord.

The divine mystery of the Bread of life has been brought before us, that we might believe and love it. The Church, therefore, in the Postcommunion, prays that we may have the grace to receive this august mystery with becoming respect and careful preparation.

Postcommunion

Da nobis, quæsumus, misericors Deus: ut sancta tua, quibus incessanter explemur, sinceria tractemus obsequiis, et fideli semper mente sumamus. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O merciful God, that we may sincerely respect, and receive with faith thy holy mysteries, with which thou daily feedest us. Through, &c.

The second and third Postcommunions are given on the first Sunday of Lent, page 138.


 

VESPERS

 


The psalms and antiphons are given on page 99.


Capitulum
(Gal. iv.)

Fratres: Scriptum est, quoniam Abraham duos filios habuit: unum de ancilla, et unum de libera. Sed qui de ancilla, secundum carnem natus est; qui autem de libera, per repromissionem: quæ sunt per allegoriam dicta.
Brethren: it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bond-woman, and the other by a free-woman. But he who was of the bondwoman, was born according to the flesh: but he of the free-woman, was by promise: which things are said by an allegory.

For hymn and versicle, see page 106.


Antiphon of the Magnificat

Subiit ergo in monte m Jesus, et ibi sedebat cum discipulis suis.

Oremus

Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, ut qui ex merito nostræ actionis affligimur, tuæ gratiæ consolatione respiremus. Per Dominum.
Jesus therefore went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 

Let us Pray

Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we, who are justly afflicted according to our demerits, may be relieved by thy comforting grace. Through, &c.

We borrow the following stanzas from the Triodion of the Greek Church. They are in keeping with to-day’s Office, and with the sentiments we should have on mid-Lent Sunday.

Hymn
(Dominica IV. Jejuniorum.)

Sacro jejunii stadio jam dimidio superemenso, ad futurum in lætitia recte curramus, bonorum operum oleo animos ungentes, ut Christi Dei nostri divinaspassiones adorare, et ad ejus venerandam et sanctam resurrectionem pervenire mereamur.

Qui vitem plantavit et operarios vocavit, prope adest Salvator; venite, jejunii athletæ, mercedem capiamus, quia dives est dispensator et misericors; parum laborantes, animæ misericordiam recipiemus.

O Deus qui das vitam, aperi mihi portas pænitentiæ; vigilat enim ad templum sanctum tuum spiritus meus, templum corporis ferens penitus maculatum: sed tu miserans, purifica me propitiabili misericordia tua.

Venite, faciamus in mystica vite fructus pœnitentiæ: in illa laborantes, non epulemur in escis et potibus, sed in precibus et jejuniis, actionea virtutis operantes: his complacens Dominua operia denarium præbet, per quod ab iniquitatia debito animas liberat solus multum Deus misericors.
We have passed one half of our journey through the holy fast; let us, then, as it behoves us, joyfully complete what remains. Let us anoint our souls with the oil of good works, that we may be made worthy to celebrate the divine sufferings of Christ our Lord, and to be brought to his venerable and holy Resurrection.

Jesus, he that planted the vine and hired the labourers, is near at hand. Come, ye brave fasters! let us receive the reward; for he that pays us is rich and merciful. After our short labours, he will requite our souls with his mercy.

O God! thou Giver of life! open to me the gate of penance. My spirit keepeth watch in thy holy temple; but the temple of the flesh, which I have to carry with me, is defiled with many sins. Have pity on me, notwithstanding; and in thy tender mercy, cleanse me.

Come, let us, who are in the mystic Vine, produce fruits of penance. Here labouring, let our feasting be, not in meat and drink, but in prayer and fasting and good works. Our Lord, being pleased with our labour, will pay us with that, whereby he, the one God, rich in mercy, will forgive us the debt of our sins.

 


 

[1] St. John vi. 33.
[2] St. Luke xxii. 15.
[3] Ps. xxxiii. 9.
[4] St. Matt. xiv. 13.
[5] St. Matt. xi. 30.

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Station is in the venerable church of the Four Crowned (brothers); their names are, Severus, Severianus, Carpophorus, and Victorious; they suffered martyrdom under the persecution of Diocletian. Their bodies, as also the head of the great martyr St. Sebastian, are among the relics of this church.

Collect

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut observations sacras annua devotione recolentes, et corpore tibi placeamua et mente. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that we, who annually celebrate this holy fast, may be well pleasing to thee, both in body and mind. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle

Lectio libri Regum.

3. Cap. iii.

In diebus illis: Venerunt duæ mulieres meretrices ad regem Salomonem, steteruntque coram eo, quarum una ait: O bsecro, mi Domine: ego et mulier hæc habitabamus in domo una, et peperi apud eam in cubiculo. Tertia autem die postquam ego peperi, peperi t et hæc: et eramus simul, nullusque alius nobiscum in domo, exceptis nobis duabus. Mortuus est autem filius mu· lieris hujus nocte; dormiens quippe oppressit eum. Et consurgens intempestæ noctis eilentio, tulit filium meum de latere meo ancillæ tuæ dormientis; et collocavit in sinu suo: suum autem filium, qui erat mortuus, posuit in sinu meo. Cumque surrexissem mane ut darem lac filio meo, apparuit mortuus: quem diligentius intuens clara luce, deprehendi non esse meum, quem genueram. Respondit altera mulier: Non est ita ut dicis, sed filius tuus mortuus est, meus autem vivit. E contrario illa dicebat: Mentiris: filius quippe meus vivit, et filius tuus mortuus est. Atque in hunc modum contendebant coram rege. Tunc rex ait: Hæc dicit: Filius meus vivit et filius tuus mortuus est. Et ista respondit: Non, sed filius tuus mortuus est, meus autem vivit. Dixit ergo rex: Afferte mihi gladium. Cumque attulissent gladium coram rege: Dividite, inquit, infantem vivum in duas partes, et date dimidiam partem uni, et dimidiam partem alteri. Dixit autem mulier, cujus filius erat vivus, ad regem (commota sunt quippe viscera ejus super filio suo): Obsecro, Domine, date illi infantem vivum, et nolite interficere eum. E contrario illa diccbat: Nec mihi, nec tibi sit, eed dividatur. Responds rex et ait: Date huic infantem vivum, et non occidatur: hæc est enim mater ejus. Audivit itaque omnis Israël judicium quod judicasset rex, et timuerunt regem, videntes sapientiam Dei esse in eo ad faciendum judicium.
Lesson from the Book of Kings.

3. Ch. iii.

In those days: Two women that were harlots, came to king Solomon, and stood before him; and one of them said: I beseech thee, my lord, I and this woman dwelt in one house, and I was delivered of a child with her in the chamber. And the third day after that I was delivered she also was delivered; and we were together, and no other person with us in the house, only we two. And this woman’s child died in the night, for in her sleep she, overlaid him; and rising in the dead time of the night she took my child from my side, while I thy handmaid was asleep, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold it was dead; but considering him more diligently when it was clear day, I found that it was not mine which I bore. And the other woman answered: It is not so as thou sayest, but thy child is dead, and mine is alive. On the contrary she said: Thou best, for my child liveth, and thy child is dead. And in this manner they strove before the king. Then said the king: The one saith my child is alive, and thy child is dead; and the other answereth: Nay, but thy child is dead, and mine liveth. The king therefore said: Bring me a sword. And when they had brought a sword before the king, Divide, said he, the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. But the woman, whose child was alive, said to the king (for her bowels were moved upon her child), I beseech thee, my lord, give her the child alive, and do not kill it. But the other said: Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. The king answered and said: Give the living child to this woman and let it not be killed, for she is the mother thereof. And all Israël heard the judgment which the king had judged, and they feared the king, seeing that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment.

St. Paul explained to us, in yesterday’s Epistle, the antagonism that there is between the Synagogue and the Church; he showed us how Sara’s son, who was the father’s favourite, was persecuted by the son of Agar. The two women, who appear before Solomon, are another figure of the same truth. The child whom they both claim is the Gentile people, which has been brought to the knowledge of the true God. The Synagogue, typified by the woman who has caused death to her child, has misled the people confided to her care; and now unjustly claims one that does not belong to her. And whereas it is not from any motherly affection, but only from pride, that she puts forward such a claim, it matters little to her what becomes of the child, provided only he be not given to the true mother, the Church. Solomon, the king of peace, who is one of the Scriptural types of Christ, adjudges the child to her that has given him birth, and nourished him; and the pretensions of the false mother are rejected. Let us, then, love our mother, the holy Church, the bride of Jesus. It is she that has made us children of God by Baptism. She has fed us with the Bread of life; she has given us the holy Spirit; and, when we had the misfortune to relapse into death by sin, she, by the divine power given to her, has restored us to life. A filial love for the Church is the sign of the elect; obedience to her commandments is the mark of a soul in which God has set His kingdom.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. ii.

In illo tempore: Prope erat Pascha Judaeorum, et ascendit Jesus Jerosolymam: et invenit in templo vendentes boves, et oves, et columbas, et nummularios sedentes. Et cum fecisset quasi flagellum de funiculis, omnes ejecit de templo, oves quoque, et boves, et nummulariorum effudit aes, et mensas subvertit. Et his, qui columbas vendebant, dixit: Auferte ista hine, et nolite facere domum Patris mei, domum negotiationis. Recordati sunt vero discipuli ejus quia scriptum est: Zelus domus tuae comedit me. Responderunt ergo Judæi, et dixerunt ei: Quod signum ostendis nobis quia hæc facis? Respondit Jesus, et dixit eis: Solvite templum hoc, et in tribus diebus excitabo illud. Dixerunt ergo Judæi: Quadraginta et sex annis ædificatum est templum hoc, et tu in tribus diebus excitabis illud? Ille autem dicebat de templo corporis sui. Cum ergo resurrexisset a mortuis, recordati sunt discipuli ejus, quia hoc dicebat, et crediderunt Scripturæ, et sermoni quem dixit Jesus. Cum autem esset Jerosolymis in Pascha in die festo, multi crediderunt in nomine ejus, videntes signa ejus, quæ faciebat. Ipse autem Jesus non credebat semetipsum eis, eo quod ipse nosset omnes, et quia opus ei non erat ut quis testimonium perhiberet de homine, ipse enim sciebat quid esset in homine.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. ii.

At that time the Pasch of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem And he found in the temple them that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting. And when he had made as it were a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen; and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew. And to them that sold doves he said: Take these things hence, and make not the house of my Father a house of traffic. And his disciples remembered that it was written: The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up. The Jews therefore answered, and said to him: What sign dost thou shew unto us, seeing thou dost these things? Jesus answered and said to them: Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews then said: Six and forty years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days? But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen again fromthe dead, hic disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture, and the word that Jesus had said. Now when he was at Jerusalem, at the Pasch, upon the festival day, many believed in his name, seeing his signs which he did. But Jesus did not trust himself to them, for that he knew all men, and because he needed not that any should give testimony of man, for he knew what was in man.

We read in the Gospel of the first Tuesday of Lent, that Jesus drove from the temple them that were making it a place of traffic. He twice showed this zeal for His Father’s house. The passage we have just read from St. John refers to the first time. Both occasions are brought before us during this season of Lent, because this conduct of our Saviour shows us with what severity He will treat a soul that harbours sin within her. Our souls are the temple of God, created and sanctified by God to the end that He might dwell there. He would have nothing to be in them, which is unworthy of their destination. This is the season for self-examination; and if we have found that any passions are profaning the sanctuary of out souls, let us dismiss them; let us beseech our Lord to drive them out by the scourge of His justice, for we, perhaps, might be too lenient with these sacrilegious intruders. The day of pardon is close at hand; let us make ourselves worthy to receive it. There is an expression in our Gospel which deserves a special notice. The evangelist is speaking of those Jews who were more sincere than the rest, and believed in Jesus, because of the miracles He wrought; he says: Jesus did not trust Himself to thembecause He knew all men. So that there may be persons who believe in and acknowledge Jesus, yet whose hearts are not changed! Oh the hardness of man’s heart! Oh cruel anxiety for God’s priests! Sinners and worldlings are now crowding round the confessional; they have faith, and they confess their sins: and the Church has no confidence in their repentance! She knows that, a very short time after the feast of Easter, they will have relapsed into the same state in which they were on the day when she marked their foreheads with ashes. These souls are divided between God and the world; and she trembles as she thinks on the danger they are about to incur by receiving holy Communion without the preparation of a true conversion. Yet, on the other hand, she remembers how it is written that the bruised reed is not to be broken, nor the smoking flax to be extinguished.[1] Let us pray for these souls, whose state is so full of doubt and danger. Let us, also, pray for the priests of the Church, that they may receive from God abundant rays of that light, whereby Jesus knew what was in man.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Deprecationem nostram, quæsumus, Domine, benignus exaudi: et quibus supplicandi præstas affectum, tribue defeneionis auxilium. Per Cnrietum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

We beseech thee, O Lord, hear our prayer, and grant us thy protection, as it is thou who inspirest us to ask it. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray for the conversion of sinners, using the beautiful Preface given us by the Roman pontifical, and formerly recited during the reconciliation of the public penitents.

Preface

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere, Domine sanete, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, per Christum Dominum nostrum: Quem, omnipotens Genitor, ineffabiliter naeci voluisti, ut debitum Adæ tibi persolveret ætemo Patri, mortemque noetram sua interficeret, et vulnera nostra in suo corpora ferret, nostrasque maculas sanguine suo dilueret; ut qui antiqui hostia corrueramue invidia, et ipsius reeurgeremus clementia. Te per eum, Domine, supplices rogamue ac petimus, ut pro aliorum excessibus nos digneris exaudire, qui pro noetris non sufficimus exorare. Tu igitur, clementissime Domine, hos famulos tuos, quos a te separaverunt flagitia, ad te revoca pietate solita. Tu namque nec Achab scelestiesimi humiliationem despexisti, sed vindictam debitamprotelasti. Petrum quo que lacrymantem exaudisti, clavesque postmodum cœlestis regni ipsi tradidisti; et confitenti latroni ejusdem regni præmia promisisti. Ergo, clementissime Domine, hos, pro quibus preces tibi fundimus, demens recollige, et tuæ Ecclesiæ gremio redde, ut nequaquamde eis valeat triumphare hostis, sed tibi reconciliet Filius tibi coæqualifl, emundetque eos ab omni facinore, et ad tuæ sacratissimæ Cœnæ dapes dignetur admittere. Sicque ευ a came, et sanguine reficiat ut post huj us vitæ cursum ad cælestia regna perducat.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee,Oholy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, through Christ our Lord: Whom thou,Oalmighty Father, didst will to be bom among us by an ineffable Birth, that so he might pay to thee, his eternal Father, the debt contracted by Adam, and put our death to death by his own, and bear our wounds in his own Flesh, and cleanse away our stains by his Blood; hereby enabling us, who had fallen by the envy of the old enemy, to rise again by his mercy. Through him, O Lord, we suppliantly beseech and pray thee that thou graciously hear us making intercession for the sins of others, who are not worthy to plead for our own. Do thou, O most merciful Lord, recall to thyself, with thy wonted goodness, these thy servants, who have separated themselves from thee by their sins. For neither didst thou reject the most wicked Achab when he humbled himself before thee, but didst avert from him the punishment he had deserved. So, likewise, didst thou graciously hear Peter, when he wept, and didst afterwards give to him the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and thou didst promise the reward of that same kingdom to the thief when he trusted in thee. Therefore, O most merciful Lord! mercifully welcome back these for whom we offer to thee our prayers, and restore them to the bosom of thy Church, that the enemy may not triumph over them, but that they may be reconciled unto thee by thy coequal Son, and by him be cleansed from their guilt, and graciously admitted by him to the banquet of thy most holy Supper. May he in such wise refresh them by his Flesh and Blood, as to lead them, after this life’s course is run, to the kingdom of heaven.

[1] Is. xlii. 3.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Station is in the church of Saint Laurence in Damaso; so called, because it was built, in the fourth century, in honour of the glorious archdeacon of Rome, by Pope St. Damasus, whose body rests here.

Collect

Sacræ nobis, quæsumus, Domine, observationis jejunia, et piæ conversationis augmentum, et tuæ propitiationis continuum præstent auxilium. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
We beseech thee, O Lord, that the holy fast we observe may be to our improvement in holy conversation, and draw down upon us the constant succours of thy mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle

Lectio libri Exodi.

Cap. xxxii.

In diebus illis, locutus est Dominus ad Moysen, dicens: Descende de monte: peccavit populus tuus, quem eduxisti de terra Ægypti. Recesserunt cito de via, quam ostendisti eis: feceruntque sibi vitulum conflatilem, et adoraverunt, atque immolantes ei hostias, dixerunt: Isti sunt dii tui, Israël, qui te eduxerunt de terra Ægypti. Rursumque ait Dominus ad Moysen: Cemo quod populus iste duræ cervicis sit: dimitte me, ut irascatur furor meus contra eos, et deleam eos, faciamque te in gentem magnam. Moyses autem orabat Dominum Deum suum, dicens: Cur, Domine, irascitur furor tuus contra populum tuum, quem eduxisti de terra Ægypti in fortitudine magna, et in manu robusta? Ne, quæso, dicant Ægyptii: Callide eduxit eos, ut interficeret in montibus, et deleret e terra: quiescat ira tua, et esto placabilis super nequitia populi tui. Recordare Abraham, Isaac, et Israël, servorum tuorum, quibus jurasti per temetipsum, dicens: Multiplicabo semen vestrum sicut Stellas cceli; et universam terram hanc, de qua locutus sum, dabo semini vestro, et possidebitis eam semper. Placatusque est Dominus ne faceret malum, quod locutus fuerat adversus populum suum,
Lesson from the Book of Exodus.

Ch. xxxii.

In those days, the Lord spoke to Moses saying: Go, get thee down from the mountain: thy people, which thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt, hath sinned. They have quickly strayed from the way which thou didst show them; and they have made to themselves a molten calf, and have adored it, and sacrificing victims to it, have said: These are thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt. And again the Lord said to Moses: I see that this people is stiff-necked: let me alone that my wrath may be kindled against them, and that I may destroy them, and I will make of thee a great nation. But Moses besought the Lord his God, saying: Why, O Lord, is thy indignation enkindled against thy people, whom thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a mighty hand? Let not the Egyptians say, I beseech thee: He craftily brought them out, that he might kill them in the mountains, and destroy them from the earth; let thy anger cease and be appeased upon the wickedness of thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Israël thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thy own self, saying: I will multiply your seed as the stars ofheaven; and this whole land that I have spoken of, I will give to your seed, and you shall possess it for ever. And the Lord was appeased from doing the evil which he had spoken against his people.

When the world first received the preaching of the Gospel, idolatry was the prevailing crime. For many centuries after, all the catechumens, who were instructed in the true faith, were tainted with it. It was in order to inspire them with a horror of their past lives, that the Church read to them, on this day, the terrible words of God, who, had not Moses interceded, was about to exterminate His people, because they had relapsed into idolatry; and this, after He had worked in their favour the most unheard-of miracles, and had come in person to give them His Law. The worship of false gods is no longer to be found amongst us; but it exists in all those countries, where the Gospel has been preached and rejected. Strange as it may sound, yet it is most true: Europe, with all its civilization, would return to idolatry, were it to lose the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not much more than a centqry ago, an idol was erected to reason; it had its altar, its decorations and its incense; and they who paid homage to it were Europeans! Individuals or peoples, once slaves to Satan, are not their own masters to say, ‘We will go thus far in sin, and no farther’The descendants of Noe, notwithstanding the terrible lesson given to them by the deluge, fell into idolatry; nay, Abraham was called by God from the rest of men, lest he should be led away by the almost universal corruption. Let us be grateful to the Church, who, by her teachings of faith and morals, preserves us from this degrading abomination; and let us resist our passions, which, if the light of faith were taken from us, would lead us to idolatry.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Cap. vii.

In illo tempore: Jam die festo mediante, ascendit Jesus in templum, et docebat. Et mirabantur Judæi, dicentes: Quomodo hic litteras scit, cum non didicerit? Responds eis Jesus, et dixit: Mea doctrina non est mea, sed ejus qui misit me. Si quis voluerit voluntatem ejus facere, cognoscet de doctrina, utrum ex Deo sit an ego a meipso loquar. Qui a semetipso loquitur, gloriam propriam quærit: qui autem quærit gloriam ejus qui misit eum, hic verax est, et injustitia in illo non est. Nonne Moyses dedit vobis legem? et nemo ex vobis facit legem. Quid me quæritis interficere? Respondit turba, et dixit: Dæmonium habes: quis te quærit interficere? Respondit Jesus, et dixit eis: Unum opus feci, et omnes miramini. Propterea Moyses dedit vobis circumcisionem (non quia ex Moyse est, sed ex patribus): et in Sabbato circumciditis hominem. Si circumcisionem accipit homo in Sabbato, ut non solvatur lex Moysi: mihi indignamini quia totum hominem sanum feci in Sabbato? Nolite judicare secundum faciem, sed justum judicium judicate. Dicebant ergo quidam ex Jerosolymis:Nonne hic est quem quærunt interficere? Et ecce palam loquitur, et nihil ei dicunt. Numquid vere cognoverunt principes quia hic est Christus? Sed hunc scimus unde sit: Christus autem cum venerit, nemo scit unde sit. Clamabat ergo Jesus in templo docens, et dicens: Et me scitis, et unde sim scitis: et a meipso non veni, sed est verus qui misit me, quem vos nescitis. Ego scio eum: quia ab ipso sum, et ipse me misit. Quærebant ergo cum apprehendere: et nemo misit in ilium manus, quia nondum venerat hora ej us. De turba autem multi crediderunt in eum.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.

Ch. vii.

At that time: About the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews wondered, saying: How doth this man know letters, having never leamed? Jesus answered them, and said: My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do the will of him, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own glory; but he that seeketh the glory of him that sent him, he is true, and there is no injustice in him. Did not Moses give you the law? And yet none of you keepeth the law. Why seek you to kill me? The multitude answered and said: Thou hast a devil: who seeketh to kill thee? Jesus answered, and said to them: One work I have done, and you all wonder. Therefore Moses gave you circumcision (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers); and on the Sabbath-day you circumcise a man. If a man receive circumcision on the Sabbath-day that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry at me, because I have healed the whole man on the Sabbath-day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge just judgment. Some therefore of Jerusalem said: Is not this he whom they seek to kill? And behold he speaketh openly, and they say nothing to him. Have the rulers known for a truth that this is the Christ? But we know this man whence he is. But when the Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying: You both know me, and you know whence I am; and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom you know not; I know him because I am from him, and he hath sent me. They sought therefore to apprehend him; and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. But of the people many believed in him.

This Gospel carries our thoughts to the sacrifice of ihe divine Lamb, which is to be offered up in Jerusalem. The hour has not yet come, but it is fast approaching. His enemies are already seeking how they may put Him to death. So blinded are they by their passions, that they accuse Him of being a violater of the Sabbath, because He healed the sick, by the simple act of His will, on the Lord’s day! In vain does Jesus refute their prejudices, by reminding them that they themselves have no scruple in fulfilling the law of circumcision on this day, or (as He said to them, on another occasion) in drawing out of the pit an ass or an ox that may have fallen in.[1] They are deaf to all He says; they are men of one idea, and it is, that their victim shall not escape death. His miracles are incontestable, and all are wrought out of a motive of mercy and love. The only time He refuses to work one, is when His enemies ask Him to satisfy their curiosity and pride by letting them see a sign. This exercise of His power of working miracles, far from exciting them to admiration and gratitude, only incites them to envy, and in their envy, they declare, not only that He acts by Beelzebub,[2] but that He has a devil within Him. We shudder at such a blasphemy. Yet, such is the pride of these Jewish doctors that they care neither for common sense nor for religion, and their hearts thirst more and more for the Blood of Jesus. Whilst some of the people allow themselves to be seduced by their leaders into the same feelings against Jesus, others, who affect to be indifferent, reason about Him, and then declare it to be their opinion that this Jesus does not realize in Himself the character of the promised Messias! They argue that, when the Christ cometh no one will know whence He is. But have not the prophets declared that He is to be of the family of David? Now every Jew knows well enough that Jesus is of that royal race. Besides, they own that there is to be something mysterious about the Messias, and that He is to come from God. Had they listened with docile attention to the teachings of Jesus—teachings which He had confirmed by numerous miracles—they would have been enlightened both as to His temporal birth, and to His being the Son of God. But indifference and the perversity of the human heart keep them in culpable ignorance; and, perhaps, on the day of His death, they will join in the cry: ‘Let His Blood be upon us and upon our children!’[3]

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Miserere, Domine, populo tuo: et continuis tribulationibus laborantem, propitius respirare concede. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Bow down your heads to God.

Take compassion, O Lord, on thy people, and mercifully refresh them labouring under continual tribulations. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Greek liturgy supplies us with the following humble act of contrition. We take it from the hymn composed by St. Andrew of Crete.

Canon Magnus
(Feria V. Hebdomadæ V. Jejuniorum)

Peccavimus, inique egimus, injuste fecimus coram te, nec servivimus, autve fecimus quemadmodum nobis mandasti: verum ne nos, tu Deus patrum, tradideris in finem.

Peccavi, inique egi, ac mandatum tuum violavi: quippe natus sum in peccatis, addidique vulnus livoribus meis: verum tu velut misericors, qui patrum es Deus, miserere.

Occulta cordis mei tibi meo judici annuntiavi: vide humilitatem meam; vide et meam afflictionem, ac intende judicio meo; meique ipse ut misericors, qui es Deus patrum, miserere.

Obrui tuam imaginem, tuumque mandatum violavi: tota species obscurata est, exstinctaque est lampas, O Salvator! vitiis: sed misertus ipse redde mihi lætitiam, ut canit David.

Convertere; pcenitere; revela occulta; die Deo qui novit omnia: Tu solus Salvator, seis occulta, tu mei, ut psallit David, secundum misericordiam tuam miserere.

Defecerunt dies mei, sicuti somnium ejus qui suscitatur; quare velut Ezechias in lecto meo lacrymor, ut annos mihi vitæ adjicias. Cæterum quis tibi, o anima, Isaias affuerit, præter Deum ilium universorum?
We have sinned, we have done wickedly, we have acted unjustly against thee, neither have we served thee, nor have done what thou commandest: but abandon us not for ever, O thou the God of our fathers!

I have sinned, I have done wickedly, I have broken thy commandment; for I was bom in sins, and have added wound to wound: but thou art merciful, and the God of our fathers; have mercy on me!

To thee, O my Judge, have I made known the hidden things of my heart: see me now humbled before thee; see, too, my affliction, and be attentive to my judgment. O thou that art merciful, and the God of our fathers, have mercy on me!

I have disfigured thine image, and have broken thy commandment: all my beauty is obscured, O my Saviour, and my lamp is put out, by my sins. But have mercy on me, and restore joy unto me, as David sings.

Be converted, my soul! Do penance; reveal thy hidden sins; say to thy God, who knoweth all things: thou, my only Saviour, knowest all things; do thou, as David sings, have mercy on me according to thy great mercy.

My days have vanished as the dream of one that wakeneth; wherefore like Ezechias, I weep on my couch and beseech thee to add to the years of my life. But who, O my soul, can be thine Isaias and help thee, but he that is the God of all?

 

[1] St. Luke xiv. 5.
[2] St. Luke xi. 15.
[3] St. Matt, xxvii. 25.

 

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