Saturday, February 23, 2019

Saturday of Septuagesima Week

The sentence pronounced by the Almighty upon our first parents was to fall upon their children to the end of time. We have been considering, during this week of Septuagesima, the penalties of the great sin; but the severest and most humiliating of them all remains to be told. It is the transmission to the whole human race of original sin. It is true that the merits of the promised Redeemer will be applied to each individual man, in the manner established by God at various periods of time; still, this spiritual regeneration, while cleansing us from the leprosy which covered us and restoring us to the dignity of children of God, will not remove every scar of the old wound. It will save us from eternal death, and restore us to life; but as long as our pilgrimage lasts, we shall be weak and sickly. Thus it is that ignorance makes us short-sighted in those great truths which should engross all our thoughts; and this fills us will illusions which, by an unhappy inclination of our will, we cling to and love. Concupiscence is ever striving to make our soul a slave to the body; and in order to escape this tyranny, our life has to be one continual struggle. An unruly love for independence is unceasingly making us desire to be our own masters, and forget that we were born to obey. We find pleasure in sin, whereas virtue rewards us with nothing in this life, save the consciousness of our having done our duty.

Knowing all this, we are filled with admiration and love when we think of thee, O Mary! thou purest of God’s creatures. Thou art our sister in nature; thou art a daughter of Eve; but thou wast conceived without sin, and art therefore the honor of the human race. Thou art of the same flesh and blood as ourselves; and yet thou art immaculate. The divine decree which condemned us to inherit the disgrace of original sin could not include thy most pure conception; and the serpent felt, as thy foot crushed his haughty head, that thou hadst never been under his power. In thee, O Mary! we find our nature such as it was when our God first created it. Hail, then, spotless Mirror of justice!

O Mary! beautiful in thine unsullied holiness, pray for us who are weighed down by the consequences of that sin of our first parents, which God would not suffer to approach thee. Thou art the implacable enemy of the serpent; watch over us, lest his sting inflict death on our souls. We were conceived in sin, and born in sorrow; pray for us, that we may so live as to merit blessing. We are condemned to toil, to suffering, and to death; intercede for us, that our atonement may find acceptance with our Lord. We are exposed to the treachery of our evil inclinations; we are in love with this present life; we forget eternity; we are ever striving to deceive our own hearts: how could we escape hell, were the grace of thy divine Son not unceasingly offered to us, enabling us to triumph over all our enemies? Thou, O Immaculate Mother of Jesus, art the Mother of divine grace! Pray for us, that we, who glory in being thy kindred by nature, may be daily more and more enriched with this priceless gift.

Let us salute the blessed Mother of God in the words of the following sequence, taken from the ancient missal of Cluny. Catholic piety has consecrated to Mary the Saturday of each week.

Sequence

Ad laudem Matris Dei
Modulemur licet rei,
Poscentes remedia.

Let us, though sinners, sing a hymn in praise of the Mother of God; let us sing our prayer for help.

Hæc nostræ forma spei,
Spes mirandæ speciei,
Quæ vernat in gloria.

Oh! how well may we hope in her, that beautiful Mother, whose glory is bright as spring!

Hæ virtutis nutrimentum,
Spes solaris, sola laris
Terreni fiducia.

It is she that trains us to virtue, and warms our earthly home with the sunny beam of hope.

Stella maris quæ vocaris,
Passus rectos et directos,
Da pacis suffragia.

Thou that art called Star of the sea, direct us, steer us, get us the calm of peace.

Sicut sidus naufrago,
Fulgens dux in pelago,
Tu præclara.

Thou brightly shinest on life’s sea, guiding us, as does the friendly star which leads the shipwrecked into port.

Mundi lux in tenebris,
Stella nitens celebris,
Deo cara.

Thou art a light to worldlings in their darkness, thou art the shining well-known star, so dear to God.

In sede cœlica
Residens, hæc mellica
Admitte cantica,
Virgo pia.

Seated on thy heavenly throne, receive, O Virgin-Mother, these our sweet canticles.

Paventi psallere,
Trementi pro scelere
Des ausus,
Tu plausus,
Veri vena.

To the sinner who fears to sing, do thou, fount of truth, give courage and applause.

To cœli regina,
Mundi medicina,
Munda scelus nostrum,
Piissima.

Thou art the Queen of heaven, thou art the solace of the world; may thy loving prayers cleanse us from our guilt.

In mortis ruina,
Nos ad vitam mina,
Placans Deum,
Tu benignissima.

We have merited death; but intercede for us to God, most merciful Queen! and so lead us unto life.

Cara parens, O Maria,
Patris parens, Virgo pia,
Nos in umbre mortis via
Sedentes illumina!

O Mary, dear Mother! Mother of thy Creator! Virgin ever merciful! enlighten us that are sitting in the shades of death.

Ut te nobis stella duce,
Tui Nati tuti cruce,
Mereamur cœli luce
Per te frui, Domina.
Amen.

That, guided by thee our star, and protected by the cross of thy Son, we may, through thy intercession, be brought to the enjoyment of light eternal. Amen.

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